Happy Birthday, Grammy

Today is my Mom’s birthday; she would have been 78 years old today.

She passed away quite unexpectedly almost seven years ago. I think about and miss her every single day of my life.

BBBday

Here are a few pics of Grammy (as she came to be called after her grandchildren arrived) and my big mug, too. I wish I had better pictures of my Mom. She hated having her picture taken – she was never happy with how she looked. I wish she could have known just how beautiful a woman she was…

My Mom had a not-so-great early life. The details are unimportant now, but she battled (I think) with moderate depression for much of her life. The one thing that DID bring her great joy? Her children, and her grandchildren. She loved us all unconditionally and – speaking only for myself – I am not sure that love was always deserved, yet she lavished it on all of us. She also loved my Dad like crazy, was a devoted friend and a crazy cool Mom. I loved her all my life – still do. She taught me to be loving and forgiving, accepting and tolerant, caring and embracing. She encouraged my creative side and was herself a talented artist – maybe not in a “museum” sense, but she was a killer doodler and quite honestly had the most beautiful, expressive handwriting of anyone I have ever known. Grammy was funny and sensitive. She could cuss like a sailor and cry when she saw some random cat that had been hit by a car.

My Mom stayed home with us till my little sister started school, then returned to work. She worked in a large department store for more than twenty years, went on to work at IBM (clerical position) and eventually worked part-time at our hometown drugstore/gift shop. She maintained a close circle of girlfriends that treated us like their own children – it was kinda’ great growing up, thinking my “Mom was cool and had cool friends, too.” My Mom ALWAYS supported every choice I made – even when they were bad ones. People might think that makes her a bad parent but – to the contrary – she let me find my own path, most times cheering me along from the sidelines but more than a handful of times, picking my broke-down self up and making me feel good again.

Grammy kicked ass. She is my Angel and, although I HATE her not being her with me, I know she watches over me. And that makes me feel loved and safe. Grammy ALWAYS made me feel loved and safe. And isn’t that what being a GREAT parent really is all about?

So, yeah, I am a little sad today, thinking about my Mom/Grammy and missing her a bit more than usual. But I am happy that she was/is my Mom, and feel blessed by that fact.

I try not to dwell in sadness too much so today my siblings and I, and Grammy’s grandchilden, all celebrated her memory in a special way. My Mom LOVED McDonald’s ice cream. L-O-V-E-D. (“Best 50 cents you can spend!” she used to say). So in Grammy’s honor, we all took time to enjoy a vanilla soft serve cone from Mickey D’s today.

Besides that fact that Grammy loved these cones, they are a lot like Grammy herself:

So sweet, so enjoyable, so perfect and – sadly – gone all too soon…

Happy Birthday, Mom! I hope today has been great for you. I love and miss you. A lot. Your loving son, Tim

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Monday Memes 34

In the past 48 hours, Cleveland has received more than a foot of snow. What does that mean? Normally, a little snow in Cleveland is nothing – heck, even a foot isn’t that big a deal. That said, today kinda’ sucked because of the snow. Why? Because I parked my car on the street and snow plows apparently had no option but to PLOW my car in, pushing snow up and beyond the bottom of the doors (I drive a mini van), leaving my poor car to languish and die a slow, frozen death out on the curb. The situation sucked.

Then The Universe stepped in and reminded me that people are good and kind…

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My Beloved and I spent about five hours today shopping with a client, then helping install the items she had purchased. We saw the van, looking forlorn and snow-covered as we left for the appointment. In fact, we tried to “unstick it” from its frozen cage before we left, to no avail. (We took our “other car”). When we came back, I was certain the sun had warmed the snow enough to allow me to simply drive out of the 18″ snow bank smothering the van.

It had not.

And so, with me at the wheel, my Angel began pushing the van. We rocked back and forth, gaining and then losing, inches at a time. When I saw that he looked frozen, I suggested we trade places – he would take the wheel and I would push and rock. I’m not sure why but, after about two minutes of pushing, a security officer in a Bobcat stopped and began helping push. Then another. And finally, a LADY – with two bags of groceries, walking down the street – joined in and helped. In about four minutes, the van was free!!! We all smiled, high-fived one another, then the lady grabbed her groceries, the second man walked away and the first man returned to his mini snowplow and drove off.

It was inspiring, and the experience touched my heart. For a moment I questioned if maybe I had looked that pathetic, out there pushing on my own but – no matter the reason – I was truly grateful that The Universe sent those three angels to help Martin and me.

help people

I forget sometimes that the world is full of kind, generous people – people that care about others, even strangers stuck in a snow drift. Thank you, nice lady with groceries, man out walking and security officer in a little Bobcat. I like to think you helped me and were kind to me because I am helpful and kind to others. Whether that is true or not, I will take this afternoon’s kindness, remember it and pay it forward.

Monday Memes 33

Or should this entry be called “Money Memes 33?”

