HIGH FIVES @ THE FEELS

high5HIGH FIVES @ THE FEELS

Each blogger has a unique positioning here at The Daily Feels. We’re all about learning lessons and sharing our blessings, so we created an uplifting, fun, encouraging piece of content that allows us to do that in the form of a high-five. Introducing, “HIGH FIVES @ THE FEELS”.

Nancy Fraioli, The Queen of Ageless Wisdom” is giving us her HIGH FIVES @ THE FEELS this month.  She shares 5 impactful things she’s learned in life, in the form of a powerful high five!  Check it out below and tell us what you think!

*major high-five goes to JB McCann for her amazing editing skills 🖐

When Faced With Writer’s Block, My Nine-Year-Old Helps Me Out Of It and Inspires My Next Blog.

Blogger: Cherry Maggiore – “The Freak of Nurture”

Chapter 25: MSP sassily arrives at The Border

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As my alarm gently goes off with soft classical music, the aroma of coffee fills my nostrils as the sun peeks through the bedroom shades.  I slowly open my eyes and turn over to pick up my phone to turn off the alarm.  I look around and then stretch on my bed; like one of those body-shaking stretches that you feel from head to toe.  I feel content. Happy.  Easy like a Sunday morning.

Then I hear the soft pitter patter of feet on wood steps as my girl stands outside my door to see if I’m awake.  She’s showered and dressed; her face beams as she enters.  She whispers, “Good morning Mama!”

I croaked back, “Morning baby girl. You look happy and ready for the day…”

She responds, “I am happy.”  She slides over to my bed to hug and kiss me… then she gives me Eskimo kisses (yes, I know the word Eskimo is derogatory, and Inuit is appropriate, but I grew up calling those sweet swooshes of two noses Eskimo Kisses.  If you didn’t realize Eskimo kisses are based on a traditional Inuit greeting called a kunik).  And I love feeling her soft skin against my own and to smell her hair.

I ask, “Did you eat breakfast yet?” She excitedly responds, “yes, I made myself waffles with almond butter AAAAANNNNDD I made you coffee and your shake!”

I’m blown away.  “WOW!!! Lil’mama, you did ALL that by 8am?”

She says, “Yes I did, AND I fed Tiki and made my bed!!!!”

“Seriously?” I am thoroughly impressed and in awe.

And so starts another weekend with my incredibly beautiful nine-year-old daughter MSP (Miss Sassy Pants).

As I get ready to take her to swim class, I express my worry that I have a blog coming up and have writer’s block.  Truth be told, life is good.  And for whatever reason, nothing is really popping up to write about.  Happiness equals writer’s block.  Strange…

So I asked my girl what I should write about.

She goes, “Mama, you should write about our weekend.  We have so much cool stuff planned, and it could be cool to share it!”

Interesting…I respond, “that’s an interesting idea MSP…”  It instantly reminds me of the song “A Day in the Life” by the Beatles

“Woke up, fell out of bed.  Dragged a comb across my head. Found my way downstairs and drank a cup and looking up I noticed I was late.  Huh, huh, huh.  Found my coat and grabbed my hat.  Made the bus in seconds flat. Made my way upstairs and had a smoke…And everybody spoke, and I went into a dream.”

So without any other ideas, I decided to do what MSP suggested and start my story on a typical Friday in the life of Cherry and MSP.

Friday starts with a full workday.  But I did something different than usual, I welcomed a junior in college who I met at a speed mentoring event at my company.  He shadowed me for the day as I went from crazy meeting to crazy meeting; ten meetings in all.  Then I bought my team lunch as they shared their education and career paths with him.  I learned some fantastic things about my team that I didn’t know, and they learned more about each other.   Once work is done, I leave early (around 4pm) to pick up MSP from school driving from Midtown Manhattan to Brooklyn. The day before I went to MSP’s school and I couldn’t wait to pick her up so we could celebrate her unbelievable report card.  All A’s except one (her silly art teacher gave her a B cause of one project she didn’t do to her liking. LOL).

I’m so excited to see her, so I run into the school and as soon as our eyes meet she runs into my arms.  We do what we call a juicy hug…full body hug and squeeze super tight til she exclaims “Mama, I can’t breathe!” as she giggles into my ear.

We head into the car and begin our drive to Westfield.  We talk about how her week went and then she asks her usual question, “Mama, what do we have planned this weekend?”

So I begin to share our plans, and she gets super excited…I’ve been accused of over-planning our weekends, but I try to make each weekend special; to make the most of our time together.

To my delight, MSP then asks if she can sing to me.  Every Friday, during our car ride home she serenades me featuring songs she loves and those she’s learned in her music class.  While we spend a lot of time in the car, it’s become time well spent and very special to us.  We have our best heart to hearts, we sing, make jokes and share our thoughts and dreams.

I tell her that we are going to Limani for dinner; our favorite Greek restaurant in downtown Westfield.  After dinner, I have a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at my Ballroom school so my niece Livy is going to watch her.  Drop her off at her cousin Livy’s (aka the Lone Teen on The Daily Feels) a little before 8pm and I head off to Westfield Ballroom for the weekly date with myself.

Saturday: I wake up at 7:30am by myself as MSP wanted to have a sleep-over at Livy’s house. I hate waking up without her, but it was part of her reward for doing so well on her report card.   Immediately, I start laundry (I do six loads throughout the weekend).  Groceries get delivered around 8:15 so I put everything away which involves cleaning out the fridge.  Then I start on washing dishes and cleaning out the dishwasher. By the time I have everything together, and myself showered,  Head off to pick the girls up from Music class (they take piano and voice lessons together).  When we return, I make lunch (birdie in the nest and salad). Livy was feeling a little down, so MSP decides to write her a letter…shown below.

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After lunch, my cousin Jesse (she’s 32; with the five J’s, my mother’s brothers and sisters we have cousins that go from six months old to 48 years old) comes to meet us so we can take the ladies to dress shop at Lord & Taylor in town.  MSP Needs and Easter dress and owing Livy needs a graduation and dress for her formal.  We walk about a mile to L&T  and shop ‘til we drop.  But they said YES to the dress(es). We were so exhausted. I decided not to cook and just take them out to dinner.  Then we decided to treat ourselves with ice cream and walked back home. Once we got home, the girls got ready for bed and watched a movie while Jesse and I booked our trip to Wanderlust being hosted in Quebec.  We booked it during the week that MSP is with her dad on summer vacation.  I am beyond excited to experience my first festival that includes music, yoga, and great food!

Sunday: Woke up 8am and took MSP to swim class at the YMCA.  I love watching her swim and see how effortlessly she advances from 4th in the swim line up to first after two laps. She was understandably starving after swimming 45 minutes straight, so we stopped at Manhattan Bagel and ran into a colleague from my company who lives in town! Once we came home, I did more laundry. And then we headed back into town to run some more errands and for some more shopping.  I needed a new phone, so we shopped along the way.  Once we got home after a few hours.  I washed the new clothes (yes, I went out for a phone and came home with about a huge bag of clothes) and started dinner (shrimp scampi with brown rice spaghetti) while MSP did her Homework. Once she was done, she made the salad. I cleaned up after dinner and washed the new clothes we bought. Once we were done, MSP had an idea of doing an art project in honor of ST. Patrick’s day…so here are the pictures we drew.

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Monday: Today is my cleanse day! I cleanse once a week on the Isagenix program which is the system I used to lose 30 lbs two years ago.  I’ve gained about five back over the holidays and vacation, so I’m working on getting that off and losing the final 15 lbs on my health journey (and I’m proud to share that I’m still smoke-free after a month!).  MSP and I were very excited as she was going to perform in her Ballroom exhibition at school.  AND she was selected to be dance captain with her partner, the controversial character Jerald.  MSP got all dressed up in a red jumpsuit shown below and did a FANTASTIC JOB!  My Mom, Aunt Jackie and I were so very proud. Aunt Jackie was a surprise guest who was terrific for MSP.   Following the performance, I drove to the city and headed to the dentist.  Found out I need two crowns…lovely. Worked the entire day and left work around 6:30pm to pick up MSP from my mom’s house in Staten Island.  We drove to Jersey and came home to Livy who was staying over at the house.

