17Nov/16
jeans

“Forever In Blue Jeans”

with all due respect to Neil Diamond…

jeans

my favorite things. water, a good book and my jeans…oh and jewelry.

Well I just had to post about this. It kinda got shoved under the carpet with the whole election thing going on…I saw an article posted recently where a group of Brits(2000 of them) were surveyed about what age women should stop wearing jeans…and they came up with the ripe old age of 53. We women, not men, should no longer wear jeans after we reach the 50’s. WTH? Who comes up with this stuff? Why was this survey even a thing? And who are these 2000 people who were surveyed?

With all the issues we have to survey people about someone thought this was a good idea. Well I have news for these people. I will not stop wearing my jeans…EVER.  You are going to have to pry my jeans off my cold dead body. I love my jeans. I always have since the very first pair I ever got. My Wranglers. I wore them as soon as I got home from school. I took off my skirt, knee socks and penny loafers and on went my jeans.That was when I wore my first pair, after that I was taking off my Capezios, my wool skirt and fur blend sweater to put on my Keds, sweatshirt and jeans.

Back in the 50’s and 60’s when I was growing up we weren’t allowed to wear jeans or any kind of pants to school. We had to wear a skirt and top or a dress. I guess that is why I am so loving them now and wearing them all the time. I couldn’t wear them for so long that I have to make up for all those years. I love jeans, honestly I wear them most of the time. I have different styles and colors but I wear them almost every single day.

Jeans were first worn by the miners, farmers and cowboys(love a cowboy in jeans, but that is another story). Levi Strauss created them in 1800’s. There was a need for a fabric that was strong enough to endure all the rough work they did. Someone noticed how cool they were and they were immediately mainstreamed into the stores for us. And thank goodness for that! Lee, Wrangler and Levis were the first ones I remember and then the designers got into the action. They knew a good thing and they couldn’t wait to cash in on the much loved jean craze.

Back in the 50’s there was just the plain old jeans and then with the 60’s came the Bell Bottoms. I wore both of course, being the fashionista that I was and still am. A few of the designers I remember and wore were Gloria Vanderbilt, Jordache(remember them..LOL), Guess and Ralph Lauren. Now I don’t really care about the label as long as they fit. But I do love my Calvin Klein and Michael Kors jeans. They just seem to fit me better than others. Cost doesn’t really come into play either, I have found some no name brands I love and don’t cost an arm and a leg and have really hated some expensive ones. My jeans just need to feel “right” for me to buy them and wear them.

The study also said it takes some women trying on 6 pairs of jeans before they find a pair they like and fit the way they want them to fit. I think that number may be low. I seem to recall the last time I was trying to find some and must have taken 10 pair into the dressing room, none of which fit…The survey also said 6% of women even wind up crying when they can’t find any to fit. Really? I know after the 10 pairs I tried on, I was exhausted and gave up for the day. But I didn’t cry. There is no crying in fashion…There was another study by the British earlier in the year that said we should stop wearing jeans at 47. What is it with the Brits? Do they want us American women to look old and frumpy so they will look cooler?

When you think back, we have had so many types of jeans, from your regular old denim jean to prewashed, preshrunk, distressed, faded, acid washed, low rise, high rise mom jeans(never a fan of these), straight leg, wide leg, and the ever popular skinny jeans. I know some people aren’t a fan of skinny jeans but I really like them and wear them, not the “so tight I can’t bend my legs” type skinny jeans, but they are great to wear with boots which I wear all the time. I have jeans in all colors and like black jeans a lot.  Can you tell I just love my jeans? Since it takes forever to find the perfect pair of jeans I think it makes you want to wear them until they wear out… and now that I mentioned it, I hate that. My favorite ever pair of jeans wear out and now I am on a mission to find some to replace them. We all know how that goes since you can buy the same style, same brand, same size and they don’t fit! What is that? The designers messing with us??

I have read in many fashion magazines that jeans are one of “the” most popular all time items of clothing. The reason being you can where them just about anywhere depending on how you dress them up or down. And the fact anyone can wear them, any sex, any nationality, or any age. Evidently the Brits, or at least 2000 of them don’t agree. I don’t care what “they” say or anyone else for that matter. I will keep on wearing my jeans. I will wear them until I don’t think I should. Since I don’t see that happening any time soon… someone..someday will have to pry them off my cold dead body.

“Money talks
But it don’t sing and dance
And it don’t walk
And long as I can have you here with me
I’d much rather be
Forever in blue jeans” – Neil Diamond

“I have often said that I wish I had invented blue jeans: the most spectacular, the most relaxed and nonchalant. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity – all I hope for in my clothing.” ~ Yves Saint Laurent

and this one… “I want to die with my blue jeans on.” ~ Andy Warhol and me…

What about you? What do you think? Is there an age when women shouldn’t wear jeans anymore? Do you love jeans?

 

 

10Nov/16
meditation can help

How To Be Positive In A Negative World

and yes, it is possible…

meditation can help

With all the negativity in the world is it possible for us to have even a small amount of positivity in our own little world? We are surrounded by bad news these days like never before. TV and online news is abundant. And then throw in social media, which tends to make people even angrier about things they see and hear than it did before. People believe everything they see and read and then get themselves all worked into a frenzy about it… and most of the time it isn’t even true. Families and friendships are torn apart and if this can happen to family and friends think about how it affects the world.

