the tears of a teenaged doll…

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There are few things, other than sitting inside the DMV for a few hours, that illicit such feelings of dread. A necessary evil; describes this place best, especially when only one branch in the entire county handles all driver and temporary license issues. A whole swath a humanity comes through those doors and for better or worse, don’t you know, the stinkiest ones without fail tend to sit next to me.

I looked up at the welcome distraction; my doll standing next to my chair holding the driving manual. “Mom, we have to go…” She said. “Oh, okay,” I replied, a welcomed respite from the ghastly odor that kept assaulting my senses. Gathering my belongings, I stood and headed to the next line to stand in, when my doll said, “No, I failed the test and we have to come back later,” she explained. “When?” I asked, hoping by then that stinky person would be gone. “Tomorrow,” she said, and unhappily headed toward the exit. “Tomorrow?” I griped, knowing the last thing I wanted to do was spend another day waiting at the DMV. “Mom, stop making this harder than it already is…” She complained and began to cry as we approached the car. “You’d be complaining too, if you sat next to that stinky person,” I replied, getting into the car and then tried to console-not lecture my doll on her lackadaisical study habits.

“That test was dumb!” She said in anger. “Dumb or not, you need to pass in order to drive…” I said which went over like a led balloon. “Why did they have a question on bicycles? I mean, really, what does a bike have to do with a car?” I sat quietly, not wanting to get yelled at again for my reply. But then she looked over at me and said, “That wasn’t a rhetorical question”. “Damn, I can’t win for losing”, I thought. “Bicycles are not supposed to be ridden on the sidewalks. So you need to know their laws, so you don’t infringe upon them, while driving,” I answered, she grunted unhappily and wallowed a little longer in self pity.

“Ah, the tears of a teenaged doll” played in my head to the tune of “Tears of a Clown”, by Smokey Robinson, but again, gaining wisdom in my elder years, I kept my mouth shut.

The next day, Mrs. K graciously accompanied the doll and I back to the DMV where once again, we were confronted by a swath of humanity. “Why are there so many people here?” Mrs. K wondered. “This particular bureau handles the driver tests, as well as other normal licenses, so its always crowded,” I replied. “Am I here to renew my license?” She asked. “No, you’re here to help pray my doll passes the test this time, so I don’t have to come back here for another six months…” I said, and she immediately made the sign of the cross. Twenty minutes later, my doll appeared, much happier than the day before, almost jumping up and down. “I guess you passed this time?” I asked with a grin. “Yes, Woo, I’m so excited…” She replied as we moved to stand in the next line to pay for the test and license.

Twenty minutes later, as we walked out to the car with her newly minted temporary driver’s license she jokingly asked, “Can I drive home?” Looking back at her I replied, “Sure…” and held the keys out for her to grab. She stopped, split her time looking first at my face and then at the keys dangling from my hand and asked, “Are you serious?” as she took a tentative step toward me. “Absolutely not,” I said, gathering the keys up in my palm and helping Mrs. K to the car. “You’re mean,” She said, but smiled as she said it. “Considering, you’ve never been behind the wheels of a car, I think I’m being quite reasonable”. I replied and she reluctantly agreed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An embarrassing moment in history…

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I found myself standing next to an older woman holding a hand written sign that read, “And a child shall lead them,” Isiah 11:6″; as we listened to teenagers talk to the crowd about their loathe of lockdown and active shooter drills practiced in their schools. “Is this your first protest?” She asked. “Yes, I brought my daughter down here to participate…” I said pointing in my doll’s direction, “She’s a sophomore in high school this year,” I added. “Oh, I bet she’s excited about this rally…?” She asked. “Well…” I began and then laughed, “She’s a little embarrassed by it all, really, because that’s the kind of kid she is. She’s not used to this overt protestation of an issue. But I felt this was important for her to experience the power her generation holds and have a memory as well, to look back and remember how she used her voice to help bring forth change,” I replied. The woman looked back at my doll and remarked, “She’ll get it,” she paused then added, “my grandchildren are a little embarrassed their old Grammy is out here holding a sign as well”.

A minute later, my doll tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I’m going up front,” then grabbed our sign and followed some friends closer to the stage. The woman looked back at me and said, “Apparently that embarrassment has worn off…” and we both smiled.

****

Hey, guess what?” I said to my daughter Sunday morning, pulling her from her slumber. “Not only is it time to get up for Mass, but guess who’s on the front page of today’s paper?” She grunted, rolled over and replied, “Don’t care,” then tried to go back to sleep. “Regardless, it’s time to get up for church,” I said and exited the room to a loud groan of disagreement.

