I have two books sitting on my end table that get a lot of action. More than me, but that’s another story.
One is a small book of Maya Angelou quotes, gifted to me at just the right time and read many times since. Maya’s wisdom can snap me back to reality.
Broken down into five parts, all equal to sending a message at just the right time. The best house guest a girl can have these days.
Self-Empowerment. Who doesn’t need a daily dose of this now and then? I am empowered by this nugget of knowledge to stop doubting on any given day.
“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. Continue to allow humor to lighten the burden of your tender heart.”
Love. No matter how alone we might feel in this world, there is always one thing that brings us together. Laughter, especially with a friend, is highly recommended by me.
“There is an intimate laughter to be found only among friends.”
Society and Culture. This can be turbulent and beautiful on any given day. Remember, home can be anywhere.
“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”
Life. In the words of Forrest Gump, “it’s like a box of chocolates.” Between Forrest and Maya, it’s a wrap.
“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
Herself. This is where Maya really shines. This hit me hard, considering our current climate.
“I refuse to allow any man-made differences to separate me from any other humans.”
The second gem is The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse, a book written and illustrated by Charlie Mackesy. If you don’t know it, get it now.
The book is dedicated to the author’s “lovely kind mum” and his “wonderful dog Dill.” How could this be anything but fantastic with that dedication?
The journey of these four unlikely friends takes its readers on a trip full of life lessons in the most superficial, most profound way to be kind, forgiving, and loving one another. Granted, it’s a children’s book, but the lessons are timeless.
Mr. Mackesy creates a world within the pages that seem foreign to the one we live in today, but the optimist in me doesn’t believe it cannot exist as long as we are willing to participate. A girl can dream.
Always let your wisdom ride shotgun and Enjoy the Ride!
No News Is Good News
Background: The first recorded use of this exact expression in English is by James Howell in 1640, who wrote, “I am of the Italians’ mind that said, ‘Nulla Nuova, Buona Nuova’ (no news, good news). Some years before that, James 1 of England (VI of Scotland) wrote, “No News is better than evil news.” In case you were wondering like me. Information compliments of bookbrouse.com
Do you know what else Good News is? Umm, plain ole Good News. There is plenty of it out there in the world, but it’s not a moneymaker, so it doesn’t get all the glitz like a good tragedy. Seems a tad backward, but here we are.
Today, I share not only a good news story but the far-reaching effects of a simple gesture of kindness. Many of you may have heard it, and if so, consider it a reminder; if not, enjoy.
I recently found out quite a bit about Sidney Poitier after his death. We both share the same zodiac sign, and shortly after I entered the world in 1964, Sidney won an Oscar. Looks like two Stars were born that year.
After reading about Mr. Poitier’s accomplishments throughout his long life and career, I found his constant strive to be viewed as dignified, with his strong sense of decency to be at the forefront. If only these were available on Amazon …
Now for the good part.
As everyone knows, Mr. Poitier was well known for his elegant speaking voice, but that was not always the case, being born in the Bahamas and arriving in the states with his heavy accent and illiteracy in tow. It’s hard to believe after listening to him for one second.
He told the story many times, but this excerpt is from a CBS interview in 2013.
“There was one of the waiters, a Jewish guy, elderly man, and he looked over at me and was looking at me for quite a while. I had a newspaper, it was called Journal American. And he walked over to me, and he said, ‘What’s new in the paper?’ And I looked up at this man. I said to him, ‘I can’t tell you what’s in the paper because I can’t read very well.’ He said, ‘Let me ask you something, would you like me to read with you?’ I said to him, ‘Yes if you like.’ …
As the story goes, they would sit together every night after their shifts. This kind man would teach him not only how to read but also the importance of punctuation, why it exists, followed by syllables, how to recognize them in words, and finally, pronunciation. I didn’t get that in my formal education.
This small act of kindness put Mr. Poitier onto a path that led to significant changes, on and off the silver screen. He was not only an actor. He was a published writer, director, and most of all, a social game-changer. Kudos to brave waiters and diner educations.
Although he regretted never getting the opportunity to thank this man in person, I’m going out on a limb to say he unknowingly thanked him every time he opened his mouth.
Be Kind. Share the good news, and Enjoy the Ride!
As Season 2 of that shit show we call 2020 continues, I must say it’s been interesting. What are we on now Episode 9? All I know is I’ve spent a good portion of it crying at EVERYTHING—my emotions on steroids. Not the happy go lucky ones, the “you look like Alice Cooper” kind. I’ve already lost a pair of contacts to a riptide on my face.