And our weekend comes to a close…which always makes me get a lump in my throat when I drop her off on Tuesday.  It will never be easy…to not see her every day.  To know that I won’t see her until the next Friday…

My greatest takeaway from this exercise is that my daughter is a fantastic partner and contributor to our life together.  She is extraordinary.  She gets joy from doing chores and is driven to make people feel good when she sees a need.  Her level of empathy is endearing and awe-inspiring.

What I also realize is that while so many people say children of divorce are collateral damage, but when I look at my daughter, I don’t see her that way.  What strikes me is how she excels at anything she is passionate about; she puts effort into everything that interests her and what I see is merely a happy and content young lady.  The damage may come in the future; for now, I am thrilled that she is thriving.

As I reread this, it’s also quite breath-taking to realize how much we did this weekend…you can’t even imagine what next weekend has in store!  And I take comfort in knowing we are making memories and living our best, freakiest life together.

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This is MSP looking stunning and very adult in her Easter dress…

chrisblogpicCherry Maggiore is the proud single mom of her 9-year-old super-sassy daughter (aka Miss Sassy Pants or MSP) and 15-year-old pug baby (Tiki Barber); in addition to being an award-winning senior marketing executive at NBCUniversal.

Beside her side hustle as the Freak of Nurture, she also started a home design company after being inspired by renovating and designing her 1880’s home in NJ.

This insanely curious and passionate “multi-potentialite” can be found dancing the Argentinan tango, swing and Hustle every Saturday, cooking her family an Italian Sunday dinner, singing and air drumming at concerts or searching for her next adventure.

Blessed Be the Fruit

Blogger: Dee-Dee Kanhai – “The Spice of Suburbia”

I made it this far. I survived 17.5 years of parenting a child earthside. If you are a regular, you know Chloe Chanel, my daughter. I was blessed with a healthy, smart kid, and she is a beauty. Of course, as her mother I am biased. When I watch her from afar, I admire her. She commands a room. The little explorer inside of her isn’t scared of the things that frightened me at her age, like traveling and meeting new people.

I could go on about the way she amazes me, like how she goes to bed by 9pm on school nights, literally putting her phone on DO NOT DISTURB because she knows she needs her rest. I laugh that she has a skincare routine at 17, which I didn’t even consider until my late-twenties. She wears her retainer without me asking and reminds me when she needs a cleaning at the dentist (before the card arrives in the mail).

Then, despite the 6am alarm going off on Monday to Friday, along with the uninviting cold weather, she gets up and somehow looks camera ready when she heads out the door. Her joy this year has been her Broadcast Journalism class. She takes her job reporting Current Events on the morning announcements very seriously. Growing up, her passion was always playing sports, but now she has this interest in journalism.  It is so nice to see how invested she is in this program.

It is hard to process all of this “Senior Year” stuff without feeling betrayed by time. It seems like just yesterday I was holding her in my arms wondering if I could do this “mom thing”, and now, just like that – she is about to be 18. Sometimes I get into a funk about it, but then I am reminded of two great moms, and friends that sadly will not see their girls graduate with Chloe this June. The tragic reality of that one thought forces me to put things into perspective. No matter how hard this gets for me, it will never compare, so we will celebrate for ALL of my girls.

Truth be told, we only ever wanted one child. We thought we had it all figured out. We’d laugh and say “one and done”, thinking we were so smart in planning our lives out like this. With only one child, we could always put her first. We never had to consider, “if we do this for you, then we have to do for your siblings”, it just seemed so practical to have one child. This way we would never miss a practice, a game or a school concert. We would always outnumber her and there was always someone around for her. Did it ever occur to me that there’d be too much of us for her? No! I assumed she loved it as much as we did.

You know the term helicopter parents? Hi, WE are Dee-Dee and Jerome. You couldn’t miss us. We were everywhere she was.

Conventional parenting was just not our thing. She liked to sleep in our bed, no problem. We’d be hanging off the bed, barely sleeping, but the princess was comfortable, and that was all we wanted in life, was for her to be happy and feel loved. “Just let her be a kid”, words I would say to myself all the time. A pressure free, chore-free, responsibility-free life! We let her walk barefoot to feel the earth. Play in the rain until she was soaked. If she saw a puddle of mud, we’d encourage her to jump right on into it! She led and we followed. I know, sounds totally healthy, right?

As an only child, she got away with a lot. I thought it was cute, but I am sure an outsider would say it was a bit obnoxious. For about three years, we would drive an hour each way to a daycare that was in the mountains of Ringwood JUST so she could get fresh air, see wild animals and hike on nature trails. She was 3. During the summer she went to a camp that had all day outdoor activities. She’d go swimming, canoeing, and fishing. She went horseback riding and on field trips once a week. I am quite sure she would have had just as much fun (or more) if she went to the town recreation camp with her schoolmates, but I just thought these were the things she needed.

Trust me, I see there are fully functioning humans that spent summers home, playing in the street with their friends and it didn’t cost a penny to their parents. No extra commutes, stress or financial burdens. I just assumed we had to give her the best of everything. I didn’t realize that sometimes the best things in life are FREE until I invested a mini-fortune into ridiculous daycares and summer camps. You live and learn.

We moved to a town with a great public school, thankfully our money would go to the school she attended and we’d see a return on our investment if we played our cards right! As a student, we never micro-managed her education. We keep informed without being over-aggressive. As she got older, she progressively began to take school more seriously. Her grades improved and now in her senior year of High School, she has a full day of classes despite only really needing 3 classes to graduate.

As far as her behavior, I’d be lying if I said it’s all rainbows and butterflies. We had moments of greatness and then… the other moments. Like, the day I got a call from the school because she passed a note during class. I had never dealt with this, and I wasn’t sure HOW to handle it.  I left work early, picked her up curbside. I never picked her up, so she knew it was coming. With a smile on my face, I got out of my car, walked around to her. I politely asked for her brand new iPhone. There, in front of all her friends, the crossing guards and other parents I walked to the front of my car. Without a second thought, I gently placed the phone under my front tire. I got back into the car, put it in drive and proceeded to roll over it. I put it in reverse and made sure I got it good. Then, with everyone watching, I went from drive to reverse three or four more times – for good measure. I got out, handed it back to her with a smile and drove back to work.

Was that normal? Probably not. But, I knew I had to show her I was the BOSS.

I believe we instilled a healthy sense of fear in her that day. I knew my best quality was my unpredictability. She was so used to being dealt with in a very delicate, loving way – that when I snapped and raised my voice, I scared myself AND HER.

Of course, my husband let me do most of the disciplining. He only came in when absolutely necessary. He couldn’t understand my logic, “WE PAID FOR THE PHONE, WHO WERE WE HURTING BY BREAKING IT?” he said. But I knew, I couldn’t stick to a punishment, so I had to destroy the phone in order to make sure I didn’t cave in an hour.

I had a coworker who had 7 kids, I’d always say “how can you possibly share your time with all of them equally” or I would tease and ask “rank them in the order you love them”, and he’d tell me to “SHUT THE HELL UP”. But, one day we had a real conversation about it, because he could tell I really didn’t get how a family with so many kids worked.

“You don’t run out of love when you have more kids,” he said, “you just find more love you didn’t realize you had left to give”. I was perplexed. “Your tank never hits empty?”

It took some time to make sense of this, in my mind, I figured it worked in an entirely different way.

