Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Salt Water Therapy For The Soul

My daughter and I headed to the beach today for some much needed salt water therapy. Thirty minutes from our house, at a great little state park with free parking and all the needed amenities. It was a peaceful week day with not too many peeps and got a great spot right by the ocean.

I think my favorite part about a trip to the beach is the smell. It's the smell of serenity. Cocoa Beach is a great place to watch the huge cruise ships come and go.  Literally huge floating skyscrapers.

We had packed my trusty lunchbox with grapes, water, cokes and crackers. Other than that all we took was two sand chairs, a beach blanket and our nifty new binoculars. I'm not all about having to make three trips back to car carrying an armload down each time just for a day at the beach and certainly not all about having to do it all in reverse when leaving.

It's hard enough just walking in dry sand if you ask me!

Massey read a book for one of her classes and I read a book for  my pleasure. It was a most excellent day.

With all the hesitations and apprehensions I had moving from my home state of over fifty six years...this weekly ritual has made them all worth it. To be able to go sit on a beach and relax, thirty minutes after pulling out of your driveway is definitely the way to go.

It soothes your soul, looking at that huge ocean, rolling waves, seemingly endless sand and constant breeze.

It's our new Go To place...and we like it!

I'm slowly adapting to my new surroundings...and the scalping the little old lady (which means older than me) gave me at Great Clips last week. I look at it this way...I got my money's worth, all $14 of it. It's starting to grow a bit and like it more every day, just like living here.

My favorite spot in our tiny temp rental is now our screened in back porch. I've managed to turn it into my own personal oasis. Massey strung the lights for me, my plants are growing like crazy (porch faces east) and take care of theplants every single day, watering and spraying with a water bottle.

When I get home late from work, usually head out back first thing. The corner of our back yard faces a redunkously busy intersection across the street from a college campus main entrance but calms down late at night and is a great spot to sit and read or write.

I'll have to post pics of the front yard tomorrow as well, have made it pretty awesome too. I'm all about pulling into the driveway of where I live and liking what I see...and have done. 

I like our neighbors (on one side) as well. Young couple (Ashley and Justin) in their twenties, and have three dogs as well. Ziggy has a crush on the one they call Lilly. The minute they let Lilly out back, she runs to the part of the fence where she can stick her little needle nose under and Ziggy races to meet her. Every time.

She had started digging at the spot and could now see her eyes too when she came out. Thank goodness Ziggy has that fat boxer snout.

Our neighbors worked in their back yard last Saturday, putting down chicken wire at the spot on their side and covering it with lattice. I went out back to read and let Ziggy out with me. He heard them over there working and zoomed over to see if his girlfriend was around. (he's neutered so guess it's just his buddy)

I heard Ashley and Justin talking on the other side of the fence when Ziggy walked over to the exact spot where they were, hiked his leg andsplattered his urine through the slats of the privacy fence.

I immediately heard Ashley from the other side of the fence, not sounding angry but rather kind of insulted... saying calmly to Ziggy, "Well that wasn't very nice."

I called back over to them, "Ziggy's the bad boy next door who parents don't like."

I bet I've laughed about that happening ten times since then. 

It's been a change. It's been a hard change, but is beginning to be a good change.

I'm actually beginning to feel like myself again.

Massey was driving us home from the beach today, playing all her music on the stereo, which is okay.

I blast my music in the kitchen every time I'm in there... on the Bose speaker my brother gave me. They (Tim and Massey) never complain, mainly because am usually in there cooking for them

So we were almost home, tooling down the road with the top down...when a song came on and Massey said "I have to turn this up!"

I listened to it. I liked it. The guy had crazy vocal range but I liked the lyrics too. I told Massey, "That's the song to play when the groom is walking you back up the aisle."

Of course she one upped me with which song she wanted played when she walked down the aisle.

 I'm down with that. Weddings are always too uptight for the bride and groom. Let music tell the real story.

My cousin's  daughter walked down the aisle to "Fix You."

I'm okay with all this new fangled thinking. Actually I kind of like it.

Who's not tired of hearing "Here comes the bride"?

Just tends to make you nervous, not excited.

I've been nervous way too long and was starting to wear on my already worn tiny body.

The days I spent working with Massey at the airport were the best.

I can honestly say... we were loved, shouted out to on a daily basis and known by name from hundreds of people from concourse to concourse and shuttle to shuttle.

That does and will  always mean a lot to me, and should. We were known among the tens of millions at the world's busiest airport.

To raise your best friend is an awesome privilege.  I check and reign her in when necessary and as she matures often does the same for me.

After talking tonight, for a while...she told me this song changed her very way of thinking.

In other words, listen and learn from your kids what they are listening and learning from.

