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Posts Tagged ‘Thoughts’

Dear Readers,

As part of my morning ritual, I take the empty glass of water from my bedside table to the dishwasher in the kitchen.  It was there I glanced up to see part of a big colorful rainbow from the window.  This is the first one I had seen this year.  It is such a thrilling sight to observe the many tones on the spectrum from red to violet glowing in the bright morning sunlight.  My walking partner and good friend had to be alerted to this glorious display of nature before it faded away.  She was glad I telephoned her and even had to step up on a chair to get a glimpse of the rainbow from her bedroom window.

It wasn’t a perfectly arched rainbow because of the cloud configuration above the mountain but it did shine for over two hours.  My friend and I took our usual morning trek going east on Country Club Road.  When we retraced our steps going west, the rainbow was our focal point on the path home.  As we finished our walk, my friend joyously remarked how fortunate we both were to be able to enjoy this gift of nature from God.  She also declared that she “stops to smell the roses and brakes for rainbows”.  Wise words, indeed!

Keep smilin’!

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A Magical Month

Dear Readers,

One of the first things my newly pregnant daughter asked me was “Mom, can you come and help us with the new baby?”  “Certainly”, I happily replied.  What mother could resist an offer like this.

Our first grandson was due August 9; so it was planned that my husband and I would drive to Chicago a day after he was born and my return airline reservation was booked for August 31.  Lev Henry surprised us with an early arrival around 10 PM on July 30.  It took a day or two to pack our bags and then drive to Chicago.  We arrived on Saturday afternoon, August 3.

What a pleasure to hold our newborn baby grandson.  My daughter and son-in-law were thrilled but exhausted.  An unexpected caesarian section complicated matters.  They seemed relieved at our arrival.  My husband and I got busy buying groceries, preparing meals and catching up on laundry.  After four days, my husband left to attend to other family matters and I was alone with the new family.

The first week flew by as we all tried to get used to this 7 pound-13 ounce responsibility.  I acted as cheerleader for my daughter’s nursing efforts and the 5 AM relief for my son-in-law’s night watch.  We were a team and we all knew it.  Our main goal was to keep Lev fed, dry and in clean clothes.  There were systems to be implemented for this baby.  Even the chore of a baby bath meant the towels, soap, cotton balls and water basins had to be gathered up and placed in a convenient area; not to mention the diaper changing table where tiny pampers were stacked and wipes were nearby.  Even with all this organization, Lev managed to pee on all of us during diaper changes.

By week two we were all feeling more assured but extremely tired.  We tried out the new stroller to take Lev for a walk.  Although it was state-of-the-art equipment, we still had to learn how to assemble it and strap him in.

For four consecutive Tuesdays, I bought a fancy cupcake at the Swedish-American bakery on Clark Street so that we could sing “Happy Birthday” to Lev.  He was only four weeks old and had been sung to four times!  I’m sure there’s no longer a celebration as he marks another week of living.  But it was a welcome treat for all of us during this first month.

I awakened every morning at 5 AM.  Most days Lev had just concluded nursing, so I could rock him to sleep while Momma and Dad got some much needed sleep.  Lev and I experienced many sunrises together.

The four weeks hurried by and soon it was time to say goodbye.  Lev has a two foot tall band of chalkboard paint surrounding the perimeter of his room.  His mother invited me to sign the board.  After careful consideration I wrote “Thank you Lev for 28 days of August, 2013.  Love, Mimi”.

The last morning arrived and as usual I was up at 5 AM.  Bags were packed, the laundry was caught up and the fridge was neat and clean.  I knew I could leave in good conscience.  But that morning after I rocked Lev to sleep, I couldn’t let go of him and put him in his crib.  Not today with his sweet baby smell and so soft baby skin all warm and cozy.  I sat for three hours rocking and cradling him as I knew that a 67 year old woman would never have this opportunity again!

Recently I told a tennis friend about this special three hour rock-a-thon.  She said not to worry because now Lev would never forget me as he’ll always remember my heart beat.  I’m not certain this is true, but I like to think that it is.  One thing I know for sure, I’ll always remember the special time we spent together during the “magical month” of August, 2013!

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

The other day I noted a bumper sticker that read “Well-Behaved Women Never Make History!”  The implication was that one has to be loud and possibly somewhat rude to be remembered and acclaimed.

My Mom was neither loud nor rude but she has left her mark on the world in a quiet and unassuming manner.  In fact, one small act of kindness by her is still being remembered and saluted more than 50 years after it happened.

