Bagels, spring, and Elvis Costello…

Last Thursday morning I needed to mail some cards at the post office, so I drove to Painesville via the side roads. I was apprehensive, since we were in the middle of the third or fourth “blizzard of the century” according to the weather people. The schools were closed so I thought I’d be slipping and sliding. BUT

Some days things go my way! There was very little snow on the road, and I dropped the cards into the box, then realized that Dunkin Donuts was on the way to the highway. (I kind of planned this, let’s be honest)  Guess what? There was nobody in line at the drive through! It’s normally a wait, so  I decided to celebrate and live a little. I got a large iced coffee with cream instead of a medium, and a toasted sesame bagel with…get this….garden veggie cream cheese instead of regular! I was a risk-taking daredevil! I made a couple discoveries

1) A large coffee is a lot of coffee

2) Garden veggie cream cheese is tasty but messier than regular cream cheese

3) It’s kind of disconcerting to feel a chunk of something solid in your mouth when you’re eating cream cheese.

That was Thursday. Today is Sunday, March 1st. What a difference three days makes! It’s 47 degrees, aka flip-flop weather in Cleveland. Chester and I went to Lake Erie Bluffs for a long walk. Of course the snow had melted, and it was pretty muddy. So we went around the meadow trail—still muddy but a little higher ground. Below are some pictures. I discovered that mud, while not good for my tennies, is great for heel spurs. My foot didn’t hurt at all, so I had lots of time to think. This time, I thought about Elvis Costello.

When he was in high school, almost 20 years ago, my son created a portrait of Elvis Costello using round circles. I always liked Elvis Costello when I was younger. I thought he was the essence of honest cool. I did find out that he was born 5 years and 5 days before me, a meaningless but interesting fact. I thought, and still do, that he puts his heart in his music. Of course my theme song is “Watching the Detectives” since that’s basically what I do. So I thought about the Elvis Costello artwork and decided I should frame it and hang it up.

Why is it that some things on our to-do lists that seem so small are harder than they should be? I was happy that it was already matted. But Milo the cat had sneezed snot all over the matting, not so much the picture. I had a frame, and thought, hey why not just take off the matte and frame it? Sigh. The picture just didn’t look the same. So I tried a bigger frame, a different matte, and so on and so on. It’s still crooked. ARGH! Elvis is watching me type and looking like he’s disappointed in me. Not hung up yet but framed.

I have a long list of things like this that I want to do but each one takes forever. Maybe that is what retirement will be…all the little things. I let go of the little things when I am busy. But often the little things are what matter. I do like Elvis. I’m going to get some wire, and fix the matte so it’s not crooked, and hang it up. That should only take me another day, or year. Then I’ll move on to the next project. Have a good week, and if you are lucky enough, enjoy the spring weather. Chester and I did😊

Chester enjoying the high road
Lake Erie Bluffs
Elvis, almost ready.

Ballet and heel spurs…

I just realized I have not written in February and I’m almost out of time! What on earth happened to February? For me, it has been kind of a mess of random issues. I’m not going to talk about all my ailments, aches and pains because that’s boring. But I do have some news on the health front:

  1. I don’t have dementia
  2. I do have heel spurs (more to come) and
  3. I was able to get rid of most stomach issues with the fodmap diet and eliminating dairy.

OK, number 2….my heel started to feel like a poker was..poking through my heel. Every step was painful. Now those of you who have experienced this, stop nodding your heads you know-it-alls. I didn’t know what it was and thought maybe amputation would be a good idea. But no, after x-rays I found out I have a heel spur. I have to wear more supportive shoes which means two things: I can’t wear heels like I used to, and I am limiting my walks with Chester.

OH NO you say? Yes, you should say that because since the walks are shorter, I am having incomplete thoughts. For example, I thought of a doggie song. It went like this:

It’s a hard bone life…for   yep that was it, because the walk was over.

Knock knock. Who’s there?   Oh, shoot, my heel hurts, that’s all you get.

Did you hear the one about ? Oops, home again.

So, you may get some shorter posts which I’m sure you won’t mind. The problem is I have flat feet. I knew that when I was little but who cares when you’re little? I learned this nugget of information from two sources—our jogging instructor at University of Toledo (yes it was a class) and my ballet teacher.

