Happy Birthday, Mommy

She’d be 107 years old today. I miss her more than she probably ever imagined.

Her legacy endures because Angel Boy 1.0 and DIL named Angel Girl after her. They have photos of her at their home and both children know who she is and how much of an honor it is to be named for her. She’s Daddy’s grandma, Grandma’s mommy.

Since my mom was an absolutely amazing grandma, I try to emulate some of the same things she did with my son; have endless patience with laser focused attention, play with them forEVER, and take each of them solo toy shopping.

“Look what Grandma got me, Mommy! Grandma said I could get ANYTHING I wanted” as my son showed me one Matchbox car, the only thing he chose. (He always was frugal!)

I knew it wasn’t the object that made him happy, it was spending time with Grandma that was fun and special. And important.

Happy Birthday! I wish we all had more time with her, that’s for sure.

Driving around doing errands this morning, I heard one of her favorite songs at least three times, a message for sure! She loved Prince’s When Doves Cry, and so do I.

Rest in Peace, Thich Nhat Hanh

Today is a sad day; another truly good human has transitioned…

The International Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism announced “our beloved teacher Thich Nhat Hanh passed away peacefully at Từ Hiếu Temple in Huế, Vietnam, at 00:00hrs on 22nd January, 2022, at the age of 95.”

In honor of his life of kindness, how about we do this:

Practices to help cultivate self-love and loving-kindness from Sister Dang Nghiem (ordained as Dharma teacher by Thich Nhat Hanh).

From her book ‘Flowers in the Dark’ (Parallax 2021)

Update on Saturday to add this from the Dalai Lama:

“In his peaceful opposition to the Vietnam war, his support for Martin Luther King and most of all his dedication to sharing with others not only how mindfulness and compassion contribute to inner peace, but also how individuals cultivating peace of mind contributes to genuine world peace, Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh lived a truly meaningful life. I have no doubt the best way we can pay tribute to him is to continue his work to promote peace in the world.” https://bit.ly/35dUncV

When Doves Cry: Life and Death

**This is so strange. I only published this post today, June 26, but it shows that it was published on the 24th, so I am RE-writing and posting again. Very odd WordPress, very odd.

We had a bit of rain, just a few drops, definitely not the kind of rain we need here in the Southwest, but I think my veggie garden was grateful for it.

When I went outside to check on the status of baby lettuce seedlings, I noticed a Monarch butterfly entangled in the netting surrounding the garden. I’ve been forced to use the barrier to keep out squirrels and rats and bunnies. There are plenty of other things in the garden those guys can eat, so I don’t feel too bad about restricting them from my yummy greens.

Carefully, I removed the netting from those delicate wings.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is f36bad6b-b51c-4dc2-ac71-83c67d1552ea_1_201_a.jpeg

After flying off, s/he returned with a mate and they circled my head a few times as if to thank me. “You’re welcome, guys! I was glad to help.”

Later that afternoon, right before dusk, I went for a walk. There were still beautiful clouds in the sky and I was thinking happy thoughts about the butterflies.

Suddenly, before I could even react, several things happened at once. A white van was driving down the street faster than the twenty-five mile an hour speed limit. A dove flew low across the street, left to right. (Yup, you can see where this is going.) The driver MUST have seen the bird, I’m sure of it.

Without slowing down or trying to avoid the imminent impact, the van ran into the bird, and to make it even more horrific, the back tires finished the slaughter. There were no other cars on the road; simply slowing down would have avoided it completely.

It doesn’t matter to me that there was nothing I could have done to prevent this tragedy. I ran out into the street to see if I needed to take the bird to a vet, but it was too late. Too late. I crouched down on my knees over the little dove almost in shock at the massive destruction the van did to his body. I took a photo because I wanted to remember the poor dear and honor his/her life, but it’s too gruesome to post and I feel it would be disrespectful to the innocent creature.

The bird was probably on his way home, and there might have been nesting babies that won’t be fed and won’t survive all because of the actions of one unaware or uncaring human. What if it was one of the doves I just wrote about that often visit me in the garden? How incredibly sad.

Well, that stripped me of the joy of saving a butterfly, that’s for sure. I’m a fixer and a helper. It’s a tough lesson for me to comprehend that sometimes things can be so terribly damaged that they can’t be mended or put back together, like this poor little bird who was beyond repair.

This made me think of Prince. When doves cry, so do I.



Enduring Love

Did anyone watch the televised funeral of Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s husband? He died on April 9. Despite one’s personal opinion of the monarchy and their fame, celebrity, and notoriety–tossing aside the gossip, this is a story of enduring love.

I watched some of it and was deeply touched by how small and solitary Queen Elizabeth looked as she sat alone. I turned it off because it didn’t seem right to intrude on her grief.

They had been married for almost seventy-four years.

How tragic for her to lose her life partner, the one she shared great times and the not-so-good times, the highs and the lows, but through it all, there was a shared and sacred commitment to going through life as a loving team; against all odds.

Their eyes focused on each other in this photo really touched my heart:

Why Prince Philip Was Never King Despite Marrying Queen Elizabeth

It reminded me of a Queen song and how ironic is THAT, even more so considering I never heard it before last week when I put American Idol on for a few minutes and one of the contestants sang “Love of My Life“.

Sad.

Happy Birthday, Mommy

If only she could see her namesake or the one that’s a curly haired clone of the other one, that would be truly awesome; however, today we’d be celebrating her 106 years on this earth and that wasn’t meant to be.

She died in 1987 from pancreatic cancer, still one of the most horrible and painful diseases. We took care of her here at home with the help of hospice. Since she was a head nurse, she taught me things like how to do her IV and heparin locks, and she’s the reason why I’m a great caregiver and caretaker. I’m forever grateful that I was able to care for her until the end.

Angel Boy 1.0 was –without a doubt– the love of her life. Here she is with AB at 18 months, the same age as Angel Girl 2.0 is right now. They were best buddies. She would be so very proud that he grew up to be a great dad AND a tenured professor before he was forty years old. (Notice the clever way I slipped that in?) We knew he was VERY smart.

Always fashion forward, I found some old pics of me and mommy. It’s true what they say. You never stop missing your mom, no matter how old you are.

I wonder what I’m reaching for…

Here I am the same age as AB 2.0, just about five years old. Funny thing to share is that I still braid my hair like this in pigtails (like right now) and I still don’t know how to throw a ball, but I DO know for certain that my ribbons perfectly matched my outfit. Always. Check out the saddle shoes that were never dirty.

Happy birthday to the original CharChar; you are missed.

Doris Day: Whatever will be, will be…

Today Doris Day died at the age of 97, and I am sad.

I don’t have a direct connection to her, but she touched my heart with her song “Que Sera Sera”, in the film “The Man Who Knew Too Much” with Jimmy Stewart. Searching for her kidnapped son, I could FEEL her anguish as she sang the words that would eventually free him.

A few years ago, I was on a blissful, happy road trip and we stopped in Carmel. Although we didn’t stay at Cypress Inn, Doris Day’s hotel, we spent the evening there listening to an amazing singer belt out the old songs, those good ones from the big band years. It was a joyful and lovely experience. My heart was full that day.

Doris Day was an animal activist long before it became trendy; even before the internet could help promote good people with their wonderful intentions to rescue and adopt dogs and cats.

Here’s a link to her Doris Day Animal Foundation: https://www.dorisdayanimalfoundation.org/?fbclid=IwAR1R3yb2B8aGkxZehdTWnJ3kLGMnNmKhrTwtXZU-Pl3P-jyFok2N85QXnDQ

Que sera, Doris. Whatever will be, will be…That song always makes me cry and I lose it every single time I watch that final scene where her son runs into her arms.

Death. SO VERY BIG.

 


Before I was Princess Rosebud and Rowdy Rosie, I was a little girl who loved to dance in pink tutus and satin toe shoes.

A sweet and innocent little girl who was very gentle and sorta clueless about life.

Who loved animals (especially wolves and coyotes and foxes and mountain lions and bobcats) but all animals really.

Who never had to face life’s seriously sucky tribulations, cos life was pretty good most of the time.

Especially when there were seashells to pick off a sandy beach. Or someone thought about me and brought home a handful of seashells from one of their vacations.

Seashells make me happy. Butterflies make me happy, too, but that’s a different story.

This is about death. DEATH. Not a metamorphosis.

D.E.A.T.H.

Death is pretty final in a lot of ways. I mean in this plane, on this Earth, when someone dies, stops breathing, heart stops beating…well, that’s pretty final.

Why do some deaths hit us harder than others?

Randomly searching for something on the internet, I discovered that a friend and business associate I hadn’t seen in a long time had died of cancer five months ago, right around my birthday.

I didn’t know. No one told me. How did this happen, that I didn’t know?

The death and the not knowing shocked me, rocked me to my core. I was sobbing. Not him, I thought. Not him. Good men like that should live to be one-hundred-years at least.