Example: You have a pitcher full of LOVE… Every kid has a glass and you pour the love evenly among all the kids. You line up the glasses to make sure nobody gets too much or too little. Now, let’s say another kid comes along… AND YOUR PITCHER IS EMPTY! You round up all the cups, and skim a little off the top from each. The new one gets LOVE and the rest sacrifice a little to make it happen.

That makes total sense to me…

Apparently, that is NOT how it works.

I just know in my mind, having ONE CHILD meant MY PITCHER IS FULL and her cup runneth over, right?

Wrong.

So, here we are… She is almost a full adult and she can get her cup all filled up from other sources besides us: friends, family, school, work, hobbies, exercise and passion projects.

So now what do I do with my pitcher of LOVE?

Which brings me to these magical words from an older and wiser friend…  “Dee-Dee, it is unhealthy to obsess over a child so much”.  Her advice: “have some more kids… If not, put that energy into your marriage, girl.”

OBSESS? Aren’t ALL parents as OBNOXIOUS as ME?

“You and your husband need to build a strong foundation. Chloe can’t be the bricks AND the mortar…” she went on… “One day, whether you like to admit it or not, she will leave the nest and how will your home stand without a strong foundation?”

Wait. WHAT? Leave the nest? I couldn’t imagine a world where my little Chloe wouldn’t be right under MY wing. Alas, here we are… She was right. This ingrate is trying to leave for college!

I think about this woman often, it felt so “preachy” when she said it to me 13 years ago… Now it just makes sense.

A marriage is a union meant to withstand “until death do us part”. Not parenting…Mom and Dad are forever but PARENTING, the actual ACT of it… that comes to an end when they no longer require our full-on attention and guidance.

I wonder how my husband feels. He acts collected about the whole thing but, he has GOT to be a mess. They have this bond that is a cross between “Daddy’s Little Girl” and “Nightmare Next Door”.  One minute they’ll be laughing, the next minute doors are slamming. I have never witnessed such love and anger between two people. Remember when Michelle Obama said “when they go low, we go high”, well the motto between them is “how low can you go”. It’s funny, but it isn’t (I’d cry if I was in the war of words with them.). I cannot imagine a day going by without them bickering, never mind a week or a month!

Just a few days ago I told my sister that I thought they’d never speak again. She laughed at me, this wasn’t the first time I have said that. Sure enough, a few hours later, I hear them joking on each other. She was right. It never is the end of the world, it’s just how they love.

What will he do without her physically in the house? WHO will he argue with? PLEASE NOT ME!

Listen, he is not known for being the most rational. We are talking about a man who would get upset when Chloe came home on Valentine’s Day with her shoebox full of little tiny cards. Once, among the sea of Valentine’s, was a heart-shaped box of chocolates. Taped to the box was a little card that read: “I Love You Chloe” adorned with a drawing of a curly-haired stick figure and a tall stick boy holding her hand. I thought it was precious, he DID NOT.

That evening after dinner he went missing for a few hours. When he walked through the door, he was carrying a PINK BICYCLE without training wheels. It had pom-poms and a little horn. He bought the matching helmet, knee-pads, elbow pads and in the basket was big stuffed bear holding a heart. This was his way to “one-up” the stick figure boy with the box of chocolates. This mess has carried on every Valentine’s Day since she was 5 years old.

To this day, Chloe gets more excited for Valentine’s Day than any other holiday. This Daddy/Daughter Valentine’s Trend got bigger with every passing year. He’s filled her room with dozens of balloons while she was at school, there’s been jewelry, bouquets of overpriced flowers and dinners. This past Valentine’s Day when the doorbell rang on February 14th, I didn’t bother getting up, I just yelled for Chloe. 2 Dozen Chocolate Covered Strawberries were delivered and a card with a crisp Benjamin was waiting on her dresser. Daddy/Daughter dances weren’t a thing when she was growing up so, he created this monster.  I love that on Valentine’s Day the only person she is waiting on is her dad. (He will never let her down!)

We have all lived under the same roof for almost 20 years! She is an important part of this “Kanhai Machine”.

I live a very quiet and secluded life: hammock, meditation, wind chimes. He is very busy: loud music, talking on the phone, always on the go. Yin and Yang. She was the perfect combination of us. Kept us grounded and young.

So here we are, every day is a new rush of emotions. Every Acceptance Letter is an overwhelming sense of PRIDE and of course… a little bit of a blow. We aren’t sure exactly where she will end up, school decisions are still up in the air, but we are preparing for her being a flight away and we will either pack up to follow her or SOMEHOW manage to create a whole new version of US while she is at school – which is probably the more sensible choice!

Chloe, if you are reading this, I am sorry if we didn’t get this parenting thing just right. We did the very best with what we had, and you made it seem so easy and fun. We will support your decisions and allow YOU to make the best decision for YOU. I will take care of Dad, I promise. I will even yell at him once in a while so he doesn’t get too bored. Finally, I won’t be turning your bedroom into my Etsy Studio, despite teasing you that is my master plan. NOR will I turn it into a GIANT playroom for the dog, although he does deserve it. Your room will remain exactly how you like it and it will be waiting for you to come home for some of mom’s food, some love or just to get a good night sleep in your own bed.

As for US, me and Jerome, for the first time ever, we will be husband and wife, not just mom and dad. Am I ready? I don’t know. I guess we will find out the hard way, like we did everything else up to this point. Of course, I expect to bring you all along for the journey of what is next for the Kanhai Family. But, #KeepingUpWithTheKanhais is a FULL-TIME gig, so brace yourself!

College decisions coming soon! Happy March Daily Feelers!


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Dee-Dee Kanhai, aka “The Spice of Suburbia”, was a big city girl for 25 years who was transplanted to the Suburbs of Northern New Jersey. This relocation led to her “undoing” and with that, the discovery of her true self. Besides being a wife and mother to a teenage daughter and toy Chihuahua, Dee-Dee works in finance and owns a small Etsy Shop @LoveTheUndoing, where she sells heart-made jewelry, crystals, and other whimsical crafts. Dee-Dee is a student of life, teacher of meditation, practicing yogi and a mystical moon child.

Dee-Dee’s Etsy Shop

Love The Undoing Website

 

 

This…or Something Better (Manifesting Your Desires Like a MF’r)

Blogger: Julie Slater – “The Lotus Flower”

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to participate in a Manifesting Magic course. A friend was beta testing a two-week program. The part-time wizard inside of me was filled with glee – this seemed like a perfect source for my sorcery.

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If you’re unfamiliar with manifesting – it’s simply a mindset of intentionally creating what you want. The idea is that everyone has the ability to manifest anything they desire – wealth, jobs, even cheese. 😉

But how do you do it? Let me share what I learned.

The first thing you need to do is decide what you want to manifest. It can be something as simple as finding a parking spot or as big as finding the love of your life. I think with most things, deciding you’re going to do something or deciding that you want something is the first and most important step in achieving it. It’s about being determined and setting an intention.

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OK, who’s ready for some manifesting, my lil’ Feelers?!

On Day One, DECLARE! Come up with your mission statement – what do you want? Write it down – make your declaration more concrete.  The more details, the better. Tell others about it, too. Scream it on a mountain top (optional).

On Day Two, RELEASE! Wait, what? Yes. Take that awesome declaration and let it fly up into the sky like a helium balloon. You’re releasing the HOW of your declaration, meaning you let go of how you will receive what you’re looking for. You leave yourself open to all opportunities for the Universe to bring this thing to you. You let go of any ideas you have of HOW this thing should come to you. When you hold on to the HOWs – you block the path. When you give into and trust the Universe, you leave the path clear.

On Day Three, BELIEVE!

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  • BELIEVE what you want exists
  • BELIEVE it exists FOR YOU
  • BELIEVE you are deserving of it
  • BELIEVE that it is already on its way to you

Think about that – what you want is already on its way to you! Exciting, right? What’s crazy is – believing this isn’t always that easy. Our mind sometimes likes to find some smack talk – telling us we’re not worthy. But guess what?

