Author: travelswithmarysue

Stalwart Women of the Pool

Stalwart Women of the Pool

Stalwart women and a few men enter the elementary school
Through the cafeteria door.
Dressed in winter scarves, hats, gloves, and boots, or
A tee-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops.
Whatever the weather, the stalwart make their way.
A brief stop in the locker room,
Shed the outer layer.

pool 10

Stalwart exercisers descend the steps
Tip-toe then gently dip past the sensitive parts.
Warm-up by walking, skipping, and various forms of stepping
From the shallow end to the rope marking the deep end.
“Find your spot,” shouts the instructor.
Shorter people congregate in the shallow end.
Webbed gloves or foam weights
Or no weights at all.

pool 3

Stalwart swimmers include cancer survivors,
Widows, Grandmothers, Great Grandmothers,
Seniors, a few under sixty, all shades of skin, and
A shared desire to look better, feel better,
Improved health and do it in a social environment.

Stalwart women of the pool invite you to join them
Everyone is welcome.

pool determined




My stylist calls me over.  Feeling the cool basin against my neck as I lean back signals my mind to surrender.  Warm water pours down over my head.  All the stress and issues cluttering my mind are washed down the drain as I feel firm but gentle fingers massage my scalp.

Sitting upright, the sound of scissors snipping away, white wisps float down onto the black cape and slide to floor, reminders of time passing:  only four weeks since my last trim, but years since the puddle of hair swept into the dust pan was dark.

Hair blown dry and styled, I put on my glasses, look in the mirror, and ninety-nine percent of the time I say, “there’s my mother.”

hair cut 1 edited

I spent most of my early years trying to be NOT my mother.  But over the years, I learned to appreciate my mother’s best qualities.  I want to be like that woman.

She was kind and generous with her time and worldly possessions.  She never met a stranger, and once in her circle of friends, you were a member for life.

Mom left this world eleven years ago to join my dad on their next adventure.  I doubt a day goes by that I don’t think of them.  Yes, I get hints of my mother every time I look in the mirror.  But the resemblance is most striking on hair-cut day, when my hair is given the care and attention she gave her beautiful, curly, white hair every day.

Seeing her reflection, I am reminded that the best way to keep her alive is through my actions.  Be kind to everyone.  Give of myself.  Share what I have.  Look for the good in everyone I meet.

Mom was so good about dealing with an issue at the time it came up.  I need work on this.

Mom found it difficult to sit still.  If she had nothing planned, she would make up an errand, someplace to go.  My wanderlust is more global, but the desire to keep moving is in my genes.

I do not want to be a clone of my mother.  The best version of me will reflect the best version of her while maintaining those characteristics that are uniquely me.

It is with great joy and anticipation that I go to my hair appointments.  Most of all, I look forward to seeing my mother in the mirror.

hair cut 2

Bless and Release

Bless and Release


Bless and release is a phrase I learned while soliciting donations for a non-profit.  When it is clear a donor is not interested – bless and release them.  Spend time with people and organizations that believe in your cause.

2017 – a year of bless and release lessons in my personal life.  The same lesson confronted me multiple times in a variety of formats and venues.  Sometimes it was decisions I made that did not work out.  Sometimes it was thrust upon me.  I think I finally got it.

2018 will be a year of Joy.  I choose to associate with people and organizations who accept me for who I am and what I have to offer, warts and all.  I choose to be with people who see the world in a positive light.  All others, I choose to bless and release.

A collage of images that express my feelings so much better than I can:


Small Stuff

small stuff 2

Currently I work in the deli of a large grocery store, not my dream job, but it serves the purpose for now.  The store is going through a major renovation that involves relocating the deli.  After lots of preparation and migrating of merchandise, the move would take place over night.

