Considering I only have one day under my belt in 2023, I will do my best to share.
1. Did you stay up to see the New Year?
I did not see 2023 roll in here in the United States. However, a friend in Italy posted the entire shebang 6 hours before via FaceBook. I watched the fireworks and enjoyed an incredible outdoor concert. So, technically I did stay up. This would hold up in a court of law with the right lawyer.
2. Are there any special occasions or events coming up in 2023 for you or your family?
I have four milestone birthday celebrations this year. Three occur in the year’s first half, and the last is at the end of 2023. Last year broke the bank with three weddings and a baby.
3. Do you keep a diary?
No, but I keep a gratitude journal that I hope to become more consistent with this year.
4. How did yesterday differ from January 1st, 2022, or was there n difference?
It was dramatically different. Last year we were in an apartment in Pennsylvania. It was raining, and I took down all of my decorations. This year I am in a new home in another state. The weather was unusually warm and sunny. I went on a 4-mile hike exploring an area of the state park that’s beauty left me stunned, followed by a stroll on the beach where I put my toes in the water.
Gratitude: Be Kind
Here we are, a week away from celebrating our first Christmas in our new home, and when I decorated the tree, I reflected on the 30 that preceded this one. My tree truly tells the story of a life lived well. Time flies.
I took a stroll down Candy Cane Lane to reminisce on the many phases of Christmas we experienced over the years. Whew, that was a journey.
Our first together was nothing short of a corny Hallmark movie. We shopped for the perfect tree and decorated it together, sipping cocoa while Christmas music played in the background. It’s not corny when you wear a new pair of love goggles.
Then we added back-to-back children, and that Hallmark movie quickly turned into a comedy. Early on, the kids didn’t get the concept, and there was no enthusiasm in the room unless you count mine. Hey, someone had to do it.
When they were 3 and 4 and aware of everything about Santa, mainly how that naughty and nice list worked, giving Mr. and Mrs. Claus permission to threaten their young for a good two months, things turned around. We didn’t make the rules; we just played along.
I enjoyed the Santa years. The wonder and excitement on their faces can always make me smile, along with the homemade ornaments that adorn my tree today. Even the one-eyed reindeer and faded baby Jesus make the cut.
My favorite years were when the kids wanted something so badly that they were willing to sacrifice everything. Nothing else in the world mattered to them at that moment. It was a pink Razor flip phone for my daughter, and for my son, it was an ATV. Let the games begin!
Santa and the Mrs. correction, mostly Mrs., made these dreams come true. The strategic planning that this required was on another level, all while doing everything else life needed. The search for the item, working the numbers, the deadline, pulling off the delivery to make a dream come true, and then, during the presentation, pretending like it was a piece of cake. Forget college degrees; hire a mother.
The teenage years transitioned into the smaller boxes, more significant price tags, or cash-only please phase of Christmas, which felt more like a transaction than a holiday. It was tough for this Cristine Cringle, so the dogs were often dressed as reindeer. Hey, someone had to keep the spirit going.
When significant others entered the picture for a stretch, the spirit resurfaced. The excitement of surprising a mate and the joy of finding “just the right gift” ignited some of that old wonder. Things were merrier.
Then the necessary years rolled in, aka the return from college. There was something special about having two self-proclaimed adults back in the house asking Mrs. Claus for gift cards for food, gas, or beer. No worries, I also included socks, underwear, and laundry detergent to add some cheer.
The independent adult stretch has been long and all over the place. It’s all about family, friends, living spaces, or traveling, leaving Mrs. Claus with the option of home decor or travel bags to fill the sleigh. Does Mrs. Claus have a retirement age?
This year we’re entering another new phase of firsts-first Christmas in our new home. First Christmas as grandparents, First Christmas for our granddaughter, and first time in 31 years, it’s just the two of us again.
We didn’t shop for the perfect tree; our old one is already perfect. The “we” in decorating became I many moons ago, and the sipping hot cocoa was replaced with meeting my daily water intake. However, the Christmas music still played in the background, and the love goggles were still in place, sporting a few scratches on the lenses. Now that’s how Hallmark should do it.