I believe we can change this. Yes, I am an eternal optimist and believe the glass is half full. But we need to start with ourselves and our own family. We can not let the media and the hate out there continue to bring us down. How do we start to change things? How can we make our own little part of the world positive? We need to start with small things. We need to start with ourselves. Maybe we can not change the world, but we can change the way we feel. That is really all we have power over..our own feelings. And maybe by changing our feelings we can begin to see a difference in our world.

I have thought about this a lot lately due to the fact I myself have started feeling a little upset about my own way of dealing with things and all the negativity, so I made a list of things I could do to change the way I feel.

“Positive thinkers have a solution for every problem. Negative thinkers have a problem for every solution.” ~ Steven Aitchison

Go to the beach, the mountains or wherever it is you feel most happy. If you can’t go there look at pictures or videos of these places. And take a video next time you visit so you have this to look at when you feel like you need it. It can really make a difference. I love to look at the waves crashing on the shore and it truly soothes my soul.

Make a list of all the things you have in your life that you are grateful for. I say my list out loud every night before I go to sleep. And I try to come up with something every morning when I wake up. Usually, it is that I woke up! Being grateful for everything in your life brings us more things to be grateful for.

Be kind to others and give of yourself. There is nothing to make you feel better about yourself than to help another person. It gets you out of yourself and helps you to see that there is always someone worse off than you. It doesn’t take much to smile and be kind. Try it.

Turn off the news and stay off social media. The news isn’t what it was back in the day. We had real news, unbiased and they just reported the facts. What happened to that? And really, I love social media as well as the next person, so I know I am not giving it up, but I am trying to limit the amount of time I spend on it and limit the people who I call my “friends”.  I can’t ignore the fact that it has given me some great new friends and also returned some lost ones. But we need to take everything we see with a grain of salt. News Flash…not everything that we see on tv or the internet is true. Check it out people, google it, talk to others before getting yourself upset by something you think is real when it is just someone putting trash out there into cyber space to whip everyone up. And they are doing a good job of it. Don’t respond to the negativity either, if you see something that makes you feel bad, just scroll on. I try to put “good” out there every day on my Facebook page and I know people are grateful I do.

“Don’t let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” ~ Dalai Lama

 

Listen to music and dance. Music can touch your soul and clear your head. It can take you away or bring you back. It is the medicine that can keep you going when times get tough. Whether you are at home or in your car, listen to some music. Go to a concert. Enjoy the music you grew up with. Turn on the music and dance!

Exercise or meditate, or both. Get outdoors and walk in the sunlight. Nature and the brisk cool air can heal many a negative mind. Do whatever makes you feel good, if it doesn’t, you won’t keep doing it. So if it’s yoga or joining the gym, whatever you like and will keep doing…do that!

Let go of things that are not bringing you joy and happiness. This includes people as well as things. I know you can’t always stay away from that boss at work that brings you down, but you can change the way they make you feel when you are around them. And you can’t get rid of a family member if you want to keep them in your life. Its hard when this situation happens to us and harder when it is someone we love. We can’t change them, but we can change the way we respond to them.

Surround yourself with positive people. Like I said before, sometimes we can not get rid of certain people but we don’t need to constantly be with them. If you care about someone who is toxic, limit the amount of time you spend with them. This is not being selfish, this is what we need to do for our own health. I know first hand how hard this is sometimes but if you want to be happy you need to do it. I am truly blessed to have so many positive people in my life and believe me, it makes all the difference. I have gone to hell and back many times in my life and would not be here and whole if it wasn’t for all of them.

“A good friend is a connection to life – a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world.” ~ Lois Wyse

Talk to yourself.  Yes, I know this sounds weird… but it isn’t. If you are feeling upset or negative about something, talk to yourself the same way you would talk to a friend. Think about what you would say to that friend and say it to yourself instead. Note: You may want to close your door or make sure no one is close by.

Take your kids/grand kids on a fun day trip. If you don’t have any, take someone else’s. I’m sure they could use a break and you get to see the day through the eyes of a child. There is nothing better than playing like a kid again to make all of our negativity and worries seem far far away.

Go on a road trip with friends. If you follow my blog and I hope you do. (And if you don’t, sign up now to get it each and every time in your email.) Anyway, if you follow my blog you know I just went on a road trip last week. There is nothing like going somewhere you have never been before with good friends. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. If money is a concern,  you can just go to a new restaurant or a concert at a place you’ve never been to before. Just do something different and spend time with your friends. You will leave with an even better friendship and memories that will last forever.

This is my list of things to help you be more positive. Do you have anything to add to this list? What makes you feel joyful in this crazy world?

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you can not see a shadow.” ~ Helen Keller

 

 

06Nov/16
road trip

The Road Trip

sometimes all you need is a full tank of gas and a good friend…or two…

road trip

ready for a little adventure…go on a road trip…

“Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

I think sometimes all we need to fix whatever ails our soul is a road trip. I love spending time with friends. I also like to see new places and experience things I have never experienced before. Doing all of these things together at the same time can sometimes be life changing. It all depends on who you brought along for the ride.

I’ve heard it said a time or two that it doesn’t matter where you go, it’s who you have beside you on your journey. I don’t know who said it but they were right. I don’t care if you are going on a road trip or just life in general, the people who are beside you on your journey can truly change your life. And having the “right” people with you can make all the difference.

