Wednesday, May 4, 2016

For all the quirky, fussy, hilarious moms out there, bless their hearts

My mom is funny.  At 86 years she is the only person I know who prefers a store bought cookie to a homemade one, packaged white bread to a fresh loaf, and a drive thru hamburger to one right off my grill. She likes veggies that come in a can but won't eat a tomato that isn't homegrown. She is highly suspicious of any lettuce that is not iceberg and only eats dressing that comes in a bottle with a photo of a happy farm on it. She is not a very good everyday cook, but makes the most amazing stuffing at Thanksgiving and the drop dead best meatloaf in the world.

She wears exclusively one brand of separates and is currently having a feud with Macy's as they are phasing it out of their stores. She seems to think the clerks have some control over this (and that they care) and corners them any chance she gets so she can quiz them about where they have hidden the clothes, because she knows they are in a back room somewhere. She has every suit she ever wore to work (even though she retired in 1988), along with the matching heels she will never wear again.

She is a voracious reader and downloads books from Amazon by the dozen. She owns 2 Kindles and when they run out of juice, she reads books on her iPad. She says that she is going to cut down on her reading but knows she won't. She fully embraces technology, loves email and texting, gets impatient with people her age who claim they are just too old to learn how to do that, but yells NO THANK YOU and STOP ASKING ME THAT at Siri when she offers to help her.

She is a stacker and any flat surface is likely to hold 3 or more weeks worth of mail, countless notepads, pens, lists and whatever else she is worried that if she puts away will be lost forever. She keeps every receipt and every tag off of every product she buys along with the original packaging.  She is a slapdash gardener who is always surprised when the plants she waters religiously the first week, then ignores, die. She leaves their sad, dried remains in their hanging baskets and asks me regularly if I think they are coming back to life.

She loves Days of Our Lives, The Walking Dead and reruns of The Golden Girls.  She doesn't trust restaurants whose menus don't have photos of the food and is shocked when what she orders isn't as pictured.  She once sent my daughter's pancakes back 3 times until they exactly matched the cat with ears shown on the children's menu.

I adore my mom even though...or maybe because...she regularly drives me bonkers.  She is this quirky, cranky, often hilarious woman who is shrinking before my eyes and who I sometimes cannot bear to be around for more than 10 minutes, bless her heart.

But she is my mom...and I wouldn't trade her for any other Mom around.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Go out and be a blessing

When I first started working in Real Estate, my broker used to end every staff meeting with the same phrase..."Go out and be a blessing". When I asked him one day over coffee why he always sent us off with those words, he told me that it was his goal to try as hard as he could to leave the people he interacted with during the day happy to have seen him. Not only was it good business practice, but it's just the right thing to do. He said you don't have to be gushy, and for heaven's sake don't tell everyone you meet to have a nice day. Just be kind to everyone you meet and find a way to help someone else every single day. Such a simple a blessing...but one I remember to this day and have always tried to follow.  Some days it's easy.  Open a door for someone, thank the someone who opens one for you, tell the kid bagging your groceries that he did a good job. Some days it devolves into waving cheerily at whoever that is in the car behind me gesturing and honking her horn. And yes, some days you have to really, really dig down deep to be anything approaching a blessing.

There was a series of commercials that recently aired where people were amazed by others who did little things during the day, like picking up a child's toy that fell from a stroller or running after someone who had left their briefcase at the diner. They went on to pay it forward by doing something nice for someone else. I refuse to believe that people are shocked by little courtesies. In my world, Polyanna and I believe in the goodness of people and that, given the chance, they want to be nice or at least courteous. I truly believe that people respond in kind to how they are treated. And when you think about it, what is the alternative?  To go thru your day scowling at people, assuming they are all out to get you?

With that in mind, go out and be a blessing. And if that involves being in the Starbucks drive thru and paying for the coffee of the person behind you, good on you. If that person is a redhead driving a Subaru Forester, I prefer grande bold, no cream.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

I just want a hug

There is a commercial being aired right now where two friends are walking along and one tells the other that her son is using drugs. The other woman looks at her and gives her a hug. The voice over says something to the effect that we know what to do about drug use but others don't. I don't like that commercial. I know that they are trying to sell their services, but in doing so they are negating a very important part of our support system, the power of a hug. 

I freely admit I'm a hugger. I hug people I meet, people I know, people I don't know but maybe want to. I hug people back who hug me first and the other way 'round. I hug people who barely put their arms around me and people who hug so tight I can't breathe. I hug dogs and kids and stuffed animals. I tried to hug a cat once...I don't recommend that. I hug pillows and flowers and quilts. I hug to say I'm happy to see you, and I'm sorry to see you go. I hug to say you are not alone, someone cares about you. I hug to say I recognize the need for human contact and am willing to share some.

But most of all, I hug to say I may not know exactly what to say to ease your pain, and I may not have the answer to your problem, but I can do this little, very important thing...I can hug you.