Mountaineer

a lady mountain climber

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Today I am grateful I am not a mountaineer.  Perhaps I am the least motivated person in the world.  I’m not sure because I don’t talk to everyone in the world, but I have not now, nor never have I had the desire to climb Mount Everest.  Or even Chocolate Drop Mountain, for that matter, although if the goal is to gobble chocolate at the summit, I might reconsider.

 

What driving force am I missing because I don’t want to trek “UP” a hill in temperatures of minus (yes minus) 10 to 25 degrees?  Where is the flaw in my character that I don’t want to endure 65 mile per hour winds, potential avalanches and frostbite?  Is enduring asthma enough to make me wonder why anyone on God’s earth would choose to claw their way up a mountain, hand over foot, like a Sherpa on speed while breathing only 1/3 of the normal amount of oxygen a body needs?  Yes.

 

Do I need to become a statistic, dying from altitude sickness a few hundred yards from the top of the mountain like ten people have this year?  No thanks.  What’s the point?  Is conquering a mountain so important to self-worth?  Not mine.  I’m good.   You go ahead.  I’ll read about you in the news. . .over and over again.

 

They say Mount Everest is getting too crowded, with long lines of people trekking ahead and behind you.  Some of those people don’t know what they are doing so I’m picturing them caterwauling down the hill like a production of Rube Goldberg Dominoes On Ice.  It would be a disservice to all if I joined that line.  You’re welcome.

 

So after careful consideration, I have decided not to become a mountaineer.  I will not scale a mountain, climb up a hill, or conquer a drumlin.  If you love doing this, if it’s your passion, you go knock yourself out!  Have a blast.  As for me. . . I have enough problems trying to conquer the bathroom scale!

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Her Daddy’s Look

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Today I am grateful for her daddy’s “look”.  When my oldest son was almost two, a dear friend of mine took a fantastic picture of him with a sideways glance and his arms crossed in front of him.  I think that picture has been lost in a billion moves and shuffles because I haven’t seen it in years, but it is still fresh in my mind.

 

Babysitting for our year old granddaughter reminded me of that picture.  She has attached herself to grandpa like a barnacle.  He could not leave a room without dragging her with him.  The only way he could sneak to the bathroom alone was if I distracted her with food or blocks.  She’s not clingy, or whiny, just certain about what she wants.  And she wants grandpa!  All day!  Every day!!

 

Because Himself and I came into our relationship with three (his) and two (mine)kids, four cats (two his, two mine) and a puppy (adopted), I never saw how he was with babies and little kids until our first grandson was born.  What a gift.  That was 26 years ago and the kids have kept coming ever since.  The latest was a surprise for us because we thought we were all done getting grandbabies.

 

At 81, Himself is still the first one to the floor with the baby, building with blocks and taking all manner of abuse as she learns to “hand” him something, but does it more like Joe Frasier, with a right hook.  He complains, “You’re stepping on my hand, my foot, my . . .,” well you know what. . . but he doesn’t mean one word of it.  He loves it.  And I love watching.

 

My caption for this picture is:  “Look what I found!  A great big grandpa toy who never gets sick of me!  Want some?”  And here she looks like her daddy did, so many years ago.

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Necessary Distraction

a crying eye on world map

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Today I am grateful for necessary distractions.  We have been babysitting for our youngest granddaughter for the last two days.  Looking into her innocent face and watching her wheels click as she learns new things with warp speed has given me the luxury of postponing my feelings about what happened Manchester, UK.

 

She is now gone and I am experiencing a tsunami of emotions.  I said to Himself, “It’s no longer a case of IF it affects someone you know and love, it’s a case of WHEN.”

 

After 9/11 everybody I talked to would ask, “Did you know someone in the towers, at the pentagon, in Shanksville?”  No, not really.  I knew people who knew people who worked there but no one personally.  It didn’t matter to me.  I mourned them all anyway and still do.

 

How do you, as a mom, hold up a picture of your beautiful daughter and beg for someone to tell you they have her, that she’s alive and well and just got lost in the crowd, or was injured with a concussion and couldn’t remember how to call you?  How?

 

When you are in your early teens or younger, how do you recover from running past destroyed bodies and slipping on the blood of the wounded.  I’m not trying to be crude, but this is the reality we are all living with.  And I want to know.  How?

 

For Christmas last year our (then) 13 year old granddaughter wanted to see a concert with her friends.  Her parents said if she raised the money herself she could go.  So we who hate giving cash gifts, got creative and attached the money to stick on letters and wrapped them all separate.  She had to put the letters together and spell out the name after they were all opened.  Ariana Grande.  This could have happened anywhere.

 

How would we, her parents, brother, aunts and uncles, me and Himself, her other grandma ever have survived if something like what happened in Manchester had happened at the Philadelphia concert our granddaughter attended?  How?

 

My soul is shattered in a million pieces for those affected by heinous acts of senseless violence.  And it’s everywhere, so that means I’m broken for every one of us.  How will we ever heal?  How?  Are there enough necessary distractions in the world?

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Memory Triggers

a Nicole in big straw hat from 23 years ago pic.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Today I am grateful for memory triggers.  My former daughter-in-law posted this picture from 23 years ago on Facebook today and I was swept back to one of the most exciting and fun experiences of my life.