My sister and I started taking ballet lessons when we were pretty little..maybe 5-6 years old. We would hop skip and jump across the Michigan border to Styles Dance Studio. Karen and Sandy Styles were the instructors. Sandy had poufy blond hair.  I can’t speak for my sister, but I loved it. We took ballet and later baton. The high point of our baton mastery was when Kimmy dropped/tossed it into the audience during a performance. That was pretty cool. I still pretend my handbell mallets are batons sometimes. We got to wear make up and costumes and have parties. We danced a little too. I had a ballet record (still do) that I wrote “Martha, mod teacher” on and drew pictures of my svelte self in a tutu doing an arabesque. But as we got older, they recommended that we go to the Toledo Ballet School. So…we did.

The Toledo Ballet School was in the old Toledo Cricket West plaza, upstairs. Only the serious ballerinas went there. They didn’t have “shows” like we did at Styles but they had the biggest, baddest, show in town…The Nutcracker. Everyone tried out for The Nutcracker, including us. We didn’t make it, but I felt like I was close to being a soldier just by auditioning with all the other potential soldier wannabes. Fact—The Toledo Ballet holds the longest running Nutcracker in the nation. I kid you not. But I digress…

My ballet teacher was Madame Velta Chernonok, a small Latvian lady with a heavy accent. She was terrifying and amazing. She was a marvelous ballerina. I absolutely glowed when she clapped for me when I made it all the way across the floor on pointe, something I had been struggling with. You see, ballerinas then (maybe now, not sure) only put a little lambs wool in their toe shoes. I just had a hard time without some padding. Madame Velta supported us but was honest to a fault. Once, when I was getting older, she told my mom that I was welcome to go on in ballet, but would probably not get any better. When my mom asked why, she looked us straight on and said, “she has flat feet.” Huh. There it is. That was the end of my ballet career right there. I loved ballet, but there comes a point when you have to decide if you work twice or three times harder, if it would help at all. Ballet and flat feet don’t mix.

Now? Flat feet and heel spurs. I have to do exercises and limit the walking on pavement a little. No more pretty heels. I guess I will have to learn to think great thoughts more quickly since our walks will be shorter. And, I plan to post more often. Below is a photo of Madame Velta who has my complete respect. She passed in 2009 but left a legacy of ballerinas like me.

Madame Chernonok
Image preview

Winter Wonderland and MacArthur Park…

We made it back! Our trip to Arnstein was beautiful. We didn’t freeze like a bunch of Elsas and Olafs. We snowshoed, hiked in the snow, walked across the lake, played Euchre and Hearts, and ate Oreos. Well, I ate Oreos. My sister and niece ate healthy food. My brother did OK too with healthy food. Me, I ate Oreos. We bought a bunch of Canadian craft beers and had “flights” where we sampled them. All in all it was a relaxing, joyous trip.

I just wish I could remember my niece’s name. Who is this girl? She isn’t the same as the niece I had before. She is a competent and delightful person with a great head on her shoulders. I just can’t remember…let’s see….my nephews are Nick and Matt and Stephen, but who is she? I’ll think about it.  It’s interesting–there is some land we found out about that may be for sale in the spring. My niece expressed interest in it. My brother, sister and I love this land.  it’s where many good memories are. Now I see the same feelings in Nick, Matt, Mike, Jeff, Izzy, and the niece. I hope they find as many moments of peace there with their families as we did.

So change of thoughtwave..this morning I heard MacArthur Park on the 60s channel. I can’t believe how many songs are famous as covers. There does not seem to be anything new in this world. Three of the songs I heard were done again as covers more recently and with success.  MacArthur Park is the one sticking with me. This was sung by Richard Harris, in 1968. I was more familiar with the 1978 version by Donna Summer. This version was like the trippy Bohemian Rhapsody of 1968. It started like the typical MacArthur Park, then went into a slow, string filled section, then burst into the head banging rock part. Then back to normal. Mr. Harris doesn’t have the same voice as Donna Summer, but who does? (and that’s a big not me folks) I then heard Aretha Franklin singing The Weight (take a load off fanny…etc), and another one that I forgot (just like the niece’s name). I think most original music is not on the radio or listening channels, they should just have a cover channel. But I digress.