Enjoy the Sleigh Ride!
Whew, yesterday was quite a day at the office. They missed out on some good footage if hidden cameras were not installed.
The phone rang, and the voice on the other end was soft, so soft that I wasn’t sure anyone was on the other end. Not a flag at first, but now I know better.
I retrieved the necessary facts to schedule the appointment, and this is where the fun started.
This person is no doubt what gives Monday a bad rap. Monday is out there just doing their thing, and someone or something like this happens on a Monday, and suddenly it’s Monday’s fault. No doubt this person is out giving grey hairs every day of the week.
The first standard question from all doctor’s offices across the land is “do you have health insurance? or “what is your insurance plan? This is common knowledge unless you’re from another planet.
Me: Do you have health insurance?
Me: Which plan is it?
Nemesis: I don’t know.
Me: Do you have the card handy?
Nemesis: Screams to the husband, who screams back “medicare” that she doesn’t hear, so she screams again. Oh lord.
Me: Already dreading asking for any type of number or, dare I say, secondary insurance. I had to do both while eyeing the scissors in front of me. Oh, the thoughts I was having during the eternity this took.
I survived retrieving the name without incident. However, the birth date did not go as well.
Me: Date of birth?
Nemesis: 9/14/56, no 8/14/56, wait no, 8/15/57. This was followed by one of us laughing, and it wasn’t me.
Me: Slowly picking up scissors. I knew I might need them to get through the email address.
Even though I was having murderous thoughts, I gave the benefit of the doubt that maybe, just maybe, she had a medical condition causing all this confusion. So, I asked the million-dollar question, “do you take any medications?”
Nemesis: No, none.
Me: Ok, back to business. What is your email address? Refer back to the date of the birth question because it was a repeat performance.
Nemesis: Nonsense, complete nonsense.
Me: Scissors in hand. Ok, I’m going to email you an invitation to join our portal. Once you complete the new patient paperwork, I will contact you to set up your appointment.
Nemesis: What’s the name f the doctor again?
Me: Dr. Dodged A Bullet.
Nemesis: Oh, I wanted Dr. First Choice.
Me: I told you she wasn’t taking new patients at this time.
Nemesis: Nevermind, then I wanted to see Dr. First Choice.
Me: Am I clear that you don’t want to make an appointment at all?
Nemesis: Yes, I really wanted the other one.
Me: Under my breath, hopefully, “are you f@%$ing kidding me?” Ok, then, will that be all?
Nemesis: I guess.
Me: So, are we clear that you’re aware you do not have an appointment with anyone in our practice?
Me: Ok, have a nice day. CLICK, CLICK, CLICK! It’s times like this when a phone with a handheld receiver comes in handy.
Enjoy the Ride, with patience riding shotgun!
Rory is our gracious host, and I have met my coffee quota for the day, but here goes.
What motivates you to get up every day?
No motivation is needed from me. I just enjoy getting up every day.
What words have always struck you as funny or odd when looked upon?
Cattywampus. My hubby uses it more than most humans. Why? I have no idea; all I know is no one questions him about it. It’s usually followed by awkward silence.
How often do you read the comments left by other bloggers on other bloggers’ published posts?
Always! It’s the curiosity in me I can’t help myself.
How hard do you work to keep your long-standing friendships alive year in and year out, and do your friends work the same way to keep you?
The friends who did not put in the work have recently been dismissed from their friendship duties. If I have to work hard at a friendship, it’s not a friendship, it’s a job, and I already have one of those.
How many emails do you delete every week?
Oh, sweet baby Jesus, I don’t think numbers go that high.
Are you easily distracted, and what delights you the most?
Yes, and let’s face it, it doesn’t take much.
Have you ever had a strange unexplained encounter that left you shaken and baffled, and if so, what do you think it was? Or what did your brain make you think it was?
