Category Archives: personal growth

Shells Bells

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 IMG_6357the 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!

Sandy Paws

 

 

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.

IMG_6373Ocean 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 645c91957ce3f6c2e5b0df4ea1fea185know 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.

IMG_6340Ok, 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!

Beach Therapy

IMG_6360We are just returning from a much-needed family vacation. The last one was 9 years ago. We weren’t in the door 12 hours before I received a call that my brother has passed away. That kinda left a mark.

After the past 10 months, all I can say is “IT WAS TIME”.

the-hillbilliesThe destination of choice, the Jersey Shore. Why? When we could have been on an island in the Caribbean for what this cost. Well, because this is where our happiest family memories were made and that is priceless. 

So, on August 12th, we loaded up the car like the Beverly Hillbillies and headed to Ocean
City, NJ for 7 glorious days of fun in the sun. 5 adults, 2 dogs, 2 vehicles, and everything but the kitchen sink hit the road.

Day 1:  IMG_6350

Honestly, does it get better? I spent EVERY morning walking the beach without a single care or concept of time or distance. A bathroom for this middle aged bladder would have made it perfect.

It’s safe to say that I could live happily ever after just watching a mother seagull looking over her tribe as they ate breakfast. If only it paid well.

Lisa G., S.O. (Seagull Observer) Has a ring to it doesn’t it?

Quiet mornings on the beach are also made for surf fishing. According to my IMG_6426fish loving son anyway.

He caught the surf fishing bug 17 years ago when he was just 5 years old. I’ll never forget the image of him heading to the water like a boss with his Lion King fishing rod in hand and a lollipop in his mouth. Today it’s high-end gear in one hand and his beautiful girlfriend on the other.

Of course, we were reminiscing about that day because it was indeed memorable. For many reasons.

What happens when a 5-year-old somehow reels in 6 King fish in a row with his $5.00 fishing rod? Other than crowds forming, people cheering, paparazzi and giving high-fives to the happiest 5-year-old on the planet of course. Well, I’ll tell you.

20914453_1784753428204828_273169236215177351_nA grown man who was fishing about 10 ft away, with 6 ocean rods lined up like soldiers came marching over to fill my son in on the amount of money he had tied up in his rods and the unfairness of him catching all the fish. Remember, my son was FIVE.

Up until that moment, I had never been in such close proximity to a giant man baby. This “man” actually walked back to his “million dollar” rods, smacked them all to the ground while my 5-year-old looked on and stated, “He’s stupid!” Out of the mouth of babes. 

Hmm, where have I witnessed that type of behavior recently? Bye bye reality back to my happy place. 

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Another joy was sipping a cup of coffee with my toes in the sand. A little sand between my toes was just what the doctor ordered.

As a child, my mother always told us “the salt water heals everything”, and I must admit she was 100% right.

The healing powers of living the salt life surpassed months of doctor appointments and medications. Mother Nature does not accept insurance … it’s free.

A little beach therapy is just what we all needed.

Enjoy! This Ride Will Be Continued.

 

 

Let’s Put The “We” Back In The People

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If this gem doesn’t just scream my name I don’t know what does. That’s right folks, I’m officially hanging with the pigeon squad. 

I am EXHAUSTED!

Not by the hamster wheel of life, but by the behavior of my co-humans.

By the increased hatred and decrease in common decency.

By the lack of truth and over indulgence of misinformation and lies.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the loss of common ground and the divided beliefs.

By the daily negativity of, he said she said while important issues sit silently.

By the rise in civil obedience and the lack of active participation in the process.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By being told who to hate by our televisions, while books collect dust.

By judgments, labels & stereotypes in one hand and Bibles, flags & hypocrisy in the other.

By the absence of faith, hope & charity and the escalation of greed.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the Social Media scholars and their ignorant followers.

By the callous treatment of the less fortunate and the misguided definition of fame. 

By fear dictating our decisions, while common sense faces extinction.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the abuse of our first amendment and the overextended defense of our second.

By selfishness leading the way, while collaboration sits on the sidelines.

By the misconception that strength is loud and quietness is weak.

I am EXHAUSTED! 

By the thought of war being the answer and not giving peace a chance.

By the short memories and selective truths.

By the thought that I’m too optimistic, while others have surrendered hope.

