Christmas morning 2020, quietly sitting listening to the rainfall outside. The deck doors are open, and a nice unseasonably warm breeze is blowing through the room while I bite the limbs off of a gingerbread man and sip coffee.
My children are adults, so there is no need to be awake at this time, yet here I am scrolling through my FaceBook memories of past Christmas celebrations surrounded by family, friends, laughter, and love. Jeez, talk about a mixed bag of emotions coming to the surface.
Last year our house was full to the brim. We were full of Christmas spirit with two new little ones in the family experiencing all of their firsts. They had no clue what was going on, but it didn’t matter to all of us oohing and aahing over every move they made.
Our celebration today will look much different. My mind is not fully committed to the festivities today, but my heart is aching for some sense of normalcy, so I’m going to do my best, and that will be enough.
This year it’s a party of 6, not 16, so I will not need engineering skills to ensure that everyone has a seat at the table. Although I’ll be missing the others dearly, it allows me to embrace this crew with extra love. I hope they’re all ready for the hug fest that’s waiting for them over here.
Thanks to technology, we’ll be able to share in the little ones enjoying the excitement of Santa on repeat if we want, and we can FaceTime the others around the country to spread some cheer. As for those who we lost, we will be keeping their spirits alive sharing the many memories we had the privledge of making over the years.
My Christmas wish for the future is to just continue on with life. Continue to see the good and be good. Continue to have patience. Continue to be healthy. Continue to grow. Continue to heal. Continue to recognize the love around us. Continue to surprise a sometimes mean world with acts of kindness.
Continue to Enjoy the Ride!
Well, it’s been quite interesting around these parts over the past few months. The original story is one that no one wants to hear while scrolling through their reader. And lord knows I don’t want to relive it.
The short version is my mother was in the hospital for 10 days with a flare of ulcerative colitis, Covid went through the roof in Pennsylvania, we refused rehab and converted my family room into a replica of mom’s apartment in 2 days so she could move in with us. Honestly, it’s still a blur.
That was back on November 18th, which seems like both 5 years and 5 minutes ago. For the record, let me be clear that I am not a nurse, nor do I exhibit the skills to provide medical services due to my large hands and not knowing my own strength. Trust me.
Mom was over the moon about moving into our abode for many reasons, but mainly to be around family, her family, which was the most essential part of her long life. As a Great Depression orphan, her family was important.
Let’s say mom crossed the threshold into her new digs with a bang or a Code Brown. Use your imaginations, folks. This led to a complete strip down, shower, and both of us feeling like maybe this was one of those ideas that looked great on paper, but the reality sucked—sort of like that 30 foot Homer Simpson Christmas decoration.
Once she was settled and my assistant, Nurse Peanut, greeted her with open paws, we had time to discuss, laugh, and cry about that grand entrance. We were both imagining more of a Scarlet O’Hara strolling down the staircase kind of moment. If nothing else, it was memorable.
Ok, that was Wednesday evening; by the time a REAL nurse arrived on Sunday, I looked like the 94-year-old patient! The bags under my eyes highlighted the dark circles nicely.
Meanwhile, my mom looked like a movie star! She was showered and dressed with her hair, nails, brows looking fab, and any unruly chin hairs removed. Just my two cents, if you’re in the position of caring for an elderly parent, the better they look, the less help you’ll get. Disheveled is the way to go.
If I heard it once, I heard it a million times, “your mom looks great; she’s not sick enough for more help.” Were you ever so tired that you wanted to knock someone out, tie them to a chair, and force them to step into your shoes for a night? Asking for a friend.
We entered week two, a/k/a hell on earth, with a whole new bag of crazy. I gained another patient in the house. Officially declaring myself an RN working 24/7 shifts with no pay.
While mom was downstairs having everything that went in her mouth come out the other end and insisting on eating because she was hungry, my husband was locked in our bedroom coughing up a lung with, you guessed it, COVID! Oh, you can say it, I’ll even join you. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
Just when you think things could not possibly get worse, at mom’s request, I made a homemade apple cake because she was craving something sweet. The aroma of this cake makes the house smell delicious, and lord knows with all of the other odors going on, it would be more than welcome. Just one of the many, OH SHIT, no pun intended, moments that followed.
I’m not gonna lie; losing my sense of smell was welcomed for what transpired over the following few days. Can you say a blessing in disguise?
The husband started feeling better, my symptoms stopped at no taste or smell, but mom’s condition was getting worse. FINALLY, she was “sick enough” to get hospice services. They arrived on Tuesday dressed like they were stepping onto the moon due to the COVID colony known as my home.
Wednesday was the last day that I was able to talk to mom. Her last sentiment was, “be kind to everyone, no matter what, this world needs kindness.” Truth!
