Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Some more Lenten Peeps - and a decision

Playing with Peeps is my spring obsession;
it's hard to stop once I start -
but I'm feeling the time constraints this year -
and this is my last 'batch'!

I'm also going to make things easier
while immersing myself in training
and getting ready to walk 550 miles across Spain.

For the next few months,
I'll only be posting on my Camino blog:

Hope you'll follow me over there;
if not, see you back here when I return.
Oh, and, for all you 'bad people' out there,
don't even THINK my house will be unprotected
in my absence.

My posse has my back -
they'll do what they have to do...
trust me,
you do not want to mess with them!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Retirement -

it consists of meeting friends for meals,
 getting well wishes from a munchkin
in an adjacent state,
 and organizing various cabinets!

There was also walking,
gathering items to be packed and a training session
at the gym.

Good thing I have a grand adventure to look forward to;
I'm such 'a tool of the man'
except for the munchkin,
I can't see doing this
for the rest of my life!

Must take more than one day to get used to!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Almost spring

Enjoying the first signs I see -
even if they were 'forced'.

 Since I don't drink green beer, 
go to St Patrick Day parades 
or like the taste 
of corned beef and cabbage,
these 'Belles of Ireland" will have to serve 
as my St Patrick Day observance!

A friend sent me this e-note which, 
in her mind, 
represents what 
retirement will be like.
and, maybe, at some point it will be.

my first full day of retirement,
I have to testify at a trial in the morning,
testify at another one in the afternoon,
walk 7 miles,
go to the bank,
go to my trainers
and then go grocery shopping 
to stock up for the next two weeks
so I don't have to do anything else 
but walk, pack and get ready for my trip to Spain!

Makes me tired just thinking about all that has to be done!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

If you're lucky,

'leave taking' is exhausting.

Because beyond the outward trappings of
well wishes,
 charming cake,
and gorgeous flowers 

there are the Goodbyes.

In my case, 
 to, literally, hundreds of people, 
in almost every department of the hospital;
folks who have been integral parts of
my job.

Young friends

 as well as 'seasoned' friends.

over and over and over 
for days.

Goodbyes in which I hoped to convey,
but probably fell short, 
of saying 
how much I've appreciated 
each persons presence in my life;
how knowing them made a difficult job that much easier;
how I couldn't have done it without them.

Then, if you're lucky,
it also entails standing there 
as they tell you what a difference 
you've made in their life;
how much they've learned from you
and how hard it is for them to think
of having to work
without your help and support.

If you're lucky,
you'll allow yourself to hear their words,
 and truly believe,
that you have made a profound difference;
that children are alive today because of your efforts
and that the people who do some of the hardest jobs in the world
love you 
and respect your opinion.

If you're lucky,
as much as it may feel like 'abandoning ship',
you'll leave pieces of your work life behind
and walk out the door for the last time.

I was one of the lucky ones.

And then, 
this morning,
a new day began.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Last

the last Tuesday,
the last Wednesday,
the last Thursday,
the last Friday.

Retirement in 4 days.

Unsettling and surreal.

The building didn't look like this when I started.

I didn't look like this when I started either!

I am 64.
I've worked in the same building,
with the same basic cast of characters,
for over 34 years.

I'm not a math wizard
but even I can figure out 
that's OVER half my life!

while I don't mean to fixate 
on my impending change of status,
it's little wonder that
envisioning the shape, structure and feel
of a new reality
is hard.

Not impossible,
not unwelcome,
at this moment,

Monday, March 10, 2014


Time to play with Peeps again-
the quintessential candy for spring -
 and the perfect 'models'  -
never complain, 
tolerate being moved around 
and sit still for hours!

Last years versions (here and here and here)

It will be a shorter 'season' this year -
since I'll be gone for part of Lent -
but that won't stop the fun 'til I leave!

Here are some of my favorites so far...

If only I could make a living playing with food -
retirement wouldn't be so scary!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

We know what we know

I never observe Ash Wednesday without remembering it.
He was 5 ½.
His father died 6 mos prior to the start of Lent that year.

On Ash Wednesday evening, 
our minister asked all the children in the congregation 
to gather at the altar steps 
while she explained the meaning 
of what they were about to see – 
the imposition of ashes.
She instructed them it was to help all of us remember 
that we are from the earth,
given life by the breath of God 
and that, upon our deaths, 
our bodies,
our 'earthly vessels',
 would return to the earth.

With that,
my son stood up and started to walk away.
Our minister questioningly said his name
in an attempt to gather him back into the fold.

My son turned and told her
quite clearly 
that he had just seen his father
placed in a box
and buried in the ground; 
Thanks, but he didn’t need any more reminders; 
that was as big as it got.

His father died 27 years ago at the age of 39.
Yesterday was my father’s birthday.

He’s been dead for 38 years – 
and the overwhelming thought in all my ponderings 
was the realization
that I’ve already had 
a decade more time on this planet 
that my father did.

I’m 64.
He died at 54.
Some of us don’t need reminders 
about the finality and inevitability of death.

We’ve had plenty of reminders; 
we've sadly had plenty of chances 
to contemplate not only our own demise, 
but the deaths of everyone we love.

Yesterday though,
I saw the symbol of the cross in ashes
on my forehead 
in a different context.

I saw it as a reminder  - 
that since life is so fragile and so transient,
we mustn't squander it;
even if it’s as common as dust.

We just don’t have that kind of time.
None of us do.

We are dust – 
and to dust shall we return.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Maybe its just me

I’m an outlier… 
and I’ve not read anything in the press yet to know if anyone agrees with me or not – 
as if that matters.

But here are my observations from the Oscars…

*It’s basically Hollywood’s Office party. 
True it’s the awards banquet
and folks are gussied up
but still, 
it’s just one industry’s night of ‘shop’ recognition. 
So how is it we’ve all been duped into watching for several interminable hours? 
(Myself included –
although I always swear it’s for the last time).

They don’t pay for their own clothes or their jewelry – 
so even all those ‘Best and Worst’ Dressed lists 
are really just awards
for who has the best stylist.

*Whose face was Goldie Hawn wearing?

*I was terribly disappointed with the job Ellen did as host. 
Really, ‘working the crowd’ and sending out for pizza – 
that’s the best you’ve got? 
Crashing Twitter by taking a selfie of you and all your cool friends 
as the highlight of the show, really? 

Has any Oscar show ever felt more like high school than last night – 
with all the cool kids hanging together
and  - ya know,
being cool?

*Can we all just agree to send “The Wind beneath my Wings ‘
 back under the boardwalk at the beaches 
where it belongs? 
It’s old, been sung to death
and not even the incomparable Bette, 
who, BTW, appeared to be wearing
a long belted version of my mother’s mumu 
could save it.

*Ditto for “Over the Rainbow”.

*If you’re going to be a presenter for a specific category, 
how ‘bout knowing HOW to pronounce
the names of the folks on your cue cards? 
Yeah, John Travolta, I’m talking to you. 
Guess it could have been worse; 
he could have just said "Here’s Elphaba".

One of my major concerns about the evening however 
is the paucity of healthy role models for young black girls – 
like my great nieces – 
who were probably staying up way too late in Chicago, 
watching because school was cancelled the next day 
and they wanted to hear ‘Frozen’.

Don’t tell me about Lupita – 
who seems to be the media darling with her lilting voice, 
lovely close cropped hair 
and beguiling charm.

At the risk of being the kid crying the Emperor has no clothes on, 
am I really the only one who sees how skeletally thin she is? 

You can see every bone in her chest,
especially in the gorgeous gown the color of sea glass. 
It might have been the look needed for playing a slave – 
but it is NOT the look for a healthy role model! 

She is as many standard deviations below normal BMI 
as Gabourey Sidibe is over – 
and those are their choices.
I can’t wait for more diversity in Hollywood – 
if for no other reason 
than it will expand the possibilities 
for what healthy women of color look like.

Raymond Chandler once wrote - 
back in 1949 - 
that "the Oscars are a manifestation of Hollywood's 
chronic case of spurious excitement over absolutely nothing."

1949 was a good year. 
I was born – 
and Raymond Chandler was spot on!