The first time I heard MacArthur Park was at a high school halftime show when I was about 11. The Whitmer marching band played it. It was homecoming. I was not in high school but my dad was a teacher there, so we sat with him and mom in the teacher seats. Every year he would buy my sister and me a corsage for homecoming. They were yellow carnations with a black and glittery gold “W”. What a great memory that was! I never was asked to a homecoming dance, so these flowers remained the special homecoming tradition in my mind, not that a homecoming dance would have replaced them anyway. Remember, back then we didn’t go as “friend groups” or alone, instead it was no date, no go. Kind of stupid. Anyway, when I first heard MacArthur Park, I remembered the name because I fell head over heels in love with it. I had no idea what the words were, since it was a marching band, and that would be expecting alot to have them sing and play at the same time. See we didn’t have you tube or music on demand. I had to try to listen to it on WIOT or CKLW. I guess I could have bought the record, but I didn’t know who sang it, and just didn’t. It would be another 10 years until I heard it again as a Donna Summer song, but I remembered every note.

There are experiences that stay with us, inside our core beings, waiting to be dusted off and brought to the forefront. It has been a few years since I was in Arnstein. It was like I never left. I see this in my siblings but also the next generation. Some of it will change, like MacArthur Park went from the Harris version to Donna and disco. It was still good, the core remained. I was so happy to see that my niece (what on earth is her name??) loves it as much as we do. I’m glad we were able to make it up there again. And I’m glad I heard MacArthur Park today.

PS: Alyssa, just kidding. Her name is Alyssa Rae and she is my favorite niece ever. She reads this blog and was whining, I mean commenting that I hadn’t mentioned her name. Here you go Alyssa!  You rock!

Image of birch tree in Canadian winter
Andy and Alyssa 🙂
The beauty of Clear Lake

Coming and going…

Last night was the first Ian Minnick Memorial Scholarship Art and Talent Showcase. Ian passed away last March at the age of 22. His mom and I used to coordinate the Riverside Community Talent Shows 5 years ago. So, we upclassed it a little, including professional acts mixed in with kids, bands, dancers, and brought it back. We also included an art raffle, with 40 pieces made by or donated by community members. Some of us felt like Ian was there, and I think he would have approved. It went swimmingly well, and it kicked my butt.

Age creeps up on you. Five years ago i could bounce around the stage, totally on top of things, moving the piano, handling the acts and was with it every step of the way. Last night I realized that there’s a reason older people aren’t as prevalent in theater. My biggest issue was with my feet hurting. But my biggest worry is my brain. I made some errors that there was no reason for, and I shouldn’t have made. I didn’t know i was making them. I don’t know why I made them. I have found that I don’t remember things like I used to, and while this is fairly normal, I don’t trust myself any more. I need a system to follow and people to rely on. Luckily I had both last night. I tell myself I am fearless but I have to confess to being scared of this. I had a MRI recently, so it’s nothing cancerous or visible, all looked fine. My plan is to keep record of these lapses, and see if there is a pattern. Maybe it was just overload but I’m going to try to figure it out.

Meanwhile, I’m going to Arnstein, Ontario next weekend. My little brother wanted to go, and since he was a kid, nobody could say no to Andy. His wife and my husband, of sound mind and body, decided they weren’t really interested in going to Canada in January. So we are going, along with my sister and a few other brave souls. Why? I don’t know. But when something overwhelms me, or I am afraid, all it takes is a minute at Clear Lake, frozen or not, to bolster me. I just want to put my hands on the birch trees and feel my roots. I will take three days to breathe the air, build a snowman, kneel on the frozen lake. When I come back I will be focused and fearless again.

I didn’t walk Chester today. That usually helps clear my mind. But like I said, my feet hurt! So…I am working on step one of pet integration: cat to cat. We are all sitting in the same room, two cats and me. Only one hiss so far. They are staring at each other, but not particularly on guard. Just staring. As long as neither one moves, we’re all happy.

Have a spectacular week! Tell someone you love them. You might be the person someone else needs to hold on to. Wish us luck that the ice holds. And that I remember my passport. Not kidding. Do me a favor and comment about Wednesday to remember my passport ok? Hey, we all need someone to rely on!

Happy New Year…and may the odds be ever in your favor…

There are times and days and moments when I succumb to a blue mood. Christmas was a wonderful string of family in and out, kids home, grandkid glee and days off. Now it’s over. I can tell because the Christmas lights in our neighborhood, usually lining the street in the morning, are now off. It’s back to the stars for light. Now we sink into the dark, cold abyss that is Cleveland weather for a few months. Then, just when we can’t take it any more, we realize that the days are getting longer. The survivors get to see spring.

