I’ve been thinking about change, of course– most of us are– as this New Year begins.
Who can resist the fresh start, the clean slate?
Yet, I’ve also been thinking about the changes that I don’t welcome. For me those changes come mostly with age. And yes, I can complain about the wrinkles and having to color my hair more often but those aren’t the changes that I’m really talking about.
I’m talking about the things that always were, that are now starting to fade away.
Like the kitchen stool in Trish’s kitchen.
I have spent countless hours on that stool, watching my best friend’s mom Trish cook, talking things over– sometimes alone, sometimes with the other women collected in that kitchen for the same comfort I sought.
And Trish delivered that comfort, my whole life. She was always a source of wisdom and perspective. She’s 81 now and lives on her own. She lost both her husband and daughter to cancer. And I visit her in her rambling house in Vermont whenever I can. I say it’s to help her. Really, though, it’s to help me.
During my last visit, Trish wound up in the emergency room. She found herself suddenly unable to walk. Now she faces a slow recovery and uses a walker. It is harder for her to stand in the kitchen.
So our kitchen stool days have changed. I wonder, are they gone?
It has occurred to me that perhaps it’s my turn to set up a kitchen stool.
I think it may be my time to be what Trish was to me, to others…. After all, I was taught by the best.
What rituals have comforted you? What people taught you well? Share Please.
Have a great weekend,
I am in New York City today — one of my favorite places in the world. I lived here when I was in my twenties during the city’s “Desperately Seeking Susan” years. My old neighborhood, the lower east side, was full of Ukranian food, Indian food, Italian food and some of the best dive bars I’ve ever had the pleasure of patronizing. The years fall away for me.
As I walk these streets, visiting the familiar Christmas highlights – entire stores decorated in bows, the tree at Rockefeller Center, the enormous red Christmas ornaments floating in the fountain on 6th Avenue – I am still enchanted.
And I feel the poignancy as I walk — heading north to THE park.
I can’t walk these streets without recalling the young woman I was…
Not quite as sure of things, not quite as peaceful. I am overcome with memories of friends- some lost to cancer, others to the vagaries of time and the demands of adulthood.
The seas of humanity swirl as we navigate these streets- somehow together, somehow alone. I see families holding hands to stay together as they steer through the crowds. I see older people bent over but still carrying home their grocery bags. I see the busy business people – determined, focused.
And I am humbled to be one among. To be able to share in the energy and life and craziness that is this city.
What places stir the poignant memories for you? What places bring you joy?
Have a joyful weekend,
I’ve learned this year the importance of saying YES. I’m not talking the no boundaries, people pleasing, yes, yes, yes of my past. I am talking about the rich experiences, the things that might make you uncomfortable, the pushing your boundaries, the making the extra effort YES.
Italy, Writer’s Workshop, Selling Course, Toastmasters, Dinner Dates, a New Job, this Blog
Each YES has opened a door for me. Some unexpected; some looked “bad” at first and yet took me somewhere I would not otherwise have gone.
Saying YES requires trust. And for me regaining trust in the world and in myself was a challenge. I had been through a pretty bad patch. My world had gotten small. And I realized that I wanted an expansive world.
So I came out punching (a bit). I accepted the invitations. I spent the money and booked the flights and found I earned the money back right away. I took the courses. I did the work.
I accepted the help. And have people in my life now I could not imagine not having in my life.
I found friendship in the most unlikely places.
Say YES to this rich life we have been given. I promise you it will be alright.
What are your YES Stories? How did you regain your trust?
Have a great weekend.
I’m with my parents this Thanksgiving. It’s just me this year. Since there are five of us, you never know what combination of the clan will land. But this year I am flying solo with them.
One of the great blessings of my adulthood has been that I still have them. I’ve gotten to know them in a way that is so different than how I knew them in my twenties and thirties. They are all too human to me now… I see them much the way I see dear friends I love and admire –people of a time and place who have survived the joys and sorrows that life brings us…and who have done so with grace and dignity and humor.
My mother insisted on cooking the dinner again. She is 81 now. I didn’t argue too much– stood at the ready and tackled the clean-up with all I could give it. She told me it felt good to know she ‘could still cook Thanksgiving dinner.’ The verdict: turkey was good – moist, not dry; stuffing was a bit dry for her liking. “Easily fixed with gravy,” my dad and I responded!
In the morning I took my Dad– who will be 87 tomorrow– to the beach. He sat on the boardwalk bench and I headed down for a long walk along the Atlantic. I returned to him, my soul soothed, and we sat for a while and talked.
He speaks more now of his childhood. I love his stories–like the one about the fire on the Morrow Castle, which beached in Spring Lake, New Jersey on its return trip to New York Harbor from Havana. His folks drove down from Bayonne with the rest of the crowds to see the famous grand passenger ship now ruined and burned. The story of the Morrow Castle goes on and includes explosions and prison and murder… look it up. It’s a great tale.
My favorite moment was when he said, “I remember I had a little camera that took postage stamp size pictures. I could see the entire hull…it was enormous.” His gaze never left the ocean as he recalled that day.
“How old were you Dad?”
“I was six.”
I always get choked up when we talk about his memories.
Happy Birthday, Pop.
Tell me about your parents. What are their stories?
I tend to be an all or nothing girl.
If I’m going to work out, I would rather run stairs than take a leisurely yoga class. You’ll find me going hard with my trainer for an hour instead of taking an extra hour to watch TV. A lot of the time, this is a great thing.
Yet recently, my life has been settling down. Things are calmer, and a more relaxed view of working out only makes sense. So I have started walking.
Luckily I have my girl Mandy to motivate me to get out there and walk everyday, and I’ve really learned to love it.
Getting out and walking everyday is so good for me. It’s good cardio (albeit less rigorous than sprinting steps), good for the heart, and good for my soul. It gives me a chance to catch my breath and meditate.
And it’s good for Mandy, too!
What do you do to relax? Do you enjoy a nice walk?
For this week’s Spiritual Friday, I thought I would share something that has turned out to be one of the best parts of my life. I guess that is how it goes, isn’t it? The craziest things are usually great things.
I am referring to my shelter dog Mandy, of course!
Mandy has the sweetness of a hound and the speed of a sheep dog, although I can’t be sure of her exact breed.
I do know that she is a little crazy girl. Here is Mandy around my house.
Whether she’s relaxing in bed or watching the kids walk home from school, Mandy does things all the way. She keeps my life exciting and full of joy. What keeps your life joyous?
Have a wonderful weekend.
One of my dearest friends used to urge me to “hold it lightly.” I would often hang up from our talks wondering exactly what she meant – what holding it lightly looked and felt like.
I think I understand now.
It’s simple really. Holding on tightly crushes, chokes the air out, stifles. It is desperate.
And desperate is not good.
Holding lightly acknowledges our want, yet frees us from our want. It allows for room, for air, for other choices. It is peaceful
And peaceful is good.
This week I have tried to hold it all lightly – the petty bothers; the silly disappointments; the promising news; the IRS notification – all of it.
When I am lighter, I am easier and life is easier.
Just a thought on this Friday. Have a relaxing weekend,