Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

The first time I ever saw a red fox in the wild was after my Dad died two years ago.

I was with my brothers and we spent the day together-just the three of us- visiting the Cape. My father loved the Cape and so did we. We went to all the usual old haunts. Spent hours reminiscing, laughing and talking about Dad.

We were heading to the beach on the “other side” as we called it. My oldest brother saw it walking through the marshland in a residential area.

Dad and the boys would have seen a fox before because they spent a lot of time on golf courses. I was 50 years old and had never seen one in the wild.

I texted my sister-in-law who is into animal spirit sightings and symbolism. She said something like the fox is representing us as we navigate obstacles, decisions or difficulties. I no longer have the actual text or photo since my phone got swiped.

Found this in a google search.

You may be called to take action in a way that shows your adaptability and ability to move quickly through obstacles and resistance.

Well, that was true because we had a lot of things to take care of after Dad died. It was all new to us.

Why would I be thinking about a fox today?

Couple of evenings ago I was in a local Malaysian neighborhood on my way to visit someone who had just been released from the hospital. As I was walking to the house I saw a big cage with an animal in it on someone’s patio.

The people were just doing normal things one does in a patio. Watering plants, sweeping the ground, etc.

I approached these people and asked, “What’s that in the cage?”

The man said, “It’s a fox.”

I replied, “Really??”

Didn’t look like a fox to me.

He said, “Yes, it’s a fox.”

Okay then. It’s a fox.

I asked lots of questions.

Where did you get it? Kuantan.

Is it nice?  Like can you pet it? Well, it bites.

How old was it when you got it? Five days old.

Did it have siblings? Don’t know.

And on and on. LOL

fox1fox2fox3

I never saw a fox that looked like this guy. LOL. So I’m not totally buying it but I will surely take the sighting symbolism just the same.

You may be called to take action in a way that shows your adaptability and ability to move quickly through obstacles and resistance.

Sometimes it is hard for folks to move quickly when faced with things that are challenging.

If there are currently obstacles and resistance in your life I honestly wish you adaptability and the ability to move through them very quickly. Fox sighting or not!

 

Read Full Post »

It’s that wonderful time of the year. Good will and good cheer!

And sometimes a bit awkward. The whole gift giving thing.

What’s the first thing we think of when we receive an unexpected present from a friend or neighbor during the holidays?

Not, “Isn’t this wonderful!” but more like,”OH NO, I didn’t get them a gift!”

We feel bad. Maybe a little thoughtless. Not sure why we are programmed in this way.

But what we really need to remember is that most of those people who are giving the gifts are acting without expectation.

Accept the gift graciously and thankfully. And then let it go.

Which leads me to another aspect of gift giving.

Thoughtfulness.

Have you ever attended a White Elephant gift exchange or a Yankee Swap party?

It’s a game where everyone brings a wrapped gift. Something that they’ve found hanging around the house or in the back of a closet. Because it’s unwanted. Might be really nice or kind of wacky but mostly unwanted. There’s a numbered system and also a “stealing” component.The results can be hysterical and entertaining. No one knows who brought what gift.

I recently attended one in my neighborhood. Chatting with the woman beside me while she secretly pointed out the gift she brought to the party. It was a lovely frame that her mother had given her.

She said, “I’m like, Mum, have you ever visited my home? That frame doesn’t match a thing! What were you thinking?”

I laughed because it’s so true.

When choosing a gift are we being mindful? Is it what they would really enjoy or is it what we like or think would be best for the recipient? It can be tricky. Our intentions are, no doubt, always good. But if we are thinking more about us than them then don’t be surprised if it’s wrapped up for next year’s White Elephant party.

This season I wish you all graciousness, thankfulness and acceptance of the many gifts you will receive. Material gifts and the ones that truly matter.

Act without expectation and don’t forget to throw in a bunch of thoughtfulness.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Many of us are already starting to feel sluggish from the many social events and holiday parties.

Here in Kuala Lumpur there is always something happening on the expat scene. It’s a lively and active social life. I’d say it’s because most of us don’t have our families around us so friends and neighbors sort of become substitute family members. Who tend to congregate with astonishing frequency and celebrate everything. Also a lot of us have extra time freed up for us which we wouldn’t have back home.