Til next time, COTTON

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

When Your Loss is Their Gain

Yep...that's my momma on the left. It's the last picture ever taken of her. She is sitting on a bench beside my high school BF's mom. They had both driven to pick us up from cheer leading camp in the late summer of 1977. She died unexpectedly two days later while out shopping with me and my older sister for school clothes. It was less than two weeks before I started my senior year of high school.

 Here's a fun fact that every single person who knows me from my childhood will totally understand. She not only sewed that top herself but the slacks too and even made the purse she's holding in her lap. The woman was a seamstress genius and one of the most talented women I've ever known.

She could also pop Wrigley's Doublemint gum like no body's business.

She also made both outfits my sister and I are wearing in this pic from a few years earlier. I absolutely loved that culotte sailor dress.

I don't think any of us have ever gotten over her death. It was probably even harder for our Diddy.(that's what you call your father in the deep south)

He lived until 2002 but never remarried.

I always felt cheated. I think we all did, but all carried on...toting our grief with us along the way. Over the years the pain dulls but it never leaves. It simply becomes easier to live with...one day way on down the road.

Now as I'm approaching the sixty year mark (sooner than later) understand why it all happened.

God was looking out for both of them...and us too.

So many of our friends have spent years and years taking care of their aging parents. Some aged well, some not so much. Alzheimer's, cancer, diabetes and a plague of other diseases made not only the parents suffer but their grown kids as well, watching a long slow decline of the people who used to take care of them but now with the roles reversed.

I totally admire those (now grown) childhood friends of mine and salute their untiring albeit extremely tiring efforts, and commend them on being there for them every agonizing step of the agonizing way.

 To watch a parent turn into a helpless person is more than I would wish on my worst enemy.

Case in point:

Flash forward decades and decades and decades from this photo. The woman sitting beside my mother is the mother of one of my dearest childhood friends. We (shout out to Denise) remain close friends to this day. Her mother suffered from Alzheimer's for the last few years of her life.

My friend took care of her mother until she couldn't, then put her in the best place possible and visited her probably at least twice a day.

This woman dressed and looked every day of her life like she was on her way to a Gala. Hair perfect, makeup perfect and always smartly dressed and totally accessorized. That's a lot to be said for a single, working mother who raised three kids.

I remember my friend telling me one time that while in the assisted living (then eventually hospice)  all the nurses called her mother, "Miss America."

She may have been losing her mind but made sure she looked sharp while losing it, makeup and hair always done.

"Way to go Frances!"

I've watched so many of my friends go through the same thing with their own loved ones. Different situations but all with the same result...the loss of a loved one.

My brother commented one time a few years back, "Our family takes the express checkout."

He's right about that, and am grateful for it.

My mother died (from a massive brain aneurysm) in less than one minute. Had she lived, would have most probably been in a vegetative state for the rest of her life.

My Diddy contracted West Nile Virus at the age of seventy seven and went from physically healthy to being taken off life support in ten days. He had been diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer's and hid it from us.

God simply took him from us so he (and we) wouldn't have to go that route.

Every so often I have to remind myself how lucky I've been.

I had the greatest and strongest parents in the world...right up to their end in this game called life.

I may not have a lot of money, and actually have been through times when there was none, but I was showered with God's Blessings and love literally saved me from every direction in every way possible.

Call us the "Check Out Express."

The reason for this post is yet another  of my childhood friends, who I grew up with in the above church both our families attended... has been taking care of her own aging mother while also taking on the roll of caregiver for her spouse of decades (not so) recently diagnosed and suffering from stage four brain cancer.

Talk about a double whammy.

Her beloved partner died yesterday after a courageous battle from them both.

I consider myself a strong person but the strength caregivers have... watching and waiting for loved ones to die while doing every possible thing to ease their pain, are the true strong ones. 

A book I am reading phrased it perfectly today as I sat out back in the sunshine reading:

"He used to say we all had a compass inside of us and what we needed to do was to find it and follow it."

My dear friend found her compass and set the course...yet knowing stormy seas were just ahead and would surely swell before ever ebbing.

Her beloved is whole again and out of pain, yet my friend begins the descent into pain from her loss.

Talk about oxymoron's...

Life is a fragile but sturdy thing.

You need to be strongest when feel your weakest.

When you feel empty inside you simply have to be full for those who need you the most.

When you have a devastating loss,  it is devastatingly hard to not be traumatized by their wonderful release from the pain, which in turn intensifies your own.

Brutal fact of life...We are all born to ultimately die.

Let the waves of grief wash over you. Cry until you can't. Then pick up that compass and continue your own journey.

It's called the circle of life...but should be a circle of love.

My heartfelt sympathies go out to Tracey and feeling a little bit ashamed I've been so spared.

