Tag Archives: Personal Growth

Suddenly Is Sneaky Daily Prompt: Suddenly

via Daily Prompt: Suddenly

 

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Me & Mom 1968

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?” 

My NERVES!

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!

 

 

 

 

 

The Loom of Life Daily Prompt: Fabric

via Daily Prompt: Fabric

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Wouldn’t it be great to go back to the days when we were that fresh warm and fuzzy little piece of cashmere that was cooed and coddled at just the right moments? The answer is yes, yes it would be great.

Sadly, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

Instead, we must endure life. That’s right folks, our parents and the parents before them and so forth and so on had to make the brave decision to send their cotton balls out into the world to create their own fabric of life. One thread at a time.

I remember my days as a fresh little piece of lambswool, untethered by this thing we call life. Did you know that lambswool is the highest quality of sheep’s wool to be found? Yep, it’s the perfect combination of strong, smooth, flexible fibers just like the innocence of childhood, where everything is magical. Until puberty came along like a hot iron.  

Have you ever put a hot iron on a piece of lambswool? Well, the result was the teenage years, and it came in the form of acne, temptation, “love” and an attitude that included, but was not limited to, thinking I was smarter than, well, everyone older than me.

This is when my life turned into that love it or hate fabric polyester. Not the evolved polyester of today, I’m talking about the one that fell from grace once it went double-knit.  Better known as the lesson learning fabric. 

I spent over a decade living in this durable, lightweight, retaining my shape, easy to wash, flexible, but uncomfortable, unbreathable, cheap, ugly and highly flammable fabric. The keyword here is durable.

However, towards the end of my polyester days, I did recognize that when I blended with other fabrics such as rayon, I began to shine. The rayon in my life were work mentors and friends. 

Then ladies and gentleman, just as I reached my peak shimmer, marriage and motherhood wove its way right into this semi-retired jumpsuit to create the perfect blend of comfort and durability. Once again, let’s focus on the durability portion.

No one fully prepared me for all that this blend was bringing to the loom of life. All I can say is hallelujah Levi Straus for adding denim into the world of textiles. And a double hallelujah to the genius who decided to include lycra for flexibility. Can I get an AMEN?

s-l1000This blend of sturdy cotton warp-faced textile, with a dash of spandex, is precisely what is needed to keep a marriage alive, raise children, work full-time outside of the home while still maintaining a CEO status in the home.  Welcome to the 21st century. 

Now that my children are young adults, still living at home, and my marriage has reached a chapter that is one part wooing and another part tired as hell, I feel like I’m sporting the tattered, torn, stained yet sturdy burlap sack fabric look. Only Marilyn can pull of this look … seriously. 

Thankfully I feel like I still have some thread left on my spool ready for new experiences that can be woven right into my unique design.

Enjoy the  Ride!

 

Got Grace?

Have you seen Grace?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Shells Bells

Shells, shells, and more shells. I was just a tad obsessed with collecting these beauties on my morning walks. Maybe a little more than a “tad.”

Look at them, all beautiful in their own way. All different shapes, sizes, and colors. Some with fractures, some dull, others shiny and bright, but all with their own individual characters that make them beautifully unique. Hmm, sounds a lot like people now doesn’t it.

There isn’t a hateful one in the bucket.

As always, my children thought I was losing my mind as I ventured out every morning to see what treasures the ocean left behind. When will they realize they are the cause of any loss of my mind?

Anyway, shell searching is in my genes. As children, my mother taught us how to comb IMG_6357the beach for shells, and I followed the tradition by doing the same with my daughter. Why is this not on my resume?

I remember sitting in a hotel room with my sister going over our inventory from the day. We would break down our loot by size and style. Yes, serious records were kept with shells & Halloween candy. 

Back in the day, we had an abundance of large clam shells waiting for us.  That is not the case today. I’m not sure if it’s the ever-changing climate, Mother Nature’s hoarding or the loss of sexual urges amongst the clam community, whatever the reason, there were slim pickings.  Feel free to now Google “how do clams reproduce?” I did.

