Monthly Archives: May 2014

the weekend doll…..

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A few years back, the doll an I drove home from Tennessee together; alone. We were just two girls on the road listening to music, creating memories and sharing the ride. I really really miss those days when I had to do was say something silly and she would laugh instead of rolling her eyes at me. Unfortunately, those days are lonnnnng gonnnnne.

My doll can switch her personality in an instant going from nice sweet beautiful doll to get out of her way less you be shot dead with eye daggers….a moment later. The joys of being a tweenager are apparently lost on the rest of us. My brother Chris commented to me a few weeks back how dumb he felt in her presence….”I have four boys…so I’m not used to the shoulder shrugs or eye rolls. Marsha, she uses those quite effectively. I’m getting a very Witchy feel from her”. I smiled and said, “Makes you feel kind of sorry for the boy now doesn’t it?” But he’s correct in his assessment…she has become very moody-where everyone who is not her–is concerned.

While we were in South Carolina I had various family members, young and old telling me what to expect. Some were encouraging pieces of advice, like that from my sister Terri “Marsha, this is just a dumb phase all girls go through…she’ll come back to you sooner than you expect”. Others were downright scary… “Aunt Marsha I was the exact same way….by the time she turns 19 she’ll revert back” My niece Lisa explained. “NINETEEN!? NINETEEN??? I don’t want to wait THAT long…I want my nice sweet doll back now…” I lamented. How in the world did this world get so messed around? I wondered.

On Sunday my sister Terri smiled and said, “I think she’s over the hump..she seems to be having a better day…” We were surrounded by family members, relaxing and having a nice relaxed day; the doll and her cousins were swimming while I visited with friends. “You do notice she’s not as bored as usual since her cousins are around…” I replied. She was indeed over the hump…primarily because she wasn’t stuck hanging around with me.

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leave me alone!

I vant to be left alone!

The drive home from South Carolina was not as nerve wracking as our journey to and I have to say, the doll was a real trooper not to complain too much going in either direction. She did however have her moments… like we all do.

 

 

 

 

catching a break when none is around…

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The wedding Saturday night was a spectacular, gorgeous affair. My niece Cori and her husband Steve were beaming their love so bright, most of us needed sunglasses during the ceremony. The reception was a blast as we all bore witness to the love that was evident in the room that night. At one point my sister in law Jean and I began lamenting our lousy sleep patterns as of late, both complaining how sleep was hard to come by… which if I had been paying closer attention, I would have realized was a harbinger of my night to come.

The doll and I returned to our hotel room, ahead of my sister and her family and snuggled in close before falling asleep. An hour and a half later, I was awakened by my sister to “roll over” as I was snoring. Unfortunately-due to my own insomniac issues, that ended my sleep for the night. For the next eight hours I tossed, turned, said numerous rosaries, tried counting sheep, counting backwards from 100, multiplication tables up to 13, tried different pillows, got dressed, called home and cried to my husband about not being able to sleep (yes the irony is I woke him up and kept him from sleeping-misery loves company right?), ate breakfast, climbed back into bed and stewed-but never fell back to sleep.

I was also less than delightful when everyone else woke up from their peaceful rested slumber.

Half way through the morning, as I continued stewing in my own self pity, I received a text from my sister in law that they were going to try and go on a carriage ride that day, if we were interested in joining them. I looked over at the doll and decided this would be best-a chance to get away and learn a little bit about Charleston’s history. The only issue being, we had to be back at our hotel by 2:30 pm as we had a family engagement to attend with a shuttle scheduled to pick us up. If we played our cards right, we could take a cab downtown, ride the carriage and be back in time for the shuttle. With little other thought, we called for a cab, grabbed our stuff and left…

Without a phone or the cab’s phone number.

