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Posts from the ‘family’ Category

The next chapter

This is a post I’ve been writing for months. My comeback post. I’ve tried writing it as a metaphor, as a poem, in a way that is much more eloquent than the reality. I was lost, comatose, blind and now I am found, awake, and with sight. It was arduous, cliché, and self-indulgent. This is too; so don’t get too smug or relieved. So although delayed, today is the perfect day. And in the end it doesn’t matter the way I tell it.

About 10 years ago I wrote a book. It was inspired by my year in Florida Post College, although in no way reflective of my actual time there. I was motivated and inspired to complete about ¾ of the project. After that I was fairly complacent to pretend like it never happened, but it was always on my mind, harping me to close that chapter so to speak. Although I was also comfortable ignoring this sentiment, my mother was also present to remind me of my desire to publish this book with clippings of articles on publishing, the names of self publishers scribbled on scraps of paper, and reminders during our daily phone chats. We had even begun brainstorming a second novel that we would co-author once this one was finished.

After she passed away, I though this is surely the chance I have to finish this novel, to use writing as a cathartic process, and begin to heal. But I did not do this. I avoiding writing like I avoided most things that I knew were healthy coping mechanisms one might potentially say. But one day, several years later, an amazing thing happened and suddenly I realized my hardships as my strength and that it wasn’t too late to shift gears. So shift I did and I’ve finally been able to finish the book* I began several years ago. It’s not perfect (sorry everyone who already purchased it 😉 )but it’s my story and I laughed when I wrote it and I cried too. And I did both when I read it each time. And I feel ready for the next one.

With that, I honestly can’t believe how many wonderful people I’ve accrued through my life who have stood by me for all of my highs and lows. I am a better friend because of you. I am so grateful that I have such a loving family and support system that has only continue to strengthen despite our losses. And I am grateful to have my mom still such a big part in my life through her memory and the values imparted upon me. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have been given and that life has patiently been waiting for my return. Thank you for waiting. Thank you for believing in me. So on this day, which I can hardly believe is the fourth anniversary of her passing I am happy to say that’s one down, several more to go. I toast you every day, but especially today. I miss you and love you and thank you for everything including the publisher recommendation. 🙂

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*Although this post is slightly more serious in tone, this book is not. It’s a lot of fun if you would like to check it out! A Girl, A Dream, and SPF 50.

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Getting my mind right.

As I am about to turn thirty I decided it might be time to work on sorting out my life. You know, make some goals, achieve them, that sort of thing. As is the first step of anything I do, I began by soliciting Google for advice on what to accomplish prior to entering my third decade. I found this guidance to be a bit pretentious. Who has time to buy my first home, go to Paris, and fall in love in the next 2 months?? Okay maybe I should have started this effort in a timelier manner. First goal, procrastinate less.

What's on the horizon? We'll find out!

What’s on the horizon? We’ll find out!

Then I decided these lists are kind of silly. As big of a fan I am of the “listicle”, this is mostly for the ease of reading and laughter. If a list causes stress or anxiety, it’s a terrible list as far as I am concerned. So I started my own list and it seemed so trivial. Then I really thought about what I want to feel and how I want to be. When I did begin to form a small list of where I would like to be mentally as I launch my thirtieth year, I realized I am basically there. I am not perfect, HA NOT EVEN CLOSE. But I have a lot of goodness in my life, a lot more than most.

So here is the list of what I would like to continue to foster throughout the next 30 years. This is a good list I promise.

  1. Love – I don’t mean this in the romantic sense, but genuine unconditional love amongst family and friends and generally being a loving person.
  2. Forgiveness – I don’t believe in grudges. They are bad for your heart. Dad I hope you are reading this.
  3. Humor – I truly believe laughter is the best medicine. With the exception of you know, real medicine.
  4. Curiosity – The moment you lose your curiosity, the world essentially becomes pointless.
  5. Openness – This is something I am working on, but I believe to be open to what life throws your way allows for spectacular adventure.
  6. Hunger – I mean this metaphorically, unfortunately my body doesn’t understand that.
  7. Honesty – I think its good to be honest with others, but I mostly mean this in the sense of being honest with oneself to truly understand what one actually wants out of life.
  8. Communication – This is where honesty kicks in, in terms of relationships with others. Nobody is actually a mind reader, especially that lady in the West Village that claimed I needed to buy crystals in order to find love, but I digress….
  9. Loyalty – We all need someone to have our backs. I am not saying we need to form a gang and get matching jackets, but it’s imperative to be there for your family and friends and know they are there for you as well. This knowledge has saved my life a thousand times over.*
  10. Trust – Trust your gut, trust that things will work out, trust others, unless they seem untrustworthy, they just stick with the gut portion.

I really think that is it.  That’s the list. Sure it may be helpful for me to cut down on the amount of crime television I watch. I could potentially stand to lose 15-50 pounds. I am sure it would be nice to prance through a meadow of daisies with a nice gentleman for the rest of my life. It would be great if I could manage to fit a regime of meditation into my life. I am certain I should have saved more money by now.  But you know what? I am pretty sure I only want those things because of some other list I read and putting timelines in place doesn’t always help. With the exception of the weight loss portion, that definitely needs to happen for cholesterol and heart disease purposes. The spandex industry will be devastated, but we’ll all move on.