A little dramatic? Maybe so. It’s funny but when I am feeling sad, I don’t think of “my favorite things.” I go the other way. I pulled out the Hunger Games trilogy to read and it cheered me right up. I could have chosen the Poseidon Adventure movie, or something in that realm. We watched the Twilight Zone all New Years Day, and Die Hard Christmas day. Rant alert: why on earth would they be playing Die Hard on Christmas? People, just because something happens on Christmas does not make it a Christmas movie. Die Hard, the Harry Potter movies, Sound of Music, are not Christmas movies! OK, my opinion only, I know this is a heated bone of contention and I don’t want to spoil all the good vibes of The Hunger Games.

Here’s the thing…it’s a new year but i’m not sure it matters. I watch the news sometimes. It’s overwhelming, the fighting, terrorism, shootings, kidnappings, and other brutalities in the world. We are able to see them thanks to social media, regular media and ring doorbells, right in our homes. What can we do? I don’t know about you but I feel pretty helpless.

When my students used to feel overwhelmed, I would tell them to read the Hunger Games…no, no I did not, just kidding! I would tell them to start with one sentence, one action, one paragraph. I told them to break it down. Do it step by step. Break it down into manageable chunks and conquer one at a time.

I think this advice helps when we feel like the world is just too much. Let’s break down what we can do. I thought about my own life. When we adopted Chester and the cats, we changed their lives. No, we didn’t solve the problem of stray/homeless animals. But we took a small chunk out of it (very small, I know, but it’s something). By donating to a charity we are helping. Writing a note or sending a card to someone can take away loneliness. Calling someone we haven’t seen for awhile can brighten a day. Do what you can do, what you think is right. You aren’t going to fix it all. But bottom line, in the end we can only control what we do, remember? If we do what is right, then no one can undo the light we have spread.

Let’s make 2020 a better year. Even if you had a good year, I challenge you to make this one better. Make your little part of the world better each week. If there is a resolution, make it an outward one. One step at a time. Think of one thing that you think matters. You know what to do. I think we can make a better year, but even if we can’t, what choice do we have but to try? Sit and watch tragic movies and get more depressed? I know it’s tempting, right? But no. Each of us matters. Personally I will not be defeated, and neither will you. We have only 364 days left in 2020. It’s not enough. But it’s a start Let’s go!

PS: the picture above was taken today. Our dog walker, The Amazing Brittany, takes the best pictures of Chester the dog each day. Every new year I will post a picture from New Year’s day. Enjoy!

Bucket list #2…TSO!

My dad was the kind of dad who said “NO” to any event that was loud, crowded, or unruly. We lived within an hour of Cedar Point Amusement Park, one of the top in the country for roller coasters, and he wouldn’t take us. I didn’t go there until I was in high school. Or wasn’t in high school, since I skipped school to go. But I digress…

TSO, or Trans-Siberian Orchestra, tours every year around Christmas. My sister and I were talking about our next bucket list adventure (see Groundhog Day entry for background info) and she asked if I wanted to go see TSO. Of course I did! TSO is loud, crowded and unruly..AND they play Christmas songs! Could it get any better? So, we decided on Toledo as the venue, and off we went.

We started out at a bar in Toledo where one of her friends was playing with a band. My sister has friends wherever you throw a dart at a map. She’s like my son, who could drive across the country and stay with a different person every night. We ate some bar food and listened to the band. The band was really good, and as much as we would have liked to have stayed, we had some electric guitar Christmas to rock out to.

We took a selfie of our excited happy selves, and had pretty good seats. The show started out as expected, and we waved our hands to Christmas Eve/ Sarejavo, “O Holy Night” and listened to a kind of confusing story about some girl who ran away and slept in blue blankets. I’m still not sure what that was about but we didn’t care. Girls with revealing costumes were running around the catwalk gyrating to the music, and guys with long hair were rockin onstage to Christmas songs. I was living the 80s again! When the lights flashed in time to the beat and fire shot from the floor I was in heaven. It was great!

