Tag Archives: Memoir

Momalotlife Part Deux

Change. It happens to everyone.
When I started this blog, I had a little girl who carried a pony purse and had a penchant for Geckos. Young E – no longer Little except to me – is moving slowly forward and I am left with cute stories of my pets. Don’t get me wrong, my cat womping on my head while I sleep just because he didn’t like the gel my hairdresser used…hysterical. But I have evolved from a harried mom to a middle aged boomer preparing to retire, who’s hobby is researching the best path to longevity. Hint: eat your veggies and move.

I think my focus has changed here.

It is still a momalotlife as my daughter and I do the dance that changes how we see each other. I am not the child to her caretaker yet and she still has bumpy daughter days. Hopefully and with blessings from the universe, the transition will continue to gift me with sweet notable moments. But the inevitable dance has begun.

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In Search of my Well Lived life

Chick Corea. An off-handed song intro from the band’s drummer flipped a switch. Like a car that can do zero to sixty in remarkable time, a hollow memory became crowded with snapshots: an album cover, a turntable sitting on a makeshift entertainment center of milk cartons and shelving, and books, so many books.
I turned to my friend and said in disbelief “I’ve had a previous life!” We all have, she answered. She misread my meaning. We have all had different incarnations, styles, and even names such as daughter, student, performer, mom. But to be frank, my memory of times past is terrible. Joan Didion spoke of me when she said “I have already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be.” This torrent bubbled up from somewhere hidden away. While I was warmed by the fact it was still somewhere within me, I wasn’t prepared for the quake of its arrival.

She went back to the jazz performance and I went back to the show in my head. The music was soundtrack to the flood of memories of my years away at college that I had shed like snakeskin. The thoughts, ideas, the sheer joy of college life came along on the backs of scenes I hadn’t thought of in a very long time. Mornings of black coffee without the luxury of milk, nights of pub pool, and how egg drop soup can make a meal – all returning to me. And books by the likes of Hermann Hesse and Aldous Huxley alongside James Herriot and Douglas Adams, making just enough of a mix to ward off youthful pretense. The more serious mile markers of my reading life remain with me today and sit on my shelves offering warmth and comfort. But the actual memories of what surrounded me when they were shiny and fresh were dormant, and apparently waiting to startle me with a singular keyword.
Afterward, my friend asked if I enjoyed the show. I felt that was an understatement. Something had shifted in me. I had retrieved a part of my being, one that wasn’t just forgotten but indefinitely buried.

I felt like kissing the drummer.

Am I living the literal definition of losing one’s mind? No, I think it’s less nefarious than that and, like many baby boomers, I am unsettled by the fact that I am getting old. Somewhere along the line, we thought we were promised eternal youth and felt, no, we feel that continued good health, long lifespan, and access to every last memory is our real entitlement, all those fundamental rights to be pried from our grasp. By you and what army.

If all of my experiences total up to one true being, maybe like simple math, I need to find X to solve the narrative of what, and why, I am now before it permanently fades away. I can’t think of a better way of completing my own circle than by mining my past.
Oh, but fellow boomers, it’s time to face the music.

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May 11th

It happened again. That same date, the one which has haunted me and conversely fed my soul, has popped up again. A co-worker and friend has signed his retirement papers and named May 11th as his last day.
The date echoes through my life’s stream. My wedding day (and coincidentally Mother’s Day that year), the birth of two nephews and one niece in the same big family, and other less significant milestones. Now it’s back, another big event because I will sorely miss his company and counsel.

So I thought it was time to google. What else would I do? The first numerology site came back with information on why numbers repeat throughout life. And what was the first one on the list? Yes, my number 11. Apparently I need to read between the lines.

The Master number 11 represents intuition and awareness, as well as wisdom I possess that is not being properly tapped into. That’s a good beginning. Then it gets worrisome.

I must have an inner knowledge that I am not paying attention to and my gut is screaming at me to take a different path.