YOU  ARE  SO  F*&*KING  WORTHY!

Lastly, my favorite day – on Day Four, RECEIVE. What’s nice about this part is you don’t have to do anything here. Not one darn thing. Just sit back. Relax. And leave your arms (and mind) wide open – ready to receive.

Now that you’ve done all the work – DECLARE, RELEASE, BELIEVE, RECEIVE, it’s time to dig deep into the feeling of having what you want. Believe you already have it. And start journaling. Write down how you feel – having gotten what you wanted. Write out what a typical day is like with your new manifested item/life. And keep acting like and allowing yourself to feel like you already have it.  How does it make you feel? Does it bring a smile to your face? Does it make you feel accomplished? Do you sleep better having this thing? Can you touch it? How does it physically feel? How does it feel to tell others about it? Really start feeling this new life. What does your new life look like?

Here, I’ll go first. My fantastic new life:

I have a job(s) that utilizes my talents wildfully (my new made up word) and wonderfully. In this job, I’m also paid a nice salary with delicious benefits. Most importantly, this job jump starts a new era of my career with excessive growth potential. Perhaps with this job, there’s a reason to send me to Europe…and I’ll hop, skip, and jump to Italy with my boyfriend. We have no debts and enjoy a lucrative lifestyle. My boyfriend’s job gives him great satisfaction and pays well. Our dog remains healthy and enjoys life. A soundproof booth also appears for my audio book narration side-hustle. I also book some high-profile voiceover jobs that pad our bank account. I’m wearing fantastic clothes, and shoes, and enjoying dinners with amazing wine and family/friends. There is tons of laughter, and sunlight, and gratitude. Everyone is healthy, with a full belly. This…or something better. 🙏🔥🍷🐾

Notice I ended the description of my new life with: “This…or something better.” I dig this phrase a lot. It means, sure, I would like to manifest THIS…but I’m also OK with manifesting SOMETHING BETTER. That mindset helps you to release the exactness of what you want, even more. It tells the Universe, YES, I want THIS…but hey, if you’ve got something better, I’m cool with that, too. Because sometimes the “exact” thing we want isn’t meant for us.

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Ok, now it’s your turn! Talk up your new life. Write it down. Be very specific about what you have gained and how it makes you feel. {BTW – tomorrow (3/20/19) is our next full moon – which happens to be one of the best times to manifest.}

Always remember, you are what you think. Everything happening in your life is a reflection of what is happening inside of you. Whatever you focus on will take shape and manifest into your daily life – whether you like it or not. We can spend so much conscious (and unconscious) time saying negative things to ourselves. Start becoming more aware of your thoughts. And when that pessimistic voice creeps in, flip the script!  And yes, please cue up some REO:

          “So, if you’re tired of the same old story, 

oh, baby, turn some pages.”

      – “Roll With The Changes”, REO Speedwagon

You are the writer of your story, your script. No one else. You write out the plot. You pick the characters. If you’re tired of the same old story, friend, you gotta heed REO’s advice – and turn some pages. Come up with your own version of happily ever after…OR SOMETHING BETTER.

NAMASTE.


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Julie Slater, aka THE LOTUS FLOWER, looooves music. Besides being a rabid fan and musician, you may recognize her voice. She’s a voiceover artist and audiobook narrator (www.julieslater.com). She’s DJ’d on top stations: 88.5 FM and 100.3 the Sound in LA and 92.3 K-Rock in NYC following Howard Stern.

When she’s not at concerts, you can usually find her meditating or in the kitchen. She has a slight obsession with deep, dark cabernets & small batch whiskey. Namaste!

 

 

Dear Unprepared Spring Breakers…

Blogger: JB McCann – “The Phoenix”

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It’s March 18th. My kids are officially on Spring Break and I am not prepared!! Can you believe that? Me, not prepared? I’m the Queen of Planning. I never even go to Target without having thought through every aisle before I enter the door. I’m literally a walking ball of efficiency, but today, I’m a hot mess mama who’s about to be spending the next 7 days straight dodging the 100 questions rapid-fire AND politely deflecting the tantrums that follow when my kids realize the truth. Mom is on a tight budget and I got nothing spectacular on the horizon. I need a plan and I need one now.

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To myself: “Breathe, over-thinker. People live like this all the time. Winging it…no real destination, just blindly moving about…annnnnd as I try to embrace this thought process, I feel the anxiety tighten in my chest.”

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Sorry, friends. I just can’t do spontaneous with my 5 & 6 yr. olds. So, I grabbed a napkin and started to plot out the week. This is the City of Angels. Surely, I can google a bit and find some cool freebies to keep my little people busy? Well, I’m gonna make this brief because I thought I had 45 minutes to write this and, in actuality, I have about 12 minutes.
Monday: Beach Day
Today, we are going to Malibu Lagoon. It’s a small beach with free parking. I can pack a cooler full of snacks & pbj sandwiches. Done & done.
Cost: $20
Tuesday: Hiking Trails
It’s 2 hrs. climbing and playing at the original Bat Cave in Griffith Park and followed by lunch and fresh air at the old zoo playground. Pack some lunches and call it a field trip. Done.
Cost: $10
Wednesday: Rainy Day
By Hump Day, I’m gonna be so sick of outings that I’m gonna have to make being lazy look super fun. Movies, popcorn, dance parties, & shadow puppets on the roofs of our forts. Most likely, I’ll be meal prepping in my pjs with whatever vegetables are left in the fridge which makes me very happy and if mom is happy…you know the saying. 😊
Cost: So Free
Thursday: Yard Work
Only, I won’t tell them that is what we are doing! I have all this mulch and vegetable seeds that I have got to get down this week. I’m gonna try to preface this task as something to “help the planet”. They always jump at that. We can picnic on the grass & maybe get out a slip and slide. Never underestimate the power of a slip and slide.
Cost: $26
Friday: IKEA & Karate
Now, this one is actually planned. I’m taking the kids to Ikea in the AM to play in their giant ball pit while I sip coffee and work. Sorry, not sorry. I have sh** to wrap up on Fridays and I have been working nights at home all week to make sure these adorable angels had a wonderful stay-cation. So, yes, it’s kinda dull for them for 90 minutes but, I achieve so much in this tiny window that I consider it a necessity in self-care. So do all the other moms sipping their free coffee refills. Later this evening, they both have karate practice. They can work out any built up aggressions my “me time” may have caused them.
Cost: $14
Total spent entertaining my kids this week: $70
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The weekends are never planned. So I’m gonna wrap this up now. I definitely hit my 12-minute marker. My kids are starting to pace. I have yet to ask them to do anything. It’s 8:45am. I think I have about an hour to transform this winter bod into something beach ready and pretend I love salt water.
Really, you can’t go wrong on Spring Break. Just stay busy. Get outside when the weather is nice and enjoy not having to rush out the door before 8am! That’s my goal. We have been so busy with doctor visits, homework, schedules…what we all need more than anything is downtime to recharge and inspiration to keep learning. That doesn’t cost a dime. Good luck out there, Daily Feelers.
jb
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JBfeb
JB McCann has worked in “The Biz” for almost a decade, yet she’s somehow managed to keep her feet firmly on the ground. Her altruistic spirit aims to evoke your Inner Phoenix and encourage readers to take the difficult leaps in life, so you can continue to grow.

 

Is Social Media Causing Our Heads To Explode?

Blogger: Michael Strange – “The No Filter Father”

As we enter the middle of March, I am officially a year older (thank you for all the kind birthday wishes), St. Patrick’s Day is in our rearview mirror, and spring is almost here.

