Sunday, August 31, 2014

When I am 100 and You are 104-1/2

August 31, 2014

I’ve heard many people claim that once they get to that middle stage of their life, they feel more accepting and comfortable with who they are.
I’m not sure I understand what “they” mean by that.  And to be perfectly frank, I don’t believe a word of it.
Well, okay, perhaps it is true for some people.
Personally, I’m not one of those.
Mid-life crisis?  It’s hokey.  Really.  The life expectancy in the US is approximately 79 years.
So half of that would be about 40 years old.   When I look back at myself at age 40, I am quite certain that I wasn’t thinking that I was in the middle of my life or in crisis.
Oh sure, I was raising children, trying to make ends meet, riding that roller coaster, but I was far too busy to be introspective.
If memory serves me, I don’t recall contemplating how wonderful the next half of my life would be.
Yes, when I look back at myself at age 40, I realize I had no idea about life.
Which brings me to this point in my life.  67/79=84.5.  Or nearly 85% of completion.
I can’t even come up with a catchy, fun phrase for that number.   Sorry, but “almost over”,or  “the end is near” are the first things that pop into my mind.
Ross gets upset with me when I mention that.
“Come on,” he’ll say, “We could live to be 100, you know.”
My reaction and response is, “Oh please.”
Anyway, Now that I am an 85 per-center, I do have time to be introspective.
Sometimes staying in the present is much too humdrum and boring.
I shockingly have come to the conclusion that somewhere along the way I may have lost my imagination.  I wonder, “What happened to my stories?”
My body does a fine job of reminding me that I am “not as young as I used to be.”  I can no longer eat the foods that I love.  Although I have started to wear a FitBit, I don’t feel very fit. That is probably the hardest to accept.
I can count my blessings.  I can be regretful.
I can wish I would have and wonder if it is still possible.
I can long for the good old days and be fearful about what might be coming next.
I can be sad for all that I’ve lost and be wondrous about all that I’ve found.
At my age, I have come face to face with the biggest boundary of all.
So, Ross when you are 104-1/2 and I am 100, will we look back at when we were young sixty and seventy somethings and realize once again that we knew nothing.
Will we finally be able to say we are comfortable with who we are?

So I came across a couple of pictures of myself over the past four years.  As I looked at these photos, I have come to the conclusion that what I am really in the middle of is a schizophrenic hair style crisis.

Warning...some of these photos may have been touched up or air brushed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ocean City NJ Vacation - by Guest Poster Isabella - Preserving the Memories Part II

Ross and I spent the week of August 16th-23rd with Jen, Derek and the grandkids in Ocean City NJ.
I am writing these next few posts to preserve precious memories for my daughter, son-in-law and grandkids and maybe even great-grandkids.

I thought it would be interesting to get another person’s perspective on our beach vacation.  
I asked my favorite 10 year old grand daughter Bella to be a guest poster today. 

On August 16, my family and I went on our family vacation. My grandma and pop-pop bought rented a beach house. It was on the first floor and we were only 4 blocks away from the sandy hot beach. Read on to learn what we did on the beach, boardwalk, and how we spent family time together.
                  Like I said we went to the vast beach. We went every single day! My 11 month old baby brother loved to play on the breathtaking beach for the very first time. Except he wasn’t very fond of the loud, crashing waves. The first day we went there we even built a (small) sand castle around our umbrella.
                  We also went to the mind blowing crowded  boardwalk. We went to Pirates Cove and Wonderland. (Which has all the cool rides.) My dad and I went on a ride called Double Shot. It was completely terrifying. You sit on a seat then it takes you high in the air and propels you down while you still are in your seat. I don’t recommend it if you hate the dropping feeling in your stomach. Also we got hermit crabs named Winnie and Onyx. We did a lot of shopping to conclude our time at the boardwalk.
                  Finally, the best part was the family time that we all shared. On some days everybody would go down to the beach AND boardwalk. It was so nice to have family time.
                  As you can see I had the best time at Ocean City, New Jersey. I’ll always remember the time we had at the beach, boardwalk, and with my family.


Thank you Bella.  I would love to have you contribute your writings more often. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Ocean City NJ Vacation - Preserving the Memories Part I

Ross and I spent the week of August 16th-23rd with Jen, Derek and the grandkids in Ocean City NJ.
I am writing these next few posts to preserve precious memories for my daughter, son-in-law and grandkids and maybe even great-grandkids.
Part I

We had near prefect weather each day.   The house we stayed in was only three short three blocks to the beach.
We were on the south end of the island.   It’s much quieter there because it’s further away from the busy boardwalk area.
We had our own little neighborhood joints, though.  Mike’s Seafood
was on the corner.  Mike’s has a fresh fish market, if you want to cook your own.  Otherwise, you can enjoy one of their prepared platters and eat on picnic tables under the covered patio.  Their biggest business, however,  is their take out.  We had a good vantage point from our place watching people as they walked back to their cars loaded down with shopping bags filled with styrofoam containers.