Just this past week I went on a “road trip” to Virginia. A friend and I rode there together to a mutual friends house and stayed there for 3 days.  Our friend has a beautiful house in a lovely setting with a creek and woods behind it, which lends itself to wonderful sunrises and sunsets. We hiked, went sight seeing, visited wineries and of course we went out to eat. It was a wonderful time, beautiful weather and so much fun. But all of that aside, it was the two friends and the time we spent together that really made the trip special. It was the time we spent talking about our lives and the things going on in our lives that made this trip what it was. Amazing.

I loved visiting the wineries and doing wine tastings. We all enjoyed this and each of us liked different wines. I think friendships are kind of like fine wine. Sometimes the friendship has to sit a bit, has to age until it is ready. Ready to be what it was meant to be. This weekend showed me our friendship was ready. To have friends that you are able to share your deepest thoughts with and not be judged or fear it will be passed along to others is a rare thing these days. How many people can truly share their deepest secrets and not be afraid of how it will be taken or that one day you will have it come back to haunt you?

If you follow me(and you should, by the way) you know I write a lot about friendship. The reason why is because of how much I value the friends I have. Having lost so much family has made me value them even more. We all need friends. Some people only have one or two and that is fine. Even one true friend can make a difference in your life. I am blessed to have so many wonderful friends in my life. People who continually lift me up and help me through the hard times. I only hope I give some of that back. If I have given one small amount of what has been given to me than my life has been worth it.

After a long day of hiking and walking in the cool fall air we would sit at my friends kitchen table and chat about the things we did that day. Someone would bring up something funny we said or did and we would bust out laughing. This was the best part of the day. There we were, sitting there together eating apple streusel out of the bowl together and laughing. I looked around the table and fully realized what I had in these women.

As I drove home from my friends house I thought about the 3 days we spent together and I smiled the whole way home. What I gained from this trip can not be measured by how much fun I had in Virginia, and don’t get me wrong we had a lot of fun. What I gained from this road trip was how much my life had been enriched by simply spending time with these girls. I have spent time with them before, but I felt something different this time… something had changed. Maybe it was the one on one time we had together or maybe it is the fact we are getting older. But it felt like something had shifted. We are more like sisters than friends. We are joined together by something that can’t really be explained. Nor does it need to be.

Everyone should go on a road trip with a friend.. or two. Have you ever and where did you go?

” A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.” ~ Tim Cahill

 

 

27Oct/16
traffic backed up

Top Ten Reasons I Hate Driving

did I say how much I hate this…

traffic backed up

this is one reason…

I used to love driving, really I did, but that has changed now. Now there are too many cars on the road and too many people driving them that maybe shouldn’t be driving. Before you say anything, yes, my age may have something to do with my hatred of driving but I know a lot of people way younger than me that hate it too. Maybe I need a driver to go along with the pool boy I always wanted. By the way, I don’t have a pool but I’m sure I can think of some things to keep him busy. Back to the reason for this post…reasons I hate driving.

Here are my top ten…and believe me, I do have more than 10.

  1. Rude drivers – people who act like they are the only car on the road and everyone needs to just get out of their way. You see them coming and just move over so they can go by totally oblivious to anyone else being on the road. Because if you don’t get out of their way they will just run into you. I don’t think there’s a day that goes by lately that when I pull in my drive way after going somewhere, that I don’t just sit in my car for a few minutes and give thanks for making it home alive.
  2. Drivers who are texting or on their phones – here in my state as well as many others it is against the law to be on their phone but that sure doesn’t stop the ones I see every day texting or talking away. I actually saw a guy watching a movie on his iPad one day.
  3. Tailgaters – this one is high on my “hate list”. I especially hate when I am on a road that has more than one lane and the driver tailgating me can pass me, but doesn’t. It is like they are in the zone and don’t even know they are doing it until I slam on my brakes and wake them up. Yeah, I may or may not do that sometimes.
  4. Traffic – Is there anywhere you can go these days where there is no traffic? This is kind of a rhetorical question, because no.. it seems like there is traffic everywhere. Even the quaint little towns I used to love driving through because they didn’t have any, now do. Maybe this is due to the fact some huge builder is building homes there now because it is such a “quaint little town.”
  5. Maniacs – Well I’m not sure if they really are maniacs or not but they act like it. They weave back and forth in traffic thinking they are special and can pass everyone in the long line of traffic that is backed up the whole way for miles, only to end up a the same light or right beside you in the traffic line. I always look over and smile at them. It kinda helps pass the time.
  6. Dogs, Deer and Kids – Not especially in that order and I don’t hate them. I worry that they are going to run out in the street in front of my car when I see them alongside the road. I really worry about this. My reflexes aren’t what they used to be and I worry iI won’t be able to stop in time. And it’s not just the ones I mentioned. I don’t even want to hit a squirrel or skunk for that matter. Once there was this huge gathering of birds on the highway, traffic was in from of me, in back of me and beside me and I had no where to go but right through them. I felt there little bodies hitting under the car and it made me sick to my stomach. I didn’t even look in the rear view mirror.
  7. Driving at night – My night vision isn’t what it once was either, but really I never liked driving at night before when my vision was perfect. Come to think of it I really don’t like the dark. I like sunny days and daylight. Maybe it goes back to my childhood, who knows.
  8. Speed Limits – I am not complaining that we have them, I am saying no one bothers to follow them. I try, but it is difficult to drive the speed limit when everyone else is going 25 miles over it. Remember when we lowered the speed limit for safety and to conserve gas? I think that was why…but now they are constantly increasing it to 70 and even 80 in some areas. Do we really need to go that fast? Just leave in plenty of time and you will get there…and alive. And really it doesn’t matter what the speed limits are because no one goes the speed limit!! It is also hard to get off the ramp and onto these roads because you can’t really get up to 70 or 80 right off the bat and no one will let you in front of them because they are all speeding by at 90 miles an hour. So much for that safety thing.
  9. Getting to where I need to go – I don’t have a fancy car that has the map thingy that tells you where to go and when to turn. I used a friends “talking map thingy” once and it told me to turn where there wasn’t even a road. And I read all of the stories of people driving into ponds or oceans because it told them to do that. Not that I would do that by the way, but if it was dark I might not know the pond was there. Anyway, I don’t use one. I print out the map instructions and sometimes still get lost. And who is like me here, in that I turn the radio down when I am looking for the address or where to turn?? And what does that do? I still can’t find it.
  10. And last but certainly not least is Parallel Parking – I absolutely hate to do this and thank goodness we don’t have to very often these days. However should the occasion arise where I am in one of the ‘quaint little towns”, that is really the only way you can park. I will drive around for hours(well maybe 15 minutes) to find a place where I can just pull in. And in all other instances, I will use the parking decks. I will gladly pay rather than parallel park and hold up traffic with my back and forth trying to get in the space where there are SUV’s parked in front and back of me. What? They couldn’t make those spaces just a smidgen bigger??

