Those of you who are cat lovers will probably understand this statement (and the feeling) immediately. Cats (in truth, all pets) can own you.
Although they are known to be aloof, skittish and terribly prideful creatures, it’s been my experience that certain felines can also be the most loyal, most steadfast and loving of companions. Once they find you worthy, a cat will love you with all it has for as long as it lives.
It was only a few days ago that I visited New York City for the first time.
Believe me, if funds allowed I’d be far more well-travelled at my age than I am. As it is I don’t go far from home very often. We vacation in the same New England state that we live in. My honeymoon to Bermuda was 25+ years ago, and we made the obligatory trip to Disney in Florida, as well as being lucky enough to take a cruise to Mexico and visit the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. With little travel experience to my credit, I look forward to any opportunity to go someplace, even if just for a short while.
So when the chance to visit New York City came up, I jumped at it. Short as it would be, I’d have the adventure, see for myself the sights, the people and the iconic places we all know. Anyone who can, and never has, really needs to go into New York City for a few hours. If only once.
Another mass shooting is in the news. No one is saying the “t” word yet, but things are getting clearer as I write this. It was San Bernardin0 California this time, a holiday gathering where something went wrong. Terribly wrong.
Gun control is again in the headlines, another example of attention being misdirected, focusing on one detail and missing the big picture. Politicians and candidates on both sides are making scripted statements and shaking their fists. Emotions are running high. Real people are hurting in the worst way possible. The rest of us are helpless and raging at the senseless, stupid waste of it all. Wondering how long it will be before someone we love is caught up in a senseless act of violence with weapons meant for war that have gotten in the wrong hands.
As you get older you learn things, hard things that you don’t want to believe. Things you wish you did not know. Things you always thought could not be true. Until it’s hard, cold reality. Injustice. Illness. Loss.
Good thing too, younger people are not ready to face some of the really hard lessons of life. I wasn’t. It’s easy to see why harsh lessons learned early leave such terrible scars. Why people never recover. Now that I have some hint of the truth, I’m glad I didn’t know. Bad enough I know now.
What I know now is about what happens when medicine fails you. Cuts ties and walks away. No call or goodbye, even in the best, closest, most longstanding relationships. When the end comes physicians head for the hills.
Everyone likes to laugh, not forced or uncomfortable laughs mind you, but real, honest-to-goodness belly laughs. The kind you can’t contain. The kind that makes your sides ache and tears stream down your face, that has you gasping for air because you are laughing so hard. There is nothing better in this world than jokes or circumstances that bring this most genuine of reactions.
They say laughter is the best medicine, and I know this to be true. Shared laughter is awesome, bonding. Remembered laughter rocks, brings a fresh chuckle every time it comes to mind. Looking for the humor in life can get you through tough times. Being able to laugh at yourself keeps you humble, centered.
It’s only when humor is used to shield a hurtful comment or mask an insult that we get into trouble. A friend’s mother once said, “The truest things are said in jest.” I hated the thought at the time but I’ve come to see that she was 100% right. Just kidding and the like are a ready defense used by the cowards among us who spout their version of comedy and are shocked when not everyone enjoys their sense of humor.
Can’t you take a joke?
There are many places (Kenya, Lebanon) on this earth where terrorists are acting out. Paris is just the latest addition to a sad, shameful list. A strike by fanatics in an effort to spread the most profound of fears — fear for your very life. In a city tourists love, a place known for its culture on a Friday evening the vermin struck in ordinary places where people were enjoying themselves. Defenseless. Unsuspecting.
The stories out of Paris are as horrific as the ones from all the other attacks, new wounds to add to a list that’s getting way too long.
It’s as true today as ever. Thank you and a holiday is not nearly enough to compensate veterans for what they’ve done for all of us.
It’s hard to imagine a circumstance where “thank you” is both so well deserved and so utterly inadequate at the same time. Except when it comes to veterans, the courageous, selfless souls who fight our wars. Agree or not, ready or not, part of their own life plan or not, they go.
I had uncles and a father in law who were such men, a father served back home when he was young, as all men in those days did. It’s hard to imagine how they did it. How scared they must have been.They’d lived in one place their whole lives and were briefly trained before being sent to places as far-flung from home as could be.
