We’ve been waiting most of the year for this! Oh no, not the day spent enjoying delicious food in the company of those we love most in the world. Not to say this isn’t nice.
I’m talking about the birth of my very first grandchild. Drum roll, please …
Little Miss. Olivia Marie arrived on 11-23-22 at 4:00 a.m., weighing 7lbs 12 oz and 20 inches long. Immediately making this world a better place. Yesterday, If you thought, wow, the sun seems just a little brighter, you know why.
Mommy, Daddy, and Olivia are all happy, healthy, and anxiously waiting to go home to big brother Calvin. He has paws.
I did learn quite a bit more about my son over the past few days. The most evident is he did not, I repeat, did not pay attention in any form of a health education class. Ever.
Whew! His ADHD was front and center on Monday night when I inquired if mommy was dilated, and he responded, “what does that mean?” I can hear your gasps.
I made the mistake of asking again on Tuesday afternoon when he informed me she had contractions and received an epidural.
Me: Any word on how dilated she is?
Daddy: I told you, I don’t know.
Me: I know, but that was yesterday, and now she’s having contractions.
Daddy: I’m not asking. I was already yelled at for yawning.
That seems about right.
Me: Have you heard the words 2, 3, or 4 centimeters come out of the mouth of any medical professionals in the room?
Daddy: Oh yeah, she was 2 centimeters a few hours ago.
Still giving me gray hairs.
The rest of the day was spent jumping every time my phone notified me of a message. I am officially a trained rat.
Hours passed without a word. So, this soon-to-be grandmother, and not a pushy mother, assumed the silence meant things were progressing nicely and I would hear any minute. What’s that saying about assuming? Yeah.
I finally received a text around 9:00 p.m. that went like this:
Daddy: Every movie ever made with a birth scene is a LIE.
Me: For the record, so are the death scenes and crime solving.
Daddy: My back is killing me from this chair. The food is awful, and I can’t sleep.
Someone, hold my glass; it’s about to go down.
Me: Have you said any of this out loud in the room?
Daddy: I’m not on a death wish.
Me: How is mommy?
Daddy: She’s doing good, uncomfortable, but good.
Me: Great! Be patient; I know it’s difficult for you. Once Olivia arrives, you’ll forget about all of this.
Daddy: I will never forget this concrete slab they call a bed. I love you!
Me: I love you too!
I don’t have a concrete slab for a bed and still didn’t sleep wondering how things were progressing. I woke up at 4:30, jumping out of my skin to send a text.
Me: Is everything ok?
Daddy: Yes, her water broke at 1:30, and Olivia arrived at 4:00 a.m.
My phone rang with a Facetime call, and by 4:34, I was looking at my wide-eyed granddaughter after just 34 minutes of entering this world. She was nestled in her mother’s arms while my son gushed with joy. Clueless at how lucky he is lucky to be alive.
I have a lot to be grateful for each and every day. Including this Thanksgiving that looks much different than the ones pre Covid when my house was busting at the seams, with loved ones, food, and laughter.
This year it’s the hubby and me going for a morning walk, maybe on the beach, enjoying an early dinner at our table for two, and heading out to meet our first grandchild for the first time. The bar has risen!
Enjoy the Ride like it’s Thanksgiving every day.
I had quite the encounter this week at work. It was love at first site. No, my husband shouldn’t be concerned, well maybe a little.
The door opened mysteriously. I didn’t see anyone at first, but then a tiny hand appeared on the window. I had to get up and look down to realize the cutest little boy trying to get my attention.
When I opened the window, I was greeted by, “Hi, my name is Merrick, my birthday is January 13th, and I’m 5 years old. He really did have me at hello.
He presented himself with purpose and eyelashes for miles, quickly capturing my attention.
Considering his excess energy, we had the pleasure of keeping him busy while his mother was taking care of business. A dream come true for me.
