Monday, August 7, 2017

I'VE BEEN HAD!

"Of course I'll take care of your bunny while you both sail away on a 10 day cruise," I say. "How hard can it be to clean out the cage, refill the water bottle and stick a bunch of hay in the boxes?" I ask myself.

Well let me tell you! For the first few days everything went swimmingly. I'd come in about 9:30a.m. let the little fur ball out while I did my chores, entice her back into the cage with a handful of pellets, close the gate and head back home. Around 6:00p.m. I'd do another check to make sure everything was okay. Since the little dear had been confined all day, I'd let her out, give her a few snacks, and watch her hop around enjoying her freedom for about 40 minutes. I'd talk and sing softly to her, pet her when she came up to me, and loved watching her do flips in the air from time to time. Then back in the cage, out go the lights and bid a good evening until the morrow.

But.....upon returning on Saturday evening for the nightly check, to my horror, I found the cage empty, the gate ajar, and Miss Bunny no where in sight! Since I was instructed to shut all the doors in the basement and the one leading to the upstairs, I knew she HAD to be in the designated basement area. I looked high and low but couldn't find the little bugger. I noticed that the cover on the settee had slipped down from the back, so I assumed somebody had been sitting on it. I knew the guy's mom had intended to stop by on the weekend to check on her darling grandbunny, so I assumed she'd come by and decided to take her home since she, too, had a rabbit in the house.

Case closed, right? WRONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For some reason, I decided to do a morning run on Sunday in case the little devil had returned. When I opened the basement door, much to my surprise and relief, there she was sitting in the middle of the floor looking as pleased as punch! When I asked her where she'd been, she refused to say. Once I completed the morning ritual, I started to leave when I noticed the cover on the couch was more wrinkled than what I'd remembered. Not wanting our friends to come home to a messy basement, I went over to fix it and...... as I removed it I discovered what Miss Bunny had been doing during the night, BITING HOLES IN THE SOFA AND PULLING OUT THE STUFFING! HOLY HOLES!
Now we were both in serious trouble! I went over to her cage and reprimanded her vehemently, so much so she scampered under her shelter and refused to come out. I attached a zip lock tie to the gate and  left her without any possibility of mending our relationship.

After spending the day watching the Pirates, I decided it was as much my fault as hers and went over to give ourselves a second chance. When I saw she was still in her cage, I cut the tie and let her out. In the beginning, she was very tentative and was not eager to approach me even though I had shredded carrots to give as a peace offering. Finally her curiosity won out, and bunny came to fetch her treat. She then hopped around awhile, but wasn't as active as she'd been in the past. I figured she was just worn out from last night's partying. One thing I noticed though was that she kept going over to the recliner and sticking her face in the pillows stuffed behind it. When I went to investigate, she ran away. NO WONDER! When I pulled out the two pillows I discovered she'd also bitten holes in the one and pulled out the stuffing during her Saturday night bash! I immediately returned her to her cage, zip locked it twice, shut out the lights and went home dejectedly.

If you guys are reading this, I do plan to buy you a new pillow and have the settee fixed. I'm very sorry for my bunnysitting ineptitude and promise to do better until your return.

HOPING YOU GUYS ARE HAVING A GLORIOUS TIME! Don't worry about bunny and me because now that I know what kind of evil spirit is lurking in that fluffy creature,  I'm on high alert and security measures have been substantially increased.

love ya'll


Monday, July 24, 2017

A Mother's Love Denied

Early on I realized my brother was my mother's favorite, but since we lived with my grandparents the relationship between my baba and me greatly compensated for any maternal caring that was lacking. When I left home to attend an all-girls high school, again not having any type of bond with my mother wasn't a high priority.  

Years later when I became a mother myself, I began to realize how much the emotional neglect I experienced in childhood had damaged my ability to love. Thoughts of why my own mother never hugged or kissed me crept into my psyche; Was it the way I looked? What I said? How I acted? 
I started to think about any conversations we might have had that would shed some light on answers to my insecurities. It was then that I realized there had never been a meaningful discussion between my mother and me the whole time I was growing up. How sad!