A dear friend reminded me that tears are an excellent way to hydrate. I also believe this to be true. My skin is glistening, and my eyes no longer require fake tears in a bottle. I’m one sad song aways from bottling my own and selling them on Etsy. Tears are Us.
Ok, so back in Episode 1, I was on the brink of losing it. Not only was I grieving the loss of my mother, I had the realization that I was also grieving the loss of the way many things had been for years. I was mostly missing that upbeat call at midnight, wishing me a Happy New Year as I lay sleeping on the couch missing the ball drop. Kind of a bummer for the season opener.
Episodes 2 & 3 were much better. I spent the morning trying to figure out what I could do with this newfound freedom. As I left the house for a fun-filled day with my love interest, I was excited about the possibilities. We walked around a small town in New Jersey that I swear was the set of a Hallmark Christmas movie, and I saw my first sign that anything is possible. It was a plaque with my full name, middle initial, and all, followed by PhD. Not that I have any intention of getting a PhD., but it made me think, ‘you got this world by the balls, now go get it.” All the answers are there if you keep your eyes open.
Oh, Episode 4 was a real doozy! It was my first day back to work after 252727262782 days off, and there was NO INTERNET! I work for a physician, and our entire system is internet-based. The phone was ringing off the hook, patients were coming in with new insurance information, and this one issue was about to paralyze our day. I thought, “No, absolutely not, not today 2021 you 2020 wanna be, NO!” There is always a Plan B waiting in the shadows; no matter what the situation, look and you will find.
Ugh, by noon, the earth was back on its axis, and our internet was restored just in time for the start of Episode 5, which was almost too perfect. These days I’m skeptical of smooth sailing. I’ll assume that’s a little PTSD from 2020. I got into my car, and as always, made sure my phone was on Bluetooth. Why? Because every day for the last, FOREVER days, I called my mom on the way home from work. Another contact fell victim to this cry festival.
Episode 6 began with waking up after a dream that was so vivid and intense it left me lying in bed wondering, “Was that a dream?” I spent the rest of my morning analyzing that bag of crazy before heading to work. As if that wasn’t enough, real-life crazy started with news alerts on my phone about the new Civil War talking place in D.C. Hearing and seeing this footage was alarming, but I was not surprised, to be honest. Was I expecting it so early into Season 2? No, but here we are riding the crazy train. That entire episode shined a big fat light on subjects that can no longer be ignored, denied, or defended.
As I opened my eyes on Episode 7, I thought, “What’s next?” Ugh, while watching the morning news, it became clear that shit was getting very real here in the good ole U. S. of A. Watching the hypocrites surface and take flight was a real highlight. I’m not positive, but I do believe I may have broken a record for consecutive obscenities screamed at an object a/k/a a T.V. Oh, and I was laid off, but I’m happy.
Wow, that is all I can say for Episode 8. The list of flip-flopping hypocrites was growing at record speed. At the same time, our Commander in Lies continues to search for a 12-year-old with more than one social media account he can use, and we are now up to 5 senseless deaths following whatever the hell that was that took place in Episode 6. On the bright side, I had a male and female cardinal show up in the tree outside my window. They spent over an hour watching my every move. I’m just going to call them mom & dad and leave it at that.
Episode 9 opened up with ANOTHER vivid dream that was absolutely exhausting. I really believe this is the universes way of saying “Girl, we tried to tell you while you were awake, but you kept ignoring us.” We all know what this means – change is a coming. Something tells me those cardinals are working hard.
As I look at my personal life and the world around us, the veil is being lifted from reality. On a personal level, I recognize things about myself and those around me who may or may not remain in my circle with a clear lens. The evil and injustices evident to many for far too long are finally getting recognized with greater clarity and an undeniable audience. A change is gonna come.
In the meantime, my griefcase is packed, my eyes are open, and as always, I’ll fasten my seatbelt for the rest of Season 2 and try to Enjoy the Ride!
Did you hear the one about the squirrel that walked onto a deck wearing a mask during the pandemic? At this point, it’s the only way anyone would believe that this actually happened yesterday. On the FIRST day, masks were mandatory in Pennsylvania.
I was sitting in my sunroom, on a quiet morning, listening to the bird’s chirp, waiting for the sun to make an appearance when I felt I was being watched. Listen to your instincts.
Once my eyes registered, I realized that I was, in fact, looking at a squirrel, looking at me, wearing a mask. This little guy just stood there as if he was on the red carpet waiting for the paparazzi to get their shot, which is precisely what I did. A miracle considering the laughter!
