The Sweetest Gift

Mother’s Day is my annual tribute to my mom, the most important woman in my life…an exceptionally thoughtful, giving and loving person who also happened to be my best friend. How lucky was I?

My mom, Loretta Rose, with Bailey

She gave me love as well as life; so whatever goodness I may bring to Earth began with the gift of my mother’s heart…

At some point in our relationship, my mom transitioned from being my parent to also being a great friend. I’d say it happened in 1985, when she was diagnosed with incurable, inoperable  lung cancer. Continue reading

A Disagreeable Back

I’ve had a disagreeable back for 5 years.

I know, it sucks, right? And my condition exists for one reason only: Hilary. Yep. She is totally, entirely and wholly to blame for my current predicament. I suppose you noticed I used 3 adverbs just then. That’s because simply one isn’t nearly sufficient enough to describe the depth of Hilary’s responsibility for this nearly 64-year-old-once-healthy-person now having the back of a 98-year-old.

Hilary

The culprit

How can I blame sweet little Hilary for this, you ask? First of all, she isn’t so sweet. Don’t let that smile fool you. But she IS little. Barely reaching a diminutive 5’ 1” doesn’t hide the fact that the woman is no pushover. Nobody messes with Hilary. But I must admit she does have a generous side she shares with her friends. Unfortunately, she considers me one. I’ll explain…

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Friends with Benefits

There’s something to be said about having rich friends. These are people I call “Friends with Benefits.” And no, not the kind of benefits traditionally associated with that phrase. Lets get our minds out of the gutter, okay? Allow me to explain…

Chess boardI belong to a local tennis club where I’ve met some great ladies. I guess it’s kind of like belonging to a high school club where you have a common interest, like chess. I know absolutely nothing about chess so that might be a bad example. Maybe the tennis club is more like belonging to a book club, only a bit more aerobic. Actually, let’s just say it’s like belonging to a tennis club, shall we? Continue reading

My Memory Chest

I’m someone who has a hard time letting go. So I keep items that have value to nobody but me. These mementos reside in a cedar “memory chest” in my spare room upstairs. When I kick the bucket, one of my executors (Sue, Sharon or Pam) gets the thrill of going through my things and deciding what to toss. I’m betting it’s going to be a busy day for the garbage man.

cedar chest

Now don’t get me wrong; my friends can do whatever they’d like with my possessions. I won’t care if they dump sentimental items I can’t part with yet. After all, I’ll be dead, remember? But just for the fun of it, I’ll probably haunt whomever draws the short straw for that task.

Grandpa had the cedar chest carved in Thailand for Nana around 80 years ago, back when he was an importer/exporter traveling the world. I think of them whenever I open the chest and the essence of cedar escapes, filling the room with memories. That’s why I love the smell of cedar.

Nana & Grandpa

So when rain finally arrived this week, giving me an excuse to stay home, I went through the chest for the first time in years. I could easily spend a day reminiscing in there but I managed to keep it to a couple hours. After all, my to-do list awaits and one can’t dilly dally long or the list invariably grows. Continue reading

Down Memory Lane

Last week I had occasion to visit the neighborhood where I grew up in Santa Venetia, also derogatorily known as Scabo. I’m not sure what that stands for but since it’s an ugly word, I’m guessing it wasn’t known as the most desirable place to live. But I beg to differ.

Santa Venetia

Kids don’t know they don’t live in a mansion. I certainly didn’t. We had 4 bedrooms that weren’t much bigger than some large walk-in closets and closets not much wider than a refrigerator. Now don’t get me wrong; I didn’t care one bit. I had what I needed and that was enough.

our house

Our little house

To me, our Doughboy Pool was the bomb (better known as groovy back then). Other neighborhood dads helped my dad install it. That’s how it was; neighbors helping neighbors. On summer afternoons, being in that pool or playing ping pong on the patio were my favorite places to be.

me in pool

Even as a teen, still in the pool

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