When we arrived downtown, the doll and I purchased tickets for the carriage ride, but were unable to hook up with my brother and his family. Instead we wandered over to the big red barn and sat a bit discouraged that nothing was working out. Just then one of the attendants decided to let us ride on an earlier carriage and off we went-to see all the magnificent homes of Charleston. At one point I looked over at the doll whose eyes seemed to have glossed over. “How are you doing?” I quietly asked. “Fine, I kind of wish I was still in bed asleep though”. “Well I wish I had gotten sleep…so buck up and enjoy the ride” I replied.

The hour long ride was nice and stock full of little tidbits of information about Charleston and the people who’ve lived there. Our driver was big on the preservation of the area and talked incessantly about which houses had been preserved and such. While I enjoyed the ride, I could understand why the doll was a bit bored: talking history and houses wasn’t her cup of tea. When the ride ended, we departed in hopes of hailing a cab to carry us back to the hotel. That’s when we discovered I had left the cab’s phone number behind.

Panic set in….

I’m sure the doll thought her mother had gone insane. I searched through my purse, she searched through the purse and all I kept thinking was “We’re stranded”. “Doll, we have to find a cab…” I kept saying, hoping magically one would appear-but after the night I had, I knew for sure, none would be found. “If we miss the shuttle, you and I will drive there okay? I’ll get directions and we’ll get there eventually” I rationalized to her (myself). “What about Uncle Dan…couldn’t he give us a ride?” She asked. Not knowing where my brother was in the sea of humanity surrounding us, I felt like we were trapped. We began walking toward one of the main streets and moved as traffic allowed. “I know, if we find a restaurant with Wi-Fi I can at least contact your Aunt Terri and tell her to hold the shuttle for us…or make the call for a cab for us…” I said to the doll. “Mom, look, here’s a cab” the doll said to me, but it didn’t register. “Come on doll lets move…” I said beginning to walk faster. “MOM!” the doll snapped at me. Stopping I turned back toward her as she said, “Look, here’s a cab”. Following her pointed hand, she was right…there was a cab stopped directly in front of us.

I reached up and began pounding on the window. The driver, rolled down his window and loud reggae music emanated from within. “Is there any way you could get us back to our hotel…?” I asked, a note of panic in my voice. “Where are you heading?” he asked. After exchanging information he agreed. Opening the side door to his van, we realized he had another fair currently occupying one of the back seats. Looking at the doll I pushed her to sit next to the man, while I climbed into the front and we were off.

We arrived back at the hotel at 2:22 pm-just enough time to run in, grab our swim suits and go to the bathroom; before our shuttle left for the afternoon. I’m still shocked we had made it back in time..

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I eventually fell asleep Sunday night around 11 pm when I realized I had some Benadryl in my purse and took it.

DUH.

 

 

tweet, tweet, tweet….

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When the word came that my niece Cori wanted to celebrate her marriage in Charleston, South Carolina the day after my 50th birthday, I wasn’t exactly jumping up and down with excitement. In truth, I had mentioned to her last July that Memorial Day Weekend was a great time-giving travelers that additional day of rest-but I never dreamed my birthday would be a part of that equation. Feeling a little sorry for myself, not being around my best friends to help usher in the perceived “big” moment in time, I did the only thing I could think of next: I asked two people I had never met in person;  to have lunch with me, on my birthday….and they both said….”Well we’ll see”.

Not that I blame them. Yet I held on to the belief that if the opportunity arose and the time could be ascertained, I might have a chance to meet with them…and I did-though not totally within the confines of my original plans.

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Twelve years ago, I was a bored, slightly depressed stay at home mom who found refuge talking with others on the SoapNet Message board-a site dedicated to Network Daytime Dramas. I was relatively new to the internet and I liked the idea of talking to others, sharing ideas around a common theme and having a generally good time while doing so. I became good “friends” with several people and we talked one day about having a meet-up where we could all finally figure out what the other looked like and find out if the persona shown on the message boards was the same, true genuine person in person. Unfortunately that meet up never happened, primarily because life and time conspired against us (SoapNet is no longer in service).