Yes. I saw a female ghost floating at the foot of my bed, holding a small box. If a police officer asked me to describe her, there is no doubt I could give a vivid description. I thought it was a female ghost.
Are we more scared of things that go bump in the night when in the dark or equally as concerned if the same thing happens during daylight hours? If so, why do you think that is?
Bumps at any time of the day are alarming because I’m not a big fan of surprises. Bumps in the dark raise the fear factor bar.
What are the magical ingredients for writing a bestseller, and do you think you could write one?
Considering some current bestsellers, I would say the magical ingredients are a boatload of money mixed with notoriety and a hint of basic writing skills.
Well, I don’t think I couldn’t write one, but I currently lack a boat with a load of money or notoriety.
When was the last time you stayed awake all night having fun with another person, and what were you doing?
February 23, 2022, in New York City, enjoying the Elton John concert with a friend.
Would the 18-year-old you recognize the older you if you both collided on the street today? If not, why?
Hell no! That girl would be too naive to accept the possibility of it even happening.
What are you most looking forward to in 2023?
Being the best possible version of myself by raising my consciousness.
Are you more curious, are you more passionate, or are you both?
Hands down curious first, passionate second.
Can you easily recognize your flaws, and do you think it is important?
More so now than when I was younger. I spent too much time focusing on my outer “flaws” while the inner flaws were screaming for attention.
The musical album you loved the most in the last twenty years was…?
This is tough, but I think I’m going with Amy Winehouse Back to Black.
What could you do less of?
There are several answers, but the one that comes to mind is, wasting time.
Many moons ago, I started this blog because of significant changes in my personal life.
My kids were growing into independent beings. My husband rolled up in a convertible wanting to re-light the flame we had when we were dating, leaving me wondering, “what the hell is happening?”
I often referred to my children moving on with their lives as being fired from the best job I’ve ever had, and I stand by that statement today. I quit a high-powered job where I worked endless hours for a big salary to raise my kids for endless hours, years, days, minutes, an eternity for FREE. Hey, wait a minute!
Regrets? Eh, not while I was in full swing of rearing young lives, but there were some questionable moments after I was abruptly let go. Not even a goodbye lunch?
No worries, I wasn’t unemployed for long as I jumped directly from the pot into the fire of caring for my mother for the next 14 years. Until this moment, I did not realize it had been 14 years. I need to let that settle for a second.
The changes following my mothers passing two years ago came so quickly that I barely had time to think. Is this how it feels when you’re shot out of a cannon? I’m going with, yes, yes, it is.
There is no question in my mind that this happened at the hands of a higher power. The Creator, Universe, God, or another term you want to use to describe something bigger than yourself.
I had been asking the Creator to help me grow, and I see now that it wouldn’t happen without being physically transported to another state. So, considering I’m writing this from a new home, in a new state, with a new job, new friends, and a new title, “grandmother,” all happening in the last 365 days says a lot. The Creator doesn’t play around.
As soon as this higher power got the memo that I would soon be a grandmother, there is no doubt that it was a “hold my halo, I got this” all hands on deck moment in the higher realm. No one knows you better than the Creator.
My anchor, also known as people-pleasing, needed to end fast, especially with a grandchild entering the mix. The ultimate pleasing opportunity for this girl.
It left me wondering if this was a test. I’m finally free of responsibilities that diverted my attention from myself forever, and this is when I’m presented with a grandchild? Come on!
For too long, I had been stagnant in my career, friend circle, living situation, and life with one common denominator preventing movement … me. I was getting something from all of these situations, but it wasn’t growth; it was comfort.
Fear of change wasn’t holding me back; I needed to please people. God forbid I disappointed someone other than myself, of course.
It’s essential to break free from what we have been trained to do our whole lives, so saying no and setting boundaries can sometimes be challenging for me, actually, a lot of the time.
There is a quote from my favorite poet, Maya Angelo, that I have truly embraced as a mantra for many avenues in my life, but especially when I fall off of the people-pleasing wagon, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” It’s like a big ole hug.