Let’s TRY to celebrate our Independence and our Interdependence today by being free from our hatred, fears, and differences. These are the freedoms that lay out a strong foundation for our future. These are the freedoms that unite. These are the freedoms that will thrive. 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the Common Defense, promote the General Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Now, I’m not going to lie, I will have to remember all of this when my beer induced, wanna be pyrotechnic neighbor starts setting off fireworks from his weather-beaten, one spark short of an inferno deck this evening. I NEVER SAID IT WAS GOING TO BE EASY…anything worthwhile rarely is easy.

We’re all in this together, so hop in and Enjoy the Ride!

 

Emotional Fart

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DONE

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. 

 

Nailed It!

Just a little update to let the world know that yes, Peanut and Landon have been accepted to Camp Bow Wow! I know, I’m still in awe at their success. 

As you can see during their interview they clearly nailed it. Just look at those wagging tails working the room like they own the damn place.

I was able to witness everything through my Camp Cam App. I think I missed my calling. The level of enjoyment I received stalking my dogs was alarming at best. Surveillance engineer or stalker … that line is very thin.

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Dazzling the interviewer

After some initial formalities of the meet and greet portion of their interview, Peanut & Landon were taken to socialize with the other members. I’ll assume this is where business cards and bones were exchanged.

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P & L are on the left getting the low-down from Ben the Beagle.

I know what you’re thinking, “everyone gets in Lisa, it’s a game.”  I’m not going to lie, this did cross my mind. Part of me thought I was being forced to jump through hoops in order to make me believe my fur babies were extra special, but then I witnessed Bella, the 6-pound chihuahua mix shaking like a leaf in her Burberry knockoff coat as her owner told her “you flunked” while he was handed her rejection notice. Oh yea, right in front of us. 

For the record, Bella seemed quite pleased with this outcome, however, her owner was now forced to continue making Martinis for her all day. I’m guessing she likes them dirty at night. 

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I can only assume this is Bella at home

It was all good at the end of the day. Peanut proudly received his acceptance notification as he posed for the camera, knowing full well this beauty would be on display for the world to see on the refrigerator a/k/a … the box of honor.

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Look at those pearly whites!

Landon on the other hand  …….

Something tells us he was “accepted” because siblings are an automatic admission.

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The bottom photo cracks me up every time!

It doesn’t matter if you’re shaking like Bella, smiling like Peanut or winging it like Landon just make sure you … Enjoy the Ride! 

 

 

 

The Blessed Project

The Blessed Project  hosted by none other than the QUEEN of Wild Rides Susie Lindau, could not have come at a better time this season.

It’s not that I don’t recognize my blessings, I do, I really do. It’s just that sometimes life sweeps in to rattle me in another direction. No doubt I am part squirrel. 

This is why we need to take advantage of the opportunities when they are presented. So a big round of applause to Susie for providing us with the chance to be still. Even if it’s just for a moment feel the peace.

BLESSINGS:

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90 Years Young

 

Recently I was Blessed to witness my mother’s joy, as she watched her whole family sing in unison the old classic “Happy Birthday” before she cast her 90th wish.

If joy had a face … this my friends would be what it looks like.

 

 

 

 

 

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#oncloudcullen

 

In September I was Blessed to celebrate the wedding of my nephew, and to gain this beautiful woman as my niece. Their wedding was spectacular!

The love for this couple was explosive throughout the entire celebration. 

It’s been unanimous within the family that we all want to go back for a few more hours on Cloud Cullen. 

 

 

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Santa, we have officially replaced the kids. Bring bones.

 

Every damn day I am Blessed to come home to these two snowflakes. 

No matter what went on in the day, these little lumps of love are there to remind me that I am indeed the best thing that ever happened to their world. 

 

 

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Outgrowing the table

 

On Thanksgiving, I was especially Blessed to have everyone I love under one roof. My sisters who are always generous with their time and efforts. My brother-in-laws for being loving and caring men. My nieces with their intelligence, baking talents and beauty. My nephews who are passionate about everything from world affairs to Harambe the gorilla. The significant others that slip right into place with the craziness. My children for being such loving beings and my husband for always helping to make my day a little easier. 

 

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Mangia!

Blessings included were enjoying each others company, eating delicious food and laughing together. Playing Cards Against Humanity until our ab muscles hurt. Finding humor in every conversation on the table and most of all NOT TALKING POLITICS FOR A SECOND. (There were rumors of some quiet texting on this subject, but nothing was proven)

 

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The ladies

 

 

I’m Blessed to have good friends who recognized that a night of Running Through The Lights is exactly what I needed. 

I’m Blessed that they are persistent in their efforts to get me to workout, sweat, laugh, pee and cry. 