Fast-forward to 1983 when my mother came to stay with us. Her home was in a declining neighborhood then, and unsafe to be an elderly woman living alone. Before offering to take her in, I talked with my brother, wanting to know if he would be willing to extend her the same kindness. He adamantly refused saying he could never deal with her on a daily basis. Her favorite, right? 

Mother lived with us for 20 years, yet our personal connection changed little. I worked full-time while she managed the household. When I was home, she busied herself with mundane activities or stayed in her room talking on the phone to her friends. 

If it sounds like I'm putting the total blame on my mother for not trying to develop a bond while living in our home, I'm really not. Certainly I could have made an effort to get closer to her, but truth be told, that ship had sailed a long time ago. I had squelched a desire for my mother's love, and although I would always suffer the pain of not having it, I just didn't care anymore.

Now it's 2017. I'm a mother of three and a grandmother of seven. Admittedly I've not bonded as tightly with my own children as I would have liked, but I have tried. Since they were little, I've made sure to be active in their lives, been present for all their special events, and surrounded them with family and friends throughout their childhood. Since they've become adults, married and being parents themselves, we've become closer perhaps because we're now on the same playing field. As a 'grammy' in the words of one of the seven, "I'm the smartest, bestest grammy ever"! Without much guidance early on, I think I somehow learned to love myself and show love to those most important to me. 

Why am I telling you about the nonexistent connection between my mother and me now? Frequently over the years in ordinary conversations with relatives, friends, or just acquaintances, somebody would remark about their mother's lack of love for them. Occasionally I've heard terrible stories of how a person was abused physically or emotionally or both by the one who should have been their protector. I now realize that there are so many who have lived without that maternal relationship, and I wonder what kind of folks they turned out to be. Are they stronger, more independent, well-adjusted individuals than those who were seeped in their mother's love? Or are they weak, dependent, maladjusted people because of it?

I've decided to do research on this very topic, and eventually plan to put my findings into a book. If you have something to say, please contact me by email: directorflo2003@yahoo.com. or message me on facebook. Every thing told to me will be confidential, and I will not use anything revealed unless I have your permission to do so.

Realizing how prevalent not feeling love from one's mother is, I believe telling people's stories will be highly beneficial to both the sufferers as well as to those who knowingly or otherwise inflicted such pain. 


Monday, July 10, 2017

THE 'ME TREE!'


First let me say that this post is in no way connected with a particular company or ad campaign. I included the instructions below to merely provide info, nothing more.

I'm at the stage in my life where thinking about my passing pops up now and then in thought and/or discussion. I'm certain I do not want to have a viewing where folks come, exclaim how I  really don't look like myself, (after all, I'll be dead so what would you expect, a glowing, energetic corpse?), shed a tear, say a prayer, and then drop me six feet into the hard, cold ground! Gee, thanks, guys!

For years I've entertained the thought of being cremated and having my ashes sprinkled in the ocean from the Sandbridge, VA. shore. Then I happened upon a bios urn on FB. After reading about how it works, I knew this was for me. Having my ashes converted into a living tree that perhaps for hundreds of years would provide shade, rest, and beauty to so many would be my way of staying alive and continuing to serve others. 

Since I love trees, and have planted more than a few in my time, I figure this method of dispersing my remains is perfect. The only glitch would be as to where to place the 'me tree'. I don't think I want it in my backyard since others would soon buy our home, and have no connection to it's familial value, to them it would be a plain old tree.

Having three adult children with families and homes of their own, I'd be more comfortable with one of them, however I wonder if they'd fight over me, the tree. Two are in the Carolinas, one in Ohio. I guess it would be up to me to stipulate which lucky family would receive my living memorial. I could consider my first born, Joy, but she and her hubby plan to sell their home and travel once their kids are gone. Again I'd be among strangers who have no real connection with that tree in the front of the house blocking their view of the comings and goings of the neighbors.  They'd probably chop me down a.s.a.p! 

