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Archive for the ‘grief’ Category

Looking around of late, I’ve come to the realization we are all broken in a way. Each of us, if we’ve reached any kind of age of wisdom, have come through something during our time here that has carved us out and helped us to grow. Life certainly is not always easy to maneuver.

Yesterday when I was exiting my bank’s parking lot, I noticed an old car parked by the curb. The owner, or so I would presume, had covered the car with what looked to be several layers of wet blankets. Since the weather was predicted to be the hottest since weather began being recorded, my best guess is this strange behavior was an effort to keep the car cool. What looked to be piles of his or her belongings were sitting along the side of the car in the shade of a large oak tree. I noticed a panting dog tied up to a post next to them, a bowl of water sitting next to it. Two things happened to me while observing that sad scene. First, I was struck with an overwhelming gratefulness for my life and the creature comforts I have been provided. I felt thankful for the fact that I was driving along in a relatively new car, with air conditioned air blowing in my face. The fact I was still comfortably full from the breakfast I had consumed before leaving my well appointed little house. For that moment, at the very least, I felt safe. I cannot imagine being exposed to the elements in that way, with little hope of relief. I know there are many arguments on both sides of the homeless situation in this country, but I cannot look at displaced people without feeling a tug at my heart whatever the argument. The second feeling washing over me was the urge to help somehow. But how? Like many of you, I’m sure, I stop and hand a five out the window to someone holding a sign on the corner. I “round up” at the grocery store for whatever charity is showing on the credit card machine, I volunteer, but is there more to do? I’m sure there is so much more. Perhaps these little acts of kindness when done in masse serve in some small way to help those who need it? I don’t have answers for this, and I’m not sure anyone does have their finger on the pulse of it. To me every solution proposed feels a bit like applying a bandaid to a gaping wound.

If you sit around concentrating on all that is wrong in the world, you won’t make much forward progress. Sometimes acceptance is the key. Understanding, as lovely as life can be on earth, we live on a planet with both upsides and downsides. We must learn to breathe in deeply the hope and joy contained in the upsides when immersed in them, so they will sustain us when we drop off into the darkness on the other side. Today is a day when I’m breathing deeply, though not too, too deeply, as it is incredibly smokey outside my window. It wasn’t enough apparently our temperatures have been nudging the record books all week. Yesterday temps actually registering 115 at the Sacramento airport. Today I woke up to find smoke from a fire about twenty miles northeast of us, had covered the area with thick putrid air. What’s next, locusts? I looked on my front door to see if there was a red “x” marked on it. Good news, nothing there but a daddy long legs. Ach. A friend of mine, ever the doomsayer, told me the Farmer’s Almanac has predicted yet another low rainfall winter here on the west coast with higher than average temperatures. Sigh. Another sigh.

I am looking to the brighter side for comfort. My passport is tucked away all shiny and new, ready to be stamped and put into service. Where I’m going to use it, I’m not sure, but there is something comforting in knowing I could use it, should the opportunity arise. Yay. I have several local trips in the works. My friend Richard is taking me on an fishing trip he has planned the end of September. Not the fisherman Richard is, for my part it will be a chance to finish the four or five half read books I have lying around the house, take some glorious walks in the wilderness, refresh my spirit again, and enjoy a little time away from the hustle and bustle that is currently what my life feels like. Sounds delightful. Richard has a fifth wheel he takes along on these outings so we will have hot and cold running water, a shower, a kitchen, and electricity. Sort of like what my son refers to as “glamping”. Camping with a little extra something, something, on the side.

No matter what winter looks like this year, I am planning a trip to the coast. It has been far too long and my soul is craving the ocean more and more with the passing of every day. That will be next on my agenda. In November I am going to Oregon to visit a friend to celebrate our mutual birthdays, so there’s another notch in my belt. There’s no stamp on my passport involved with any of this intrastate milling about, but I like to think of it as simply priming my motor.

On the downhill side, I believe I mentioned I recently sat on my glasses. Taking them to the optometrist to get them straightened, I was informed the patient wasn’t going to make it, and it was time to order new frames. I hadn’t even noticed the old frames had begun to yellow on the bottom after many years of service keeping me out of the gutter along the highway. So, a new pair was chosen and ordered. Getting notice they were in and to pick them up on Monday, I did just that. They looked very nice, which pleased me. Glasses are such a personal accessory, and one which you must make peace with every day if you see like I do and can’t leave the house without them. I placed them on my nose and left the doctor’s office to run errands. Merging onto the freeway it became immediately clear, or unclear as the case may be, I couldn’t read any of the street signs as I cruised along. Oh-oh. Breathe, breathe deeply, Susie. Back in my old glasses, I placed a call to the optometrists office when I got home. The receptionist told me to bring the new pair back in. Okie. After comparing my new and old prescription the woman told me, “We’ll see if there is something we can do for you”. “Whoa, stop the boat, here”, says I. I just paid over $400 for these new glasses. You wrote the prescription, and you filled it. There is no “we’ll see if we can do something” involved in the equation at all, rather we will”. I am not just dropping them in my junk drawer and slinking quietly off into the sunset. Not happening. The blonde on top of this noggin is totally artificially generated but even though my hairdresser uses harsh chemicals, my thinking processes haven’t been damaged in the least. Once we’d established I was going to be annoying about the whole not seeing thing, an appointment was made for another eye exam with the opthamologist. Not a solution, but a beginning. I’ll take that.

On a sad note, Queen Elizabeth II has passed away today at 96. She was three years younger than my mum. What a life of service the woman has to her credit. Like the monarchy or not, she has to be given kudos for putting love of country before self, a trait so many of our politicians seem to have left by the wayside, and having done the job she was born to do all her life with dignity and grace. I’m sure the British will give her an admirable send off with all the pomp and circumstance accorded to those of royal birth. It will seem funny not to see her out and about at this function or that wearing those dreadful hats perched on her head, and carrying her sensible handbag. Fairwell, Elizabeth. I’m sure Charles is waiting for you. Thank you for your service.

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Outside my window rain is pouring down, in June, in California. This is a big statement. Wow, this weather is really bizarre. It’s not a light sprinkling either, but actual real, heavy, precipitation. I am most impressed. Weirdest thing. A huge crow just catapulted down from my roof. Now he’s walking around my front yard shaking his head. Shocking weather for him too apparently.

Conversely, yesterday was a gorgeous mid eighties early summer day. A friend had offered to help me shape up my yard which of late isn’t wearing it’s happiest face. My landlord is supposedly on the hunt for new gardeners, as the old ones were awful. They were a crew of three. Every two weeks they would swoop down on my yard, and be in and out picking things clean like locust. Once I asked them to weed the bed towards the front and they simply used the weed eater and eliminated all the viable ground cover. One mows, one blows (to me they all blew), and the other one dumps the compostibles in the bin. The one who had the blower, seemed to just blow everything in a corner. When the first breeze kicked up, it was all right back where it had been in the first place. I was taught by my grandmother early on in my development, if you’re going to do a job, do it to the best of your abilities. Was she out in the yard with these guys holding her rolling pin, I have a feeling things might have gotten done right.