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My version of Blogosphere

I’m Blessed to have virtual friends that are loving caring beings in and outside of the blogosphere.

I’m Blessed that they continue to show me love. Send virtual hugs. Make me laugh. Pray for me. Provide free therapy and genuinely care.

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My Family Squad

I am truly BLESSED for this photo that speaks for itself.

Enjoy the Ride! 

Don’t forget to pack your blessings!

Just Look For It

cf0625b43ee446559aba5956b7d94eefIt’s funny how during all of the darkness over the past month, we have been able to see some light. A glimmer here a glimmer there help the heart heal.

We are both very big believers in noticing the signs that are sent our way, and we were not blind to them even during the darkest of times. Hope comes in all shapes and sizes, the key is recognizing it.

7ec60236c914e83fb309775560d1d961Sign #1:

The day after the nightmare began, I went with my daughter to see my husband at the hospital. While walking through the lobby we were greeted by a very friendly face. Sister Kate. The world is so small.

I know Sister Kate from my job, and I haven’t seen her in a couple of years. Our relationship is she is a patient and I’m in shock that this nice, warm, funny person is a Catholic nun. Where the hell were YOU when I was in school is ALWAYS my thought when I see her.

Sister Kate immediately knew from my haggard look that something was wrong. This was the first time I uttered the words “My husband tried to take his life” and the flood-gates opened. Her warm kind hug is just what I needed before heading to face my reality. Never underestimate the power of fate.

tumblr_mup91f3ipa1rlyeulo1_1280Sign #2:

We walked into the room to find my husband under 24hr guard by none other than an Italian grandmother from South Philly. There isn’t a pill on the planet that can compare to the healing powers of this woman.

The room was stark, nothing but a bed. My husband was stripped of anything that could possibly hurt him, and yet this woman made that room feel like home. I was waiting for her to pull a portable oven out of her purse.

Lena was just what this doctor ordered…. a mothers’ love. Never underestimate the power of an Italian woman who gets joy from taking care of a man. 

During this visit is when we learned that my husband had ZERO memory of the past 12 hours. If only the rest of us had that pleasure.

02d29afeeee80496a916e0fce4f13d61Sign #3:

The following day my son came with me. This time the guard on duty was Lorraine, a very feisty black woman. She was definitely sent for me.

This day was very heavy as we sat patiently waiting for information on the next hospital setting. The silence was deafening. Except for Lorraine’s gum cracking which was no doubt echoing throughout the halls.

My son was saved by a friend who called insisting on taking him out to lunch. Perfect timing!

As we sat in awkward silence listening to that poor piece of gum being assaulted in Lorraine’s mouth, we heard the words “who are you all voting for?” Of all the questions on the planet to ask, this was the one she chose to ask the man on suicide watch.

This is when the unexpected public service announcement was made. Lorraine would be voting for Trump. Why do you ask? Well, because she was tired of her neighbors collecting free money for their 5 children that she named Uno, Dos, Tres, Cuatro & Cinco. Fast forward to 11/9 … yep, this is one reason why.

63aede416ddcf86276a1249feea18f0dSign #4:

On that Sunday I went to see my husband at the next facility. No one could have prepared me for this step of the journey. I’m not sure who decided that people with depression should be dehumanized to feel better, but they need to be fired.

I left this visit defeated, broken and wondering where is that place Dr. Drew sends his patients and do they take Blue Cross? The lack of life in this place could make even the happiest of people second guessing the existence of rainbows. WTF! 

When I returned home I was flat. There was just nothing left to feel. I was done. With a weak smile for the sake of the kids of course. 

As my son was about to head back to school, he decided to raid my change jar to feed the parking meter in town. He took out a huge pile of coins searching for quarters.

7b4ffcb78c5b2c81a8b82968db1561f1Next thing I hear is “mom, didn’t you loose a ring?”  I had lost my wedding band on Thanksgiving 2015.

I have torn this house apart more than once searching for it. Trust me when I tell you I put the FBI to shame with my search efforts. 

Sure enough, there was my ring, on the floor, with a dime stuck in the center. My eyes could just about register what they were seeing. The dam broke, and 4 days of emotion exploded into the room. 

If ever there was going to be a sign that everything was going to be ok, this friends, was it.

Still dodging potholes while Enjoying the Ride! 

 

 

In The Blink Of An Eye

 

d00f5b0392e69910d109d4bd287f7f98We all know the saying. We’ve all used it to describe various things in our lives. Those of us with children know it well. Somehow watching our children go from bottles to red Solo cups overnight. 