I still have no idea what this little guy had in his mouth, so I’m going with the obvious, that he watched a do-it-yourself mask-making video like the rest of us. Well done!
Now that the squirrel community is on board with following directions, it would be great if humans would follow suit. The sad reality is that people are well, people, and they only listen to what they want to hear and do what they want to do. Educated, grown-ass adults suddenly become toddlers.
It’s not that difficult. Wear the mask because the GOVERNOR said so. This is smart, safe, and limits make-up application to just the eyes.
The lack of human cooperation since the kick-off of Stay In Your Damn House guidelines does not surprise me or any other human being who has witnessed the behavior of parents on back to school night. When the words “this is not the time to ask questions about your child” are uttered, the hands begin to rise.
Disclaimer: I’m not a teacher. I’m the parent who LISTENS.
Living in a culture where instant gratification is a necessity and impatience is at the forefront does not help. Listening to adults asking on more than one occasion, “Is this over yet?” is the equivalent to “Are we there yet?” and that rarely ends well. Get hold of yourselves, people!
Honestly, the universe doesn’t always protect us, sometimes it challenges us with more than we would like to receive, and on occasion, hits us when we’re down, instead of cutting us a break. We have to remember that not every test passes in an instant, and not every threat can just be shrugged off. So, here we are, on the day who the hell knows of this blip in our regular routines, with guidelines changing every day, and new choices to be made. We can resist. We can hide. Or, we can just react in a manner that will benefit ourselves and others.
Don’t make it harder than it has to be. Enjoy the Ride!
So, here we are, Easter 2020, and suddenly the Easter Bunny isn’t the only one sporting a mask this year. Sorry if you still believe that a giant rabbit breaks into your house once a year to drop off life-like chocolate images of itself, it does not.
Does everyone else feel like they’ve been living the tomb life these days? We’re way past the required three day limit over here.
All kidding aside, this experience, combined with the time of year, has me focusing on what our resurrection will be like when we get back to business. Hopefully, it will be much better than what we left.
After the universe slammed on the breaks, leaving chocolate bunnies everywhere stranded on the store shelves, we were living in a constant state of “what kind of world are we living in?” and then, just like that, it stopped. I can still smell the burnt rubber.
In the wake of this virus, we’ve been left with heavy hearts and death all around this world. However, we’ve also been handed a once in a lifetime opportunity. A pause that allowed us to look deep into ourselves and at the world around us with eyes wide open. It’s like a deep global breath.
Now, it’s time to get uncomfortable.
What are the lessons we should be learning during our time in the tomb?
How are we going to reenter our pre-pandemic lives?
What will we do differently on a personal, social and economic level?
What have we learned, not just about ourselves, but our surroundings?
Where have the lights been the brightest? On our climate? Our economy, education, food, and healthcare systems? Our democracy? On our greed, social injustice, disconnection, or ALL of the above?
It’s a lot to think about, absorb and change, but it’s also a time to reimagine the world we want for ourselves, our communities, and the world. One that fits all of humanity, with a side of nature, would be nice.
On day 2376457635 in the tomb, we are starting to crave normalcy or the normal we’ve been normalizing for much too long, we cannot return to that world. Just say, no!
The worst thing we can do is rush to return.
We need to remain still a little while longer.
We cannot fall victim to the influx of deals and steals that are waiting in the wings to tempt us back to our old behaviors.
We need to be diligent in remembering the good, the bad and the love revealed throughout this experience.
We need to figure out a normal that works for everyone.
We need to continue to be creative in our ideas and innovations for our communities.
We need to live and breathe the words of Margaret Mead.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
My Easter wish for everyone is that when you do resurrect, you will step back into the world with fresh eyes, clear minds, open hearts, and all of the soulfulness you can offer. It’s our time to Rise & Shine!
Enjoy the Ride!
Through all of the recent darkness, I’ve been trying my best to look for the silver linings and believe it or not, they’re around. Currently, the most prominent one seems to be around my hairline.
Here are just a few things keeping my sanity intact these days.
Neighborhoods all around are finding ways to lift spirits, a clear sign that humanity is alive and well on the ground. It would be nice if she took a trip to DC, but that’s for another day.
My sister lives in a small town in NJ, and she is surrounded by creative minds. While on her daily “I need to get some damn air” walk, she came across a bundle of love all along the way. Is this what it’s like to live next door to Mr. Rogers? I think it’s close.