Every March, we all spend a little time being college basketball fans for a few weeks. We fill out a bracket that we think is right but in all honesty we don’t know shit about college basketball. We just want to be apart of the office pool, and maybe win a little extra cash that will make up for the $400 you spent in Target when you were just going there to buy some toiletries and a case of water.
They call this tournament “March Madness”, and I started thinking about all the anger and madness there is in America today.
It’s everywhere. I see people angry in stores, on the streets, at sporting events, and especially in the news and all over social media.  Are we really this angry at the world? Or do we all just miss the sounds of a friends laughter that will certainly put us in a better mood?
Let me start with social media. It is by far the easiest target which seems to end more friendships and marriages these days.
 I have been on Facebook for over ten years. I still think it is wonderful. I was able to reconnect with old friends from high school, college, and even former coworkers that I couldn’t ever stand.  I have never had any drama on social media. Never got mad at someone for their political beliefs or their views on life. I simply scroll past.  But I see friends arguing all the time, mudslinging,  and people genuinely mad at the world which ends up as their status.
Just the other day, I was scrolling through my newsfeed and I saw an angry post with an obscene hand gesture. What was it about? Other drivers on the road and their bad driving. The person that wrote the status is someone who never vents on social media. I never want to call a person out so let’s call this person, “Janis G”. What made this Janis character this mad to lash out in this very public way? Surely the other drivers were not going to see this post, and think I need to become a better driver.
 I see a lot of people post things like Janis G. did. Many friends screaming about traffic, coworkers, neighbors, work, etc.. The worst is when people share their family problems on social media.
Then, there is my favorite…when people just type UGH!!!!!!!!!! So you are having a frustrating moment, and your first thought is “holy batshit, where the fuck is my phone? I need to put my anger into a message on social media”.  Are you that needy? Is everyone on social media a masochist? Think about this. You want to tell the world UGH!!!! Rather than AHHHH!!!!
Most of these posts remind me of a time I was upset at work. I wrote a nasty email to a vendor. When I was done I stopped, reread the email, realized that I sounded like a jackass and deleted the email.
This is just a slight example of anger on social media. I see people turn off their accounts because they “can’t deal with all the bullshit on Facebook”.  I see this a lot from one of my friends. I don’t want to name names, so let’s call this friend “Pam”.   I’ll see these messages from “Pam”, and I’ll be a little concerned.  I’ll text her and ask her what’s wrong? She typically says “Facebook Drama”, and I just shake my head.
If you want to hear an asshole, just fart. Do not get caught up in drama online that will make you angry at work or at home. It magnifies everything that you do. If you really want to make yourself angry, google how much the Kardashian’s earned last year, that’ll piss you off.
This is why I like Instagram. Because all I am on there for is to look at scantily dressed woman and earthpix. Earthpix is the best.  Check them out. The pictures are amazing. It makes me want to travel the world and see all these amazing places. But I quickly realize I have two kids, and they are not travel companions at this point, so, oh well, I guess I’m not going.
Sorry, I got off the subject a little there.
It doesn’t stop there. I read threads on political issues posted on Twitter. I am not a tweeter. I actually think Twitter is insanely stupid, but I have an account and I use mainly to chat with my Los Angeles Chargers fans (I’m such a dork). But Twitter is very fast with news.
 I follow a few really left-wing people and some right-wingers. When they post things there are usually hundreds of comments. Now, this is where I entertain myself (not in that way people). I read all the arguments, and you can begin to see how people get really worked up. And I’m picturing them pounding the keyboard as they are going back and forth. I laugh to myself. I can tell these people are angry, and taking things very personally. And why??? You don’t know the other person that you are arguing with. Who gives a flying fuck what someone in Topeka thinks.  People just want to pick fights, take offense to anything that is said that they do not believe in. People, take it easy. Go get a fucking jigsaw puzzle.
This is why I believe that social media is causing more headaches than you ever thought possible.  In short, people just need to relax on social media.  Its main purpose is to show the world that you can cook, brag about where you vacation, and how your children are doing.
But it doesn’t stop with social media. Oh no. I see it everywhere. It only gets worse when you think about the current state of the country. It just seems like people want to argue. I honestly believe that if the Democratic Party said that we need to build a wall right now, the Republican Party would stop and say that we shouldn’t do it. Just so they could argue about it some more.  If the politicians could stop throwing stones (quoting the Grateful Dead there) at each other for a little while, I honestly believe the level of anger and hate would drop in this country.
Sporting events are another story. Grown men fighting about sports? Here’s the thing you idiots, you get nothing from it.  The athletes make millions and don’t care about you as a fan. The Yankees are not going to give me a championship ring if I beat up a Red Sox fan. Last year a pregnant woman was choked after a football game in Pittsburgh (a Chargers fan nonetheless).  The Pittsburgh Steelers banned the fan from attending games. Take that, you dipshit.  Here’s an idea: go sleep on it!
Is it because it is winter, and people are getting stir crazy? Maybe. When I was living in dreary old Manhattan, during the winter there would be fighting in the subway and fighting on the streets in crosswalks. People seemed to be much more pissed off in the winter, rather than summer. Maybe summertime in Central Park cures everyone’s anger?
Is there really that much anger/ hate in this world? What can we do to stop it?  Remember people, everything has a solution as long as you have a positive attitude/mood.
My next blog will be in the spring when people are a little less crazy. Me? I will still be the three H’s.
Blog update: in my January blog I mentioned that my son was throwing his dirty socks all over the house, and I would get him to put them in the hamper. I’m still working on it. And yes this makes me a little upset.
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micwithtag
Native New Yorker, now living in Connecticut. Husband, and father of two amazing boys. Kidney transplant recipient, and a big supporter of organ donation #donatelife. Mortgage banker, but not by choice. In my free time, I enjoy golf, reading (especially presidential biographies), and finding that hole in the wall restaurant that has great food.

Hey Moms, What About Your Special Needs?

Blogger: Janis Gaudelli – “Champion of Truths, Unicorns & AWE-tism”

If there is one thing Moms across the globe can agree on, it’s that we suck at self-care.  We’re wholly committed to taking care of everyone else in our lives, and so we forget about ourselves.  Yep, you know it’s true: it’s like making ourselves a priority is a selfish crime that makes us bad mothers.  Well, I am calling bullshit on that judge-y belief system.

In case you missed it, International Women’s Day was last week. That day, I scrolled through countless posts applauding our feminine strength, highlighting our rise in power and the strides toward equality which we have made as a gender.  That’s all good and truly empowering, but let’s get real ladies: if we don’t start giving ourselves permission to pause and prioritize our own wellbeing, our rise will come to a screeching halt.

Speaking of rising, did you know that stress levels among women are at an all-time high? More women are being treated for anxiety than men, and it’s been reported that heart attacks among women are on an alarming upswing.  Ladies, it’s time to wake the fuck up.  Let’s quit trying to kill ourselves to prove how strong we are.

I was raised by a Mom who gave every ounce of herself, every day, to her husband and four kids.  So, I grew up to believe that’s what strong Mom’s do, sacrifice their own needs for their loved ones.  Since I became a mom and adopted my mother’s selfless path through motherhood, I’ve realized how detrimental it is to my wellbeing.  It’s even more evident while navigating parenthood solo and raising a child with Autism.  I’ve learned that I cannot give motherhood my all if I am not taking care of myself.  Period.

I found this out the hard way a year ago, when I had a full-on, Mom-sized meltdown (experts might refer to it as a panic attack). Unfortunately, I remember it well: I experienced a day of complete and utter fuckery (clients wanting, needing and not appreciating, pulling out my back during CrossFit, my son’s anxiety ramping up at school, etc.), and as I drove home I realized my tank was on empty, not in my car, in myself.

