A Budding Blog…

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Well, it is with a fair amount of fear and trepidation that I’d like to make an announcement.
Before your mind starts to wander too far, I am not pregnant. That would cause mind-boggling fear and trepidation, and would, in fact, be a miracle.
This is “Not That Big a Deal” which is also the name of my new blog. Yes, friends I have “bitten the bullet, jumped in with both feet, leaped into the breach” and it scares the crumbs out of me. But, I enjoy making people smile and laugh and forget, even if just for a little while, their troubles. I think it’s something we all need now and then. I really do believe that “a good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.” So, here I go…
My blog link will be posted on facebook and twitter tomorrow and, hopefully, every Friday after that. I hope it does its job. I hope it makes you smile. 

 

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Life is Better With Friends

I’m not sure where that quote came from but, it’s true.

Through the years, and let’s face it there have been many of them, Cliff and I have been blessed with many, many, wonderful friends. Friends that we’ve laughed with and cried with. Friends that we’ve worked with and built relationships with. Friends that we’ve known forever, and friends that just seem like we’ve known them that long.

Some friends have left a lasting impression. One couple in particular was like that for us.  I’ll call them Fred and Ethel, not their real names, but the first funny friend couple that came to mind. Ethel’s response to situations was usually quick and priceless. Fred, though funny without knowing it, just went along with her.

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I met Ethel first. I’m not sure how exactly, but she was a neighbor to a friend that we knew. Ethel was, and I’m sure still is, one of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever met. We ‘clicked’ immediately. Part of our ‘clicking’ was Ethel’s love and concern for people. No matter who they were and the many different situations she found herself in. Here are just a few of her experiences.

Going into New York one night to see a play. She and Fred got caught in gridlock traffic and soon realized they were going to miss the performance. It was winter and bitterly cold in the City, so they just decided to make their way home. While stopped at one point for an interminable length of time, Ethel saw a homeless family around a flaming garbage can in a vacant lot trying to stay warm. Only the children had shoes. Ethel never hesitated. She rolled down her window and asked them if they wanted shoes. She quickly gave them hers. Then she gave them Fred’s. They drove home in their socks.

One winter night she saw an older woman walking around the streets of her town, seemingly lost. Ethel pulled over and spoke with the woman realizing that she knew her address, but didn’t know how to get there, she gave the woman a ride home. Speaking with the woman’s adult son, she found out that his mother, Franny, suffered from dementia and often wandered from home. Ethel offered to watch her for them. She brought Franny into her home and cared for her during the days and sometimes overnight. Franny enjoyed folding clothes and eating chocolate. So Ethel would hide chocolate kisses in the laundry for Franny to find while doing the folding. It kept Franny busy for most of the day. This was the essence of Ethel. She enjoyed people, all people, in all seasons and walks of life.

She also had a quick wit. Before her days with Franny, she told me she had worked as an Aide in a Nursing Home. One of the patient’s there was an older man with advanced dementia. While straightening his room one day, they had the following conversation.

“You have million dollar breasts.”

Amused, Ethel replied, “Thank you.”

Then he asked, “Can I touch them?”

Her nonchalant reply, “For a million dollars.”

I’m not sure where ‘Ethel’ is living now, but her stories always lighten my mood. I hope they did the same for you! Friends! Where would we be without them? They help us to remember that much of life is really not that big a deal!

 

 

 

Posted in Aging, America, Americans, Christians, Friends, Getting Old, Humor, Life, Memories, New Jersey, Uncategorized, Women | Leave a comment

It’s Just a Job…

…Or is it?

My Dad always told me, “Find a job that you love and the money will take care of itself.” Dad is a very wise man. I found lots of  jobs, some of them I truly loved, some of them I just liked, but all of them were a challenge in some way. I’m sure this is mostly because of the employee (me), rather than the employer or the job itself.

Recently, one of my Blog-challenged friends shared her job life experiences and asked if any of us had anything to share. I’ve shared some of my job experiences already, but there are a few that got me thinking, so, here you go…

Job Number One ~ I was 16 and Burger King was hiring so my girlfriend, Laura and I applied. We both got hired. We were both excited. And then, we saw our uniforms…

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Laura and I are both redheads, though our shading of red is very different. She is of the strawberry blonde, blue-eyed variety, I am the auburn, hazel-eyed type, both of us are fair-skinned. I guess you can tell, neither of us looked good in this. By the way, this is not a picture of either one of us, but this was the uniform of Burger King workers in the 1970’s. We only got one uniform, after a few months, it didn’t look very good.