Mom passed on Friday, December 4, 2020, with me and my husband by her side. Hopefully, at some point, after COVID, we will be able to celebrate the Queen of our family and her life well lived.
I’ve always been an avid walker, trust me, I have the hooves to prove it! I proudly inherited this from my mother; she set this example early on, pushing my sister and me in a stroller all over town. Walking was the alternative when your husband took the car to work. Yes, there was a time when not every member of the house had a car.
So, with gyms closed during the pandemic, I was grateful to have my feet to keep me on the move. Sadly they weren’t moving quite as fast as my jaw!
Now, here I am, four months later, and much fuller than I was in March. Between the stress, anxiety, and bulk shopping, I’m just glad I’m not ready to audition for My 600 Pound Life. Look for those bright spots people.
My gym did open a week ago, but I’m not so sure I want to be in a closed box filled with sweat, or frying out on the blacktop parking lot for a workout just yet. So, what’s a girl to do? She got her creative juices flowing and found herself a used treadmill. Facebook Marketplace has some gems.
Ok, we’ve all been in the position where our intentions far outweigh our ambitions, I know I have. We buy ourselves home exercise equipment, and before long, they’re doubling as a coat hanger. Well, remember this, there is always someone ready to purchase that used like BRAND SPANKING NEW coat hanger for 149 dollars! One person’s exercise/coat hanger is another’s treasure.
At first, I thought 149 dollars, why not round it up? Weird, but ok. I dug a little deeper, zoomed in on the photos, and couldn’t get past the low price for this beauty. Hmm, does it work? What’s the catch? My inner Nancy Drew always surfaces, and she can’t help herself.
Well, after Nancy conducted a brief investigation, it turned out that the owner is downsizing from her MANSION, purchased the treadmill to keep active, and will not need it at her new home. Her headband probably cost more than what I paid for this treadmill.
SOLD! I Google the address and found out my purchase currently resides in a home that just sold for 1 MILLION DOLLARS. It was living in a room designated for treadmills for god sakes! I started to feel bad for an inanimate object.
I had to share this information with my sister. First, because she’ll see the humor of the situation, and secondly, I know she’ll have a comeback that will bring it home, so I shot her a text. “My treadmill is living on the Kardashian’s set, and is heading straight to Roseanne’s set!” Well, she didn’t disappoint with her response of “I bet your house will be a lot more fun!” Truth!
That statement got my wheels turning. Suddenly I’m thinking about PURPOSE. How the hell did I go from a dust collecting treadmill to living my purpose? All I know is I was walking my dogs, and it popped in my head. The universe has its way of making shit happen.
Ok here goes. My initial judgment about the treadmill was that it was somehow living better because it had a room in a million-dollar home, but it collected dust in reality. Talk about an Aha moment.
Is that what I’m doing? Am I collecting dust with my time here on earth? In the end the choice is ultimatley mine. So, what’s it gonna be? Am I going to be the french fry or the badass mf’ing seagull? Deep stuff.
No matter what you choose, always make sure you … Enjoy the Ride!
Did 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!
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!
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!
Through all of the recent darkness, I’ve been trying my best to look for the silver linings and believe it or not, they’re around. Currently, the most prominent one seems to be around my hairline.
Here are just a few things keeping my sanity intact these days.
Neighborhoods all around are finding ways to lift spirits, a clear sign that humanity is alive and well on the ground. It would be nice if she took a trip to DC, but that’s for another day.
My sister lives in a small town in NJ, and she is surrounded by creative minds. While on her daily “I need to get some damn air” walk, she came across a bundle of love all along the way. Is this what it’s like to live next door to Mr. Rogers? I think it’s close.
My neighborhood has been participating in a social media challenge to find rainbows displayed in windows or on doors. It’s a local scavenger hunt of sorts. I’m not sure if there is an age limit to participate, but I’m killing it over here with 32 rainbows! The other competitors aren’t old enough to cross the street, but that’s not my problem.
Since my family is sheltering in different places, PA, NJ & CA, my daughter started a Family Quarantine Facebook page to keep us connected. So far, this has been a great way to share encouraging quotes, photos of my great-niece Hope (yes, that is her name), and of course, memes. Laughter and baby photos make everything tolerable.
The silver lining for Peanut and Landon has been having their human roommates home 24/7. Peanut follows me EVERYWHERE. He is under my feet, on my lap, or up my ass ALL DAY LONG. At this point, he’ll need therapy when I go back to work. Landon refuses to follow the social distancing requirements, Peanut just wants him to stop being “that guy.”