It occurred while I was a high school student during the early 60’s.  My fellow classmate, who is organizing our 50th reunion, wrote and told me how she still remembered my Mom and her thoughtfulness.  Let me quote from her recent e-mail:

“I was thinking about your Mom the other night when I was taking out some baked potatoes.  Remember there were 8 children in my family.  I loved and still do every minute of that.  But one time I went home with you for a while and your Mother invited me to dinner.  And she served baked potatoes.  Boy I loved them!  At home we did do a lot of potato dishes but never baked.  Just the recipes that made them stretch. I did a lot of the home cooking in high school.  One night I wanted to make them for the family and surprise Mom.  I really didn’t see what your Mom did to them to make them so good.  So I called her and asked her to talk me through the recipe.  I had a pencil and two sheets of paper ready for her words of wisdom.  She was so kind and calm while we talked.  She went step by step.  She was a dream.  Well can you believe it.  You just wash them and put them in the oven!!  Julia Child, eat your heart out.  I bet your Mom had a few good giggles out of that one.  But you know she didn’t patronize me and took my request seriously.  I loved her for that”.

I’m sure my Mom sensed my friend was in need of a little motherly attention and freely gave it to her.  It was never forgotten.  So you see, you don’t have to misbehave to be remembered.  Her one small act of love and kindness lives on long after she has left this earth!

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

I usually take a morning walk around 8 AM but this Saturday it was later than usual because of various household chores.  My excursion started around 1 PM and there was plenty of activity on the streets.  It was a clear blue-sky day with a temperature of 73 degrees; folks were most anxious to be out and about enjoying it.

A beer festival was being held at Moore Square Park, a block up from my home.  Huge white tents were erected for sampling the micro-brews.  Large groups of young people gathered in these tents where the noise level was a fever pitch.  I guess the more beer you sample, the louder you talk!

My ears were relieved when the walk took me beyond the park where I was treated with some colorful sights of spring.  I strolled by white and pink dogwood trees, a blooming tulip tree, rows of purple, gold and white pansies, deep red and bright yellow tulips.  The azalea bushes were laden with white, red and lavender blooms.  Clusters of purple and white irises stood proudly and gently swayed in the breeze.  What a beautiful spring feast for my eyes.

Seaboard Station, a retail and dining area near the old train tracks, was just around the corner.  Outdoor patios were crowded with diners munching on hamburgers and fries while sipping sweet tea or beer.  When springtime arrives, everyone wants to eat outdoors and enjoy the warm afternoon.  Throngs of shoppers mobbed the grounds of the Logan Trading Co. selecting all types of potting plants.  Gardeners enthusiastically eyed the rows of purple, pink and white petunias along with trays of orange, yellow and coral gerber daisies.

At the far end of the parking lot there was an exhibition of Euro-bikes which featured antique scooters and Bucati motorbikes.  These fine machines were polished and gleaming in the sunlight.  Owners proudly stood beside them.  In one corner a band was playing some “down ‘n dirty” rock ‘n roll songs.  I couldn’t help from smiling just listening to this music from the past.

Near the end of the walk, a horse-drawn carriage clip-clopped down the street.  In it sat a man and a woman eagerly looking, while listening to the driver, who was most likely divulging the history of the buildings on the route.  There wasn’t a lot of traffic, so the talkative driver could lean back to converse with the couple while leisurely guiding the horse and carriage down the street.

All in all, it was a great day to be “alive and kicking” in Raleigh, NC.

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Have you ever heard of triskaidekaphobia?  Well, neither have I.  But according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, it’s the fear of the number thirteen.  Does that mean the with the new year of 2013, cases of this phobia will be reported?  I certainly hope not; thirteen seems pretty harmless to me.  We don’t need another negative thing to contend with in our already chaotic lives.  Mimi’s thinking positive about 2013.  It’s a new beginning where we can put fears behind us and look forward to the future.

An author who wrote a book about happiness appeared on the Today Show this morning to give some tips on happiness.  She noted that one of the things that can give us pleasure is making up the bed in the morning.  It provides us with a sense of order and control.  No matter how busy the day becomes, at least our bed is neat and tidy.  I agree with her completely.  There is nothing more depressing after a long day, than to enter the bedroom and see a messy, unmade bed.  Her other tip for happiness is the joy of inhaling a pleasing scent, such as the smell of freshly laundered towels, citrus and spices in the kitchen or burning a fragrant candle.  Something as simple as this can bring a smile to our face.  Sounds like a wonderful idea to me.  Maybe just the smell of chocolate chip cookies will make me happy!!!