Then came Twitter. Twitter has been my guilty little secret (for the past four and a half years), primarily because it reminded me of my days on the SoapNet message boards. Unlike Facebook, Twitter is a social media platform that in its most basic form can be viewed as one long conversation-using only 140 characters to talk (similar to confined texts) between hundreds of people all at once. In my current state I follow 183 people and 176 follow me…however on a daily basis I probably talk with maybe 15 with any regularity. My friends and followers are (mostly) derived from a fan base for the actress Crystal Chappell from the now defunct soap opera, Guiding Light and Days of Our Lives. She began a production company which breached the plane of the internet and began producing her own online-for profit-web soap operas. As we followed her career, we began talking to one another and again, the idea of meeting everyone began to take shape…but I confess, in a different sort of way.

So over the past four and a half years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet four of the women I’m acquainted with through Twitter-mostly while on vacation. Last Friday and Sunday, I added two more. Anne a retired doctor met with me for lunch on Friday and helped acquaint me with her fair city of Charleston, and then again on Sunday, when she agreed to be overwhelmed by my entire family. The other woman, Kathy drove two hours south to hang out with my family and Anne on Sunday, as we all tried to recoup from the wedding and share in the couple’s happiness. My family was very impressed-as was I that these two women would take that time out of their lives, to come and meet and hang out with a bunch of strangers. I introduced them to so many people that I’m sure they left shaking their heads in wonder to whom all those people were…

All in all, we laughed, shared hugs, some stories and became better acquainted. In effect we made our friendship all the more stronger by meeting…and they were able to witness the doll, who shrugged her shoulders and rolled her eyes at me several times…in effect see what I’ve been writing about all these years. I have been blessed in this life-or some might say lucky-to have had the opportunity to meet so many diverse people in this world. I’m still kind of floating on the high that these two woman brought to my table last weekend. Who knew talking on the internet could result in such good things.    tweetfriends

Whooooo are you….?

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There is a lyric from the famous Who song; Who Are You which  says, “Eleven hours in the tin pan, God there has to be another way…” which I bastardized Friday night, anytime someone asked me to explain our Thursday drive to Charleston, SC. “Seventeen hours in a tin can, God there has to be a better way….” because frankly, that aptly described how we felt as our journey seemed to go on forever. When was the last time a straight shot from top to bottom Ohio took seven hours to achieve? Between long traffic delays and a MAJOR hiccup by our local AAA bureau, we were all ready to pull out our hairs and YET we still had a long way to go.

By the end of the night…my sister Ann Marie and I were drunk, tho nary an ounce of alcohol had touched our lips–we were giddy and couldn’t stop laughing-not from fun, but rather it was easier to laugh than to cry at our predicament. Meanwhile the doll, alone in the backseat occupied herself with reading and listening to her IPod in an effort to distract herself from what was going on.  “Mom I thought for sure you two were going to get us killed” she told me later. She had every reason to worry…if the person who mapped out our driving instructions had been within striking distance, I might have committed murder. Yes…and I wouldn’t have been the least bit regretful for the act.

“You know perhaps this was our guardian angels’ way of keeping us safe…” I offered to my sister Friday morning. “Oh I know…I had that rationalization earlier…though I don’t really believe it” she replied and I had to agree. This was just pure dumb bad luck on our part…with a bit of AAA stupidity thrown in.

Hindsight however being 20/20…while I still want to slap someone at AAA I can look back on the situation and laugh…because frankly what’s the alternative? While I’d love to explain it all here in my blog, its better told in person…so ask me someday…and you can join with me in the laugh.  All in all, our trip to and from South Carolina was a good exercise in family (a GORGEOUS wedding), fun (Birthday celebration Friday night), and friends (twitter anyone?) with very little frustration (what’s life without a few hiccups?) thrown in for good measure.

PS. When you ask me for the story…bring beer…it’s going to take a while to tell….

50

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The time is 12:03 am and in less than four hours I will turn fifty years old (I was born at 4:01 am and that’s how we celebrate). Wow!! I’m old… well… kind of. When I was a kid fifty felt so old. Yet looking in the mirror, thanks to veggie based hair coloring 😉 I don’t see an old lady, I simply see me.

I was 10 yrs old when my mom turned 50; my brother Dan was eight. Fifty didn’t mean a thing to me back then. Yet today, the apparent largeness of that big “round number” in addition to “stepping into another decade” does seem a bit daunting to me. So let’s put this all in perspective shall we?

Years ago I had a therapist tell me every 13 years or so, we all go through a “mid life” crisis of sorts… First it’s puberty, then facing adult responsibilities; raising a family, finding work, facing “middle age” etc
Which was a great stress reliever at the time–I could explain all my troubles and worries away…on that one simple thought. But was it true?

Who knows….

Looking back I believe I hit middle age ten years ago–if I adhere to the average life expectancy of all humans. Therefore all the stress I went through back then leaves me open to simply enjoy this life now, today, tomorrow and so on and so forth. The only true regret I have about turning 50 is leaving my brother Dan as the only one left in the 40’s. He has to wait two years to join this fun club!

Seriously though the 40’s for me were a great time of growing and understanding who I am and where I am going. Though not without work; I’ve never been happier. So crossing the threshold into my fifth decade on this planet can only usher more good. Well that’s how I’m seeing it. Who knows when I write the 60s blog what I’ll say then. But for now, this very second…the fifties look wonderful 🙂

A busy week….

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Back in High School I took an achievement test which was supposed to point you in the direction of your future employment. At the time the test scores placed me as someone working with the elderly and or little children. The test said I would excel working in a nursing home or day care center. I read that report and thought “what rubbish!!” and then worked my butt off to stay as far away from those fields as possible. Looking back on my less than stellar career choices these last few decades…I wonder how much simpler life would have been if I only followed what that darn test revealed…

That being said…

I love my job! Oh sure, just like anything else you do, the work can be tedious. But on average, I have a great time hanging out with these ladies and experiencing life with them. I’ll tell you what’s more, I think they’ve made me into a nicer and more patient person too; though my kids may argue to differ. The most common retort to me, whenever I’ve confided what I do for a living is, “I could never be that patient with another person”. I smile and reply, “You’d surprise yourself…” which they smile and reply back saying,  “Yeah, no I wouldn’t”.

Sunday afternoon I stopped by my friend Cathie’s and invited her to help me spring a surprise on one of my clients, Mrs. K. Her 92nd birthday is May 22 and I wanted to throw her an impromptu surprise party on Tuesday morning. Cathie-who usually fills in for me when I need a personal day, supplied the party favors while I supplied the cupcakes and candles. We planned for Cathie to arrive about 10:30 am and then go into full surprise mode.

20140520-182347-66227138.jpgWhen Cathie arrived, Mrs. K and I were engaged in a mean game of Scrabble (her favorite) and I was happy for a respite from the game. Excusing myself to get something from my car, I met Cathie in the driveway and we both entered her house together yelling, “SURPRISE!!” “What is this?” she asked. “We’re throwing you a surprise birthday party-since we’re both going to miss your special day” I said. “Yes, Happy Birthday!” Cathie said as she pulled party favors from her bag. Encouraging Mrs. K to wear the “Princess” party hats, I opened the container of cupcakes (to die for chocolate fudge) placed a candle in each one. Lighting them we sang horribly off key the Birthday and the May the Dear Lord Bless You songs (which she corrected-when we sang “Dear Mrs. K” and she said, “No. Dear Merrie-essentially eliminating the formality between us),  before making her blow out the candles.

She was tickled. “I can’t believe you two went to this trouble…” she said smiling from ear to ear. “What trouble, it’s your birthday and should be celebrated!!” Cathie explained. I was in charge of taking pictures and kept saying, “You’re daughter is going to love seeing you in your Princess hat”. “She giggled like a school girl every time I snapped another picture. Then came the time to eat the cupcakes… “My mother in law would call these sinful…” I remarked as I took another delicious bite. “Are you going to confess them?” Mrs. K asked and laughed. “Sometimes a little sin isn’t so bad…” she added. Laughing I explained, “Now this last cupcake is to be eaten on Thursday-your actual birthday. That way you can reward yourself for reaching 92 with little or no gray hair”. She laughed and said, “I’m not sure how that happened. My mother was gray in her 30’s as was my older sister. Yet here I am…” Cathie and I both lamented the high cost the both of us share in attempts to keep our grays at bay. “We should all be as lucky as you…” I said and she laughed, “Oh I’m sure there are ailments of mine you wouldn’t like”. “Point taken” I said and we all laughed some more.

