Monday, August 3, 2015


                      There are so many trite sayings about money, but many of them are true.
“Money can’t buy happiness.”  “Money is the root of all evil.” “Money can’t buy you love.” “Money talks.” The reason these gems have been around for so long is that they are, at least partially true.  I would modify them a bit, however. “Money can buy temporary happiness.” “Money is the root of most evil, but sometimes evil feels good.” “Money talks, and I’m listening.” 

     If your budget is stretched like an elephant trying to get into an elevator, then take heart at the following:

     How many times have we heard the expression, “It’s going to be ok?” Now that’s really crap. We all know that sometimes it’s not so ok, and there is a fair amount of suffering involved before you get there. I would add “It’s going to be ok after you’ve suffered considerably.”

     Mr. Wonderful often talks about everyone else having more money than us. Maybe that’s true, but I wouldn’t trade some of their issues for their bank accounts. It’s all how we frame things, and in my frame, I want to cram everything good in there that doesn’t cause angst. Money is not on the list.


Sunday, August 2, 2015

It is not often that I post more than one blog, but today I am making an exception. Years ago, a friend said to me, "Sandy, why are you always running here and there? Why don't you just relax." I remember being a bit offended by that statement at the time, but she was right. I just had to find the right time to get my head to that place and figure out what I was
running from and what were the real priorities in my life. A few years later, she sent me a quote that I have kept in my drawer and read every so often. It says, "And remember, Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways- Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other- body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, "WOO HOO, What a Ride!"

This friend is a few years older than me, but she was one of those women who was born wise. I thank you, Barb Boyle, for all the wisdom you have bestowed on me and your other friends who love you. I have my dancin' shoes on, and I'm going to crank up the I-tunes play list.

'I Hope You Dance... '

This was written by an 83-year-old woman to her friend. 
*The last line says it all. *
Dear Bertha,
I'm reading more and dusting less. I'm sitting in the yard and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the  
garden. I'm spending more time with my family and friends and less time working.
Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not to endure. I'm trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them.
I'm not "saving" anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, or the first Amaryllis blossom.
I wear my good blazer to the market. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries. I'm not saving my good perfume for special parties, but wearing it for clerks in the hardware store and tellers at the bank.
"Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now
I'm not sure what others would've done had they known they wouldn't be here for the tomorrow that we all take for granted. I think they would have called family members and a few close friends. They might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think they would have gone out for a Chinese dinner or for whatever their favorite food was.
I'm guessing; I'll never know.
It's those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew my hours were limited. Angry because I hadn't written certain letters that I intended to write one of these days. Angry and sorry that I didn't tell my husband and parents often enough how much I truly love them. I'm trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, tell myself that it is special.
Every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift from God.

If you received this, it is because someone cares for you. If you're too busy to take the few minutes that it takes right now to forward this, would it be the first time you didn't do the little thing that would make a difference in your relationships? I can tell you it certainly won't be the last.
Take a few minutes to send this to a few people you care about, just to let them know that you're thinking of them.
"People say true friends must always hold hands, but true friends don't need to hold hands because they know the other hand will always be there."

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance

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Omg. This is too funny not to blog about. Mr. Wonderful has been sick, so he has been making the bed. I have cowered from the germs in another room temporarily. This morning, as he hacked his way to the breakfast table, shuffling like an old man from the congestive misery and third sleepless night, he said, “You know what? You can take those pillows and shove them!”
I almost lost it. He mumbled something about why he was glad I found his pillow-arranging so funny. 

Even if he were well, he would not have performed this task any differently. I love the way he just left one tucked beside the bed so he could just reach down and put it behind his back to read. 

Men don’t appear to like pillows—at least, not in quantities. Pillows are for show. For engineers like Mr. Wonderful, anything that doesn’t have a function is superfluous and should be avoided, not displayed. I am sure that in our soon-to-be-celebrated 22 years of marriage, he has purchased a minimum of 63 pillows on which to lay his head. I never think about my pillow. I get in bed, put my head down, and I’m gone. He wakes up frequently trying to decide if his neck hurts because the pillow is too soft, too plump, too hard, too
worn. This is way too much energy for yours truly to expend on feckless feather or foam. I have shopping to do.