But, another thing Dad told me, “Stay at a job for at least a year, and have another one in place before you give your two weeks notice.” Of course, I listened to Dad. Adorning myself in polyester for a solid year, I felt I had done my time  and moved on. Just as a side note, I can still make a Whopper if anyone wants to know.

Job Number Two ~ My first and only year of college, I worked Saturdays at The Hamburger Train restaurant. I did not make Whoppers there. I was a waitress. I started at 6:00 a.m. and was done by 2:00 p.m. I got $1.00 an hour plus tips. Fortunately, my tips were enough to fill my gas tank and pay for my school books. After a little more than a year, I saw an add for a Proofreader. There was a test involved. I had no idea how to be a proofreader, but I like words so I thought, “Why not?” I applied and took the test.

Job Number Three ~ Proofreader for FLM Datagraphics. I passed the test. I’m still not sure how. But, they hired me. I read for 8 hours a day. I’m pretty sure this job had a negative affect on my eyesight because this is when I started wearing glasses. I worked there for 6 months and they asked me if I’d like to  transfer to another office of theirs in Parsippany, which was much closer to my house and brings me to…

Job Number Four ~ Receptionist/Proofreader/Secretary for DataCom. My boss was Wally Braunstein, a married, late 50-something year old, heavy-set, grey-haired man. Wally had never had a secretary that lasted more than 6 months. Wally was grumpy most of the time. Wally was a mumbler, a grumbler, and a yeller. Wally was my favorite.

I made it my mission in life to make Wally smile at least once a day. It was quite the challenge. I made his coffee every morning and cheerfully greeted him when he came in.

“Good Morning, Wally!”

“Hmmpf.”

So began and ended our daily morning conversation.

Wally liked to stand over my shoulder when I was typing things up for him and say, “Hurry up!” at least three or four times with gusto. I didn’t like this, but I figured he was just nervous and let it go. Until one day.

One day, Wally was in a particularly bad mood and breathing down my neck as I typed up a letter. He yelled his quota of “Hurry ups”, added, “Can’t you go any faster??!!!” and ended with, “DID YOUR STUPID PARENTS RAISE YOU DUMB OR SOMETHING!” It was then that he ripped the finished letter out of my typewriter and stomped into his office, slamming his door.

I am a fairly easy going person, but that last statement sounded the death knell for Wally Braunstein. Wally was slightly shocked when I entered his office and slammed his door. He was flabbergasted as I stood in front of his desk, and said fairly loudly and not very cheerfully, “DON’T YOU EVER, EVER, SAY ANYTHING BAD ABOUT MY PARENTS AGAIN. EVER. DO YOU HEAR ME!” And then I left his office and went back to my desk.

Anyway, as you can imagine, my relationship with Wally was never the same after that. Wally apologized to me and he greeted me every morning with as much cheerfulness as he could muster. Wally sat by my desk and talked to me. He shared stories of his life and his understanding of the rich Jewish heritage that was his and seemed to listen as I explained to him the new Christian faith that was mine. I loved Wally. Truly. I worked at FLM for 2 years right before and a little while after Cliff and I got married.

After we had two of our children, I went back to visit Wally. I was told by one of the other secretaries that Wally had passed away. I cried. Sometimes jobs are more than “just a job”. Sometimes a job is a very big deal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Attitude, Burger King, Challenges, Christians, Faith, Humor, Jobs, Life, Uncategorized, Waitress | Leave a comment

Attacking Joy

One of the greatest gifts we have as humans are friends.  Friends lift us up, push us on, and accept us just the way we are, no matter what we do to them. When we were getting ready to move to Florida, our children, ages (six days shy of) 12, 14, and 16, were not thrilled; especially the 16 year old. When we talked about it he said, “Mom, I’ve never had to make a friend in my life. I grew up with them all.” He was kind of a shy guy at that point, though nobody would believe that now, and he was right, he’d never had to “make” a friend. All of his friends had always been a part of our little church in New Jersey. So, I prayed that the Lord would show His faithfulness to provide friends for my boy.

