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!
I have an insane sense of direction. It’s indeed a gift. Especially in the days of traveling with male drivers pre GPS devices. Sorry guys.
Ever since I was a child, I could remember how to get from point A to point B from the backseat nonetheless.
I contribute this to my keen sense of my surroundings or my mnemonic image skills. That’s right ladies and gentleman, yours truly is a human navigational system via the pictures in my head.
When I was no more than 6, I remember sitting in the backseat of my father’s Caprice Classic looking out the window while taking notes on where we were going. Mailbox, blue words, brown building.
This came in handy when we were heading to the same place, and my father seemed to forget the left turn at the mailbox. I’ll never forget how impressed he appeared with my knowledge of direction.
Fast forward to me slaying my driving test. My sister went to Center City to get her hair cut at a high-end salon, but that’s another story. Anywho she called my father crying because she couldn’t seem to find her way to the train station to get home.
So, what does a father do when he doesn’t want to miss an episode of General Hospital to pick-up his lost daughter in the city? He summons his other daughter with her keen mnemonic image skills and fresh drivers license to fetch the one he claimed: “could not find her way out of a paper bag.” The 80’s were a different world people.
Mind you my license was fresh off the presses, I had never driven to the city alone, and yet my father seemed more than confident that I would be able to pull off this mission. Good thing I was fearless at 17.
Of course, my big question was “where is she?”
Without missing a beat, my dad said “17th & Locust.” Ok, that didn’t help.
Since he was aware of my skills, he followed that up with “you know what city hall looks like right?” Um, yea.
“Well, that’s 15th Street. Just follow the numbers until you see a park on your left. Turn left at the end of the park, and you’ll see your sister crying on the corner.” Um, ok.
Considering I’m writing this story, and my sister is a married mother of two, you know that the mission was indeed accomplished without incident. Including that riveting episode of General Hospital.
Enjoy the Ride! Directions are optional.
What can I say? I L O V E to entertain.
I love to make my house sparkle & shine.
I love cooking with a dash of love and a smidgen of admiration.
I love breaking out all the fancy schmancy goods.
I love watching the interactions.
I love listening to the laughter.
I love feeling the love.
There is something about having the power to make people happy that swells my soul.
Of course, it might not seem like it while I’m running around like a chicken without its head to ensure that everything is just so or when I’m screaming at my kids because they’re leaving signs of life ALL over the house, but I really do. I swear!
Recently my son was kind enough to send me this video that could be actual footage of me before hosting anything from coffee to Christmas. As he explained “Mom! This is so YOU!” Please remind me again why I had kids?
Well, I guess I should be glad that I’m not the mother of Chris Fleming, the young man behind this video because he is the comedian that stars as the titular high-strung suburban mom Gayle Waters-Waters in this video, and many more that are also hilarious.
So, after the dust settles literally and the guests arrive, I put on my best hostess with the mostess attitude to dazzle them with delicious food, laughter, music, cocktails, more laughter and conversation before I send them back to reality where for days they are yearning for a little more. That’s Entertainment!
Enjoy the Ride!
For as long as I can remember I’ve been required to complete some sort of form before my entrance into a school, hospital or doctors office. So why is this practice suddenly considered a personal attack on freedom? I have a few ideas.
Well, for whatever reason, people seem to be relating this procedure as a personal infringement on their rights as an American citizen. Hmm, I wonder where they could have gotten that idea?
As some of you may already know, I work in the healthcare system where I am in the presence of the public on a daily basis. Feel free to send words of encouragement.
So, as you can imagine, my days have been a real joy ever since people decided that every question presented, including NAME, has a hidden agenda. Items that have been routinely asked for DECADES I might add!
There seem to be (2) questions that set people off on a personal protest, lecture or comments on everything unfair. Let me introduce you to race and ethnicity. Again, why?