Accepting the offer of yard work help, my friend and I got an early start. The first stop we made was to the nursery, along with everyone else within twenty miles, to pick up potting soil and some additional plants. I didn’t want to get my usual hefty supply of annuals, because the water situation is such here in California, I was afraid wouldn’t be able to keep them alive. It’s amazing how quickly the tab adds up when you start piling gardening supplies in a cart. Whew. I mortgaged the farm, and had to sign Boo, the Queen of Cats, into indentured servitude working in the fields for a couple of months. Don’t pity her, trust me, the feline could use the exercise. I didn’t need to get much really in the way of plants, as I had a lot of full pots waiting for repotting already in the yard sent for my mother’s passing. People were kind enough to send some lovely plants which definitely needed some attention. I’m so proud the enormous orchid sent by my dad’s family is still alive and thriving. Usually, they are down to bare limbs by this time under my care. Every time I walk by it and see all the wonderful blooms, I say, “you’re welcome”.

The mercury retrograde was thankfully over Friday afternoon, and a miserable one it was. I could almost feel the energy lighten and lift as it was on it’s way out. Amazing how the alignment of the planets can effect we minuscule beings inhabiting this lovely piece of the universe. For those of you scratching your heads going retro what? A mercury retrograde is when the planet Mercury appears to be taking a backward tour in the sky. The general state of affairs thought to be present during a retrograde event is electronics breaking down, emotions running high or low, and general chaos prevailing. In order to come out unscathed, believers suggest you enter such a phase prepared. Back up your computers, make sure you have air in your car tires, etc., etc., and remember to breathe, and then breathe some more. There is also a plus side. A retrograde can be a time of reflection and introspective thinking. For me, I’d rather be sailing. I’ve done enough reflective thinking over the past four years and my coffers are full. Let’s get some air in those sails and get out on the Bay instead, I say.

So, with the retrograde at our backs, I felt it was a safe and positive time to get busy in my garden. Gloves and sun hats in place, we took out our bags of soil, gardening tools and hoses, and dug happily in the soil for three hours. There is something positively rejuvenating about planting that revitalizes my soul. Perhaps it serves to reconnect us with our beginnings. My friend, a person who enjoys conversations with every living creature from ground squirrel to robin when we walk together once a week, is truly a human who aligns herself beautifully with the earth. Like a puppy or small child, she plopped herself down soundly on her behind in the wet grass and had at it with plants scattered all around us. As to me, I managed to get an equal amount of dirt on myself as I did in the pots I was working with so a good time was had by all.

I was glad to get the garden behind me. The next few weeks look hectic in my world. As I said in my previous blog, my calendar has felt a bit tight lately. I seem to be bouncing along like an out of control ball rolling down a steep hill. Work will be on the agenda as well I suspect pretty soon so that should make things even more interesting when it comes to keeping up with my schedule. Last week I had something, or several somethings penciled in each and every day. Tuesday is always a busy day for me, and there were four notations under that day. Whew. I made it to three. Yesterday, while digging in the dirt I thought of a friend of mine I hadn’t seen in a while, and was reminded of a lunch date we had made over the phone several weeks ago. Oh-oh. Opening my calendar, sure enough her name popped up under Tuesday last with a notation “Lunch with…… at…….”. Hmmmmm. According to my notes, were supposed to meet at a favorite restaurant at 11:30. My bad. I called her number, already feeling the humble pie repeating itself I knew I was going to have to eat. She answered sweetly, “thanks for ditching me”. Somehow, though I heard a sugary tone, I didn’t feel the sweetness oozing through my end of the phone. I asked why she hadn’t called me when I didn’t show up. She politely explained, because she was upset. Oh. Apologizing, I explained how busy, busy I have been, which sounded lame even to me as I was saying it. Apparently, she had waited thirty minutes before ordering and eating alone. Sorry. Truth is, no matter how busy we are, we tend to make room for, and remember, what is important to us.

I try to do my best for my friends. Obviously, I don’t always rise to the bar. My friends are really the foundation of my life these days, and sweet Boo, the Queen of Cats. I am also exploring the newest addition to my world in the new man I am learning about. This is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. A new relationship is so full of highs and lows it makes West Virginia look like flatland. Sometimes I want to run, but mostly I am curious about the new being I am observing across the table from me fairly often over the past several months. It is fun to get to know new things about him, and share old things about me, which are new to him. Where this will lead I have no idea, but for today it is something I am interested in seeing through to it’s natural end, wherever that might be.

Well, I am off for lunch with a friend on this surprising rainy day. Happy Sunday to you. Finish that book, call a friend, or put your feet up, find a great movie and push “play”.

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I have to say, this has been the most miraculous week, and it’s only Wednesday!! First, as I wrote in my previous blog, I had a glorious day with a friend where I saw a mother hummingbird sitting on her tiny nest. This was a first in my life. At my age, there are less and less firsts, and many, many, more thirds, fourths, and fifths. So, in my world, a first was much cause for celebration. The sight of the small little creature huddled atop her eggs had the most incredible uplifting effect my soul.

Then Monday, I went for a walk at a local park with a friend of mine, an avid nature lover. Going for a walk with Barbara, which I do every Monday, is always an experience. Barbara stops to talk to every squirrel, each tiny bursting bud on a limb, butterflies, and passing bees. Truth be known, she’s a bit of a squirrel herself, but a very lovable one of the kindest variety. I am not telling tales out of school here. She would describe herself in such a way was she seated at the keyboard banging on the keys instead of me. Sometimes I’ll catch a passerby eying her with curiosity while she bends over a daisy to greet it for the day. Never bothers me. I have enough life experience behind me now, not to give much weight to what other people think about my behavior, or the behavior of my friends. It is most important to be true to who you are, and as long as who you are isn’t hurting anyone or anything, what possible difference does it make? Personally, I like my friends to possess a few wrinkles and kinks. Certainly, I have plenty of my own to go around, so why would I want to stand out in a group of Persian cats as the only alley cat? Hanging out with people who have no issues, to me at least, would be like reading a book without a plot.

After our walk, we stopped to have a light brunch el fresco at a lovely little farm/restaurant in the country. Spring flowers were in bloom everywhere around us. Brunch was an omelet piled high with fresh ingredients, accompanied by a side of house made bread with apricot/raspberry jam. Yum, and double yum. There are times when I find myself filled to the brim with gratefulness for my life, and this week is definitely one of those times.

