Shopping Lists

a shopping list

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Today I am grateful for shopping lists.  I have been in nasty, vituperative battles with a few people on Facebook as they try to defend racism and racist comments.  If you made these comments in a work place you would be fired.  They are indefensible, so I don’t know where they are getting their information from. . .oh wait, yes I do.  But today I just can’t fight that battle because it’s killing my sunny disposition.


Whenever Himself shouts at me from another part of the house, “We need. . .” whatever, I tell him to write it down.  Rosanne Barr used to say the uterus was a tracking device that was supposed to find everything that every family member lost.  Himself thinks I can remember everything.  But guess, what?  Here is my response.  “Write it down!  I no longer have a uterus!”  So he does.


I’ve been working on him making a COSTCO list and a grocery list on two different pieces of paper.  (Isn’t this nonsense so much more calming than the news?)  He used to write one at the top and one at the bottom, but since we don’t go to COSTCO every week and he’s in Shop Rite every other day looking for liverwurst or the person who will shave the ham the way he likes it, half the list would be done and the other not.  I always had to tear off the piece with the not purchased or copy it over.


Isn’t marriage fun?  How wonderful to have the huge problem of dancing around the correct method to make a shopping list.  Sometimes he writes things phonetically like, brid, chis or the more generic FUD.  If I want some deli. . . Soo-Chi or Chinee for Maree!  He’ll write things that we don’t need or have no intention of buying, because when he throws chocolate cake, Oreos and pudding in the cart I call them “unauthorized purchases.”  Yeah, it’s a laugh riot around here.  Oh, c’mon.  I buy them, but I have to give him a hard time about it or he’ll think I have Alzheimer’s.


I’m sure if you haven’t run screaming into the night and are still catching these missives, you will remember the “rocket” debacle of a few weeks ago.  That poor, pathetic, phallic thing is deflating in the basement, looking more obscene every day as it droops, bent in half, to the floor.  Sad.  COSTCO saw him coming on that one.  $30 bucks worth of coming.  (Yes, I did it on purpose.)


Eventually we needed to go back to the scene of the crime.  “Have you got the COSTCO list?” he asked me, getting in the car.  “Yes,” I said, “I have it,” wondering why he cares because he assumes I remember it anyway with or without the uterus and I didn’t bother to read it because it was written down. Then I started to shop, scratching things off as I walked the mile-long aisles.  There at the bottom of the list he had written, “NO ROCKETS!”


No one asked why I was laughing, hard. (Yes, again.)   But they didn’t have a bad porn star deflating in their basement and weren’t working from my shopping list.


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a first they came with political faces.


Monday, July 15, 2019

Today I am grateful for poetry.  Nope I’m not going where you think I am.  I try very hard to be open minded in my blogs, not really preaching or insisting that it’s my way or the highway, but current events are making me break my own pattern.  Go ahead and unfriend me if you wish.  It’s okay.  Maybe we’ll meet on some other common ground in the future, but on this I simply can’t shut up!


I looked up the poem, “First they Came”, by Martin Niemoller because I’ve heard it paraphrased repeatedly today on the news. The original is below.


First they came for the Socialists,

and I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists,

and I did not speak out

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,

and I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me

and there was no one left

to speak for me.


It was later when I found the pictures attached to a timely version of this poem, but I do not know the author of that one, except for the organization listed.  It screamed at me for posting and since I’m all about risk-taking today, there it is!


I simply don’t know how much more worse it can possibly get. . .and yet it does. . .every single day.  I believe the Democrats in my country have lost their minds because every week another throws their hat into the presidential race.  Stop!  Drop out!  Do wonderful things for your country in other ways and let the top six or so duke it out in the primaries.  Stop confusing us!  I can’t remember the names of 20 of my own relatives and you want me to remember you?  Gimme a break.  You’re going to blow this royally if you don’t start getting a clue.  GET A CLUE!


And Republicans, please know that I am not for open borders.  I want rules.  I get it. But I cannot ever condone children being ripped from their parents arms with no means to reconnect them. . .EVER!  If you don’t see how wrong that is, why?  The debacle happening on our southern border is disgraceful at best and sinful at worst.  Imagine your children or grandchildren in cages, not allowed to shower or brush their teeth or have anyone to comfort them out of their terror?  Then imagine your entire family crushed into cages and not even be able to shower or lie down.  Do you think these people are animals, enjoying their own stench?  Think again!  Whose making the money off of this. . .that’s what I want to know, because I’d bet someone is!


I get that many of you despised the thought of another Clinton in the presidency with a purple passion, which has led us to the mess we are now in.  I get why you voted for him.  But now, after all that has transpired and come out, how on earth can you still support this treacherous egomaniac?  How?  I’m sorry, but that I don’t get.  And you can hate me for it or help me out by explaining what it is that is so great about where we are now, versus where we ever were before.  Ever.


We are a laughing stock with our allies and being duped by our enemies.  Go ahead and tell me how the job rate has improved. . .then remember that it’s because most people have to work more than one job to make ends meet and then they still can’t.  Then bring up the stock market and watch me shut down.  I don’t care.  Only those heavily invested care and that’s not me.  And the cost is too great.  Way too great.