What I know of my uncle’s story I learned from others. He was a radio man in the Air Force whose plane was shot down somewhere over Italy. My uncle parachuted from the plane, got stuck in a tree as he landed and watched as Italian civilians ran toward him screaming words he didn’t understand. Turns out they were farmers who had seen him and got him hidden away before he could be found. He stayed hidden for many months until the family was able to arrange for him to be smuggled out of the country and back to safety. I don’t know names or dates, but I’m grateful to those people every day.
I admit to being a regular Facebook user who has gleefully eliminated trips to card stores and the post office. Who gets to keep up on the life events of the people I love who happen to live across the country. Who follows favorite authors and groups of interest. Who laughs at The Onion headlines and the occasional Purple Clover item.
Facebook really shines on your birthday. That one day a year when it’s all about Y.O.U. Being on the receiving end of all those wishes is a great feeling. But then, I’m one of those (silly) people who unrealistically expects the whole world to stop and acknowledge the day I arrived on this planet. It isn’t logical, but it’s how I feel, How I’ve always felt.
And still I would say that I really think the Facebook thing has gotten totally out of hand. (more…)
I will never get used to this; and by “this” I mean being one of a dwindling number of people who accurately remember the story. Who were there as front row witnesses to events those involved wish would be forgotten..
Today I’m going to vent about a situation where my honset, not easy to say advice was utterly and completely ignored. But I wasn’t wrong, even if I’m someday the only one who remembers.
The story goes like this. Entitled Son (ES) meets Old School Piety (OSP) in a club one night. They were both with friends in the crowded and noisy place, trying to have the required “good time.” As the two were not totally repulsed by one another, they chatted and laughed and he promised to call. ES meant what he said (unless something better came along, of course) and when he had time he gave her a call. OSP was pleasantly surprised, though rightfully suspicious of all males after a hearty Catholic school education. They dated successfully for a time, met each other’s friends without incident, and gradually became a part of family times and celebrations.
They found they had things in common. An interest in nice cars and fine things. A love of Christmas. Travel, amusement parks and live events. He thought she was pretty and didn’t care about her ugly baby pictures; he didn’t laugh at the “jokes” told by her sisters. She thought he was handsome, charming, sentimental and totally under appreciated by his family.
Now of course ES and OSP were following the approved courtship path for couples of their age and circumstances. They bought gifts with care. Planned special times together. Neither had any other promising prospects for a long term relationship and OSP stopped looking. ES always looked, flirted and made himself available but there were no takers. In due course ES and OSP were engaged, had chosen the white dress and attendants, found a venue and priest.- a wedding shower was about to be held in ES’s backyard. (more…)
It’s the time of year when colors change, and not just on the leaves and landscapes around us. Everyone’s sporting an identifiable shade of pink these days, in an effort to build awareness and show support for cancer patients, particularly breast cancer. Let me begin by assuring you all I hate this disease as much as anyone on the planet. I don’t need a sea of pink or a month of the year to think about what cancer has taken from me. I live it every stinking day.
The cynic in me finds the pinkwashing just a tad too convenient. The family member who lost someone to cancer (but not the “right” kind) finds this month-long ode to cancer hating terribly offensive. Breast cancer is but one form of this disease, and not the worst of the lot, by far. There are hundreds of types of cancer, many different causes (chemicals, viruses, etc) and those awful cells remain (even today) unpredictable and mysterious.
If you think I’m being too hard on well-intentioned people, you need to visit the Facebook page — Pinkwashing Hall of Shame, and let me know how you feel afterward. You can chew on this little nugget to get you started — the month-long awareness comes thanks to corporations, not grass-roots efforts. It dates to 1985.
It’s no surprise that the willingly distracted, complexity intolerant public has latched onto breast cancer in such a public way. It feels like doing something, wearing that pink. And then anything that affects breasts, the sole preoccupation of our entire society, is bound to get people up in arms. I’ll choose to believe this is because this form of cancer happens to a part of the body so visible to anyone (keeping my snarky speculation to myself). It’s just a shame people don’t feel the same angst and desperation to do something (anything!) for the person who just found out she has pancreatic cancer.