Maybe it’s because I dropped off my crusade toward a plant-based diet last week. I’ve been maxing out on comfort food with this bad cold and really hit bottom when I had that Zuppa Toscana Soup. But it was so good! I had no regrets. It could have been that recent glass of wine I had after swearing off for a while. It’s not a problem but I feel better without it. Again, so good – no regrets.

I have been fixated on paying off bills. I would love to drop that obsession but I am thinking that can’t be right. Paying off my bills ensures a better future for myself. I’ll put a pin in that one.

In The Atlantic February 23, 2016 article Coincidences and the Meaning of Life, the author notes, and I paraphrase, that Bernard Beitman, a psychiatrist and visiting professor at the University of Virginia, and author of the book Connecting With Coincidence, has found that certain personality traits are linked to experiencing more coincidences…..and people who are high in meaning-seeking are all coincidence-prone.

I have never felt closer to a spiritual journey than I have lately. I am boning up on meditating, getting my crystals in a row, looking at the larger picture of my life. But May 11th has been there for me for the last thirty years. If there is a message to be heard, it’s a hard one to shrug off.

Right now, I chose to think the universe has had it with my scorched earth approach to the feed a cold/starve a fever principle, especially since my gut is actually screaming at me.

As an homage to Spring, I think it’s time to push reset and begin again, and doing it each time May 11th comes back into my life stream is an apt ritual to embrace.

 

Credits:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/s/ref=is_s?k=connecting+with+coincidence

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/02/the-true-meaning-of-coincidences/463164/

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Life in Layers

I’ve begun to notice that I am living off the upper layers in too many areas of my home.
I have a couple of favorite cups for tea, one for coffee. I use them, wash them, and return them to a cabinet full of mugs that rarely connect with hot water. Pots and pans seem to be narrowed down to the same two or three, and seasonings fill my cabinet yet only the front row sees any action, except on holidays, of course. I pull from the upper levels of all my drawers, and live at the end of the closet closest to the door. If I dive deeper, I am lost and find nothing I can use at the moment, so my favorites and best fitting tend find their way to the top.
I strive to simplify but this seems more like settling in. I’m not sure if my quirks are part of the march down the south side of my life’s midpoint, or just that my subconscious is tired of dealing with too much stuff.
After all, I observed my grandmother, and then my mother, create their comfort zones, moving the walls ever closer to live within their reduced world. And in stark contrast, I now watch my daughter dive to the bottom of her dresser in search of the perfect shirt, clothing flying the process.
I liken my foundations drawer – yes, it has all that stuff to firm and flatten – to an archeological dig. For anyone near my age reading this, I don’t have to explain. For anyone else, just think of it as all the ways we fight the jiggle when dressing in anything besides pajamas – and the stuff goes way back. Seriously, I gave a strappy tube top I used to wear in my twenties to my daughter who thought it was cool.
As you can see, I am fighting it. I just don’t know if I am fighting for a life of minimalism or against sliding into a new level of old. But regardless the reason, the struggle exists. And as I will have more “me” time this holiday, I will be able to jump on it and execute my personal scorched earth routine on some of these offending hot spots. I take a drawer, dump everything into a box, and try on each piece before declaring it yay or nay. Performing this ritual while a classic Christmas movie runs in the background keeps me engaged and helps to ease the dread of bagging things that haven’t seen the light of day in decades. But even without that distraction, envious visions of roomy drawers and cabinets keep me on point.
I should be able to breathe deeply and lay off at least some of my layered living by the New Year.

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I Hate Tuesdays

I hate Tuesdays. It’s nothing personal. Tuesday has never done anything to me. I just have this thing against Tuesdays.

I always hear that Mondays are the worst day of the week, that everyone hates dragging themselves to work after days of relaxation and weekend warriorhood. Well, I think Mondays get a bad rap.

I am well rested for Monday, walking into work refreshed, chatting about weekend activities and family anecdotes with others around the cubicles. I put in a full nine hours with gusto, attending meetings and getting it all done, after which I handle the rest of the day of drive home, dinner, dog walks, and assorted chores before bed.