After intermission, we expected more of the same. I was ready for another round of Christmas merriment and head banging, but alas, I was denied. Instead there was some crazy tiger prowling around the back of the stage (on a screen folks, if it was real that would have been cool though). There was some weird classical music—I don’t really remember, because we were right next to this huge tank. When the tank caught on fire, we were both a little stunned. I felt like Beavis and Butthead…fire fire fire! A tank doesn’t exactly match the holiday spirit. The video had some story of a lady in a white nightgown or something but I’m not completely sure what it was all about. At the end, we left saying, “what?” to each other a lot. Loud, remember? No matter. Bucket list #2 was in the bucket.

Honestly, we had a lot of fun. We finally got to see TSO. There was a cello onstage, which is a real plus. We got to see a tank catch fire inside the building. Sometimes you don’t know what you haven’t seen until you see it. The girl in the video apparently went home. And now we are in the Christmas season again. To get into the Christmas spirit, I’m watching the you tube video of Christmas Eve/ Sarajevo. It has the cutest kitten ever in it.  Full speed ahead…!

As a PS, I was cast in a community theater production of “Matilda” (the musical). I had auditioned for Miss Trunchbull, and while I didn’t get that part, I was cast in the ensemble and as the cook. I get to make cake:) The music is kind of like TSO–rocking, loud, and just great fun. If you are near Chardon around Maple Fest, come see the show! If you aren’t, check out the you tube videos of the music, it’s fantastic!

Thanksgiving and Trains…

This morning, yesterday, and the day before that I woke up at 3:15am and couldn’t get back to sleep. My head was full of things to do, anxiety about some upcoming events, and Thanksgiving. None of these usually cause stress for me, but at 3:15am they bombarded my poor half-asleep brain. While I was lying there trying not to hyperventilate, petting the cat who was lying on my head with one paw over my cheek, I heard a train.

When my children were babies, they would, as babies do, wake up in the middle of the night. I would sit and rock them, feeling sorry for myself for having to get up again. Most mothers are sleep deprived, and I was not exactly the picture of the accepting, peaceful mother, swooping her baby up with a small, understanding smile on her face, with a glow to her cheeks as if to say, “It’s all well, little one, mama is here.” I was a grumpy diva. Think Ursula in the Little Mermaid and you get the gist. Anyway, I’d sit there, rocking, feeling like I was the only person who was awake in the entire world and how unfair it was, and I’d hear a train. The sound of the train in the distance was a beacon. It calmed me. It told me that someone else is awake and working. Someone else understands what it’s like to be up when others sleep. I wasn’t alone. After the train faded into the distance, there was peace for about 15 minutes, until the next one.

So at 3:15am, since I couldn’t sleep anyway, I thought about trains. And I thought about them some more while walking Chester. In the book Divergent, one of the groups travels by jumping on and off trains. We all do that…we jump on a train and get off at stops along the way. Some stops are happy, some are sad, all are experiences. We take our time at some—maybe lifetimes. But none of them last forever. We then jump back on the train when it’s right. If we miss a train or two, no matter, another one will be by.  We never forget our stops or the people we meet along the way, but everything has its time, and after that time, we have to board. We may find a time of peace while just moving on the train, but when a stop presents itself, eventually we have to jump off.

John F. Kennedy said “History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be left behind.” We have a past and we have a future. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time because I really loved some of the stops and would like to visit there again. I can visit in photos and memories, but there is only one thing we can’t do on a train–go backward. Our trains just don’t run that way.

This Thursday is Thanksgiving for Americans. I am thankful for the train stops in my life that have made me who I am. I am really excited about some stops coming up. I am thankful for you. Like the train whistle, you reading this shows me I am not alone. We are a community. I’ll see you at 3:15am on the next train. Happy Thanksgiving!

A Halloween walk…

Stop pulling, Chester. Wait! Bags? Check. Flashlight? Check. Dog? Hee hee I amuse myself.

Ooh, look at the stars! There’s Orion’s Belt. Is that the big dipper? No, can’t be certain. They seem to be fading. Must be a cloud. What do you see, Chester? Up there by Julius’ house? Is it a bunny? I don’t see anything, crazy dog.

Boy is it quiet this morning. I don’t see lights on in any of the houses. That’s weird, usually someone is up and about. Maybe everyone decided to sleep in on Halloween. I don’t get it, every house is pitch dark. What do you see now Chester? Quit pulling! Hey, I can’t hear the highway. As a matter of fact I don’t hear anything at all. The train usually comes by about now. Or at least the crickets or cicadas are chirping. Maybe it’s too early. Dead silence.