I’m inundated with statements like, “Are you upset you’re not near your granddaughter?” Are you going to move back?” “Awe, you’re never going to see her?” I remind myself that I am a 2-hour car ride away with a healthier mindset, living a happy, active life for myself.
I can’t think of a better gift for my granddaughter than this improved version of myself, who continues to grow as 59 peers in her window.
Enjoy the Ride!
I had quite the encounter this week at work. It was love at first site. No, my husband shouldn’t be concerned, well maybe a little.
The door opened mysteriously. I didn’t see anyone at first, but then a tiny hand appeared on the window. I had to get up and look down to realize the cutest little boy trying to get my attention.
When I opened the window, I was greeted by, “Hi, my name is Merrick, my birthday is January 13th, and I’m 5 years old. He really did have me at hello.
He presented himself with purpose and eyelashes for miles, quickly capturing my attention.
Considering his excess energy, we had the pleasure of keeping him busy while his mother was taking care of business. A dream come true for me.
It turned out that little Merrick is an aspiring entertainer, stand-up comedian to be exact, and he hit the jackpot because I am the perfect audience.
The show started after we drew a dinosaur and colored it with what I thought was a green crayon. However, I was corrected and informed that it was, in fact, asparagus, followed by an introduction to the spinach and celery crayons in the box. Alrighty then …
Showtime for me began when he signed our artwork with “Poop” in all capital letters. I asked, “Is Poop your artistic alter ego?” I don’t think he heard anything other than “poop.” Unless the big laugh that followed was a yes.
Boys and the joy they get from saying, writing, and hearing the word poop remains a mystery.
Once he started his set of knock, knock jokes, there was no stopping him. At one point, I thought I was watching a blooper reel. He could not keep it together to deliver the punchline, but in reality, that was the best part of the show. Robin Williams reincarnated.
I’ll leave you with one he closed the show with before his mother came to collect him.
What are you, an owl? Falling off the chair, grasping for air from laughing.
Merrick was much more than an aspiring comedian; he was a reminder that life is too short not to stop and appreciate the joyful innocence of a knock, knock joke,
Enjoy the Ride!
We headed over to the beach on Sunday. I was on the fence about going since the heat index was over 100, and lord knows we wouldn’t be alone. In the end, I packed up and headed out.
The next decision was which beach would be worthy of our chairs. We decided on the McBride Beach Bath House in Cape Henlopen State Park. This was named after Senator David McBride, who served in the General Assembly for 42 years. I don’t know; maybe that warrants his name on a beach.
Anyway, this area was beautiful and occupied by families. Young, old, and, in between, enjoying their vacation. Making memories.
I’m not going to lie. I was not jealous when I saw them schlepping all that gear across the sand. I served my time in the beach schlepping department. Now it’s just me and my chair.
To date, we’ve visited The Point and Gordons Pond beaches, where dogs definitely outnumbered children. Both of these areas have a different vibe. More of a just let me sit and enjoy the beach crowd. I’m grateful to have these options.
After 5 minutes and a toddler showing me his sand-covered spiderman, I knew we had made the right decision. I’ve been missing my adult children recently; this was just what my heart needed. Being in the presence of children brings joy to my soul.
We sat and watched sandcastles and motes constructed by the young fathers. At the same time, the mothers organized sandwiches and applied sunscreen to the children, who were excitedly running back and forth at the water’s edge. It was like being transported back in time.
My little spiderman buddy was busy being busy. I was getting tired just watching him running back and forth. His grandparents brought him to the beach to celebrate his 3rd birthday, and celebrate he did in a total 3-year-old fashion. Dinosaur bathing trunks, bucket hat, and more energy than all of us.
No doubt his grandparents slept well that night!
We moved our chairs closer to the water, which turned into a stage for two little beach angels. Out of nowhere, two little girls, tiny, with diapers peaking out of their bottoms, started dancing on the wet sand. One with wild curly hair and big blue eyes, the other in a leopard bathing suit, a white sun hat, and white hair to match, were dancing in circles like they were at Woodstock. Innocence in motion.
