Monday, December 3, 2012
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Monday, July 16, 2012
There are other variations of this cleaning process.
One I call the I already have on an old flannel shirt, why not use the sleeve to wipe down the dresser as I walk by.
Another I call the I’m on my way to the laundry room and have an old sock, why not stick it on your hand and wipe down that mirror in the hallway.
These are not things I have always done. They are the little shortcuts I have come up with over the years to allow me those few extra moments of down time I so deserve.
If I had to walk all the way up to the closet where I keep my cleaning products, then to the laundry room for my cleaning towels, I would waste around ten minutes I could be writing, gardening or reading.
I figure if I add up my bum cleaning, flannel shirt wiping, old sock shinning minutes, I have probably saved almost a week of extra free time.
Again I say…it’s the little things.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Saturday, June 9, 2012
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Thursday, April 12, 2012
It was 1973. We had just finished the Gahanna Relays. The group I was with headed to the Drive-in movies in Whitehall. Two cars parked next to each other. In mine, myself and my three best friends, in the other a guy I had a serious crush on and his friend. We all got out and mingled. A few other cars showed up and soon the group grew to around thirty fellow students. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was leaning against the front of my car when my crush came over. We started talking and when the movie began, he lifted me onto the hood of my car, sat beside me and draped an arm around my shoulder. It was amazing. It was the first time I remember thinking, ‘Nothing will ever be better than this moment.’ We ended up dating for over a year until he went away to college. When he left, I cried and thought, ‘Nothing will ever be worse than this.’
The next year I met Kirk. We dated for five years before we got married and there were too many, 'Nothing will be better than this' moments to write in this short blog. I do remember walking with my father down the aisle and looking at the man I was marrying and thinking, ‘Nothing will be better than this.’
A year later, I had my first child. It was late one night, during the 2 am feeding. I was sitting in a big over sized rocking chair, my son had just finished his bottle and his eyes were fighting sleep. I knew I should put him back to bed, but I just sat there, rocking and holding him, sharing that special moment between parent and child. I thought, ‘Nothing will ever be better than this.’
Then came the next two additions and I wondered, ‘Can a person love another child as much as they love the first?’ And I did. The love, as well as our family, grew. And I would sit with each of those wonderful babies, memorizing each tiny feature from eyelash to their sweet heart shaped lips. I sat gently holding the tiny hands, nibbling on the miniature toes and I thought, ‘Nothing will ever be better than this.’
They grew and so did the wonderful moments. School, sports, plays, graduations, college; all moments were I’d sit with tears in my eyes and wonder if any moment could be better than this.
SO… we went along. Then one day 17 years ago, I was called home. My Father had gone into hospice. As I lay my head on his chest and said, “I love you” for the last time, I wondered, ‘Will there be any moment in my life worse than this?’
Then I remembered one of my favorite parts of a movie I loved. It was called Parenthood. The grandmother was explaining that some people get on the merry-go-round of life, going round and round, no ups, no downs and their lives are the same day in and day out.
Others get on the roller coaster. Their lives go around sharp corners, through the loop-de-loop, up the high peaks and then down into the deep valleys. They laugh, they cry and in the end they come off a wonderful ride.
So I’ll take those moments of better and worse. Because they are all part of that wonderful ride we call life.
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Oh these wonderful women that I call friends. On a day to day basis you step out there and make the world a better place.
Yesterday I was reading over some of the past posts from friend’s walls. You see, I’ve kind of been in a funk lately. I have always been the eternal optimist, looking for the good wherever I can find it. If a person is mean then I always think there must be something going on in their lives, some hurt or trial that propels them to act out. But lately the meanness seems to be escalating.
My blog has been silent due to my recent overload of negative people bashing, political hatred and nasty attacks via the internet on everything from disagreeing with someone else’s opinions to their religious beliefs. I am overwhelmed by the constant complaining from people who feel they have a right to negatively comment on the most miniscule news, idea or posting. As if sitting behind a computer, spewing hatred, allows them some anonymity and therefore they can hit and run without reprisal.
Seriously, I was in a funk and even sitting down to write caused me to slip even farther into my bad mood.
So yesterday I tried a new exercise. After reading some past posts about friends that have gone to Haiti to help rebuild, spent time on the gulf coast re-habilitating animals hurt after the BP spill and volunteered to help up north with the recent tornado damages I thought I’d try something.
I posted a simple, “What did you do today to make a difference in someone else’s life?”
Some of the answers were -
- Helped my Mother get her computer up and running
- Shopping with Mom for her birthday and made her a cake
- Approved several $$ dollars in business loans
- Got a patient home health care as she lives alone
- Sent 42 boxes of food and magazines to Men serving in Afghanistan
- Got a family with an ill child relief from their electric bill
And then I remembered something I tried to teach my kids. Doing the big things is important. But it’s the everyday differences we make in people’s lives that make the world a better place.
I guess I need to stop letting the poison in and take time to appreciate the positive.
So, to these wonderful women who I call friends, that make differences in the lives of so many people every day.
I salute you and thank you for pulling me back.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
I was cleaning out the closet for my annual spring clean when I came across a piece of clothing I’ve had for I don’t know how long. Ladies, you know the one. It started out flannel, but it has been washed so many times it looks like an old cotton shirt. It was my fathers or my grandfathers, I don’t remember, but somehow I inherited it.
It’s navy blue, white and green checked. It’s extra large and when I put it on its baggy in all the right places. I need to roll the sleeves up to keep them from hanging over the end of my hands. It hits perfectly mid thigh for use as a nightshirt or an occasional, “I don’t think I’ll get dressed today” shirt.
It’s the piece of clothing I put on when I’m sick, when I’m tired or achy or just need to have the warmth of my shroud surround me.
It hangs conveniently on the top of the closet door or sometimes when I’ve had one of those weeks; it hangs on the top of one of the posts on my four poster bed.
As a writer there have been times I have counted on the shirt to help me through a brief block. I grab my shirt, a cup of earl grey tea with a shot of Irish whiskey and work through.
As my husband was piling his old golf shirts and workout clothes into the large bag he nodded in my direction. “Does that go?”
“Not in this lifetime,” I replied.
And back it goes, hanging close by, for when I need it to help me through or bring me comfort.
As always it’s the little things……
Thursday, March 1, 2012
The day started out like any other. I stretched, got out of bed, and opened the blinds to the new day before setting out to complete my morning tasks. Dog out, check… coffee made, check… newspaper read, check… dishwasher empty, check… upstairs to make bed, check… shower and dress, check… Then I sat down to get some work done. The latest book needs some serious editing. But before that I thought I would check the FB page.
The first post stopped everything. A friend from high school had passed away. He wasn’t a close friend. In fact I’ve only seen him twice since graduation. But he was that one guy that every time you saw him he was smiling. My sister said that she remembered him as being a person that accepted everyone for who they were, not caught up in the crazy hierarchy that makes up most high schools.
But every time we hear about a person in our own age groups, no matter what age, aren’t we all reminded of our own mortality? Doesn’t it make you stop and examine your own life for the briefest moment wondering what this thing we call life is all about?
Oh, you know for a few days we’ll think hard about what changes we can make in our lives. We’ll do more, take a few more chances, say yes instead of no. Yes to life. Yes to those moments where we step outside our safety nets and live. It’ll last a few days, but then we will all slide back into our safe existence. It’s not bad; it’s just what it is.
So…for those of you that knew him, here is my Terry "Jake" Jakeway story.
I can’t remember what year it was so I’ll say I was a freshman. I was in typing class. Yeah I know, easy class, but it filled a credit hour and I thought it would be undemanding. I was late to class, probably due to playing kissy face with the boyfriend. (I won’t put his name ‘because it wasn’t Kirk). So I take one of the last chairs and I happen to be in front of Greg Bates and Terry Jakeway. For those of you that went to Gahanna you know this was not good. I guess the jocks took this class for an easy A. Let’s just say I did better than those two, but not by much. But I do remember the teacher was one of those that phoned it in. You know, “Okay type," then leave the room to get a coffee. Greg and Terry would entertain the class. I’ll never forget the fun we had. So what if I still only type 30 words a minute with typos, the memories made in that classroom where what high school should be about.
We lost Greg when he was way too young, and now Terry. The only thing I can say is God’s heavens just got a little more laughter, but at what price to those of us left behind?
We need the laughter here, we need the joy, we need the smiling face.
Rest in Peace old friend.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Dear kids, yes we know you are adults, but we still worry. Not because we don’t trust you or because we feel we have to be in on your every decision. But we have spent a lifetime wiping tears, cleaning cuts and scrapes, and listening to problems that were devastating one day and forgotten the next. We’ve laughed with you, cried with you and supported you financially and emotionally. We loved every minute but there are a few things we need from you. Number one, just keep me informed.
Last week my daughter Lauren was filming in Miami on the set of Burn Notice. She was leaving Miami around five in the afternoon and called to let me know she was going directly to her Stand-Up class. She complained that the traffic was horrible and drivers were crazy in Miami. So at midnight when she should have been home by ten-ish I started worrying. Had she been forced to get off in a bad area of town due to a traffic accident and gotten carjacked, lying dead on one of the horrible side streets in Liberty City.
Then today I called my son, Daniel. He answered with, “I’ll call you right back.” He sounded out of breath and I heard cars in the background. Was he in an accident on 95. Was he with Amanda and had an accident? Had one of them been pulled over?
And then there’s the baby. Brooke has been independent since she was first walking. I remember when she was two my friend stopped by and as she was leaving she kidded, “I think I’ll just take this one home with me.”
Brooke held her arms up to the woman and looked at me and said, “Bye Bye”.
More often than not when she gets off work she and friends go out. We may not see or hear her until 2 or three in the morning. Which would be fine, except she and Lauren live at home and I wake up and see the downstairs light on and know they aren’t in. The crazy thoughts take over. Is she safe? If not how will I find her?
I don’t think kids realize that when you’ve spent your whole life raising them, caring about them, loving them, that no matter what age they may be, you worry. Add to that the fact that I am a writer and my creative side takes over. I just finished a book and it has a pretty scary serial killer in it. The research I had to do on serial killers added a whole new level to my worries.
I remember I was talking to my dad once and I said, “Aren’t you glad we’re older and you don’t have to worry?”
He looked at me and said, “Different ages, different problems.”
In the end, Lauren was just late because class ran over. Dan was in line at the grocery, paying the cashier and didn’t want to be rude, (where the car noise came from I’ll never know) and 9 times out of 10 Brooke is safe in her bed in the morning. (Once in awhile Brooke just stays at the house where the party was. And on a side note…I wrote this when Brooke was living at home. She has since bought a house and moved out. I worry less, ignorance is truly bliss.)
The bottom line is “just let us know”. We don’t expect to be involved on your lives to the same extent we were when you were small; in fact NO ONE wants that. Just help us not worry. In this day and age with phones and texting and all the other communication apparatus it’s easier than ever to “drop us a line”.
Monday, February 6, 2012
This social media thing has me perplexed. I mean, I am such a people pleaser that almost anyone who “friends” me is accepted into my list. But here’s the thing. Some of the people that reach out to me are from high school. A time when we were all a little anxious, dealing with all the crazy mixed up feelings and attitudes that come with being a teenager. The last thing I want is for someone from my past to think that I am that same person.
When I think of my high school years I see a girl that never felt she measured up. That was always looking for a way to fit in. I had friends. I joined clubs. But there was always a part of me that felt like an outsider. Until I met Kirk my junior year, I never really felt like I was a part of anything special.
My Mother doesn’t understand. She loved high school. She was smart and she was popular. She is still in close contact with many of the girls with which she graduated. In fact when she comes to Florida we take a couple days to head to the other coast to visit her lifelong friend Rosie. They have been friends for over 70 years.
I try to tell her that when you graduate with 50 people, it’s much different then graduating with 500. We were lucky we all didn’t get a little lost in the crowd.
Now with facebook come all these faces from the past. I love catching up with people whose lives touched mine during those days gone by. I love seeing the people they’ve become and share in the joy as their families grow. (We’re mostly grandparents now.)
SO- here’s the question; What about the ones that hurt you? The ones that made you feel like you were less of a person? The ones that betrayed your friendship and caused you pain?
Do you assume that like yourself they have moved on, becoming a different person in their later years? Do you accept that social networking is just that and expanding your friendships moves you on to a better place?
I moved away from my small town when I was 21. I settled in Florida and kept in touch with only five of my friends from High School. We watched and grew together, seeing each other through the ups and downs, the good times and bad. But with social networking you’re in contact with a person for perhaps the first time in 35 years. Sometimes it’s like you’ve been stuck in a time warp and you are thrown back to that time, with all the insecurities included.
So let’s all give each other the benefit of the doubt and assume the crazy, self involved teenagers have turned out as caring, considerate adults, just trying to get by.
I will if you will…
Monday, January 30, 2012
We thought we were prepared. My Grandmother was a victim of Alzheimer’s for five long years. She’d been moved from assisted living to the nursing home after it was decided she needed additional care. Now the time had come for us to say our final goodbyes. The family visited the night before she passed; sitting around telling stories to the empty shell of a woman we loved.
We hated the disease, hated that it had taken everything away from her. The laugh, the importance of family, the strange dance she did when you left her house, and the wonderful food she prepared.
Her own home had been sold years earlier to pay for the needed move to the assisted living facility. The precious keepsakes she’d collected over the years found homes with various members of the family. Antiques were divided up and what was left over went to auction. She had enough to live the rest of her days with the best possible care.
On the day she died, my mother was tending to the necessary tasks associated with the death of a loved one. I offered to go to the nursing home and collect Gram’s belongings, hoping to ease her burden.
As I entered the building, several of the aides came up to talk to me about my Grandmother. They’d known her since she first came to the facility and couldn’t help but share stories about her wonderful spirit. One laughed, mentioning that on Wednesday mornings Grams was the first in line for her weekly hair appointment and perm. She was always a strong woman with strong opinions, but even that was something the nurses would smile at and gently shake their heads.
I walked into her empty room. The bedclothes had been washed and placed in a large black trash bag. Her clothes and toiletries were carefully tucked into her battered light blue suitcase. I looked around the room. This was all that was left.
A lifetime put into a trash bag and a suitcase.
Tears stung my eyes as I lifted the containers to leave. An aide stepped in to see if she could help. I held up the luggage and said, “No, I’ve got it. This is all that’s left.”
“And her spirit.”
“Her spirit?” I asked.
“These are just things,” she said, pointing to the bags. “Her spirit, your memories. Those are the important things that will be with you for a lifetime.”
The bags felt lighter as I left. The woman was right, these were just things. What my Grandmother had left us was worth more than anything one could buy, worth more than earthly goods.
When I got home I walked in and my family asked, “Is that all there is?”
And I answered, “No, not at all.”
Monday, January 16, 2012
This is a story about something that happened awhile back. But it’s stuck with me and since this blog is about my thoughts I decided it was time to revisit the past.
I was standing in line at the grocery behind a young woman that had one small child in the cart and another by the hand trying to pay for her groceries. She had milk, bread, a package of cheese slices, a small bag with three apples and a small bag of bologna. She was holding her wallet with one hand trying to maneuver the money out while keeping the two kids in check. (Been there done that…well 25 years ago, but as with most memories, not so long.)
The total came to $14.36.
The woman produced a five and six ones.
“Sorry,” she glanced at the cashier. “I need to put something back.”
She paused looking at her purchases.
“Put back the Bologna.”
“$11.36,” the cashier said.
The woman scrounged around in her purse, looking for change.
“Here,” I handed the woman a five. “Get the bologna.”
“No, that’s okay.”
“No really. Take it. I’ve had a bad day and helping you might just be the thing I need to turn it around.”
And this is where the story really starts.
“Thank you.” She paid for the groceries and turned to me. “Are you from the church or something?”
“No.” I didn’t understand the question.
“I go to …” she said and named a mega church in our area.
“Actually I don’t belong to any church. Let’s just say the church and I had a falling out a few years ago and I choose to believe what I want without the confines of four walls.”
“Oh,” she stammered, “well thank you anyway.”
Thank you anyway. Those words stick with me to this day. As if I wasn’t to be thanked as a person trying to do the right thing. If she’d been through my morning, maybe she would have understood why I choose to help someone when I could.
My day started with a call that the 16-year-old cancer patient I was working with had taken a turn for the worst. I’ll call her Jenny.
Jenny was given up by her parents at the age of twelve when she was diagnosed with cancer. The parents didn’t have insurance and the state would see to the medical expenses. By sixteen she was living in a group home. I’d tried to help her as much as I could, but she was a typical teenager and was sporadic at showing up for appointments.
A week before the day at the grocery, Jenny and her 17-year-old boyfriend, decided to get married. It wouldn’t be a legal marriage, just one preformed by the hospital clergy, for a young woman dying from cancer. She asked if I would be a witness. Again a witness to the marriage was not necessary, but who among us would argue? So I went over. She was hooked up to so many tubes and wires we stood in the doorway. She wore a white knitted cap over her smooth head. Tough nurses that had seen horrendous things in the pediatric cancer ward were crying in the hallway.
A week later, Jenny died.
I had left work, crying, as I usually did when we lost a child, but needed to stop at the grocery on my way home from work. There I ran into a young woman that had judged my help.
If I was nice, I must be religious. I must attend church.
Honestly, it just felt good to be able to help someone when my day had been spent feeling so inadequate, so helpless.
I sat in the parking lot trying to make sense of my feelings after the episode in the grocery. I came away with an even stronger belief that you should do the right thing even though you may be judged.
Good people, do good things, period.