Driving home after eating, I remembered I wanted to stop by a shoe store located in the downtown area. Barbara and I had discussed this previously. She said she had been there and new exactly where the shop could be found. My podiatrist has been after me for some time to get some good walking shoes. Most days I walk about forty minutes. The shoes I have been wearing, though a well known brand, apparently don’t offer my feet enough support. I have kept these shoes for longer than I normally would for several reasons. The first, Rick bought them for me, and they hold sentimental value. Secondly, they are well broken in and don’t pinch or poke me anywhere. However comfortable and well loved, they are causing sores on the bottom of my feet which is affecting my alignment from my toes to the top of my neck. Amazing how one part of you being out of whack can impact so many other areas on your body. But, I digress. Locating the store, and a coveted downtown parking spot, we walked up the main drag. Our town is small and quaint. A lot of the buildings are the original structures with upgrades and refacing to bring them into this century. The shoe shop was in the middle of the block, the door open. Yay.

On the left hand wall as you walked in, shoes of all kinds were on display. The sales woman emerged from the back room and after introductions, we discussed the reason for my visit. Asking me to remove my shoes, she explained she would have to examine my feet and see how I walked before recommending an appropriate shoe. Oh-oh. I don’t air my feet too often. During the summer months, I have regular pedicures to pretty them up, but modeling agencies are never going to court me as a likely candidate for foot modeling gigs. Rick used to say, “Put some socks on those ughs. You are scaring small children.” He was kidding, of course, but somehow I sensed there might be some underlying truth to the statement. At any rate, socks in place, I walked back and forth across the store. After watching how my feet hit the ground, she proclaimed I had high arches and one foot bigger than the other. Good news. I had looked at the shoes on the wall without my glasses when I came in. To me it looked like they ranged from $50-$80, which seemed doable. I am on a budget of sorts lately, so working on keeping my expenses down.

The saleswoman went back to get several shoes in my size, and while she was gone a woman with a friend came in and sat down. While waiting, we all struck up a casual conversation. Looking at her I would have guessed her to be in her fifties, though she told us later she was sixty-one. As there was only one employee in the store, the woman waited her turn, while I tried on the shoes placed in front of me. I told the lady fitting my feet about Rick giving me my shoes, and that he had passed away and so they meant something to me. Deciding on a pair, when she quoted me a price, I realized what I had taken to be a dollar sign in front of the $50-$80 without my glasses, was actually a “1”. Ouch. $180 for a pair of walking shoes would be stretching my budget far and beyond what I’d planned. Not wanting to charge them, I asked her to hold them until the following day and I would get cash out of my savings account to cover them. Done and done. Before leaving the store I had already decided the shoes were too pricey for me this month, apologizing to my feet. My wounded piggies would simply have to deal. As we were leaving, the saleslady handed me the box with the shoes in it. Confused, I began to explain this would have to wait until the next day, or possibly never. The other customer, Elvera, I would come to find out, came up and hugged me and said “I bought them for you”. “What”? Seriously, “What”? Immediately I handed them back. Elvera handed them again to me, saying this was to be her gift as well as mine. Not knowing how else to respond and feeling totally overwhelmed, I started to cry. What else can you do when faced with such unexpected kindness? She asked that I not ruin the gift for either of us by not accepting them, but to pay it forward down the road. I promised I would. Wow and double wow. My angels are always out there. Learning how to receive is equally as important as learning how to give. It is not a pill I easily swallow. I tell you all this so that it gives you hope. The world is a bit of a hodge podge upside down mess right now, and we need light to penetrate the dark corners. It emphasizes to my mind that nice people with good intentions pass us every minute of the day and reinforces the belief when you are down or sad, a hand, a friend or a strangers, will reach out to touch you. This is not about the shoes. Rather, it is about an experience I will forever carry with me. Somewhere in my life, when the situation arises, I will pass on Elvera’s kindness to someone else who needs a lift. With these shoes on my feet gifted by a stranger with love, I will continue on my way in my journey wherever it leads me now. Lovely.

Life is defined by it’s surprises, both the good surprises and the bad. The grief group I have been attending will host a goodbye party in two weeks. Another chapter will close, with a new one beginning. The friends I’ve made there will remain, and the stories we shared will be held by the group attending. Grief is a process I have gone through and will most likely continue to work my way through, but it does not define me. My feet, with my new walking shoes, are ready to take me in new directions, and explore new unknowns.

Remember how much a small act of kindness can impact another human being. Offering someone with two items behind you when you have a full cart a bump up in line, opening a door, smiling as you pass a homeless person pushing a cart. Each act you do ripples across the universe. Happy Wednesday.

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I am mucking about in my life at the moment. At times it feels like I am sloshing through a vat of deep, sticky goo. My feet are cumbersome and heavy as I try to drag them out of one tight spot, only to find I’ve stepped into another. This is a temporary state of mind. I am not, by nature, a being who stays down long, but for this moment this is where I seem to find myself. I have taken my costume with the large red “S” emblazoned on the front to the dry cleaners. I feel I may need it over the next few months and want to make sure it is cleaned and pressed.

Doors close throughout our lifetimes, allowing room for other doors to open. Like a snake lying in the warm sun, I slowly slither out of the old me, allowing the new me to emerge and flourish. What the transformation looks like, I have no single idea. It could be I will move, or it could be I will not. If I stay here, I will have to supplement my income as I planned for two years in this house in my budget to get situated, and I’ve already exceeded that by another six months. Ach, that will mean a part-time job. I was considering pet sitting. I am not very big as a human, so it would have to be small pets. When I first moved up to my house in the mountains, I volunteered at the local pet rescue to be a dog walker. When I arrived at the facility the first day, the owner said after seeing me, “this isn’t going to work”. Apparently they had a lot of large breed dogs, including pit bulls, and she felt they might view me as an afternoon snack. So, for two years I worked with the abandoned and lost kitties. Loved it. I could go back to office work, although I’d rather gnaw off my own foot. I know, I could try neurosurgery! Haven’t tried that as yet. The dust has not settled since my mother’s death, or even begun to fall gently to the ground. I guess the urge to do something is stronger than to simply sit here and feel the pain of her loss.

There could be a mate in my future, or perhaps I will walk alone? This, as with so many things, remains unseen behind filmy gauzy veils waiting to be revealed. Hopefully, I will find someone to walk next to me again. By nature, I’m a bit of a nester. I enjoy having someone to share my day with, or fuss over from time to time. There is another side of me which also enjoys my alone time, so should I find someone interested in me that I’m interested in, there’s that. There is movement in the wind sending vibrations to my soul that someone is coming. Will be interesting to see where I find myself a year from now. It is best to relax into the journey and not sweat the outcome, or so I believe.

