Tag Archives: Personal Growth

Good JuJu Only

Photo by Los Muertos Crew on Pexels.com

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!

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?!

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

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!

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!

The Honeymoon

Elderly couple at golden wedding holding handsAs most of you know I work in the medical field, on the administrative side, not the actual healing side. Trust me, this is a blessing for all of us. 

Although, I must say, after 15 years I do believe I could include therapist to my resume without an ounce of guilt.

I say this because, for whatever reason, some patients walk in the door with an agenda to unload. I’m not sure if it’s the glass window, my face or loneliness, but whatever the case may be, the stories just spill into the room. Some good, others require earplugs. 

Don’t get me wrong this can be a blessing or a curse depending on the schedule. There are days when I have to take things with a grain of salt, and then there are days when a gem like the one I’m about to share falls right into my lap and heart. It’s like hitting an emotional lottery.

George and Pauline are longtime patients. They are both in their 90’s, with Pauline being 8 years older. Yes, Pauline is pushing 100.

They are both brilliant, highly educated, interesting, frisky and funny as hell! The full package.

Unfortunately for everyone, Pauline can no longer come into the office, but thank goodness George comes regularly.

On Thursday, when George was making his next appointment I inquired about Pauline and he said “the honeymoon isn’t over” and I smiled. This is when he spilled to this GEM all over my desk. Hmm I hope I scheduled his next appointment.

One month after we were married Pauline was in the kitchen when I was heading out for a morning run. I yelled from the door “Pauline, I’ll be back I’m going for a run” and she replied, “hurry back and I’ll make it worth your while” The honeymoon wasn’t over. At this point, George is sporting a huge grin. 

He continues to tell me that he hadn’t thought about that moment in a very long time, but today as he was leaving to come to this appointment, Pauline was settled in with her  aide when he yelled into the room “Pauline, I’m going to see the doctor, I’ll be back shortly” and without missing a beat she replied, “hurry back and I’ll make it worth your while” As I was staring at George I noticed he was still wearing that big grin, but his eyes were welling up when he leaned in and said: “Looks like the honeymoon isn’t over yet.”

Honestly, folks, it doesn’t get much better than that now does it? Enjoy the Ride!

 

 

Change is a Thug

white hello led signage

Photo by Karl Starkey on Pexels.com

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!

 

 

Google Grim Reaper

cropped-698011_6904257_b.jpg

Ok, 2018 can seriously pack up now and hit the road. Bye bitch!

Hearts of all kinds have been at the forefront for me this year. The theme could indeed be dubbed hearts gone wild. 

The year kicked off big bringing the shattered hearts of parents who lost their child. One would think that would be enough.

Nope, next up the hearts of children who lost a parent weighted down with sadness and a load of new responsibilities. The circle of life at work.

Witnessing the end of young love with hearts broken in half. Ugh, it felt like 1986 all over again.

Having heartstrings pulled and tugged in every direction with news of illnesses of friends and family. Is this just another thing that happens when you get older?

Feel free to grab some black crepes at this point, maybe a sickle.

Oh, let’s not forget the feeling of an impending heart attack every time we see the words BREAKING NEWS flash across our televisions. Too many to count these days.

At work, I have been given a new title without a raise. Oh, yes, I can add Google 'Got him... got him... got him... need him...'Grimreaper to my resume. That should raise an eyebrow or two at an interview.

After 14 years of working in the medical field, you get to know your patients, so when they don’t show up for an appointment or their phone has been disconnected your heart sinks. I tend to forget we’re all 14 years older. 

Ugh, so this summer I spent a significant amount of time Googling death notices to earn my new title. Lucky me.

All of this gives us a choice to fall into the abyss of grief, pain, and uncertainty or stand tall in the gap recognizing the resilience of the human heart. Honestly, you’re not human if you have not had the experience of a broken heart.

It’s allowing that open heart to be filled with compassion, grace, and empathy.

It’s believing that our pain can be given new life.

It’s keeping faith in humanity.

It’s hope.

It’s learning to Enjoy the Ride in the process.

 

 

 

 

Panties To Poise Pads

The other night, a weeknight I might add, your friend here made plans with her bestie to see a local comedian that makes us both laugh at the level of tears. I wish he would have brought better eyesight instead! 

My bestie got the tickets without reading that the show STARTS at 10:45 p.m. I’m usually way into REM sleep at this time since I’ve been AWAKE since 4:45 a.m.

Then this Mrs. Magoo failed to notice the address of the venue. We assumed it was in Center City. NOPE! It was at an “upscale dive bar” under the El. (short for elevated train). Hookers, junkies and two middle-aged women out past their bedtimes. Suddenly I’m singing “two of these things is not like the others.”

After endless text messages back and forth trying to decide if going was worth our lives, we finalized the deal with “if we can’t get safe parking we’ll just come home.” Bam!

I head out of my house at 9:15 p.m. on a weeknight, put some 80’s Janet Jackson on the playlist, and channel my inner 23-year-old self to pick up my bestie. The difference between actually being 23 and the reality of being middle aged is I was doing wash before leaving the house.

As soon as my bestie gets in the car, she is happy to hear Janet Jackson doing her thang, and we start to reminisce about our “club days.” We concluded that our 23-year-old selves were either fearless, extraordinarily dumb or a healthy mix of both. 

At 23 we were getting into cars with strangers, at 54 we were worried about safe parking.

At 23 the only thing I had to do before leaving was getting dressed, at 54 I was making lunches and folding laundry.

At 23 I was deciding on which cute panties to wear, at 54 I was deciding between the regular or super-sized Poise pad.

At 23 leaving the house at 9:15 on a weeknight was acceptable, at 54 my son was asking me if I was “going through something.”

At 23 rolling in at 4 a.m., getting a shower and heading straight to the office smelling like vodka actually happened, at 54 it took me 3 days to recover from coming in at 2 a.m., and NO ALCOHOL was involved.

35050245_10216760984636614_2002395649831600128_nThankfully, this section of “under the el” was an up an coming millennial hub of coolness. The venue was, in fact, an “upscale dive bar” as described. Low lighting, sparse seating, but our feet didn’t stick to the floor, so all was good in the hood. The crowd was an excellent mix of ages with the same sense of humor. The comedian, Aunt Mary Pat did not disappoint as we laughed from beginning to end leaving us with sore cheeks and permanent smiles.

YOLO! Keep Laughing and Enjoy the Ride! 

 

World Peace Is In The Kitchen

IMG_0835Last weekend I had the pleasure of participating in the 15th Annual Philadelphia Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation with members from my Quaker Meeting, and it was an enjoyable experience. This country could use one of these on a daily basis.

The theme for the walk this year was “Recognizing the One in All of Us.” This is appropriate for many reasons, in and out of religions.

Although this is something that has been going on for 15 years, it was my first, but certainly not my last. There is just something fulfilling about being surrounded by a group of like-minded folks that energizes me in a way I cannot put into words.

We started our journey at the Arch Street Meeting House in old city Philadelphia. The Meeting room was filled with Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, Baha’i, secular humanists, and others who share the values of peace and justice.  We sat in silence, as we do in Quaker tradition before heading to the streets.

Our first stop was the Society Hill Synagogue where we were greeted by members lining the entrance. Musicians were playing inside that filled the room with joy. The Rabbi welcomed all of us with prayer and a dash of humor. We then enjoyed a musical prayer performed by the Philadelphia Sikh Society youth group. A reading by Philadelphia Youth Poet Laurite, Husna Hashim, that rose the room to their feet in applause, and a Recitation from the Qu’ran by Muhammed Shehata from the Al Aqsa Islamic Society, which thankfully was translated for all of us to interpret. Notice the Rabbi & the Muslim embracing in the background. Who would have known ….

All throughout the walk, we were encouraged to use this opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone outside of our comfort zone and LEARN. Questions like “does your turban come pre-wrapped or do you do it yourself?” were not off limits. 

Just in case you were wondering they are not pre-wrapped and there are YouTube videos for guidance. According to his smile, I would say he was relieved at the lightness of my question. 

Once we left the Synagogue, we made our way back to the street and headed out for a 60-minute walk to Al Aqsa Mosque. We were greeted by the sounds of music compliments of a woman DJ wearing a hijab and Beats by Dre headphones. Something you don’t see every day.

The parameter of the facility was lined with the World Peace ballons in the above photo. It was indeed a site to witness. The air was consumed by the fragrance of dinner being made by the members of the Mosque, and dessert prepared by the Sikh community for all of us to share. All I can say is …. YUM!

As we were all settling in I took a moment to look around, I mean really look around at the oneness surrounding me.

I watched the men carrying out trays of food, and the women were not only directing where everything needed to go, but they were also getting annoyed if the men did not do it accordingly. Every woman reading this knows exactly what I’m talking about.

The children were running around excited to have company in their “home.”Look what I can do! Look at me! Watch this! Free entertainment.

I realized that the ONE woman in our lives who insists you try her dish over the everyday meals made by the other women even though your plate is already overflowing exists in EVERY culture. You know who you are ladies. 

This was when I understood that the core ingredient to solving World Peace is FOOD. We really need to stop overthinking, start cooking and 

Enjoy the Ride!

 

Suddenly Is Sneaky Daily Prompt: Suddenly

via Daily Prompt: Suddenly

 

fullsizeoutput_274f

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!

 

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: