My Favorite Childhood Movie

“If You Want This Choice Position ……..”

Mary Poppins is my favorite childhood movie. It’s still one of my favorite movies. The fact that I know every line in it, every song, just makes it all the more delicious. The movie was magical and endearing with the exception of two characters for me. I never liked the old woman in “Feed the Birds” she scared me when I was very young. But soon, I came to relax and respect her. She was trying to protect her birds.(“Feed the birds, tuppence a bag…..”) I also didn’t like the very old man in the bank either, ( didn’t he die?) I was terrified of his yelling, his mean face, and pointed finger. Jane and Michael Banks however, were adorable (“I put that in too!”) and of course Burt with his magic drawings and chimney dances, the penguin dancers, the very special tea. Those beautiful horses were ever so pretty and the man who laughs so much, that he is carried to he top of the ceiling always made me laugh too! I grin just remembering the scene. If I saw the movie again I know I would be laughing with glee. I remember the first time I saw the movie, Mary Poppins, I felt sad when she left. After watching the movie over and over again I understood she had to leave and the Banks’ parents were now a family, and thus, they would be okay. Need an escape from reality at any age? Mary Poppins is the movie for you and definitely for me. Hello, Netflix??

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Ah, Roommates

Utterly Alone

Image by Michelle Brea via Flickr

You mean UGH, ROOMMATES? Don’t you?

The one word you or your college student should fear when they get the information from their chosen school is “TRIPLE.” It’s what happened to me when I applied to college, many, many years before Naviance even existed. We applied by mail, we knew the admissions department’s response by the thickness or the thinness of the envelope. Things were different way back then…..as my daughter likes to say “when the dinosaur’s roamed.”

When I was admitted to college I was unfortunate to be assigned to a triple, 3 girls, one small room. Another phrase for that would be “hell on earth.” I was the big city girl, the two others were from teeny, tiny towns, population probably at the 400 mark. I was doomed right from the start.

I was waiting to be let into the dorm, I was the first one in line. It didn’t occur to me that I wouldn’t have my choice of beds, why wouldn’t I? I waited, for the official starting time. Rejoice! I could pick the bed I wanted. I went to my assigned room and once there saw someone’s coat and belongings lounging on the single bed. Apparently not every one was as rule conscious as I was. Apparently, since I was the first in line, one of the girls, apparently, had sneaked into the dorm the night before and laid claim to the single bed. I was absolutely stunned, confused and thought that was unfair;  I was also very naive.

The two roommates bonded in an instant, two small town girls with nothing on their minds but boys, boys and well, boys. I found myself sitting outside in the hallway a lot when the two girls were….ummm…entertaining, their individual boyfriends of the week, on their separate beds, together. The hallway floor and my soft blue and white one piece, zip-up robe became friends. The RA (Resident Assistant) couldn’t really do too much about it although she did offer me a seat on her bed once in a rare while.

As soon as I could, I asked for a transfer but it took months. Finally, I had a new roommate that was great but then, after a while, she left. The rest of the short semester I had a single. I loved it, every single, second of it. Call me antisocial, it felt like heaven.

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Cheer-Me-Up Music (Don’t Bring Me Down)

Bruce Springsteen

It really depends on what I am feeling down about. First choice,  Bruce Springsteen gets me singing and rocking, rocking and rolling. You can count on him to elevate your mood; he’s better than Prozac. His music can get you out of your misery by the sheer joy of singing to his music. I even saw him in concert once, the best performer ever (Thanks, Claudine.)

When I need comforting and want to reminisce about the past and easier times it’s John Denver who comforts me. I think about high school and my friend Paula and our mini John Denver fan club. We were young, life was good, we just didn’t know it back then. Now we look back and remember the easiest time of our lives and probably the happiest. We lived, and breathed his songs, we argued endlessly about his lyrics, we had a crush on him. Hey, it was the 70’s, don’t judge! John Denver represented young people, happiness, nature and good times. When he died prematurely, we were crushed.