I have heard that millennials don’t like driving either. They like living in the city so they can walk to work or take public transportation. I get it. I like living in my quaint little town, I can walk to the bank, post office and to get a cup of coffee in a few minutes time. I don’t like driving. I really like being a passenger. I like looking out the window and really seeing the landscape instead of staring straight ahead watching the maniac in front of me. Honestly, I just don’t like to drive anymore. It isn’t fun and in fact it is downright stressful. And who needs stress? I really do think I just need to get a driver. He can be best friends with the pool boy.

I leave you as always with a question and a quote. How do you feel about driving? I’d love to hear your comments.

“Baseball is a lot like driving, it’s the one who gets home safely that counts.” ~  Tommy Lasorda

20Oct/16
too many choices

Why Do We Have So Many Choices?

except in politics, but that’s another story….

too many choices

too many choices, I just can’t make a decision

I am really not just talking about shoes, although I may have a slight problem choosing the right ones especially when I go into one of those huge shoe stores. I’m talking about having just too many choices these days. I had a conversation with a friend this past weekend about music and groups and how when we were growing up we knew the names of all the groups and musicians. Now when we watch the awards shows on tv, 90% of the time we don’t know any of the nominees. I don’t think it’s because we are older, I think there are just so many of them that we don’t know who they all are. Speaking of tv, when we were young we had maybe 4 channels on the tv to choose from and that was enough, now I have several hundred and can’t find anything worth watching. I have channels I never even knew I had, nor do I know what is on them. Nor do I want to.

And it isn’t just tv or shoes. I go to the grocery store and am looking for a can of corn. I think there used to be maybe 2 or 3 kinds of corn. Del Monte and Green Giant quickly come to mind. Now there are rows and rows of corn to pick from. Some have salt, some don’t, some are organic, some aren’t, some aren’t even yellow. Some I don’t even know what kind of corn it is because I don’t understand what the label says. I looked and looked and until I finally just wanted to scream, “I just want a freakin can of corn.” I thought I was just thinking this in my head but maybe I really said it out loud because the woman next to me shielded her baby and zoomed off to the next aisle.

If you go to the beauty counter to get a red nail polish, there are 500 red nail polishes(that may be a slight exaggeration). Reddish brown, reddish purple, reddish red, red with a hint of black, red with a hint of gold. I just want to pick a bottle up and read the label and it says…”RED.” Is that too much to ask? Don’t even get me started on hair care products. Hair conditioners, mousse, shampoo and hair sprays. I can’t decide which one to use for my kind of hair. There is one for curly, there is one for dry hair, there is one for older women…well no there really isn’t but I’m surprised and then there is one for color treated(oops, now you know this blonde isn’t real). So which one should I pick? I stand there staring at them until my eyes get blurry and my head hurts and then I just get the same old one I always get. The one for curly hair. Maybe thats why my hair is so much more curly now.

Then there is clothing. And the color of the clothing. Recently, I needed a navy top to go under a sweater I bought that was white with navy stripes. Every navy top I got was the wrong shade of navy. How many shades of navy can there be you ask? Well the answer to that is at least 5 because I am now the proud owner of 5 different navy tops. And no, not one of them match my sweater. Why do we need so many shades of each color? We don’t need all these choices! And even with all the choices we have it is really hard to find just a plain ordinary beige top. Off white, cream colored. I needed this color as well as the navy one for under something and could not find one anywhere. Oh there were plenty of cream tops, racks of them in fact but they had a pocket or something lacy hanging out of the bottom or worse, had dolman sleeves..which doesn’t work too well under a jacket or sweater.