I have recently spent a lot of time examining what I like to call my own personal return on investment – actually more like my return versus investment. In this “unscientific survey,” I have examined the amount of time and energy I invest in EARNING a living versus the amount of time and energy I actually invest IN living.

The early results are in, and the findings are NOT encouraging:

1204-20121002-WORK-WORKYes, it seems as though I WORK WORK WORK and realize little enjoyment in not only MAKING a living but also in spending my earnings – I mean, who gets excited about buying a new set of tires for their car?pay billsYes, sadly I seem to spend the better part of EVERY day just trying to keep up/break even on life. It beats me down sometimes, I mean, this is SO true:

dieI’m not sure what the answer is but I plan on investing considerable time and energy into finding out (the answer). Don’t get me wrong, I lead a fairly nice, fairly comfortable life but, my goodness, how nice it would be to afford the luxury of going out to dinner and not think about how high my credit card balance is on the old AmEx. Hopefully things will be better soon – some questions will get answered at work, some debt will be erased through hard work and good fortune and there are trips planned for the upcoming months (some weekend and some international). Maybe it’s all in one’s point of perspective but man oh man, how can it take days/weeks/months to earn and save money, only to be spent in literally like two minutes?

BTW – Someone messaged me and let me know that I generally post graphics here, not memes in the traditional sense and questioned why I called this column Monday Memes. Listen. Go pound.

Monday Memes 32

I’m back… I have been away from blogging for a while – the New Year came at me full force so it has taken me a couple of weeks to return to the “normal” rhythm of my life. Thanks for hanging in.

One of my personal objectives for 2015 is to remove as much negativity from my life as possible and surround myself with positive people – people that not only support me but also inspire me, that make me a better person. These memes express the ideas and concepts I have come to understand during the past few weeks. Please – enjoy and be inspired.

dont chase people

negative peeps

attract

Four Days In…

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It’s now four days into the new year. Four days have already passed in this new year “full of promise and potential.” 

I feel a little overwhelmed already… I am reminded of the old Weight Watcher’s mantra, “If you fail to plan, plan to fail.” Ugh.

There is a certain burden I feel whenever the year changes, a responsibility to “make this the BEST year ever.” It weighs heavily on me, this responsibility to be, oh, I don’t know – super human or significant or special. I am not sure what I am “supposed” to be in this big, bright virgin new year. Sigh. I am in my mid-fifties; you’d think I would have a handle on all this by now.

I remember from my expensive-but-now-largely-under-utilized Franklin-Covey training that most people are good at the “big rocks” but the little ones just get lost by the wayside. This year, I want to address both my big AND little rocks.

So, call them resolutions, call them goals, call them objectives – whatever! – I have a few things on my 2015 “list.” I have to admit, I was inspired to create this list in no small part by my beloved husband Martin, who went to the trouble to create a personal “pin board” of all his plans for 2015. (He inspires me in so many ways, that guy!) Anyhow, here is my short list – just five, in honor of five – a blog – for the remaining 361 days of 2015:

1. I want to be healthier; to that end, I WILL lose 50 pounds by the end of June. Health is the main goal, but weight loss also plays into my next objective.

2. I want to travel. I WILL go to Europe with my Sweetie this summer, spending one week in his native Poland, meeting his family (finally!) and experiencing where he comes from, then spend an additional week – just the two of us – exploring France or Germany or England – somewhere. Once I lose fifty pounds, I will look sexy as hell in a bathing suit on some European beach, am I right?

3.  I want to live in the moment. I WILL acknowledge the past but leave it there and not let it define me in the present. Listen, 2014 SUCKED for me, personally and professionally. Were it not for Martin, I would have probably off’d myself. (Just kidding, kinda’). But, point is, I will not dwell on my suck-y past year and, instead, embrace the coming year with hope and optimism.

4. I want to spend more time with people I love. I WILL engage with friends more, and let the people I love know how important they are to me. All too often I am happy just being with my Sweetie but have come to understand that this behavior is a bit of laziness on my part, coupled with a fear of “falling short” – maybe I can’t cook as well, or maybe I am not flush enough to go out to fancy restaurants or maybe our sofa is a bit faded. The truth I need to remember is that with true friends, one never falls short. Bringing in Chinese take-out with true friends is as wonderful as dinner out at a four-star joint.

5. I want to remember to always be grateful. I WILL cherish every great thing that happens to me, every day, whether that is just driving home and getting all “green lights” or finally (potentially?) winning the HGTV Two Million Dollar Dreamhouse (OMG, please!!!) I sometimes forget that my life – as imperfect as I think it might be – is probably envied by many. I have a reasonable job (granted, it could pay more), my Sweetie and I have a pretty great apartment, we have some kick-ass friends, I have my health and I have a man I adore that adores me back. I often need to remind myself of these realities…

So there you have it – my “short list” for the coming year. I feel confident I can make all these things happen. I will definitely keep you posted and you remind me, too, if you catch me falling short. In the mean time, have a GREAT new year and always remember this:

find time

2014 in review for “five – a blog”

Well, who knew? The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. Some things amazed even me…

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.