Also, old stand-byes like Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor and of course, The Sound of Music are guaranteed to bring a smile to my face.

More recent cheerful music includes: “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas, “hey tonight’s gonna be a good, good night, woo-hoo,” Natasha Bedingfield’s “Pocketful of Sunshine.” I really could go on and on but instead, I think I will put on iTunes and listen to some music, right now.

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To Have Loved and Lost

I wanna hold your hand

Image by Josep Ma. Rosell via Flickr

Is There Any Question?

 
YES, it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. I remember asking my mother the same type of question when I was a teenager as we were walking from the hot, steamy parking lot to the beach’s entrance. I was 14 and I will never forget her answer. I asked “but what if something bad happens to the person you love?” She replied calmly: “You can’t be scared of everything. Some bad things will happen, but you have to take the chance. You don’t want to be alone forever.” She was right. Years later I went on to date my then boyfriend, now husband of 22 years. We have many wonderful memories together, we have two teenage children that we adore. I live in fear that something will happen to him or the children, the same fear that I feel for all the people I love. I worry, too, about my darling 8 and a half-year old dog.

There will be pain in our lives, devastation, loss. It comes with the territory. My father died almost 9 years ago. Do I miss him? Yes. Have I forgotten him? No. Is it still painful? Definitely. What I try to do now is focus on the good times we shared and the amazing love we had for each other. It takes time for pain to dissipate and really, it never goes away completely. As we all know, life is not safe. We all need to be grateful and appreciate what we have, every day, every moment if possible. Health is the most important thing we have, not money or fame or status. Love. True, unconditional love. It can be scary, it does mean you are taking a chance, it also means you need to trust. Sometimes, you just have to shut your eyes tight, take a chance, hold on tight to your loved one’s hands and jump.

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5 Things I Am Looking Forward to This Week

english: This is the american HBO brand logo. ...

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Monday and a New Week
The end of a very long Holiday weekend. Thanksgiving was lovely but it was a lot of work and ended too soon. That happens when you plan something far in advance; once the day arrives, it seems to go so quickly, in one blurry moment. After the Holiday there are three more long, cold, days (I refuse to shop, even if I could, on these wild shopping sales days). Also, last week was HELL, this week is a redo. Everything last week felt depressing and gloomy. Been there, done that. Not going to let that happen again.

In Treatment (HBO)
Looking forward to watching the In Treatment episodes that I DVR. Love the show. I do miss Gina from Season One but love the characters of Jesse and Sunil, in particular. Debra Winger also plays a patient. This is a television show that is worth watching. It’s quick, intense and draws you in to the life of Paul Weston, a psychiatrist (on tv) and his patients.

Lunch/Dinner
Having lunch with my friend Sarah sometime this week. Always nice to catch up with good friends. We talk about going different places to eat but we always end up at our favorite diner. Perhaps date night with my hubby, just going out sans kids, to regroup and support one another.

Facebook Friends
Reconnecting with my supportive Facebook Friends on-line. I’ve found a bunch of incredibly nice and understanding group of friends that share the same illness I have: Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (an auto-immune disease) These women have become very important to me; we all care about each other. There is no judging, no one cares about race, religion, ethnicity, ANYTHING. We know what we feel and how and nobody in the outside world can truly understand it. But, we know you try…..

Closure
A few loose threads dangling in our lives; we may not get good news but at least we should have some definitive answers. After that we can give each other a push and move on……again.

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My Gift Wish List

Santa Claus with a little girl

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HO, HO, HO?

Dear Santa,

I’ve been asking for this special gift, this present, for over a year now. Since it’s almost Christmas (and Hanukkah) please, could you read my letter again? I was silly to think that you would grant my wish before the holidays but ’tis the season now…fa la la la la, la la la la. I am not asking for a present for just me, I am asking for one present for the whole family. I am asking for a job for my husband that pays real money. Our family would really appreciate it. Please Santa, its been a long time. I’ve been a very good girl and will, once again, leave out cookies and milk for you and carrots for Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer. Thanks a lot! Hugs and kisses and love, from ME

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Turkey Time

turkey sandwich from Thanksgiving leftovers

Image by kthread via Flickr

After Thanksgiving……Yummy!