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Posted in America, Attitude, Children, Christians, Church, Embarrassing moments, Faithfulness, Family, Fellowship, Florida, Friends, God, Heaven, Humor, Life, Love, New Jersey, Prayer, South Africa, Uncategorized, Women | 1 Comment

Days of Crocheting and Chiropractors

I like homemade gifts. I like to receive them. I like to give them. And, not surprisingly, I like to make them, especially for Christmas. So in October, my sister Lisa and I try to find gifts that we can make for our daughters. We each have three, two biological and one in-law/love or close to it. One year Lisa found a beautiful pattern for a crocheted sweater. It was lovely. Last year I found a wonderfully easy crocheted blanket. It was very pretty and extremely monotonous and I was pretty sure, by the time we were done that Lisa was plotting my murder. She made three blankets. I don’t know why, but I got “hooked” (get it, crochet… ‘hooked’). I made six. Yup, six. One for each daughter, one for my granddaughter, and one for each of my parents. Six.

By the end of it all, I noticed that I had some discomfort in the right side of my neck and my right shoulder. Not one to make a big deal of things, I started sleeping on a neck roll, which was much more comfortable, and pretty much ignored it.

My first indication that something was a muck was with my handwriting. I’ve always liked my handwriting, which is actually just printing. Last July it looked like this…

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Pretty nice, right? By this past February it looked like this…

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I had tremors in my hand, but ONLY when I was writing. It was uncontrollable and kind of weird. So, I did the only thing that made sense. I Googled symptoms of a brain tumor, because I always like to think of the most pleasant things first.

  1. Headaches…Only when I’m tired, so No.
  2. Unexplained nausea or vomiting…No.
  3. Blurred or double vision…No.
  4. Loss of peripheral vision…No.
  5. Gradual loss of sensation in an arm or leg…No.

I was pretty satisfied that I did not have a brain tumor.

I knew a Dr. would put me through a barrage of uncomfortable tests and prescribe drugs. I don’t do well with drugs and nobody likes uncomfortable tests so, I talked to my oily (she sells them), hippy, daughter-in-love, she suggested a chiropractor.

I went to one recommended by family members and told him my list of symptoms, which had now increased.

  • Hand tremor only when I write.
  • Discomfort in my wrist.
  • Pain in my neck (Not that I am one, just that I have one. Okay, okay, both.) all on my right side.

I told them that I was pretty sure I had a pinched nerve in my neck because I had Googled my symptoms and we all know Google is never wrong.

They took x-rays and pictures, and they did a thermo-scan, which showed inflammation in my neck.  My husband and I went back the next day for the x-ray results and a consultation.

I did NOT have a pinched nerve in my neck. ALL of the nerves in my neck were pinched. EVERY::SINGLE::ONE. I now make visits to the chiropractor three times a week. I do exercises at home for my neck and my spine, which was slowly swaying to the left, and my hand whose tremors are the direct result of the pinched nerves and not a brain tumor.

In the first week, the pain in my neck was all but gone. In the second week, my shoulders were level. By the third week, my handwriting began to improve. I probably don’t have to tell you, I am now hooked on more than just crocheting. There is a sign in the chiropractor’s office that is my new mantra. The POWER that Made the Body Heals the Body ~ B.J. Palmer

Just a little something to make you smile, on a recent chiropractic visit, while wearing leggings, I felt an updraft and realized I had 6 little holes in my pants 3 on each side right along the seam on my thighs. I sat with my feet flat on the floor and my legs together that day. I’m sure it’s better for your back; but then it’s really not that big a deal.

 

Posted in Challenges, Change, Chiropractor, Christmas, Crocheting, Family, Hand Tremors, Handwriting, Health, Homemade Gifts, Humor, Life, Neck pain, Pinched Nerves, Sisters, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

When Blogging Friends Are Challenged

I have friends. I do. Not surprisingly, some of those friends are bloggers. Right now, three of those blogger friends are participating in The Ultimate Blog Challenge. What is The Ultimate Blog Challenge? Good question! So glad you asked.  It is a Challenge requiring that for the entire month of April, you are writing a blog EVERY::SINGLE::DAY!!!

I was asked to participate in this Blog Challenge, but politely declined, partly because I knew we were going to NJ in April with my parents; partly because my students research papers all need to be read and corrected in April; and mostly because the thought of keeping up with a “Challenge” like this scares the bejeeebers out of me.

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Posted in America, Americans, Attitude, Blog Challenge, Blogging, Challenges, Christians, Courage, Friends, God, Humor, Life, Marriage, Sports, Squat Challenge, Teaching, The Human Spirit, Uncategorized, Writing | 5 Comments

‘Ohana Means Family…

I’ve had my DNA done and though I am many things, Hawaiian is not one of them. I actually learned this phrase watching Disney’s Lilo and Stitch with my grandchildren. Wanting to make sure Disney got it right, I looked it up and found this…

” ‘Ohana means family (in an extended sense of the term, including blood-related, adoptive or intentional). The concept emphasizes that families are bound together and members must cooperate and remember one another.” ~ Wikipedia

“…remember one another,” no phrase could be more fitting.