Since the second week of November I have attended numerous social events. Not all involved drinking (most) but all involved food.

There was a farewell brunch for a neighbor who was moving to Scotland. Then a 50th birthday party. Followed by book club later in the evening. Next night there was another 50th birthday bash. Different person. And then my monthly cultural club lunch. Had to beg off another monthly lunch gathering due to a conflict.

Then there was a lovely Thanksgiving dinner celebration with neighbors. Jazz night. Lunches with small groups of friends. Canadian Association coffee -and mimosas if one were so inclined. Christmas party with PTA. Holiday party next evening in the neighborhood. Book Club again. Couldn’t make my monthly culture club lunch this time. Unable to commit to an upcoming cookie exchange. Another goodbye gathering for neighbors moving to the U.S. took place last night.

I have one more event tomorrow. A Christmas luncheon with the Canadian and American Associations.

Then I am officially throwing in the towel.

It has totally been a blast. But quite exhausting. I’m feeling a bit sluggish. Need to recharge the batteries.

Here’s a recipe for those of you who have had enough already and want to get ahead of the game. And not wait until that pesky new year resolution ritual rolls around in January. Flush the toxins, suppress the appetite and possibly flatten the belly.

Flat Belly Water

Pour six cups of filtered water in a pitcher. Add one tablespoon of grated ginger. One sliced cucumber. One sliced lemon. Half cup of mint leaves. Let sit overnight in fridge.

Drink the next day.

I meant drink the water. LOL

Wishing you all loads of energy as you embrace the holiday season.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Had the oddest dream the other night.

I was in a store but it was sort of like a warehouse. Not exactly Costco but more like the back garden section of Wal-Mart when they have empty shelves. In between seasons.

For some reason, Thumper (my Jack Russell) was with me.

There was a guy there. Tall and lanky. Think of a younger Sam Elliott with dark hair. But a bit scruffier. If that’s possible.

Anyway, he’s leaning against one of the shelves. Above him, on the top shelf, I spy an animal looking down at us. It looks like a small ferret but it’s black like a weasel.

I ask, “Is it yours?”

He replies, “Yes.”

I continue, “What is it???? Is it a ferret???”

His shrug is noncommittal.

I’m like, “It’s yours? And you don’t know??? Is it a mix of ferret and something else? What is it???”

I don’t get an answer.

The ferret or whatever it was suddenly jumps down to the floor. Opens his mouth and begins to swallow Thumper. Brought to mind one of those nature programs where the snake swallows something so much larger than itself-like a deer or a refrigerator.

I’m horrified. He’s got half of Thump in his mouth!

The guy says, “He’ll never be able to swallow all of him.”

No sooner were the words out of his mouth when the ferret gulped down my Thumper.

Swallowed him whole. All of him!

I’m sickened and rooted to the spot.

Then, all of a sudden, the ferret opens its mouth and spews out Thumper. Like a cannon ball shot into the air!  Couldn’t hold him in apparently.

Whew!

Next morning I’m telling my husband.

Asking, “What do you think that dream was all about? What on earth??? Is it the world being swallowed up? Is it me? Is it you? Nothing can hold Thumper down? What????”

He laughed and said, “I just don’t know, Mary.”

Do dreams have to mean anything?

I can only vividly remember two other dreams in my fifty two years of living.

One was when I was a little kid and the dream was about a strange man giving me a heart shaped box of candy. But I didn’t know he was a stranger because he was wearing a mask. Of my grandfather’s face! I think we can all safely assume a “Stranger Danger or Don’t Take Candy from Strangers” campaign might have planted that seed. It was absolutely horrifying. I thought I was totally safe because I was following the rules and not taking candy from a stranger. Shivers.

The other one was when I was teenager. I was driving a car on one of those highway bridges and suddenly the road just ended. Nothing. Just a cliff like scenario. I plummeted. The good news is that I never actually hit the ground because I woke up just before I did. With the bed sheet over my face. But the trip down was downright terrifying. Not sure what the genesis of that dream was but I suppose teen angst could have played a role.