(I could tell you how it happened that I didn’t know, I could elucidate, fill you in on all the deets, but then the story would be all about me and not a way, however small, to honor this fine, fine man.)

I heard him say this one thing a thousand times, “Hey guys, here’s just another rusty brain idea I’d like to run by you.”

He was one of those true-blue, honorable, faithful, simply noble, ethical, principled, reliable, honest, trustworthy, dependable, SALT OF THE EARTH men.

They don’t make them like that any more. Trust me on that. It’s really so simple, when you think about it. Not a difficult way to live one’s life if you know what’s really important.

All men (and women) should aspire to conduct their lives to that standard. A decent man with character and a deep commitment to his wife and family.

A never-give-up kind of man. The very definition of what a man should be.

If you needed anything, Steve was there. Especially if there was food involved. Oh yes, Steve loved to eat, that’s for sure.

I sent his wife a letter expressing my sorrow for her loss and apologized for not knowing and not attending his memorial service.

She wrote back almost immediately.

True to form, he never told anyone of his battle with cancer. Thinking back, I remember he was always showing up with bandages all over his face and head from skin cancer surgeries, but he brushed aside all questions about his health. The cancer spread and though it was quite painful, he never complained.

One day he collapsed and died in his wife’s arms, the only place that was ever really home to him.

I honor you, Steve, and I will miss you forever. More than you could know. This is a big loss, a big death, and my heart goes out to your lovely family.

sunset8

 

A Mom Knows These Things

This was originally posted May 2013, but I’m reposting it today ‘cos if she were still alive, my mom would be 102 years old today.

Happy Birthday, Mommy, I miss you every day!

A Generation Fabulous Blog Hop: The Best Thing I Learned From My Mother and posted on Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/08/best-lessons-from-mom_n_3225877.html?slideshow=true#gallery/295835/0

Me: “Hey, Mom, guess what?”

Mom: “You’re pregnant.”

Me: “How did you know that’s what I was gonna say?”

Mom: “A mom knows these things.”

MommyThat’s my mom. She was born in 1915 and died in 1989 from pancreatic cancer. She lived with us until the end. I cared for her with the help of a wonderful hospice team.

I was a mid-life baby –born in 1954. She was afraid that I was going to be affected with Downs Syndrome, although they didn’t call it that. At that time, it was  referred to as Mongoloidism, which is no longer in technical use as its considered offensive. They didn’t have genetic testing back then and it scared her that  I was such a good baby, always happy and never cried.

The doctor told her I would make up for it by causing her heartache when I was a teenager, and I did — but that story is for another time…

My mom became a registered nurse at a time when abortions were illegal. She often told me that the horrible things that she saw in the hospital — the aftereffects of a botched backroom abortion — were the reasons she was one thousand percent pro-choice right from the beginning.

“A woman has the right to choose whether or not she wants to have a child.”

That’s something I learned from my mom.

“No man has the right to tell a woman what to do with her body.”

I learned that from my mom, too.

These forward thinking ideas were even more remarkable when you consider that her father — my grandfather — was a Rabbi. My mom was one of seven children. They moved from town to town as my grandfather moved from synagogue to synagogue  — a nomadic life.  Although she was born in Minnesota, my mom spoke with a slight southern drawl because the family spent many years in the south.

They eventually ended up in Detroit. I loved hearing my mom tell the story of climbing onto a city bus and walking to the back along with an African-American girl who had been told to “get to the back of the bus”. The bus driver kicked my mom off for being a troublemaker.

meandmommyObviously, that’s where I got my big mouth. I learned to speak up for those less fortunate — to fight for those that have no voice. I learned to speak up when I see child abuse or animal cruelty. As proud as I was of her, I know she’d be equally as proud of me.

My mom taught me what it meant to be a mother. She abhorred daycare and nannies and was disdainful of mothers who worked. She told me that people shouldn’t have children if they don’t want them and if they can’t take proper care of them.

No stranger would raise HER grandchild.

“A child deserves to have a mom who will selflessly dedicate her life to her child with unconditional love.”

I always knew I would be a stay-at-home-mom — my mom showed me how.

And also thanks to my mom, I wear perfume every day — Chance by Chanel. It’s my signature, even if I’m just going to the gym. I learned that from my mom, too.

“Don’t save perfume for special occasions.” Fragrance can turn rancid and sour smelling. This is what she said when she presented me with my very first bottle of real parfum — Joy by Jean Patou.