As kids, we returned from vacation with a bucket of blank canvases. On rainy summer days, we would break out our watercolor sets to let our inner Monet surface. Our talents were displayed in our garden for all to view.  It was like an ongoing Gallery opening without the wine & cheese.

It’s funny how some memories, no matter what, have the ability to leave a smile on your face. I’m glad that one let itself out of the vault. 

The million dollar question around here now is: “What are you going to do with all those shells?” The response: “Something fabulous!” 

Now that I’ve set the bar high, I’ve been unleashing my creative juices for this project. Hmm, how hard can it be to rustle up something wonderful, yet not too overwhelming, while meeting all the criteria necessary to be F A B U L O U S? What the hell was I thinking?

After some pondering while scanning the internet for inspiration, there is something on the horizon waiting to come to life. Will it be fabulous? OF COURSE!  I’ll be working my magic shortly.

Embrace the differences to create something fabulous in the world. Enjoy the Ride!

Beach Therapy

IMG_6360We are just returning from a much-needed family vacation. The last one was 9 years ago. We weren’t in the door 12 hours before I received a call that my brother has passed away. That kinda left a mark.

After the past 10 months, all I can say is “IT WAS TIME”.

the-hillbilliesThe destination of choice, the Jersey Shore. Why? When we could have been on an island in the Caribbean for what this cost. Well, because this is where our happiest family memories were made and that is priceless. 

So, on August 12th, we loaded up the car like the Beverly Hillbillies and headed to Ocean
City, NJ for 7 glorious days of fun in the sun. 5 adults, 2 dogs, 2 vehicles, and everything but the kitchen sink hit the road.

Day 1:  IMG_6350

Honestly, does it get better? I spent EVERY morning walking the beach without a single care or concept of time or distance. A bathroom for this middle aged bladder would have made it perfect.

It’s safe to say that I could live happily ever after just watching a mother seagull looking over her tribe as they ate breakfast. If only it paid well.

Lisa G., S.O. (Seagull Observer) Has a ring to it doesn’t it?

Quiet mornings on the beach are also made for surf fishing. According to my IMG_6426fish loving son anyway.

He caught the surf fishing bug 17 years ago when he was just 5 years old. I’ll never forget the image of him heading to the water like a boss with his Lion King fishing rod in hand and a lollipop in his mouth. Today it’s high-end gear in one hand and his beautiful girlfriend on the other.

Of course, we were reminiscing about that day because it was indeed memorable. For many reasons.

What happens when a 5-year-old somehow reels in 6 King fish in a row with his $5.00 fishing rod? Other than crowds forming, people cheering, paparazzi and giving high-fives to the happiest 5-year-old on the planet of course. Well, I’ll tell you.

20914453_1784753428204828_273169236215177351_nA grown man who was fishing about 10 ft away, with 6 ocean rods lined up like soldiers came marching over to fill my son in on the amount of money he had tied up in his rods and the unfairness of him catching all the fish. Remember, my son was FIVE.

Up until that moment, I had never been in such close proximity to a giant man baby. This “man” actually walked back to his “million dollar” rods, smacked them all to the ground while my 5-year-old looked on and stated, “He’s stupid!” Out of the mouth of babes. 

Hmm, where have I witnessed that type of behavior recently? Bye bye reality back to my happy place. 

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Another joy was sipping a cup of coffee with my toes in the sand. A little sand between my toes was just what the doctor ordered.

As a child, my mother always told us “the salt water heals everything”, and I must admit she was 100% right.

The healing powers of living the salt life surpassed months of doctor appointments and medications. Mother Nature does not accept insurance … it’s free.

A little beach therapy is just what we all needed.

Enjoy! This Ride Will Be Continued.

 

 

Let’s Put The “We” Back In The People

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If this gem doesn’t just scream my name I don’t know what does. That’s right folks, I’m officially hanging with the pigeon squad. 

I am EXHAUSTED!

Not by the hamster wheel of life, but by the behavior of my co-humans.

By the increased hatred and decrease in common decency.

By the lack of truth and over indulgence of misinformation and lies.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the loss of common ground and the divided beliefs.

By the daily negativity of, he said she said while important issues sit silently.

By the rise in civil obedience and the lack of active participation in the process.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By being told who to hate by our televisions, while books collect dust.

By judgments, labels & stereotypes in one hand and Bibles, flags & hypocrisy in the other.

By the absence of faith, hope & charity and the escalation of greed.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the Social Media scholars and their ignorant followers.

By the callous treatment of the less fortunate and the misguided definition of fame. 

By fear dictating our decisions, while common sense faces extinction.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the abuse of our first amendment and the overextended defense of our second.

By selfishness leading the way, while collaboration sits on the sidelines.

By the misconception that strength is loud and quietness is weak.

I am EXHAUSTED! 

By the thought of war being the answer and not giving peace a chance.

By the short memories and selective truths.

By the thought that I’m too optimistic, while others have surrendered hope.

Let’s TRY to celebrate our Independence and our Interdependence today by being free from our hatred, fears, and differences. These are the freedoms that lay out a strong foundation for our future. These are the freedoms that unite. These are the freedoms that will thrive. 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the Common Defense, promote the General Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Now, I’m not going to lie, I will have to remember all of this when my beer induced, wanna be pyrotechnic neighbor starts setting off fireworks from his weather-beaten, one spark short of an inferno deck this evening. I NEVER SAID IT WAS GOING TO BE EASY…anything worthwhile rarely is easy.

We’re all in this together, so hop in and Enjoy the Ride!

 

Emotional Fart

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DONE

Just when I thought everything was going smooth the universe made the executive decision to throw a wrench into my peace. Does everyone agree that Lisa appears to be content? Good, bring in the wrench, please. On second thought, make it a double.

It’s been 6 months since I was blindsided, and the universe has been somewhat kind, but recently it has decided to shake things up a bit. As if watching the News wasn’t enough. 

My son decided to move out of his apartment and back HOME. The problem with this big fat wrench is he didn’t come alone. He brought his endless appetite, wash, sneakers the size of Pennsylvania and a school project that entails constructing something that has now taken over my entire house. Remember the movie The Blob? It’s like that over here.

My nature is very easy peasy. Little things like gigantic sneakers and piles of wash have never bothered me before, well, maybe not never. But, certainly not at the level of wanting to set the house on fire to make them go away. This is the result of holding in an emotional fart.

Clearly, there are some underlining things going on with me to stir up this level of emotion, and now you lucky readers who were drawn in my clever title get to read about it. Sorry, not sorry. 

Although my life keeps moving forward one snail slide at a time, and the memories start to fade, they don’t leave, they linger. Like the crowd you see at Starbucks sucking up the free wi-fi ALL DAY.

The problems I’m facing now are the reminders. Not the “don’t forget we need milk” kind, the “my therapist would like you to come in next week” kind. It is the equivalent of being shot out of a cannon right back to October 12th. Why can’t I take a cannonball ride back to 1974 when I was free of concerns, other than the daunting decision to ride my bike or play jump rope?

In some ways, it’s good to go so I can get a feel as to what’s going on inside my man’s head. In other ways, it drains me for days. Literally paralyzing me from doing what I enjoy. I don’t read, write or go to the gym. I find myself stuck in a cloud of never ending thoughts. In my head, it’s like trying to figure out a math equation that has multiple answers. I HATE MATH!

Of course, I know it’s all part of the process, and that the process is the best thing for everyone and that it’s working, but for god sakes, it’s a lot to deal with when you’re just trying to deal period. Hence the thought that FIRE would be the way to go with ridding my house of clutter.

At this point in my life, I think it’s safe to say that the universe shops at Sears and there is just an obvious endless sale on Craftsman wrench sets, so I need to take responsibility, tighten my helmet, fasten my seatbelt and just … Enjoy the Ride! One long speed bump at a time. 

 

Nailed It!

Just a little update to let the world know that yes, Peanut and Landon have been accepted to Camp Bow Wow! I know, I’m still in awe at their success. 

As you can see during their interview they clearly nailed it. Just look at those wagging tails working the room like they own the damn place.

I was able to witness everything through my Camp Cam App. I think I missed my calling. The level of enjoyment I received stalking my dogs was alarming at best. Surveillance engineer or stalker … that line is very thin.

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Dazzling the interviewer

After some initial formalities of the meet and greet portion of their interview, Peanut & Landon were taken to socialize with the other members. I’ll assume this is where business cards and bones were exchanged.

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P & L are on the left getting the low-down from Ben the Beagle.

I know what you’re thinking, “everyone gets in Lisa, it’s a game.”  I’m not going to lie, this did cross my mind. Part of me thought I was being forced to jump through hoops in order to make me believe my fur babies were extra special, but then I witnessed Bella, the 6-pound chihuahua mix shaking like a leaf in her Burberry knockoff coat as her owner told her “you flunked” while he was handed her rejection notice. Oh yea, right in front of us. 

For the record, Bella seemed quite pleased with this outcome, however, her owner was now forced to continue making Martinis for her all day. I’m guessing she likes them dirty at night. 

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I can only assume this is Bella at home

It was all good at the end of the day. Peanut proudly received his acceptance notification as he posed for the camera, knowing full well this beauty would be on display for the world to see on the refrigerator a/k/a … the box of honor.

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Look at those pearly whites!

Landon on the other hand  …….

Something tells us he was “accepted” because siblings are an automatic admission.

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The bottom photo cracks me up every time!

It doesn’t matter if you’re shaking like Bella, smiling like Peanut or winging it like Landon just make sure you … Enjoy the Ride! 

 

 

 

Just Look For It

cf0625b43ee446559aba5956b7d94eefIt’s funny how during all of the darkness over the past month, we have been able to see some light. A glimmer here a glimmer there help the heart heal.

We are both very big believers in noticing the signs that are sent our way, and we were not blind to them even during the darkest of times. Hope comes in all shapes and sizes, the key is recognizing it.

7ec60236c914e83fb309775560d1d961Sign #1:

The day after the nightmare began, I went with my daughter to see my husband at the hospital. While walking through the lobby we were greeted by a very friendly face. Sister Kate. The world is so small.

I know Sister Kate from my job, and I haven’t seen her in a couple of years. Our relationship is she is a patient and I’m in shock that this nice, warm, funny person is a Catholic nun. Where the hell were YOU when I was in school is ALWAYS my thought when I see her.

Sister Kate immediately knew from my haggard look that something was wrong. This was the first time I uttered the words “My husband tried to take his life” and the flood-gates opened. Her warm kind hug is just what I needed before heading to face my reality. Never underestimate the power of fate.

tumblr_mup91f3ipa1rlyeulo1_1280Sign #2:

We walked into the room to find my husband under 24hr guard by none other than an Italian grandmother from South Philly. There isn’t a pill on the planet that can compare to the healing powers of this woman.

The room was stark, nothing but a bed. My husband was stripped of anything that could possibly hurt him, and yet this woman made that room feel like home. I was waiting for her to pull a portable oven out of her purse.

Lena was just what this doctor ordered…. a mothers’ love. Never underestimate the power of an Italian woman who gets joy from taking care of a man. 

During this visit is when we learned that my husband had ZERO memory of the past 12 hours. If only the rest of us had that pleasure.

02d29afeeee80496a916e0fce4f13d61Sign #3:

The following day my son came with me. This time the guard on duty was Lorraine, a very feisty black woman. She was definitely sent for me.

This day was very heavy as we sat patiently waiting for information on the next hospital setting. The silence was deafening. Except for Lorraine’s gum cracking which was no doubt echoing throughout the halls.

My son was saved by a friend who called insisting on taking him out to lunch. Perfect timing!

As we sat in awkward silence listening to that poor piece of gum being assaulted in Lorraine’s mouth, we heard the words “who are you all voting for?” Of all the questions on the planet to ask, this was the one she chose to ask the man on suicide watch.

This is when the unexpected public service announcement was made. Lorraine would be voting for Trump. Why do you ask? Well, because she was tired of her neighbors collecting free money for their 5 children that she named Uno, Dos, Tres, Cuatro & Cinco. Fast forward to 11/9 … yep, this is one reason why.

63aede416ddcf86276a1249feea18f0dSign #4:

On that Sunday I went to see my husband at the next facility. No one could have prepared me for this step of the journey. I’m not sure who decided that people with depression should be dehumanized to feel better, but they need to be fired.

I left this visit defeated, broken and wondering where is that place Dr. Drew sends his patients and do they take Blue Cross? The lack of life in this place could make even the happiest of people second guessing the existence of rainbows. WTF! 

When I returned home I was flat. There was just nothing left to feel. I was done. With a weak smile for the sake of the kids of course. 

As my son was about to head back to school, he decided to raid my change jar to feed the parking meter in town. He took out a huge pile of coins searching for quarters.

7b4ffcb78c5b2c81a8b82968db1561f1Next thing I hear is “mom, didn’t you loose a ring?”  I had lost my wedding band on Thanksgiving 2015.

I have torn this house apart more than once searching for it. Trust me when I tell you I put the FBI to shame with my search efforts. 

Sure enough, there was my ring, on the floor, with a dime stuck in the center. My eyes could just about register what they were seeing. The dam broke, and 4 days of emotion exploded into the room. 

If ever there was going to be a sign that everything was going to be ok, this friends, was it.

Still dodging potholes while Enjoying the Ride! 

 

 

Let’s Put The “We” Back In The People

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If this gem doesn’t just scream my name I don’t know what does. That’s right folks, I’m officially hanging with the pigeon squad. 

I am EXHAUSTED!

Not by the hamster wheel of life, but by the behavior of my co-humans.

By the increased hatred and decrease in common decency.

By the lack of truth and over indulgence of misinformation and lies.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the loss of common ground and the divided beliefs.

By the daily negativity of he said she said while important issues sit silently.

By the rise in civil obedience and the lack of active participation in the process.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By being told who to hate by our televisions, while books collect dust.

By judgments, labels & stereotypes in one hand and bibles, flags & hypocrisy in the other.

By the absence of faith, hope & charity and the escalation of greed.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the Social Media scholars and their ignorant followers.

By the callous treatment of the less fortunate and the misguided definition of fame. 

By fear dictating our decisions, while common sense faces extinction.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the abuse of our first amendment and the over extended defense of the our second.

By selfishness leading the way, while collaboration sits on the sidelines.

By the misconception that strength is loud and quietness is weak.

I am EXHAUSTED! 

By the thought of war being the answer and not giving peace a chance.

By the short memories and selective truths.

By the thought that I’m too optimistic, while others have surrendered hope.

Let’s TRY to celebrate our Independence and our Interdependence today by being free from our hatred, fears and differences. These are the freedoms that lay out a strong foundation for our future. These are the freedoms that unite. These are the freedoms that will thrive. 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the Common Defense, promote the General Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Now, I’m not going to lie, I will have to remember all of this when my beer induced, wanna be pyrotechnic neighbor starts setting off fireworks from his weather-beaten, one spark short of an inferno deck this evening. I NEVER SAID IT WAS GOING TO BE EASY…anything worthwhile rarely is easy.

We’re all in this together, so hop in and Enjoy the Ride!

 

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