I remember driving up to my house, putting my car in park and just sitting there.  I couldn’t get out.  I was paralyzed and numb, and unsure of what I needed, but knew I needed something, quick!  I had a 6-year-old inside waiting for me to show up and mom hard.  But I had no reserves left. So, I sat there in my car, blasted the radio, and emotionally unleashed.  It started with tears pouring down my face, then the wails, oh dear God the wails, I could still hear them.  Sounds that bubbled up from deep down inside of me, and exited out with such a force, resulting in noises I didn’t know a human was capable of making.  I was gripping the steering wheel for dear life, my dear life, which I was severely neglecting.  After 15 minutes of breaking down, I knew a change was most definitely in order.  I wiped my tear-stained face and got my messy-self together.  I marched myself inside, hugged my kid tight, mom-ed as hard as I could, and the next day began my life-saving self-care plan.

If I am being completely honest, that situation in the car, scared the shit out of me.  While I live with situational anxiety, I had never gotten to that point.  I had ignored every warning sign, every red flag, and every indicator that I was not ok, that I needed a break.  All systems shut down.  I hit parental rock bottom in the car that night.  It was an important wake-up call that I need to be truly conscious of, and prioritize my mental/physical and emotional wellbeing.

Last week, I attended a conference about new alternative techniques to treat children with Autism.  I walked in and saw many caring parents who looked incredibly uncared for.  Once the audience members began networking with each other, it became clear that my observations were spot-on.  They not only looked exhausted but voiced it as well.  I knew their exhaustion wasn’t only from lack of sleep (although that’s a legitimate grievance among parents with autistic children), but it was their spirit that was weary as well.  It felt all too familiar.  To see yourself in another, in that state, is both comforting and truly alarming.  Throughout the conference, there were a lot of hugs and numbers exchanged for support.  As we took our seats for the last speaker, a slide appeared on the screen.  It was the only slide in this speaker’s presentation, and it was a quote:

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The speaker’s presentation was about the common stressors of raising a child with autism.  We stared at that quote for 45 minutes while he spoke, and we all felt the weight of it.  Stress wasn’t unfamiliar to the audience members in that room, but this quote conveyed its magnitude.  Throughout the conference, we parents developed amazing new tools to care for our autistic children… but I had secretly hoped one expert would guide us on how to do the same for ourselves.  How do we take care of our own special needs?

That conference lit a fire under me to put some plans in place, both for myself and to share with those who might not prioritize their self-care.

Plan #1: Share my story of the motherload meltdown/panic attack, and what I learned from it. jan

Plan #2: Encourage people to pay attention to themselves and what they need.  Share my self-care plan with others who are literally & figuratively “exhausted.”  This month on The Daily Feels we’re sparking self-care in our March Me-ness Tournament: all month long we’re posting a daily reminder to take care of yourself with easy ideas of how to follow through. jan

Plan #3: Do something feel-good for the Autism community.  April is Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month.  Each day in April, The Daily Feels will celebrate a hero living with, raising, or in some way supporting those living with Autism.  If you know of someone who you would like to honor, email me at janisgaudelli@gmail.com. jan

Plan #4: Set constant reminders to check in on myself.  Here’s the cold, hard truth: you cannot fully show up for your family, if you don’t fully show up for yourself.  We have this “Super-Mom” idea all wrong.  Super-Mom’s are not sacrificing themselves for their family.  Super-Moms are women who prioritize their to-do list to ensure they’re being taken care of as well. jan

Plan #5: Repeat this mantra daily: You are a better mother, wife, friend, daughter, significant other, employee, etc. when you carve out time to take care of yourself.  It isn’t selfish, it’s self-love.  It shows everyone in your life that you matter and sets a great example for those watching.jan

Here’s to you, Super-Mom!

JGsignature


jannew

Janis Gaudelli is The Founder of The Daily Feels.  She started this passion project to reveal the magic behind storytelling, and how truth-based narratives bring people together in the most heart-warming of ways.  Fascinated by soul, depth, intellect, raw truths and rebellion with a cause. Often captivated by the awe of nature: star gazing, moon manifesting, sunset chasing, waves crashing, crickets singing. Fiercely curious about the inner-workings of the human psyche… she professionally studies human behavior for a living.  Forever proud and grateful for being a mom to the force that fuels her life: her 7-year-old son, and greatest professor, Kellan.

FOLLOW JANIS AND THE DAILY FEELS TRIBE @:  FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM

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Straight Talk About Living With Parkinson’s

Blogger: Debbie Arace – “Ray of Sunshine, Hope & Laughter”

Against my better judgement, I am going to take you behind the laughter into the reality of this disease.  The only reason I am doing this is because a friend thought I needed to share the truth about what daily struggles are faced, and how I cope with them.  Mentally, I try not to talk or think about what I go through, I just do it.  I really find no comfort in feeling bad about what’s going on.

It’s coming up on twelve years since I first noticed the twitch in my left pointer finger that made me say,  “Crap, I think this might be Parkinson’s”.   I immediately went through all the stages one goes through when hit with a terminal condition.  I assumed I was dying.  I saw and felt my body beginning to act differently.  Every movement became a struggle.  I could sense a state of worry wanting to inhabit my brain.  I needed an intervention and fast.  I called upon God before I went to the doctors.  I asked for strength, courage, and guidance.  In silent prayer, I decided that if I had to have this disease that I would accept it but in my own way.  I believe God said go for it and  I did.

“You Get What You Get…

There’s a quote from a popular children’s book “Pinkalicious “ by Victoria and Elizabeth Kann that goes like this:  “You get what you get and you don’t get upset”.  I have learned to survive life living by this credo.  When life throws a punch my way I don’t say why me, I say why not me?  I’m not immune to life. I just know what medicine to take so I don’t land on my back.  Laughter is my medicine of choice.  I was going to make laughter part of the meds I’d now have to take to combat what was happening to me.  Some people turn to street drugs or alcohol to numb their pain but those are not options for me.  Too risky.  I’ve found that laughter is a much better way to ease the pain with no side effects other than maybe peeing your pants. (Loss of bladder muscle control already causes that so that side effect is already covered, ha, ha).

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Parkinson’s affects everyone differently.  This is how it affects my body. I wake up usually in the middle of the night either from trying to move or because my bladder wants me up.  It takes a couple of minutes to figure out the easiest way to maneuver out of bed because of the stiffness.  I’d prefer just lying there but the bladder says you have ten seconds to move or I will.  The bladder always wins which literally pisses me off.  ha, ha. Turning in bed requires work which has become a daily workout regimen. I feel like a beached whale that can’t flip itself over to get back in the water.  Once I flip around its time to sit up.  I attempt four to ten tries at pathetic sit-ups before I’m finally able to get myself into a sitting position.  Once I sit up, I have to mentally prepare to stand up.  I become The Little Engine That Could.  I think I can, I think I can.  When my granddaughters were younger, they applauded me when I succeeded.  They’d say:  “yeah, you did it”.  When the youngest one sees me struggle now she looks me in the eye and matter of factly says:  “Just ask God for help”.  I do and He does.  Once I get into a standing position, I have to tell my brain that it’s okay to start walking.  I can only go a couple of steps before the discomfort of standing and walking starts.  This leads to me propping myself against something or sitting again.  There is no graceful way to sit.  I usually just plop down because the muscles are tightened up.

Sitting for any length of time, usually ten to twenty minutes, causes my legs to really stiffen.  That’s when I start changing positions to get comfortable.  Walking, something that I loved to do, has now become a feat within itself.  My toes curl under my foot so it looks like my feet are headless horsemen.  This makes walking painful and difficult.  I go only a short distance.  They say walking helps.  I’m sure it does, it just doesn’t help me.

My left-hand shakes, so I have to maneuver things in a different way. My strength (I used to be strong like bull ha, ha) is weakening.  Everything that came naturally is now a chore.  Going out is a challenge. Just getting ready takes an additional two hours added to my beauty routine.  If I do go out, which is rare, I need to know in advance how far I have to go from point a to point b, are there steps, are there handrails, where’s the bathroom, and how long am I expected to stay? Because of the bladder situation, I find it difficult to plan on going places.  Should I have an accident while out requires much work to do.  Removing clothing is a struggle. I can’t just do what used to come naturally, which is why I prefer staying home.