It turned out that little Merrick is an aspiring entertainer, stand-up comedian to be exact, and he hit the jackpot because I am the perfect audience.
The show started after we drew a dinosaur and colored it with what I thought was a green crayon. However, I was corrected and informed that it was, in fact, asparagus, followed by an introduction to the spinach and celery crayons in the box. Alrighty then …
Showtime for me began when he signed our artwork with “Poop” in all capital letters. I asked, “Is Poop your artistic alter ego?” I don’t think he heard anything other than “poop.” Unless the big laugh that followed was a yes.
Boys and the joy they get from saying, writing, and hearing the word poop remains a mystery.
Once he started his set of knock, knock jokes, there was no stopping him. At one point, I thought I was watching a blooper reel. He could not keep it together to deliver the punchline, but in reality, that was the best part of the show. Robin Williams reincarnated.
I’ll leave you with one he closed the show with before his mother came to collect him.
What are you, an owl? Falling off the chair, grasping for air from laughing.
Merrick was much more than an aspiring comedian; he was a reminder that life is too short not to stop and appreciate the joyful innocence of a knock, knock joke,
Enjoy the Ride!
Here we are on election day 2022. There was a time in my life when I thought by 2022, the state of my world would consist of a robot maid named Rosie, a cute space dress, and a jetpack to get to the office. Nieve or wishful thinking?
Instead, my world is filled with negative news on every channel, children shooting children, endless wars, a Supreme Court that has lost its way, and half-assed celebrities looking to fill seats in the most important houses in our country. What the actual f*#@k is happening?
Oh, and did I mention the lies upon lies, corporate gouging, misinformation, and division? Well, now I did.
All elections are important, but this one is personal to me. In just a few weeks, I will welcome my first grandchild, a baby girl, to this hot mess society. How can I not be concerned for her future?
I’m sure historically, my sentiments crossed the minds of many soon-to-be grandmothers before me, but this time it’s different. We’re not fighting for the future; we’re fighting for what we had in the past.
How is it in 2022 that a granddaughter will be born with fewer rights than her grandmother, mother, and aunts who came before her? There is not a mother in the world who wants this to be true, not one.
In my lifetime, the “horror” of Roe v. Wade has loomed over my head. Literally decades. It has been a never-ending story told by a select group of white men for division and political leverage. Talk about losing sight of something.
Our leaders, former leaders, and wanna-be leaders have been out on the campaign trail screaming our “democracy is at risk” or “inflation is through the roof” Really? This is all you got? I guess the powers-to-be have decided that the American people can only handle 2 catchphrases, so here we are. I’ll just be here shaking my head.
Meanwhile, the bodily autonomy of an entire GENDER of human beings is under siege. Our existence is at risk. I guess that doesn’t sell as well as democracy and gas prices. Dumbing us down one election at a time.
The word democracy comes from the Greek words “demos,” meaning people, and “kratos” meaning power; so democracy can be thought of as “power of the people”: a way of governing that depends on the will of the people.
So, what am I going to tell my granddaughter? Well, first things first, I’m going to cast a VOTE.
Once she arrives, I will introduce her to nature’s artwork. The ocean, flowers, trees, rivers, and mountains. I will ensure that the beauty in her world outweighs the negative dialog. I will tell her she is strong, kind, and loved beyond measure. I will let her know her voice matters. She matters. I will hope that her future is filled with opportunities and choices. Most importantly, I will love her unconditionally.
Enjoy the Ride with the WILL to protect the freedoms of all the females in your life.
Just sitting here pondering about life. Concluding that, if nothing else, it’s engaging as we navigate through our individual and collective journeys. I say collective because we’re in this together. Who’s crossing your path today, and why?
Have you ever viewed life as a movie with yourself as both the writer and star? I have.
Of course, there will be significant co-stars. At the same time, God, the universe, creator, or whatever term you refer to as a higher power is trying to direct scenes that include, I don’t know, millions of extras and a storyline that changes daily. Spielberg gave it a hard no.