My neighborhood has been participating in a social media challenge to find rainbows displayed in windows or on doors. It’s a local scavenger hunt of sorts. I’m not sure if there is an age limit to participate, but I’m killing it over here with 32 rainbows! The other competitors aren’t old enough to cross the street, but that’s not my problem.
Since my family is sheltering in different places, PA, NJ & CA, my daughter started a Family Quarantine Facebook page to keep us connected. So far, this has been a great way to share encouraging quotes, photos of my great-niece Hope (yes, that is her name), and of course, memes. Laughter and baby photos make everything tolerable.
The silver lining for Peanut and Landon has been having their human roommates home 24/7. Peanut follows me EVERYWHERE. He is under my feet, on my lap, or up my ass ALL DAY LONG. At this point, he’ll need therapy when I go back to work. Landon refuses to follow the social distancing requirements, Peanut just wants him to stop being “that guy.”
Throughout this experience, I’ve been noticing two things every day. The number 444 and a cardinal. Coincidence? I think not. So, what’s a girl to do when she’s hit in the face with signs from the universe? Um, Google it.
Well, just as I suspected and Google confirmed, these two things are messages. I was already aware of the many meanings behind a cardinal sighting, so I welcomed my visitor with a cheery, “Good morning, Jer!” I’m assuming it’s my brother-in-law Jerry who passed away in October. If not, his name is now Jerry.
As for the 444, this is what I found.
If you see the number 444 repeatedly, it is often your angel giving you a sign that they are with you. The sign is reminding you to feel confident and supported in this knowledge.
While we’re all on pause, take time to notice the good, feed your soul, and as always … Enjoy the ride!
How many times have you thought “Ok, I can leave this earth now I’ve heard or seen everything”? Yeah, that party isn’t ending any time soon.
Babies are born every damn day packing a whole new series of shock and awe for the world. This is why they smile in their sleep. It’s called plotting.
The other day a woman was leaving our office, as she has been doing for YEARS. Irene is kind, a little hippyish, and ALWAYS comes bearing a freshly baked challah loaf for the doctor. Some people might think that’s shocking, no, it’s not.
Out of nowhere, or the clear blue sky, she stated, “6 rats were castrated at the zoo today.” There was no warning. No one was discussing rats or their genitals before this statement, she was simply dropping a fact, and it was clear she was outraged. Before this moment I never thought about rodent genitals… EVAH!
I watched her mouth move, but I was fixated on the word “castration” as if these rodents were sexual deviants convicted by the other animals at the zoo. Maybe my kids are right, I do watch too much Law and Order SVU.
In a perfect world, I would have the power to shut that office down for a one on one interview about rodent castrations. Sadly, I’m not in charge.
So, I did the next best thing and Googled rat castration at the Philadelphia zoo. Nada. Then I broadened my search to a general rat castration window, which I admit was not one of my better life choices. I still have no idea why Irene was outraged, but now I know of several vets in my area who provide rat castration services. Knowledge is power.
The more I thought about this, which has been way too much over that past few days, the clearer the picture became. Irene is on to something with her matter of fact approach to getting the word out about injustices that leave no room for public backlash. #ratballsmatter
Now, let’s just say we took it up a notch. Next time you’re at an appointment, in the grocery line or anywhere human ears are present, drop a fact and go. Sort of like a smash & grab, but you’re leaving something behind for the greater good.
Now, since topics are endless, and facts come in all shapes and sizes, my advice would be if you’re the “go big or go home” type, please be an experienced runner or have a getaway car waiting. Remember, this is a drop and go mission, not a force your beliefs on anyone who can hear one. We already have plenty of that going down.
If you’re interested here are a few examples to get you started. Less is more.
- China has not wasted a single penny on war.
- Bats always turn left when leaving a cave.
- Peace takes courage.
- Sea levels are rising.
- Laughing reduces stress.
- One in 5 adults cannot afford their medication.
- Slugs have 4 noses.
If nothing else, it will provoke research on a subject, plant a seed, open a mind or make you look batshit crazy. There’s always that risk when you lay down the truth.
I’m going to drop that slug fact on my next visit to Whole Foods. #Enjoytheride!
On Sunday while attending my Quaker Meeting, I was moved by the message of one of the members. So much so that it has stuck with me for days now.
She began with a story about her company looking to revamp some staleness within her department, which led to a member coming to the table with a YouTube video about the reintroduction of grey wolves into the park, and the far-reaching effects their presence has had on the ecosystem. I highly recommend you watch if you haven’t already had the pleasure.
The video led to the conversation of the power of making ONE CHANGE.
