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You can see that I am cleaning house. I have 118 unfinished drafts in the WordPress folder. So this one is a few years old. But important messages don’t change. 

There have been a couple of deaths lately which have me thinking about things. Yes, about the afterlife. But also about the life experience on earth.

If I had that special wand I would make it all just slow down a little bit. I know that is not reality. But I haven’t always been a fan of reality either.

So, I will be writing, I think, on the subject of these deaths.

My sister-in-law’s father died in March. Without going into an old family history thing I need to explain that before the two families became one, Jim had already been a friend to our family. The friendship goes back generations in Ireland. Neighboring farms, ancestral village and all that.

One thing I am a big fan of is family and friends. I was tickled that the children of two old friends would marry each other.

So, I was a little sad at one more member of the old guard passing.

My sister-in-law has been sharing little stories about her Dad. And when I read them I smile. Or my eyes fill.

Here is one. This is important.

After Jim’s funeral we were gathered for a brunch at a nearby hotel.

It was lovely. Patty (my sister-in-law) spoke about her Dad. In a nutshell it goes something like this. She said he always repeated stories that she already knew. So this one time, she asked him to tell her something she didn’t know. It caused a pause.  In a sort of a “What do you mean?” moment. Anyway, he shared a childhood experience. About returning to Ireland as a young boy with his mother. His father saw them off at the harbor in New York.

Okay, my eyes were filling. Again. Like they did in the church. I know. I know. He was nearly ninety. But someone lost their dad. Doesn’t matter how old. I kept thinking happy thoughts to dry up the tears as I didn’t want anyone thinking I was a snuffling, secret love child of this man.

The important thing of the story is this. We tell the same old stories because they’re comfortable. They might be triggered by surroundings, experiences or holidays. We know our partner’s stories. We know our friends’ stories. We know the stories of our children.

But we really don’t know it all. And it is up to us. To ask the right questions. So, it’s not the same old stories.

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A memory of my time in New Delhi, India.

One day, when I first began walking in this particular park, I noticed groups of folks. They were mostly men and just lounging around on the hills or on the flat areas. Some were even catching some shut-eye.

Apparently, they did not have the need to stroll around the park trying to shed a few pounds. Like me.

pakistan1

My first thought was that they were Pakistani men.

Then I thought, “Oh, Mary, what do you really know? You knew a little until you actually arrived in India and then realized you hardly know anything at all.”

There are so many different people in India it’s enough to boggle the mind.

Anyway, whoever they were, good on them for just enjoying the afternoon.

A few days later, I was on a three hour walk around Delhi and its embassies. Ended up on a side street by the park. As I was strolling toward my destination (the park) I noticed crowds of people on the sidewalk near an embassy to my right.

Lo and behold, it was the High Commission of Pakistan.

So, if I were them, and waiting all day on a visa, I would most definitely go across the street and lounge around in the park.

I know. You are probably like, “Who cares?”

My point is that I saw something on the sidewalk that I hadn’t seen in a very long time.

pakistan2

This is a terrible photograph. My apologies. Cameras are not allowed near the embassies so I didn’t want to get busted.

So let me explain it to you.

One man had set up shop on the sidewalk. His customers were sitting on stools. And he was pecking away at a typewriter!

I had to do a double take. I couldn’t even swear that my kids would be able to correctly identify a typewriter in the wild. But I could.

I was curious so had to do a little research.

People who live in India but want to visit their family in neighboring Pakistan need a visa. The only way to do that is making the long trek to Delhi in order to apply for it. Folks from far away villages. Illiterate men and women.

This fellow arrives, who pays a fee to lease space on the sidewalk, and types the visa information for his customers. Page by page.

In this modern age of computers and mobile phones I was truly transfixed. Totally taken back in time and truth be told I appreciated it. All of it.

What’s old is new. What’s old is old.

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My eldest had Covid a few months ago. Not a bad case, thank goodness. But knowing she was somewhat isolated in her apartment I figured she might appreciate some love. I got busy preparing a care package.

I was mindful of not cluttering up her space and tried to keep the package thoughtful. Only my kids would (or would not) appreciate my bizarre amalgam.

So, I enclosed a handwritten note expressing good cheer, pride and love.

Then a new pair of black/gray leggings (with some leopard spots but not overdone) and three pair of cute socks. Individual cups of Kashi cereal for those “on the go” days. Face masks for pampering-not the Covid kind. Vitamins. Lens wipes. Phone holder necklace. Tea with laxative. Melatonin. Eye drops. Vanilla room spray and handmade soaps from my friend’s Dallas business “Abundantly Aromatic.” Stationery-some new and some she created as a child.

She’s thirty now. 🙂

So I carefully packed the box and headed to the post office.

After a few days, I asked if she had received it. Nope. I checked the tracking record and it showed that the package had been delivered to the door. I had her check with the landlord/neighbors. Maybe someone took it inside the house. Nope. I put in a query with the post office just in case there had been some mistake in address. I soon received an email letting me know that the investigation was closed. Nothing left I could do. The crazy thing is she was home at the time.

I was upset. It was not worth a ton of money. But it still bothered me. That people would go onto someone’s property and help themselves.

I might have ranted to my husband about New York not being my favorite place.

He might have said, “See, I told you.”

I might have replied that once my rant was over I would love New York again.

Apparently there is even a term for these folks. Porch pirates. Yes, it’s a thing.

Anyway, I had visions of the pirate dressed in an eye patch, leopard leggings, reading the personal letter to my eldest, cleaning their eyeglasses with the wipes and having a go at the rest of the contents.

I could only hope that they were enjoying a cup of tea after having a few extra strength supplements.

Am I twisted?

My advice for the day is this. Ensure that a signature is required for packages.

Have a happy weekend!

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The Play

My older brother thought I should start writing again. So here it is.

I went to a play yesterday. It was great to do something normal. Everyone had a mask and had to provide proof of vax papers. Happened to be a matinee so a lot of gray hairs. Hopefully all responsible. 🙂

Spoiler alert. The play was not an uplifting ninety minutes. Although it did show signs of hope, forgiveness (toward others and one’s self) and survival. It was well acted and well done. And it was based on an author’s life (adapted from her book) and it was kind of rough.

A grandfather who abused his three year old granddaughter. I felt like puking. Divorce due to father being violent. Death of mother at young age. Heroin and meth addiction. Promiscuity. Father who randomly reached out decade later. When she communicated her issues (with him) his response was to say he was done with her. Never to communicate with him again.

Yeah, it was a bumpy ride. But she survived.

Side note: Makes me very grateful I didn’t have that weirdness in my family. I had a very simple, no frills childhood. But happy. Mom and Dad were regular, good folk.

But this play takes place when the main character is an adult and working as an advice columnist. Sharing her past with us. She recounts a time when she had a yard sale and a little boy stole something. She asked him twice why he stole from her and he denied it. The third time, after he probably felt comfortable with her, he responded, “I was lonely.”

She thought it was the most honest thing she had ever heard.

Made me think we should be a little more cognizant of others. Especially during this difficult time. These last two years of uncertainty.

Because people might be lonely.

And if we are actually listening it might be the most honest thing we ever heard.

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My Siblings

I know everyone doesn’t have an easy relationship with their siblings. I hear it every day.

I do. I know I’m blessed. And I think I have to give credit to my parents.

I recently chatted for ages, sprawled out on a futon, with my little brother when he visited. The big brother has no problem slapping my hand -as I go for the kitchen garbage disposal or a wild mushroom in the backyard. LOL. I talk to him on the phone frequently.

In my hometown there has been a lot of loss during the holidays. Lot of my contemporaries losing their siblings. Can’t even lay it at the feet of Covid. But young folks. Many different reasons.

This posting is to say I love my brothers more than anything.

We don’t argue. We don’t disagree. Never. Not ever.

My husband loves it. One time, I asked one of my brothers, “Can I make you a sandwich?” And my husband told me later, “There was so much sweetness there in the way you said it. So much love.” He thought it was beautiful.

Because he knows how much I love my brothers. And if anything happened to them I would be devastated. I can’t even imagine my life without them.

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How Are You?

I haven’t blogged in ages. Since April. I checked and had about six half finished postings. There are a lot of things I haven’t done. Or completed. Like all of us.

I asked three friends who love to read if I could pass along a few books. Nope. No takers. Voracious readers not even remotely interested in a book. People are finding it hard to complete things. Distraction abounds.

I remember a few months after Covid came ashore I was talking to my Aunt Rose Marie. We were sort of laughing about how we weren’t completing things. The topic was putting clothes away for the season. For those of you not from New England or other colder climes- this is a thing.

I was putting away a piece of clothing at a time instead of doing it all at once. She said she had some seasonal garments on a chair. Would go and touch an item. And then walk away. LOL.

So true though.

I spoke to a lady few doors down and I was telling her about my inability to put the seasonal clothes away all at once.

She said, “Oh, I don’t do that.”

I was like, “What?”

Now I am a convert. Mary no longer goes seasonal. All in the closet. But in seasonal order.

I have white clam diggers in the back of the closet.

Not white fisherman. That would be weird to have them in my closet. I refer to the white summer 3/4 length pants.

I am so done with Covid.

From the missed gatherings to fear of grocery stores two years ago.

We started ordering on-line. Until it was costing us a bloody fortune. What, with the delivery fees and me tipping way more than I normally would. These shoppers were my first responders. But it got to be a lot.

Then “they” said only one person from each household should go to the store. And follow the arrows, mask up and maybe clean food stuff when it arrived home. My husband was our designated shopper. I would make a list and it was by aisle so he wasn’t all over the place in the germ factory. I remember going once and seeing a couple (around my age) and thinking, “Don’t you know the rules? What’s wrong with you?”

Anyway, it appears we are not much wiser about this virus than we were two years ago.

We have all changed due to this God-awful invisible enemy.

And this sums it up. I don’t want to be vulgar but when it was new I was scared. I was walking along the shore and saw a discarded mask. You’d have thought I walked in on a home invasion. I stopped in my tracks. I did nothing. Rooted in place. And I am totally anti-litter.

My first thought was, “I would rather pick up a used condom on the beach than pick up this used mask.”

Because one could kill you. Isn’t that awful?

Tell me something good. Or bad. Or how your life has changed. We are all in this together. Well, most of us.

Please stay safe and healthy.

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#5 Sort

I am a natural-born sorter. Not on a daily basis, mind you. But on a regular basis I’ll go after something. Even if it is a small project. A jewelry box, pantry, papers, etc.

Could be socks. They get to loll on the dryer for only so long in our house. Because if one of those suckers doesn’t have a life long mate, like a swan, out it goes. My sock puppet making days have been gone for a very long time.

Pre-Corona Virus I was clearing out a bathroom cupboard. Had tons of nail polish bottles. Some mine. Loads belonged to my youngest daughter. Was like a bag of skittles with all the colors.

I couldn’t honestly tell you the last time I actually had nail polish on my fingers. Sure, I do have the occasional pedicure but that takes place at the salon. Can hardly bend over due to the spare tire and my non-yoga agility.

In the past when I cleared out the closet I’d grab each bottle and eyeball it. If they weren’t as dry as the Gobi Desert then I’d give each one a good shaking. With KC and the Sunshine Band’s “Shake Your Booty” playing in my head. Shake, shake, shake. Then return them back to their designated space. All sorted.

But the last time I took it a step further. Sorting can be a slippery slope.

I thought, “Why would I keep all of these bottles if I wasn’t using them? In case I needed to stop a run in a pair of panty hose?”

Asked my daughter if she wanted hers. She did not. So I put them in a box of items to be donated.

Well, wasn’t it quite ironic that soon after that clear-out every nail salon in the country would soon be closed due to “YOU KNOW WHAT.”

Truth be told, virus or no virus, I was never going to use the polish. So there wasn’t any reason for me to keep it.

When this current lockdown began people took to their homes like they were preparing for a hurricane. Without having to lose power, of course. But still hoarded food and supplies. And whipped out the puzzles, board games, art projects, etc.

But like anything else that quickly gets old. Especially as the sheltering in place continues.

So #5 on the list is sort. Start small. You’ll have a distraction from the news, a sense of accomplishment and maybe feel more organized when home confinement is lifted.

This virus is teaching us all that there is a lot we don’t actually need.

My friend, Di, pulled out her coin jar. And sorted and counted until she had rolls in the amount of $238.00 USD.

coins

I recently sorted my buckets of sea glass. Went through them and the imperfect ones quickly got tossed in a pile. Dropped them right back into the bay for a future beachcomber to find.

Sorting possibilities are endless. Distract yourself. Create space.

Be safe.

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Hello, everyone! I hope you all are doing just fine!

I am finally sitting down and doing a bit of writing. I CANNOT believe August is nearly gone even though I can see, with my own eyes, the sun setting earlier and earlier every evening.

I have been blessed and have enjoyed the summer months. Had lots of company, entertained, explored the outdoors, rode my bike, walked, read tons, attended plays, spent time with family and sometimes just walked the seashore with the surf creating white noise so I could still my mind.

My only regret is not putting all the thoughts in my head on paper these past few months. Enough to drive a person wacky with the gray matter congestion.

But, hey! No time like the present.

I have to be in the mood to write certain stories so the “Witches Tea” I stumbled upon in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont will have to wait for another day. It’s a good one. So just be patient.

My sister-in-law, Patty, lost her dad in March. So she’s been sharing a lot about being open to signs from those who have passed. She has received signs from both of her parents.

I have many friends who have also gotten signs from loved ones. They say, “Talk to them. Be open.”

I was feeling like, “Everyone else is getting signs from their people. What about me?”

Well, I always felt like I was open to receiving but here’s the thing. I actually received and continue to receive many signs. It didn’t appear that way because it just wasn’t enough for me. I was actually looking for more. I wanted to feel. Viscerally. Not just always look for a double meaning in a rainbow, animal or thunderstorm.

I wanted to feel my father’s presence but I really just wanted my father present. Sadly, the latter is not going to happen.

In a way, I finally realized I am not looking for a sign that my Dad is okay, in heaven and watching over me. Or that he loved me. I know that.

It all boils down to this. I miss him and wish he was still here. Simple as that.

Since my father died the only time I heard his voice was in a dream. It was a few days after he passed.  The last thing I heard before waking up that morning was him sounding very concerned.

He asked me, “Are ya alright? Are ya sick?”

I wasn’t sick. Well, yes, I suppose I was. Heartsick.

It is what it is.

So, I will share one of the many, many signs I’ve received from Patrick, my father. I will write about others in future postings.

I’m wondering if it’s his power or mine.

Here is one.

Every so often I will buzz into the cemetery to pay a quick visit to the ould man.

Last winter, it happened to be on very gray day with white stuff in the forecast. Snowfall was predicted to start in about three hours.

I was the only person in the cemetery. Popped out of the car, checked the headstone and said, “Hi” along with a short prayer.

Then I said, “Okay, Dad, feel free to give me a sign that you hear me. That you see me.”

In that moment, little white flurries appeared out of nowhere. In the spot where I was standing. Not a lot. And not everywhere. Just a few white snowflakes fluttering out of the sky.

Wow.

Then they stopped. As quickly as they started.

Were they even there? Did that even happen?

I went back into my car. Sat a few minutes. Then I got out, stood there and said, “Do it again.”

It happened again. Just a bunch of white flurries. In that same spot.

Sure, snow was in the forecast. Nope, not one witness. No accumulation.

Just a few flakes fluttering on me.

In my spot.

It’s never going to be enough. But it was enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This should actually be number one on the “Whiling Away Wintery Days” list.

Want to feel better while waiting for the beach days to arrive?

This is the simplest thing. Won’t cost you a penny.

Do something for others.

It doesn’t have to be a big thing.

Sounds so easy. Almost causing folks to wonder, “What’s the catch?”

No catch.

But you do have to make an effort.

Mail a cheerful letter to a friend. Visit someone who could use company. Volunteer your time. Tell someone how much you appreciate them.

Take a moment to think about how you can spread some joy. And then actually do it.

 

 

 

 

 

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Here is number nine on the “Is it April yet?” list.

Find something to serve as a cheerful reminder that sunny days are just around the corner.

I have a few items scattered around my house for this very reason. I really love these guys.

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They were a gift so I can’t take any credit for finding them. My daughter, Norah, bought them for my birthday last October.

I love everything about them.

Recycled/renewed. Unique. Useful.

I’m  even happy that I received them after the herb season ended.

Because that gives me just one more thing to look forward to this Spring.

They are displayed on a trunk right by the back door. Ready and waiting!

Find a cheerful reminder. Sunny days are just around the corner.

 

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