Anyway, nary a clue as to the back story behind Thumper being gobbled up by a ferret. Just glad it was only a dream.

Do you remember your dreams or nightmares? Crazy as mine?

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

When you grow up with an Irish background-even if you weren’t reared in Ireland- you grow up with a bunch of phrases your non Irish friends would never hear or would probably never even understand. We don’t even understand them so how could they?

My Nana laughingly called the little boys and/or the male dogs in my house, “McGuffin.” As in, “How’s McGuffin?” Or “McGuffin was over today.” Or “McGuffin barked all night.” You always knew who or what she was talking about and responded accordingly without missing a beat.

I had a boyfriend, S., and he liked my grandmother. All of my friends did. We went to an Irish festival one weekend and he bought something for her. She loved it. It was a coffee mug with the name “Mc Govern” on it. Nana’s mom was Maggie Mc Govern.

I asked him, “How did you know that??? That it was a family name?”

He said, “Well, I bought it for her because she’s always calling everyone McGovern.”

I laughed out loud. All this time he thought she was saying McGovern when she was actually saying McGuffin.

So you sort of had to grow up with it to really get it.

“Mother Machree!!!” was another one spewed out on a regular basis. My mom said it when she was exasperated. I suppose it’s better than swearing. Machree means “of my heart.” When I was young I just thought there once was some old lady who went by the name.

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” frequented our home. The exclamation not the trio. Most everyone I knew in my neighborhood was Catholic but they weren’t Irish. Never, ever heard any of my friend’s parents utter this. Just mine.

I remember when I first started working at AT&T and sitting in the break room minding my own business. I heard this gal, Tracy, exclaim, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” Probably over spilled coffee. My head instantly popped up and I thought, “I don’t know you but I know you.” It’s like when little kids notice other little kids in a crowd. You just know.

This one I never really understood when I was little. Just accepted it like all the others. They’d say, “Oh, sitting there like Lipton’s Orphan.” What?? I understood it to mean a woeful being and I was correct. But what?? Where on earth did that phrase originate? Adult research shows the origin of the phrase stemmed from a Lipton Tea marketing campaign. An Irishman, a pig, etc.

Sorry for your trouble. A phrase used for bereavement. Trouble means to agitate spiritually or mentally.  Not just as we commonly think of it when referring to that pesky neighborhood kid. But a bit more than that. One will never be more agitated spiritually or mentally than when a death occurs. So the phrase is not wordy but totally appropriate. And very Irish.

As an American kid I (and my friends) used the word “terrific” for everything. The weekend was terrific! You look terrific! The concert was terrific! My grandmother used the word in its original form. As in terrifying. She would tell me about a terrible storm the night before (she was deathly afraid of storms and would stand on the cellar stairs until it passed) and say, “It was absolutely terrific!” I have to think that was an Irish thing as I never heard anyone else’s parents or grandparents using it in that context.

Plenty more phrases and sayings were thrown around the house. Those were just a few that popped into my mind.

The truth is that I’d give anything to hear a few of those sayings. From the mouths of those who used to say them.

But still very thankful I had the opportunity to hear them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

We’ve all heard people say that Facebook is so fake. That the lives presented and wonderful photos are not a true (or I should say full) representation of the people who are posting. And that your list of “friends” is also fake. Most are not your real friends.

I agree with some of this. The part about most not being real friends. But I don’t agree with all of it.

A Facebook page can be a true representation of the person. Their loves and passions. Oftentimes their foibles. But one can still be genuine and not post every little thing, right?Isn’t that why kids (and adults!) are told to be careful what they post? There are future employers and admissions officers out there just ready to take a glance and make a judgement based on what they see. You don’t need to share every aspect of your life even if the red plastic cups are totally real.

I can pretty much predict what my FB friends will post. There are obviously some things that cannot be predicted like the loss of a loved one, an illness or a move. But everything else is just about a sure thing based on the past Facebook postings that demonstrate the interests of my FB friends.

That doesn’t mean those who are posting actually share every aspect of their lives.They share only what they want you to see. And that might be positive or negative. But not fake.

Facebook can be just like real life. We don’t always share everything with our friends in real life. We share exactly what we want to share. And that might be positive or negative. But not fake.