The seasons always leave us with this phrase, especially summer, which seems to be running out of Dodge faster each year. One minute we’re watching fireworks, the next we’re trying to escape a pumpkin invasion.

The holidays use to leave us with this feeling, however, now that Christmas hits the stores before Halloween it’s no longer the case. The Christmas season officially lasts longer than most relationships.

These are examples of what I consider a natural course in change. They are as comfortable as that old sweatshirt in our closets. 

But what about those other moments? You know, the ones that leave us numb in disbelief. The moments that leave us repeatedly asking “what just happened?” large majority have been doing this since Tuesday.

All I know is that NOTHING could have prepared me for the life changing, blink of an eye, roller coaster ride I’ve been living for the past few weeks. By the wayI hate roller coasters in and outside of the amusement park.

October 12th was nothing short of a normal day in the life of me. Morning chores, work and home. Boring at best.  

I called my husband to let him know I was on my way. Everything was normal at 6:11 p.m. When I arrived home at 6:27 I was met by my daughter outside of the house. She said that my husband was screaming, cursing and acting crazy. Out of character was an understatement.

When I walked in to try to find out what was going on it escalated. So, I got the fur babies ready for a walk and off we went while that fire simmered down. If they could talk, maybe I could have gotten a heads up.

While out on the walk I received a text stating “I’m moving on.” WHAT?! 

I called home only to hear a voice I never heard before informing me that he is “done” “moving on.” I ran with the fur babies in tow, possibly airborne, with my heart in my stomach back to the house. 

64deb0ff996b4ace8f191bc355ccf955How did I go from saying “I’m on my way home”to screaming “What is happening?”

How did I go from hearing “I’m feeding the dogs” to “I’m moving on.”?

How did I go from walking my dogs to pulling pills out of the mouth of the man I love?

How did I go from a hum drum day to rushing into an ER?

How did I go from worrying about bullshit to making life changing decisions?

How did I go from thinking everything was fine to feeling like I was hit with a bat?

How did I go from seeing the strength in my husband’s eyes to staring at his weakness?

How did I go from a happy go lucky girl to a sleepless shell?

I don’t have the answers to all of these questions just yet, but I have hope.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I have faith.

I don’t know how to live my new normal, but I have an open mind.

I don’t know if we’ll be ok, but we have our love.

I don’t know how I was blind, but now I can see.

I don’t know if any of this makes sense, but I’m trying.

I DO know that I have 99 problems, but my new perspective won’t allow Donald Trump to be one of them, and for that, I am grateful.

Enjoy the Ride … one speed bump at a time!

 

 

Let’s Put The “We” Back In The People

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If this gem doesn’t just scream my name I don’t know what does. That’s right folks, I’m officially hanging with the pigeon squad. 

I am EXHAUSTED!

Not by the hamster wheel of life, but by the behavior of my co-humans.

By the increased hatred and decrease in common decency.

By the lack of truth and over indulgence of misinformation and lies.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the loss of common ground and the divided beliefs.

By the daily negativity of he said she said while important issues sit silently.

By the rise in civil obedience and the lack of active participation in the process.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By being told who to hate by our televisions, while books collect dust.

By judgments, labels & stereotypes in one hand and bibles, flags & hypocrisy in the other.

By the absence of faith, hope & charity and the escalation of greed.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the Social Media scholars and their ignorant followers.

By the callous treatment of the less fortunate and the misguided definition of fame. 

By fear dictating our decisions, while common sense faces extinction.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the abuse of our first amendment and the over extended defense of the our second.

By selfishness leading the way, while collaboration sits on the sidelines.

By the misconception that strength is loud and quietness is weak.

I am EXHAUSTED! 

By the thought of war being the answer and not giving peace a chance.

By the short memories and selective truths.

By the thought that I’m too optimistic, while others have surrendered hope.

Let’s TRY to celebrate our Independence and our Interdependence today by being free from our hatred, fears and differences. These are the freedoms that lay out a strong foundation for our future. These are the freedoms that unite. These are the freedoms that will thrive. 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the Common Defense, promote the General Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Now, I’m not going to lie, I will have to remember all of this when my beer induced, wanna be pyrotechnic neighbor starts setting off fireworks from his weather-beaten, one spark short of an inferno deck this evening. I NEVER SAID IT WAS GOING TO BE EASY…anything worthwhile rarely is easy.

We’re all in this together, so hop in and Enjoy the Ride!

 

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