Um, first of all, it’s evident to anyone with eyes if you’re black, white, orange or blue and secondly, you do have the FREEDOM to not answer the questions. Places do exist where options are not a thing, and this isn’t one of them.
Recently a new patient completed his form and vigorously crossed out ALL of the race selections to write A M E R I C A N across the page. Where does one begin?
Do I ….
a) Inform him that “AMERICAN” is not a race or an ethnicity unless you are in fact a NATIVE. Based on his white hair, blue eyes and Fighting Irish jacket, I’m going to risk stating that his ancestors were not the hot guys in loincloths at the first Thanksgiving.
b) Ask WTF does that mean? Outloud!
c) Earn an Oscar nomination for exhibiting an extreme level of control while in the presence of an ass. Is there a category for “best poker face?”
See you on the red carpet folks! I have bills to pay ya know.
Next up are the folks who REFUSE to complete the ethnicity portion of the form, which is fine, and again, you have that right. In fact, there is even a little box that says DECLINES TO PROVIDE.
NO ONE, especially me is forcing you to reveal your heritage. However, one does not have to be Nancy Drew to solve that mystery or at least come close. I don’t think I’ll ever understand what makes people tick.
My faith in humanity weakens when I think about the passion associated with these “protests” and how that energy is wasted on something so senseless. Ugh!
Do they realize that their name, address, social security number, phone numbers, employer information, marital status and the name of a family member for an emergency contact have just been delivered on a silver platter, which dramatically weakens their argument and provides enough evidence to trace their roots back to a cave? Dear Lord!
Use your energy wisely and as always, Enjoy the Ride!
November was a hectic month on its own, so when you throw in some birthdays, and a couple deaths things escalate. Toss in the sale of two cars, the purchase of a new one, a wedding and running the 5k you signed up for because you’re too cheap to cancel while preparing to host Thanksgiving and your teetering on crazy. Simma down now, simma down.
Then, just as your about to welcome December with open arms, you receive notice from the City of Philadelphia that a neighbor filed a complaint against you for parking a commercial mower in YOUR OWN yard. I think it’s safe to say that the big fat December full moon was not helping matters.
Meanwhile, all of this has caused my heart to ride an emotional rollercoaster. Sadness from the losses, joy from the celebrations, racing from exercise and crushed by the actions of this neighbor. She needs a break!
The loss of two extraordinary people was significant. David, a gentleman in every sense of the word, passed early in the month. After attending his service, I felt better than when I walked in the door. This is a testament to the level of goodness in his soul, which I had the pleasure to witness before and after his passing.
Next, my husband’s Aunt Sophie who was my favorite in-law. Earlier in the year, she joined us for a fantastic night out on the town that I actually shared in my post Magical. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that the same woman, who was a lively 78-year old playing air guitar on the dance floor in February, was diagnosed with cancer and died 4 weeks later. Just another reminder to live your life folks.
The new car has challenged my intelligence, not to mention my driving skills. I’m not positive, but I would bet money I am experiencing the same emotions that Buzz Aldrin felt when he hopped in Apollo 11 and headed to the moon. Wow! Just Wow!
When the bells and whistles have their own set of bells and whistles, it can make a girl feel inadequate. Apparently, I continuously drive over the lines on the road. How do I know? Because I’m reminded every 5 seconds. I’m questioning why I haven’t been pulled over for suspicion of driving under the influence … EVERY day.
My daughter wanted to run a big race here in Philly, the Rocky Run. So, like a good mother, I signed us up. FYI: My daughter has never run a day in her life.
I’m still not sure how she pulled off being out with her girlfriends, rolling in just a few hours before she had to get up and managed to beat me by one second. Isn’t youth grand?
Thanksgiving was terrific from start to finish. Food, family, and laughter through the roof put it in the books as one of the best. Who am I kidding, they’re all in the books.
Ugh, and finally this notice from the Department of Licenses has turned my current living situation into the modern day version of the Hatfield & McCoy feud. Can we settle this on Family Feud, please?