Which leads me to something else. What some people choose to share on line but might not share in real life. It’s quite surprising and this makes Facebook an interesting thing. People share things on their wall that they never would have shared with you while you worked together in an office. Or at the neighborhood block parties. Or at the church picnic.

Facebook provides a platform for folks to put absolutely anything out there. They are making the choice to share. Good or bad. My husband (not the biggest FB fan) likens it to writing on a bathroom wall.

Those filters that were firmly set in place at the workplace or at the church? Gone.

The platform became a regular Pandora’s box with an unleashing of all sorts of things. And none of it fake.

Like the over posters who have a rhythm and a choreography of their own. Almost oxymoronic. Ugly rant. Ugly rant. Ugly rant. Ugly rant. Insert beautiful Bible verse. Ugly rant. Ugly rant. Ugly rant. Ugly rant. Have a nice day! Ugly rant. Ugly rant.

I can’t imagine hearing all of that in real life. In the office? Oh my gosh! But it is still real, isn’t it?

And that leads to this.

Defriending. I’ve seen the FB postings,”I would never “defriend” anyone over politics!” That’s really lovely of them. But what they don’t understand (or can’t) is that most folks aren’t being deleted because of their politics but because of the deplorable way some people present their politics, views and postings to their on line audience. They are being real but it doesn’t make it palatable or even acceptable. It’s all in the presentation, my friends. Always has been.

Maybe those who choose to present negatively are seeking validation from like minded people or they really believe their posts will change opinions of others. Spoiler alert: That never happens.

If I read a posting and it sort of makes me sick to my stomach I probably shouldn’t be FB friends with them. Right? They’ve crossed some sort of line. We all have our lines. Doesn’t even have to be political. This does not mean I won’t still have fond memories of those people from a different place and a different time. Just no more FB memories.

This blog posting was probably a long time in the making but prompted this week.

One of my FB friends died a couple of days ago after a battle with cancer. We worked together back in Providence many, many moons ago.

I was thinking about his postings and how I enjoyed them because they were a reflection of his life and what obviously meant the most to him. His moments with his kids and wife. Friends around the pool. Photos of childhood friends. Photos of adult friends. Many sports references. BBQs with his extended family. His love of New England even though he had moved to Florida. His heritage. The beloved dog. Favorite music and bands.

He never posted about his illness. Because he chose not to share that. And probably many other things. What he did choose to post was very real.

Because Facebook isn’t fake. I’m thinking what you see on a wall is a pretty good indicator of the type of person sitting at that keyboard.

Yep, your list of friends might be fake. But the walls? Not so much.

Of course, this is totally my opinion and in the end not much of it matters.

But.

If it’s on our wall we have chosen to make it real.

Most will not litter their walls with red, plastic cups overflowing with vitriol. Most will choose a reflection of their love. That’s my hope.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Stayed a week in Vermont this past summer with my cousin.

Two of the nights were at a family run motel. Not my family but a family.

First morning I woke up, grabbed a cup of coffee and went to the grassy area near the parking area.

Spied a woodchuck leisurely foraging in the newly mown grass.

I love wildlife. Think I’m a bit fascinated with their behaviors.

Next morning I wake up, grab a cup of Joe and head to the same place.

Who’s there?

The woodchuck. With his same old song and dance routine.

I chuckled and thought, “Well, isn’t he just a creature of habit?”

Second thing that popped into my mind was, “He’s probably thinking the very same thing about you, Mary!”

It is so true.

God forbid my razor is not in its usual place in the shower. I’d have a conniption fit.

I think about my daily routines.

My shower routine is better choreographed than a Riverdance production. Shampoo first quickly followed by conditioner. Next up is the cleansing of the face and body with a grand finale of the Venus. Two quick strokes under the arms and maybe six on each leg -under the knee of course.

I don’t want to detail the day. You get the picture. You are also a victim of routine.

I tease my Mom all the time. She eats at the same time every day. On the dot.

But here’s the thing. We are all creatures of habit.

It’s comforting and makes life a little easier to navigate.

We all use phrases like, “Getting back into the school routine” or “Have to get back to the routine.”

I just love wildlife. We’re fascinating.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »