P.S.-Pooh Says...

"What day is it? - 'It's today' - squeaked Piglet. 'My favourite day' - said Pooh."- A.A. Milne

18 June 2017

Standing on Love-Daddy's Gifts

There’s something like a line of gold thread running through a man’s words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself.
—John Gregory Brown

This past week I watched ESPN's terrific "30 for 30" about the 1980's rivalry between The L.A. Lakers and The Boston Celtics... Magic v. Bird.  It was indeed all that has branded it-Legendary, Historic, Classic, Nostalgic...and for me a monsoon of memories. To this day when I see those mythic games I can only think of Daddy and the Sunday afternoons with the roar of the real Boston Garden for soundtrack.  After we lost him it would be over 10 years before I could even listen to a game. Now, on this Father's Day, I wrap those moments up and add them to the giant box of sound and images that throw me backwards, fill me with every emotion imaginable, remind me to remember what I know and to look to my feet and the ground I stand on, and pick up that box and take it with me as I walk forward.

 Yes, this is yet another Hallmark day, designed for card sellers and tie makers.  Of course we should celebrate Dads beyond a Sunday in June, but to have a day set aside on the calendar to stop and hug the man or the memories is a good thing. There was a time I ran from this day, a day filled with memories so strong that 27 years later I can still feel all those  family Father's Day cook-outs in all types of weather, the piles of gifts left in front of my Papa who preferred to have all his grandchildren around him rather than packages and left the presents for Nana to open, the clumsily wrapped cans of tennis balls and Izod polos that populated Daddy's stack of gifts...  No, it does not get easier with time.  Loss leaves craters in your life.  Though they can never be filled, and will never be closed, if you have been enveloped with love the holes are softer to look into and can bring both strength and joy.

 Though this will never be a fun day for me, it is a day that holds my own stash of gifts.   This Father's Day weekend may not be my first without Daddy, but like every year at this time I try to keep the mascara from going by hugging the memories and re-opening his many gifts to me.  Gifts that I carry with me every day and always will.  Gifts that are sewn into the core of my soul and especially my heart.

 I proudly say I am a "Daddy's Girl" and that is a badge I wear boldly. There are a lot of negative connotations with that phrase...spoiled, Princess, indulged...but for me the phrase symbolizes not only the unbreakable bond between a Father and Daughter but also the foundation upon which I stand... every day.

"Run your own race,baby. He could have said it a dozen other ways. “Be independent.” “Don’t be influenced by others.” But it wouldn’t have been the same. The words he chose touched my heart and have remained with me all through my life. Whenever I’m at a crossroads, I ask myself, 
“Am I running my race or somebody else’s?"
What a gift he gave me."

We lost my Dad suddenly. After the shock wore off, and the numbness set in, I felt as if I were living without a safety net, sort of free falling-I still have days I feel that way. It took some time to realize that Daddy had left me many gifts, gifts that would help me realize that a safety net would  always there.  The most important gift perhaps is the knowledge that I do have solid ground beneath my feet because of the lessons he taught me-be yourself, stand for what you believe, laugh no matter what, show them how it's done!, know you tried your best, believe in who you are!  These lessons helped to build my base, grow the roots that sprout from my feet and created my own terra firma, composed of all  the love that I was graced to be given. 

How very lucky I am to know that being a “Daddy’s Girl” means that I carry the extraordinary gift of unconditional love with me wherever life takes me. That love has taught me to believe in myself and my strengths, and to know that I CAN “run my own race”- even when I have trouble finding the track. My Father taught me to trust my instincts, believe that there is nothing I can’t accomplish and that the worst thing I could do would be to give up, pass on an opportunity or to sit on the sidelines and never try!

On the days when I think…”There is NO way I can do this!” I hear Daddy saying “just try”. Happy Father’s Day Daddy…Thank you for my many gifts. Oh how I wish you were here to watch me run my race. I love you today and everyday!

29 May 2017

JFK 100

If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal”, then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.
John F. Kennedy

"If we cannot now end our differences, 
at least we can help make the world safe for diversity"
 -John F. Kennedy

14 May 2017

Daughterhood-A Natural Reflection...Happy Mother's Day!

"Motherhood: All love begins and ends there." ~ Robert Browning
" Sweater, n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly." ~Ambrose Bierce

Let's just acknowledge from the start, much like Peter Rabbit we don't listen to our Mothers very well...not with our ears anyway. Momspeak after so many years can become the true Muzak of our lives. "Why are you wearing that?" is the hit single we can all dance to-But I promise you Moms, we may not listen...but we hear! 
How else do we grow up to sound just like you??

I consider myself to be a pretty independent woman....known for my strong will with my own opinions and vision of the world. Yes, even headstrong and truly stubborn at times.  "My Way"  or "Don't Rain on My Parade"could be my personal anthems...but there are in fact other voices in my head.  

No matter what else a Mom does with her life her job is her children. For our Moms our "end result" is the product of their career...so of course we have been asked to get it right!! Our success is their success and for more than one generation of women that reflected "glory" or "failure" defined the women who raised us. We are the personification of their life's work-if we messed up so did they. I may have my days when I wonder if I will ever do it right, get it right, but I am a woman who cares a great deal about doing it right,and getting it right ,because I was taught by the women whose thumbprints are all over me that it matters. Sure, I have picked my rebellions to drive them nuts...I never learned how to properly fold a sheet which drove my Nana up a tree. I consistently neglect to wear a raincoat on a potentially rainy day leading my Mother to exclaim that I truly don't know when to come out of the rain.

I have to come to realize,however,that I am my Mother's product. I am put together not with a selfishness or interest in making her mark, but with a complete commitment to her job. She is a Mom, this is what she does. Despite many other roles and abilities, being a Mom is who she is with every inch of her being. If I can stand back and look at the woman who raised me with any objectivity I will see that not every woman who wears the label Mother does that. With all due modesty, my Mother is better than your Mother-ha!
It isn't that other Mothers don't love their children, or that they didn't do a good job, but that somewhere along the growing up line they declared an end game. OK, so a professional might say that is healthy-forget it! Maybe I can't see how it is possible to retire from the most important job any human can have because my Mother, and her Mother before her, never put their feet up on the job-thank goodness! Even though my Grandmother is no longer here she would be happy to know that the Muzak she implanted in both her daughter and in me plays everyday! WWND?-What Would Nana Do? makes us smile,laugh and remember. By some string that will always connect us we do it her way, with our own twist, but Nana is in the building!  How lucky I am -I got stereo! There is my Nana's Muzak and there is my Mother's- not surprisingly very similar tunes.

Of course it is not just the "do it my way" tunes that I hear each day but more profoundly the emotional songs that have taken root from the bottom of my feet. These roots come from knowing without any hesitation or embarrassment that I keep playing those tunes because I need to hear the noise. I need the voice of the person who loves me no matter what! I may not always get it right but there is no auditioning here. Even when the raincoat is in the car keeping the car dry, I know that if I get wet there is shelter available.

I also have the innate comfort that my Mom's job is far from done-her daughter is a product in development and will continue to be, as Anna Quindlen wrote-"A finished person is a boring person." I'm not finished, and only a person who does not need to be loved, does not hear the Muzak or recognize the thumbprints, can be finished.

If you are lucky in this life the bond with your Mom is the simplest, and many times the most complicated, one you will ever have. I am THAT lucky! There is nothing simpler than being loved completely and knowing that her love sustains , motivates and grounds you. The string that runs from Mom to child is the most powerful and lasting connection there will ever be. We may walk through different doors sometimes but we are usually going in the same direction... together! (much like the time we discovered we were in adjacent dressing rooms in Bloomingdales!)

The definition of a Mom cannot be found in a Hallmark card, in an ad for cake mix, or on a rerun of a 70s sitcom. A Mom is defined by her life's work. She can be a Supreme Court Justice or a candidate for President, her Momdom is at the core of everything she does. Her success is not found in material success but in the knowledge that there is a work in progress out there that will always hear her music, always need her tune to be played, and always love her.

 Don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor. The Tale of Peter Rabbit

 Happy Mother's Day Mummy...job well done,but never finished! I love you!

