Jump Starting The Week

I am tired and overwhelmed at the start of this week and trying very hard to assure myself this means there is nowhere to go but up. It was a busy weekend with the normal errands and chores, plus home improvement projects long overdue. We also needed a new car battery, discovered while attempting to get an early start on our running around on Saturday.

I am jealous of our car this morning, thinking how great it would be if humans could receive a new battery, restoring strength and power after installation. We can still learn something from the box responsible for our vehicle’s electrical system though. You never want to mix the positive with the negative or vice versa when giving it a jump. Best to connect yourself to the positive and head on down the road, negative cables in the rear view mirror. Sounds easy, I know, but of course it is not. I have seen grown men scared to death to attach the clips to the proper terminals. But turning your thinking around to a better frame of mind isn’t going to cause smoke or sparks. The week awaits. Let’s connect to the positive together:

One . . .

Two . . .





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I’ve Got The Bathroom Blues In The Very Best Way

We have been sprucing up some rooms in our house. It’s all cosmetic work as the only thing my husband and I have ever “contracted” is along the lines of congestive heart failure and visual impairment, respectively. The bathroom was the first to be completed and I could not be more pleased with how it turned out. I needed help choosing the actual paint but I knew what colors I wanted, one of which is a colorI can still see. The vibrant blue makes me so happy, a literal bright spot in my muted world. The glass flowers I have had for years but never had a place for them and the doily beneath them was made by a friend many Christmases ago. The cabinet they sit upon I found online and put together myself when it arrived. I searched online for the print on the wall, incorporating my love of bubble baths and the new colors of the room, as well as the frame.

I love the way the sun shines in the window in the morning, and how the light hits the vase and the wall. I have taken so many pictures in these moments, trying to capture what to most would be overlooked, but to someone with limited vision cannot be.

I have had to work very hard to learn to acknowledge my achievements since my sight became compromised and it still does not come easy to me. I have spent my whole life completing tasks and moving on to the next. But in this bathroom, of all places, I cannot deny what I have done. With limited vision, I have decorated a room and photographed it in an artsy way.

It seems we are more conditioned to accept defeat than we are to give credence to our successes. I’m not talking about patting ourselves on the back but rather lifting ourselves up, gaining confidence in our abilities. Recognizing what you have done allows you to see what you can do. Belief in yourself comes from within but sometimes all you have to do is look around to find it.


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An Author-ized Blography

Friends are with us through all the genres of our biographies: mystery, romance, drama, satire, action and adventure, health, travel, horror, children, history, comics, cooking and fantasy. I share all subject matter with several fantastic women, all major characters, both literaturely and figuratively, in my non-fictional life. 

There are  also four other women, only one of whom I have had the pleasure of meeting, who are some of my best girlfriends: Danielle, Debbie, Elin and Nancy. We spend time together individually several times a year and just like the plot line in any of their novels, a perfect storm has occurred: for the first time, they have all come to me at the same time.  

I was not able to read my for two years when my vision became impaired and thinking about that period now I don’t know how I survived. I just finished my 46th book of this year and it seems fitting that my favorites will turn that count to 50. But first they will transport me to New York City, Nantucket, Seattle and surprising locales in between, leaving hot, humid Southeastern Pennsylvania behind. I will get lost in their fictional accounts of people who will become very real to me until this blog needs writing, the bike needs riding, the husband needs dinner, the parrot needs to play, something needs washing and my new business needs creating. They will provide an escape from real life, taking me out of myself and into a completely different world. 

Books are our friends, I remember being told as a child, and I still hear that in my head from time to time. Their authors are the talented, creative, intelligent artists who share their gift with us. Getting their newest title is one of the few sure things in my life; their name on the cover a guarantee that I will enjoy myself from the first page until the end.

It is, at once, Christmas in July, my birthday, a snow day and girls’ night in. And I can think of no better way to celebrate than with a good book.


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What’s Your Everest?

As he reached the summit of Mt. Sofa, Piper couldn’t believe how easy the climb had been. He had never scaled the black behemoth before but had been studying it for six years. He had been hesitant to take the first step, not sure where to start or if he could do it. He didn’t want to admit it, but he had been scared to try. 

