Tag Archives: Life

Timeless Lessons

I have two books sitting on my end table that get a lot of action. More than me, but that’s another story.

One is a small book of Maya Angelou quotes, gifted to me at just the right time and read many times since. Maya’s wisdom can snap me back to reality.

Broken down into five parts, all equal to sending a message at just the right time. The best house guest a girl can have these days.

Self-Empowerment. Who doesn’t need a daily dose of this now and then? I am empowered by this nugget of knowledge to stop doubting on any given day.

“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. Continue to allow humor to lighten the burden of your tender heart.”

Love. No matter how alone we might feel in this world, there is always one thing that brings us together. Laughter, especially with a friend, is highly recommended by me.

“There is an intimate laughter to be found only among friends.”

Society and Culture. This can be turbulent and beautiful on any given day. Remember, home can be anywhere.

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.”

Life. In the words of Forrest Gump, “it’s like a box of chocolates.” Between Forrest and Maya, it’s a wrap.

“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Herself. This is where Maya really shines. This hit me hard, considering our current climate.

“I refuse to allow any man-made differences to separate me from any other humans.”

The second gem is The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse, a book written and illustrated by Charlie Mackesy. If you don’t know it, get it now.

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The book is dedicated to the author’s “lovely kind mum” and his “wonderful dog Dill.” How could this be anything but fantastic with that dedication?

The journey of these four unlikely friends takes its readers on a trip full of life lessons in the most superficial, most profound way to be kind, forgiving, and loving one another. Granted, it’s a children’s book, but the lessons are timeless.

Mr. Mackesy creates a world within the pages that seem foreign to the one we live in today, but the optimist in me doesn’t believe it cannot exist as long as we are willing to participate. A girl can dream.

Always let your wisdom ride shotgun and Enjoy the Ride!

Extra Extra

No News Is Good News

Background: The first recorded use of this exact expression in English is by James Howell in 1640, who wrote, “I am of the Italians’ mind that said, ‘Nulla Nuova, Buona Nuova’ (no news, good news). Some years before that, James 1 of England (VI of Scotland) wrote, “No News is better than evil news.” In case you were wondering like me. Information compliments of bookbrouse.com

Do you know what else Good News is? Umm, plain ole Good News. There is plenty of it out there in the world, but it’s not a moneymaker, so it doesn’t get all the glitz like a good tragedy. Seems a tad backward, but here we are.

Today, I share not only a good news story but the far-reaching effects of a simple gesture of kindness. Many of you may have heard it, and if so, consider it a reminder; if not, enjoy.

I recently found out quite a bit about Sidney Poitier after his death. We both share the same zodiac sign, and shortly after I entered the world in 1964, Sidney won an Oscar. Looks like two Stars were born that year.

After reading about Mr. Poitier’s accomplishments throughout his long life and career, I found his constant strive to be viewed as dignified, with his strong sense of decency to be at the forefront. If only these were available on Amazon …

Now for the good part.

As everyone knows, Mr. Poitier was well known for his elegant speaking voice, but that was not always the case, being born in the Bahamas and arriving in the states with his heavy accent and illiteracy in tow. It’s hard to believe after listening to him for one second.

He told the story many times, but this excerpt is from a CBS interview in 2013.

“There was one of the waiters, a Jewish guy, elderly man, and he looked over at me and was looking at me for quite a while. I had a newspaper, it was called Journal American. And he walked over to me, and he said, ‘What’s new in the paper?’ And I looked up at this man. I said to him, ‘I can’t tell you what’s in the paper because I can’t read very well.’ He said, ‘Let me ask you something, would you like me to read with you?’ I said to him, ‘Yes if you like.’

As the story goes, they would sit together every night after their shifts. This kind man would teach him not only how to read but also the importance of punctuation, why it exists, followed by syllables, how to recognize them in words, and finally, pronunciation. I didn’t get that in my formal education.

This small act of kindness put Mr. Poitier onto a path that led to significant changes, on and off the silver screen. He was not only an actor. He was a published writer, director, and most of all, a social game-changer. Kudos to brave waiters and diner educations.

Although he regretted never getting the opportunity to thank this man in person, I’m going out on a limb to say he unknowingly thanked him every time he opened his mouth.

Be Kind. Share the good news, and Enjoy the Ride!

Girl, We Tried

As I was stumbling through some papers this morning, not one but two fortune cookie fortunes fell to the floor. Considering the last time I had Chinese Food was New Year’s Eve, I was taken back for a moment. Where the hell did they come from?

Once I read them, I knew they hung around for a reason, and by the looks of them, they have been doing their best to get my attention, and it hasn’t been easy. I had to laugh, imagining them jumping off tables shouting, “over here, look, I’m right here!” As Mrs. Magoo walked on without notice, until today. The universe knows best.

They read:

“Present your best ideas today to an eager and welcoming audience.”

“Questions provide the key to unlocking our unlimited potential.”

Please can we get a round of applause for the author and the delicious cookie?

Well, folks, I certainly hope you’re eager, welcoming, and ready for some questions because you are about to get hit with the idea that has been pressing on me for a few months now. Ready or not, here it comes.

We seem to be living in a country where fear, division, and conflict are sitting center stage. The big nugget of knowledge that we were born from conflict seems to get forgotten. You reap what you sow.

Common sense at the most basic level has left the building. Somewhere along the line, we allowed the detrimental us vs. them mentality to migrate into our own homes, areas of employment, and houses of worship. Enough already.

How long are we willing to keep this big bag of crazy alive by feeding it every damn day? At this point, it’s morbidly obese.

I think it’s time we start asking ourselves some serious questions. I’ll get the ball rolling since I was chosen via a coffee-stained fortune cookie fortune that fell to the floor to do so. Sometimes the universe does not take no for an answer.

I’ll share my questions with my own eager and welcoming audience. Hey, I can’t help anyone else if I’m unwilling to do the work myself – right?

  1. Are my fears causing this reaction?
  2. Are my opinions coming from a place of compassion?
  3. Are my thoughts, words and actions in allignment?

Fear, as we all know, comes from the outside. Isn’t it time we elevate our consciousness above this negative narrative and look for the good? I know my alarm has sounded.

There truly is good roaming around waiting to be shared and cultivated into our society. I think I just heard my disheveled fortune say, “Girl, we tried.”

In the end, we are human. We make mistakes. It’s not easy to recognize and change our behaviors, but I believe we should look to put in some effort at this moment in time. Remember, my fortunes look like two hot messes from their efforts to be heard.

Do the work, and Enjoy the Ride!

Good JuJu Only

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I’ve been contemplating whether or not to go to the grocery store for way too long this morning. It’s not that easy anymore.

There are two more factors added this morning. The Eagles game, which I hear might be a big deal, and impending bad weather for this evening. This combo is enough to deter the strongest of shoppers.

I started looking around the kitchen to see if I really needed anything. I could use chicken stock, or I can just make something else. Hmm, maybe I don’t need anything. This conversation went on for way too long. I will never get this time back.

In my defense, going to the supermarket is now a full-blown event that requires decisions that have never entered my mind before 2020.

It was bad enough that I had to make sure I had a mask and hand sanitizer, but now, oh, it’s much more. I long for the days when it was just a mask.

Before I head out, I say a prayer of protection, load my bra with energy protecting crystals; yes, you read that correctly, then, and only then, do I grab my mask and sanitizer.

Covid is frail compared to the energy-sucking, opinionated audience I might encounter in the produce aisle. Some folks are looking for potatoes, and some are looking for a debate.

Believe me, I get the urge to debate; I’m just as frustrated. The never-ending confusion is enough to bring anyone to their knees. We are all tired of being tired. We can’t deal with asses too.

Needless to say, I did not go to the supermarket. Instead, I have a creative meal in the oven. I wrote this essay, and I didn’t have to put my bra on, let alone load it with chyrstals. Good juju only!

Enjoy the Ride!

Sheets, Not The Streets

Is Mother Nature a little extra these days, or is it just winter? It’s winter!
If you’re watching the news in the morning as I do, you might think that this is something new for the East Coast in January.

Over the weekend, the media pushed the ICE fear any chance they got. Beware of untreated sidewalks. Freezing rain. Treacherous road conditions. Ice, ice baby.

This tragedy was to occur early Sunday morning. Now, I could care less if I don’t have anywhere to go, but my furballs, a/k/a Peanut & Landie, have to go somewhere to go, if you know what I mean.

As the best dog mother in the world, I set the alarm for 5:00 a.m. to get them out to do their biz before the ice age began.

My bougie fur babies enjoy the comforts of my king-sized bed and down comforter. They’re for the sheets, not the streets.

Peanut & Landie

Living Their Best Life

So, waking them from their lap of luxury to head into the dark artic air is a big freaking deal. It’s even bigger when you have to add coats, collars, leashes, and sidewalks loaded with rock salt.

In the end, it would all be worth it. We’ll be able to cuddle on the couch, knowing we dodged a potential broken back slipping as I tried to wrangle two little fur babies on an ice rink.

I thought ahead. I prepared for the worst. Only to have Mother Nature throw a curveball that ended with a forecast of “It will be warm and sunny unless it’s an ice age.”