Then there's my son, Barry. Although I think he'll stay in his home, he's kind of a fuss budget with the landscaping around his place. There's already a tree in the front, and a bunch of them in the backyard. All are mature and thriving in the Carolina sun so I'm pretty certain he'd be opposed to removing any of them to plant a seedling that may or may not survive in the south.

Lastly, Kristy, my youngest, and the mother of three rowdy boys, will probably be my best bet. She enjoys gardening to a degree, and fortunately for me, her backyard is devoid of much in the way of bushes and trees. My me tree would go nicely there, and as my branches grow wide and strong, her sons will have a natural jungle gym to climb up, jump from, and disappear into its foliage when their dad is looking for somebody to clean the garage.

The only part of my plan yet to be determined is as to what kind of tree I'll be. I'm thinking decorative plum or pear. I don't know how well these types grow in the south, so I'll have to do some research.
 
Hopefully I have plenty of time to decide, but I'm going to hope on it soon since none of us are promised a new tomorrow!

 https://urnabios.com/

How it Works

Step 1:   Purchase Your Living Urn® and Select Your Seedling (or baby tree)
(or purchase the version of The Living Urn® without a seedling and simply pick up your favorite tree seedling, plant, or flowers at your local nursery)
Step 2:   After you receive The Living Urn®, fill the Bio Urn with the cremated remains of your loved one (or, if you don't feel comfortable doing that, have your funeral home or crematorium (or veterinarian for pets) fill the Bio Urn with the remains)
Step 3:   When your tree seedling arrives, follow the planting instructions provided with The Living Urn® to plant a living memory (or click here for an online version)
...pour our proprietary RootProtect™ ash neutralizing agent on top of the cremated remains; then, place the soil mix and wood chips on top of the neutralizing agent

 ...and plant - it's that simple!  

A beautiful memory tree will then grow and keep your beloved family member's memory present in your life!

Monday, June 26, 2017

ENRAGED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So on April 30th I ordered online two rocker/recliners from JCPenney to complete the new look of our living room. I was made aware that it would take 6-8 weeks for the products to be shipped. On June 7th, I received an email stating that the chairs were shipped via XPO Logistics and the arrival date was estimated to be June 17th. It is now the 25th and after numerous phone calls, numerous promises, and numerous failures to fulfill said promises, I'm without my purchases AND without the money JCPenney quickly secured from my bank holdings.

Needless to say, I'm livid!!!!!!!!!!!! Everybody I talked to said I'd hear back from XPO in 24 - 48hrs. with the exact time they'd be appearing in my driveway with my long-awaited chairs. Nothing, no calls, nada, nil!

Yesterday I call the JCP furniture shipping department once again and spoke to a chap named Mel. He reviewed the entire case, put me on hold in order to contact XPO, and informed me that because of it being the weekend, staff was scarce and he'd be able to get to the bottom of this dilemma on Monday. Mel promised to get in touch with me today with good news. Somehow I didn't quite believe him so I decided to give JCP Customer Service another try. Alovely woman named Susan answered, and when I wanted their complaint department she offered to listen to my story of woe.

Susan affirmed everything I told her since she'd pulled up my account where everything that had transpires was noted. After apologizing profusely for the inefficiency of all involved, this customer-friendly associate gave me the spill. She told me that this has been happening more since JCP contracted with XPO who somehow often misplace or lose items . How in God's holy name can two rocker/recliners be misplaced or lost?

She advised me to ask to speak to a supervisor in the furniture shipping dept., but when I told her I had, and Mel said he wasn't permitted to give out the names of management, Susan was aghast! Furthermore upon studying my account again, Susan said that it appeared that Mel had closed my case which meant it had been resolved. At this point I was ENRAGED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Before terminating our call, Susan gave me the coveted number for Corporate Customer Service, advised me to wait until Tuesday since Mondays are extremely hectic, and encouraged me to ask for some type of reimbursement due to the lack of incompetency I've been forced to deal with.  I intend to totally follow her advice.