“Wear it every day. Wear it for yourself.”

meandmom

 

Along with a love for cleaning the house with bleach, collecting seashells and blue glass, my mom passed on the shopping gene.

My passion for the finer things in life are directly related to that first mother-daughter dress, my first pink satin ballet shoes, my first silk blouse, and my first treasured cashmere sweater.

When we enjoyed a bit of retail therapy, Mommy (yes, I called her Mommy) liked to buy me things because she said it made her happy.

Her favorite saying was, “It’s only money.”

Thank you, Mommy. I miss you so very much.

 

Death. SO VERY BIG

Before I was Princess Rosebud and Rowdy Rosie, I was a little girl who loved to dance in pink tutus and satin toe shoes.

A sweet and innocent little girl who was very gentle and sorta clueless about life.

Who loved animals (especially wolves and coyotes and foxes and mountain lions and bobcats) but all animals really.

Who never had to face life’s seriously sucky tribulations, cos life was pretty good most of the time.

Especially when there were seashells to pick off a sandy beach. Or someone thought about me and brought home a handful of seashells from one of their vacations.

Seashells make me happy. Butterflies make me happy, too, but that’s a different story.

This is about death. DEATH. Not a metamorphosis.

D.E.A.T.H.

Death is pretty final in a lot of ways. I mean in this plane, on this Earth, when someone dies, stops breathing, heart stops beating…well, that’s pretty final.

Why do some deaths hit us harder than others?

Randomly searching for something on the internet, I discovered that a friend and business associate I hadn’t seen in a long time had died of cancer a few months ago.

I didn’t know. No one told me. How did this happen, that I didn’t know?

The death and the not knowing shocked me, rocked me to my core. I was sobbing. Not him, I thought. Not him. Good men like that should live to be one-hundred-years at least.

(I could tell you how it happened that I didn’t know, I could elucidate, fill you in on all the deets, but then the story would be all about me and not a way, however small, to honor this fine, fine man.)

I heard him say this one thing a thousand times, “Hey guys, here’s just another rusty brain idea I’d like to run by you.”

He was one of those true-blue, honorable, faithful, simply noble, ethical, principled, reliable, honest, trustworthy, dependable, SALT OF THE EARTH men.

They don’t make them like that any more. Trust me on that. It’s really so simple, when you think about it. Not a difficult way to live one’s life if you know what’s really important.

All men (and women) should aspire to conduct their lives to that standard. A decent man with character and a deep commitment to his wife and family.

A never-give-up kind of man. The very definition of what a man should be.

If you needed anything, Steve was there. Especially if there was food involved. Oh yes, Steve loved to eat, that’s for sure.

I sent his wife a letter expressing my sorrow for her loss and apologized for not knowing and not attending his memorial service.

She wrote back almost immediately.

True to form, he never told anyone of his battle with cancer. Thinking back, I remember he was always showing up with bandages all over his face and head from skin cancer surgeries, but he brushed aside all questions about his health. The cancer spread and though it was quite painful, he never complained.

One day he collapsed and died in his wife’s arms, the only place that was ever really home to him.

I honor you, Steve, and I will miss you forever. More than you could know. This is a big loss, a big death, and my heart goes out to your lovely family.

sunset8

 

 

 

 

 

Oh baby, just you shut your mouth

I am so sick of WordPress and its messed up problems. I’ve written this 3 times and it still won’t format correctly, so please excuse the obvious issues and blame WP, not me.


Shhh…

Sometimes you never know why some music resonates with you deep inside, why it’s a song you can listen to a million times and it evokes the same feeling every single time, but this one always has since the first time I heard it in 1983.
Loved you so hard, David Bowie.
Your free spirit will be missed forever.
China Girl
I could escape this feeling, with my China Girl
I feel a wreck without my, little China Girl
I hear her heart beating, loud as thunder
Saw they stars crashing
I’m a mess without my, little China Girl
Wake up mornings where’s my, little China Girl
I hear hearts beating, loud as thunder
Saw they stars crashing down
I feel a-tragic like I’m Marlon Brando
When I look at my China Girl
I could pretend that nothing really meant too much
When I look at my China Girl
I stumble into town just like a sacred cow
Visions of swastikas in my head
Plans for everyone
It’s in the whites of my eyes
My little China Girl
You shouldn’t mess with me
I’ll ruin everything you are
I’ll give you television
I’ll give you eyes of blue
I’ll give you men who want to rule the world
And when I get excited
My little China Girl says
Oh baby just you shut your mouth
She says… sh-sh-shhh