It all started when I began recognizing a pattern of who I was attracting onto my set. Yes, we’re sticking to the movie theme here. My awareness heightened when someone or something got under my skin. Ugh, what is it? Why are you so f@#$ing annoying?
The answer is simple and complicated. Oh, you thought it would be easy too?
Remember the millions of extras and those co-stars? Well, they play crucial roles in our stories, some more than others, but they’re all critical in their own way. It’s no accident they auditioned.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the disgruntled cashier, a family member, a boss, or someone in between. If they show up, I ask myself whether they’ve been cast as my mirror, a messenger, or a teacher. A memo from the director would be nice; just saying.
The other plot twist to remember is that everyone you encounter is also starring in their own movie. What could possibly go wrong? Without ever being in Hollywood, I think it’s safe to say things can go wry when too many stars are on the stage. Why? Well …
We’re all walking around the studio lot we call this world with unhealed wounds while our particular audiences sling salt at them daily, provoking us to choose between reacting or learning. It’s not a Hallmark movie out there, folks.
So far, I’ve realized that our movies do not include stunt people, which is sometimes unfortunate but necessary if we want that blockbuster; we have to feel the bumps along the way. They don’t call it growing pains for anything.
Another important lesson learned is improvising or using our free will during production makes it very difficult for the director to navigate the script. Ego is always trying to steal the show.
So, until we allow the spotlight to shine on us with certainty, the problematic scenes in our movie will play on a loop until we decide to heal or learn. It’s all about the light.
This perspective has allowed me to view my movie more transparently and ask the director for guidance; this has led me on a path to winning the Best Picture award.
Enjoy the Ride!
We headed over to the beach on Sunday. I was on the fence about going since the heat index was over 100, and lord knows we wouldn’t be alone. In the end, I packed up and headed out.
The next decision was which beach would be worthy of our chairs. We decided on the McBride Beach Bath House in Cape Henlopen State Park. This was named after Senator David McBride, who served in the General Assembly for 42 years. I don’t know; maybe that warrants his name on a beach.
Anyway, this area was beautiful and occupied by families. Young, old, and, in between, enjoying their vacation. Making memories.
I’m not going to lie. I was not jealous when I saw them schlepping all that gear across the sand. I served my time in the beach schlepping department. Now it’s just me and my chair.
To date, we’ve visited The Point and Gordons Pond beaches, where dogs definitely outnumbered children. Both of these areas have a different vibe. More of a just let me sit and enjoy the beach crowd. I’m grateful to have these options.
After 5 minutes and a toddler showing me his sand-covered spiderman, I knew we had made the right decision. I’ve been missing my adult children recently; this was just what my heart needed. Being in the presence of children brings joy to my soul.
We sat and watched sandcastles and motes constructed by the young fathers. At the same time, the mothers organized sandwiches and applied sunscreen to the children, who were excitedly running back and forth at the water’s edge. It was like being transported back in time.
My little spiderman buddy was busy being busy. I was getting tired just watching him running back and forth. His grandparents brought him to the beach to celebrate his 3rd birthday, and celebrate he did in a total 3-year-old fashion. Dinosaur bathing trunks, bucket hat, and more energy than all of us.
No doubt his grandparents slept well that night!
We moved our chairs closer to the water, which turned into a stage for two little beach angels. Out of nowhere, two little girls, tiny, with diapers peaking out of their bottoms, started dancing on the wet sand. One with wild curly hair and big blue eyes, the other in a leopard bathing suit, a white sun hat, and white hair to match, were dancing in circles like they were at Woodstock. Innocence in motion.
Watching the innocence of children forces you to take a step back from yourself and Enjoy the Ride.
I’m finally settled in at the new abode. Learning how to navigate traffic patterns, grocery stores, finding new medical providers, and a job has been, shall we say, an experience, but being near the beach has made all of this more tolerable. Salt air works wonders.
