Category Archives: personal growth

Get Hold Of Yourselves

XFD8tp93TXeaaieZMR125wDid 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!

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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! 

 

Rise and Shine

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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!

 

 

Google Grim Reaper

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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 'Got him... got him... got him... need him...'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 hope.

It’s learning to Enjoy the Ride in the process.

 

 

 

 

Panties To Poise Pads

The other night, a weeknight I might add, your friend here made plans with her bestie to see a local comedian that makes us both laugh at the level of tears. I wish he would have brought better eyesight instead! 

My bestie got the tickets without reading that the show STARTS at 10:45 p.m. I’m usually way into REM sleep at this time since I’ve been AWAKE since 4:45 a.m.

Then this Mrs. Magoo failed to notice the address of the venue. We assumed it was in Center City. NOPE! It was at an “upscale dive bar” under the El. (short for elevated train). Hookers, junkies and two middle-aged women out past their bedtimes. Suddenly I’m singing “two of these things is not like the others.”

After endless text messages back and forth trying to decide if going was worth our lives, we finalized the deal with “if we can’t get safe parking we’ll just come home.” Bam!

I head out of my house at 9:15 p.m. on a weeknight, put some 80’s Janet Jackson on the playlist, and channel my inner 23-year-old self to pick up my bestie. The difference between actually being 23 and the reality of being middle aged is I was doing wash before leaving the house.

As soon as my bestie gets in the car, she is happy to hear Janet Jackson doing her thang, and we start to reminisce about our “club days.” We concluded that our 23-year-old selves were either fearless, extraordinarily dumb or a healthy mix of both. 

At 23 we were getting into cars with strangers, at 54 we were worried about safe parking.

At 23 the only thing I had to do before leaving was getting dressed, at 54 I was making lunches and folding laundry.

At 23 I was deciding on which cute panties to wear, at 54 I was deciding between the regular or super-sized Poise pad.

At 23 leaving the house at 9:15 on a weeknight was acceptable, at 54 my son was asking me if I was “going through something.”

At 23 rolling in at 4 a.m., getting a shower and heading straight to the office smelling like vodka actually happened, at 54 it took me 3 days to recover from coming in at 2 a.m., and NO ALCOHOL was involved.

35050245_10216760984636614_2002395649831600128_nThankfully, this section of “under the el” was an up an coming millennial hub of coolness. The venue was, in fact, an “upscale dive bar” as described. Low lighting, sparse seating, but our feet didn’t stick to the floor, so all was good in the hood. The crowd was an excellent mix of ages with the same sense of humor. The comedian, Aunt Mary Pat did not disappoint as we laughed from beginning to end leaving us with sore cheeks and permanent smiles.

YOLO! Keep Laughing and Enjoy the Ride! 

 

World Peace Is In The Kitchen

IMG_0835Last weekend I had the pleasure of participating in the 15th Annual Philadelphia Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation with members from my Quaker Meeting, and it was an enjoyable experience. This country could use one of these on a daily basis.

The theme for the walk this year was “Recognizing the One in All of Us.” This is appropriate for many reasons, in and out of religions.

Although this is something that has been going on for 15 years, it was my first, but certainly not my last. There is just something fulfilling about being surrounded by a group of like-minded folks that energizes me in a way I cannot put into words.

We started our journey at the Arch Street Meeting House in old city Philadelphia. The Meeting room was filled with Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, Baha’i, secular humanists, and others who share the values of peace and justice.  We sat in silence, as we do in Quaker tradition before heading to the streets.

Our first stop was the Society Hill Synagogue where we were greeted by members lining the entrance. Musicians were playing inside that filled the room with joy. The Rabbi welcomed all of us with prayer and a dash of humor. We then enjoyed a musical prayer performed by the Philadelphia Sikh Society youth group. A reading by Philadelphia Youth Poet Laurite, Husna Hashim, that rose the room to their feet in applause, and a Recitation from the Qu’ran by Muhammed Shehata from the Al Aqsa Islamic Society, which thankfully was translated for all of us to interpret. Notice the Rabbi & the Muslim embracing in the background. Who would have known ….

All throughout the walk, we were encouraged to use this opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone outside of our comfort zone and LEARN. Questions like “does your turban come pre-wrapped or do you do it yourself?” were not off limits. 

Just in case you were wondering they are not pre-wrapped and there are YouTube videos for guidance. According to his smile, I would say he was relieved at the lightness of my question. 

Once we left the Synagogue, we made our way back to the street and headed out for a 60-minute walk to Al Aqsa Mosque. We were greeted by the sounds of music compliments of a woman DJ wearing a hijab and Beats by Dre headphones. Something you don’t see every day.

The parameter of the facility was lined with the World Peace ballons in the above photo. It was indeed a site to witness. The air was consumed by the fragrance of dinner being made by the members of the Mosque, and dessert prepared by the Sikh community for all of us to share. All I can say is …. YUM!

As we were all settling in I took a moment to look around, I mean really look around at the oneness surrounding me.