That story is to be continued. However, I will say that when people make decisions based on their emotions at that given moment, there are no winners. Those actions have far-reaching effects and do much more harm than good. Live and learn is the motto around these parts folks.
Enjoy the Ride and Keep the PEACE!
via Daily Prompt: Neighbors
Hmm … where do I even begin? I grew up in a city neighborhood where the typical household held anywhere from 4 to 12 children. How we were all conceived and raised in a three bedroom, one bathroom rowhome is still a mystery.
The best part of this upbringing was you were never without entertainment. There was always an active pulse ready to play.
We were never indoors. Never wore protective gear while riding our bikes. Never played organized sports, unless you count the games we organized via our imaginations, and we never had to worry about our parents hovering over us every second of the day. Ever!
We had an understanding with our parental units. Kids play outside until the street light comes on and then you scatter like roaches into your homes. Simplicity works.
Neighbors from my youth rocked! It didn’t matter if it was a sickness, new baby or death the neighbors organized meals, money, and services better than the Red Cross. No questions asked.
If you had a problem with a neighbor, you knocked on the door and dare I say expressed your concerns. Hey Bill are you hurt or just not keeping up with your lawn?
Life was simple.
Today I live in the same type of close-knit city dwelling and my oh my how things have changed. Now there’s a neighborhood FaceBook page.
The kids on my block if they come outdoors on their downtime from being carted from one organized activity to the next, are usually huddled around a tablet playing a video game, watching YouTube videos, taking selfies or snap chatting. Missing out on their surroundings.
I do on occasion see kids riding their bikes, running, playing on swings and giggling with joy, but the parents ruin it with their “rules,” and the parents who don’t participate in the rules are crucified. Stop running, slow down, stop screaming, not so high, get off the grass, get out of the street … nag, nag, nag.
Now, as for the adults, I’m speechless at times. A lot of the time actually.
Instead of knocking on doors to settle concerns we now call the authorities. Oh, yes. The neighbors find it easier to call 911 on their fellow neighbor than to walk across the street, knock on the door and say “hey, could you move your car so I can’t get out.” Having your neighbor ticketed is better how?
Oh, please for the love of God do not have a sickness or injury that prevents you from cutting your lawn, because there’s a number to call for that too. The city will send a service over to destroy your lawn and give you a fine. The days of asking “do you need help with your lawn? I’ll send Bobby over to provide you with a hand are over.
Worse than these two examples would be the dreaded neighborhood FaceBook page. Don’t get me wrong the page is great for recommendations on home improvement repairs, lost or found pets and keeping us in the loop on activities in the area, but unfortunately, it has also become a place where free reign bitching is allowed.
Recently there was a post regarding an older neighbor installing a bright lightbulb on their porch. The post read “what should I do? My neighbor installed a high wattage bulb, and I’m blinded when I come out of my door.” This is what I’m dealing with people.
There were plenty of suggestions; however, none of them included knocking on the door to inquire about the bright light. This “man” was considering replacing the bulb himself. I just don’t get it.
As for me, well, I will continue to live by example, share responsibility and 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!
The Fur Balls!
Leading up to our vacation the concern was growing about the fur babies and their reaction to everything salty & sandy.
Peanut sat on my lap shaking like a leaf for the 2-hour drive. The poor little guy did not know what the heck was happening, other than his toys and bed were going with him. The last time this happened his previous owners left him at our house and never came back. Can dogs have PTSD? Yes.
Landon, on the other hand, slept like a husband, occasionally opening his eyes to check on his surroundings. Oh, it must be nice to be Landon.
Ocean City, NJ does not allow dogs on the beach during the regular season, however, the dog-loving beachfront homeowners paying a zillion dollars in taxes say “Oh please, just tell me to get off.” Gotta love the rule breakers who welcomed our pups to their protest.
Peanut & Landon LOVED the beach during the very early morning and late evening as much as we did. I think they sensed the peace.