P.S.  I love Mr. Wonderful to the Blue Moon and back:)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Films Not to Miss

     Recently, Mr. Wonderful and I watched three films that I would highly recommend.
Two of the three are probably considered “B” rated, but their value cannot be understated.
The third is a classic “feel good” movie that will touch your heart.

    I will start with the latter. “The Station Agent” is a story about a downcast dwarf (Peter Dinklage) who works for a train repairman in his shop. The owner dies and leaves his only friend, the dwarf, an old one-room station in a remote rural town. The story revolves around the life of this very quiet, introverted man and the two lost souls he meets when he moves into the station. One of the people is a 50-something woman who is separated from her husband and grieving, and the other is a 30-something Spanish-speaking bachelor whose father is gravely ill, and who runs a mobile food truck in the small town to support him. The interaction of these three characters will make you laugh, move you to near tears and will give you faith in the laws of human nature. A must see.

     The second film, “Danny Collins,” (Al Pacino) is a story about a washed-up rock star whose narcissistic life-style has alienated him from his family. He checks into a hotel where he meets a lovely woman close to his age, and they immediately engage in charming “banter” . He has decided to attempt to reconnect with his estranged son and his family. What follows is a path of twists and turns that although predictable are woven tenderly through the sensitive dialogue. The story gets a jump-start when Danny Collins receives a letter from John Lennon that has been kept from him for years. Based on a true story, the film almost reaches brilliant, but not quite. It is worth seeing if for no other reason than to learn how a hand-written letter can change a person’s life.

    The third film is a sleeper, “See You in My Dreams.” Blithe Danner delivers a stellar performance as a grieving widow who meets a charming man and looks at a second chance. It’s a delicate rendering of the fragility of life and the joy and sorrow that can show up and disappear at any moment. At first glance, it may appear to be a “chick flick,” but men with a heart would find it meaningful. The acting is superb.


Friday, July 31, 2015

                                                  “It’s Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be”
The word "craic" or "crack" is said to have derived from the Middle English word crak
which means "loud conversation, bragging talk." In some parts of the world, the term 
crack is used to mean "news" or "gossip," which led to the expression "What's the crack?" 

     As I sit musing over things I believe not to be what they’re “cracked up to be,” I have come up with the following list:

  1. Skinny
  2. Chubby
  3. Resilient 
  4. Energetic
  5. Tall
  6. Broke
  7. Approachable
  8. Sad
  9. Busy
  10. Humble

  1. I get more grief being thin than I did when I was trying to squeeze into my ski pants.
  2. When I was chubby, at least I wasn’t hungry.
  3. Resilience just means you can take more of peoples’ shit.
  4. Energetic means people ask more of you.
  5. Tall makes people think you’re mature.
  6. Broke sucks.
  7. Approachable means people dump their problems on you, and then they never speak to you again because you’ve got something on them.
  8. Sad sucks.
  9. Busy means your energy is being sucked out of you so your resilience can set you up for more people to demand shit.
10. Humble hardly exists in this society.

Now this all sounds negative, and I suppose you could interpret it that way. Au contraire, I guarantee there are a few of you reading this that have nodded “oh yeah,” to at least one of these. Notice however, that I did not include the following:

  1. laughter
  2. compassion
  3. fun
  4. Cosmos
  5. refund checks
  6. sex
  7. Sour Patch candy
  8. filet mignon
  9. applause
  10. winning the PCH check (Publishers Clearing House)

Just sayin’.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The “EYES” Have It

     Maybe it’s because I have an eye appointment today that seeing popped into my head at the keyboard this morning. Maybe it’s because in the last few weeks, my perspective has become distorted on certain issues. Or maybe it’s the comment my stepmother made last night when she said, “She steps over curbs, walks perfectly down a street with no walker, no cane, and she is legally blind.” The woman she was describing is 98 years old and looks like a mature version of Elizabeth Taylor in her glory. Mary is legally blind and has been so for at least ten years. Now widowed, she lives alone in the “independent living” section of her senior living facility. This woman is unflappable. Her hair is always perfectly coiffed, her clothes look like she walked out of Neiman Marcus, and she is always gracious and generous to a fault. Women like her inspire, motivate and help me regain perspective. She isn’t sitting around feeling sorry for herself. She isn’t locked up in her apartment afraid to face the world; she’s seeing with her spirit and her determination. 

