Category Archives: Thoughts

I Believe

When you work with children during this time of year, sooner or later one of them will ask, “Do you believe in Santa?” I usually give a quick “Of course I do!” then change the subject because there are some cans of worms you just don’t want to open, especially with other people’s children.

However, I’ve often thought if I were to give a  longer answer, this is what I would say…

I believe in Santa Claus.

I believe in the generosity of mind and spirit,

in listening to others, their wants and needs and acting on them.

 

I believe in Christmas Elves.

I believe in hard work and a positive attitude,

in the satisfaction of a job well done.

 

I believe in Santa’s Reindeer

I believe in pushing yourself to reach new heights,

in being steadfast and reliable and occasionally attempting the impossible.

 

I believe in the Christmas Star and the Christmas Spirit.

I believe in looking up for guidance and for help in finding your way, 

I believe in having faith in people

and in trusting that there is still so much good in the world.

Merry Christmas.🎄

A Mother’s Day Tribute: All About Doris

I would like to wish all my mom friends out in the blogosphere a very happy Mother’s Day. I think we can all agree that being a mom is the most wonderful, challenging, frustrating, agonizing, amazing, and rewarding job there is! Sometimes all in the same day!!

Since I am no longer able to celebrate this day with my own amazing Mom I thought that in her honor I would share ten fact about her that helped make her so special.

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Mom with her brother Bobby in 1936 and as a 16 year old just after she met my Dad.

  1. Her name was Doris Mae and she was born in Camden, NJ in 1930.
  2. Doris went to 10 different schools in 9 years. This was because her father, a master plumber (someone who installs plumbing systems in ships or large office buildings) had to move around a lot for his work. She often returned to the same school district a few years later, catching up with old friends. Her oldest friend, Ruth, was an eighth grade classmate who became a life long friend. After my dad passed away they bought neighboring condos and continued to watch out for each other.
  3. Because of all this moving around, school was a challenge for mom so at the age of 16, she dropped out and started her first job as an elevator operator at Strawbridge and Clothier in Camden. She also worked for them as a phone operator, a waitress and a personal shopper for people who would call in with orders (she always said this was her favorite job!)
  4. Her two favorite fashion accessories were high heels and lipstick which she always made sure she had on whenever photos were being taken.
  5. She met my dad in 1946 when she was 16 by way of her best friend Gertie who happened to be my dad’s cousin. He was 23 at the time and fresh out of the army. I remember telling her that she would have locked me in the closet if I had tried dating a 23 year old When I was that age. Her response: “Things were different back then. He was a friend of the family and I was much older at 16 than you were.” Probably all very true.
  6. She became a mom at 20 when she gave birth to my sister Linda, a name she picked out after hearing a coworker by that name. She said it was very original for the time. Linda was followed by Patricia 18 months later, James three years after that and then (surprise!) me 8 years later.
  7. She loved to socialize and always had many friends spending time on the telephone or chatting over the back fence with the other moms in the neighborhood.
  8. Her cocktail of choice was a Fuzzy Navel: peach schnapps and orange juice. I still have a bottle of peach schnapps in my pantry that we kept on hand so she could have one at our holiday gatherings.
  9. She and I took a road trip to Florida in 1993 because she wanted to visit Universal Studios. She was afraid of flying and my dad hated to travel so since I was single and was driving a pretty reliable car at the time she offered to pay for the trip if I would be willing to drive there. It was a fabulous vacation and I’ve never laughed do much in my whole life. We made a detour to Clearwater on the coast so she could visit her cousin and made of point of borrowing a swimsuit so she could swim in the ocean, something I never remember her doing when I was growing up.
  10. By the time she passed away, in 2015, Doris had been blessed with 8 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and countless other “adopted grandkids” that lovingly referred to her as MiMom, a name chosen by her first grandchild. This aspect of her life was by far her most favorite. 

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I could go on. There are so many more memories I could share. Maybe I will make this an annual post. For those out there who are also missing their moms on this special day, maybe you should take the time to make your own list, even if it’s just in your head and your heart. It’s a great way to remember those ladies who helped make us who we are.

Thanks for reading.

Share Your World -Week 1

This is the first time I’ve taken part in Cee’s Share Your World Challenge  but it looked like fun so I thought I’d give it a try.  Here goes…

What one word describes you best? 

⭐️me·thod·i·cal : A person orderly or systematic in thought or behavior. (Yep, that’s me.)

What is set as the background on your computer?

My daughter took this after the last snow fall and I just think it’s so pretty.  It’s also my blog header for the moment.

If you have been to a foreign country name those you have been too?

My husband and I took a cruise to Canada a few years ago. I’ve also been to Bermuda, the Bahamas and the US Virgin Islands but I’m not sure they count.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week

Nikki from A Texan’s View of Upstate New York inspired me to try this challenge!

The Tale of the Red Dress and the Broken Glass

Recently, on Facebook one of those “get-to-know-you” lists was circulating. It had about 50 life events that you were just suppose to answer “yes” or “no” to, (been scuba diving, watched a baby being born, visited all 50 states, etc). One of the things on the list that I was able to answer “yes” to was “rode in an ambulance.” Usually, this would be a serious or sad event but my ambulance trip was more of a strange and embarrassing ride and, as it turned out, a really lousy way to meet men. Who knew, right? I hadn’t thought about that night for many years but it’s a pretty funny story so I thought I would share.

 

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To begin this story we must first time travel back to the year 1983. My friend Patti  I, two twenty-something singles females, were heading out for a night on the town. I was feeling pretty fancy in my favorite little red dress with matching red heels, my brown hair permed to within an inch of its life. Patti was sporting a silk blouse with shoulder pads and high waisted pants with pleats (1983, remember).

The club we went to had a DJ and a dance floor and catered to hip young singles like us. By ten o’clock it was pretty packed. We staked ourselves a spot at the bar and I had struck up a conversation with a really nice looking blond guy that I’ll call “Doug” (because I can’t really remember his name but I think he looked like a “Doug.”) I was drinking a lite beer and Doug had a scotch on the rocks in one of those really heavy bar glasses, the kind with the thick bottoms. Somehow, during our conversation, as he leaned over to shout something in my ear, (the music was very loud), the glass slid out of his hand, hit the tile floor bottom first, and shattered into a million pieces.

The infamous red dress on another occasion

The infamous red dress on another occasion

Everyone in the immediate area jumped back, stunned looking down at the mess on the floor. The tiny chunks of glass looked a bowl of diamonds spilled across the floor. It was really quite beautiful. Then we noticed that there was blood mixed with the diamonds. At first we checked Doug’s hands and arms but when I looked back down I realized that I was the wounded one. Apparently there was a cut on the inside of my right ankle just above the shoe line because every few seconds a little stream of blood would shoot out all over the floor and down the inside of my opposite calf. This was  both worrisome and macabre. I wasn’t in any pain but I obviously couldn’t stand there bleeding all over the dance floor.

The music was still blaring and most of the crowd was totally unaware that anything was awry. The area around me,however, was pandemonium. Patti came rushing over, a nurse in the crowd took charge and the bartender hopped from behind the bar and kind of pushed/carried me through the nearest door into the kitchen prep area. All the while, “Doug” was beside himself appologizing, hands waving around trying to figure out what he could do to help.

He followed our little group into the kitchen where the nurse quickly propped my foot up on the stainless steel counter putting pressure on the wound with a bar towel.  I lean heavily against Patti, balancing on one heel, trying to keep anyone from seeing up my skirt. The club manager appeared from somewhere, took stock of the situation and, against my protest, called for an ambulance. I suppose they were worried about a lawsuit.

The next thing I knew, two very efficient EMTs were strapping me onto a gurney, my ankle covered in gauze. Before they wheeled me out, Doug pushed a napkin and pen in my direction, asking me to please write down my phone number. “Okay,” I thought, “This would be a really interesting story to tell our kids someday” so I quickly jotted my number, pulled the sheet over my head and tried to make myself as invisible as possible while they took me out of the kitchen, across the dance floor, out the front door and up into the waiting ambulance. The EMTs and Patti hopped up beside me.

It was close to midnight by the time we got to the closest hospital. I was feeling pretty foolish as I sat waiting in the emergency room cot. Even though my left leg was covered with splatter blood, the cut on my right ankle which was no more than an eight of an inch had stopped bleeding before we left the club. The doctor that looked at it said that the glass had probably nicked an artery explaining the spurting effect and the amount of blood. (Ewww!) He poked around making sure there was no glass in the wound, cleaned it with some antibiotic cream then covered it with a tiny square of gauze.

The drama could have ended there except that as the doctor was signing the release papers, we realized that we couldn’t leave the hospital because Patti’s car was still at the club. Neither one of us was going to call our parents at that hour so the most sensible option was my sister Linda. She wasn’t crazy about coming out in the middle of the night to rescue us either and she was even more ticked when she saw the size of my band aid!

Epilogue….By the next morning my ankle was slightly bruised and tender to the touch but otherwise fine. My stockings and shoes were history but the red dress survived to party another night. And what about Doug, you might ask? He did call the next day but only to make sure I was okay and to apologize yet again. I guess he didn’t feel that our shared experience was enough of a basis for a relationship.

I don’t know if this story has a moral but I do know that my sister loves to bring it up at family gatherings every so often just to remind me that I owe her. 😊

Growing Pains…Part Two

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Yesterday, my baby girl turned 18. How did that happen? How did she go from being that little baby in the white bonnet discovering the beach for the first time, to a college bound young woman with a job and a drivers license?

I guess I must have blinked.

She did come into this world in a hurry, just 45 minutes from the beginning of labor to delivery. We like to joke that if we’d hit a few more red lights, she might have been born in the front seat of a Honda Civic! And as a toddler, she was the kind of kid you had to hold on to while you locked the front door or else she would be down the block and around the corner before you turned the key.

But then she slowed down. She became thoughtful. When she became old enough to realize that other people had feeling, she worried about hurting them or about them being sad. I remember when we played “Chutes and Ladders” or “Candyland” she would make me take extra turns so we finished at the same time. “There, mommy,” she’d say, “You win too.”

This empathy carried through  as she got older. For many years she avoided playing sports, choosing instead to cheer her brother through baseball and basketball games.  She couldn’t bring herself to be competitive enough. No matter who won, someone else had to lose.  In high school, however, when a friend convinced her to join the tennis team, she agreed because she said it was a very polite sport. At the end of each match, you shook hands with your opponent and said “Good game.” No anger, no hard feelings (on the surface at least!).

She loved playing, loved being part of the team and bonding with the other girls but she worried about letting them down when she didn’t play her best. Her coach told her that the only skill she lacked was confidence. She lacked that drive to win. I must say though, that she still had a pretty good record and she enjoyed playing which was the point.

As a mom, I worry about this need of her’s to make everyone happy. I worry she will be taken advantage of. I walk the line between wanting her to stand up for what she wants, and not wanting her to compromise this kind and giving side of herself. Luckily, she has surrounded herself with friends who have her back and force her to choose herself sometimes. Smart kid.

She has an amazing eye for detail, arranging her room or a table setting to look just so.  She notices everything and can capture a moment perfectly, whether in a photograph or a poem, and even though she has chosen to study business management, I hope she keeps up with these more creative pursuits as well. I think they help her express things she is sometimes too shy to say. Being quiet allows you to observe unnoticed but I also want her to stand up and be noticed for all the wonderful things she is.

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Of course she has her quirks that sometimes make us nuts. There are those “teenage mood swings” that surface from time to time, and don’t ask her to make a choice if you’re in a hurry. She could be all day making up her mind, waiting till the absolute deadline to decide on which college to attend, but even choosing what dessert to have or what outfit to wear takes her a while. This is probably something we should warn her future husband about.

So I blinked and my baby grew. She struggled and she flourished. She cried and she laughed. She lived and she learned and I’m so very proud of the person she has become. I’m glad I was able to watch it all happen, regardless of how fast it went. For now I will keep watching. I think the future is going to be pretty amazing too….

I better be careful not to blink.

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The Super Elastic Power of Friendship

The first friend I ever made was named Donna. She had blonde curly hair and blue eyes and she and her family lived across the street and up a block. We might have met earlier than we did, except that neither of us was allowed to cross the street by ourselves. As it was, we didn’t become friends until my older sister started babysitting for Donna and her siblings.

From that point on we were like sisters ourselves. Sleepovers, vacations with each other’s families and just lots and lots of fun. By the time we were in 8th grade we had a nice little circle of friends and quite a history. That was the year that Donna’s father accepted a job transfer and moved the whole family south to rural Virginia. Needless to say, we were devastated. Her mom and dad promised they would do whatever they could to make sure our friendship survived.

Honoring our devotion to the Monkees...1975

Honoring our devotion to the Monkees…1975

All through high school we endured the four and a half hour drive back and forth between New Jersey and Virginia. Sometimes we went with family, sometimes with friends and one time, all by ourselves on a rather scary Greyhound bus (a story all in itself, especially the layover in Washington DC!) She spent part of each summer at my house, hanging with our old friends, and I spent part of the summer at her house making new ones.

In between, there were letters – lots and lots of long letters sharing every little thing that was going on in our lives. This was back before email and cell phones so there were many photographs sent back and forth as well. Each letter was signed “TTFN” our code for “Ta-Ta for now,” because that way it wasn’t really goodbye, it was just a break until the next time.

My sisters wedding...1982

My sisters wedding…1982

We made occasional phone calls to each other but long distance was expensive so it wasn’t very often. One call, however, will always stand out in my memory. It came late one night during our senior year of high school. Donna called to tell me that her 18 year old sister had died in a car accident. It was an awful feeling not being able to comfort my friend in person. Suddenly the miles between us seemed so much longer.

Life moved on. When she was 19, Donna married a Marine Sargent named Bob. I was maid of honor. She settled into being a military wife, going with him when she could or living with her parents, working and taking college courses when she couldn’t. At the time of my first wedding, in 1985, they were living in California, making it difficult for her to be my maid of honor, as I had hoped. In fact, we weren’t even certain they would be able to come to the ceremony until the very last minute. They did manage to make it but our visits, and even our letters were becoming less and less frequent.

Nine years later I was planning my second wedding. Donna and Bob were once again living in Virginia and working in Washington D.C.  It had been a few years since we had been able to see each other but I’d promised myself that if I remarried, I wanted her to be my maid of honor. Hubby and I drove down to visit for a weekend so they could meet and so that we could work out some of the details. Then, in May, Donna, Bob and her mom came up to New Jersey for the wedding. We were both thirty-one and had known each other for over 25 years but it felt like life was making it harder and harder for us to stay connected.

Flash forward twenty years. My life revolved around raising my kids, working in a school, and spending time with my family. I was a small town girl living the simple life. Donna, on the other hand, had finished her masters degree in computer management and had been working for a company that sent her all over the world updating their systems. Her life had become about work, taking care of her fur babies and globe trotting with Bob. They had chosen not to have children and instead spent much of their free time traveling and exploring.

Our lives had moved in such different directions and our emails, which had dwindled to a few a year, started sounding impersonal and distant, like those newsletters people send in their holiday cards. We hadn’t talked on the phone or seen each other face to face since my wedding. She had never met my teenage children. We had, for the most part, dropped out of each other’s lives.

Then, last November, my mom passed away. I knew Donna would want to know so I sent her an email, not even sure I still had the correct phone number. To my surprise, she called that night and we had an awkward conversation, both of us a little embarrassed about how much time had passed. Her schedule made it impossible for her to make it to the funeral but before we hung up we made a promise that we would do our best to arrange a visit.

It took seven months for that visit to finally take place. She and Bob arranged to drive up to New Jersey for a long weekend. They had more time available since they had recently opted for early retirement. I was glad they had chosen to book a hotel room instead of staying in our home because, even though I was incredibly excited to see her, I was also feeling very anxious about spending time with this person who felt like a stranger to me. What would we talk about? How could we possibly relate to each other?  Once upon a time we could finish each other’s sentences, we knew each other’s deepest, darkest secrets, we told each other everything. Now I was afraid our visit would be filled with awkward silences.

The evening they arrived was very emotional, filled with hugs, introductions and basic catch up. There were a few uncomfortable moments but not too bad. We made plans for the next day including a visit to my moms grave so Donna could pay her respects and then a road trip to Chaddsford Pa to visit some historic sites.  It was a two hour drive. The men took the front seat while Donna and I sat in the back.

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Something amazing happened during those two hours. It was almost like  we were transported back in time to our teenage years. We settled into the familiar rhythm of our friendship, engaging in jokes only we understood and finishing each other’s sentences, completing ignoring the guys in the front seat! The day flew by and before I knew it they were heading back home again, but not before plans were made for the next trip a month later.

The second visit was even more fun. We discovered a mutual love of fantasy fiction and antique shopping. She and Bob are building a retirement home in the country so interior design and decorating has become a common topic as well. But the connection is much more than that. I think, even though our lives and interests changed, deep down we didn’t. Our, now weekly, emails are more like chats that are following an already started conversations. I was hoping that we had made it back to a good place, but I knew for sure when Donna signed one of her notes “TTFN!”

It made me giggle, warmed my heart and made me realize that best friends are always close, no matter how far away they are. So if there is a friend in your life that you’ve lost touch with, take my advice, pick up the phone. After all…

Good friends are like stars. You can’t always see them, but you know they’re always there.

Chaddsford, Pa...2015

Chaddsford, Pa…2015

 

The Weekly Smile #6 – Visitors

This post is part of “The Weekly Smile” hosted by “Trent’s World” Please stop by and pick up some more smiles or drop off one of your own! 😊

Each winter we feed the birds. Some years we hang a seed bell in the pine tree, other years we make peanut butter pine cones rolled in seed. This year we have an actual feeder. It hangs from a shepherd’s hook just off the deck.

imageI’ve told you how much Jack enjoys this bird feeder but it’s quite a source of enjoyment for me as well. I love to watch the variety of feathered friends that come and go, and this year we’ve had an extra treat. A Cardinal couple have come to live in our yard. They seem to be nesting in the evergreen along the back fence and each morning they perch on the feeder and enjoy breakfast.

They are the most breathtaking birds! Even the lady Carninal with her muted tones is quite pretty. They flit around the yard or just sit and look in the window. Each day I watch for them and have taken to having little chats with them. They don’t say much, but I like to think they’re paying attention!

Then, the other day while browsing on Pinterest, I saw this….

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I had never heard this saying before, but it started me wondering. Perhaps the fondness I feel for my new friends is because they represent the spirit of my mom and dad, who passed away over twenty years apart but are finally together now. I’m thinking maybe they felt the need to visit and catch up a little.

I like that idea.❤️😊

It’s a Major Award!! (sort of)

imageSo I got this award. A Liebster award to be exact. I was nominated by my pal over at Spences’ Girl a blog friend who grows the most lovely flowers and never ceases to bring a smile to my face whenever I read her posts. I want to thank her for giving me this chance to share a little bit of trivia about myself. Hop on over and check out her blog!

For this nifty award, I am required to answer a list of questions about myself. So here goes…

What is your favorite birthday cake or pie?- I’m a vanilla girl all the way! Vanilla cake and vanilla whip cream frosting. Throw in some berries and I’m a happy camper!

Peanut butter – smooth or crunchy?-Crunchy, for sure

What is your least favorite household chore?-I would be perfectly happy to never have to cook another meal. 

Curly, wavy or straight hair?-Well, my own hair is straight and fine with just a few weird flippy parts here and there but I’ve always wished I has curly hair.

If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?-Somewhere next to the ocean in a house with a porch (of course).

Left-handed or right-handed?-I’m a lefty!

What is your favorite adult beverage?-White wine or beer. I’m not much for mixed drinks.

What talent do you wish you had?-I would love to be able to sing. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, as my mother would say!

What made you decide to blog?-I felt like I needed a creative outlet and it seemed like a great way to learn about new people and places!

Best decision you ever made?-Answering the advertisement my Hubby posted in personals 24 years ago. It was the first time he had ever run an ad and the first time I had ever answered one. Fate was busy at work on this one!

Person you admire most?-Audrey Hepburn; a wonderful humanitarian and a truely kind person! I have never read or heard a bad thing about her. She seemed to spend her whole life (a pretty challenging one at times) looking out for others and she did it with such grace and beauty.

Audrey Hepburn actress. Ref:PHPS055038 Date:19.01.1959  COMPULSORY CREDIT: Uppa.co.uk

Audrey Hepburn actress. Ref:PHPS055038 Date:19.01.1959
COMPULSORY CREDIT: Uppa.co.uk

Now  it’s my turn to pass this Award on. I nominate:

Rhio’s Comics

Alison Lee Chapman

Christine R

A Texan’s View of Upstate New York

(sorry, I could only come up with 4- I’m still new to this!)

Here are your questions-

  1. Favorite book or author?
  2. Favorite way to spend your free time?
  3. Cats or dogs, both, neither?
  4. Beach or mountains?
  5. Favorite song or singer?
  6. High heels or sneakers?
  7. Do you have siblings? If so how many of each?
  8. How long have you lived in your present house or apartment?
  9. Favorite kind of cake or cookie?
  10. Favorite color
  11. If you could have dinner with one person (living or dead) who would it be?

Here are the rules for accepting the Leibster Award:

Make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated you.
Include the Liebster Award sticker in the post too.
Nominate 5 -10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
Ensure all of these bloggers have fewer than 200 followers.
Answer the eleven questions asked to you by the person who nominated you, and make eleven questions of your own for your nominees or you may use the same questions.
Lastly, COPY these rules in your post.

Redefining Talent

A few weeks ago there was a lot of discussion in the media regarding Miss Colorado’s unconventional performance in the talent portion of the Miss America pageant.  Kelley Johnson, who is a nurse, came on stage wearing scrubs and a stethoscope and presented an original monologue about her experience working with an elderly patient she called “Joe”. I hadn’t watched the pageant but after reading all the comments going around I looked up the video to watch online. Here is the link in case you want to check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYoCW1DQWQE
Personally,  I  like her style. In fact, I think we could take it even further.  The term “talent” in Miss America and other pageants has been pigeon-holed into meaning some kind of performing art: singing, dancing, baton twirling, whatever. Why? These are bright, interesting women who wish to represent our country. Why do they have to sing well to do that? I’ve heard young girls here in town say that they can’t compete in our local “Miss” pageant because they “have no talent”! I bet that there are just as many “Miss America” wanna-bes thinking the same thing. What!? Everyone has some kind of talent, they’re just thinking of it the wrong way.

Here’s an idea…Let’s change the “Talent” portion of the pageant into the “How do you make your mark in the world?” portion. Then each young woman could perform, tell a story or make a video showing what she is passionate about, something that means something to her and the world around her. Maybe it would be dancing or singing or playing the piano but it could also be volunteering for a cause, caring for the environment or saving and enriching lives the way Miss Colorado does. If we do that, perhaps our daughters would idolize teachers and nurses and chefs and engineers, and beauticians the way that they idolize Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande.

What do you think?