On the last day in the old location, we stopped baking and frying chicken a couple of hours earlier than usual.  Items that had been in one location were moved to the “other side” of the temporary wall.  I’m sure there are many stories of upset customers not finding what they wanted.  Here are two I know of.

small stuff 1

Customer number one wanted her oven-roasted savory chicken.  Normally they are made fresh every two hours, every day between nine and five.  We stopped early and were sold out by the time she arrived.  Nothing would make her happy.  A “Manager” had to be called.  I’m sure he did something to appease her.  But seriously, the dark meat of those same chickens is sold as leg quarters and the breasts are cut up and sold as pulled chicken.  If savory chicken is you what you came in for, we most certainly had chicken available.  And it’s a huge store.  There are literally thousands of alternatives if you are open to the possibilities and willing to think outside the chicken coop.

Customer number two wanted a very specific mustard dipping sauce.  When a deli clerk explained to the man that it had been relocated to the “other side” he copped an attitude and said in a very snarky way, “You mean I can’t have it.”  I had been cleaning the new area all day.  I did not know exactly where his brand of mustard dipping sauce was, but offered to look for it.  Fortunately, I found it and received a “your awesome” from the customer.  I never knew awesome was so easy to achieve.

Both incidents reminded me that life is made of lots of small stuff, most of which is not worth getting your knickers in a knot.  I hope that I never get caught up in the small stuff but am fearless and open to the possibilities if things do not go as planned.

small stuff 3

Sunshine and Lemon Balm

“Six twenty-three,” Lorna guessed rolling over to bring the clock on the bedside table into focus.  No matter the season, her internal clock never failed; six twenty-three on the nose.  Mid-summer sun, filtered by plantation blinds on the east-facing window, reflected the warm subtle glow Lorna felt in her heart as she visualized the day blossoming before her: a day of sunshine and lemon balm.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, twisting left then right; a deep breath in, arching her back; exhale, rounding her spine, chin to her chest; sitting tall, shoulders down, tummy tucked in, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.

Feet glide into her slippers, or house shoes as her mother called them.  Lorna walked into the kitchen, put a kettle of water on the stove and opened the door to her condo balcony.  Scissors in hand, snip, snip, a couple of leaves for tea. lemon balm 8


Lorna’s daughter gave her the original lemon balm sprig.

“Plant it in the garden.  The leaves are great for brewing tea, flavoring fruit salad or green salad, and for seasoning fish. Add stems to bouquets of summer flowers from the farmer’s market.  Your whole house will smell lemony fresh.  You’ll love it.”

Lorna spent the next five summers trying to control lemon balm from taking over her garden.

“You said it’s not supposed to spread,” she said to her daughter.

“If you keep it cut back, the flowers won’t produce seeds that sprout new plants.  Trim the plant way back a few times each summer.  That’s what I do.”

“Now you tell me.  Who’s going to help me dig up some of the volunteer plants?  I like the scent of lemon, but enough is enough.”


lemon balm 2

Before Lorna sold her house and moved into the condo, she transplanted fifteen lemon balm plants and delivered them to the Alzheimer’s unit of the assisted living facility where her father spent the last two years of his life.

“For the resident’s,” the card said.  “Lemon balm is good for digestion, headaches, Alzheimer’s restlessness, and insomnia.  If you plant them outside, cut them back often to keep them under control.  If you leave them in pots, place them around the facility and they will add a fresh scent to the rooms.”

lemon balm 5

Sitting in her favorite rocker, Lorna inhaled the scent of lemon from the potted plant she kept for herself.  As the sun peeked over the balcony wall warming her toes, Lorna remembered her last volunteer assignment at the Alzheimer’s unit.  She was assigned to keep an eye on the residents in the fenced-in yard.

Edna, a new resident, wandered through the garden stopping at every lemon balm plant.  She picked a stem, held it to her nose, took a deep breath in and moved on to the next plant.

Edna made her way around to Lorna and held out a bouquet of lemon balm.

“Take this.  I think it smells like sunshine.  I guarantee it will brighten our day.”