Some people understand, some don’t.  Honestly, at this stage, I do what’s right for me.  If people don’t understand there’s nothing I can do.  I try and make the best of things by laughing it off and not thinking about what’s happening to me.  There’s no need to think about what’s happening.  It’s my new norm and I deal with it.  The only thought that I put into it is the thought of how to do what needs to get done.  Now you know why I don’t think about what Parkinson’s is doing to me.  If I thought about it, I’d be depressed.  I prefer injecting myself with a good shot of laughter to ease what’s happening.

How I Use Laughter To Cope With Parkinson’s

There is nothing funny about how Parkinson’s affects the body.  I can’t control what it does to me.  All I can do is control how I let it affect me.  I choose humor to get me through it.

When I went to a top neurologist from Columbia University, and he confirmed what a previous neurologist had said, about me indeed having Parkinson’s.  I thought I’d have some fun.  He said:  “You have Parkinson’s”.  I looked the neurologist in the eye and said:  “I don’t think so.  I know what I have and it’s not Parkinson’s”.   Here I am telling a prominent neurologist that he was wrong.  The nerve.  I mentioned that Dr. Parkinson’s had studied the symptoms of others, and made his conclusions without himself having the disease.  Why then should I call my “dis ease” Parkinson’s when he never suffered from it?  I told the neurologist that I did my own study, and knew exactly the cause of my symptoms.  With a straight face, I said:  “I have Auginsons”.  He looked at me a bit perplexed, as I asked if my husband could come into the examining room.  He said yes.  I explained the reason I had tremors, and why my body tenses up was standing right before us.  I introduced the doctor to my husband.  I said: “meet Augie, the cause of my “dis”. ease”.  After spending time with the two of us, and watching us interact with one another, I’m sure he agreed with my self-diagnosis.  I indeed suffered from “Auginsons”.  lol.  He turned to me as I was leaving and said:  “Your humorous approach to this disease is going to decrease its affect on you.  You have a great outlook on dealing with life”.  I simply said that humor is my antidote for life.  He agreed.  I knew at that moment that the most important prescription for me was to take laughter when needed.  It is needed constantly.

From that moment on, I decided to lessen the blow of this disease by coping with it in my own way.  I can deal with having Auginsons.  Heck, I’ve had it most of my life.  I know there’s a cure for it too, although it may land me in jail, lol.  Seriously though, I choose to find humor in dealing with the everyday trials of my “Auginsons.  As the book says:  “You get what you get, and you don’t get upset”.  I have what I have.  When I look at the sufferings of others, I have no reason to be upset at what fell upon me.  I don’t have to like what’s happening to me, but I have to live with it in the best way possible.  That way is with humor.

Not only does humor help me through it, but I think it helps others get through it with me.  I don’t want anyone to be uncomfortable watching me, so I crack jokes instead.  When my hand began to tremor more, I told my granddaughters that my hand was magic. It could do things others hands couldn’t.  They began referring to my left hand as my magic hand.  They still do.  When I had to get a chair lift, not to make them frightened by seeing me in it, I told them I had a magic chair ride in my house.  Naturally, they wanted a magic ride.  They would bring friends over to take a ride in their Nanna’s magic chair.  They loved it.  This makes it easier for them to handle.  And it makes me happy knowing that they don’t take my illness too serious.  My way of joking about what’s happening to me makes it easier for adults to deal as well.  People don’t know how to react when they see my condition.  By me joking about it, makes them more relaxed around me.  When I say I have Auginsons, most people get it so they don’t feel sorry for me (or maybe they do ha, ha).  The plus side of it is that when people watch me shake when doing something, they usually offer to take over the chore.  It’s a win, win for me.  Ha, ha.

My hubby is a tremendous help around the house.  He’s always willing to help.  Of course, things are done his way, and in his time frame but they do get done.  And yes, I cringe and tighten up when I watch him work.  lol

I am not trying to make less of Parkinson’s.  It’s no picnic not knowing from day to day how the body will react.  Loss of motor skills, muscle strength, bladder control can definitely be a downer.  I take it as it comes.  Some days I push harder than others.  I always try to do the things I used to do around the house.  It may take me hours, days or a week to complete a task but I do it with determination.  Other days I spend quiet time with God.  I’ve created my own happy place within the confines of my home.  I don’t expect people to understand why I don’t do things as I used to.  I do what’s right for me.  All I ask is to be respected in my decisions on how I cope.  The hardest part of this disease is when people don’t understand the effort that’s put into every day things that we take for granted.  Humor definitely makes coping so much easier.  So does the understanding of others.   Remember, just because I’m laughing doesn’t mean I’m not hurting.  I’m just choosing not to get upset.  Believe it or not, the high of laughing really does work better than any high alcohol or street drugs give.  Isn’t my way much better than going into a state of depression?  Life is what we make it.  I choose to make it a comedy of errors.

We are all going to face challenges.  They may hit us like a ton of bricks.  If we can learn to take them on, and not get upset, we stand a good chance of getting through whatever we may face.  If we can find humor in trials even better.  We all owe it to ourselves to move forward in dealing with the unexpected.  I move forward with laughter. When people come to visit I like to give them a dose of laughter, and I try to make them leave with a goody bag of fun moments from my “crack up” house.  I guess I am a drug dealer because I want people to become addicted to laughter like I am.

Writing has become a form of therapy.  It prevents me from going to the dark side.  I guess that’s why my stories are so lengthy.  If you’re one of the few that reads my winded words, thanks.  You’re part of my therapy too.


bippic2019

Married 44 years to my hubby whose purpose in life is to prevent me from getting through the “Pearly Gates”.  Mother of two, Nanna of four loving granddaughters and retired secretary aka administrative assistant.  I went to the University of Hard Knocks where I received my Doctorate.  My thesis is titled:  How To Survive Life’s Trials Without Killing Yourself or Someone Else.  I live by the belief that when life throws you a curve, learn from it rather than use it against yourself.  Faith and humor are my survival kit.  Appreciate the simple things for they are the true treasures of life.

A St. Patrick’s Day Mulligan

Blogger: Padraic Maroney – “The Neurotic Urban Millennial”

This weekend is a holiday people love to hate. It’s St. Patrick’s Day; the one day of the year when everyone is Irish.

While St. Patrick’s Day is a source of pride for the Irish, it also just gives everyone else a reason to get drunk and be ridiculous. In Philadelphia, for the two weekends before the holiday, we have the Erin Express, where twenty-somethings are transported from bar to bar to drink copious amounts of green beer and puke all over the city. Much like New Year’s Eve, it gives people an excuse to get drunk and make bad decisions.

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In case you can’t tell from my name, I am basically a leprechaun. Want further proof? I was apparently born with red hair, and to listen to my mother tell the story, when they took me to get my first haircut, the red went away and grew back dirty blonde. It was more traumatic to her than me, as she was the one left in tears from the incident. During the summer, I still get a ginger tint to both my hair and beard.

A few years ago, my aunt did a DNA test. To her dismay, it came back that she was only 49% Irish. Being Irish has been so baked into our family DNA that she had been hoping for at least 51%. Apparently, no one in my family is worried about being arrested for being a serial killer, because this past year my brother and mother also got their DNA tested. It says that my siblings and I are a little over 41% Irish.

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But on a personal level, St. Patrick’s Day has also been special to me for another reason. The reason? As a kid, my dad always treated the holiday as a second birthday for me complete with greeting cards and presents.

In third grade, I received a grey Huffy splatter paint bike. It’s basically the best present that I ever received.

All of this is to show how important the holiday is to my family. This year, I’m giving it a different significance because I am requesting a mulligan. Each year that I complete another spin around the sun, I take stock of everything and plot out the next year. However, since my birthday, it’s been a rough six months. Along with my well documented “injury,” there’s been some family issues, and I somehow got the neverending ebola that was going around and lasted for almost two months.

