Rise and Shine
So, here we are, Easter 2020, and suddenly the Easter Bunny isn’t the only one sporting a mask this year. Sorry if you still believe that a giant rabbit breaks into your house once a year to drop off life-like chocolate images of itself, it does not.
Does everyone else feel like they’ve been living the tomb life these days? We’re way past the required three day limit over here.
All kidding aside, this experience, combined with the time of year, has me focusing on what our resurrection will be like when we get back to business. Hopefully, it will be much better than what we left.
After the universe slammed on the breaks, leaving chocolate bunnies everywhere stranded on the store shelves, we were living in a constant state of “what kind of world are we living in?” and then, just like that, it stopped. I can still smell the burnt rubber.
In the wake of this virus, we’ve been left with heavy hearts and death all around this world. However, we’ve also been handed a once in a lifetime opportunity. A pause that allowed us to look deep into ourselves and at the world around us with eyes wide open. It’s like a deep global breath.
Now, it’s time to get uncomfortable.
What are the lessons we should be learning during our time in the tomb?
How are we going to reenter our pre-pandemic lives?
What will we do differently on a personal, social and economic level?
What have we learned, not just about ourselves, but our surroundings?
Where have the lights been the brightest? On our climate? Our economy, education, food, and healthcare systems? Our democracy? On our greed, social injustice, disconnection, or ALL of the above?
It’s a lot to think about, absorb and change, but it’s also a time to reimagine the world we want for ourselves, our communities, and the world. One that fits all of humanity, with a side of nature, would be nice.
On day 2376457635 in the tomb, we are starting to crave normalcy or the normal we’ve been normalizing for much too long, we cannot return to that world. Just say, no!
The worst thing we can do is rush to return.
We need to remain still a little while longer.
We cannot fall victim to the influx of deals and steals that are waiting in the wings to tempt us back to our old behaviors.
We need to be diligent in remembering the good, the bad and the love revealed throughout this experience.
We need to figure out a normal that works for everyone.
We need to continue to be creative in our ideas and innovations for our communities.
We need to live and breathe the words of Margaret Mead.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
My Easter wish for everyone is that when you do resurrect, you will step back into the world with fresh eyes, clear minds, open hearts, and all of the soulfulness you can offer. It’s our time to Rise & Shine!
Enjoy the Ride!
Through all of the recent darkness, I’ve been trying my best to look for the silver linings and believe it or not, they’re around. Currently, the most prominent one seems to be around my hairline.
Here are just a few things keeping my sanity intact these days.
Neighborhoods all around are finding ways to lift spirits, a clear sign that humanity is alive and well on the ground. It would be nice if she took a trip to DC, but that’s for another day.
My sister lives in a small town in NJ, and she is surrounded by creative minds. While on her daily “I need to get some damn air” walk, she came across a bundle of love all along the way. Is this what it’s like to live next door to Mr. Rogers? I think it’s close.
My neighborhood has been participating in a social media challenge to find rainbows displayed in windows or on doors. It’s a local scavenger hunt of sorts. I’m not sure if there is an age limit to participate, but I’m killing it over here with 32 rainbows! The other competitors aren’t old enough to cross the street, but that’s not my problem.
Since my family is sheltering in different places, PA, NJ & CA, my daughter started a Family Quarantine Facebook page to keep us connected. So far, this has been a great way to share encouraging quotes, photos of my great-niece Hope (yes, that is her name), and of course, memes. Laughter and baby photos make everything tolerable.
The silver lining for Peanut and Landon has been having their human roommates home 24/7. Peanut follows me EVERYWHERE. He is under my feet, on my lap, or up my ass ALL DAY LONG. At this point, he’ll need therapy when I go back to work. Landon refuses to follow the social distancing requirements, Peanut just wants him to stop being “that guy.”
Throughout this experience, I’ve been noticing two things every day. The number 444 and a cardinal. Coincidence? I think not. So, what’s a girl to do when she’s hit in the face with signs from the universe? Um, Google it.