Do you know all the brands of cars there are today? I just saw a commercial for a new car and it was called Genesis. I thought, wow I never heard of that. I looked it up and it is Hyundai’s new luxury car. Wait, Hyundai has a luxury car…But seriously, when I was growing up, we basically had Chevys, Fords, Oldsmobile and Plymouths. Also there were a few cool sports cars. But I knew them all. When I would see one I could name it. Now I have no idea what car I am seeing in front of me on the road until I look at the name and even then I don’t know what it is.

When did all of this start? This “having so many choices” thing.. Do we really need all of these choices or does having too many of them just make us want more? Or does it make us throw up our hands and decide to not get anything at all? I don’t know the answer to those questions, but I do know this, if I finally do find a lipstick color or hair spray I love after the many hours and weeks of searching and trying one after another of them till I find it, someone somewhere in an office far away makes a decision that I shouldn’t use that color or hair spray anymore because they decide to discontinue it. Then the never ending search through the aisles and aisles of lipstick and hair spray begins anew. So I guess when all is said and done it really doesn’t matter how many choices we have.

What do you think? Do we have to many choices these days?

Here are a couple quotes about choices.

“Too many choices can overwhelm us and cause us to not choose at all. For businesses, this means that if they offer us too many choices, we may not buy anything.” ~ Sheena lyengar, Author of “The Art of Choosing.”

And I really like this one, and it can pertain to anything in life.

“We are our choices.” ~ J.P. Sartre

 

 

14Oct/16
finding joy

Refinding My Joy

it was lost but now it’s found…

finding joy

find joy in the simple things

My word for 2016 was “joy.” I was going to find joy every day and try to make others happy and joyful too. It was a wonderful idea and I got some of my friends onboard with it as well. We shared our stories each and every day of how and where we were finding our joy. It was truly a wonderful goal, this whole “finding joy” thing was quite uplifting and hearing about everyone else’s joy made me even more joyful. That went on for a few months and then life somehow got in the way. My life wasn’t joyful anymore.

I decided this week to try and to “refind” my joy. I am bound and determined that it is out there, just waiting for me to rediscover it and allow it to once again come into my life. I want to be joyful. I need to feel happiness again. But I am also not a fool, I know every day can’t be just sunshine and joy. There is pain all around us and we can’t ignore it. But what we can do is find one thing every day that make us feel “JOY.”

In thinking about writing this I decided to look up some quotes about “joy.”  I was amazed by the ones I found and want to share 5 of them with you. They filled me with joy just reading them. I hope they will bring you some as well.

1.“Joy is prayer; joy is strength: joy is love; joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.” ~ Mother Teresa

2. “Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our grief.” ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero ( I love this one by the way)

3. “Joy, rather than happiness, is the goal of life, for joy is the emotion which accompanies our fulfilling our natures as human beings. It is based on the experience of one’s identity as a being of worth and dignity.” ~ Rollo May

4. “A joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love. She gives most who gives with joy.” ~ Mother Teresa

5. “Joy is a decision, a really brave one, about how you are going to respond to life.” ~ Wess Stafford

I love all of these, but that last one really made me stop and think. Doesn’t everything in life come down to this? It is really not about what life gives us or takes away. It is how we respond to it. We can find joy in simple things. The picture above of the butterfly brings me joy. Seeing butterflies in my garden makes me smile and brings me joy, my son loved them and I know he is sending them to us. I see joy in the faces of my grandchildren and I find it in the love my family and friends show me every day. And I know for sure that joy still dwells somewhere deep within my heart.

This is my goal for the remainder of 2016. I am going to find my joy again. I am going to embrace it and never let it go.

What brings you joy?

 

06Oct/16

Please Don’t Ask Me How I Am…

I know this sounds both rude and weird but let me explain.

just trying to hold things together...

I’m trying to hold things together…

I don’t know if everyone that experiences a loss feels this way or not. Maybe it’s just people who have lost a piece of themselves..a part of their heart, a human being they carried inside their own body for nine months and raised to watch them become an adult and have children of their own. Maybe it’s only people like me that can truly understand how I feel when someone asks me this question, “how are you?”

I don’t know how I am. I don’t know how to answer this question. I get asked this every day and every day I don’t know how to answer. I just look at them and finally say, “I’m doing ok.” What am I supposed to say? What do they want me to say? Do they really want to know the truth? Because on the rare occasion I do try to put into words how I really feel, I see the look on their face and it tells me they really didn’t want to know. It is a look like, oh, no, she is really going to tell me and I don’t want to know, because I won’t know what to say to her.

I get it. I know it is difficult being the friend or family member of someone who has lost a child. I didn’t know what to say to others when I found out they had experienced this kind of loss. I do now. I love all the heartfelt emails, texts and cards people have sent and the words they so thoughtfully wrote to me have warmed my heart. I think it is easier to write than to speak, especially when you are face to face with the person who just lost their child.

I don’t want to be rude and I know it seems that I am not grateful for the people who take the time to ask me this question. I love that you take the time to ask me anything at all, just be aware I really don’t know how to answer. I want you to keep talking to me and allowing me to talk about my son. I feel like people are afraid I will break down and they won’t know how to handle the situation. It helps me to talk about it, but if it makes you uncomfortable then don’t ask. “if you don’t want to hear the answers, don’t ask the questions.”