This is getting kind of creepy. It’s like I’m alone in the world. What would I do if something happened? What was that? I feel a chill. Sheesh, Martha, quit psyching yourself out. There is nothing here. It’s like every other walk every other day. Just keep walking.

I feel something. It’s colder than I thought it would be. It seems like it dropped 10 degrees in a few minutes. Brr. I hear something in the leaves behind us. Walk faster. Don’t turn around. No turn around and stand up real tall and straight. See what it is. No, walk faster. If there was something behind us, Chester would act different. Don’t look.

Something is definitely following us. Turn around you scaredy cat. You are supposed to be fearless. This is your neighborhood, get tough. Turn around NOW. Oh, it’s nothing. There’s nothing there. Hee hee you’re a mess Martha. Now go home, Chester wants his Kong. And you need coffee.

Wow, it’s dark. I can’t see a darn thing. Good thing I know the route. Oh shoot, Chester has to poop. Get the flashlight. No I want to go home. Just pick up as much as you can see and get out. Something moved past the window of that house. Is it on the outside or inside? Hurry up Chester. Keep going, you’re almost home.

Ok, something is following me. Walk faster, one two three four, count the steps. Oh my God, I saw a shadow. Breathe, in, out, in out. Don’t run, if it’s an animal it’ll chase you. Did someone clear their throat? Something is behind me. Doesn’t sound like an animal. Glance over your shoulder, see if it’s a coyote. Go on, DO IT. Better to know. OK, on the count of three, one, two, three, now LOOK!

What? Nothing there. I’m alone. What is that? Is it a reflection in Chester’s eyes, are the street lights on? No, must be my imagination, it’s still dark. You are a basket case, Martha, just Halloween getting to you. Come on Chester, hurry up. Whew there’s the house. Where are the high school kids at the bus stop? My spine is prickly.

Wait, something is wrong. What is it? I don’t know but it’s wrong, screaming wrong. The house is dark too. We will cut through the yard. Come on, Chester, why did you stop? What is wrong with you? Let’s go inside. No, wait, I left the lights on. No, no, no, what is that on the porch?

Help, turn around! Chester…Chester…run away. Go, run! Go! No, what are you doing? Don’t go that way, get out! What’s wrong with your eyes? What is that behind you? How many eyes are there…all I see is red eyes. I’m confused, are they all dogs? What is that sound? It’s a low growl. Chester, don’t go to the thing on the porch! Run! Did it just say good dog?

Whaaat…I’m surrounded. The growl is getting louder. Chester, come! I knew you would help me, come, hurry. What’s that? Are your lips moving? I can’t make a sound. My nose is growing. I’m shrinking. I’m screaming but I can’t. I hear barking.  Is that me? I’m covered in fur, I can’t stand up straight. Chester, help me!

Ohh…I can’t get up. Why can’t I speak?  What is that it me?Who are you? Lori? Oh am I glad to see you! I love your haircut. The bow is falling out though. What Chester? If you could speak why didn’t you before? What do you mean I didn’t give you enough treats? Where’s John? Oh, I see him, the Shepherd. I’d recognize that mustache anywhere. Listen, our pack leader on the porch is talking. He has such beautiful red eyes like us, and a long tail. What do you think he….OW! He poked me with that pitchfork. If I had that pitchfork I’d …

Happy Halloween!


Bishop Lennon…

Bishop Richard Lennon died today. He was the bishop in Cleveland until about 2016 when his health took a downslide and he retired early.

I am not of the Catholic religion. I don’t generally agree with the philosophy of the Catholic church, or any church for that matter. I’m also not particularly impressed with celebrity. I am not saying this to be contrarian, but to set a background for 5 minutes that made me a better person.

I used to work for a provider to people with developmental disabilities that was based in the Catholic church. It is a very old provider, we worked in a very old building, and that’s where the children in our care lived. There was a chapel inside the building that housed many treasures and (some people believed) ghosts, including most of us who worked there. I had the experience of the elevator going up and down randomly, and my coworkers had multiple encounters that they tried to talk themselves out of. It was in this building I met Bishop Lennon.

He had come to decommission the chapel before we moved out. My office was just off the lobby of the second floor, by the copier and facing the elevator. It overlooked a senior living complex across the street with two pools in front and preturnaturally teal water continuously shooting in the air. I never did figure out what was in that water to give it that color. Nothing could live in there but maybe mermaids. Anyway, my boss was showing him around, and for some reason he came into my office.