And now, to Tweet that elected representatives “should go back to their own countries and fix them if they don’t like it here,” when all are American citizens and with the exception of one(still a citizen, but from Somalia originally), were born in America.  THIS America.    It’s beyond disgraceful.  So everyone shoots their mouth off sometimes and things have to be walked back, but does he?  Nope.  Not even close.  Instead he stands at the White House, with the Seal of the President on a podium and spouts more racist garbage.  Do any republicans denounce this germ?  Nope.  What is wrong with people?


Just imagine that this is the same person who married two “foreign” women, each having accented English skills.  Oh wait, though.  They didn’t come from a southern border country so that makes them okay.  This is playing out like an 80’s nightly drama.  And I want it to stop.


I was a diversity trainer for many years and what is happening my country right now is sending us back to a place I don’t even remember.  Have we learned nothing from our past hatreds, like was mentioned in the poem, “They Came for Me”.


Because one day,

they’ll come for big, orange, KFC eating,

toilet-tweeting, misogynistic guys

with flat-out racist tendencies,

who show a total lack of empathy

or any other human kindness,

and have a history of abusing women

and the worst dyed comb-overs

and there will be no one left to give a crap!


See how poetic that was.

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Friends who Represent

Friday, July 12, 2019

Today I am grateful for friends who represent.  Facebook has re-connected many of my high school classmates.  We’ve all led very different lives, yet still find plenty to talk about.  Do they always agree?  Not hardly.  Sometimes it gets heated, especially in these rocky political times.


But when a few of those folks learned that one was now in a wheelchair and living in a nursing home, they rallied like Olympic planners.  Now there are lunches and outings and shared events, all including whomever can attend.  When I’m in Sheboygan I spend an occasional Sunday afternoon, waxing poetic, talking stupid and laughing over a beer or two with them on a “regular” visit day.


I remember when my friend, Bobbie, who passed away a few days ago contacted me and said, “Do you think they would mind if I joined them sometime?  But someone would have to pick me up because I can’t drive anymore, so probably not.”  Hah!  Probably yes!  And someone has picked her up every time she’s been free to come.


Their last lunch was not too long ago and although she looks like a photo-bomber in the left corner of the picture, Bobbie was there, smiling and laughing and giving the gift of herself to all.  I’m sure it was a blast.  It always is.  And each time is more special because when one of us passes away we are reminded how fleeting life is.


These old friends (pun intended) were there for me. . .no, better than that. . .we were all there for each other. . .throughout the weekend, when I was keeping them informed on Bobbies condition, as I received updates from her daughter.


Just like many of us who live far away, are on vacation, or just can’t make it because of prior commitments, I am very sad that I cannot be there for the services today.  But I know others will be there carrying the flag for us.  Many others.  Many, many others.  Because friends can represent.  And mine sure do!

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a distracted driver two cars

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Today I am grateful for a wake-up-call.  Was it one of the six a day SPAM; no number robo-calls I’ve been getting?  Nope.


I confess that I’ve been a little distracted lately for a lot of reasons, so when I had to stop at a light on my way to teach a young swimmer, I used the time to zone out and go over my teaching plan.


BAM!  One minute the car was stopped behind me, the next it’s smashing into me hard enough to make my teeth rattle and nearly give me a heart attack.  What now, I thought?  Do I get out?  We’re stopped so I should at least acknowledge I know I’ve been hit.  People get shot for less these days, except I didn’t think of that until just now.  I put the hazard lights on and got out, not at all happy that I was wearing my swimsuit under a cover-up.


“I’m so sorry, ma’am,” the thirtyish man said, getting out of his car.  “My foot slipped off the gas, I mean the brake, of course I meant the brake not the gas, and I’m so sorry.”  I looked at my rubber bumper then his rubber bumper, neither having a mark on them, then his panicky face.


“You scared the shit outta me!” I said, in that gentle way that still has my kids in therapy.


“I scared the shit outta me, too!” he said.  I patted him on the arm, shrugged my shoulders and walked back to my car.  “You have a nice day, ma’am.”  He looked so relieved that I almost hugged him.


Done.  All before the light changed.  I don’t know if he was reaching for his phone, or changing the radio station, or taking a sip of something, like I’ve done a million times.  Like we all have.  What I do know is that it was a wake-up-call and I got the message.  Bet he did, too.

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My Friend, Roberta (Bobbie)

a bobbie and me

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Today I am grateful for my dear friend, Roberta (Bobbie), who died this morning after suffering a massive stroke a few days ago.  Wow.  How’s that for a downer opener?  Maybe so, but there is a lot to be grateful for surrounding Bobbie.


I have no idea how long we’ve known each other.  I’m sure you have friends like that, too, who have just always been in your life and you can’t define exactly when it started.  We went to the same church as kids.  We got confirmed together.  We were in the same business classes in high school.


Following high school we kept in touch as much as you could back in those days, without social media in your face every minute.  When it came time for our tenth high school reunion and no class officers could be found, we decided to have one anyway, gathering our own committee.  Bobbie handled the finances and I was the chairperson.  The last time I saw her was this past September at our 50th reunion.  She was still in charge of the funds.  I had long since moved away so she found others who beautifully slid into my former role, doing a great job of it.