We had Thanksgiving at our house this year so yes, I like turkey but when I am hosting Thanksgiving I find I am too busy to eat a lot.  After the guests left at around 7:30 I couldn’t wait to have my “real dinner.”  I had a mountain of turkey (c0ld), a little mayonnaise, cranberry sauce…..heavenly. Today, I am looking forward to it again, the chestnut, apple, raisin stuffing that my husband made, the leftover mashed potatoes, even the arugula salad. After Thanksgiving I love turkey leftovers and all the trimmings even more. A thick turkey sandwich with stuffing and cranberry sauce makes me drool in anticipation. No meal would be complete without dessert(s): chocolate cake with amazing fudge-like frosting, apple-pie with a super, rich flaky crust, iced poppy-seed buns, gingerbread and banana bread with chocolate chips and raisins, Florentine cookies…..and more. I can’t wait another minute!

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because i can’t even speak

At the remembrance garden in Dublin

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when someone you love is hurting you hurt double because you are sad and depressed and of no help and that makes it worse. so together you are alone.  pumpkin bread is baking in the oven but the smells of nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon don’t even reach my senses. i don’t know if i should allow myself a really good cry (why do they call it “good?”) or keep sucking in the stress like a dyson vacuum cleaner going over the carpet where my sweet, shaggy dog sleeps. even her warm brown dog eyes look sad.

i wish i didn’t cling to the last hope, the last ember in the fire amongst the dying coals. outwardly i am pessimistic but hidden deep inside me is a wisp of a wish, no stronger than a single blade of grass in a summer breeze. yet still i hope for a miracle and he does too, even though we say all hope is gone and it’s really, really bad. and it is.

i am numb and trembling, silent and screaming, shaking and still. my worried face is too obvious to the world; i wish i could hide my feelings and be like that mean francine who i hated but she could pull off  a fake happy face in half a second.  my feelings show on my face even if i try to fake it and then i crumple like a paper ball tossed into the trash. i don’t call my mother tonight even though i call her every day because i don’t want her to worry and i know that’s what mothers do. my silence, even for a day, signals my message to her.

i need to hold myself together so i don’t break down in front of my children; no matter how old they are they still don’t like to see their mama cry. and i wouldn’t just be crying, i would be sobbing and crumpling in the fetal position and rocking, rocking, rocking. if the situation in a situational depression continues and continues when does it just become depression. i may have crossed over into that, maybe he has too. i want to support him  but i don’t know how to do it anymore. i am failing the one i love the most because i can’t bear to see his flat, deflated face. he lacks affect and looks gray and defeated, worn, sad. we are mirror images of each other.

there’s certainly nothing to look forward to, not that there has been in a while. yes, i do count my blessings and yes i am grateful but i am feeling less lucky and more like a victim with a really long run.  we are not alone in our misery many people share this sadness but who would feel better because of that? it just makes things worse.

the beep beep beep of the timer goes off and i stick toothpicks in the pumpkin bread and burn my finger. the pain feels good, it feels like something, instead of this numb, internal despondency.  this is what depression looks like, it feels like everything and nothing, it lingers inside me, on and on like an unwelcome guest you can’t ask to leave.

An Honest Thanksgiving

Tender, juicy roast turkey - the main attracti...