My final thought concerns taking down the Christmas tree and other decorations.  When I lived in PA and had small children, it was a sad chore, indeed.  The whole house looked bare and colorless, and the thought of the long, cold January days ahead didn’t help.  But since we are retired and live in a warm, sunny climate, the chore is not so dreaded.  Our little three foot artificial Christmas tree is disassembled in fifteen minutes; and then I’m ready to grab my tennis racquet and head for the neareast court!

Happy New Year to all of you and remember to

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

For the past three weeks I have been very sick.  What started out as a common cold escalated into acute bronchitis and then a sinus infection and fluid in my left ear.  I am starting my third round of a different antibiotic and prednisone pills to help drain my ear.  Hopefully after this series of pills, I will feel like myself again.

Needless to say I have learned quite a few life lessons from this illness.  Permit me to share them with you.

1.  It’s okay if a kitchen counter resembles a mini-pharmacy with antibiotic pills, cough medicine, decongesant, and cough drops lined up in a row.

2.  A house can stay uncleaned for one month and not look that bad.

3.  Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup taste like gourmet food when you’re under the weather.

4.  Bronchitis is not the best way to lose four pounds in 10 days.

5.  Mind over matter does not work when you are very sick.  If the body says no, it means no.

6.  Taking a shower and washing your hair consumes a lot of energy when you are weak.

7.  Friends are like angels when they shop for groceries and deliver them to your door with a heart-warming smile.

8.  I will definitely have more empathy and understanding for people who are sick.

9.  I hope I never take my good health for granted again.  It’s a gift from God that no amount of money can purchase!

Stay healthy and

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Okay, maybe I’m going too far putting the words “Christmas” and “hate” in the same title.  Instead of “hate”, how about “dislike intensely”?  Wouldn’t want you to think that Mimi is a total scrooge!

Perhaps I’ll start with the negative aspects of Christmas cards.  First, there’s the shopping for and selection of the cards.  It has to be sweet and cute but still convey a worthwhile holiday message.  It has to look like it cost at least $3 a card but actually be purchased at an inexpensive price.  (Notice I wrote “inexpensive” instead of that other word, lest you think Mimi is a cheapskate!)  The price requirement is a tall order and some years the cards are impressive and other years, not as much.

Once the cards are chosen, there’s the chore of addressing each one.  My fingers get tired and occasionally my penmanship shows it.  At least the stamps do not have to be licked anymore!

Here’s what I love about Christmas cards.  Every December I get the opportunity to think about every person on the list as I address their card.  Good memories are attached to each of these names.  Childhood friends, aunts and uncles who are now in their 80’s, my godmother, and neighbors I lived next to for more than 20 years are part of this list.  My husband has childhood friends, tennis buddies and former employees of his on the index of names.   For years we mailed a card to his former boss at a furniture store where he was briefly employed as a young man.  Then one Christmas we received a note from her daughter saying she had died during the year.  A  Christmas card was our only connection to this lovely woman.

I  love opening the mailbox, searching inside and collecting the cards.  On many of them I can identify the sender by their handwriting.  I rush into the house to sit down, unseal them and savor the news that is contained in each of them.  It feels good to be in touch with people from the past, even if it is only for a few minutes.  This brief connection is a big part of the overall joy of the Christmas celebration.

I’ve just finished writing Christmas cards for 2011.  Although there are parts of the process I “intensely dislike”, I will continue the card writing ritual as long as I am able to because it just wouldn’t be Christmas without it!

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Recently during a rain shower, the sun appeared from behind the dark clouds.  Oh no! I thought.  The devil is beating his wife!  At least, that’s what my Mom used to tell us whenever it was raining and the sun was still shining.  It was one of her folk sayings handed down through previous generations.

Here are a few other sayings:  It’s bad luck to rock an empty rocker.  If you drop a spoon, a fool is coming to visit.  If you knock over the salt shaker, there will be an argument at the table.  If the palm of your hand itches, you’ll soon be receiving money.  Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.  If the hem of your dress is turned up, spit on it and you will receive a new dress.  It’s bad luck to rock an empty cradle.

I find myself uttering these same sayings to my family.  I’m not sure where or how they originated but they sure do make life interesting.