My beef is with Tuesdays. I have to get up and actually repeat the day. This time, no one chats around the hallways. Everything interesting has already been said. It is just the desk, the work, the meetings, the drive, dinner, dog walk, assorted chores, and, well, you get the idea. And now, my energy is fading because I used up my weekend reserves on Monday.

Wednesday isn’t bad. Wednesday is hope. We have walked up the hill and peaked over the horizon at the weekend just over there. It’s hump day, the middle, when we start to crest the week.

Thursday is the slide into third base. For those like us who have every other Friday off, then for some, Thursday is their Friday. If I am off that Friday, then Thursday is my favorite day. Every task is approached as something I must get done before I walk out the door. In the evening, I am energized, sorting and straightening my home so in the morning, I can stand in my clean kitchen with a cup of coffee, watching from the greenhouse window the poor souls pulling out of their driveways heading for work. On my long weeks when I have Friday on, payday helps to soften the blow of one more work day.

I like my job and my company, and enjoy what I do. If only they could do away with Tuesdays, then life would be that much closer to perfection.

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Two Days: Day Two

I paid my respects. The loss was felt deeply as I reconnected with family, and I will pass on their sentiments to my brothers in the best way I can.

Then it was Saturday and time for me to prepare for departure to Los Angeles. There were storms in the Midwest and everything was delayed. My Delta flight took off for Minneapolis twenty minutes late which turned into a real problem. It was announced as we landed that they were holding the plane to L.A. so I was not alone. Remember where they park those smaller planes? It was with a feeling of brotherhood that 22 strangers ran across the airport to desperately catch a plane which really wasn’t being held – they closed the door after the person just behind me. I thought I was dying and was grateful for an uneventful flight, a good seat, and my inhaler to recover from my sprint.

So….arrival at my home airport means I am done with the hard work, right? Uh, not so much.
I had booked and prepaid (including tip) a shared ride van. I had traveled that way problem free years ago but apparently things have drastically changed. I will summarize what I did for an hour. I fumed. That’s it. When they finally realized they couldn’t find a driver who would go the distance for me, they arranged a taxi – who didn’t show up. The taxi company kept calling me to say he was there. The van rep even got on my phone to convince her I wasn’t blind. So they ordered another taxi. And another. Into what black hole were these taxis going? Finally one guy showed up and said he hadn’t been able to find me. The van rep called him a liar and suddenly I was the voice of reason refereeing a screaming match. Then another taxi materialized from the black hole. This driver started yelling that the first guy was stealing his ride. Then we had a two taxi drivers and a van rep all yelling at each other. I was busy looking for the hidden camera.

I did finally get home, holding tight while taking Mr. Toad’s wild ride. And the moral of the story is….there is no moral. It’s all a wild ride. Just keep moving, hold on tight, and take it all in while you are here.

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Two Days: Day One

This is a story of a trip I took that lasted two days. Two days, six airports, and almost eight miles of walking the length of them. Trust me, I have a Fitbit so I know these things.
While visiting my family back east, my uncle in the Midwest passed away. I decided to extend my stay and reconfigure my flights to attend his service. Little did I expect such a blog worthy tale.

An important note: I loved my uncle, who was also my godfather and my biggest cheerleader. We talked more often over the last few years, and he would start his voicemails “This is the president of your fan club.” There was no doubt I would take this detour for him and his family, and you’ll find no grumbling here.

JetBlue was kind enough to refund me for the second leg leaving JFK so I was able to rebook flights into Missouri on Friday, out to L.A. on Saturday. Since no airlines fly direct anymore, I knew I would be hopscotching the country. But when you do that, some parts of the puzzle will be puddle jumpers – smaller plans such as American Eagle to American Airlines. I have no problem with those. They are quick flights with easy seating and I like their simplicity. The problem is that airports park these babies at opposite ends from their bigger siblings. But I am getting ahead of myself.