*I actually could write a tome on the love and respect I have for the friends and family I have in my life. I am continually inspired and amazed by how much support I have and I question how anyone survives without this type of network in place. Mission become a better friend launches NOW!

Ch-ch-changes

Since it is the turn of the New Year I, along with all others, will end 2013 on a reflective note. In other words, ALERT serious post to follow!  I know I am scared too. Most years, amidst the celebratory nature of the surrounding toasts,  I say aloud that I feel that the following year will be better than the last. I rarely commit myself fully to this belief because of the resounding fact that I hate change.

As we all know, I am a 95-year-old woman living in a 29 year old body.  So I have grown comfortable in my crotchety ways. I most likely could eat the same thing for dinner for the rest of my life,  watch the same Frasier reruns, get the same Hendricks martini.  I love traditions, process, rules not so much, but you get it. So as the years have gone by and things have changed, I haven’t loved it. And as the past few years have passed, however hopeful I have felt, I knew at my core that things were getting progressively worse. Or more accurately things were getting more real and ultimately changing.

But I am happy to say I have had my last revelation of 2013. Although who knows, I could keep going all day and night! Here is my thought , things change, both those things that simply happen and have a profound impact, and those things that we actively choose to change.  That’s a fact, but here is the big a-ha moment that is most likely obvious to all other humans, but for a self-proclaimed change-phobe this was big, I can still maintain important things remain consistent while still allowing for change

Last year was the first Thanksgiving that my family celebrated without my mom and my Dad and I made the mistake of flying the coop and heading to Mexico for the big day. There was no turkey, no family gathering, no cooking, and most obviously no Mom. It hurt. It mad us sad, but the thought was, if we can’t have our traditions with Mom, then why have them at all? Let’s just get away. But this year my  sisters in law taught me that we can carry on traditions in a new space and keep both said traditions and the spirit of my mom alive forever.

So we had Thanksgiving in Philadelphia and everyone had to toast to what they are thankful for (side note – best drinking game ever).  And with Christmas is Seattle we opened new stockings filled with old favorites like socks and painted wine glasses.  These gestures may be small but it filled me with joy to know we can continue the traditions that my mom started and made us closer as a family. And this was the catalyst that made me further realize that the past is always with me, so although I don’t love change, evolution is inevitable and keeping these pieces with me is part of the process that will only make me stronger.  And with this thought, I truly believe that 2014 will be better than 2013. And I can’t wait.

Cheers and wishing everyone all of the best in the upcoming year.

a toast to change

a toast to change

He sees you when you’re sleeping.

I was recently perusing a children’s clothing/toy store when I spotted something called the Elf on the Shelf. I had heard mention of this Elf, but it wasn’t until now that I began to comprehend the concept of the Elf. Essentially parents move this little Christmas Elf around the house to offer the impression that the elf is Santas’s snitch monitoring the child’s behavior until Christmas morning so that their gifting level is commensurate to their goodness. It was then that I began to realize that most childhood traditions, much like Santa’s surveillance, are beyond a reasonable level of creepiness.

1. So we all agree that Santa is crossing some privacy barriers…and is a little bit of a stalker, but at least he brings presents so it works out… I don’t know this is iffy.

2. The Tooth Fairy? Gross. Why does she need so many teeth?  Is she building a model of the universe created entirely of baby teeth? Psycho.

3. The Easter bunny? Also kind of a weirdo. Why is a giant bunny delivering baskets of poor quality candy? I mean I don’t hate it, but it’s kind of all over the place as a concept.

In addition to a tooth hoarding fairy, a creepy bunny, and pervy old guy, Kids also have to deal with Monsters in the closet and under the bed, the boogeyman, and the chicken pox. Conclusion: the life of a child is absolutely terrifying. Side bar, I love all holidays.

He's watching.

He’s watching.

I just have a lot of feelings…

Nostalgia is incredible. I would venture that beyond love it is the strongest emotion. Basically, it is one of the most feelingy feelings I have. I trend towards sentimental, it’s party of my senility, so I recently I got to reminiscing about some notable past moments. Only I can make a day of mulling over nostalgia, however I went with it. Most often I think of these instances as I drift to sleep, performing my own brand agnostic equivalent to prayer so that I may revisit them in my dreams.

This strategy of time travel rarely works and when it does I am so caught off guard I can’t properly enjoy it, wasting most of the dream trying to decipher its reality.  This is getting a little too mushy, moving on. Whenever possible, these are the moments I most savor.

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Bowls of snow with warm maple syrup. Or more accurately forcing my beloved Beauty Senior to enjoy this wonderful delight.

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Getting penny candy at nearby Old fashioned candy stores. Satellite wafers, weighing essentially nothing offering the greatest deal of eternity, until they figured this out stopped charging by weight. Sad day for all of us.

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Digging clams in sun or rain, or any weather condition for that matter. With my Mom. This mostly consisted of gossiping and standing in the water.

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Our annual Christmas Tree cutting excursion. Nothing is better than picking a perfect tree with cider, carols, and family.

There are many more, but these are the simplest ones that I revisit most often. I wish all of you the best of luck reminiscing, and if you find yourself face to face with favored moments in your dreams try to relax and enjoy them all over again. What are your favorite moments?