My other random thought concerns the value of a smile.  I walk almost every day and one of the best parts of taking this daily stroll is being greeted by a smile from a stranger.  It feels so good to connect with another human being in this manner.  It lifts my spirits and brings an extra spring into my footsteps.  Just think, smiling doesn’t cost a dime but the benefit it bestows is priceless.  So the next time you spot an ole lady wearing silver sneakers striding down your street, give her a big smile.  You might just be smiling at Mimi!

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

When I write “women make great preachers”, I’m not referring to the “preaching” we do to our spouses and children such as “pick your socks” or “clean your room”.  I’m talking about spiritual preaching – the advice we receive from clerics that aid us on the road to eternal salvation.

During the past month I’ve had the privilege of listening to two female preachers.  The first sermon came from an Episcopalian minister named Georgine, who presided at a Sunday morning service in the Episcopal Home where my sister lives.

Her sermon was interesting, dramatic and very thought-provoking.  She spoke of God in a soft voice but her words were very powerful.  A number of residents at the home had died in the week preceding the service, so she gently reminded us that many times the people in our lives are only here “on loan” to us and we should seize the opportunity to make the most of our time with them.  That phrase “on loan” really resonated with me.

My second experience with a female preacher came this week, in of all places, a Catholic church.  The celebrant of the Mass was Hispanic and could only read phonetically the English words of the prayers.  A young female missioner (not a nun) was enlisted to read the gospel to the faithful and then deliver a short homily for All Souls’ Day.  (The entire Catholic Church traditionally prays for the dead on this day.)

The young woman instructed us not to worry too much about the trials we face in this life because our reward in heaven will be wonderful.  The manner in which she described the joys and delights of heaven along with the enthusiasm in her voice was like a booster shot-in-the-arm for my faith.  I was once again excited about the prospect of spending eternity in heaven.

Both of these reverent ladies gently stoked the fire of my faith with an approach best expressed by a woman.  Their choice of words and even the inflection of their voices invited me to listen and reflect.  I could completely identify with the truths they were uttering.  Their sincere feelings and emotions drew me closer to the softer side of God.

Sadly, I must ask:  Will the Catholic Church ever realize the treasure they are squandering by not permitting fervent women to preach the word of God as ordained priests?  I certainly hope so!  In the meantime try to

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Come on, ladies, we all know what “wardrobe anxiety” is.  It’s that fear in the pit of our stomachs the minute we open a wedding invitation.  Our initial thought is not about the bride and groom.  No, it’s about “What am I going to wear?”  Usually a trip to our closet or the mall for that certain party dress is all we need to alleviate this stress.  (Men wouldn’t understand this because all they need is a shirt, tie, suit and dress shoes and they’re good to go!)

But the most intense episode of “wardrobe anxiety” descends upon us at vacation time.  Let’s see, we have to pack for hot or cool weather.  We need comfortable walking shoes but we don’t want to look like a dork or a dreaded tourist in white sneakers.  And, oh yes, all our clothes have to fit into a carry-on suitcase so we can avoid the $25 baggage fee.

Enough already!  I want to banish “wardrobe anxiety” forever and here are two possible solutions.  (All you inventors and creators out there, listen up.)

My first concept is rental clothes for vacations.  Outfits could be chosen in advance from a catalog and selected according to the type of holiday; lots of swimsuits and cover-ups for the beach and ski pants and thermal underwear for the mountain slopes.  A user could experiment with a completely different wardrobe from the one they usually wear or stick to their customary manner of dress.  These rental duds would be delivered to your destination hotel room and hung in the closet ready for you to wear.  At the end of the holiday, simply deposit clothes in a laundry bag and proceed to the nearest airport without any burdensome suitcase.

Here’s another possible solution but this might take a few years of development to bring it to market:  disposable clothes.  And the company’s slogan could be “After you wear it, we tear it!”  All kidding aside, we do have disposable diapers and baby bibs.  Why not create stylish dresses, slacks and tops that are constructed of soft but sturdy paper and come in a variety of fashionable styles and hues.  These ensembles could also be waiting for us at our hotel or resort or could be mailed ahead.  They might be a little pricey but remember there’s no packing or unpacking and no laundry to do when you return.  The best part is no frantic searching for luggage on the carousel in the “baggage claim” area.

These ideas might seem far-fetched but I bet the day will come when rental and disposable paper clothes will be the norm.  Until then, I guess I’ll just have to suffer a few more bouts of vacation time “wardrobe anxiety”.

Keep smilin’!

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