Growing up, our family’s New Year’s Day tradition consisted of watching the Mummers parade ALL day because that’s how long it took to get to the finale and then to enjoy pork with sauerkraut dinner to somehow bring good luck in the year ahead. Umm, would be roasting an entire pig be too much this year, asking for a friend?
I don’t know about everyone else, but I’ve been doing some research to amp up the whole good luck thing for 2021. According to the Google search box I’m not alone.
It was fascinating and alarming as to how some countries around the world ring in the new year. For instance, in Spain it is customary to eat 12 grapes, one at each clock’s stroke. Eating grapes seems easy enough, but it will be a hard NO for me without being surrounded by a group of people who can perform the Heimlich maneuver. It’s still 2020 until that last grape hits the mouth.
Denmark knows how to go out with a good old fashioned release of frustration. You’ll have to grab all of those unwanted dishes, or in this house, I could use the 5000000000 coffee mugs that never see a drop of coffee. Now, according to tradition, you head over to a friend’s home and smash them on the front door to ward off evil spirits and welcome good vibes. The definition of “friend” needs to be CRYSTAL CLEAR before you get started.
As if that weren’t enough for this Danish crew of thrill-seekers, they also try to find the highest peak they can, sometimes climbing on top of chairs, tables, and other objects in the home to jump into the New Year. Let me just put this out there, folks. If you’ve been eating and drinking ALL night and are over the age of 5, do not, I repeat, DO NOT, climb or jump. Remember, you’ll be heading to a Corona virus-infested ER alone if something goes wrong.
Ok, considering the political shit show we’ve all endured this year, I think we might need to embrace the tradition of the Ecuador locals who celebrate Los Anos Viejos, which translates to “the old years”—a tradition in which you want to destroy any of your past demons. This is where it gets good.
Locals use this as an opportunity to create dolls, like scarecrows; some are decorated with signs describing sins, while others (here is where it gets good) resemble sinister people. The creations are then filled with straw, newspaper, and anything else that burns fast. As the clock strikes twelve, the look-alikes are set on fire in the front yard, representing the good riddance to the old and welcoming the new. Oh, sweet Jesus, get this girl a match!
If you’re looking for some less dramatic ways to bring luck and love into your homes, you can turn to Italy to get the party started. It is customary to wear red underwear on NYE in Italy to bring love, prosperity, and good luck. Never underestimate the power of your Valentines’ panties. In the city of Venice, people gather in St. Mark’s Square to welcome the new year with a mass kissing session. Who needs fireworks.
In Wales, you’ll see many back doors opening at midnight to let the old year out. The entry is then locked to ensure that the hot mess doesn’t return. This year they might want to open some windows as well, to be sure it’s gone. We shouldn’t rule out a security system.
Well, considering 2020 has been so extra for many of us, I think it might be a good idea to ring in 2021 the same way. Forget what I said earlier. Eat that pork with a 12 grape chaser in your red underwear while setting your sinister scarecrow look-alike on fire as you jump off of a chair, breaking dishes as you open the back door. Take that 2020!
I wish all of you a happy, healthy, prosperous, and patient 2021!
Buckle up and Enjoy the Ride!
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!
Have you seen Grace?
She’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!
As you know from my previous post I recently experienced the art of Floating. What is it you ask? Well, it can be described as the best freaking thing since sliced bread by me.
In the beginning, it took me awhile to get comfortable. Naked and alone in pitch black room takes a minute to absorb.
I closed the door but left the low light and music on at first. The water was body temperature warm and soothing. Eventually, I did turn the lights and music off as I slipped into the quiet, peaceful zen. It didn’t take long before I was able to completely let go. Free at last.
The coolest part for me was having no concept of time whatsoever, and not caring about it at all. It feels so good.
Float Spas are popping up in my area, but from what I understand floating is nothing new, however, the experience has certainly changed. Once you add the word Spa it becomes sexy.
Apparently, floating also went by the name Isolation Tank, and are you ready … Sensory Deprivation Tank, as far back as 1954. This sounds scientific, not sexy so there were no appointments needed.
Today isolation tanks are located in beautiful rooms with inviting names like “Oasis” or “Grotto” that are chock full of amenities like fluffy towels, robes, scented soap, and shampoo. Anything to divert you away from the fact that you will soon be naked as a jaybird.
My room was spectacular with its private shower, candles, and a hint of lavender. This is how you get your zen on. The room my husband experienced is best described as a Pink Floyd lap of luxury fusion. Trippy with a dash of zen.
The idea behind the floatation therapy is to provide you with a way to pause the hectic, saturated world and enter a state of deep mental and physical relaxation. It takes you away from the endless sensory experiences that seem to consume us these days. It should be mandatory for teenagers and college students.
Just imagine if you could go into your head and give it a good Spring cleaning, leaving not a single dust bunny to clutter your thoughts, allowing you to focus on whatever you please. It basically brings out the best in your brain. My mind left fresh s a daisy.
As for the physical benefits, whew there is something to be said about feeling like a noodle. My muscles take a beating at the gym at least 4 times a week, so they were very grateful for this treat.