The thing about Bobbie is that she always thought everyone around her was so special.  She must have told me that a hundred times, when we met for lunch as we always did at least once, each time I was back in Sheboygan.  “You’re so sparkly!  So amazing!  You’ve had such an interesting life!” she’d say, causing me to remind her how amazing she was, having worked in the police department for many years and raised three girls all by herself.


Bobbie suffered her share of trauma in those early years and health problems in our later years, which sort of snuck up on all of us.  After each, she rallied valiantly.  “You’re sparkly, Bobbie!” I’d tell her.  “I swear you are, but you just don’t see it!”


It’s so difficult to wrap into a few words how you feel about someone. . .what friendship really means, even though you are not demographically close enough to see them frequently and they decide to drop out of Facebook because they can’t take all of the nonsense posted there.  Our other high school friends just saw her and that gives me comfort.  A lot of comfort.


I’m also grateful that through her, I’ve become good long-distance-on-line friends with her youngest daughter, who mercifully kept me informed throughout this lengthy weekend.  Of course, these are difficult times for her and her sister and their families and I feel for them, yet know they will thrive because of all she instilled in them.  Blue Grandma will not be forgotten.


Bobbie was a simple person, smarter than most and kinder and more generous of heart.  Self-deprecating almost to a fault, she inspired me to be a better person.  But she’d never believe that.  She’d sit across from me at lunch at a diner, reach for something with those beautifully manicured, perfect nails, her cane leaning against the booth.


The floor was all she saw when standing, for reasons I’m not sure of and it doesn’t matter, but sitting in that booth we’d be eye-to-eye and she’d tell me once again how much more special I was than her.  And she’d be wrong.  So very wrong.

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a angel sarong

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Today I am grateful for angels.  Today I need a few angels to help me keep my spirits up.  I have another friend in Wisconsin gravely ill after suffering a massive stroke.  I know that I am of “the age” for these things, but they could take a rest, too.


It’s very hot and humid here so I’m not going outside anymore today.  We went to COSTCO earlier and I thought I’d die.  Seriously.  I just don’t handle intense heat anymore and it’s best for all involved that I don’t have to.  It keeps me from causing a war or international incident.  And Himself and I can stay married.


Because of the intense heat, I found I needed to come up with an afternoon covering for my patio door, which is usually bare.  It’s great to have the solar warmth in winter but when it blasts through the glass in summer I feel like it could start a bonfire in the sunroom.  The side curtain I had been clipping up was very inadequate so I went searching through my sarong collection.


The one pictured is directly from the Indonesian group and my all-time-favorite.   Himself thinks it’s great that I have a naked woman hanging on the door.  I had to drag his eyeballs up so he could see her wings.  Now he feels a little weird about ogling and is trying to blot those wings out in his brain.


When the sun is blasting through her, she could be stained glass and I need this glowing presence right now.  I think my friend who is in her life & death struggle, surrounded by family, would like knowing that I think of her every time I look at my angel curtain.  I sure hope so.

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International Friends

IMG_8221 (Edited)

Friday, July 5, 2019

Today I am grateful for international friends.  I have a lot of them, so I am very lucky.  You all know who you are, but it’s always nice to meet some new people, share new stories and have a brand new audience, especially for the long-winded-shaggy-dog stories by Himself, which I have heard a million times.  Let someone else carry the ball.


If you’ve been paying attention you already know we’ve met some pretty interesting people. Well these two are certainly two of them.  I was sitting in the second floor common area of The Cove, where we stayed in Westport, Ontario, reading a book and napping, like I do, when I heard people coming up the steps.  That made me snap to attention.


“Good Morning!” they both said, with robust, accented voices and nearly in unison.  I liked them immediately.  They went right into their room, across the hall from ours, but in a relatively small Inn, you bump into people more than once.


After breakfast the next morning I sat on the front porch while Himself went where he always goes. . .to go.  They were there, also enjoying the finally dry air and sporadic sunshine.  We talked about the weather, what their plans were for the day, where they had already been in Canada and where they were going after they left the Inn.


I have a friend who had recently returned from visiting her homeland, so I texted her to find out which town she was from and shared it with my new friends, Indy and Hank, also from Holland.  When I told them, they knew the area, shared where they were from and we were in a triangle of communication and introductions in two languages and three countries.  What fun.  My friend back home set me straight that “Hank” was probably spelled, “Henk” even though it was pronounced like the former.  Cool.


At some point we shared jobs we had done and when I learned Henk was in construction I told them about the children’s book I wrote for my grandson, “Hard Hat Hank” and how much he reminded me of that character.  Tough and gentle.  If I can ever find one of those old books I might send it to them, just for kicks.


Were our conversations full of solutions for world peace?  Nope.  Will we ever see them again?  Who knows?  They might come to Philadelphia.  We might go to Holland.  Our final chapters have not been written.  But we are now connected on Facebook, which makes the world smaller, communication easier and my heart fuller. . .especially with new international friends.

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