Ratty Sweaters

She comes to me from a world beyond In dark, smirking comedy A reminder of a time that is past A black sweater shall not be her remedy I am my mother’s daughter it seems. I hang onto clothes that are comfortable, no matter the condition. The clothes that envelope me in warmth and security, like a blanket in the hands of Linus and the black sweater my mom hung onto in her nineties. It took me over 20 yearsRead 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

Blue Skies, Wind and Stink

“In the vast emptiness of the blue, my soul rejoices listening to the soundless music of the wind.” ― Banani Ray I spent another afternoon last week at Heckrodt Preserve, getting in a daily walk and, as my mother used to say, “blowing the stink off.” I thought that always a strange thing to say since long walks tend to make me hot, sweaty and possibly stinky. I have found joy at Heckrodt on these sunshine, blue-sky days, taking in midRead more

Not Trying…

^ This ^ French fries, potato chips, mashed potatoes, potato pancakes, hash browns and every other form of the spud puts the rest of the vegetable world to shame. Give me an order of thin, salty, crispy crunchy french fries and a foamy glass of beer, please, and I’ll be a happy camper. While not a vodka drinker, I understand there is such a thing as potato beer. How bad could that be? Fond memories from childhood are of momRead more

A Stimulating Face Palm

I was emailing back and forth with a peer on Tuesday. Peer congratulated me on a work-related accomplishment and then asked if I got “the $5,000 check yet.” (She was referring to the latest stupid plan to help people who are struggling financially in the U.S. by allowing them to take a loan of $5,000 from their future Social Security payments. I’m not going to discuss my opinion of this stupid plan here, as this is only an explanation ofRead more

SoCS: Around the Sun in 12

Three hundred sixty-five and one-quarter times around the sun. Twelve months. Another year has passed by and 2019 is almost finito. I thought I would take each month of the past year and share one or two things I remembered about it (good or bad) and see what kind of picture is left. January – Horrible winter month. I worked from home one day, toward the end of the month, because the wind chill was -50F (-45.5C). Brrrr. February –Read more

Does anyone need a drink?

Co “The Human Voice is the most perfect instrument of all.” –Arvo Pärt On Saturday, I had lunch with two cousins – one of which I haven’t seen in at least 30 years. Cousin Joanne brought me a gift: A few parental-related photos and a cassette tape. The cassette tape was from many years ago, when Joanne’s brother, Jim, made a tape recording of mom and dad. He asked many questions of mom about her family and growing up –Read more

Scrunching. Gaping.

“Are you catching flies or what?” ~Pauline~ When I was young, I heard this line on occasion from my mother. It usually happened while intently watching a favorite cartoon or TV program. I couldn’t help myself. My big teeth and overbite kept getting in the way of always keeping my mouth closed. It still does. I catch myself doing it at work while intently watching an Excel spreadsheet, and also scrunching my face so I can see better with theRead more

SoCS: Neighbors

Have I told you lately that I love my neighbors? I do. I reside in a large apartment complex and my building contains six apartments. With the exception of very new neighbors (it’s the one apartment that’s seen a lot of turnover), everyone else has been hanging out together, helping one another, and becoming friends as we live our separate lives with work and family. It’s an unusual situation for me as I’ve not experienced this type of camaraderie withRead more

Gravy Goes With Everything

My earliest memory of Pauline was of her standing on top of a chair, screaming as a mouse ran across the floor. This would not have been the usual, stoic, keep-it-together mom that was obvious to me later in life. I do not remember other episodes of this woman being hysterical, losing it to furry critters or when life was a bit topsy-turvey. I seldom saw my mother sweat, but perhaps growing up the youngest girl in a family ofRead 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

Processing 16 Years

Over coffee on Saturday morning, a friend asked me, “How are you processing?” She was asking about moving forward from my mother’s passing in February. A number of friends have asked this question in various formats, with concern in how I’m handling a new chapter of life. It’s a question that’s contemplative in response, at times difficult and at times easy to put into words, but I will try to answer. This is more than about mom, it’s a journeyRead more