The magnesium from the Epsom salt-infused water brings your muscles back to life. It relieves tension and makes your skin incredible. I left looking like a smooth glow-worm.
All in all, it was peaceful, relaxing, invigorating, enlightening all rolled up into one amazing 90 minutes. This was a first for me and my husband, and we would both do it again, and again, and again. As they say, whatever makes your boat float, or in this case, booty.
Enjoy the Ride!
Over the years I have had little subtle pebbles tossed in my direction to get my attention. Sometimes they are just little dings that I usually dismiss, and other times they are more like implosions. 0 to 100 that’s me.
It’s not as though there aren’t “in betweens” so to speak, there are, I just choose not to take those too seriously, and always, always, always give other people the benefit of the doubt about their intentions. Seeing the good in others certainly has its ups & downs.
It just never occurred to me that anyone would really be annoyed by another person happy nature? Seems Effed up if you ask me.
So when people have made sly comments about my happy nature or overly enthusiastic reactions, I really didn’t take them too serious. How can anyone be annoyed by happiness?
What could be worse than that you ask? Pulling in the reins on my happy disposition to please the cantankerous crowd. Oh yes, I did!
This is an old habit of mine that has always been hard for me to break, mainly because I want to make the people around me happy, it’s just my nature. Seeing the line between them and me is the struggle. I’m a Pisces, it’s how we roll.
Last week authentic Lisa decided to go into full protest mode and she was not shy about it at all!
There I was attending an unexpected Yoga class on Friday morning. I normally can not attend on Friday because I take my mother shopping, but she called and for whatever reason changed plans. Let the DIVINE intervention shenanigans begin.
During class, we were experiencing the Fish Pose. Now, I am very new to Yoga, and almost always need some sort of adjustment to get the pose correctly. In my head I’m a rubber band, outside not so much.
I got myself into the pose, sort of like an octopus gets into a paper bag, but I did it. Gracefulness is not my forte.
My instructor came over to compliment me on my accomplishment. She stated “Look at that arch Lisa!” “I’m not surprised, you have such an open heart and happy soul.” Validation in the house.
Right after this pose we went into Savasana a/k/a the Corpse pose. Lay flat and do nothing, of course I’m really good at this one. It is the final pose where you calm your nervous system, and relax your mind and body into bliss. It’s heaven.
Well, as I entered my state of bliss I began to cry. My authentic self just lets loose from the depths of the damn closet demanding her freedom, just as I was getting my bliss on. Pay backs are a bitch.
Even Pinterest got involved slamming this quote right in my face!
The reminders are popping up everywhere I go these days, keeping me in check with myself. Hey, we can’t all be at the top of this class called life.
I started this blog ride 3 years ago yesterday, basically to document travel adventures in my husband’s mid-life crisis convertible, but the universe took the wheel for a different ride. I was not in control.
Instead this blog provided me a place to get real with myself by writing it down and bringing it to life. Can’t ignore that anymore…check.
So, here I am again making it real, learning more crap about myself and Enjoying the Ride!
Thanks to all the folks I picked up along the way, you are the best travel companions a girl could have on this bumpy road called life!
The Daily Post has a great subject line No Time To Waste.
Fill in the blank: “Life is too short to _____.” Now, write a post telling us how you’ve come to that conclusion.
Over the years I’ve heard this wonderful “Life is too short” line many times. But it’s not every day that a seasoned life liver crosses your path and hits you up with valuable words to live by. This happened back in my crazed mother of young children trying to “do it all” days. Ugh …. I think I just got a chill.
I was at the playground with my little angels when a grandmotherly type woman approached me. Apparently she recognized that I was dressed in stress from head to toe when she started a very important conversation. She obviously recognized this look.
This lovely woman began asking me about my children and motherhood in general. After listening to my ramblings about the pressures of having an endless messy house, she calmly stated: “Life is too short to worry about dust bunnies, you’ll have plenty of time to clean when your kids are grown.” Who was this woman of wisdom dressed in grandmother clothing? Gandhi? …. Yoda?
I often think about her wise words and pass them along to other young mothers on the brink of exploding from trying to DO IT ALL. She was so right!
Now that my kids are at an age were my needs no longer include pushing strollers, holding hands or driving from A to B and back again, I do have plenty of time to worry about those dust bunnies. But guess what? Now I’m at an age where a heard of full-grown dust kangaroos could hop over me and I wouldn’t care. Talk about a silver lining!
How would you fill in the blank: “Life is too short to _____.”
Save the Dust Bunnies and Enjoy the Ride!
One of my favorite quotes of all time is “Our Greatest Fear” by Marianne Williamson. I loved it so much that I printed a copy about 3 years ago and pinned it on my bulletin board at work. It stares me in the face every day to remind me that it’s not our inadequacies that should be feared, but our immeasurable power. Being reminded is one thing, believing is another. This has been especially difficult for me considering my years of feeling “just not good enough.”