There is another part of this that is hard as well. I don’t know how to act. I am out with family members or friends and we are laughing and having a great time and suddenly it dawns on me, what if someone sees me laughing. Why is she laughing? She just lost her son, she must not care. But then what is the answer? To look sad all the time and bring everyone down and make them feel sad too. I don’t want people to feel sad and feel so bad they don’t want to even be around me. I am aware of how you must feel and the thin tightrope you think you have to stay on. Ask me real questions, ask me tough questions. I may or may not have the answer but it will be better than asking me how I am.

I have so many days where I feel strong and happy and ready to take on the world. And then there are days when I have a hard time doing just about anything at all. I have had many losses in my life. Many. To have lost my Dad at such a long age was very hard. My Mom was in decline for years and it was almost a blessing that she finally gave up the fight. I lost my sister, my only sibling in a terrible freak accident that no one could have foreseen and was one of the hardest things I ever had to go through. But this. Losing my son, is…you know what, I can’t even put it into words. I have been sitting here trying to come up with the right words and they are none.

I am trying to be strong for my family. I know they all have had a hard time with this as well. I am blessed to have family and friends that have held me up and supported me through this horrific time in my life. I don’t know what I would have done without them. I don’t know what the future holds. I do know I am not the same person I was two months ago. I will never be that person again. I know it will get easier, but it will never be the same. And neither will I. I am on a this journey I never expected to be on and I hope everyone will stay with me as I figure out who I am now and where I am headed.

In closing, please don’t ask me how I am… because I don’t really know the answer. I usually end with a question, but I don’t have one. So instead I will end with two beautiful quotes I have found.

“It has been said that time heals all wounds. I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind protecting it’s sanity covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it’s never gone. ~ Rose Kennedy

“Do not judge the bereaved mother. She comes in many forms. She is breathing, but she is dying. She may look young, but inside she has become ancient. She smiles, but her heart sobs. She walks, she talks, she cooks, she IS, but she IS NOT, all at once. She is here, but a part of her is elsewhere for eternity.” ~ Unknown

 

 

 

30Sep/16

Ten Questions You Should Never Ask

I may or may not have asked a few…

just don't open your mouth

just keep your mouth shut

We have all had those times when you ask a question and the moment it is out of your mouth you realize you shouldn’t have asked it. I had lunch with a friend the other day and we were discussing this very thing. How we both have asked someone if they were pregnant and of course they weren’t and how embarrassing it was for both the asker and the askee(don’t think these are actual words but you get the point) It really makes both parties involved feel terrible. So after my one and only disaster I decided to refrain from ever asking this question again until the person involved told me she was indeed pregnant.

This got me to thinking about other questions you should just not ask. Below is my list of ten that I may or may not have asked or been asked.

  1. The first and obvious one is, “Are you pregnant?” You just should never utter these words if you don’t know the person. If you do know them don’t ask this until you hear the words “I’m pregnant” come out of their own mouth. Just take my word for it. My friend told me her story of how a woman came in to her workplace all the time and she was super skinny, ran all the time and was in great shape. So she came in one day with her child in a stroller and had a very distinct baby bump. It was right there, not a speck of fat on her body. So my friend knew she was pregnant. She says, “oh you are pregnant.” The woman gave her a very sad look and said, “no I don’t know what is the matter I just can’t lose this bump.” Of course my friend felt terrible and I’m sure the woman did as well. You can’t base your asking of this question on looks because this incident proves that. Just don’t ask..
  2. Is that your Grandmother? Being in retail, customers are always coming up to buy jewelry or perfume from me and have a person with them, Sometimes that person is much older than the customer. Don’t ever ask if the young man you are talking to if this lovely person with him is his grandmother? You will get a blank stare and be told that no, indeed this isn’t my Grandmother, it is my wife. Note: I also lost the sale.
  3. Is this your son? Just like “the is this your grandmother question”, do not ask is this your Mother, Father, Grandparent, etc… This actually happened to me. I was once in a very long term live in relationship with a younger man…much younger. 11 years younger to be exact. We were going to a wedding of a mutual friend and he needed a new suit. We went to a high end department store and he went about trying on various suits coming out to show me and let me help him choose. This went on for awhile and the clerk who was helping us finally looked at me and said, ” is that your son, he looks great in all of them.” To which I replied, “no, he is my boyfriend, and yes he does.” She looked a bit embarrassed and walked away. Just don’t ask.
  4. Why aren’t you married? I get this one a lot. I’ve been there, done that and have 2 tee shirts. I don’t feel the need to do it again. It is a nosey, rude question and one that doesn’t even deserve a reply. Personally, I would never ask someone this question, but you wouldn’t believe the amount of times I get it. Most times I try to ignore it and move on, but if they push, I usually give my stock answer which is, “why do you feel the need to know this?” That line and my look most times stops them…just throw it back at them.
  5. Why don’t you have kids? This is another one of those questions that is very personal and I think people shouldn’t ask. They don’t ask me this question of course but I know several people who have chosen not to have children or couldn’t have children that get asked this question all the time. This just goes without saying, you should just not ask someone this question. End of discussion.
  6. Do you want to date my ex? Ok, this one was very weird. I had a good friend and helped her through a terrible divorce. Her husband was a jerk and not at all good looking. A year or so after the divorce out of no where she asked me, “you want to date my ex don’t you?” I said no and thought that would be it. but she kept asking me this question every time we were together. I felt if I told her how much he repulsed me it would be a slam to her so I just kept my mouth shut and hoped she would stop asking. But she didn’t. So one night as we were watching a movie together, a chic flick romance, she asked me again. I screamed at her, “no, I don’t want to date your idiotic, stupid jerk of an ex who looks like he is wearing a sweater when he really isn’t and loves to wear tank tops to show off his hairy skinny stupid looking body, are you happy now.” She never asked me that question again. Of course we are no longer friends.
  7. How much did that purse cost? I get asked how much that top, that purse, those shoes cost all the time. Now I love a bargain as much if not more than the next person but you just don’t ask that question. I tell my friends when I find a great bargain and how much I paid, They don’t even need to ask, I want to spread the joy with them. It is usually strangers or acquaintances that ask this and it really ticks me off. And the few times I did stupidly share the price and place I purchased an item with them they must have immediately gone there because the next time I saw them they had on the exact same thing. Not cool.
  8. How much money do you make? When I worked at various jobs over the years I would have people ask this question a lot. I don’t even know how much my own daughter makes. You just don’t ask this question.
  9. Asking a very personal question when someone close to you dies. I had people I hardly even know ask me how my sister and my son died. If I wanted you to know, you would know. Just maybe if the question is of a very personal nature and you think it may hurt the person you are asking, think about before you ask. And maybe just don’t ask.
  10. And finally this one…don’t ever ask a guy you are dating that is much younger than you after you pass a milestone birthday this question. “How does it feel to be dating a 40 year old?” It must not have felt too terrific as he decided it was over shortly after this.