If you're planning to buy furniture from JCP in the near future, I strongly suggest: CUSTOMER BEWARE! at least until Susan in head of their furniture shipping department!








Monday, June 19, 2017

A Treasured Legacy Worth More Than Silver And Gold!

The main purpose for writing my, 'When We Were Kids' series, was to paint a realistic picture of what life was like in the Fifties. More than anything, I wanted my children and grandchildren to know who I was as a child, my personality, my quirks, my joys, and my sorrows. Although these four books are works of fiction, they truthfully portray my life and the lives of my immediate family. Most of the events happened, and most of the folks included in these stories are real, live people although many of them have since passed away.

As each book was published, I gifted my seven grandchildren with a copy despite the fact that two of them were just babies at the time. I figured they'd grow into them over the years. On Saturday morning, my seven year old grandson, Beckham, called me in a dither. He explained that he had just finished reading, 'Playing Hooky,' the first book in the series, and had a lot of questions. Beckham wanted to know: Who 'Danny' was? (my brother) Did the nun really say, 'that there are poor children in China with nothing to eat'? (yes, many, many times) Did the bullies at the creek split open Danny's head? (yes, he had the scar to prove it), Did my Baba stick me in a pan when I was born? (yes, and I wouldn't part with it for the world) and so on and so on and so on!

Eureka! I had achieved my goal if only for this one Saturday morning conversation. However what followed warmed my heart to the core. Beckham's ten year old brother, Liam, joined in and began asking questions as well. Somehow we got on the topic of what things cost back then. The boys wanted to know if an ice cream cone was really only ten cents. I told them about the 'White Palace' Ice Cream Shop and how often we stopped there for cones, sundaes, and their famous 'vanilla cokes'! They couldn't believe that all of those treats sold for less than a quarter.

Now I was on speaker phone, and the questions kept coming. How much was a loaf of bread, a gallon of gas, a car, a house??????????  I tried to be accurate in my answers to the best of my ability. They were totally amazed!

When Beckham asked if the bakery that I mentioned in the book was still there, I replied that it was and that I'd taken his older cousins, Brady and Brenna, on a tour of my childhood home town last spring. Both boys wanted to know why I hadn't taken them, but since they weren't in PA at the time I promised we'd go upon their next visit.  When I said I treated B&B to one of my favorite pastries from the Blue Bonnet Bakery on  Eighth Avenue, they about jumped through the phone!

We continued to talk about the house I was born in, the 82 steps my great-grandmother had to climb every Monday morning after grocery shopping, where my mom and dad lived, and much, much more. Our conversation lasted a good twenty minutes, yet for me, it covered a lifetime of memories.

I know Beckham and Liam and the other five grandchildren will treasure the legacy I've written down for them forever. I also believe they will pass these books on to their own children, and hopefully they will do likewise.

Just a suggestion, but if you think your children and grandchildren would love to know you as you were as a child, write it down and hand them a treasured legacy worth more to them than silver and gold!









Monday, June 5, 2017

Thoughts On Retirement

After yesterday's eleven o'clock Mass, everybody was invited to the social hall to celebrate Father Len's retirement. He's been our pastor for eight and a half years, and having reached the age of 70 a few days prior, was eligible to hang it up, so to speak.  What a great party! Delicious appetizers, scrumptious cookies, and a delightful cake along with plenty of friendly conversation highlighted the affair.Many parishioners shared their personal stories of how Father Len had had a positive effect on their lives in one way or another during his time at St. Elizabeth Seton.  A memory table was set up in the back of the hall with photos depicting the good pastor's life from birth to present day. Countless comments about what a sweet baby he was, how cute a youngster, and how long he wore his hair as a teen swirled around from an adoring fan base. Father made himself available so that we could say our good-byes and wish him a well-deserved and peaceful retirement.