Every evening Bella and Ryan would look out across the street to see how long the line was at A la mode Ice Cream Parlor.

Then, one block from the beach there was Ross’ favorite, Mallon’s Bakery.
They are famous for their sticky buns.  Ross was pretty bummed out when the young lady behind the counter informed him that you had to buy six of one kind.  He was hoping for a variety by mixing it up with one of each kind.
But they don’t sell them individually.
If you are interested they deliver all over the country.

One of the best things about the house we rented was the large covered front porch.  It was always cool and breezy.  Since it faced a fairly busy street, we were provided with great people watching entertainment.

Jen, Derek, Bella, Ryan and Jackson would head on over to the beach every day.   Just like most of the families with kids, preparation included loading up the beach cart.

Beach Fun

In the evenings it was boardwalk time.  There are mandatory stops to make on the OC boardwalk.  For the kids, and kids at heart, of course it’s the amusement area rides.

And it has to be Johnson’s Popcorn, Kohrs Brother’s Custard, and Manco & Manco Pizza.

One day, as I was sitting on the porch, I overheard a conversation between a woman and her grandson, as they were walking by.
The little boy, who appeared to be around 6 or 7, was very excitedly asking his grandmother if she would take him to the boardwalk later that evening.
“Grandma, grandma, please, please can we go on the rides later?  Please?
The grandmother stopped and knelt down so that she was eye level with the boy.
In a serene and calm voice, she responded, “Johnny, dear, let’s just stay in the moment and enjoy our walk, okay?”

Good advice, grandma.  Very good advice!

I hope to have a guest contributor help me with one of these posts.  It will be interesting to get her perspective of our vacation.

To Be Continued...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Grieving Mother Seeks Her Holy Wayne

Finally, after watching six episodes of the new HBO series, “The Leftovers", I have a sense of what the show is really about.

The basic premise is that 2% of the world’s population has literally vanished.  All of them have disappeared at exactly the same moment.

The story takes place three years after the event has happened.  The plot revolves around those who were left behind.

I spent the first five episodes trying to figure out the mystery of what happened to the people who were “taken”.  I wondered, with a lot of frustration, when the great mystery would be solved.  When was I going to know the answers?  When would all be revealed?

There is more than one mystery woven into the story.  For instance, what is the mission of the group called “The Guilty Remnants”?  Why do they wear white?  Why don’t they speak?  And the biggest question is, why must they constantly have to be smoking a cigarette, at all times.

As Ross and I watched each episode, we would exchange confused looks and say, “What the heck?”

Last night, though, I figured out that I had been watching as if the story were science fiction, or fantasy.

I mean how else could the premise of the sudden simultaneous disappearance of millions of people be feasible?

Then last night there was that scene.   It was a most poignant and powerfully relatable scene for me.  (Spoiler Alert, in case you are not up to date).
Before Nora goes to meet Holy Wayne, she has a confrontation with an author who has written a book about moving on and starting over, called “What’s Next.”
She screams at him, “There is no moving on, there is no happiness.”
“What’s next?” she yells.  She screams, "NOTHING!  Nothing is next!”

But, it was the next scene which took place between Nora and Holy Wayne that really got to me.
Holy Wayne asks Nora, “You’ve lost someone?  Someones?”
Her pain is evident.
He asks her, “And you believe you will always feel that pain?”
Holy Wayne asks Nora, “Do you want to feel this way?”
Nora starts to break down, begins to cry and can barely speak.
“You believe you will always feel that pain.”
“If it starts to slip away you seek it out again.”
"You won’t let it kill you.  But you won’t kill yourself.”
“For whoever is joined with all of the living, there is hope.”
"Hope is your weakness.  You want it gone because you don’t deserve it.”
“Nora, you do deserve hope."
“The question remains the same, “Do you want to feel this way?”"
Nora quietly, answers, “No.”
Holy Wayne opens his arms and says, “Let me take it from you.”
Nora softly asks,  “Will I forget them?”
As Holy Wayne takes Nora into his arms he smiles and strongly says, “Never.”
Nora gives into her grief and sobs as Holy Wayne holds her tightly, taking her pain from her.

As I held back my own tears, I realized that the story is not about a futuristic possibility.  And it’s not about finding out why or how.

It is about each and every “left over”.  After all that’s what we all are.   Because everyone, every single one of us, from the moment we come into this world and begin to live, has been left behind.

Nora paid Holy Wayne $1000, to take her pain from her.  Afterwards, she believed that he did.

I understand that type of belief is what enables most “left overs” the ability to “move on”, “have hope”, be assured that their “someones” will never be forgotten.

Today is the fifth of another month that has gone by.  Although the pain mostly stays beneath and under, it is not weaker.   I too am afraid to “give away" my pain.  Afraid that if I do that I will forget him.

I haven’t found my “Holy Wayne”.  I don’t know that I ever will.