So my point in this whole thing is this…do not ask something of someone you would not want someone to ask you. Don’t be hurtful and regret what you say to others. Words hurt. Think before you speak and most of all.. be kind!

Did you ever ask a person something you regretted asking? Did someone ever ask you a question that you wished they wouldn’t have?

“Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” ~ George Elliot (maybe we should all try to be more like animals)

 

22Sep/16

Mom Never Told Me…

but I really wish she would have

maybe she just couldn't

maybe she just couldn’t

I don’t know if was all moms back in that day or just mine, but my mom couldn’t talk about things that really mattered. I don’t know if she couldn’t or if she just wouldn’t, all I know is that she never told me these things. I wish she would have.

  1. Mom never told me life was so hard. It all seemed so easy for her and very rarely did I see her struggle or have bad days. She was always “up” and seemed genuinely happy. The only time in her life when I really noticed her getting depressed or having any kind of a bad day was after the death of my father. I know she had to have bad day and some terrible times in her life. I just never saw them or heard her talk about them.
  2. Mom never told me how difficult it was for her when I left my hometown of York, PA and moved to Maryland. Even though it wasn’t that far, I knew to her it was. We lived very close to each other and were together all the time. This move would change that. But she never spoke to me about it. Only when my own daughter moved to Vermont did I know how my mother must have felt when I left.
  3. Mom never told me she read my diary. I know now she did. How else did she know everything? How did she know I was going to do something before I even did it?
  4. Mom never told me about sex, or the consequences of having sex. Oh, yes, we had “The Talk”, but all she did was ask me if I knew how men and women had sex. And then made me explain it. Out loud. When all I wanted to do was ask her, “why do you need me to explain it, don’t you know?” But I knew what would happen if I said that, so I told her how people had sex. It was once of the most embarrassing moments of my life and it didn’t really accomplish anything in my opinion. Maybe if we would have really talked about how I should wait until I was in love and also a real man/boy that cared about you would wait until you were ready. Maybe if she would have talked about this in some depth, I would have waited and not wound up pregnant at 15.
  5. Mom never really told me how she felt when she found out I was pregnant. We didn’t talk about it at all. I was told I would get married to the young man and that was that. I would have liked to talk about it. I had so many feelings that I needed to share with her and felt like I couldn’t, since the subject was pretty much ignored. So I talked to my friends who were also 15 and they couldn’t connect with me on any level about this, so basically I dealt with it myself.
  6. Mom never told me how she felt when I told her we were getting a divorce. She just said she was sorry we couldn’t work it out and stay together. No motherly advice, no telling me about similar instances between her and Dad, or how to get through the difficult times I knew she had to experience. She just was sorry.
  7. Mom never told me about how she met my father or her wedding. I always wondered how they met, if they met in school or afterward. He went in the service right after graduation so I wasn’t sure when this had happened. I wanted to ask but thought if she wanted to tell me she would have. And maybe I wouldn’t have the questions I do now about the wedding and why it was so secretive.
  8. Mom never told me her hopes and dreams, what made her happy and what she would have done had she not married at 18. I knew she loved to paint portraits and that she worked for a while in my uncles gallery. I did ask her once if she wanted to ever paint again and she said no.
  9. Mom never told me about how it felt to grow older. She didn’t tell me how it felt to lose her beauty and how it made her feel. She was a beautiful woman and men always commented on how pretty she was. I wonder how she felt growing older and seeing the aging face looking back at her in the mirror. I would have liked to talk to her about this. It would help me with my own feelings on aging.
  10. Mom never told me how it felt to lose her first born child. She had a baby before I was born and it was stillborn. I know it had to hurt her deeply. She was only 19 so I’m sure it was a very emotional thing to go through. I am also sure it was one of the hardest things in her life and stayed with her always. You carry a child for nine months inside of you. You get to know that child and love it. How does a 19 year old girl deal with that loss? Since no one talked about such things, she had to go through it alone. If she had talked to me about it later in life when I had my own children, it could have maybe helped me to deal with the death of my own child and could have maybe helped her too.