I watched the men carrying out trays of food, and the women were not only directing where everything needed to go, but they were also getting annoyed if the men did not do it accordingly. Every woman reading this knows exactly what I’m talking about.

The children were running around excited to have company in their “home.”Look what I can do! Look at me! Watch this! Free entertainment.

I realized that the ONE woman in our lives who insists you try her dish over the everyday meals made by the other women even though your plate is already overflowing exists in EVERY culture. You know who you are ladies. 

This was when I understood that the core ingredient to solving World Peace is FOOD. We really need to stop overthinking, start cooking and 

Enjoy the Ride!

 

The Loom of Life Daily Prompt: Fabric

via Daily Prompt: Fabric

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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?

s-l1000This 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!

 

Let ‘er Roll!

via Daily Prompt: Conveyor

con·vey·or:  a person or thing that transports or communicates something.  “a conveyor of information.”

When I first read this prompt, Lucy and Ethel came to mind as I remembered the most famous conveyor belt of my lifetime, which has been providing laughter to so many for decades. You’re welcome. 

 

 

Life was so much simpler in the days when the only things coming at us like a train were chocolates. Sigh

We now live in a time where information conveyed is too easily received, not because it’s factual, but because it matches our belief. This information overload is preventing us from L I S T E N I N G to anything outside of our own opinions. A wall has been built folks, and it’s not in Mexico.

Now that the double-edged sword technology has entered our lives; it’s not just the bombardment of information conveyed at full throttle; it’s the follow-up investigations to dissect the truths that are equally overwhelming for me.  Exhausting is an understatement.

Sadly, not everyone conducts investigations because it’s more accessible to watch “Breaking News” or accept information spewed out of the mouths our politicians as factual. Easy peasy.

Just remember, Memes have become sources of News in some circles of this country. Let that sink in for a moment. 

We also endure the information our “friends” on social media are conveying to the world on a minute to minute basis. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat an endless stream of blah, blah, blah. I’ve never been happier not to be a teenager.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s nice to share moments that have substance, the photo of a lost pet, an encouraging quote or funny meme, but to continuously convey your every move to the world is more of a cry for help. Look at me look at me … umm … NO!

Just like Lucy said “Ethel, I think we’re fighting a losing game.” as she shoved chocolates in her mouth, under her hat, and on the floor.

It’s time to dig deep people. The time has come to silence the overload, regain our common sense and be better stewards of the information we are conveying to the world. One closed tab at a time.

How’s this for information overload?

Be kind. Be mindful. Be considerate. Be aware. Be honest. Be friendly. Be compassionate. Be grateful. Be inspirational. Be yourself. Be happy. Be strong and as always, Enjoy the Ride!

 

 

 

Got Grace?

Have you seen Grace?

grace-def-1She’s the gal that spent her days roaming around within the majority of people for decades. Yes, it’s true.

You could find her on the street, the supermarket, and in fact, running free in most public spaces. I know, right?

So where did she go? One day did she decide to say “fuck it I’m outta here!” due to the overwhelming ignorance surrounding her kind soul or did she silently grab her box of kind words, gestures, and courteous goodwill and slowly walk off to the ends of the earth? Inquiring minds need to know.

In her youth, Grace was on her game spreading her attractively polite manner of behaving across the land. She was one of the popular girls.

That’s right she was regularly mingling in our daily lives lending a hand or two when needed. Providing words of wisdom, a tissue, a seat or a shoulder without her motives being in question.

Now it seems as if Grace only makes special appearances, sweeping in to give a kiss on the cheek, warm a heart, or soothe a soul before leaving Dodge. Today, Grace is a minority. I’ll just assume she’s on that dreaded travel ban list because of her good nature. 

Yep, that’s right she’s been overpowered by the likes of Fear, and we all know Fear is too much of a kitty kat to travel alone, so he rallies his buddies suspicion and mistrust along for extra muscle.

Fear is doing his best to run the show we call everyday life. (yes, fear is a man because men have more power, and I said so) He is out slithering around insisting that we now question Grace and her posse of possibilities, kindness, and dare I say compassion.

Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. Franklin D. Roosevelt

This change didn’t happen overnight, oh no, it’s been going on for some time now, but it’s evident that it has recently escalated. Hmm, I wonder why?

Grace needs us more than ever now that fear has gotten his cloven hooves on the internet to spread at the speed of lightning. She needs us on the ground to defend her motives. To ensure that her kindness is trusted, and to regain the best that humanity has to offer. We need more than a glimmer of our girl. 

So, if Grace happens to cross your path, embrace her offerings with open arms. Encourage her to stay for a while. Let her know how much we need her in our lives by spreading her around like glitter while you… Enjoy the Ride!

 

Cave 219 Unit A

fullsizeoutput_2473For 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 aliem_soapboxcomments 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.  

4534673-Cartoon-prehistoric-man-before-cave-color-illustration--Stock-IllustrationNO 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!

 

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!

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