The rain is coming down heavily outside. Easter is tomorrow. My children are gathering together with theirs and me to celebrate today. I am cooking. This is the source of great angst for me right now, because I have to admit I’m out of the habit of standing at the stove. I’m hoping it’s like falling off a horse. I will just hop back on it’s back and lope off down the trail without missing a beat. I decided to do old staples of mine like twice baked potatoes and garlic bread. Both are hard to mess up, although with my track record of late, I can probably make it happen. I cleaned my house yesterday from top to bottom. Rick used to think that such a ridiculous ritual. “You clean the house”, he would say, “so people can come over and completely mess it up”. “Yep, that’s the plan”. Good, bad, or indifferent that’s how I was raised and that is what I do.

I did make the twice baked potatoes yesterday in between dusting and vacuuming, because they are the most labor intensive. The rest of it, I left until this morning. Easy peasey. Nothing in this house ever goes wrong unless it’s a weekend or a holiday. I woke up early, which is also what I do. If I sleep past five I run an ad in the paper celebrating my recent success. After coffee and a bowl of cereal, I caught up on a bit of news and made my way into the kitchen. Placing the bags of Brussels sprouts on my counter I needed to trim and cook, I was thinking to myself I’d actually made it this far without a misstep, and was feeling a little uneasy about the whole thing. Deciding I would wash my hair first to get it out of the way, I opened the cupboards under the kitchen sink to retrieve my shampoo and conditioner. To save me time, the two containers and half of the rest of the contents of the lower cupboard floated out onto the floor on their own. Very handy, if there wasn’t now water everywhere all over my clean floor. “Ah, Murphy, you sly old puss, you let me get a false sense of security this time before doing your worst.” Picking up my phone, I texted my landlord. Thankfully, he is the nicest of humans and lives directly across the street. Telling me he’d arrive in fifteen minutes, I was instructed to get everything out from under the sink and put towels down. Done and done. Getting in my grateful mode, which sometimes takes a lot of energy, I said aloud I was thankful he was home on a holiday weekend and could get here to take a look at the pipes. Otherwise, it would have been In n Out cheeseburgers for all, which was beginning to sound better and better with each tick of the clock. If I had no water, then no dishwasher, or ice tea or dinner. Grateful, grateful, grateful, that’s me.

So, turns out two pipes had completely disconnected. It was a twenty minute fix, and I am up and running again. If this is the worst thing I have to deal with in my life, I will be A-OK. This will be our first holiday without our matriarch. That her death was not unexpected, doesn’t make it any less of a loss. She was so significant to our family, and will be sorely missed by each and every one of us. Today we will tell funny stories of her, as she provided us with scrapbooks full of material, and remember how without her none of us would be seated around my table celebrating Easter. It is a time of thankfulness and family, of loss, sacrifice, and rebirth. I hope it finds all of you seated around a table with loved ones, or hiding Easter eggs in your yards, or kissing your babies or theirs. Remember to say what you feel in your heart to your loved ones every opportunity you get. Life is serendipitous and you never know when you won’t have the chance to say it the next time. Also, remember to be kind to yourself. We humans are often our own worse critics.

Looking at my life now, I realize how very much I’ve changed over the past four years. Change is part of life and certainly I am not unfamiliar with it, but I mean I’ve changed in deep and profound ways my entire essence. Where I used to love to cook and putz around the house, these days I prefer being outside under the trees or walking along a mountain path next to a stream. I will begin the process of remolding myself once again as I step over this hurdle as well, and most likely not recognize myself by the time I reach the end of my journey.

Happy Easter to you and yours!!

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I sat quietly in my mother’s room, a bit player in a lonely vigil as her life began to wind down. I was there to bear witness to her releasing the last of her connections to this consciousness, and help send her on her way to her next destination. To me, it felt as though she was inside the basket of a huge hot air balloon hovering above the ground, with only one rope remaining attached. Once that rope was freed, she could soar unencumbered up, up, up into the sky until she finally disappeared into the clouds.

”What is she thinking”, I wondered, as a thought appeared to scroll across her lovely face? Is she afraid, or is she open to discovering the mysteries lying beyond what we mere mortals are given to understand?”

Her skin, though having shielded her body for nearly a century, remained smooth, still tinted with a natural rosy hue further accentuating her now very prominent cheekbones. I kept watch on the slow rise and fall of her chest, finding myself on high alert waiting for the next breath of air to be drawn into her lungs.

I whispered in her ear my thanks and gratitude for loving me unwaveringly, even when I was displaying the less lovable facets of my personality. I thanked her for being my biggest fan in whatever I attempted to accomplish, and for the happiness shining in her face every time she saw mine.

We had a good run she and I. Mother and daughter can often be such a convoluted relationship, fraught with potholes and often more challenging than traversing a minefield. It hasn’t always easy between us. We lived together as adults twice, The first time was for three months, and the second for six. At the end of the six month period, I left and found my own space because I knew if I did not, our relationship would be damaged and it meant more to me than having a less expensive place to hang my hat.

Though we looked much alike, we were, at the root of us, very different beings. My mother slow and methodical by nature, where I live in hyper drive, taking a more shotgun approach to my world. She was ever the fashion plate from the top of her well coiffed head to the tips to her well appointed shoes. For me, it has forever been jeans and tee shirt. So unalike were we, I used to tease her that when she was leaving the hospital with me, the nurses had handed her the wrong baby. In spite of our differences, we came together seamlessly, finding a way to mend our fences and stand on common ground. Loving to laugh was a trait we shared equally and did together often.

It has been a long slow process saying goodbye to my mother. Dementia stole her from us a piece at a time. Her essence remained, however, and will continue to remain long after her body is cremated and her ashes scattered across the waves. Her essence will remain in all the smiling photos held fast by magnets on family refrigerators, or in pages of endless albums filled with shots of her holding my children and theirs, but most of all, it will remain in the hearts of the people she touched. She was Mum, Grandma Mary, Grammy Mary, Great Grandma Mary, to the youngest of our clan, and Aunt Mary, but most of all she was a grand old broad, who lived her life on her terms, loved a bit of mischief, and was always there for those of us who loved her so.

My mother passed away at 6:30 yesterday morning. My world seems much more empty as I write those words. Some people believe we choose our parents before coming into this world. If that is true, I chose well.

Fly free my dear little mama. leave the much detested wheelchair and achy old bones behind, and feel the wind beneath your wings. I will be the vessel for your story, and see you again at the bend in the road, where we will again turn and walk hand and hand together. Please have a can of salt and vinegar Pringles waiting for me. I love you unabashedly, your one and only chick.