     Well, what does all this have to do with the eyes having it? It has to do with whose eyes we use to see what’s before us. Sometimes, my own eyes are closed, and I’m reacting with my gut instead of my brain. Sometimes, beauty is right in front of us, and we can’t see it. Sometimes our vision gets cloudy, and all we can see is what the television screen screams at us: danger, fear, loss, pride. 

     In the moment of anger, frustration, despair, sometimes our eyes fail us. Occasionally, when we are vulnerable, we are sucked into seeing things through a pair of eyes that see a distorted reality but pull us in because we aren’t seeing things clearly ourselves. Sometimes we have to open our eyes, but more than that, we have to see through the other person’s in order to make sense of our vision. It’s like walking in someone else’s shoes, but we need eyes to even put them on.

     On the news this morning, a grieving mother talks about losing her 15-year- old daughter over the week-end. She said that she had no idea how others had seen her daughter—how much she was loved and admired. How many parents think about how others see our children? We are too busy seeing their accomplishments or their imperfections to reflect on how others view them. How long has it been since you thought about how you saw your world as a teenager?

     Have you ever heard yourself say, “I see what you are saying?” I know I say that often. Many of us visualize as people speak. (This is not always good.) Frequently, my vision of the person’s statements gets in the way of what I am hearing, as I am not visualizing the speakers’ perspective, I am taking his words and putting them into my own vision. Maybe this is why arguments happen; we see through our own filters, not necessarily what the person is saying.

     The next time someone says, “Can you see the point?” or “Can’t you see what I’m trying to say?” maybe your filters are getting in the way. I know my filters are always present even making me blind to the reality before me. The eyes have it. Or do they?


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

                                                      HERE COMES FIFI


     Most of us don’t think about our homes or the rooms in them until we’re sick and confined in one or until we decide to sell them. We just got back from a short trip, and I always revel in the beauty of our home after spending several nights in a hotel room.

     As I climbed the stairs to my “Woman Cave,” this morning at 4:15 a.m., a ritual I follow most days, I thought, “Wow, I love this room and this warm, fuzzy feeling of being in my own space.” My large room above the garage is like my own little house in which I write, read, watch TV, workout, think, reflect, rage, cry and laugh to myself. It’s my sanctuary, and if and when we ever move, it will be sorely missed. 

     I have ceased watching the news while I eat my breakfast on my lap. All the bad vibes from the horror and terror of this crazy world need no longer poison my cereal. I sit in absolute silence and taste every bite. My breakfast is the same every morning, and I can’t wait to get to it. So funny how our good habits go unnoticed until we have to leave them and adapt to a new environment for a few days. Getting away is always an instant “get perspective” injection. I come home, and I am grateful.

     When my father died five years ago, he left me enough money to add a beautiful room to our home. His United States Army flag hangs in its triangle-frame above the door, his photos are on the wall, and the floor to ceiling windows look out on his favorite kind of place:  the golf course. He would have loved this room, and I do. It’s intimate, yet it fills with the radiance of his laughter and his song every day. I will be very sad when I have to say good-bye to our “Tribute to Chet” room.

     As I heated my cup of water in our spacious kitchen this morning, I am reminded how every time we travel, I learn something. I learned that getting some of my water requirement out of the way early in the day, allows me not to fret about forgetting to carry a water bottle everywhere I go. I was putting the cup on my tray when I glanced over at the multitude of birthday cards sitting on the counter. I smiled humbly thinking how lucky I am to have such thoughtful and caring friends. Most of the cards had stilettos or slinky women on them, and I am touched by the image I apparently project.  I can’t even begin to imagine the hole that will be left in my heart when I have to leave these friends.

     Ah, it’s 5:18, and time to fetch the first cup of Joe. Nothing like coffee from your own pot to start your day. I will tuck my legs under me in my big old leather chair, munch on my peanut-butter-coated banana and peruse the “to do” list. Good morning, world. Here comes Fifi!