Edna repeated her trip around the garden gathering sunshine as if it was her first trip.  She presented each new bouquet to the next person she saw.  By the end of the day, every visitor to the garden caught a glimpse of Edna’s world:  a place of unending sunshine and lemon balm.

lemon balm 1

Treasure Hunt

Treasure Hunt

Emily surprised no one when she used her death to orchestrate one final treasure hunt.

“The prize at the end will taste sweeter for having worked for it,” she would tell to her grandchildren.

Emily beamed watching each child decipher clues and relished in exuberant expressions of joy when they figured out where the treat was hidden.

Whenever they visited, Emily handed each child a clue leading to another clue. Each clue took them closer to a treat, almost always round, pink candies or vanilla wafers. On hot summer days, the treat might be a popsicle.

Some days the prize was a quarter to be spent at the corner store. The first time a child found a quarter at the end of the trail sent them spinning and doing a happy dance. Your first quarter meant you were old enough to walk to the corner store on your own.

Upon entering the store, a glass counter to the right displayed all varieties of penny and nickel candy. Deciding how to spend twenty-five cents might take longer than eating the candy. Each time, the same internal dialogue: Hard candies last longer. Chocolate is better. Maybe a Tootsie Roll Pop. Mom doesn’t let us have candy bars, maybe a Snickers is the way to go.

Whatever the decision, the spoils from the treasure hunt went back to Grandma’s to be eaten on the front porch or under the big tree in the back yard.

* * *

cage-6At Emily’s funeral, the grandchildren sat in a circle sharing a favorite treasure-hunt memory. Nathan recalled the time he clambered up the big tree to find a clue.

“How did Grandma hide the clue up there?”

“I hid the clue in the tree.”

Mike revealed how as the oldest, he often assisted in placing clues around for the younger kids.

“As Grandma got older, the stairs to the attic or basement gave her trouble. I doubt Grandma ever climbed the tree. One year she promoted me to be her assistant and swore me to secrecy. Now you know. Whew! I’m glad to get that out in the open.”

At the reading of the will, each grandchild received an envelope with a clue to finding one last treasure.

“I have selected a something special for you. As you complete one more trek, remember, the joy is in the journey.”

All heads turned toward Mike.

“Don’t look at me. I had nothing to do with it.”

Everyone’s first clue led to the same place and included instructions to complete the quest together. Stacked with boxes of all sizes, Emily’s eight grandchildren each found a box with their name on it in the attic. The prize inside included a letter and photographs of the two of them together.

Tammy received antique broach she liked to wear when she visited Emily.

“I used to think I was sophisticated wearing Grandma’s fancy jewelry.”

Kathy found a crystal vase Emily brought from Ireland as a teenager.

“I used to pick wild flowers out of the field behind Grandma’s house. She always put them in this vase as if I presented her the most precious flowers on earth.”

Mike found his grandfather’s leather bomber jacket and a key to the antique motor cycle in the garage.

“I used to love hearing Grandpa tell me stories about riding with his brother.  I Can’t believe she gave me his bike.”

Roger opened his box to find Grandpa’s war medals and the flag used to adorn his grandfather’s casket at his funeral.  Overcome with emotion, tears in his eyes, Roger turned the flag over, smoothing out the corners.

Amanda started sobbing as she unfolded the quilt Emily made from aprons she’d worn over the years.

“Grandma used to let me bake cookies with her. I made such a mess, she always put one of her aprons on me.”

Nathan fell to his knees when he found his Grandfather’s baseball card collection.

“I spent hours poring over these with Grandpa. He came to every game I played from little league to high school state finals.”

Samantha showed off a hand-beaded clutch.

“Grandma let me carry her evening bag around when we played dress-up. I think that’s when I discovered my love for all things vintage.”

“Okay Cinda, last, but not least. We all know you were Grandma’s favorite. Look at the size of that box,” Roger teased.

All eyes on her, Cinda gingerly unwrapped an antique bird cage, fragile from the dry attic air. Detached from its hinges, the door lay on the bottom of the cage.

“What does it mean? I don’t remember Grandma ever having a bird,” Amanda asked.

“Grandma had scarlet fever as a child. Her father gave her this cage and a song bird to keep her company during her recovery. She told me she always felt bad for the bird, locked up in a cage all the time. The day the doctor said she could go outside, Grandma set the bird free. Let’s see what the note says.”


You are my youngest grandchild, the one most like me, in spirit. My wish is that you see the world for both of us. I removed the door on this cage to remind you to remain open to all life offers. Be audacious in your pursuit of adventure. Fly, little bird, fly, and I will soar with you.

Grandma Emily”


How Big is Your Bubble?

How Big is Your Bubble?

“I did then what I knew how to do.  Now that I know better, I do better.”
Maya Angelou

I’m ending the year with a Fearless blog post.  My goal was fifty posts for 2016…this is number forty-nine.  Thanks to my faithful readers for following along on my travels.

Let me know what you would like to read in 2017 by leaving a comment at the end of this post.

  1. General flash-fiction stories
  2. Continuation of the Table for Two series
  3. Posts on Joy – my word for 2017

bubble-3What Is a Bubble?

For this post, our bubble is the sum of our experiences.  A bubble can be as small as the town we live in, or large enough to encompass the planet.  Bubbles can expand, exist one inside the other, adhere to other bubbles, or pop and dissolve around us.

Our bubble includes our attitudes, opinions, and beliefs.

  • A collection of general attitudes creates a specific opinion about a narrow topic.
  • A group of opinions shapes our values as part of a belief system.
  • People frequently change attitudes and occasionally opinions, but rarely do individuals change beliefs. [i]

Our words and actions stem from our attitudes, opinions, and beliefs.  We do the best we can based on what we know at the time.  When we know better, we do better.

bubble-5Forming Your Bubble

As children, our bubble is small.  It includes family, friends, neighbors, and school mates.  A more diverse world leads to more diverse attitudes, opinions, and beliefs.

As we move through life, inclusion of others normally outside our bubble, grows respect for and appreciation of differences in ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, education, and religion.

Diverse experiences grow larger bubbles.

bubble-4Expanding Your Bubble

Be Fearless!  Leap outside your comfort zone, your bubble.

  • Volunteer in your community. The best way to understand people outside your bubble is to get to know them and their circumstances.
  • Explore a city, state our country you have never been to before.
  • Join new group. (Check out Meet Up in your area: Meet Up)
  • Take a class on a topic you know nothing about (If you are over 50, check out OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) at a college or university near you.)
  • Learn a language.
  • Take a cooking class.
  • Join a book club.
  • Try a new sport or activity.
  • Etc., etc., etc.

Trying new things allows us to expand our minds and learn—both about the new thing, and about ourselves.  As we learn more, new attitudes and opinions just may change our beliefs.


Can Bubbles Unlock the Secrets of Life?

Samsam Bubbleman thinks they can.

Samsam Bubbleman needs only two ingredients – soap and water – to make something magical. For more than a decade, Samsam has dedicated his life to creating dazzling, kaleidoscopic bubble art. He’s a professional, with multiple Guinness World Records, and a company that produces a wide range of bubble toys. But bubbles are much more than a job for Samsam: he knows his soapy, colour-drenched creations can lift spirits, unlock life’s secrets, and reverse time, turning grown-ups back into children.

Check out this video, Samsan the Bubbleman, it may expand your bubble.

When we expand our bubble to be more inclusive,
we will know better and hopefully we will do better.


[i] Steve Sisgold reporting in ”Psychology Today.


The Music Box

The Music Box

My Dearest Liz, 

If you are reading this, you found the secret compartment. My parents are sending me to Maine for the summer to spend time with my grandparents and cousins.  They say the country air will be good for me.  We both know it’s because our families want to keep us apart. You will always be in my heart, no matter how many miles are between us. 

All my love forever, Jacob S.  June 1, 1863.

The morning she turned eighteen, Elizabeth opened her eyes and zeroed in on the music box on her dresser. The family treasure originally belonged to her great-great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Pembroke. Elizabeth’s grandfather bequeathed the music box to her when she was born. Every year on her birthday, Elizabeth wound the mechanism and listed to the love song, How Can I Leave Thee?

Elizabeth found the love letter from Jacob S. that morning when the music box fell from the dresser and broke into a dozen pieces. She tried to catch the precious box.  She tried to save it, but she wasn’t fast enough.

Heartsick, tears in her eyes, Elizabeth gathered the shattered keepsake, tenderly placing fragments into an old basket. Among the rubble, she found the note and a silver charm of half a heart threaded on a chain.

Elizabeth read the note. Who was Jacob S.? Her great, great-grandmother Liz married Henry Madison Pembroke.

Elizabeth tucked the note and the necklace into her pocket and took the music box to her father, Henry.  He could fix anything. Henry brushed the tears from his daughter’s eyes and assured her the music box would be as good as new when he finished.

“Dad, are you aware of anyone in the family named Jacob, someone from a long time ago perhaps?”

“No one comes to mind sweetie. You might want to talk to your Aunt Minnie. She’s the keeper of the family tree. If anyone knows about a Jacob, it would be her.”

Elizabeth spoke to her Aunt Minnie that night after everyone at her party sang Happy Birthday and the candles were blown out.

“I have some questions about our family history. I’m looking for a Jacob S. He would have been a teenager in the 1860’s.  He may have been a friend of Grandma Liz.  Ever heard of him?”

“I’ve never found a Jacob in my research. Why do you ask?”

Elizabeth read the letter to Minnie but kept the necklace to herself. Curiosity piqued, Minnie raised her eyebrows,

“Want to go on a road trip to Maine this summer?  I love a good mystery.”

Always up for an adventure, Elizabeth asked,

“When do we leave?”

* * *

Aunt and niece checked into a bed and breakfast, their home-base in Ellsworth, Maine. They spent days meeting distant relatives, searched through antique stores for old family bibles and looked up marriage, birth, and death records at the county seat. Their search uncovered a Jacob Stein, but found no connection between Jacob and anyone named Liz.

Frustrated and exhausted, the women visited the last antique shop on their list before returning to the Ellsworth Inn to plan the next day’s excursion.

The shop owner looked up as the bells on the door announced new customers.

“Anything specific I can help you find?”

Elizabeth introduced herself, using her full name,

“Elizabeth Madison Pembroke. This is my Aunt Minnie. We’re looking for information about our ancestors.”

Elizabeth set the music box on the counter and unfolded the letter.

“I found a letter in a secret compartment of this box that belonged to my great-great grandmother. We’re hoping you might be able to identify the author.”

The shop owner walked over to a cabinet and set a wooden box next to the one on the counter.  It was an exact match.

Unable to speak, Elizabeth’s eyes nearly popped out of her face and her jaw dropped.

“My brother and I are restoring an old family home built by our great-great grandparents. They were married sixty years. Grandma Sarah died first and grandpa followed two months later. Everyone said he died of a broken heart.”

“During the renovation, my brother and I found this box hidden under the floorboards in Grandpa Jacob’s office. It’s filled with love letters from Liz M. to Jacob during the summer of 1863. This charm was also in the box.”

He held up half a heart.  The young man threaded his charm on Elizabeth’s necklace. The two pieces fit perfectly. Smiling  ear to ear he said,

“My great, great grandfather’s broken heart is healed at last. I’m Jacob Stein, may I call you Liz?”

Reinvention on Steroids

Reinvention on Steroids

2016 is about to become 2017. On the precipice of another personal reinvention,
I thought I would share a decade by decade review of my fearless life.

