Sunday, August 25, 2019

How to ride a Motorcycle

It's been one year since I made eye contact with my brother.
It was a Sunday and as I left the hospital, I smiled at him and gave him a thumbs up,
not knowing that it would the be the last time I would see him conscious and awake.
I've regretted that thumbs up.

I wish I would have just smiled at him...
given him a hand over my heart..
or a heartfelt praying hands gentle bow.
I know that now.
After his journey on earth ended...
I said I would find the words to tell you about him.
I have found many words, but haven't found a way to say all I feel about him.

What I do have is the words that were crowding my head and heart on the day I drove from Indy to Lowell after being told he was starting hospice care.
I knew I would want to remember them, to write them I used my phone and recorded my rambling thoughts during that drive.
I didn't know how we would do this.
How we would get thru this.
I'm still not sure.

But, as always...
my brother showed me how.

Here are those words:

Friday, March 09, 2018

Flashback Friday....Firstborn Nephew

The Boy that made me Aunt Nancy!
Happy 50!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

~ I'm Alright ~

(Warning - "this is us" spoiler alert, if you haven't caught up...start at the third paragraph)
I finally got caught up on the TV show "This Is Us." I watched 

the episode that aired after the Super Bowl on Monday night.

It is the episode that reveals how one of the main characters die... and it shows the surviving family members 20 years in the future and the various ways they "remember" the loved one, each in their own way. The wife has a ritual where she makes his favorite meal – and just spends the day hoping to hear or see a message or something that shows her – he is still "here."
As I watched on this Monday night, it did not escape my attention that the next day was Tuesday, that this week would be 19 years since my mom died, and I, like Rebecca, would be remembering, watching, waiting.
My mom died on February 9, 1999.

It was a Tuesday.
I always try to have the day off and have my own ritual and try to do something that my mom would like.
Even though February 9 is the actual anniversary, it's always that Tuesday that hits the hardest and lays my heart wide open in sorrow AND in gratitude.

This Tuesday, I wrote in my journal and as I flipped open a book that I try to read every day ?, I noticed a paper that is in the book, but I don't usually use as a bookmark.
It was a photo copy of a picture of my mom and me. My mom is dressed in a Jackie Kennedy inspired outfit and I am next to her looking like I am not exactly enjoying my, what looks to be made of scratchy wool ?, outfit.

What I zeroed in on in this picture was how my little hand was wrapped around her already visible, but not nearly as bad as later, arthritic finger.

My mom's hands.
There is little in this world that has filled me with so much anguish AND so much love, as my mom's hands.
Anguish over how much pain she endured. And love because they were the hands of a person I loved so much and who loved us and gave so much to us, even in the midst of pain.
After marveling a bit at this picture and the fact I was ever that little and that close to her to grasp her hand so tightly, 

I thought ---there it is---My message from heaven --- finding this picture stuck in a part of a book, and my mom saying, "I am still here. "
I took a picture of the picture and made it my phone screen saver, so that every time I picked up my phone that day I would see us together.

I went about the rest of the morning, got ready for work and started my workday at the counter where we buy books.

There was a stack of books that had already been dropped off by a customer before I got there. Her name was Patsy.

I finished evaluating the books and paged the customer. After a few moments I saw a lady making her way to the counter. I asked "Are you Patsy?" She smiled and nodded. I made her offer, she accepted it, and as I held out the pen for her to sign her buy slip, her hand appeared out from the long sleeve of her winter coat to reach for the pen.
And as she struggled to grasp the pen with her arthritic fingers and slanted swollen knuckles and then started signing her name...I....well, I

had to turn aside as I held in both the tears that had sprung up and the "Ha" of a laugh...
in seeing that Helen Jean, my mom, just wasn't done talking to me yet!

I wanted to double Patsy's offer on the spot! But, instead I just gave her a big smile and a heartfelt thank you for selling her books to us (on this day, in this hour). ?
On her way back out of the store, she stopped to pick up her boxes and as I handed them to her, her hand missed the bottom of the box and clasped mine, almost as tho we were holding hands. She said "Oh, I'm sorry!"

And I said "It's alright!

It's really alright...

"I'm alright"

Thursday, June 15, 2017

That's (Indy) Cub

During my last hour of work a co-worker who is a huge fan of the Game of Baseball finished a buy and asked if I wanted a special edition newspaper filled with pictures of the Cubs winning the World Series. 
We looked thru it together and I said...
I'm getting a little verklempt just thinking about how magical that last game was...

I went to put some records out and saw a customer wearing a Bryant Jersey and as I passed by him I said, "We were just reliving that last game!"
"It was a great one!" He said with a smile."

I was in the back room, getting ready to leave and was paged to the register.
I called and was prepared to give the "I'm done...not here" response, when the co-worker from before said, "There's something you need to see up here."
I went to the register and he pointed out the window...
showing me this:

I turned around and the guy with the Bryant Jersey was nearby.
"Is that your truck?" I asked.
He nodded.
"Wow! That's commitment! Can I take a selfie with your truck?"

I came back inside and he was headed toward the door...
I then noticed that he not only had a Jersey on, but was decked out, head to toe, Cubs Jersey, belt buckle, shoes and socks!

I said "Thank You! That's the Best Thing I've seen all day!" And I shook his hand.

It's a good thing I saw this car while it was parked and I wasn't driving...
I may have crashed my car doing a double take or trying to get a picture!

The great thing is...
I posted on Facebook about seeing a FireFly and marveling at the wonder of those bugs and my friend Mary commented:

"May today be filled with uplifting sightings and events, and this evening be filled with a bevy of fireflies!"

Talk about an uplifting sighting!!!

Directions to here:

Bookstore secret:
Don't tell Boots or my Boss, but since the Cubs won the World Series...
Every customer that is wearing anything to do with the Cubs, gets an automatic 10% off when I'm running the register.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Picture Window

"When you get where you're goin'...
Don't forget turn back around.
Help the next one in line...
Always stay Humble and Kind."

Dear Mom,

On the Eve of my 53rd celebration of having you as my mom and our 18th Mother's Day of you journeying on ahead of us...

I am hoping that Heaven has a picture window.

I hope that you can see how this picture has changed.
How these Grands of yours have grown,
how many wives and husbands have been added,
how your Daughters and Sons have become awesome Grandmas and Grandpas
and how many Greats those Grands have added.

My goodness how this picture has grown!

I'm pretty confident that there IS a window...
or at the very least a mirror.

Because I see your beautiful smile,
your humble gentleness
and your wonderful kindness in each and every one of them.

We all love you 
and We all miss you.
Happy Mother's Day Mom.

Directions to here:

The above quote is from the song Humble and Kind made famous by the country singer Tim McGraw.
But, you know what?
It was written by a mom.
Lori Mckenna is a songwriter and she wrote it as a simple prayer and a list of everything she wanted to make sure to tell her kids.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Another of the Greatest Generation has crossed over

Sometimes Facebook can really knock the wind out of you.
Today I was checking my newsfeed and about to go on with my day, when I read that a family member had passed away.
Bud Potter was one of the most kindest and gentlest men I've ever known.
I saw the words on the screen and I said out loud "No! Not, Bud! I wasn't done with Bud!"
One of the reasons I've wanted to move closer to family, is to be able to spend more time with people like Bud. He knew all the family that I had never met or was too young to remember. He knew their story and he had his own stories...and although I saw Bud from time to time...I never got to sit down and just listen to him.

Another Great from that Greatest Generation has crossed over to meet the others. 

God Bless you, Bud.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

What 'Now' Looks Like

I know, Selfies...

I'm sure if you follow my facebook page, you can see that I think selfies are great.
So much that I've been rockin' them and cuttin' off heads since the days of 110 instamatic film.

A lot has happened in my head, in my heart, in my family and in our world.
I have been reading a lot. Writing a lot. Thinking a lot. Growing a lot.
I've changed.

One thing I've zeroed in and focused on is practicing mindfulness.
Zeroing in and being awake to the present moment and being aware.
Being present.
In the Now.

There must be at least a hundred blog posts and stories I've wanted to share with you that I have either written and haven't posted or written on paper and haven't transferred to screen, or recorded vocally on my phone, but not transcribed, or formed in my head, but not sat down to communicate.

And that brings me to the idea of the meaningful selfie.
There have been moments in the last year...
that I have not wanted to forget.
"Ah ha" moments. Moments filled with happiness, sadness, joy, fear, sorrow, silliness and gratefulness.
In these moments, I've tried to remember to snap a selfie....
to be reminded and to see...
what that moment looked like.
I am a visual learner. A memory keeper.
I want to remember....
What joy looks like on my face, what fear looks like, what gratitude looks like.
A visible reminder of
What the "now" looks and looked like.

Once I get this page back up and running,
I hope to share some of those many stories and blog posts with you....
but for now...
I'm introducing the idea of the meaningful selfie.
(too bad it's such a scary one ;)

Here's the story behind this selfie....

For two years now...
I've known that it is time for my life on Main Street to draw to a close and that I need turn and face north.
(That story is a whole other blog post).

So, in September...
I and the other residents of our apartment building got a letter from the landlord that he had sold the building to the Carmel Redevelopment Committee.
(yes, Main Streets fate is as bad as the name of that committee makes it sound)
However, I was not blindsided...
I was not frantic.
yes, Of course.
I LOVE this building.
I LOVE this apartment.
I LOVE the lives that have crossed paths living here.

I do not want this building to be demolished.
But, if you know anything about what has been happening in any corner of Carmel,
we all knew it was coming eventually....
And, what a few years ago would have devastated me,
was not a huge blow,
because I had already made peace with the fact and resolved that my time here was coming to a close.

We were originally told we would need to be out by Dec. 31....
giving us a three month window.

But then, we were contacted by the City and told that they were extending our leases into the new year....and the very earliest would be Spring of 2017...possibly summer or fall.

So, the elephant was still in the room...
but not standing on our chests.
We eased on the fretting and packing.
We went on vacatons.
I went to Baptisms. I went to parties. I went to Sunday dinners.
All the while I kept purging and packing...
One neighbor went ahead and pursued other housing and just last week moved to another place.
I was amazed at how quickly it all happened for her.
But, I decided to spend December working on Family Christmas video and New Year's Party plans and then,
when the Sunday Dinner Martha's go off on their winter vacations...
I would hermit myself in Indy and focus on packing,
hoping to move in April...
And starting a new chapter around my Birthday...
Happy New Year to me!

So, imagine our surprise Wednesday night...
when we who are left on Main Street found a letter from the Committee in our mailboxes...
stating that the new date is NOT the spring as were had been told...
but it has been changed to Jan. 31. !!

Needless to say....We are not happy.

The moment you realized you've been screwed and double screwed.
(so that's what that looks like)

Directions to here:

Never, ever believe anything a politician or a Real Estate Developer tells you.

Directions to here:

Also: Vinyl is heavy.