****

Since then, she’s received a wide array of congratulations and “I’m proud of you”, from extended family members and friends. “I don’t get it,” She relayed to me. “What, that people are proud of you?” “Yeah, I mean, I understand how neat it would be to see fabulous me on the front page of the newspaper, but, why are they “proud” of me for being there?” She wondered. “Because not everyone gets off their duff and actually protests. Many people talk a good game, but never back up their convictions with action,” I replied, paused and then added, in addition, the sign you were holding was very powerful.” She nodded in agreement adding, “True. Okay,” which drew the conversation to a close.

****

The sign she held at the March Of Our Lives-NWOhio March, came to us via Denise Culkowski, who planned on joining us but found herself ill with a sinus infection and offered the poster for us to carry for her. Thank you Denise.

Let’s hear it for the girl….

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Sitting in the stands, over looking the field, I felt horrible for my doll. There she stood as the dwindling seconds of the second half drew to a close, having not been given play time during the game. After a brief team meeting following the game, her body language as she approached, carried all her disappointment.”My hands are freezing off…” She said; which prompted me to hand her my gloves as we made our walk to the car. “I’m a little disappointed I didn’t get to play…” She said, not sure if she was talking to us or herself. “I hear ya doll… but remember, this is your first year and, while you learn, you’re helping your teammates become a better team,” I said, hoping this was the magic elixir she needed. Lifting her head she replied, “Yeah, I know…but, it still kinda sucks”.

Two weeks before Christmas break last year, she began conditioning her body to withstand an hour of constant running up and down a Lacrosse field (slightly larger soccer field).  Every day, she would arrive home from practice, find something to eat, plop herself down onto the couch and crash for a few hours, before waking to start her homework, before bedtime. Along the way she discovered her left arch was so high, she experienced tendinitis. Determined to play, she fought back with exercises, advice, a good ankle wrap and shear perseverance on her part.

During yesterday’s game she made a ten minute appearance in the first half and though she wasn’t in on much of the action, she made an impression on her coach as someone who knew what they were doing. Afterward she complained, “My hands are freezing,” which again, prompted me to hand her my gloves, once more. This time however, no pep talk was necessary. She knows her worth on the team now.

****

In addition to going out of her comfort zone and playing a sport this year, my Doll also submitted her artwork (Plumo Bloom) into the Northwest Ohio Congressional District art competition. Though her work did not earn an award, her piece is on display inside the Fifth Third Center at One Seagate, downtown Toledo until April 4th before traveling to Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio, where it will be exhibited until mid May.

Interesting note, Plumo Bloom, bottom right, was displayed upside down. My Doll wasn’t sure if it was her teacher’s mistake or the sponsors. Needless to say, her painting is quite versatile.

In addition to having her artwork displayed, she also had the opportunity to meet our congresswoman, Marcy Kaptur, the only woman to hold a congressional seat for 35 years. My Doll was quite impressed to represent her school and meet such an impressive woman.

in memoriam….

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Yesterday, I received news that my old friend, Mary Alice, had passed away. While this seems like sad news, and it is to a degree, Mary Alice has been actively dying for the last two and a half years. So her peaceful passing is a blessing. Nevertheless, I can’t help but feel sad. The last time I saw her was about two years ago, when I stopped by to visit. Unfortunately, my time was spent visiting more with her daughter Julie, because her dementia had progressed to where she resided in a sleeping state for most of the day. However, I did lean down and say,  “Mary Alice, I need to go to Sam’s Club, why don’t you join me?” to which she replied in a weak voice, “Okay, let’s go…”

I thought about writing a blog in memory of Mary Alice, but instead, I’m linking to a blog I wrote about the her two years ago, on my last day of work for her family. She truly was an incredible woman, who blessed me in so many ways. Rest in Peace, Mary Alice… if you find the time, please say hello to my mom for me.

https://marsha8of9.wordpress.com/2015/10/30/life-lessons-mary-alice-edition/

Over the weekend…

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I tried to write this last night, but kept finding roadblocks, not “feeling” the message I wanted to convey. I began reading old blogs from every year on or around her birthday, hoping for inspiration, and realizing, I’ve told her birth story about four of the five years I’ve written a blog. Sorry! So today, you get the party review and a reminder, my doll has grown into a really neat young lady, who blesses our family, every second of every day. Happy ‘Sweet Sixteen’ Birthday doll!