Well, just as I suspected and Google confirmed, these two things are messages. I was already aware of the many meanings behind a cardinal sighting, so I welcomed my visitor with a cheery, “Good morning, Jer!” I’m assuming it’s my brother-in-law Jerry who passed away in October. If not, his name is now Jerry.
As for the 444, this is what I found.
If you see the number 444 repeatedly, it is often your angel giving you a sign that they are with you. The sign is reminding you to feel confident and supported in this knowledge.
While we’re all on pause, take time to notice the good, feed your soul, and as always … Enjoy the ride!
How many times have you thought “Ok, I can leave this earth now I’ve heard or seen everything”? Yeah, that party isn’t ending any time soon.
Babies are born every damn day packing a whole new series of shock and awe for the world. This is why they smile in their sleep. It’s called plotting.
The other day a woman was leaving our office, as she has been doing for YEARS. Irene is kind, a little hippyish, and ALWAYS comes bearing a freshly baked challah loaf for the doctor. Some people might think that’s shocking, no, it’s not.
Out of nowhere, or the clear blue sky, she stated, “6 rats were castrated at the zoo today.” There was no warning. No one was discussing rats or their genitals before this statement, she was simply dropping a fact, and it was clear she was outraged. Before this moment I never thought about rodent genitals… EVAH!
I watched her mouth move, but I was fixated on the word “castration” as if these rodents were sexual deviants convicted by the other animals at the zoo. Maybe my kids are right, I do watch too much Law and Order SVU.
In a perfect world, I would have the power to shut that office down for a one on one interview about rodent castrations. Sadly, I’m not in charge.
So, I did the next best thing and Googled rat castration at the Philadelphia zoo. Nada. Then I broadened my search to a general rat castration window, which I admit was not one of my better life choices. I still have no idea why Irene was outraged, but now I know of several vets in my area who provide rat castration services. Knowledge is power.
The more I thought about this, which has been way too much over that past few days, the clearer the picture became. Irene is on to something with her matter of fact approach to getting the word out about injustices that leave no room for public backlash. #ratballsmatter
Now, let’s just say we took it up a notch. Next time you’re at an appointment, in the grocery line or anywhere human ears are present, drop a fact and go. Sort of like a smash & grab, but you’re leaving something behind for the greater good.
Now, since topics are endless, and facts come in all shapes and sizes, my advice would be if you’re the “go big or go home” type, please be an experienced runner or have a getaway car waiting. Remember, this is a drop and go mission, not a force your beliefs on anyone who can hear one. We already have plenty of that going down.
If you’re interested here are a few examples to get you started. Less is more.
- China has not wasted a single penny on war.
- Bats always turn left when leaving a cave.
- Peace takes courage.
- Sea levels are rising.
- Laughing reduces stress.
- One in 5 adults cannot afford their medication.
- Slugs have 4 noses.
If nothing else, it will provoke research on a subject, plant a seed, open a mind or make you look batshit crazy. There’s always that risk when you lay down the truth.
I’m going to drop that slug fact on my next visit to Whole Foods. #Enjoytheride!
Change is a Thug
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!
World Peace Is In The Kitchen
Last 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!
The other day I was walking through Target looking for another hundred things to purchase aside from what I actually needed when I overheard a mother/daughter interaction.
The mother was walking ahead of the daughter, who could not have been more than 4 years old. Her micro fashion was on point, and her pink sparkle purse did not disappoint.
Mother: Maddie, keep up you are too far behind.
Maddie: I know. I’m really slacking today. This is what got my attention. How doe she know the term slacking? She’s just a peanut!
Mother: You sure are slacking.
Maddie: Mommy! You’re not supposed to agree with me.
Mother: Well, you’re not keeping up with me today.
Maddie: I know that, but you’re supposed to tell me it’s ok that I’m slacking.
Mother: It’s not ok.
Maddie: I know that, but I don’t want you to say it because I already know it.
Me: Good luck.
This made me take pause. What was I doing at Maddie’s age? Probably eating dirt or glue.
Not looking like a miniature rock star that’s for sure. I just wore what my sister wore but in a different color.
Not using words like slacking. I don’t think it was in the dictionary yet.
Not having an adult conversation with my mother in the middle of a store. I did not speak adult at age 4, and we did not go to stores.
Honestly, I don’t think I could handle the likes of Maddie in my house. It was hard enough trying to control real children, let alone a micro adult. Yes, Maddie, once upon a time, in the United States of America, kids were second-class citizens, and they were all the better because of their status.
Without sounding like a complete fart who thinks things were better “back in the day,” I’m going to go out on a rooftop to scream it loud and clear today.
Parents need to take a step back to realize that their only function is to raise their youngins to be solid citizens. Not superheroes.
They don’t have to be the best student or athlete. They do not need to be micro adults. They do not need to be held up on a pedestal 24/7. It’s “ok” to be second.
They just need to be a benefit to the world, and believe it or not there is a straightforward lesson plan. Consistently treat others the way you want to be treated. Bam! Mission accomplished.
Now, let me go find that rooftop before the Maddie’s of the world take over.
Enjoy the Ride!
Let ‘er Roll!
via Daily Prompt: Conveyor
con·vey·or: a person or thing that transports or communicates something. “a conveyor of information.”
When I first read this prompt, Lucy and Ethel came to mind as I remembered the most famous conveyor belt of my lifetime, which has been providing laughter to so many for decades. You’re welcome.
Life was so much simpler in the days when the only things coming at us like a train were chocolates. Sigh
We now live in a time where information conveyed is too easily received, not because it’s factual, but because it matches our belief. This information overload is preventing us from L I S T E N I N G to anything outside of our own opinions. A wall has been built folks, and it’s not in Mexico.
Now that the double-edged sword technology has entered our lives; it’s not just the bombardment of information conveyed at full throttle; it’s the follow-up investigations to dissect the truths that are equally overwhelming for me. Exhausting is an understatement.
Sadly, not everyone conducts investigations because it’s more accessible to watch “Breaking News” or accept information spewed out of the mouths our politicians as factual. Easy peasy.
Just remember, Memes have become sources of News in some circles of this country. Let that sink in for a moment.
We also endure the information our “friends” on social media are conveying to the world on a minute to minute basis. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat an endless stream of blah, blah, blah. I’ve never been happier not to be a teenager.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s nice to share moments that have substance, the photo of a lost pet, an encouraging quote or funny meme, but to continuously convey your every move to the world is more of a cry for help. Look at me look at me … umm … NO!
Just like Lucy said “Ethel, I think we’re fighting a losing game.” as she shoved chocolates in her mouth, under her hat, and on the floor.
It’s time to dig deep people. The time has come to silence the overload, regain our common sense and be better stewards of the information we are conveying to the world. One closed tab at a time.
How’s this for information overload?
Be kind. Be mindful. Be considerate. Be aware. Be honest. Be friendly. Be compassionate. Be grateful. Be inspirational. Be yourself. Be happy. Be strong and as always, Enjoy the Ride!
Make Them Want More
What can I say? I L O V E to entertain.
I love to make my house sparkle & shine.
I love cooking with a dash of love and a smidgen of admiration.
I love breaking out all the fancy schmancy goods.
I love watching the interactions.
I love listening to the laughter.
I love feeling the love.
There is something about having the power to make people happy that swells my soul.
Of course, it might not seem like it while I’m running around like a chicken without its head to ensure that everything is just so or when I’m screaming at my kids because they’re leaving signs of life ALL over the house, but I really do. I swear!
Recently my son was kind enough to send me this video that could be actual footage of me before hosting anything from coffee to Christmas. As he explained “Mom! This is so YOU!” Please remind me again why I had kids?
Well, I guess I should be glad that I’m not the mother of Chris Fleming, the young man behind this video because he is the comedian that stars as the titular high-strung suburban mom Gayle Waters-Waters in this video, and many more that are also hilarious.
So, after the dust settles literally and the guests arrive, I put on my best hostess with the mostess attitude to dazzle them with delicious food, laughter, music, cocktails, more laughter and conversation before I send them back to reality where for days they are yearning for a little more. That’s Entertainment!
Enjoy the Ride!
Cave 219 Unit A
For as long as I can remember I’ve been required to complete some sort of form before my entrance into a school, hospital or doctors office. So why is this practice suddenly considered a personal attack on freedom? I have a few ideas.