20 Something – An Ethical Dilemma for a Naïve Idealist

I worked in the Training Department at the home office of an infamous chain store found in every mall. (Think 1970’s, lava lights, incense, and black-light posters.) A catalog preceded storefronts and made up a larger percentage of overall sales.

A colleague approached me about an opening for a copywriter in the Marketing department, creating copy for the mailer. During a preliminary, clandestine discussion with the hiring manager, we talked about job duties and a bump in salary.

To transfer from Training to Marketing, my current boss, Dave C., needed to give his permission for a legitimate interview. To demonstrate his magnanimity, Dave called the hiring manager while I sat in his office and he inquired about the position.

When Dave got off the phone, he told a much different story than what I knew to be true. The move would mean a demotion and pay less than my current salary. I couldn’t say anything. Doing so would be admitting collusion with the ‘enemy.’

My jaw dropped. My boss lied right to my face, his motivation selfish. Two former colleagues transferred or quit within a month of my request. Upper management was asking questions. More attrition would create adversity for Dave.

If Dave wanted to play dirty, I wasn’t interested in working for him.

I gave myself 30 days to find a job and move to New York City. I can still hear the gasp and long pause on the other end of the phone when I told my parents. They lived in a small mid-west town. Once they caught their breaths, they said words they would repeat many times over the years,

 “You can always come home. Let us know if you need money.”

I doubt they ever understood my desire to push the limits of what they considered a traditional lifestyle. But they always offered support, allowing me to follow my heart.

I reconnected with a college sorority sister looking for a new apartment and a new roommate to share the costs. By the end of the thirty days I found a job and moved myself to New York.

I lived in New York for less than two years. The experience empowered me to face future challenges with confidence and excitement. Frank Sinatra got it right,

“If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.”


30 Something – Similar Stuff, Different Organizations

 Fast forward to 1986, Saint Petersburg, Florida. As Training Director for a department store chain, I created a department from scratch and designed innovative programs, some of my best and most creative work.

After about six years I decided a change was in order. I wanted to see the world. I signed up for bar-tending classes and thought I would get some experience working with caterers before applying to resorts and cruise ships.

About the time I was going to write a letter of resignation, another retail company bought the parent company of my employer. Rumors of our local department store being sold off to the highest bidder ran rampant.

At the upper executive level, I received a lucrative exit package, if I stayed until the end. And so, I did.  No idea where the bar-tending would have taken me. I took the other fork in the road.

The exit package included a year of executive outplacement services. A conversation with my counselor solidified my desire for change, but uncertainty about what I wanted to do next. I completed all the paperwork and testing, wrote a new resume and some cover letter samples and set a goal of one year to find the next adventure.

I jumped into my yellow Camaro and hit the road for a few months of visiting family and friends. I fell in love with the freedom to come and go on my own schedule.  The gypsy life suited me, a practice I would repeat over and over.

Reality set-in and I returned to the outplacement office to seek new employment. During my time-off, I learned I liked Training and Development, but wanted to change industries.

I collected unemployment, almost enough to live on. To stretch my income, I took a position with a new company, The Home Shopping Club/Network. I worked from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. as an operator answering calls and taking orders.

The evening shift gave me time to search for something else during the day. Working in a highly structured environment reminded me daily of the need to keep looking for a “real” job in my field. I lasted about six weeks taking orders over the phone. I quit to interview in another city. The gamble paid off. I went to work with a regional bank.

Training for the bank gave me the experience of facilitating a series of two-week workshops for branch managers. The workshop included an outdoor day of experiential activities. I climbed over the wall, fell into the arms of my team in the trust fall, and maneuvered across some high-wire challenge every three weeks.

I learned a lot about myself and human behavior.  I confirmed I could do whatever I put my mind to.


40 Something – Making It Work, the Hard Way

I spent the 1990’s on airplanes, flying domestically during the first half and all over the planet in the second half. Afterward, ready to leave corporate America, I visited the Peace Corps website and started the application, for the first time. Sixteen years later I completed the application, but that is another reinvention story.

A training design firm offered me a chance to work as a contract consultant. I sold my house and moved to a small community. I lived near the yoga center I managed for over two years. I discovered the perfect place to live and put in the effort to develop the spiritual part of me, ignored for most of my life.

My income dropped. I struggled to keep the lifestyle going. During one conversation with my mother she said,
“I think you are just lazy. Why don’t you get a job?”

“Getting a job would be the lazy way. I’m juggling five part-time jobs. It takes a lot of energy and skill to manage my life.”

I hung on until the next reinvention.


50 Something – Anchors Aweigh

My parents spent twenty-two years as ‘snow birds,’ wintering in Florida and summering in Michigan. My father’s health declined and travelling back and forth every six months ended for them. My mother needed help and I needed to move on. I sold my house and car and moved back to Michigan to assist.

My initial thoughts: find a place of my own and live near my parents. My father spent the last five months of his life in healthcare facilities. I spent those five months monitoring his care and living with my mother. I moved my stuff into their home.

Less than two years after my father passed away, my mother died suddenly and unexpectedly. Against my wishes, she left me the house, the last thing I wanted, an anchor holding me in place.

The economy crashed. I looked for jobs anywhere in the country. In the end, I took a position right where I lived. The non-profit board I served on hired me as Community Development Manager, raising money and raising awareness. The learning curve moved straight uphill. Such good work for a worthy cause.

I loved being near friends and family and seeing the newest generation grow and thrive. But I could no longer say, “I am one of the most interesting people I know.”

The job didn’t pay enough for me to take exotic vacations or pursue interesting hobbies. I made ends meet. No more, no less. Time to shake things up again.

I reopened the Peace Corps website for the umpteenth time in sixteen years. This time my instincts were not telling me to shut down application. Four hours later I completed part one. The next evening I finished part two, the medical history. A year later and after lots of paperwork, I flew off to orientation and my assignment in Botswana.

After six and one-half months, I left the Peace Corps early, for personal reasons.  I returned to the United States homeless, no car, no income.  Everything I owned was in storage.  After two years in Lexington, Kentucky I returned to Florida.  That’s where I am now.


60 Something – What to Do? What to Do?

As I said in the beginning, I’m on the precipice of another reinvention. I’m not sure what I will be doing or where I will be living. Stay tuned as the mystery of the next chapter unfolds for all of us.


Age is Only a Number

Age is Only a Number

Mother was always on the go.  She lived at home by herself and did her own cooking and cleaning.  Once a week I would pick her up then collect my two sisters who lived nearby.  None of them drove.  Thursday was our day to shop, pay bills and go out for lunch.

Mother spent four days a week at the church hall making sandwiches for the homeless, working on a quilt, knitting prayer shawls, cooking funeral lunches and whatever else needed doing.

On the seventh day, Mother was in the front row for mass and served coffee for the meet and greet after the service.  Sunday afternoon was reserved for family visits.  My sisters, brothers and I dropped by with our spouses and kids.  Weather permitting, the kids could be found outside climbing trees, playing hopscotch or a rousing game of statue.

The adults sat around Mother discussing family matters and solving the world’s problems.    Once the grandchildren went off to college, I would pick my Mother up after Sunday mass and take her to breakfast.

Recently I noticed Mother slowing down.  She started moving a little slower and walking with a cane on our shopping trips.   Her eyesight, hearing and memory never failed.  Now and then she would skip a day working at the church  proclaiming,

“It’s about time some of the younger women get involved.  I’m one of the oldest to show up.”

As designated driver, I took Mother to her annual physical.  On the short walk from the car to the office door she said in a shallow voice,

“I feel like I’m one hundred.”

I laughed and said, “You are ninety-nine you know.”

The part about feeling 100 came from a friend’s story about her mother.  The rest is a compilation of memories of my Grandma, my Mother and various Aunts.