Peanut channeled his inner mountain lion while climbing the dunes, and Landon played tag with the waves. Sandy paws are happy paws.
It’s strange, but I swear dog owners have some sort of magnetic force that attracts them to other dog owners.
Look who I met on my way to the way to the beach. Shhh … Peanut & Landon do not know about my Summer Fling.
Ladies and gentleman, meet Lucy. Could a name be more perfect?
This little-redheaded beauty is a 12-week old Cavapoo. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel crossbred with a Poodle a/k/a freaking adorable.
Her owners picked her up in Rochester, NY on Friday and drove her straight to their Summer home on the beach. Sadly, I only received a blank stare when I asked if they would consider rescuing a middle-aged woman.
I had the pleasure of seeing Lucy every day. We mainly discussed how the salt air was not friendly to our hair. You know, girl talk.
Ok, back to the fur boys that stole my heart. Spoiled is an understatement.
Here they are sitting outside of the ice cream parlor waiting for their order. Vanilla soft serve is their favorite.
They definitely received the memo about ice cream not having calories at the shore.
They went for walks.
Ate ice cream more than once.
Ran on the beach.
Went to the Chatterbox, a dog-friendly restaurant in town.
Enjoyed the beautiful sea breeze on the deck every night.
They were surrounded by all the humans they love unconditionally for 7 solid days.
“They’re on vacation” was the justification for all of the extra spoiling.
Seems like they’re on vacation every damn day while their home, but who am I to judge.
Surround yourselves with those you LOVE and Enjoy the Ride!
Just when I thought everything was going smooth the universe made the executive decision to throw a wrench into my peace. Does everyone agree that Lisa appears to be content? Good, bring in the wrench, please. On second thought, make it a double.
It’s been 6 months since I was blindsided, and the universe has been somewhat kind, but recently it has decided to shake things up a bit. As if watching the News wasn’t enough.
My son decided to move out of his apartment and back HOME. The problem with this big fat wrench is he didn’t come alone. He brought his endless appetite, wash, sneakers the size of Pennsylvania and a school project that entails constructing something that has now taken over my entire house. Remember the movie The Blob? It’s like that over here.
My nature is very easy peasy. Little things like gigantic sneakers and piles of wash have never bothered me before, well, maybe not never. But, certainly not at the level of wanting to set the house on fire to make them go away. This is the result of holding in an emotional fart.
Clearly, there are some underlining things going on with me to stir up this level of emotion, and now you lucky readers who were drawn in my clever title get to read about it. Sorry, not sorry.
Although my life keeps moving forward one snail slide at a time, and the memories start to fade, they don’t leave, they linger. Like the crowd you see at Starbucks sucking up the free wi-fi ALL DAY.
The problems I’m facing now are the reminders. Not the “don’t forget we need milk” kind, the “my therapist would like you to come in next week” kind. It is the equivalent of being shot out of a cannon right back to October 12th. Why can’t I take a cannonball ride back to 1974 when I was free of concerns, other than the daunting decision to ride my bike or play jump rope?
In some ways, it’s good to go so I can get a feel as to what’s going on inside my man’s head. In other ways, it drains me for days. Literally paralyzing me from doing what I enjoy. I don’t read, write or go to the gym. I find myself stuck in a cloud of never ending thoughts. In my head, it’s like trying to figure out a math equation that has multiple answers. I HATE MATH!
Of course, I know it’s all part of the process, and that the process is the best thing for everyone and that it’s working, but for god sakes, it’s a lot to deal with when you’re just trying to deal period. Hence the thought that FIRE would be the way to go with ridding my house of clutter.
At this point in my life, I think it’s safe to say that the universe shops at Sears and there is just an obvious endless sale on Craftsman wrench sets, so I need to take responsibility, tighten my helmet, fasten my seatbelt and just … Enjoy the Ride! One long speed bump at a time.