One thing I’ve learned for sure is this place is a vortex. Not the hellish whirlpool kind. This area is loaded with people that bring it to life with their energy. There’s a vibe.
I’m not sure if it’s a recipe of transplanted people mixed with the locals and a dash of vacationers for flavor or something else, but there is something extraordinary in the air.
Recently I met a woman who opened her hand to reveal a fist full of glass hearts. I was instructed to pick one, which I did with a smile. She is spreading love, literally.
Cupid and I got to talking, and she explained that since 2003 she has given out approximately 80,000 of these hearts worldwide. That’s a lot of love.
My face must have been saying, “Damn! That’s a lot of hearts/money.” Because without a word, Cupid explained that she purchases the hearts by the pound, and like everything else, the price has escalated. Come on! Gas is one thing, but love?
There was something about this exchange that I couldn’t shake. Over the next few days, the experience kept playing over and over in my head. I would pick up the heart several times daily, hoping for enlightenment. It was nagging.
Well, once again, the universe came through. This time in the form of a website. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, this extraordinary woman has a website that came to my attention in a way that genuinely confirms there are no coincidences. Well done, universe, well done.
I couldn’t get to Google fast enough to check out her site. To my surprise, but not really, the first thing to hit my eyes was the statement, “Kindness is the Foundation of Peace.” It sure is.
At this moment, I was overcome with emotion. As some of you know, my mother passed in 2020, but she left this world with an exceptional last sentiment. “Be kind to everyone no matter what; this world needs kindness.” https://life-with-the-topdown.com/2020/12/17/be-kind-to-everyone-1926-2020/
Now, here I sit 7 days later, writing this essay, wondering what my next step will be in this world that desperately needs more kindness. Hmmm …
You can check out her story and more about her mission at https://www.radicalkindness.com. It’s proof that it doesn’t take much effort to impact the world positively.
Enjoy the Ride, with Kindness!
Well, it has finally happened. The moving blues might be settling in over here. I must confess that I miss my Local Newscasters, Meteorologists, and network. A LOT!
I have been watching WPVI, Channel 6 ABC, my entire life, so it’s a big deal to start watching other anchor people at this stage of the game. I feel like I’m cheating.
This isn’t a new feeling, but unfortunately, it’s a permanent one this time around. While on vacation, I was often left with that UGH feeling while watching local news channels. But then I got to go home, where my cool newscasters lived!
Maybe it’s just culture shock. Just thinking out loud.
I’m accustomed to the daily morning banter between the news desk, weather, and traffic reporters. They were the perfect four to send me off into the day. Not to mention easy on the eyes and fashionable.
Not that I want to be judgy Judy over here, but dear lord, stop giving me so much ammunition. All I’m going to say is I may never watch another weather report in my life. Dramatic? Well, a little.
Now, I’m not yearning for negative news, but there needs to be a gentle transition from overnight shootings directly to hampster rescues being “Big Stories.” A robbery? An accident? Throw me a bone.
If I heard this story once, I heard it 20 times in the course of the morning news. Along with the other “big” story regarding the opening of a Lavender Farm. This was day one.
Honestly, though, I can’t imagine the words “murder” or “shooting” coming out of the 16-year-old news anchor’s mouth. She was definitely hampster rescue appropriate and cute as a button.
After scanning around the other channels, which is another challenge that frankly requires a YouTube tutorial, I located a group that I might, just might, be able to tolerate. How is ABC not ABC just two hours down the road?
One thing that is holding me back from a true commitment is the anchorman’s name. I know it must sound petty, but is it? His name, you ask, is Jimmy Hoppa. See!
How often has he been asked, “did you say, Hoffa?” I don’t know whether to laugh or be impressed. So far, laughter is winning.
The silver lining is I have no idea what is going on in the world. Not a damn thing! But I know where to take unwanted hampsters and find lavender soap if anyone is interested. Hit me up.
I’ll be depending on my fellow bloggers to fill me in on important news like a meteor heading to earth, a mass awakening in D.C., empty seats on a UFO, or if something other than a hampster rescue needs my attention. Please write about it before the WiFi goes out.
Enjoy the Ride!
“It’s a small world.” How many times have you heard this in your lifetime? I remember my parents saying it and thinking, “What are you talking about?” Now, here I am saying it at least twice a week! It’s official, I’m my parents.
The community had a huge yard sale on Friday and Saturday at the new abode. According to the neighbors, this is a twice-a-year function that is heavily advertised and equally as popular. Perfect timing for this professional box unpacker.
The weather was damp and rainy, but that did not stop the crowds. Yes, crowds. I made a good chunk of change selling crap left by the previous owners and some of my own crap. I’m very close to getting a “less is more” tattoo or t-shirt.
This lovely couple, Frank and Joanne, stopped by to browse yesterday. There was an instant connection. They had a good sense of humor, especially Frank’s quick wit. People could have been shoplifting, and I wouldn’t have noticed.
As we were exchanging backstories of how the hell we wound up in Lewes, DE, Joanne was surprised to learn that I had never vacationed in this area. I explained I’m a Jersey Shore girl, Ocean City. NJ, to be exact. Her parents lived in Ocean City, NJ.
I explained that my husband was familiar with this area through his job, and my only introduction was when we looked at this house. Now she is intrigued.
Joanne, “How do you just move to a place you’ve never been to?”
Me, “I don’t know, but here I am.”
Frank, “Wow, there’s more than one!”
Me, “You know someone else who just packed up to Lewes?”
Joanne, “Yes, our dear friend from college. She just called me one day and told me her boys were all out of the house; they sold their home in Villanova and bought a place in Lewes.”
Frank, “I asked her if she bought it on Amazon because she never asked us to check it out or inquired about the area.”
Joanne, “We couldn’t believe they made such a big purchase without a second thought.”
Me, “I looked at Frank’s Mount St. Mary College sweatshirt while Villanova and boys ran through my mind when I asked, wait a minute, what is your friend’s name?”
Joanne, “Marie _______ _______.”
Me, “WHAT!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”
Frank, “You know Marie?”
Me, “Yes, we were paralegals together back in the day and work besties.”
All of us, “OMG! It’s such a small world!” Along with laughter.
Frank takes out his phone, captures a photo of the three of us, and sends it to Marie.
We are all meeting for Happy Hour on Friday!
Enjoy the Ride!
Things are coming together nicely here at the new abode. Setting things up to make it our own. Incorporating some memories of the past with our new upcycled purchases. Facebook Marketplace is my new bestie.
I love the idea that our decor has a back story. Our Ethan Allen dining room set was formally residing in a “home” with a regulation-sized basketball court INSIDE next to the movie theatre. Oh, yeah, that was an, let’s just say, interesting transaction.
Susan, the woman selling this piece, interrogated me online like an FBI agent. I finally had to tell her that we are a middle-aged couple who are too tired to commit a crime, clean it up or run from it. Seriously, Susan!
When we arrived, she answered the door with her phone in her hand, air pods in her ears, and more than once, let us know that her husband was listening to the conversation. If fear were a person …
Once we passed her test, she started pushing other items for sale on us. Bye, Susan, bye-bye.
Needless to say, that experience left a mark, but humanity was restored when I hit the jackpot on a gorgeous 2-year-old retractable canvas awning to shade our enormous deck. I need to enjoy the deck, not fry eggs on it.
Anna had the most beautiful beachfront home in North Jersey and a heart to match. She was handing over this $14,000 plus awning, in mint condition, for a mere $700.00, and she threw in the custom-made cover to boot. She was no Susan, that’s for sure.
Maybe the salt air, her Italian heritage, or both made her so generous. All I know is Anna’s house was right out of Architectural Digest, and it was warm, welcoming, and filled with love. Her only request was a photo of us relaxing under the awning.