19 January 2017

The "Audacity" and Dignity of "Leading with Hope, Never Fear"

"...if our democracy is to work the way it should in this increasingly diverse nation, then each one of us need to try to heed the advice of a great character in American fiction, Atticus Finch, who said “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

As President Barack Obama gave his Farewell Address last week, I didn't want to listen. It would be too hard, but this man,this family, this administration, has meant too much to me, so I sat with my Kleenex box at the ready. The first President I have any memory of was Richard Nixon, and that memory was his resignation speech...thus my political socialization was formed.  With the Obamas came the very first time that I could look at a President, look to the symbol of the office, and feel truly proud to walk as an American.   A man who faced obstruction at every turn yet who led with a grace and a dignity almost unseen in our history. The overwhelming challenges he inherited on day one: a country on the verge of collapse embroiled in economic disaster and multiple wars, an unrelenting Washington establishment that vowed to block his every move from the moment he was elected simply because he was Barack Obama, the unmatched expectations that lay on his shoulders as the "The First"-all meant that this President was never going to win within a partisan planet.  There is never perfection in politics, a system that rewards patronage not need, rarely leaves room for the Hope he promised. There is always disappointment, mistakes, but when this country faced horror, sadness and challenges it was THIS man that we looked to for assurance and comfortWith intelligent caring thought, humor, style, and grace he let us hope. We will not have that again-and perhaps it is that void that hurts the most. Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Joe and Jill Biden have shown us how it can, and should be done!  Michelle Obama has redefined what the role of FLOTUS is in an age when women's voices and challenges,especially for young girls, need a champion.  Her graceful heart brought meaning to the role that had been strictly ceremonial since the days Eleanor Roosevelt was "her husband's legs".  She opened the doors of her home, America's home, to everyone. She has been a beacon of promise for so many.  Her work for girls all over the world, showing them they deserve and have a right to any future they can envisionEncouraging all kids to believe they could and should have an education. Michelle Obama literally got dirt under her fingernails as she worked everyday for America's kids.  With Joe Biden as his true partner, Barack Obama worked to help this country transition to a new world-one that holds promise and fear A world that means truly being in and of the world-not isolating ourselves or turning our backs on so many that look to this country to lead.  Change is painful, and as economies change and society changes people cling to only what they have known-I get that...but going backward, to a world that doesn't welcome, that segregates, that discriminates is horrifyingly dangerous.  So as I listened to his "goodbye", there were so many memories-his tear laden face on the night of Newtown, his voice at the Charleston Church, the joy of watching him with kids, his heart, his calm and control and ability to literally turn the other cheek, his humor and intelligent cool  ...too many moments, and a frustration beyond words for what he could not change.   His speech last week in Chicago,however, as always, inspired and brought me to tears.  It also left me with a promise of the Hope he instilled, his optimism and belief that "we're going to be OK", that the fundamental core of this country is good.  May he continue to be the crossing guard, the gate holder, the indomitable guide to decency, courage, indomitable cool, and always a real leader standing with every citizen with a  dignity and grace that made us proud.  THIS is the voice we will need, the one we must listen to even when all we want to do is hide under the bed.   Thank you to MY President.
"...democracy does not require uniformity. Our founders argued, they quarreled, and eventually they compromised. They expected us to do the same. But they knew that democracy does require a basic sense of solidarity. The idea that, for all our outward differences, we’re all in this together, that we rise or fall as one..."

"But laws alone won’t be enough. Hearts must change"
"We have to pay attention and listen."

 “The hope of folks like my dad, who got up every day to do his job at the city water plant, the hope that one day his kids would go to college and have opportunities he never dreamed of,” Mrs. Obama said. “That’s the kind of hope that every single one of us — politicians, parents, preachers, all of us — need to be providing for our young people, because that is what moves this country forward every single day.”  Michelle Obama
“Our glorious diversity — our diversities of faiths, and colors, and creeds — that is not a threat to who we are; it makes us who we are...So to the young people here and the young people out there: Do not ever let anybody make you feel like you don’t matter or like you don’t have a place in our American story because you do, and you have a right to be exactly who you are...Lead by example with hope, never fear...
 And know that I will be with you, rooting for you and 
working to support you for the rest of my life.”
First Lady Michelle Obama
  "So regardless of the station we occupy; we all have to try harder; we all have to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family just like we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own."

"The peril(s)... to our democracy is more far reaching than a car bomb or a missile. They represent the fear of change. The fear of people who look or speak or pray differently. A contempt for the rule of law that holds leaders accountable. An intolerance of dissent and free thought. A belief that the sword or the gun or the bomb or the propaganda machine is the ultimate arbiter of what’s true and what’s right."

 "Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift. But it’s really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power. We, the people, give it meaning — with our participation, and with the choices that we make and the alliances that we forge."
 "...that’s what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there’s an election, not just when you own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try talking with one of them in real life...
... If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes
 and do some organizing.