*****

On Saturday evening, we welcomed many of my doll’s friends to a party celebrating her “Sweet Sixteen” birthday; which in reality, happens to be today.  On Monday following school I asked her, “Did your friends have anything to say about Saturday night?” Hoping to hear glowing reviews for all our many efforts. “They said they had fun…” She replied and internally, I was jumping for joy.

They had fun. Who knew trying to motivate fourteen girls to giggle and laugh was sooo stressful? But I digress.

What they had the most fun doing? Sitting and asking “Alexa” to play old nursery rhymes, and then singing along to them. Not quite understanding this, I simply shook my head and took pictures. After all, this was the doll’s friends and party, not mine. After a while they discovered the air hockey, foosball and marble soccer games available and began to play them in a rowdy manner.

My favorite remark? One girl playing foosball, whose sole job was as the goal keeper and failed miserably lamented, “Now you understand why I’m not an athletic type person…” much to the delight and laughter from all the girls in the room.

When all was said and done, and the girls parents arrived to take them home, the doll thanked me for time and money put into hosting these girls. She was happy and surprised by the many presents (especially when she specifically asked for no presents from her friends) and the time she had to feel appreciated by all of them.

All in all… the party was a great success.

But, in the grand scheme of things, while she had fun, the party did nothing to advance her own standing with her friends. That’s something she has to work on day in and day out on her own. When we talked about the party Sunday afternoon, she mused about what a great bunch of girls she’s found herself in. “I’m not sure what I did to deserve all of them…” She said, almost without thinking. “Maybe a compatriot…” I offered and she looked at me oddly. Maybe, because you tend to see everyone for their value, not based on popularity or looks; you’ve landed in a group that does the same with you,” I explained. She mulled my thought over for a minute or so before semi-agreeing, “Perhaps…” and then dropped the subject all together.

 

 

Contemplations 4

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This whole ordeal is giving me a headache! What’s more, every so often I find myself checking my peripheral vision, to make sure it’s still there…which gives me a headache. It’s like cracking your knuckles, both equally annoying.

Following my doctor’s appointment, my husband and I sat down to discuss my options. “She’s written orders for a carotid artery sonogram as well as a brain scan to make sure there isn’t something besides my very little brain growing in there…”I explained. “Okay.” “She also suggested I see an Ophthalmologist too, which could be the less expensive way to go,” I added. “Marsh, regardless the cost, if our insurance approves the tests, I think we should go through with them. The last thing we want to do is bury our heads in the sand and hope for the best,” He said and I nodded in agreement. “I guess, I’m never meant to get out of debt…” I lamented, knowing the high costs for these tests. “We’re working middle class…name any one of our friends who have,” he replied, which to be honest bothered me. He was being far too sensible–something, I believed to be completely out of character for him. “Any idea how I’m not supposed to stress eat between now and then?” I asked. “We’ll all go clean…” He said and the doll, with her acute hearing from the next room chimed in with her concurrence.

As luck would have it, I managed to get an appointment with the Ophthalmologist before the other two tests. After conferring with my older sisters, I was convinced the Dr. would find any number of problems with my eyes, simply based on family history. “I feel confident he’s going to tell you you are related to Joyce and Tom (parents), my sister Carol convinced. Both parents suffered from floaters,  macular puckers and degeneration, not to mention glaucoma.

Okay this is getting weird. I mean, which choice is better? Knowing that you’re slowly going blind or that you may have a tumor or something growing/pressing against your optic nerve or in your brain? Am I supposed to sound happy if he tells me he’s found something or be sad that he hasn’t? This is so damned weird.

After a thorough examination by one of his nurses, the doctor entered the room and we discussed the real reason I was there (besides a bump up in my glass’ prescription). “Do you remember seeing any squiggly lines while this was occurring?” He asked. Taking a moment to reflect, I said, “I don’t think so, but honestly, I don’t remember,” which made me quite disappointed in myself, because I tried to memorize everything that was happening during the last occurrence. “Okay, well, let’s take a look at your eyes…” He said and began additional testing.

After his exam he said, “You have beautiful eyes. No tears, no scar tissue, nothing to suggest you’re on the same paths as your parents…” “Considering I’m… how old am I? Fifty-threeand I didn’t start wearing glasses until I was 50, this makes me happy,” I replied. He smiled in return and said, “Yes, only a simple upgrade in your glasses too. You’ve done a great job of taking care of your eyes.” “Okay, so where does this leave me?” I asked. “Are you sure you didn’t see any squiggly lines?” He asked again. Thinking hard I replied, “I’m thinking if anything, they were curly-q type lines? Though, I might be saying this only at the suggestion…” I replied then rationalized my reply. He nodded his head in understanding.