Watching the innocence of children forces you to take a step back from yourself and Enjoy the Ride.
Well, it has finally happened. The moving blues might be settling in over here. I must confess that I miss my Local Newscasters, Meteorologists, and network. A LOT!
I have been watching WPVI, Channel 6 ABC, my entire life, so it’s a big deal to start watching other anchor people at this stage of the game. I feel like I’m cheating.
This isn’t a new feeling, but unfortunately, it’s a permanent one this time around. While on vacation, I was often left with that UGH feeling while watching local news channels. But then I got to go home, where my cool newscasters lived!
Maybe it’s just culture shock. Just thinking out loud.
I’m accustomed to the daily morning banter between the news desk, weather, and traffic reporters. They were the perfect four to send me off into the day. Not to mention easy on the eyes and fashionable.
Not that I want to be judgy Judy over here, but dear lord, stop giving me so much ammunition. All I’m going to say is I may never watch another weather report in my life. Dramatic? Well, a little.
Now, I’m not yearning for negative news, but there needs to be a gentle transition from overnight shootings directly to hampster rescues being “Big Stories.” A robbery? An accident? Throw me a bone.
If I heard this story once, I heard it 20 times in the course of the morning news. Along with the other “big” story regarding the opening of a Lavender Farm. This was day one.
Honestly, though, I can’t imagine the words “murder” or “shooting” coming out of the 16-year-old news anchor’s mouth. She was definitely hampster rescue appropriate and cute as a button.
After scanning around the other channels, which is another challenge that frankly requires a YouTube tutorial, I located a group that I might, just might, be able to tolerate. How is ABC not ABC just two hours down the road?
One thing that is holding me back from a true commitment is the anchorman’s name. I know it must sound petty, but is it? His name, you ask, is Jimmy Hoppa. See!
How often has he been asked, “did you say, Hoffa?” I don’t know whether to laugh or be impressed. So far, laughter is winning.
The silver lining is I have no idea what is going on in the world. Not a damn thing! But I know where to take unwanted hampsters and find lavender soap if anyone is interested. Hit me up.
I’ll be depending on my fellow bloggers to fill me in on important news like a meteor heading to earth, a mass awakening in D.C., empty seats on a UFO, or if something other than a hampster rescue needs my attention. Please write about it before the WiFi goes out.
Enjoy the Ride!
“It’s a small world.” How many times have you heard this in your lifetime? I remember my parents saying it and thinking, “What are you talking about?” Now, here I am saying it at least twice a week! It’s official, I’m my parents.
The community had a huge yard sale on Friday and Saturday at the new abode. According to the neighbors, this is a twice-a-year function that is heavily advertised and equally as popular. Perfect timing for this professional box unpacker.
The weather was damp and rainy, but that did not stop the crowds. Yes, crowds. I made a good chunk of change selling crap left by the previous owners and some of my own crap. I’m very close to getting a “less is more” tattoo or t-shirt.
This lovely couple, Frank and Joanne, stopped by to browse yesterday. There was an instant connection. They had a good sense of humor, especially Frank’s quick wit. People could have been shoplifting, and I wouldn’t have noticed.
As we were exchanging backstories of how the hell we wound up in Lewes, DE, Joanne was surprised to learn that I had never vacationed in this area. I explained I’m a Jersey Shore girl, Ocean City. NJ, to be exact. Her parents lived in Ocean City, NJ.
I explained that my husband was familiar with this area through his job, and my only introduction was when we looked at this house. Now she is intrigued.
Joanne, “How do you just move to a place you’ve never been to?”
Me, “I don’t know, but here I am.”
Frank, “Wow, there’s more than one!”
Me, “You know someone else who just packed up to Lewes?”
Joanne, “Yes, our dear friend from college. She just called me one day and told me her boys were all out of the house; they sold their home in Villanova and bought a place in Lewes.”
Frank, “I asked her if she bought it on Amazon because she never asked us to check it out or inquired about the area.”