Piper makes the trek up Mt. Sofa several times a day now, wondering how he let all that time go by before attempting the ascent. He missed out on the fun, the adventure and the shortcut to his favorite toys. Not to mention the way his mommy jumps when he pops his head up out of nowhere. 

A little birdie is telling you: Climb your mountain. You’ll be glad that you did.


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A Monumental Sight

We recently purchased this canvas print of Monument Valley, Utah, a destination stop on the last vacation my husband and I took six weeks before my vision became impaired. It is a beautiful piece of art and represents so much. Travel is the last holdout in my healing process; I still struggle with going places when I can’t really see them. I am one of those people who stands at the rim of the Grand Canyon and sees Mt.Rainier majestically rising over Seattle and cries at the beauty before me, gratitude filling every inch of my soul.

This portrait reflects my past but also reminds me that there are new places to explore and old friends to visit again. I don’t see color, except for shades of blue, and the vibrant sky over the buttes shows me that all is not lost. The vastness of this country speaks to how small my troubles are and this enduring landscape is a testament to how brief our time is on this earth.

This addition to my home decor also brings with it sadness over what I have lost, but the fact that it is displayed prominently in a location I pass a hundred times a day is proof of how very far I have come. Monument Valley was not built in a day nor has my healing. It still hurts but not as badly as it once did, allowing room for appreciation and memories of that trip and all the ones that came before.

We stayed at the hotel on the edge of the valley, our balcony providing the view captured in this picture. We set our alarm for the middle of the night so that we could gaze at the unencumbered stars, free of buildings and manmade light. They were the brightest I have ever seen and some of the last I ever would. We set the alarm a second time to watch the sun rise over the other-planetary formations, their shapes revealing themselves to us slowly. Tears rolled down my face, dripping into my coffee cup

My husband and I searched through many options before deciding on this shot and one of the main criteria, besides the brilliant blue sky, was the road in the foreground. While driving our rental small SUV through the valley, we had all four windows down and the moonroof open to take photos from every possible angle. My husband behind the wheel, I snapped away, often standing on my seat to capture images through the hole in the roof. We came upon a hill and in the loose red dirt, my driver gave us some gas to propel us up and forward. The car filled with red dirt through every opening, including my mouth. We laughed so hard I choked, but I didn’t care. Nor did I mind wiping down the entire interior of the vehicle with bathroom wipes once we returned to the hotel parking lot. Or the fact that I saw red for a week every time I blew my nose.

I don’t know what the future holds for me when it comes to this lost love of mine. It’s still hard to imagine being in a setting such as this without the ability to see every detail, every color. I went to Germany last year with my best friend and it was, as expected, disappointing and bittersweet to be there without full visibility as we toured the cities of Luebeck and Hamburg. But that trip was more about going on an adventure with my sister of the traveling pants than it was about the sights. And although I know everything we do with someone else is about the shared experience, sometimes it really is about the destination.

For now I will enjoy this delicious slice of American pie in my dining room and think about what I saw those days in October 2012. And I will consider the possibilities of 2018 and beyond and wonder, if I could only wish upon those stars . .


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When Life Hands You A Sharpie

“This too shall pass” is a common truism offered when going through a difficult time, both to others and to ourselves. It really does apply to most situations, though when in the thick of it your heart wins over your head every time. If we can somehow hold on to the knowledge, it does help. Across all levels of constitution, we all seem to understand that even the worst can be tolerated if one day it will be behind us.

But what about the permanent situations that will never revert back to the way they were and we are left with what is? As I think about examples of this: death, an unfixable injury or physical impairment, I realize they all add up to loss. No matter what we believe about the afterlife, when someone dies they won’t be with them again in this human experience. And although there are incredible prosthetics available, a limb lost is gone forever. My optic nerves still exist but the damage is irreparable.

There are an equal number of adages about overcoming lasting adversity as there are about weathering a storm, and I enjoy making lemonade as much as the next person. But when faced with irreversible loss, it’s hard to see past the lemons. I have been through too much to gloss over the time and endless emptiness, the self-examination and the pain, to lead you to believe that adapting and adjusting is as easy as a turn of phrase; any number of my previous posts will show you my bad and my ugly. But when things aren’t going to change back, you will have to change forward. It’s the only way when what we have lost is here to stay.