Last week my husband and I had the opportunity to bring my parents back to our home state of New Jersey to visit family.  Each of my parents has one sibling there, my Dad’s only remaining brother and my Mom’s sister. Dad is one of 15 children, 12 from my grandfather’s first marriage (can hardly imagine why his first wife died) and 3 from his second marriage. My Dad is in the middle of the second batch. Mom is the youngest of 3, all girls. They are all getting older and enjoy their time together no matter how brief the visit.

We flew from Orlando to Newark. I love my home state and no matter where I live, I think NJ will always have a sense of “home” to me, but guys, I have to say, the highways there are really dirty. We saw beautiful forsythia bushes along Rte. 78 in Newark that looked like they were being fertilized with newspapers and beer cans. It was a sad and sorry sight. Our first stop was our hotel, the beautiful Red Roof Inn in Parsippany on Rte. 46 and yes, I am being facetious. For those that don’t know, it’s an inexpensive hotel which we remembered as being fairly new when we lived there. Of course, that was 20 years ago. Still, it was clean and the beds were very comfortable, so we were fine. The cyclone fence down the median of Rte. 46 was a bit of an eyesore, but that’s probably just me.

First sibling visit, Aunt Lois, Mom’s older sister. Aunt Lois lives with her daughter, my cousin, Donna. Fun fact, Mom and both of her sisters all had daughters within 6 weeks of each other. Aunt Nancy had my cousin, Cher the end of August; Mom had me mid-October; and Aunt Lois had Donna the beginning of November. Each of us girls are now happily caring for each of our mothers in one way or another, just like our mother’s cared for their mother. Though Grandma Moon lived with my parents, Aunt Nancy and Aunt Lois were still a part of her life. It’s what we were taught as family.

After breakfast on our second day, we drove by our old neighborhood, Grove Place in Whippany. It has changed some, but all of the houses are still there and mostly familiar. We recalled who lived in each when we lived there. Most of the neighbors have moved on or passed on, a few are still owned by the original family. Amazingly, the neighbors on either side of our house are originals. We stopped in for a surprise visit to one of them. It was only 9:00 am and though they were still in their pajamas, they invited us into their living room and we remembered life as we knew it back then. It was a brief, but wonderful visit!

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From Whippany to Ledgewood to see my Dad’s brother, Uncle Nick and his wife, Aunt Irma, probably one of the funniest women I know. My cousin Robert and his wife Anna were also there, because they, too, are now caregivers. When asked about food, we told them a light snack would be fine, but they are Italian, and there is no such thing.  So we ate and we talked. We laughed and we reminisced. My Dad and his brother had some time to themselves sitting on the couch and talking about life as they now know it. It was precious. It is family.

A quick nap at the hotel and off to dinner at our old home in Boonton, now owned by Cliff’s sister, Carrie and her husband, Greg. When we lived in Boonton, we owned this house together. They lived upstairs, we lived down, one house, two families, and only two bathrooms. All the neighbors knew was that there were 9 children in that house and none of them went to school. They were never sure who belonged to who, but they were always the best of neighbors. When we moved to Florida, the Babcocks bought us out and I’m so glad they did. Though it’s different from when we were there, it’s still the house where we raised our family and still filled with the precious people we did life with.

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Our last day included breakfast with my sister Jeannine, her husband Dave, and their daughter, Melody.  Followed by another nap, and lunch with a bunch of friends that we went to church with, because they, too are family in the purest sense of ‘Ohana.

In each visit we came together to remember. We came together because we are drawn together. We came  together because we are family, all of us…together. Because whatever else you may call it, family really is a very big deal!

Posted in Aging, Airports, America, Americans, Christians, Cousins, Family, Fellowship, Florida, Food, Friends, Growing Up, Home, Humor, Italians, Life, Memories, New Jersey, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

You Shall Not FAST!

Over the course of the last year or so, I made a very disturbing discovery. My gut can no longer tolerate one of my favorite and most pleasurable, to me, food groups…sugar. I don’t know why and, evidently, neither does anyone else. But, there it is. When I’m thinking like a mature, responsible adult, I know this is in my best interest. But, I don’t think like that very often, especially when it comes to food.

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Posted in Attitude, Faith, Food, Health, Humor, Life, Lord of the Rings, Love, Prayer, Red heads, Uncategorized, Women | Leave a comment