As I write this, I am down for the count again, with what I can only describe as what male menstrual cramps must feel like. Since taking my digital detox last month, I’ve also found going back on social media to be mentally exhausting.  I find reading comments on articles or Facebook posts too much to handle. I can’t even find some dumb enjoyment from it because everything ends up triggering hostility.

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So, for my “half birthday,” I’m starting over. The irony of this happening during Lent isn’t lost on me. But, I am going to leave all of the bad stuff from the last six months behind and start fresh.

I’m doing this because, possible menstrual cramps aside, I have noticed (especially in the last month or so) that it’s all begun to wear on me. Physically, my body is tight and feeling out of whack. A friend recently did some kind of back massage function to me and I reacted so loudly, that I am surprised some little old lady didn’t ask to have what I was having.

Mentally, my fuse has become much shorter. The euphoria from my detox has worn off and between worrying about things and constantly trying to keep everything afloat, I’m mentally exhausted.

The near depletion of my mental and physical wherewithal has also led to an emotional depletion. I’ve found myself unwarrantedly snapping at people and dumb things on TV and movies have started to cause emotional reactions, when they haven’t ever before.

So, I am just loudly proclaiming that I can’t continue this way. The little gold eye masks, which I have started using because my friends like to round up all of our ages to being 40 (despite the fact that I am nearly a half-decade away), aren’t strong enough to hold off the wear and tear of life. Rather than every weekend being filled with appointments, responsibilities, errands, and attempting to keep my apartment from looking like an episode of Hoarders, I would relish being able to just say fuck it, and go grab a meal at Arby’s.

 

So, rather than continuing down this path and hoping for a change to magically happen, I am taking matters into my own hands. Come next Monday, it’s a brand new day and, oh yes, I will get one (or two) of those tasty sandwiches.


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Padraic Maroney hails from upstate New York, suffering from middle child syndrome.  His writing career began after moving to the Philadelphia suburbs while in high school. He wrote for The Bucks County Courier Times’ Reality section, written by local teenagers, and has the distinction of writing a weekly gossip column for a college newspaper at a school he didn’t even attend! His love of pop culture led him to intern at Teen People, where he met Janis Gaudelli, and realized he could turn being a millennial into a career. Since then he’s alternated between writing and marketing, but always focused on Millennials and everything they bring to the table. Padraic is a lover of shenanigans, 80s music, and the movie “Scream.”

You can follow his additional adventures on Instagram: @padraicjacob

The Honor of Bearing Witness

Blogger: Jessica Reed – “The Westchesbian”

It’s March 9, 2019, and my wife’s friend (I’ll call her S) is dying. It’s not what I want to write about or think about, but it’s all I’m thinking about and therefore what I’m writing about. It’s the first time in my life I’ve seen dying up close. I’ve seen AIDS—back in the ’90s—through early, middle, and later stages; I’ve seen cancer through similar stages (I’ve seen fake HIV/AIDS in all its fictional stages too, but that’s for another time). But this stage, this final, agonizing, gasping stage, I’ve never been in the room with it before, and I feel changed by it.

Let me back up. I am obsessed and terrified by death. I mean, I consider on a near daily basis how I could die that day and calculate the probabilities of said death. OK, on a daily basis for sure. OK, multiple times a day. And it fucking petrifies me, that you can be there and then suddenly not be there. That you can just disappear from your physical form. That you can simply cease to exist. And I’m sure some of you are thinking, but god and heaven and reincarnation or whatever your end-of-life belief system is, which I’m sure is a great comfort and something I often wish I had, but I believe what I can see and what I see is death as the end of what we know as living.

I’ve long instructed Kim, my wife, that she is to keep me alive at all costs. Fuck DNR—call me a pirate if you want, but my instructions have been RRRRRR all the way. If I’m in a coma, you fucking keep my body running. Days later, weeks later, months later, DECADES later, people wake up from that shit! I’ve told Kim I don’t care if I’m a head in a jar on the mantle (we don’t have a mantle, but there also aren’t living heads in jars, so let’s not get too caught up in the reality), you fucking keep me alive and keep me updated on what’s happening outside the jar. This actually led to a rather awkward dinner conversation one Women’s Weekend vacation in Provincetown. Kim was all, but what if I can’t afford it? And I was all, you do what you have to to keep me alive. Sell everything. I want all the machines. All the IV lines. All the resuscitation. Head in a jar, baby, head in a jar. And Kim was all, what about my life? What about moving on? And our friend, who was several margaritas in, was all, how can you be so selfish, Kim? And Kim and I laughed because we both knew that Kim was joking and I kind of wasn’t. Head in a jar. It’s been my death mantra.

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I didn’t know S before. Truth be told, I just met her for the first time last Saturday when I went with Kim to visit S in the hospital. But through the excruciating pain of metastatic brain cancer, S’s eyes lit up when Kim introduced me, and she grasped my hand in hers and kept saying in her voice that is now a whisper, “Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Jessica. Oh my gosh.”

 Kim keeps her work life separate from our life. In fact, she didn’t come out at her job until after we were married, specifically the Monday after our honeymoon. That’s not to say she didn’t talk about me before then, more that I was just Jessica: Jessica from Kim’s weekend, Jessica with whom Kim went on vacation, Jessica with whom Kim bought an apartment; the sense I get is that I was ever present without anyone ever acknowledging what they had to know my presence meant (or not; people’s ability to miss what’s not spelled out for them has ceased to amaze me). I, on the other hand, am pretty much as out as I can be wherever I am, including and especially at work, where I feel an acute responsibility to use my white Jewish privilege to steward LGBTQ inclusion in the ultra-corporate world of Big Media, and if Kim would let me parade her around my office, I would 100% do that. But that’s not Kim’s way. She has a tendency to compartmentalize, and work is one of those compartments, a compartment in which she’s spent more than 20 years, which is to say she’s known and worked with S for 20 years.

 They’ve said “Bom Dia” to each other (S is from São Paulo) nearly every weekday morning for 20 years. They’ve shared countless lunches, most recently discovering O Mandarin together in Hartsdale. They’ve had long boozy dinners with their third “senorita,” whom I’ll call C. And seeing Kim and S together (and Kim and S and C), even as sick as S is, I see the love there, the connection, and I feel honored to witness it.

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Today, S was moved from the hospital to a shithole nursing home. Tomorrow, we will help her overwhelmed fiancé find a hospice because S deserves better than that shithole. And I will feel honored to hold S’s hand and read poems to her from my phone. And I will feel honored to have met S’s mother, whose heart is visibly breaking, and to have hugged her while she cried because sometimes comfort comes more easily from a stranger. And I will feel honored to have met S’s sister-in-law who clearly adores her and calls her “Babi.” And I will feel honored to have been a small part of a circle of women surrounding S in these final days. And I will wonder, when my heart skips a beat, whether it’s some undiagnosed coronary condition, and I’ll think how awful it would be for Kim to deal with my death and S’s at the same time, all while calculating in my head what the chances of that are. But I will, for a little while at least, stop saying “head in a jar” because it’s disrespectful to S and anyone else suffering through their last days but also because it’s bullshit. Which Kim knows. And I know. And it seems less funny now.

 Bearing Witness,

Jessica the Westchesbian


jessblogphotoJessica lives with her shiksa wife and geriatric cat in picturesque Tarrytown on the Hudson. Although a proud Westchesbian these days, Jessica grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, back when the opening of the Olive Garden and the 24-hour Walmart were big news. During business hours, Jessica’s a communications professional who translates highly technical concepts into clear, concise, colloquial language that media buyers and sellers can understand. Outside of business hours, she’s a poet, cat mom, wife, avid reader, and lover of questionable crime, sci-fi, and supernatural TV shows (preferably all in one), not necessarily in that order. Her poetry has appeared in Tin House, The Paris Review, LIT, and The Huffington Post, among others.