Joanne, “We couldn’t believe they made such a big purchase without a second thought.”
Me, “I looked at Frank’s Mount St. Mary College sweatshirt while Villanova and boys ran through my mind when I asked, wait a minute, what is your friend’s name?”
Joanne, “Marie _______ _______.”
Me, “WHAT!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”
Frank, “You know Marie?”
Me, “Yes, we were paralegals together back in the day and work besties.”
All of us, “OMG! It’s such a small world!” Along with laughter.
Frank takes out his phone, captures a photo of the three of us, and sends it to Marie.
We are all meeting for Happy Hour on Friday!
Enjoy the Ride!
We hired a new girl at work. She’s the same age as my daughter and very sweet. This week I was training her on the dynamics of the office. Considering her age, I knew I didn’t have to say too much about the computer system beyond a password. I was right; she’s a wizard.
As we talked and got to know each other, I noticed a common thread in her language. Fear. Not just your common fear of, let’s say, spiders, I’m talking fear of life. What in the world?
I was drained by this negative energy by Tuesday, which was a new reaction for me. Typically, the mother in me takes over, but I stopped noting she has a mother. Who I now know is 11 years younger than me. Next up would be my inner Therapist, who I had to tackle before she started to take on another non-paying patient. Boundaries baby.
On my ride home, I could not shake the thought of our conversations. There was almost a sadness about them, and usually, I’m very understanding. So why the hell was I so annoyed? What is it about myself that I don’t like in this girl? Ding, ding, ding!!!
Then I remembered a chapter from a book I listened to recently, The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer titled Removing Your Inner Thorn.
I highly recommend reading or listening to this book for a broader explanation.
This is a complex subject, so I’ll do my best to explain it in the simplest form, and even that is complicated. I think I listened to this chapter 1,000 before it started to sink in.
Let’s say you have a thorn in your arm, and the pain is excruciating because it’s touching a nerve. Of course, you’re not going to let anyone near it because it will cause too much pain. This makes your life very difficult. The thorn now becomes a constant source of disruption in your life. Protecting and hiding is a job.
To solve the issue, you have two choices: One, you continue to protect the thorn, or two, you take it out. As simple as this sounds, it’s actually the most complicated thing a person can do to heal and grow.
Where am I going with this? Well, let me tell you. I’ve had thorns stuck in me for decades! You could say I was a professional thorn protector, or so I thought. I didn’t realize everything I was missing while my energy was focused on creating airbags to keep my thorns at bay. The thorns ran/run my life.
No matter what solution you choose, the thorn will continue to run your life until you remove all the layers, dig deep down to the root and give a good long hug and a quick yank. Free at last.
Through growth and higher consciousness, I’ve learned that my thorns are nothing more than stored energy from the past that sits in my heart. The good part is I noticed my thorn was being poked, but I didn’t have a reactive response; it shows my growth. It’s about time!
When I look at this girl, I see my twenty-something self looking back at me full of thorns. Talk about being tested; she’s my teacher.
The low self-esteem, lack of self-worth, an unhealthy relationship, people-pleasing, and fears out the wazoo were front and center, staring me in the face. Taunting me. Forcing me to feel my own thorns. Oh, not today, Mother F@$#ers, not today.
I thought if I had to sit three feet from my twenty-something self four days a week, I’m going to need a plan that doesn’t involve drugs or alcohol. This was not in the job description.
I asked myself, “what did I need in my twenties?” “what would have helped that wounded girl?”
I had to really dig for an answer without getting too complicated. The answer, drum roll please, I needed someone to see me, the me I didn’t see. In 2022 terms, someone to give an actual f**k.
Now, I’ll have to be subtle. My challenge will be controlling my inner cheerleader to quietly assist this young, intelligent, beautiful soul on her path. Pom-poms in the face could be scary.
Of course, I know I can not heal her thorns, but I can have compassion and not judge her journey. We’re all human. We all have pain.
Recognize the teachers; they seem to show up in the strangest circumstances.
Enjoy the Ride!