Since the party, I've been wondering about what people think of leaving the work force in general, and about my own retirement in 2000. When to retire is a huge decision, and one that needs to be carefully planned out before taking that leap into the unknown. Of course, one's financial situation should be of paramount concern. Without having saved enough money to provide the life style you're accustomed to, can have devastating consequences. When passing through the check-out line at Wal-Mart lately, I've noticed a number of seniors standing on their feet for hours in order to make ends meet. Social Security and pensions don't seem to cover a person's bills these days, let alone provide any extra cash for a few simple amenities. When casually talking to them, many of these folks lament the fact that they may never be able to quit working. My heart goes out to each and every one of them.

Besides the money aspect but just as important is the mental and emotional factors involved. Most people considering retirement have no idea what it is they will do afterwards. Without a plan, a good many find themselves floating on the sea of confusion and disillusionment. They don't have anything to fall back on, no second careers, no hobbies, no interests. They lose contact with their former coworkers and find themselves alone and lonely. Depression can quickly set in, robbing them of the energy to find any joy in what was promised to be their 'golden years'! How sad!

I retired the first of June, 2000, and although our finances were in order,  I must say it was a shock to my system! I've always been an early riser, so after reading the paper and drinking my coffee, I was faced with many hours of trying to come up with something meaningful to fill my day. I'd clean, cook, shop, and read. The problem was that I'd done all of those things before AND managed to work a 10-12 hour day! I enrolled into a real estate course, took exercise classes, and scoured the internet searching for an outlet that would fulfill my needs and spark my mind. For almost three years feeling lost and without true purpose, I became depressed.

Fortunately after one of my aerobics sessions, I bumped into an old friend and as we talked, she invited me to a musical performance she and her group, 'The Harmony Singers' were putting on in a few weeks. That one chance encounter became the pivotal point that changed everything for me regarding retirement. Not only was the group phenomenal, but many of the participants were around my age. Once again being in contact with folks that shared experiences much like my own provided me a social circle I desperately needed. As an extra bonus, the singing, dancing, and acting lifted my spirits and within the next year, I became a certified member.

From then on a positive momentum was born. I became a first-time grammy, adopted a sweet puppy that remains attached to my hip at all times, started a second career as a children's book author, and began volunteering in church and community events. My outlook on life is now one of anticipation and excitement. Although I didn't relish the first years of retirement, perhaps they were indeed necessary in order for me to move forward. I won't lie, I would have rather avoided them altogether, but if that is what it took to get me to the joys of today, then that dark period was certainly worth it.

Oftentimes when I find there aren't enough hours in a day to do everything I had planned, I wonder how I ever managed to hold down a job, too. Funny how things change dramatically and yet somehow still stay the same.

Good luck to Father Len and all the new retirees! My hope is that this new phase in your lives will bring joy and challenge every single day. However, if you have a plan unlike myself, you're probably way ahead of the game! I wish you peace, joy, and love!









Monday, May 22, 2017

HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HUBBY!

The man that I married 49 years ago is still the man I'm married to today. Back in 1968, Barry was funny yet serious, thoughtful yet forgetful, generous yet thrifty, and outgoing yet humble.. I think those four qualities were what I liked most about him then and continue to appreciate now. Because of these attributes, he's always been able to provide all the necessities of life for our family and then some. He puts everybody and everything ahead of his own needs and wants. Actually Barry has a hard time allowing himself even the most mundane of items. Last week while shopping at Wal-Mart, he mentioned he probably could use another pair of workout pants, but didn't buy any. I had to literally drag him to the Tee shirts to pick out a few he's talked about for months.

So for his birthday this year, I decided I was going to buy him something he'd never dream of getting for himself. We have a 32" TV in our family room that has poor sound and seeing the number of pitches in a ballgame is next to impossible. Sooooooo...on Friday, my neighbor,Ben, his buddy, Stricko, and I drove to Wal-Mart and picked up a 50" SAMSUNG 4K UDH TV with all the bells and whistles. Tonight Ben and his wife, Delcie, are going to knock on our door and yell, 'SURPRISE!' Ben will hook everything up, and, voila, a happy, happy birthday present for my hubby that will totally knock him off his feet, and one that he absolutely deserves!