Next, she shared that a few years ago, as she was stirring her coffee in the company kitchen, she looked at her plastic spoon with different eyes.
After going back to her office, she realized that she used two plastic spoons every day. One for her coffee and one for her yogurt. a/k/a … A LOT!
Just a few calculations later she realized that there is probably a landfill somewhere sporting her name in bright lights. A total will not be provided due to my loathing of mathematics.
So, from that day on she began bringing her stainless steel spoon to the office, but not just any spoon, she decided to bring a family heirloom that would catch the attention of her co-workers. Smart!
Next thing you know the idea of B.Y.O.S. caught on and not only did the company save money; co-workers got creative with their spoons, the climate in the office brightened, and those landfill lights began to dim. Bam!
Now, I know there is a large community of creative minds who read this little ole blog, so take a moment to think about what ONE CHANGE you can make in your daily routine that will change the world. We are much more potent than we let on folks.
Please feel free to share your creative juices in the comments, and as always … Enjoy the Ride!
Ok, 2018 can seriously pack up now and hit the road. Bye bitch!
Hearts of all kinds have been at the forefront for me this year. The theme could indeed be dubbed hearts gone wild.
The year kicked off big bringing the shattered hearts of parents who lost their child. One would think that would be enough.
Nope, next up the hearts of children who lost a parent weighted down with sadness and a load of new responsibilities. The circle of life at work.
Witnessing the end of young love with hearts broken in half. Ugh, it felt like 1986 all over again.
Having heartstrings pulled and tugged in every direction with news of illnesses of friends and family. Is this just another thing that happens when you get older?
Feel free to grab some black crepes at this point, maybe a sickle.
Oh, let’s not forget the feeling of an impending heart attack every time we see the words BREAKING NEWS flash across our televisions. Too many to count these days.
At work, I have been given a new title without a raise. Oh, yes, I can add Google Grimreaper to my resume. That should raise an eyebrow or two at an interview.
After 14 years of working in the medical field, you get to know your patients, so when they don’t show up for an appointment or their phone has been disconnected your heart sinks. I tend to forget we’re all 14 years older.
Ugh, so this summer I spent a significant amount of time Googling death notices to earn my new title. Lucky me.
All of this gives us a choice to fall into the abyss of grief, pain, and uncertainty or stand tall in the gap recognizing the resilience of the human heart. Honestly, you’re not human if you have not had the experience of a broken heart.
It’s allowing that open heart to be filled with compassion, grace, and empathy.
It’s believing that our pain can be given new life.
It’s keeping faith in humanity.
It’s learning to Enjoy the Ride in the process.
The other day I was walking through Target looking for another hundred things to purchase aside from what I actually needed when I overheard a mother/daughter interaction.
The mother was walking ahead of the daughter, who could not have been more than 4 years old. Her micro fashion was on point, and her pink sparkle purse did not disappoint.
Mother: Maddie, keep up you are too far behind.
Maddie: I know. I’m really slacking today. This is what got my attention. How doe she know the term slacking? She’s just a peanut!
Mother: You sure are slacking.
Maddie: Mommy! You’re not supposed to agree with me.
Mother: Well, you’re not keeping up with me today.
Maddie: I know that, but you’re supposed to tell me it’s ok that I’m slacking.
Mother: It’s not ok.
Maddie: I know that, but I don’t want you to say it because I already know it.
Me: Good luck.
This made me take pause. What was I doing at Maddie’s age? Probably eating dirt or glue.
Not looking like a miniature rock star that’s for sure. I just wore what my sister wore but in a different color.
Not using words like slacking. I don’t think it was in the dictionary yet.
Not having an adult conversation with my mother in the middle of a store. I did not speak adult at age 4, and we did not go to stores.
Honestly, I don’t think I could handle the likes of Maddie in my house. It was hard enough trying to control real children, let alone a micro adult. Yes, Maddie, once upon a time, in the United States of America, kids were second-class citizens, and they were all the better because of their status.
Without sounding like a complete fart who thinks things were better “back in the day,” I’m going to go out on a rooftop to scream it loud and clear today.
Parents need to take a step back to realize that their only function is to raise their youngins to be solid citizens. Not superheroes.
They don’t have to be the best student or athlete. They do not need to be micro adults. They do not need to be held up on a pedestal 24/7. It’s “ok” to be second.
They just need to be a benefit to the world, and believe it or not there is a straightforward lesson plan. Consistently treat others the way you want to be treated. Bam! Mission accomplished.
Now, let me go find that rooftop before the Maddie’s of the world take over.
Enjoy the Ride!