Why did he come in? I was nobody noteworthy, not on any list to meet. He walked in and shook my hand, introducing himself. When he did, I can’t explain the feeling that his grip conveyed. There was a power in this person beyond what I had ever expected or known. This was probably in 2016, just before he retired, and I can still feel the aura. He stood there, and I told him I loved working in a place where I could put up religious items. I had a plaque of “Amazing Grace” hanging up that he walked over and looked at. Could he tell it was my mother-in-law’s, who always thought of herself as Catholic even though she had been victim of the anti-divorce judgments decreed by her church? He stood for a minute, and it felt like time stopped for awhile. My office was peaceful and the windows were open…could he have felt a minute of calm too?

We chatted about work, about the things in my office (thank heaven I had put away my “how to say things without swearing” chart..) and just life in general. He shook my hand again, said good-bye, and left. Feeling completely awestruck I had to sit down. I then furiously texted my friends of course! I had been completely calm and cool until then. I didn’t know what had happened, but I felt different. I had not come to work that day even knowing he would be there. Our paths intersected for a few minutes, and I met a Godly person.

Later someone asked  why he talked to me. I said I didn’t know. It didn’t matter. Does there have to be a reason? I’m not Catholic. I’m a nobody. But I was blessed to have had this experience, and I will always remember. Amazing Grace indeed, Bishop Lennon. May you rest in peace.

Laughing in the rain…

Did you ever notice that some people laugh alot and others don’t? I don’t mean smile, or nod, but just laugh. What does it take for you to laugh?

I am generally not super serious, but it takes alot to make me laugh. There is a woman i eat lunch with who can do it. I’m not sure why, but she is hilarious. I’m not a generous laugher i guess, but not on purpose. Sometimes though, it hits me. Bad karaoke makes me run away because i will laugh so hard i cry, and that’s just rude. Bad Christmas songs, or good songs done so badly…we have a “Dance Party Christmas” CD that must be some guy sitting with a synthesizer in his basement because they all sound the same. Jonathan and Darlene Edwards, for my musician friends.. Finally, my favorite humorist, Jack Handey. He was on SNL and Deep Thoughts is one of my favorite books. Here is a sample of his offbeat humor:

Maybe in order to understand mankind we have to look at that word itself. MANKIND. Basically, it’s made up of two separate words mank and ind. What do these words mean? It’s a mystery and that’s why so is mankind.

When this girl at the museum asked me who I liked better, Monet or Manet, I said, “I like mayonnaise.” She just stared at me, so I said it again, louder. Then she left. I guess she went to try to find some mayonnaise for me.”

If you’re at a Thanksgiving dinner, but you don’t like the stuffing or the cranberry sauce or anything else, just pretend like you’re eating it, but instead, put it all in your lap and form it into a big mushy ball. Then, later, when you’re out back having cigars with the boys, let out a big fake cough and throw the ball to the ground. Then say, ‘Boy, these are good cigars!”

Yes, that’s what makes me laugh. While I was walking Chester I had a Jack Handey thought. I was thinking about my birthday and that I can say I was born in 59. When I’m a hundred years old, I will have to say i was born in 1959 so they don’t mix it up with 2059. That will be a pain.

I heard it said that for something to be funny, someone has to get hurt. I don’t believe that. the world can be funny, sad and delighful all at the same time. I can’t help seeing the irony or off the wall humor in people. People are weird, including myself! If we can’t laugh at ourselves and the world, we will not make it.

When I was in the Aadams Family musical I grew close to my Aadams clan. We went to the end of season awards show. Our Wednesday won Best Supporting Actress, and our director won, but our musical didn’t win, and Morticia didn’t win, although we felt we deserved it. It was raining, and of course we forgot umbrellas. She and I walked to the cars and talked in the rain for a few minutes. Our Gomez pulled out, almost hitting us. Morticia’s comment? “How romantic.” We realized it was a perfect Aadams night..we lost, we got rained on, and Gomez almost hit us. As Allison/Morticia put it, “a little rain, a little pain,what could be better? “

When life gives you lemons, think like an Aadams. Read some Deep Thoughts. Listen to Jonathan and Darlene. Sometimes you’re the pigeon and sometimes you’re the statue. Stay strong and have a good week! And laugh a little!

the clan
always smiling!