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It will be Thanksgiving in just a few days. While we all are looking forward to moist turkey and my husband’s famous stuffing made with mushrooms and apples, raisins and water chestnuts, I have a small request. Please be kind and sensitive to one another. I don’t worry about what things will taste like; I know they will all be delicious. The only thing I worry about, quite honestly, is drama. Holidays can bring up all sorts of feelings: loss, bereavement, jealousy, resentment, sadness, and despair. Old wounds start to feel new, grievances and perceived injustices start to bubble to the surface. Before we dig in to the mashed potatoes my mother made (cough, cough, bought from a restaurant), and cranberry sauce let us think about each other first. During dessert let us try to rejoice in each others’ company instead of waiting for the air to get thick with tension as dense as brown gravy.

This year, for the first year I have actually mentioned to several members of the family that I am asking for a “drama-free” Thanksgiving. I have chronic pain, my husband has been feeling sad because of  lack of work, please try to remember this.  Work  alongside us, tell us things will be alright eventually. Life is not perfect but Thanksgiving should be about what we are grateful for, not what we lack.

I don’t want to hear sullen complaints about the food or the appetizers and I’m happy to cook and clean, taste, stir, serve and clean-up. I will not be happy with arguments, whispered secrets said too loudly and explosive outbursts. Please just leave your coats and any agendas at the door and please, please think before you speak. Be courteous to everyone else. Don’t brag, insult, or be insensitive to other people’s needs.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends. May it be peaceful, filled with great warmth, love, gratitude and great food. I am thankful for all of you.  Now, let us eat.

Love And Blueberry Pancakes

Blueberry Pancakes

Image by Premshree Pillai via Flickr

When I was a little girl, I remember throwing pennies up in the air so that other little kids would find them and be happy. This was not something my mom or dad taught me; it was something I just did. My parents didn’t mind; I think they were mildly amused. Eventually, I worked up to throwing nickels and dimes and imagining excited, delighted children got even sweeter. The first time I threw a quarter my mother put her hands on her hips, stamped her foot and said “are you crazy, that’s a lot of money!”  and it really was way back then.  I went back to pennies, nickels, dimes and, of course, an occasional quarter, when she wasn’t looking. It was something that always felt right to me and defined me as a person.  I never lost that quality, I just didn’t have a name for it.

Years later, when “Random Acts of Kindness” became popular because of Oprah I had a name for what I have always done. I now paid tolls on bridges for the cars behind me, I paid for a cup of Starbucks coffee for the next person in line.  I sent a little boy a gift certificate to Toys R Us after his mom died signed by “a friendly neighbor.” When I heard that one of my on-line friends truly loved a certain book, I arranged for a brand new, shiny hardcover book to be autographed with her name, by the author, who happened to be a family friend. Imagining that book on its trip from the post office to her house kept me excited the entire week.

When my son was about four years old we visited my parents who lived out-of-town. I remember one bright and early morning my son, whom we dubbed ” the farmer,” woke up at 5:30am. Everyone else was fast asleep so I decided to take him out for breakfast, just me and my buddy on a date at a local diner. We ate blueberry pancakes with sweet, brown maple syrup and drank bright orange juice from small, plastic glasses.

In the booth in front of us there was an elderly woman looking cranky and mad and according to my son, “really mean.” We could hear her grousing and complaining often, first to herself and later on to the waitress. I told him that maybe the lady behind us, the “really mean lady” was not mean at all. Perhaps she was ill or lonely or very sad to be sitting by herself on an early Sunday morning. I asked my son if he wanted to play a new game; what four-year old would say no to a game?!   I told him about a happy, surprise game that involved doing nice things for others that we could do together.

After we finished our meal we went over to the waitress and we paid our bill. Winking at my son and looking at his big, warm brown, excited eyes, I asked the waitress to please add the lonely lady’s meal and a tip for herself to our bill.  I remember the waitress looked astonished and pointed to the woman and said “for HER?” We nodded yes, my little boy’s face beaming. My son and I giggled as we left the diner quickly. We couldn’t let the “lady” know who paid for her surprise meal.  Our stomachs were happy, our hearts full and our faces were warm and radiant in the early morning sun. We raced down the steps, sharing a delicious secret, our hands still sticky and sweet, clasped firmly and lovingly, together.