I arrived at JFK knowing I would need to change terminals so I claimed my bag and headed to the Air Train. Using escalators, moving walkways, and traditional shoe leather, I went up and down so many times I lost count. That was my first hint that I would be seriously feeding my Fitbit that day. I made it to American Airlines, checked my bag, and hoofed it way down to the American Eagle gates. At least when you start at ticketing, it isn’t a mile away.
Next stop – Charlotte Douglas Airport NC. I had plenty of time to get to my connection but my energy flagged as I made my way from the A gates all the way to the other end of the airport to E34. I had no problems, though, and made it to St. Louis. So one long travel day under my belt.

 

 

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A Happy Trigger

I am only 1% through Tyler Henry’s Between Two Worlds: Lessons From The Other Side and a moment from his narrative mirrors one of mine. I haven’t gotten any farther as I had to stop and write.

My taste in books is best described as eclectic and, although I lean heavily toward nonfiction, Clive Cussler’s Dirk Pitt is my guilty pleasure. I started Tyler’s book, a memoir of his young life as a medium, because I was intrigued by snippets of videos of his abilities and, before cutting the cord, occasionally saw other individuals with similar talents. If you have read my previous entry A Good Day, you know already that I am drawn to the subject. So what slice from Tyler’s ten year-old’s memory drove me from my Kindle and onto the keyboard?

The day after his grandmother died, Tyler was just falling asleep and “…noticed a sweet fragrance wafting into the room.” He recognized it as his grandmother’s. Immediately, my own memory popped into my head and halted all reading. My mind’s eye was in a moment of time in my bedroom just about a year before. I was beginning to doze and a sudden odor forced me back to the shallows. I say odor since I couldn’t place it. I just knew it wasn’t normal for my bedroom. I sat up and actually looked over each side of the bed, which now makes me smile. I listened for sounds of my daughter moving around and, hearing none, I laid back down. I was at ease because it didn’t smell like smoke so I could rule out fire, or possibly a stroke. The entire time I tried to place it, the fragrance remained and didn’t begin to dissipate until I nailed it. It was Chantilly Lace, my grandmother’s favorite and a touchstone of my youth. Nana, my dad’s mother and the one in the photo on my dresser, had come to say hello. We were very close, me being the only girl grandchild in the area, and my grade school memories are filled with games of Canasta, tea parties with cream cheese and jelly sandwiches, multiple viewings of The Mike Douglas show and, of course, her signature Chantilly Lace.

The fragrance was gone as I said goodbye and thanked her for coming. Is that strange? Not to me. And, now that I’ve cleared my head, I can return to Tyler Henry’s fascinating gift.

 

Credit: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DTAPXRM?storeType=ebooks

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Just Breathe

I am told I have mild sleep apnea. I don’t understand where they get that. I don’t snore and my daughter on the other side of the wall from my bed never hears anything. But I am fatigued, bone tired, and more exhausted when I wake up than when I went to bed. Depression doesn’t fit my numbers or the way I live my life. Except for a couple of minor age related issues (oh joy) no other issue seems to be affecting me. So my doctor ordered a sleep study.

Terrified that I might have to be locked into an office building overnight – the stuff of horror flicks – I am given the option of wearing a recording device on my head overnight and then returning it for analysis. I picked the thing up near my doctor’s office where I was also instructed on its use.

Device is a loose term. It is really a collection of straps, tubes, and electronic chips which, when secured later that evening, gave my daughter a bout of hysterics and hiccups. Although it looked strange, it wasn’t terrible to sleep with so I had high hopes of an accurate read; that is, if I didn’t keep sneezing out the little nasal tubes.

Fast forward to the sleep study I receive in the mail. At least 2 apnea episodes lead to my diagnosis and to a new challenge of sleeping with tubes, machines, and assorted accessories. It’s now been a week since I began using my air machine and I have had some good days, some not so good ones, and one truly surreal experience.

I opted for the “pillows” style mask, a somewhat misleading term for something that sounds fairy-like yet plugs into your nose. It isn’t terrible but it’s not a spa experience, either. And don’t open your mouth or it will blow in your nose and out with your words. It is the voice of nightmares.

Then there’s the ramp. It is the system by which the air coming into your body gradually increases through the night, adjusting higher as it senses the pushback from the apnea. Mine is set between 4 and 20. The first days I would wake up and feel like a giant wind was taking my breath away. Thank goodness for that reset switch. I have gotten more tolerant to it in a week. Just this morning, I was taking my time, slowly waking to the rhythmic breathing which showed the ramp at almost 9.