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Along with the entire world feeling a bit like a shoe that doesn’t fit these days, the weather here in Northern California has been totally unpredictable. A week ago I was running about in shorts and flip flops and today I have on a sweater, boots and a puffer coat. Thankfully, I had the presence of mind when swapping my winter clothes for lighter weight summer ones to hold out a few sweaters “just in case”. Day before yesterday we were treated to actual rain. I know! I was sure it would really rain because I washed my car the day before. Maybe if I washed my car more often, our rain buckets would look more abundant?

Sunday night I sat down after a very busy weekend to relax and watch the Oscars. “Not so fast”, Susie. I’m watching as Chris Rock takes the stage as a presenter. For those of you unfamiliar with what happened next (if you are I will have to assume you live in either a cave in Tibet or an underground bomb shelter), the comedian told a poorly chosen joke at the expense of Jada Pinkett Smith, poking fun at her hair loss. Smith suffers from alopecia and has shaved her head. Seeing the uncomfortable expression on his wife’s face, Will Smith suddenly launched out of his seat. Smith made his way with determination to the stage and proceeded to to knock the molars out of Rock’s mouth, figuratively not literally. Returning to his seat, Smith then treated the audience present and at home to a string of expletives while a stunned Rock was still trying to compose himself on stage. What was that all about one asks? I thought at first this was all staged, but noooooo. Aggressive males seeming to taking center stage all over the planet right now. Perhaps we need to begin to look at the possibility there is too much testosterone floating about in the atmosphere with all the other pollutants? I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m pretty sure jarring someone’s teeth loose is not the optimum solution. Just sayin. Please don’t misunderstand me, I think there’s plenty of blame to go around. I don’t find anything amusing about making fun of someone going through a health issue. However, comedians have been telling mean spirited jokes for years. I remember going to see Don Rickles in Reno once. He could slice through a steel bar with his tongue. My husband wanted to sit at the front by the stage, but I vetoed that whole program. Personally, I don’t find humor that demeans other people funny, but that’s personally.

When my kids were young, I used to tell them to be careful with their words. Words, to my mind, are the most powerful tools we humans have in our arsenals. Well chosen words can wound often far deeper than the sharpest of swords. Once they have been said, though an apology can be offered, they are never truly erased.

Moving on to other subjects, this week is absolutely flying past me. I can’t seem to catch up. Don’t know if it’s the recent time change, or my life has simply gotten busier of late, but everything feels a bit chaotic. Last night I was in the middle of a particularly unsettling dream when a friend called at the most climatic moment. Why is it when you are woken up from a dream a fog settles over you for the rest of the day? Well, perhaps it’s only when I’m woken up from a dream. In my weekly grief group this morning I was so groggy my head kept flopping from side to side like a recently caught catfish lying on the bottom of the boat. For a moment I was afraid I was going to fall asleep and face plant on the desk in the middle of the presentation.

Being in a group of like minded individuals, or in this case other human beings sharing a common thread, has for me been the bridge to allow me to cross over to the other side in my grief process. Having two men die in a row of the same disease within a four year period has been a large pill to swallow. One thing I will say is, going through the first experience, provided me with a lot of tools which I have used to traverse the second more easily, or at least understand the process better. I feel at last as if I’ve stepped out from beneath the shadow of a massive tree, and can feel the sun shining fully on my face. Now that I am standing in the clearing with nothing before me but space, I must determine what to fill that space with going forward.

Life is such a curious experience, I think, having added some notches to my belt at this stage of the game. It’s not a place where you can really sit down, put up your feet, lean your head back and ever totally relax. It always seems it is at the time I assume that posture, something seems to show up that has me back up and standing on my feet again.

I had lunch today with a gentleman interested in having lunch with me. When he asked to get together, I thought “why not”. I’m not sure what adventures the next few years will promise, but I am open to looking at new faces and learning more about them, or exploring the possibilities of what or who is out there. I found when driving into the restaurant parking lot, I had a flutter (the collective name for a group of them) of butterflies doing a samba in my digestive track. I haven’t “dated”, if you will, since I met Rick in 2000. Things have changed. I have changed. The walk to the front door was dominated by a conversation being engaged in between my head and my feet, with my head telling my feet to continue walking in the direction they were headed and not to turn and run the length of the parking back to my car. When I walked inside and saw him seated on a bench, my mind began screaming at me “run, save yourself”. In spite of the incessant nagging going on between my ears, I managed to say hello. The hostess greeted us, and led us to a booth towards the back of the room. Handing us each a menu and asking about drinks, we were then left to our own devices. After getting the initial “weather updates and how are you’s” out of the way, we began the age old ritual of getting to know one another. He talked about himself, I commented. I talked about myself, he commented. I looked at him over the rims of my glasses, and he, in turn, looked at me over his.

I ordered lunch, because that was, after all, why we were there. I had decided I wasn’t going to be anything but who I am, and who I am likes to eat. After a few moments of awkward conversation the food arrived. As we began to eat and talk, we also began to relax. The time passed easily between us and before long I found I was enjoying myself. When our time together had ended, we agreed it would be nice to get together again. Whether this happens or not remains hidden around the bend, but if it does, I believe I will look forward to looking at him over my glasses once again and learning more of his story.

Anyhow, new beginnings. This does not mean the people left behind aren’t carried with me, but only that I am making room for new experiences and saying yes to new possibilities.

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The check engine light has been on in my car for over a month. Finally, last week, I got it into the local Ford dealership to get it looked at. Turns out, a secondary air injection pump, or some such piece of machinery, somehow got water in it. This caused the pump to fail as well as the connection to it. Apparently, this is very rare. Leave it to me. Though it’s still running, if left to it’s own devices it will eventually have me by the side of the road calling AAA. It’s a 2009, so not just driven off the showroom floor. Though it has good mileage, it’s still an older model (sort of like me), but very reliable thus far (again, like me). All in all over the years, it hasn’t caused us or now me much grief. I guess, if leaning on the grateful side of things, I’ll have to be happy with that. On the “aw crap” side of things, it is going to cost $1,000 and change to make it well again. Sigh. I do not want to have to buy a new vehicle at this juncture with the prices soaring, so better this outlay now, than a monthly payment in my near future.

I’m thinking seriously about getting a printing press and printing out some twenties in my basement to carry me through the lean times. Just kidding, I don’t have a basement. I had to take out a loan to gas up my car over the weekend. I put up my bocce ball set as collateral. I’m beginning to think it’s time for Boo, the Queen of cats, to be considering employment. She’s been cruising along on her good looks far too long in this relationship.