“Now this isn’t much…” I said as I handed her our present. She looked up at me with incredulity and proceeded to unwrap the book of crossword puzzles we purchased for her. “These will do nicely-I love doing crossword puzzles before bedtime” she exclaimed. “Good, I hoped right!” I said. Standing up from her couch, she gave Cathie a big hug and then me one as well. “You two have certainly made this day memorable for me and now I have something to tell my kids tonight when they call.” She said. “Good!! I’m glad. I’m sorry I can’t be here to celebrate with you..on your day-so I figured today was the next best thing!” “Marsha, this was one of the nicest things anyone has done for me in a long while”. Smiling Cathie and I congratulated one another with smiles. “Well, you’ve been a wonderful blessing in my life too…” I said in return, before wrapping things up for the day.

When I arrived home I may have been just as tickled as she was we were able to give her such a nice surprise. I guess that’s one of the reason’s I love this job so much. You get what you give-on a daily basis…and often times more.

Tuesday post gazzette night quite…

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HEADLINES:

Crazy weekend behind and crazy weekend ahead. Why is May so darned busy?

After the  long winter our area experienced, by the time May finally arrived, so did the the need to get outside and get things done. We’re all so happy to no longer be inundated with below freezing wind chills, record snowfall and low temperatures that May became the perfect time to schedule everything that requires outside activities: sports, gardening, birding, landscaping etc. In addition, the end of May has always provided the backdrop to the unofficial start of summer-regardless of what the  summer solstice has to say about it. This month alone the weekends have often been busier than the work week-as we try to fit every fun event in. I’m not sure June is looking any less busy…but I’ll be happy when I have one weekend day off to just vegetate or sleep past 6:30 am.

They call me Mr. Wonderful….

On the ABC television network program Shark Tank, Business Venture Capitalist Kevin O’Leary is known as Mr. Wonderful-a moniker he gained for his aggressive style in makings deal with entrepreneur hopefuls. But he has nothing on my Dad (TL) who turns 93 years old on Memorial day. Recently I sat down with with TL and asked how did you get the name Mr. Wonderful? “Well, they call me Mr. Wonderful because I had WONDERFUL parents, WONDERFUL sisters, a WONDERFUL wife who spent 58 WONDERFUL years on earth with me; gave me nine WONDERFUL children and their spouses, 27 WONDERFUL grandchildren and 6 WONDERFUL great grandchildren. My life, though never easy and full of many ups and downs along with things I’d rather have not seen and done; has been made WONDERFUL by all of you”.

As his eighth child my only reply was, “Yes, you are Mr. Wonderful” to all of us too.

Please excuse the brevity….

20140520-140338-50618922.jpgLast night for the final exam portion of the boy’s beginning piano class, parents were treated to a recital given by students which comprised both the Beginning and Intermediate piano course.  The boy was the sixth student to perform. When his time arrived to play, he rose and walked over to the piano.  Prior to taking his seat, he offered an apology of sorts to the audience saying, “Please excuse the brevity of this piece” and then sat down and played the song he was instructed to play. Afterward I asked him, “Why did you make an excuse before playing the piece.”  “The song just before and right after me were much longer than mine. Originally written by Tchaikovsky  as practice piece; became a somewhat of a living room favorite-one people enjoyed hearing-so Tchaikovsky was forced to publish the song. I didn’t want anyone believing I quit the song early-hence my announcement”

“I thought perhaps that song was picked because it fit your minimalist style…” I offered. He smiled and replied, “You call me Mr. Minimal for a reason….” Yes we do.