“If you have good insurance, then go ahead and take those other tests. But I think what you had is something called an Ocular Migraine without the headache. Both eyes were probably affected, but because you’re left eye dominant, you only noticed the vision loss in that eye,” he diagnosed. “So, I’ll probably experience this again in the future?” I asked. “Hard to say, but I’m confident this is what you experienced,” he replied before adding, “We see them from time to time.”

When I arrived home, my husband and I discussed the doctor’s explanation. “I think you should get the MRI to cross everything off, before we accept his diagnosis,” My husband said. “I think so too. He said he thought both eyes were probably affected, but I know only my left eye checked out, because I analyzed what was happening and conducted little tests to pinpoint what was going on…” I explained. “So you take the other tests…” My hubby said in a matter of fact tone. “I’ll take the other tests…”

******

“Hello, Marsha? This is Jeanie from Dr. KW’s office and we have received your tests results….” The nurse said on the other end of the line. Taking a deep breath I replied, ‘Oh Hi, okay, what’s the verdict?” “After conferring with the Radiologists suggestion and thoroughly looking over the pictures as well, she’s concluded they are clear. No signs of stroke. Everything looks normal.” “Whoo, well that is good news..” I replied, sporting a grin, before adding, “Thank you for the call”. The nurse probably said “You’re welcome,” but by then, my mind was on cloud nine.

The scary days were behind me…for now.

An Ocular Migraine without a headache… I suppose if I’m going to suffer from migraines, this is the best one to get? Frankly, I’d rather skip the whole thing. After all, while they are happening, they really are quite frightening (especially while driving!!). But in researching them, I’ve found several friends who also suffer from them. Perhaps they aren’t as rare as WebMD suggests… at least that’s my point of view.

An Ocular Migraine without a headache.. crazy.

 

Contemplations (3)

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“Doll, why am I getting text messages from your friends’ parents telling me they’re praying for me?” I asked a bit perturbed. “I asked my friends to keep you in their prayers in case…” she replied. Genuinely touched by my daughter’s concern, I replied, “I’d prefer we keep this close to the vest until we know if their is reason for concern…” Upset with me she replied, “Fine then I’ll never worry about you again!”.

“I wish she didn’t have such acute hearing…” I lamented to her father. “She loves you…” he replied. “Yes, but whatever this is, I don’t need her worries adding to my own.” I replied.

“Okay, this is fairly easy…you lie here and I’ll put this pad underneath your knees to help your back balance,” The technician said as she explained the procedure, “Your only job here is to remain still. I have headphones for music to make the experience a little better, so what kind of music would you like to listen to?” Without much thought I replied, “Classic Rock?” and she offered in return. “60-70’s or 70-90’s?” “70-90’s please,” I replied and a moment later, music quietly began to play as I adjusted my position before the test. “Is the music loud enough?” The technician asked. “Can you raise it up a bit?” I replied. “Sure thing, how about now?” “Fine,” I said, trying my best to settle in. Then as luck would have it, the worst possible song began to play through the headphones. “How am I supposed to stay still to this music?” I thought as the start of Train in Vain, by the Clash began to play through those headphones.

“What do you mean you’re having vision issues?” My doctor asked and I filled her in on my two distinctly different, yet very much the same days of vision loss. “Did you go to the emergency room?” “No…” I began and by the look she was giving me added, “I knew I would see you in a few weeks so…” Shaking her head she replied, “If this ever happens again you go straight to the emergency room, okay?” Nodding my head,  I agreed.  Looking over my chart she added, we tested your cholesterol a year ago and it was great… I don’t understand this, but to be on the safe side, I’m going to insist you have some tests done, to be sure there isn’t something, an anomaly maybe, that we just can’t see. I would also recommend you see an Ophthalmologist too. They might have a better idea of what’s causing this to happen.

If I were someone afraid of confined spaces, I could understand why people don’t like MRI’s. The noises alone are enough to make you go nuts. “Instead of music, I should have asked to hook up my Rosary recitation, at least then the time would be more productive,” I thought as I let my mind wander. “Not to mention, the rosary wouldn’t give me a notion to tap my toes or head bang every few minutes…”

Finally, thirty minutes of bangs, bumps, beeps and a general feel of lying still inside a loud washing machine, the tests came to a close. “You’ll need to drink plenty of water to wash the contrasting dye out of your system. It generally takes two visits to the bathroom, before all the dye is out…” The technician informed, as I exited the room to get redressed and meet my husband in the waiting room. We had a breakfast date to attend to.