Employment will most definitely be next on my check list for this “why not” year. Truthfully, it’s less of a “why not” and more of a “you better”. Money is flying out of my account lately, with little returning to the nest (egg). I try to live in the moment and not worry about it too much, but sometimes even the moment catches up with me. The other day, I went for a ride with a friend of mine around the area. We drove up an old rural road to take a look at a historical house located at the top. On the way down, we passed by three small white houses on the property. One, looked to be not much bigger than my shed out back. Signs of someone living there were evident. There were curtains in the windows, the smallest one had a bike leaning against the railing, and the last one, before we reached the highway (the most interesting to my mind,) had a huge bush out front. The bush, was brightly decorated with someone’s colored cotton underwear. There were at least a dozen pairs of lady’s drawers scattered about the shrub drying in the sunshine. It was obvious by the size of the dwelling there wasn’t a washer and dryer tucked inside, so this, apparently was what the owner of the lingerie had come up with to take care of the situation. There, but for the grace of God, go I. Had to give her some credit, would never have thought of it myself.

I have mentioned many times I have had more than enough money in my life at times, and at other times not enough. After years of yo-yo experimentation, I have to say I prefer the former. I don’t need an obscene amount of money in my bank account, and thus far that check has never arrived in the mail for me to consider it, but enough of a cushion to sleep well at night. In this “why not” year I am open to abundance in my world. When younger, I used to think having a little cash in the bank was neither one way or the other in terms of contentment. I certainly never married for money, which is reflected is my current monetary status. But, I have to admit, these days, as I creep up the ladder, I have begun to think about it a little more seriously. Not marrying for money! I would never do that. However, giving serious thought to generating more income to cover my expenses down the road.

Last week, I had breakfast out with a friend at a small restaurant downtown, popular with the local people. Good food, excellent coffee, and home town ambiance. The owner, a lovely woman I would guess around sixty, was waiting on tables. While ordering my Eggs Benedict, we struck up a conversation. Like many restaurant owners, staffing has become a serious problem for her since the Pandemic darkened our doors. I mentioned I used to own a restaurant, and by the end of the meal she was sitting next to me telling me about her experience. The table next to me was being cleared by a man appearing to be easily in his late eighties. Seeing my eyes looking in his direction, she explained he had been on the street when he first came to her seeking employment. Reminders of how close we all can be (in the lower 99%) to finding ourselves in an unfortunate situation.

For me, I am being careful not to be so cavalier with my spending. There is a difference between “need” and “want”. Truly, there is little other than the basics like food, clothing and shelter I need. The want list is far longer and mostly includes traveling, but nothing I can’t live without. Before moving here, I had half my possessions packed in boxes for months prior to selling my house. I was surprised to note, I didn’t miss most of what was packed at all during that time. Shows you how much surplus we drag along with us on our journeys.

I have downsized twice since 2013 and don’t feel mistreated. If anything, there is less to clean and to worry about. Check the “fine with me” box on this.

Someone told me once during a retreat, “always remember there is someone in the world who would look at your life and consider it abundant”. That being said, I work hard and looking at what wonderful gifts I have, and not what is missing from my plate. I don’t always succeed, but that is the direction I am headed.

Have a rich and abundant day.

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After watching the morning news detailing one disaster and tale of misery after another, I decided I’m going to start a “Happy News” program to begin people’s days. A news program featuring videos of firemen rescuing a brood of baby ducks from a storm drain, or stories of angel sightings, or a mother cat adopting a litter of guinea pigs. Something please, to stem the constant stream of depressing and malignant news spewing out of my television set. Whew, I know I feel better simply saying that out loud, or at least writing it out loud.

Now I’m not for a moment suggesting we stick our heads in the sand and ignore the disturbing things going on in our world. Rather, I am suggesting, before stepping into the boiling pot, we at least begin our days with something upbeat and soul refreshing to temper the sadness and despair. I’m just sayin. We all need to be part of the solution for what is broken in our society. If, in fact, there is a solution, which I hold great hope there will be. Each of us, though only one individual, is an integral part of the collective whole. As such, we are responsible for doing our part to keep the earth moving forward and help out our neighbors when the need arises. This, in a perfect world, of course, which we do not live in. If it was a realistic goal, I would fill my tiny home with people displaced by the war, by homelessness, or for whatever reason found themselves without a safe harbor. However, this would be like placing a bandaid over a gaping chest wound after open heart surgery. Simply does not cover the situation. I don’t have any solutions, just thoughts for easing the pain.

Speaking of pain, I went grocery shopping this morning. Now, that truly was painful. I picked up a pound of hamburger and the ticket price on it was nearly $12.00. Wow. “Does this come with a filet”, I wondered? Perhaps the steak was buried under the hamburger, but no? OMG. Also, they seemed to be out of salt and vinegar Pringles. WHAT!!!!! Pringles are my dirty little secret. I eat them every day for lunch, and only the salt and vinegar variety with all their salty vinegary deliciousness. I am not ready for a world that cannot provide me this small luxury. In a world gone mad, Pringles provides me a little salty sanity. Going to the store, of late, seems to be asking too much of me. I realize with all the huge things going on in the world combined with what is going on in my personal life, perhaps I am not handling the smaller annoyances as well as I usually do. Surely there are many people facing hardships far and away beyond when the next potato chip shipment hits the shelves, but it adds another layer in my day to day that makes getting through it all a little harder.

As I struggled to deal with the Pringles crisis, this was yet the third time I’ve looked on the well stocked water aisle to find no distilled water. Huh? There was drinking water, sparkling water, purified water, but no distilled. I asked the checker about this, and he suggested I come on delivery day, and then stock up. Asking the next logical question, I inquired on which day delivery day might be. His answer, “varies”. Helpful. Though sometimes it might not appear so, I do have a life and don’t really have time to stalk the water aisle every day in the hopes the distilled water guy happens to be there making a delivery. Testy? Yes, I am.

While in the produce section I picked up $9.00 worth of blueberries. They are my morning treat and a healthy option for a snack. They are also about double what I used to pay for the pleasure of sprinkling them on my oatmeal. When I got home and was putting away the groceries, while tucking the blueberries in the fridge, the lid popped open distributing $8.50 worth of berries under every appliance in the kitchen. For a moment I thought I might cry. Life is getting serious lately.

Discussing rising food costs with a friend, she said her plan was to drive from store to store picking up the best deals. Good plan, except gas is $5/gallon, so in the end you’re not really ahead of the game. This will put a kink in my “why not” travel plans somewhat though I still plan to travel if I have to warm up my thumb and stand by the side of the road. My feet have continued to drag on renewing my passport. I don’t know why this is, other than I am hesitant to wrap myself up in all the red tape associated with doing it. Back in the 80’s, I needed my passport to travel to Nova Scotia. Being Canadian, I was informed if I wanted this process to take less time than elephant gestation, I would need to go the nearest Canadian Consulate to get my paperwork done. Kay. Living in the Bay Area at the time, the consulate was located in downtown San Francisco. Knowing traffic and parking would both be issues I got up with the chickens and was in “the city” in time for a light breakfast before arriving at the consulate at eight. Thinking myself very clever to arrive so early, I fell in line with a hundred other “clever” individuals and took number 88 from the clerk and found a seat. Several hours later my name was called and a gentleman guided me to an office at the back of the building. First I was told my permanent resident visa (green card) would have to be updated. After providing all my personal information, I was again left in the waiting room with a sea of other Canadians to wait to be recalled. Lunch passed, afternoon break was enjoyed, and around three o’clock I heard my name called once again. By that time I had assumed every position in that folding chair humanly possible without being a contortionist and consumed half of the packages available for purchase in the vending machine in the corner. Note to supplier “corn nuts were most probably placed there in the early 1950’s”.