Then, as if I were hit by an enormous beam of enlightenment, I happened upon this little tidbit. Can you say Ah Ha moment? Clearly I have a much easier time resonating with powerful messages when they are broken down into simple concepts, such as turd references. It’s all in the delivery folks.
Disclaimer: This message is in No Way meant to encourage abuse of your new-found power by actually going to a water park or any other body of water where large crowds gather in order to get that “I’m the ruler of the world” feeling that you have wanted for so damn long. It’s only a MINDSET.
I’m not sure if this is common knowledge or not, but approximately 2000 to 3000 people pass through a water park on any given day. So now when I have one of my “I’m not worthy” moments, I’ll just imagine myself standing at the foot of one of those slides with the knowledge that all of those people are one burrito away from being … Mine all mine Mwahahaha!
As we are liberated from our own fear, Our presence automatically liberates others.
Liberate yourself and Enjoy the Ride!
Well it’s official my case has been closed. I received the letter yesterday from my therapist that my file had been closed, but I would be welcomed back if I need services. Doesn’t the BUT get you every time? You’re not a loon right now, but you certainly have the potential for future lunacy.
Since I received the letter, I can’t help but think about all I’ve learned about myself over those 3 years. One of the biggest obstacles I overcame was feeling inadequate. This ran deep.
I spent my crucial formative years in the shadow of my sister. Some years were more like an eclipse, but we don’t need to get into details. My sister and I are very close in age, at only 15 months apart, which provided plenty of opportunity for comparisons. She was smart I had commonsense. She had confidence I needed approval. The list goes on, but I’m sure you get the idea.
Confidence: the quality or state of being certain :certitude <they had every confidence of success.
Of course I could dwell on the fact that it took me 40 plus years to open my eyes, but what good would that do me. I have to accept that I wasn’t ready, or willing until recently to regain my sight. No regrets, just following the master plan. Now that I can see, it’s time to move on with the knowledge and understanding of what I learned from this journey. Oh, what a journey it was….
All of this insanity started to surface when my sister told me she had a reading with a Median. Apparently my dad came through during the reading giving her praise for what she had done with her life…a pat on the back from the spirit world. Needless to say the ghostly compliments pushed me over the edge. I didn’t get any praise in the real world and she is getting them from the efing grave! I’m sure you can all understand how that might annoy someone with insecurity issues. The tears started, but this time they wouldn’t stop…Houston, we have a problem.
After many conversations, tears & laughter with my therapist I was able to recognize some very important traits about yours truly. Some good, some bad, but all me.
First things first: Children do not come with instruction manuals. For generations parents have been doing the best they can with the knowledge they have on hand, along with some instincts. In this case none. My mother was an orphan raised without role models and my father was raised by his mother, however was on his own at a young age. A perfect union of the blind leading the blind. Lesson: Don’t waste time pointing fingers at your parents, you’ll never move forward. Learn to understand and accept the circumstances surrounding the bigger picture. The whys’ are not important, they will just continue to hold you in the past.
Second: My sister was already the “smart” one placed high up on a pedestal at home, leaving me at the base. So that good old-fashioned Catholic school education provided a generous amount of reinforcement for my insecurities.The constant comparisons, along with a heaping side of humiliation became the pillars for my issues. Lesson: If you’re not happy being in the shadow, step out and see what the light has to offer. I guarantee you’ll be happier in your own light.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. Marianne Williamson
Third: I spent YEARS focused on the wonderful labels that were placed on my sister, without recognizing my own. Labels are sticky do not apply onto people. While I was trying to live up to her labels, I was living down to my own. I was the quiet, nice, dependable one with a big heart. Not too shabby, right? My need to be something I wasn’t brought out the worst in my good qualities. This caused me to be more of a
doormat wall-to-wall carpet or an extreme pleaser. Lesson: Don’t waste time resenting what you’re not. Enhance your strengths, embrace your weaknesses and never be ashamed of who you are.
Fourth: I always thought life was good up there on the pedestal. I imagined there must be rainbows, unicorns and butterflies just waiting to blow glitter on my sister every day. Who wouldn’t be jealous? What I didn’t see were the pressures to meet those high standards that were so generously distributed. Lesson: The pedestal is big enough for everyone. Never be afraid to use your talents. Live your life being as marvelous as God intended you to be and never dull your sparkle for someone else.
Fifth: Holding on, whether it’s anger or hurt is not healthy. Considering my extreme need to please I had a debilitating habit of remaining silent, never confronting, never resolving and never trusting. So, who’s up for a big glass of poison? Taking a long hard look at my past hurt wasn’t easy. But, doing it in a setting that allowed me to express myself constructively, understand it compassionately and recognize the role I played in each situation, I was able to let go. Lesson: Forgiveness and Letting Go are your best friends. They are a wonderful couple that always bring along freedom and well-being to hang out. This doesn’t mean you will forget the hurt, it means you now have the power to look back without that triple threat of bitterness, resentment and anger preventing happiness in its tracks.
Life is better, but I still consider myself a work in progress who is still learning while she does her best to Enjoy the Ride!