 

Like the daughter, my granddaughter, who is a true beauty as you can tell by the ridiculous pictures I’ve posted of her in her prom duds lately, so was Nicole, her mom. . .and still is.  Back in the day, when she and my son were dating, she expressed a great interest in modeling.  I have a dear friend, David Page, whose much younger son was also photogenic and he was moderately interested in modeling, too.

 

David and I had the brilliant idea to purchase a bazillion rolls of film (yes, those were the days of film), gather props and fabrics and furniture and makeup and devote an entire day to taking pictures of those two kids. The contrast of his white skin and very long hair and her perfect brown skin and short hair was brilliant.  It was a blast.

 

David took the pictures and manipulated lighting.  I handled costumes, props and details like is the hair right, or the makeup.  You know. . . the picky little quirks that make a picture crap if they are missed and makes a picture perfect if the details are tended to.

 

Did we only set up on his deck?  Nah!  We were inside and outside and all over the place, finally winding up on South Street in Philadelphia for some fantastic night shots.  I have a vivid memory of Nicole sitting in a doorway on a box or something, while I touched up her makeup.

 

Both kids walked away with spectacular portfolios.  Whether or not they ever pursued modeling is immaterial because we all shared an extraordinary experience and you can’t buy that.  I am very grateful for the memory trigger.

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Shower

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Today I am grateful for showers.  Not the rain kind, the kind where women get together and talk crazy talk without any guys around and eat food that is not listed anywhere on their diets and drink lots of red wine and have cake, too.  Or is that just me?

 

Back in the olden days women used to get together in sewing circles.  I’m sure they sewed something, but I bet it was as much a gathering to imbibe in something the men didn’t know they had and gab.  Even gossip.  I was raised that gossip is a bad thing, but when you’re full into it, it sure doesn’t seem so.

 

I leave it to you to guess what kind of shower it was by the pictures, but I didn’t sew a thing today.  I did cover every other aspect of women getting together.  It was a beautiful day to be outside.  It was great to see friends and family of choice.  Conversation was easy and the food was way too good.  I’m calling the entire day a “vegetable” and moving on.

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Major League Baseball Scout

Me with Iron Pigs mascot

Old picture of me with the Iron Pigs Mascot.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Today I am grateful for being a major league baseball scout.  And we’re off tonight to see the Reading Fighting Phillies so I can see who to bring up, just like I did a while back.

 

Look, I’m not a big sports fan and I make no excuses for that.  I enjoy going to the games live much more than watching them on TV, because then I can watch the crazy old man with his butt crack hanging out. . .oh wait. . .do I know him?  Never mind.  And I can watch all of the little kids with hats too big and T-shirts of players that have moved on years ago, but grandma got the shirt back when and they are finally growing into it.  People watching should be an Olympic sport.

 

A long time ago we decided to take a little vacation on Route 6 in Pennsylvania, with our first stop being Scranton and all that it has to offer.  Not much.  But back then it had a great hotel made out of the old train station, with a “comfort control” bed that kept us up all night trying to find our right “comfort” number.  Geeze.  There were a few choo-choos for Himself to drool over.  Whoopee.  Scranton is where the Phillies minor league team, the Red Barons, was based before the Iron Pigs in Allentown.  Whoopee twice.

 

Minor league games are way more fun for me because they are cheezy and homey, with give-a-ways, little league teams on the field and seating on the lawn if you can’t afford, or don’t want to be nailed down to seats.

 

So we went to the game in Scranton.  And I sat at a picnic table (another perk of the minors), sipping a beer, eating a hot dog and watching the people. . .not the game.  Himself kept trying to engage me by saying, “Look at that guy hit!” or “That pitcher throws a mean fast ball.”  Whatever.  I would counter with, “Isn’t that an interesting look on that old lady?” who had on blue plaid pants with a red floral shirt and a huge pink hat.  Neither of us was listening to the other, which is, well, marriage sometimes.

 

I let him yammer about the game through the 8th inning and then I said, “Say what you want about all of those other players!  That catcher is the one who is going places.  He draws the eye and has an amazing form.”

 

Carlos Ruis!  Chooch!  Yes, I discovered him!! To the perpetual consternation of Himself, who thought I didn’t even know there was a game going on.  I wonder who I’ll find tonight?  Be aware Reading Fighting Phillies, the major league scout is on her way.  Look for me in my “Chooch” shirt!

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Dedicated, Smart, Strong Women

A strong women slogan

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Today I am grateful to know so many dedicated, smart, strong women.  Men, too, but this is about women, since I am one.  I used to tamp my strength and opinions down into my insides until it felt like I was hauling around wet, packed sand.  No more.  No more for a lot of us.  Young and old, the women I know are STRONG!

 

Throw cancer at them and BAM. . .it’s outta here!  Take their parents or spouse away before they are ready (no one is ever ready) and before long they bounce back, fully involved in their own lives, a little sadder, a little wiser and a lot stronger.

 

Throw a monkey wrench in their career and no problem, they’ll reinvent themselves and slide into a different career, even if it means going back to school to do so.

Drag them out of their comfort zone by a sudden move and they join every club and organization they can find to assimilate into their new lives.

 

These are the women I know.  And admire.  Every single one of them.  Yes, even those of you who are screaming “bullshit” right now, claiming I can’t possibly be talking about you.

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