...If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clip board, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.
 ...Show up, dive in, stay at it. 
 My fellow Americans, it has been the honor of my life to serve you. I won’t stop; in fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my remaining days...
...But for now, whether you are young or whether you’re young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your president — the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago.
...I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change 
— but in yours.
...I am asking you to hold fast to that faith written into our founding documents; that idea whispered by slaves and abolitionists; that spirit sung by immigrants and homesteaders and those who marched for justice; that creed reaffirmed by those who planted flags from foreign battlefields to the surface of the moon; a creed at the core of every American whose story is not yet written:
Yes, we can.
Yes, we did.
Yes, we can."

08 January 2017

Just Do It January

"We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives...not looking for flaws, but for potential." 
- Ellen Goodman

Anyone who knows me well will tell you I don't do birthdays (mine anyway) and I never ever do New Year's!  Sure, I will wish one and all the happiest and healthiest for the coming year, but to celebrate that another year of my life has zipped by--nope!  I have dreaded this January, as many of us have, since November.  The world and the journey forward have the sensation of tumbling without a known landing spot...lots to be worried about for sure BUT a plan always helps...even if it is to clean a closet.  There is calm and hope in action of any kind.  We may not be able to control the WHOLE planet, but there is a lot we can do FOR the world and for our tiny corner of it.   

T.S. Eliot wrote that to "...make an end is to make a beginning." 
  I do do Lists-lots and lots and lots of lists.  As a hopeless romantic and dreamer lists are a way to keep it all organized and even though on my 17 for 17 List there are plenty of wishes and dreams there are also the things that must be done,especially in a new unknown world...how did strolling through the Tuileries and sailing Santorini get in there??

Though not always easy to accomplish, I do believe in fresh beginnings. That does means closing some doors-often big heavy ones that have been left open too long.  This is scary and overwhelming to think about doing so I plan to kick those doors shut a little at a time...and who knows where the new doors marked "Beginnings Ahead" may lead me

 I certainly know the doors to close and I think I know the doors I want opened in the New Year... but forcing them may not be the best plan.  So I have a better plan-
Que Sera Sera!!

 Planning is good but I left lots of room for "What Will Be Will Be"--Thank you Doris Day for that!!   Lists are all well in good and they can indeed provide direction and a path for planning... but how important is it to always be open to the surprises, be welcoming of the unexpected (good unexpected) --this is why I always wear mascara even to pick up the mail--ya just never know!!
So onward -bright shiny new calendars, clean desks, new notebooks, perhaps a pair of new shoes or a new bag...not an organized closet yet though-but that is why there is January!...
and let's see what will be!!!   

May all your lists, wishes, dreams, hopes, promises and beginnings be realized, may the world know peace and kindness and we may do all we can to keep those in fear safe...  and may the unexpected be happy and the surprises bring you only joy in the New Year!
17 for 17

1. Breathe! : Always a good plan and often we are so busy juggling just breathing falls off the things to do!

2.  Face It!:  Deal with it-the face looking back at me in the mirror each morning isn't 12 years old anymore-Hello moisturizers!

3. Bloom Where You are PlantedTake a look around you,if you don't like the place get up and move or paint the wall!

4. Count to 10: There are at least 10 things that are good and worth counting!

5. Don't leave home without your Passport: Santorini, Bellagio, Tuscany await my arrival-let's pack!

6.  K1 row: 1 row a day... that's all we ask-OK who can stop at just one row!

7.  Pages-Turn Them!:  Sure a kindle is nice but give me a a real page to turn and while I am at it--turn a few life pages too!

8. Spacing Out: Clear a path, unclutter the room and the mind will follow!!

9.  On My Toes: Just MoveMost of us spend our days seated on our seats and those seats need to stretch and move or they can become real pieces of furniture!

10. Color Your World!:  Go Pink, or Orange or Yellow, or Tiffany Blue-It makes a difference!

11. Change the Channel: If you don't like what's playing in your world, click!  Be your own producer!

12.  Don't Sit on the Sidelines-Care!- The world is very sad and scary - Stop and help where you can!

13. Don't Whine-Hope-There must always be Hope!

14. Dis-connect and Connect-Scrolling through depressing news feeds will not help -connect to organizations that are working to move us forward

15.When the Going Gets Rough...Keep Going!
 (Winston Churchill I believe)

16. Doris was Right!...Que Sera Sera...Spinning in worry will only find you under the covers -get up, get out and go!

17.  What Will Be Will Be!!

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning."
- T.S. Eliot