The same gentleman I’d spoken to earlier in the day ushered me once again into his office. The reason I was still there, he explained, was that they couldn’t find me in their records. Huh? Nope, apparently I didn’t exist. At four thirty, still there yes, and on the last bag of stale corn nuts, he figured out the problem. Yay. Turns out I was indeed born (good news there) but came into this world with my actual father’s last name. With me so far? Then my mother remarried for the first time when I was nine and my stepfather adopted me at that time. Sooooooo, long story short, when you are adopted, your original birth certificate is replaced with one with your new name on it. Who knew? My mother was married four times to four men with very similar names. When I begin to go through my lineage you need a pointer and a flowchart to follow it. Finally, I was granted my papers. Hopefully, this time with be a bit easier.

Finally reaching what we hope to be the end of the constant barrage from COVID, we are now faced with the war raging overseas capturing the lead headlines. It takes energy to rise above the clouds to find the blue sky and warm sun on one’s face in the morning. For those of us far away from the battlefield, we are left only to feel compassion for those going through this aggression and help where we can. For the participants, they are faced with the loss of their homes, family members, possibly their country and their freedom. A far greater cost, to say the least.

Today I shall be thankful for everything I have and eat my $12.00 hamburger and be glad to have it. Have a great and blessed day.

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This past weekend had some sad notes in it, along with some really melodious ones. Watching my mother’s decline is a difficult vigil. This month she will add another candle to her cake, and those of us who treasure her, are happy to be celebrating the momentous event with her. Each day, each visit, becomes more precious as the hours tick by on the clock. I try to imprint sounds, touches, and memories into my mental scrap book to pull up somewhere when I no longer have her with me. Enjoying a nice visit with her on Saturday, I came home feeling a bit melancholy. Dale has been gone since late October, and I’m still settling into the rythms of my new life without him. Some days are more difficult than others. I stopped on the way home to browse through Home Goods, my happy place. I didn’t need anything in particular. Sometimes, I just like looking at all the beautiful things on their shelves. Usually, I manage to find a little something something I didn’t really need.

While at my mother’s I placed an order for some supplies needed for her care to be delivered from Costco to her residence. Costco is about five miles from where she lives and about thirty from where I do. Instacart will deliver from the store without a membership card. I let mine lapse this year. I love shopping at the big box store but I end up tossing half of what I buy because everything is packaged in such large quantities. Continuing my unbroken string of stupid is as stupid does activities, I arrived home about three hours later to find my mother’s Costco order waiting for me on my doorstep. Seems someone forgot to change the delivery address when placing the order. This means another trip back to my mother’s to deliver the goodies. Sigh.

Opening the door at my house and gathering my mother’s order, I found Boo, the Queen of Cats, lurking behind the door wearing her “where have you been” face. The cat has a strict internal clock, and when I miss the treat deadline for the afternoon the retribution is swift and mighty. First, she gives me the stink eye oozing with disdain, and then she sits with her back facing me until the treats are dispensed. Cats, as they say, be crazy, or do they make us think we are? Words to think about.

As much as I enjoy a good day in the stores, retail therapy isn’t the best choice for filling the void after someone passes away. However, shopping is something I enjoy, and sometimes Susie’s just gotta do it. Truth is, I was trained by the best. My mother, when able, was a consummate shopper. Can’t tell you how many times growing up, my closet floor was lined with bags from well known retail merchants waiting to be integrated into the household. The integration process was always done with the utmost stealth, so as not to alert my stepfather any new additions had been taken on board. When he spotted her wearing an outfit he didn’t recognize, I can still hear him saying, “Mary, is that dress new”? Mother, naturally pretending to be highly affronted by the inference, would reply “I can’t believe you’re asking me that. I wore it to Patty’s party on Saturday night”! Was I in the room, I would get the wink telling me to keep my usually loose lips sealed, and the game was afoot. My stepfather, not wishing to be accused of not being properly attentive to his wife, would then nod as if having a sudden clear recollection of the event in question and mother in the dress. He would then say, “oh yes, very nice”. Uh-huh. I believe these days this practice is referred to as “gaslighting”. Basically, it is when you make another person think they are crazy for imagining things actually going on. Mother really got in on the ground floor on that one.

Also, on the way home, I stopped at several stores in search of a pair of black pants or possibly a dress. My wardrobe has dwindled down to jeans and shorts. Sunday, I had plans to go to the symphony with a friend, and neither were going to be appropriate for the occasion. I had gone to listen to the same symphony a month ago and noticed people were a little more conservatively dressed than is the norm for this area. That being said, I felt I’d better step up to the occasion. When first asked if I’d be interested in going to see classical symphony, I have to admit, my instincts were to decline. Then I thought of my “why not” theme for this year. Not considering myself a fan of classical music, I was curious to see what this was all about. So glad I did. I loved, loved, loved the whole experience. After the first symphony, I found myself excited to be doing so once again. Had I not stepped outside of my own perceptions, I would have missed out on two wonderful afternoons filled with the most beautifully performed music, and hopefully more to come down the road. Yay.

Have to say, I don’t know who is designing women’s clothes of late but can’t imagine where they are drawing their ideas from. Browsing through the dresses, they seemed to break down into two categories. One would include cotton peasant style fabrics with flouncy sleeves and bibbed fronts. I call these the “Laura Ingalls Wilder Collection”. For those of you who watched Little House on the Prairie you will get the reference here. The second set, in more flowing nylon fabrics with cabbage roses dancing across the bodice or vibrant prints, I refer to as “Nana’s Parlor Collection”. One of the patterns I’m pretty sure I recognized from my piano teachers loveseat. Awful. When you are small framed such as I am, pulling one of these on makes you look like a six year old trying to pull off your mother’s clothes. I don’t think they could possibly be flattering no matter what your build.