Next up, we needed some headboards. One, because we upgraded to a King mattress and handed the sleigh bed over to our son, and two, we now have extra bedrooms for when the kiddies visit. They better visit!
Once again, the Marketplace came through like a genie granting wishes. For $150 bucks, we landed two, like new, Ethan Allen twin headboards that match our existing dresser perfectly. The owner had them stored at Sprinkles, their ice cream shop, and gave us a cone of our choice on the house with the purchase. What more could we ask for at this point?
Well, I’m gonna tell ya. We still needed the king-sized headboard. The challenge was getting one that matched our cherry wood set without looking too Ralph Laurenish at our new beach location. Are you with me?
Just when I thought this would be an issue, Lauren, a young woman with a great sense of humor, posted the PERFECT piece for $100. She was posting for her mom Lisa, who we concluded was a fantastic person based on her name. Yes, my name is Lisa, so I know this to be true.
Today we are on our way to pick up yet another Ethan Allen piece. It is a beautiful cabinet, with a hidden desk for all our electronic devices/crap that we don’t want to expose. Amen!
This beauty has been for sale for four weeks. It is the last piece standing in a sold home that must be gone by tomorrow. Can you say deal of a lifetime?
I love the idea of second chances, backstories, and new beginnings, whether furniture or lifestyles; we can all Enjoy the Ride more than once.
Back in January, when we decided to move to another state, after 58 years of living not only in one state but one zip code, I knew things would be challenging. Correction, I did live in another zip code for the first 15 months of my life.
In October, we purchased a home to use as a second residence while renting our apartment at the complex I like to call “The Resort,” but the universe always has bigger plans. A heads up would be nice.
We landed at The Resort after selling our home of 30 years to our son and surrendering to the inflated, dog-eat-dog real estate market in our area. Sorry, you’re not getting my soul for a house.
A CURVEBALL ARRIVED just when I was getting used to the thought of weekend getaways and vacations at our home. BAM! A colleague of my husband’s announced his retirement in the same area where we purchased our home. He saw this as an opportunity served on a silver platter, while I saw more of a Taco Bell drive-thru moment. Yup, fear, and doubt were playing center stage.
I had more to think about in my defense, like leaving my job of 18 years. Oh, and let’s not forget MY CHILDREN. I compiled a list of excuses a mile long. I presented my case without a single dramatic courtroom moment and concluded that the jury had spoken; it’s time to pack your bags. Maybe it was just the thought of packing for the second time in a year.
Financially it was a no-brainer to make a move. Sentimentally, in my mind, it was just not happening. Meanwhile, I am the first to tell anyone, “why are you holding on to that?”
As the months and days went on, reality sank in that this was actually happening. But I just couldn’t trust that this huge life change was happening for me and not to me. Even though examples were in my face clear as glass every day, without fail. At this point, even the universe had its hands in the air.
What does a girl do when she just can’t seem to get a handle on trusting what’s best for her? Oh, she consults a Psychic. That’s right, folks, if Abraham Lincoln could do it, so could I. Google it; it’s a fact.
How did that go, you ask? Well, I’m currently sitting in my new home writing this post. We moved in over the weekend during a freak Nor’eatser storm. Drowned Rat Moving Company may be a new business venture.
All week I watched the weather report showing a Nor’easter with flooding rains and 50/60 mile an hour wind would be hitting the area. There couldn’t be a better metaphor for what I was leaving behind. Well played, Mother Nature, well played.
Typically I would have looked at this storm as “a sign” that we shouldn’t move. I’ve spent too much time and energy playing victim. Those days are over. Guess what else storms bring? SUNNY SKIES.
I’m entering this new adventure with an open mind, heart, and growth. This chapter is called: Knowing my Worth and Acting Accordingly.
It’s never too late to Enjoy the Ride!