Throughout this experience, I’ve been noticing two things every day. The number 444 and a cardinal. Coincidence? I think not. So, what’s a girl to do when she’s hit in the face with signs from the universe? Um, Google it.
Well, just as I suspected and Google confirmed, these two things are messages. I was already aware of the many meanings behind a cardinal sighting, so I welcomed my visitor with a cheery, “Good morning, Jer!” I’m assuming it’s my brother-in-law Jerry who passed away in October. If not, his name is now Jerry.
As for the 444, this is what I found.
If you see the number 444 repeatedly, it is often your angel giving you a sign that they are with you. The sign is reminding you to feel confident and supported in this knowledge.
While we’re all on pause, take time to notice the good, feed your soul, and as always … Enjoy the ride!
Today I’m sitting in my sunless sunroom on day number who the hell knows of Stay In Your Damn House life here in Philadelphia.What’s a girl to do?
I’ve been pondering about ALL of this extra time I have on my hands, the time I must say I have longed for over the years. On more than one occasion, I’ve said, “If I were locked in this house, I would scrub it from top to bottom.” Oh, the lies I tell.
The problem seems to be the lack of clarity in my intention. I should have said, “If I were locked in this house, BY MY OWN FREE WILL, WITHOUT WORRYING ABOUT THE HEALTH AND WELLBEING OF MY LOVED ONES AND THE WORLD, THE FEAR OF FINANCIAL DEMISE AND LACK OF TOILET PAPER, I would scrub this house from top to bottom. It’s all about the presentation, folks.
So, what has been going on over here at my abode you ask, not scrubbing, that’s for sure. There has been some puzzle building, which started with enthusiastic joy and ended with the equivalent to a quarantined cage fight. I’m still not sure when it turned into a competition.
I started puzzle #3 on my own. It contains 1,000 mind-boggling pieces that, in the end, will resemble all sorts of dog breeds, including a bio. Dachsund: Loves to Play and Act Comically, Also Makes an Alert Watchdog. I think this guy is ready for Match.com.
Last night I spent a good hour looking for the legs of an Irish Setter. This is now my new gauge on time. Do you have time? Yes, but not enough to waste looking for Irish Setter legs.
Let’s see, there have been limited, but necessary trips to the supermarket. I knew when the parking lot looked like a trauma center with used gloves and masks on the ground; I was about to appreciate this social distancing thing even more. I’m starting to believe the first symptom of this virus is the loss of all common sense.
Oh, how could I forget my introduction to the use of Zoom? For those of you who aren’t familiar, it’s a way to communicate through video chat. It’s been a real silver lining through all of this distancing. It’s also been a REALLY BIG eyeopener to my gray roots and Groucho Marx eyebrows!
Honestly, my favorite part of using Zoom is watching my placement in the conversation. During my last conference, I held the spot of Mrs. Brady for a good 15 minutes! This is where I’m at people, this is where I’m at.
Do not mistake my sarcastic storytelling for lack of empathy during these uncertain times. Sarcasm is my protective shield, and lord knows it has seen better days.
Enjoy the Ride! 6 feet apart until further notice. PLEASE!
How many times have you thought “Ok, I can leave this earth now I’ve heard or seen everything”? Yeah, that party isn’t ending any time soon.
Babies are born every damn day packing a whole new series of shock and awe for the world. This is why they smile in their sleep. It’s called plotting.
The other day a woman was leaving our office, as she has been doing for YEARS. Irene is kind, a little hippyish, and ALWAYS comes bearing a freshly baked challah loaf for the doctor. Some people might think that’s shocking, no, it’s not.
Out of nowhere, or the clear blue sky, she stated, “6 rats were castrated at the zoo today.” There was no warning. No one was discussing rats or their genitals before this statement, she was simply dropping a fact, and it was clear she was outraged. Before this moment I never thought about rodent genitals… EVAH!
I watched her mouth move, but I was fixated on the word “castration” as if these rodents were sexual deviants convicted by the other animals at the zoo. Maybe my kids are right, I do watch too much Law and Order SVU.
In a perfect world, I would have the power to shut that office down for a one on one interview about rodent castrations. Sadly, I’m not in charge.
So, I did the next best thing and Googled rat castration at the Philadelphia zoo. Nada. Then I broadened my search to a general rat castration window, which I admit was not one of my better life choices. I still have no idea why Irene was outraged, but now I know of several vets in my area who provide rat castration services. Knowledge is power.
The more I thought about this, which has been way too much over that past few days, the clearer the picture became. Irene is on to something with her matter of fact approach to getting the word out about injustices that leave no room for public backlash. #ratballsmatter
Now, let’s just say we took it up a notch. Next time you’re at an appointment, in the grocery line or anywhere human ears are present, drop a fact and go. Sort of like a smash & grab, but you’re leaving something behind for the greater good.
Now, since topics are endless, and facts come in all shapes and sizes, my advice would be if you’re the “go big or go home” type, please be an experienced runner or have a getaway car waiting. Remember, this is a drop and go mission, not a force your beliefs on anyone who can hear one. We already have plenty of that going down.
If you’re interested here are a few examples to get you started. Less is more.
- China has not wasted a single penny on war.
- Bats always turn left when leaving a cave.
- Peace takes courage.
- Sea levels are rising.
- Laughing reduces stress.
- One in 5 adults cannot afford their medication.
- Slugs have 4 noses.
If nothing else, it will provoke research on a subject, plant a seed, open a mind or make you look batshit crazy. There’s always that risk when you lay down the truth.
I’m going to drop that slug fact on my next visit to Whole Foods. #Enjoytheride!
First, let me just say HOLLA! I guess we could all agree that’s it’s been far too long since we’ve all been Enjoying the Ride together. So let’s get down to business.
Recently, while having a conversation with one of my sisters, the subject of all things crazy going on in the world became the topic. Lord knows we all try to avoid this like the plague.
However, this conversation was different. We weren’t complaining about what wasn’t being done, because that has never gotten anyone anywhere … EVAH!
We were discussing the massive shift in our personal, professional, mental and even spiritual lives. Guess what? It’s not a coincidence.
As we enter this new decade, the universe has sent a message. No, not from Amazon. There’s no need to add anything to a cart when the universe is in charge, it has a way of landing on our doorsteps just when we need it most. Without entering a single credit card number.
Take a minute to go back to your life as you knew it in 2012. What was going on? What big, good, bad or indifferent reality came crashing down on you? For me, it was this Blog, which was born through an influx of changes in my personal life. The “C” Word
So, what the hell does all of this mean you ask? Calm down I’m about to fill you in on a secret. The universe is very generous when it comes to redemption, and it is giving us all an opportunity to grow leaps and bounds from whatever knocked us off our feet in 2012. Don’t you just love some good ole fashioned second chances?
My lesson since 2012 has been getting a handle on my reaction to the changes in my life. Whether they are everyday occurrences or things I am powerless against. The best tool I have for dealing with this is my humor. It’s my superpower. But sadly, change is my kryptonite.
One thing I know for certain, and I’m sure you’ll all agree with my assessment. CHANGE is a Thug! My definition of a thug, in this case, is something that shakes up your world without asking permission because it was necessary. Bandannas and tattoos are optional.
Of course, as in everything in this life, we make choices. I could have taken the Transition road to personal enlightenment, but clearly, I did not get the memo. Maybe I did and it got shoved in a drawer during a cleaning frenzy… who knows?
Honestly, though, transition sounds nice. I imagine it gliding into lives around the globe like a swan on a lake. No one is alarmed. No one is hit over the head with bricks. No one is screaming in horror. Transition is an unassuming rock star.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter the label we use to describe these experiences, the outcome is the same …. growth.
I’m heading into 2020 with my new luggage filled with lessons, humor, goals, hopes, and dreams. No worries, I saved some space for you so we can Enjoy the Ride together.
Happy 2020 Folks!
On Sunday while attending my Quaker Meeting, I was moved by the message of one of the members. So much so that it has stuck with me for days now.
She began with a story about her company looking to revamp some staleness within her department, which led to a member coming to the table with a YouTube video about the reintroduction of grey wolves into the park, and the far-reaching effects their presence has had on the ecosystem. I highly recommend you watch if you haven’t already had the pleasure.
The video led to the conversation of the power of making ONE CHANGE.
Next, she shared that a few years ago, as she was stirring her coffee in the company kitchen, she looked at her plastic spoon with different eyes.
After going back to her office, she realized that she used two plastic spoons every day. One for her coffee and one for her yogurt. a/k/a … A LOT!
Just a few calculations later she realized that there is probably a landfill somewhere sporting her name in bright lights. A total will not be provided due to my loathing of mathematics.
So, from that day on she began bringing her stainless steel spoon to the office, but not just any spoon, she decided to bring a family heirloom that would catch the attention of her co-workers. Smart!
Next thing you know the idea of B.Y.O.S. caught on and not only did the company save money; co-workers got creative with their spoons, the climate in the office brightened, and those landfill lights began to dim. Bam!
Now, I know there is a large community of creative minds who read this little ole blog, so take a moment to think about what ONE CHANGE you can make in your daily routine that will change the world. We are much more potent than we let on folks.
Please feel free to share your creative juices in the comments, and as always … Enjoy the Ride!