If nothing else, this was a reminder that you can have all your ducks in a row, or your ducks can be running wild; we’re not in charge, so do your best and Enjoy the Ride!

Timing Is Everything

Well, it’s been a minute, folks. 5 months and 24 days, to be exact. In my defense, it’s been busy in my world. 2020 changed her dress and rolled right over to 2021 without missing a beat. Gotta love her attitude.

Rewind to January when we were approached by our son inquiring about purchasing our house. He was tied into a lease until July, so the plan was to sell and use the extra time to look for our new digs. I do believe I heard God laughing out loud.

We looked, we liked, we offered, we were outbid. We looked, we wanted, we over-offered, we were outbid. Finally, we looked, we fell in love, we over-offered, including our souls, common sense, and dignity, while being outbid by cash-carrying soulless bidders with nothing to lose. We grabbed our white flag and waved it with our last shred of dignity.

In May, we packed up, donated, sold, and trashed 30 years of our life and jammed it into a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment in the suburbs that I like to call “The Resort.” The jury is still out on how this actually happened.

Life here at “The Resort” has been an experience I will cherish for a very long time. The Summer weekends were spent poolside, the cooler weather at the fire pit, and now in the clubhouse, all with a group of people we now consider friends. All of those rejections lead us here to pause, play and enjoy life for the first time in a very long time. The universe knew exactly what it was doing.

Since settlement in October, I’ve been looking back at what I’m leaving behind and finding myself stuck in a time and place that no longer serves me, wrapped in familiarity, but preventing me from moving forward. Growth limbo.

Christmas hit me like a freight train of emotion. My son hosted dinner, and even though he remodeled to make the house his own, the flood of memories from holidays past met me at the door. Not the welcome wagon I was expecting.

As I stepped into the dining room, I felt the past rushing in like an out-of-body experience, and not in a good way. It was a reminder of a version of myself that I no longer recognize. The energy was clear as a bell, including a pounding headache.

On the way home, I realized that chapter had officially closed. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass!

It’s time to embrace the new without fear but anticipation. I sit here thinking about what is ahead as we forge into new territory in 2022. A new home, in a new city, in a new state. Go big or go home.

I’m gathering the good, the knowledge, the lessons, the love, and the memories from the past, packing them with care and heading forward to … Enjoy the Ride!

Girlfriend?!

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Over the past year and a half, we’ve been hearing a lot about healthcare workers being heroes. Frankly, I never thought they were anything less. One stint in a hospital is enough to see the light. 

Last November, my mother was in the hospital for an extended stay. Unfortunately for everyone, so was the patient a few doors down. I think I’ll call him Pita (pain in the ass).

As if things weren’t bad enough with COVID on the rise once again, the hospital reaching total capacity, and untrained me taking care of one too many Code Browns, use your imagination folks, to count, we ALL had to deal with Pita. Trust me; I earned a cape. 

On one quiet Saturday afternoon, mom was resting, and I was reading when we were interrupted by a commotion coming from the hallway. Enough to stop the cleaning woman in her tracks right outside our door. 

I looked at the cleaning woman with a WTF glare, and she responded with a WTFK’s. Facial expressions speak volumes.

Now mom was wide awake, wondering what was going on. All we could hear was a loud voice insisting at the top of his lungs to see his girlfriend. I peeked out the door to see a 6’4′ bare assed sock-wearing hands flailing big mouth trying to escape. Superpowers would come in handy. 

Without missing a beat, my mom says GIRLFRIEND?! and we both started laughing. It was like that’s all she heard.

The cleaning woman came into the room laughing and said, “she’s on vacation.” Now, we are howling. Mom chimes in with, “she’s not coming back.” The only thing missing was popcorn.

While we were acting like three school girls laughing at all the things the girlfriend probably did after dropping Pita at the hospital entrance, he was making vulgar remarks to the nurses about their bodies. He was a real charmer. 

As security arrived, I saw one of the nurses filling up a syringe, smiling ear to ear. Pita was going down!

Mom couldn’t get out of bed, so Juanita and I gave her a play-by-play of the injection. They’re going to need a big one,” she said. The giggles continued.

Finally, silence took over, and the nurses went back to their duties as if Pita never existed. Night night.

Juanita stayed a little longer to talk to mom about her age, sense of humor, and unruly men. This was the best medicine mom received.

Remember, heroes cross our paths every day, some with needles, some with mops, but all serving a purpose. It’s important to recognize the good in everyone as we … Enjoy the Ride!

Christmas 2020 Style

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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!

Be Kind To Everyone: 1926-2020

Mom

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.

Dust Covered Purpose

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 2462974766840788_GJWxG6kE_ftook 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. 

OkBadass seagull. - 9GAG 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!

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