Well, for whatever reason, people seem to be relating this procedure as a personal infringement on their rights as an American citizen. Hmm, I wonder where they could have gotten that idea?
As some of you may already know, I work in the healthcare system where I am in the presence of the public on a daily basis. Feel free to send words of encouragement.
So, as you can imagine, my days have been a real joy ever since people decided that every question presented, including NAME, has a hidden agenda. Items that have been routinely asked for DECADES I might add!
There seem to be (2) questions that set people off on a personal protest, lecture or comments on everything unfair. Let me introduce you to race and ethnicity. Again, why?
Um, first of all, it’s evident to anyone with eyes if you’re black, white, orange or blue and secondly, you do have the FREEDOM to not answer the questions. Places do exist where options are not a thing, and this isn’t one of them.
Recently a new patient completed his form and vigorously crossed out ALL of the race selections to write A M E R I C A N across the page. Where does one begin?
Do I ….
a) Inform him that “AMERICAN” is not a race or an ethnicity unless you are in fact a NATIVE. Based on his white hair, blue eyes and Fighting Irish jacket, I’m going to risk stating that his ancestors were not the hot guys in loincloths at the first Thanksgiving.
b) Ask WTF does that mean? Outloud!
c) Earn an Oscar nomination for exhibiting an extreme level of control while in the presence of an ass. Is there a category for “best poker face?”
See you on the red carpet folks! I have bills to pay ya know.
Next up are the folks who REFUSE to complete the ethnicity portion of the form, which is fine, and again, you have that right. In fact, there is even a little box that says DECLINES TO PROVIDE.
NO ONE, especially me is forcing you to reveal your heritage. However, one does not have to be Nancy Drew to solve that mystery or at least come close. I don’t think I’ll ever understand what makes people tick.
My faith in humanity weakens when I think about the passion associated with these “protests” and how that energy is wasted on something so senseless. Ugh!
Do they realize that their name, address, social security number, phone numbers, employer information, marital status and the name of a family member for an emergency contact have just been delivered on a silver platter, which dramatically weakens their argument and provides enough evidence to trace their roots back to a cave? Dear Lord!
Use your energy wisely and as always, Enjoy the Ride!
I’ve come to the conclusion that extreme anything is just too weird for me. It doesn’t matter what the subject is, I’m basically too lazy to be extreme. Seems like a lot of work.
Last night I popped into the grocery store for a pack of gum before hitting the gym. There is something euphoric about chewing while sweating my ass off that makes the experience a little less horrible. Clearly, I enjoy chewing or I wouldn’t have an ass to sweat off!
I noticed something going on in the line next to me. A crowd had formed. There were three-baggers in place, and I believe smoke coming from the conveyor belt. The only thing missing was paparazzi.
Of course, the Newsy Susie in me had to inquire. Turns out I was about to witness an extreme couponing moment. I confess I have watched the Extreme Couponing show more than once. Because I like to witness insanity at its finest.
Let me just put this on the record. I’m all for using coupons and saving money, however, I am not into math beyond 50% off or buy one get one free, especially while shopping. Nor to I have a bunker to store 5,000 bottles of laundry detergent that I got for 30 cents.
Just listening to the explanation as to how someone would manage to purchase 100 bottles of shampoo for 2 cents is enough to give me a headache. Literally!
So, back to the insanity at register 2. This woman had an entire cart filled with CASES of yogurt, and more waiting to be rung up. Doesn’t yogurt expire?
My bones were getting stronger just looking at that amount of calcium in one spot.
Next on the belt were stacks of Lipton side dishes in a bag. Or shall I say bloat in a bag.
I’m not sure what else she had because I was too busy watching her frantically rummaging through her purse. Oh no! She FORGOT something.
It couldn’t possibly be coupons since there were enough to build that border wall we’ve all been hearing about sitting right in front of the cashier. Who has time for that level of clipping?
I’ll never know, and neither will you because the next thing I heard was “I live right across the street, I’ll be right back.” Followed by deafening SILENCE.
Enjoy the Ride!
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