The pants on the racks I found interesting as well. To begin with, they all seem short for some reason. I am 5′ 5″ tall, not exactly ready to be recruited by the Knicks, but every time I pull on a pair of pants lately I feel like I’m fully prepared for high water. Should the flood gates open, if wearing those pants I can continue on my way without taking on a drop of water. If they are not short, they look as if they’ve been attacked by a crazed tailor brandishing a pair of sharp scissors. My granddaughter has a pair so shredded she’d be more covered if wearing a pair of shorts. You pay more apparently for holey pants than those fully intact, and you don’t get hems on the bottom either. I came home with nothing more than I left the house with, except for a slight headache. The good news is, if they keep putting out clothes like this I’ll be in better financial shape.

This has been a hectic and most chaotic couple of weeks. The heart monitor they attached to me last week at my cardiologist’s office, as I mentioned in my previous blog fell off when I got home and had to be reattached. After being part of my body for six days and needing to be retaped, it turned out I was allergic to the super tape used to keep it in place so is now resting in a UPS return envelope waiting to be returned to the mother ship. Can’t say I’m sad to see it go. The device brought more stress with it honestly, then I need in my life right now.

So, back on track for the moment, I forge on. Hump day is upon us and we have already stepped into March. Whew. Trying hard to concentrate on the moment in time I am living. If I get too far beyond today it sometimes feels as if I’m stepping out on the ledge with nothing but empty space below me. Had to turn off the news this morning. Climate change, the Ukranian crisis, all too much to take in in one gulp.

Find your grateful space, your happy place, even if it’s browsing the shelves at Home Goods. Sometimes you simply have to feed your spirit in whatever way suits you for the moment you are in.

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Wednesday was a day of self care for me. A side effect of care giving, is that the care giver tends to neglect their own body and mind while caring for the other person. I am beginning to experience the ramifications of that, and working on righting my ship once again. The first thing on my agenda was to finally cash in the gift certificate for an hour and a half massage my son and his fiance gave me for Christmas. For reasons which escape me now, I seem to have been actively avoiding this appointment. Never having had a massage before (I know!), the thought of a stranger slathering oil all over me to be honest I found a bit off putting. As it turns out, and it often does, the reality turned out to be nothing like I perceived the experience to be. This adds yet another positive check mark to my list of to-do’s in this my Why Not? year. I’m going to make a tee shirt bearing those two words. Seriously. As I say them out loud and follow where they lead, they are taking me places I might not have otherwise thought to go.

Before my appointment, I opened my closet and pondered what one wears to get slathered in oil. After some deliberation, I chose a cozy sweat pants ensemble with matching hoodie. I tucked a hat in my purse both because temperature outside was in the low thirties, and I had been told by veteran massage enthusiasts the therapist may rub my head as well. Huh. Maybe she can move some thoughts around up there. Lately they’ve been a little mumble jumble. I’m willing to keep an open mind, so to speak. Stepping outside was like stepping into a meat locker. When I went to open the car door, it was frozen shut. Fine. Back into the house, I retrieved my spare car key. Hosing the door down, I pried it open and turned the car on cranking up the heater. Fifteen minutes later I was ready to rock and roll.

The wellness center was tucked in the back of a small strip mall behind a church. There was one car parked out front, which I pulled in next to. Inside the foyer there was a wall with a waterfall cascading down it. Lovely, relaxing music seeped out through the wall speakers, and a lady speaking in low soothing tones greeted me at the front desk. All it needed was Buddha himself squatted cross legged in the foyer to complete the picture. I was ushered into a dimly lit room with candles flickering and calming sounds in the background such as gurgling brooks and chirping birds. I was asked to disrobe as much as I was comfortable and climb into under the pre-warmed covers. “Why not”, I thought, as I prepared myself for my new experience? The hour and a half disappeared in a cloud of heavenly relaxation and peaceful moments of pure bliss. Ahhhhhh. When my time was up, I oozed off the table, slithered into my clothes, pulled on my hat and stepped back out into the world refreshed and renewed. Lovely. A friend suggested I do this monthly. That’s not happening. Pampering oneself does not come without a price. This time was a gift. When I asked on my way out how much it would cost for a repeat visit, I waved goodbye knowing most probably I wouldn’t be back for a long, long while.

Later in the day, I had an appointment to have a heart monitor put on. I have to wear this for a month, which is annoying, but they want to see what is going on with my irregular heartbeat. This is a condition I’ve had since I was a kid and periodically it creates some underlying problems. I’ve had the monitors before, but usually they were large contraptions with lots of wires. The new ones are about the size of a Tic Tac box with no external attachments. The unit was adhered to my upper chest with tape and connected wirelessly to a cell phone which must remain within 30 feet of the monitor at all times. Both units need to be charged at regular intervals. Good Lord. I was tired of this whole program already and it had only been on an hour. The “kit” the nurse gave me contained extra backing tape (to be changed weekly), charging units for both devices, and an instruction book. The same nurse who showed me how to use it, was delightful. However, I’m sure she has explained this many times before, and she blew threw the application process as if I already had some idea of what I was doing. Not. I told her I didn’t think I’d understood everything, or actually anything, she had said but she assured me I’d find plenty of additional information in the “kit” should I need it. Uh-huh. Leaving the office I headed home after a busy day. Walking in the front door, the device “stuck” to my chest released itself with a loud “schmuck” and fell loudly to the floor. The cat, sensing something new and interesting was on the scene, shot out from under the kitchen table and batted the intruder around a bit before I could rescue it from a bad fate. Since the monitor was now not attached, the cell phone began to issue an alarm telling me it was no longer receiving data. Thanks for the update.

Following the instructions on the phone screen, I tried to reattach it with no luck. The phone then sent me a message saying I needed to replace the tape backing before it could begin monitoring again. Sigh. Opening the much touted kit, I located one of the four tape backings provided for the month. Struggling to remember how to remove the current one, I finally managed to get it off and discarded it. Next, I peeled back the plastic cover and pulled out the replacement. Opening the instruction book, I found myself thankful they weren’t guiding me through dismantling a bomb, as the pictures weren’t the least clear on how to proceed, and most likely I would already be distributed in little pieces on the floor. Okay, “not rocket science”, I said out loud, but yet…… Three tape backings later, and not one backing yet attached to the device, I gave up and aborted the mission. I had tape stuck to my sleeve, on my sink, and everywhere else but where it was supposed to go. “Mama”.

Yesterday, I called the cardiologist and reported I was apparently too simple minded to get the device back on and could someone please show me once again. Duh and double duh. Really, how embarrassing. Back in I went, and got a different nurse this time. I explained I have grief brain, COVID brain, and well, my brain, and she would need to explain and not to skimp on the visual effects. It was so easy once she showed me. Ah well. So, I am live and streaming as we speak.

Here we are at the end of another week and nearly the end to another month. This year the world seems to be flying by at warp speed and with everything going on overseas I find myself wanting to say “Beam me up, Scottie, there’s no intelligent life down here”. Wow. War is such miserable business and never, in my humble estimation, worth the cost of engaging in it.

Happy weekend to you!!

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