Along with these different adjustments I’ve had to make came one of the creepiest experiences ever. On morning, I woke up at 3:45 am unable to speak. I was Wade Wilson in X-Men: Wolverine, wild eyed and mouth sewn shut. I must have fallen asleep with my mouth open and been dried out by the great north wind screaming from the depths of my nasal passage. I grabbed my water cup and managed to slide the straw through my tight lips, only to realize I couldn’t suck. Everything was stuck together and nothing would work. After several attempts, I finally got enough moisture in to create a wave of saliva which (too slowly) freed up my membranes. The humidifier comes out tonight because I refuse to use the face mask option. I am not Bane – I’m one of the good guys, Batman.

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Techno-rant

Haven’t you always wondered where all your extra time and money goes?  I’ve been thinking about all our grownup toys like iPads, cell phones, and DVRs. With all these minions working for us, we should be ahead of the game. They all promise the savings as something to help our day-to-day living. Although I am no techno geek, I am a disciple at the altar of technology. I have all the basic equipment and a kid who keeps me current. Why aren’t I showing more savings, in time and money, now that I have so many things to do my thinking, shopping, bill paying, taping?

I think I’ve figured it out.  Maybe it was the $275 billed from a satellite TV company when I cancelled after the one month trial and before the year was up, even though I never got a signal. (The two holes drilled into my stucco by the installer continue to haunt me.) Or maybe it’s the $179 about which I fought for eight months when I, fool that I am, tried to do my part to reduce e-waste by fixing my own hard drive.

Have you gotten it? Does it sound familiar? I’m sure it does. You probably have a couple of title fights in your past, each complete with a file of backup paperwork the size of a novel and carrying memories of abusive (or, on the other hand, clueless) sales assistants, boxes sitting in the dining room for months (so as not to let it fall off your own personal radar), and mounds of money, retained by companies, faceless voices from the void of a phone line, punishing you for your stupidity for purchasing their product.

But I rant. Let me try to sound more logical. The ironic thing that has come to me like a blast of fresh air is this: we buy things to save time and we spend double or triple the amount of time trying to fix the deed, losing money in the process. Most of the time, it’s pretty clear-cut, such as my hard drive incident. A friend gave me a computer when she upgraded and we both knew there was no warranty left on it. When it crashed, I called the company and paid by the minute for the tech department to tell me I needed a hard drive. I ordered it and was told I had a 16-day money back guarantee. Okay, so when I got it and called the technical department, as instructed by the guarantee paperwork, the voice told me, after an hour on and off hold, in a heavy, impenetrable Indian accent, that he couldn’t help me because my computer was not under warranty. What?

Now, if it wasn’t happening to me, and if there wasn’t a lot of money at stake, and it wasn’t my money, and I hadn’t listened to an hour’s worth of hold music, and it wasn’t the second time in a year this type of idiocy happened to me, well, I would have actually LMFAO.

But it was happening to me. In other words it was personal. The way I see it, outside forces are entering the privacy of our world by our invitation and doing terrible things to us. And we are paying them a lot of money to do it, at a price low enough to purchase, yet too high to walk away from and call it a loss. And, in doing so, we allow them to steal our precious time.

So how do we correct this paradox and still surf along with everyone else in the 21st century? I mean, I love to purchase online and by phone. It makes my life easier. And we live in a world of immediate gratification, one for which, to my dismay, I have been inadvertently grooming my daughter.

Here is where we must take charge. We punish the offenders. We tell everyone we know to tell everyone they know not to use (fill in the blank). We pick and choose whom we buy from and what we buy, and learn to grow some patience about getting a few things. It beats learning it the hard way when you have to call the same number for eight months for a refund. One more thing: cut the cord. Oh, yes I did, and I’ve gone a blissful 8 months without any conversation with a cable company.

And if you get into a firefight again, repeat after me – “small claims court”.

 

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