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I Have Always Talked With My Hands

How many people do you talk to on a weekday morning? Ten? Twenty? On a typical day, my number is 1.5. That’s one and a half, not fifteen. And you’d think the half is my parrot, Piper, when it’s really my husband, who is not much for chitchat before he leaves for work.

When I was on-site at corporate meetings it was nothing to greet at least  a hundred people before 8 a.m. as I kept a watchful eye over breakfast and answered any number of questions from the attendees. When in the office, I would meet someone in the parking lot (oh, how I miss driving), then pass people in the halls, the phone would start ringing, there’d be a meeting, lunch. My work days were nothing but talking to people.

Now is such a different life. I talk to and play with Piper but I don’t speak with other humans until the mister comes home. I text with several girlfriends all day but they are silent conversations despite a lot of LOLing. It is a strange existence and yet it has become the norm. I don’t even think about it until I see the neighbor or the mailperson, or make an actual call as opposed to sending an email. It’s then that it hits me that my social self leads a solitary life.

If you are bombarded all day by people wanting to talk to you, you probably are thinking this sounds like heaven. And as a temporary situation it would be a nice break from the constant talkathon. But after a while, it would become hell. To not hear your own voice for hours is unnatural for most and for me it is the opposite of who I am. I know how I got here but sometimes I wonder, how did I get here?The bigger question, though, is how did I learn to live this quiet life? The immediate reason is always survival but the process of adapting is a fascinating mystery to me: how it happens without us even realizing it. What I do know is that I am immensely grateful for it.

One day, from the moment you wake up, keep a count of how many people you talk to that morning and afternoon. I bet you will be surprised by the amount. It’s one of so many things that takes place every single day of your life that you aren’t even conscious of. Until it’s gone. Then you’re so aware there should be a new word for aware. But in my experience, aware becomes adapt, and you spend your days without conversation. It really is okay, though. After all, talking is overrated. Writing is where it’s at. LOL

Seriously speaking, I can reach infinitely more people with this website than I ever could through one-on-one talking. No, I don’t know how we adapt. But sometimes it makes perfect sense why.


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I was a Girl Scout when I was a young girl. I remember coming home from elementary school and telling my mom I wanted to join my friends on Monday nights in the basement of the Lutheran Church in town, learning campfire songs I still know to this day and earning badges. I am pretty sure that’s when my obsessive, Type A, goal-oriented personality began to take shape and be fed. With cookies, of course.

I wonder now if it was because she lived in the city until she was 26 and many of the things going on fifty miles away “in the country” (translation: suburbs) were so foreign to her that she looked at me as if I had asked to join the KKK. But I wore her down and she walked me to and from the meetings every week as she never learned to drive. Writing this now

I realize I don’t recall if she walked home while I was promising, on my honor, and then came back to get me or if she waited somewhere nearby. This is one of a hundred things a week I wish I could talk to her about. Despite our extreme closeness when she was alive, there always seems to be something to tell her or ask her.

Other than school groups and sports teams, the Girl Scouts is the only club I was ever a part of . . . until 2012 when my mom died. In June of that year I became a member of a very special sorority made up of daughters whose mothers have died. It is an exclusive group, allowing for no exceptions to its sole criteria for inclusion. Pledging is the most intense, difficult and heartbreaking initiation ever required for entrance into any clique and we have absolutely no idea we are on the cusp of lifetime membership. And at the moment the woman who gave us life takes her last breath, we are immediately inducted.

There is no ceremony, no card to carry in our wallet, no secret handshake or annual convention. But there is an unspoken difference between those of us with and those of us without our moms. No matter what else has happened in your life, until you’ve gone through your own “Hell Week” you cannot understand how her death will inexplicably feel like your own.

When I hear of another woman losing her mom, my heart hurts for her and a little bit for me too all over again. For in this sorority we are all connected, sisters mourning the women who made us all daughters.


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