We never talked about feelings or any thing that really mattered back when I was growing up. My grandmother did. She shared many stories of losing a couple of her children and the loss of my grandfather. I tried many times later in my life to get Mom to open up and talk about something, something she cared about. Even when Dad passed, she didn’t talk about her true feelings. Not with me at least. I’m not sure she did with anyone. All of my attempts to get her to share something… something that mattered to her was met with a cold stare and a change of subject. I remember one time in particular after Dad had passed, we were at lunch in the mall and I simply asked what do you want to do with your life now. she looked at me like I had two heads and said, “this sandwich is really good.”

I wish Mom and I could have shared more and talked about things. I talk to my kids about feelings and our hopes and dreams. Sometimes we talk too much.(can you really) But we share our feelings, we get them out and that is healthy. One thing I know for sure, being a “Mom” isn’t easy..it’s hard. I get that now!

I leave you as always with a question and a quote. Did your parents talk to you? I mean really talk to you.

“A mother is she who can take the place of all others but whose place no one else can take.” ~ Cardinal Mermillod

 

 

15Sep/16

Ten Good Things!

and believe me coming up with 10 right now wasn’t easy…

ahh, the ocean

ahh, the ocean

I posted a picture yesterday on Facebook and it asked the question, “what is one good thing in your life today?” I did a lot of thinking about that one since finding good things are hard for me right now. So, I posted that it was a beautiful day and I was alive. Those of you who know me also know I try to find good every day. It is so hard to do that right now and I went to bed last night trying to think of other good things I have in my life. i did come up with a few.

Here are the ten good things in my life:

  1. First and foremost is my family – I don’t honestly know what I would do without them or where I would be or if I would be here at all. They are my lifeline and I love them all so much. I am truly blessed with this wonderful group of crazy people I call my family. My daughters, I can’t even begin to tell you how much they mean to me and what their love and support has meant when I know how much they themselves are hurting. My grandchildren, they give me a reason to go on every time I even just think of them. My nieces, they have been so loving and supportive and always ready to listen or help whenever I need them. And the rest of my family, I love them all so much.
  2. My friends – I really have a hard time putting into words how much my friends mean to me. I have always had great friends and I appreciated them. I knew those kinds of friendships don’t just happen and that I was lucky and so I always tried to be kind and be there for my friends. But it wasn’t until the recent loss of my son that I truly learned the value of real friendship and just how much of a difference it can make in your life. True friends don’t need to be asked, they are just there, to support, to help, to talk, to just listen.
  3. My health – I am so very grateful for the good health I experience. I know so many others who aren’t as blessed and I wake up every morning and give thanks.
  4. My writing – I can’t begin to tell you how much writing means to me. I honestly don’t know where I would be if I couldn’t write about my feelings and get them out. I love writing and love how all of you have embraced my doing it! Thank you to everyone of you who read my blog and those who share it and take the time to comment. It means the world to me.
  5. Trips to the beach – I just had a quick 2 day trip to the beach this past weekend. Every time I go it brings me so much JOY! I love just sitting in my chair and watching the ocean. Also the smell of the beach and sea air somehow calms me and gets me ready to face whatever lies ahead… or deal with whatever has already happened.
  6. Reading – I have always loved reading. But lately I have been reading nonstop. One book after another. It gets me out of my head. I don’t think about anything else but the book I am reading at the moment. This can sometimes be a bad thing since I can’t stop and wind up reading into the wee hours of the morning. But I love it. I will at some point do a post on some of the really good ones I have read this summer.
  7. Doing things with my grandkids – even if 3 of them are living in another state, far, far away I get to see them quite a bit and love doing things with them and all 5 of my grands. We go on hikes or to interesting places(sometimes, they don’t think they are as interesting as I do). Taking them to the kids movies that are out is so much fun for me. I guess it would kinda of be weird going to see those movies alone so I have a good excuse to see them. And the 3 that live in another state, well we FaceTime when they aren’t here visiting. It is almost as good as having them here with me…almost.
  8. Going places with my daughter. We have a lot of the same likes, we also have a lot of differences…LOL, but we enjoy going on road trips, concerts dining out and shopping. I enjoy spending time with her and finding fun things to do. I love when my daughter that lives far, far away comes for a visit and we do things together or if we go visit her and get to have a girls day out. We used to go to plays together in DC, but since she moved we haven’t been able to and I do miss that.
  9. Lunch or dinner with a friend/friends – Nothing better than a get together with a group of friends over some food and maybe a glass or two of wine or a margarita. The laughs and stories are enough to keep me going for a couple days. And again the support and love I feel is always there.
  10. And finally..Me! I am good! I am not whole or wonderful by any means, but I am good… I am somewhat broken and some days it is all I can do to get out of bed and put on clean clothes. But I am here, I am alive and I am doing the best I can.

I leave you as always with a question and a quote. What is one good thing in your life right at this moment?

“It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get.” ~ Confucius