What Lingers Forever

When in grade and high school, I earned “nicknames” from a certain few. Twiggy, Jolly Green Giant, and variations of my last name. At the time, I was thin and tall for my age (5’9″ by 9th grade) and my last name was not a simple “Smith” that everyone knew. I also was picked on for wearing glasses and an overbite, neither of which helped with personal esteem or confidence in self. I was never self-assured in school, never partRead more

Angry Birds and Coffee

Last week, roommate Natasha asked why I don’t drink coffee a bit more often. In 2019, I had to give up the daily 2-3 cup habit that was partly responsible for a bad case of GERD – the kind of in-your-face indigestion that I was willling to ignore for months because of addictive desires for a hot morning beverage. After several weeks of not drinking coffee at all and switching to tea, I returned to coffee in a limited fashion.Read more

Walking in Their Shoes

I haven’t written much about my mother since she died from the effects of age and dementia almost two years ago. I think of her often, but once in awhile I come across something that reminds me of her terrible disease and what we went through together as her mind and health failed. Actor Zach Ward, whom I follow on Twitter, recently posted the following: “Today with Dad broke my heart. I am so sad & angry I want toRead more

#WATWB: Restaurant Inclusive

This month’s #WATWB highlights the hiring inclusivity shown by three U.S. business owners: Stephanie and Mark Cartier of the No Limits Cafe in Middletown, NJ. The cafe’s mission is to “empower adults with intellectual disabilities by providing jobs and job training to help them lead fulfilling lives within the community and to increase awareness of their potential.” Tom Landis of Howdy Homemade Ice Cream in Dallas, TX. From their website: “Howdy Homemade is on a relentless pursuit to provide employmentRead more

Letting Go of 40 Years

What would you do if a friend of 40 years suddenly stopped talking? Radio silence. No phone calls, no letters, no explanation, no nothing. It will be three years in December since I last talked to my friend. I’ve been alternately sad, hurt and angry at various times, but Thursday was the worst. Perhaps it was the mutual acquaintance I ran into the day before who shared that he had seen my friend a month ago, had lunch with her,Read more

Identity: What Did I Miss?

I’m staring at the ID card I’ve had for several years. This card tells everyone Mary is a permanent employee for a state government agency and assigns an ID number. It also contains one of the few ID or driver’s license photos in which I don’t appear to have woken from a two-day drunk. ID stands for “identity,” but you wouldn’t learn much about me from the plastic rectangle that is clipped to a piece of wardrobe Monday through Friday.Read more

Between the Cotton Sheets

Her muffled, fearful yelp woke him. “Baby, what’s wrong?” he asked as his hand fell softly across the ivory of her shoulder. “Did you have a nightmare?” “Yes, it was awful. I was living in a house with snakes.” “Really? That sounds incredibly creepy.” Margo rolled over onto her right side, toward her love, the angst of a slithery dream still fresh on her face. “It was so weird, as if living with snakes was normal. They were everywhere –Read more

One Liner Motion

“To me, if life boils down to one thing, it’s movement. To live is to keep moving.” ~Jerry Seinfeld~ I tell my chiropractor and massage therapist a version of this often. My goal is to physically keep moving. Except when I’m sleeping. Or on a Saturday morning when a cat and cup of coffee resist the urge. But still… I desire to keep moving. Moving toward new adventures. Engaging in a healthy lifestyle. Wrapping myself in emotional health. Pushing limitsRead more

The Identity of Mary J

“In the social jungle of human existence, there is no feeling of being alive without a sense of identity.” ~Erik Erikson~ What is your identity? Do you have a definition of who you are? Are you a unique individual with purple hair and a nose ring or a combination of your parents and life-long experiences? I’m not sure what to say about myself. I’ve been pondering my own identity of late and what that might look like in print. I’llRead more

She Wants to Go Home

I tell mom she’s 96 years old, but age is not registering in her mind. “I can’t be that old!” “Yes, mom,” I say to her gently, “You are 96.” She shakes her head in disbelief and responds with, “No, I’m not!” I ask mom how old she believes she is and the response, “In my seventies.” An aide attempts to confirm her age, but mom resists, and I eventually have to change the subject. This is how the conversations haveRead more

Verklempt

Definition: Verklempt is a Yiddish word that means “overcome with emotion.” Pronounced “fer-klempt,” people use it when they are so emotional that they’re on the verge of tears or at a loss for words due to their emotional state. I came across this word over 20 years ago, watching Mike Myers portray a caricature of his Jewish mother-in-law, Linda Richman, on Saturday Night Live. I think about this word every time the National Anthem plays at a sporting event. EveryRead more