Love every person like there is no tomorrow...because life doesn't come with guarantees or Do Overs.

Til next time...COTTON

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A Million Reasons Why

Working as an almost fifty seven year old server certainly keeps you in touch with the younger generation. Most of the people I work with are around the same age of my children, some even younger. I also get a lot of help from my daughter who happens to be almost twenty two and is a pretty hip chick.

I'm also lucky that she stills thinks I'm a pretty hip chick too. "Close" doesn't begin to describe our relationship.

I'm the luckiest mom of two Millennials...ever.

Oh sure, I've had to sometimes reign them in and sometimes help them out...but all in all are pretty awesome young adults.

They're both better human beings than I was at their ages (Thank You, Jesus).

They are also both my "What's Trending" go-to's.

No need for a Google search when you can simply ask. (with only the occasional eye roll)

Massey is my techno Guru and main 'Go-To' for pretty much anything requiring "click and drag" or "open in new window".

She's also introduced me to the wonderful world of Netflix and Hulu.

"Stranger Things"?


"The O.A." ?




A coworker (also much younger than me) was talking about the show "Thirteen Reasons Why" and of course I went home and asked my Guru about it.

Massey had read the book, hooked me up with episode one and I binged the entire first season in three sittings. Pretty much my only TV time (besides news) is late night, after work.


Talk about a shot to the heart of  all that is life.

It deals with a teen age suicide, and is hard to watch but also a must watch.

So many people dropped the ball, from the girl herself...to her peers...to her parents and even adults supposedly in charge and watching over our youth.

I laughed a little, cried even more... was intrigued but totally mortified of this true story of a girl tortured by demons generated mostly from technology.

I'm a lucky mom. My kids survived.

The thing about a Millennial is that absolutely every thought, action or instant of your life can be captured and instantly be on the world wide web...forever, for everyone to see.




Group texts

In this techno savvy world, nothing is sacred, nothing is spared and is all just a touch away from most every teenager's  touch from a fingertip.

Every picture tells a story...but is it the whole story?

You may be the toughest nut in the tree but when something spins out of control and not in your favor or even close to being true...

It doesn't matter.

It's out there...for all to see and judge.

For every advantage technology has given us... has also given ammunition to ones who don't respect, deserve or use it wisely.

...But it's still out there, for virtually anyone to see.

How we dodged this bullet with our own three kids is still a mystery to me...or may be just floating out there somewhere, waiting to strike back.

I really don't think it will (fingers crossed) happen to my kids but most probably will to millions and millions of other's.

That's a pretty sad  (but true) statement.

As parents you need to have your radar up and going, twenty four-seven.

This reminds me of a time when Massey was in middle school...or as I recall, her three years of torture.

I bought her new (used) bedroom furniture. I was cleaning out her drawers to transfer everything and came across an old VHS tape simply labeled "Two Girls Fling in Paris."

My heart sank.


I tucked the tape into my jacket and wondered how or where she had gotten it.

After work that night I quietly pushed it into the VCR after everyone else was in bed, with the volume turned down low.

For Pete's sake...

(thankfully) was an old Ashley and Mary Kate Olsen movie.

I'll definitely get an eye roll from her if and when she reads this.

My relief was an understatement.

I don't snoop through my kids things (believe it or not) ...but if  think something is amiss or going wrong with one of them will certainly raise my "Mom" antennae to high alert.

In these always advancing techno times, parents need to be aware.

If you feel like something may be wrong with one of your kids...

Is always better to investigate than to be devastated.

My heart was broken for everyone involved in "Thirteen Reasons."

They all did or didn't do what they should  have.

You have to be accountable. You need to hold others accountable.

Webster's defines "Accountable" as:

Liable to being called to account, answerable. That to be explained.


A reason for a particular action.

I have three children who I was (am) responsible for in this world. It's been the biggest, most challenging... yet rewarding experience of my life...and hopefully theirs as well.

"You get what you give."

Being a parent is an eighteen year job at the very least.

I'm on year twenty nine but will be here for each and evey one of them for as long as they need me...because I need them.

There are a million reasons why I love my kids...some good, some laughable and some probably bad. Here's the greatest one...

Love doesn't judge.

And it shouldn't.

One of Webster's many definitions of Love:

"To thrive on; need."

I not only thrive on but totally need my kid's love...and want them all three to feel the same way about loving me.

My kids can tell me anything. They have, sometimes haven't but ended up doing so in the long run (or aftermath).

We're all human. We all make mistakes. We all need to rely on and work with each other.

Love is simple...and simply the cure, for pretty much everything.

Wake up every morning and have one goal in mind...Make another person's day better, which will make your day better.

The change in this world can and will  only begin with each and every one of us on our own individual basis...doing our part.

Sign me up!!

Til next time...COTTON