Monday, May 23, 2016

Nobody ever told me...

   There are tons of things that my mother never told me. 
     If I had been filled in, a) I wouldn’t have believed her or, b) I would have been in denial and turned a deaf ear. 
     You tend to think that you are infallible as a youth and don’t pay proper attention to the advice you are offered. 
     “Just you wait.” 
     “Oh, I hear you now, mom.”
     Besides, certain feelings you have to experience to understand, and all the words in the world could never explain them.  

***
     As you get older you fight a harder battle to keep your body weight down. The two- mile walk, or bicycle ride, turns into a four miler for the same results… if you are lucky. 

     Some grown people don’t work on the job, or play well with others in social situations, any differently than when they were little kids demanding their own way. 

      Raising a family and working is exhausting. Your mind is in high gear with little downtime. Weeks blend together and the outside windows don’t get washed. 

      You have to go through pregnancy, and only then, will you see that your physical body changes- that rear end lowers ever so politely.

     Time rushes by faster each year you live life. 

     You will lose close friends at an early age. Death is inevitable and there are many tears to be shed. 

     Something that was a big deal when you were a teenager - like being the shortest girl in your class - is not so important anymore.

     A love relationship ends and shakes you to the core until you are able to move forward.

     Your closest adult friends might include people older than your parents.

     It is one of those most difficult life events when you loose a younger sibling and you grapple to get your feet moving forward. You hurt so much. 

     Your parents will become like children as you take on the role of caregiver. 

     You would live in so many different places before calling one a permanent home.

     Toenails and fingernails become brittle and tough to keep manicured as you age.

     You will quote your mother more and more until one day recognizing that you have become her.  

     A house never stays clean.

     No one can explain to you the euphoric feeling that comes over you when you birth a child. 

     Surviving the loss of a job, and the subsequent searching for a new one, is tough. You feel vulnerable. 

     People will listen for your wisdom and respect your opinions.   

     Your kids’ antics will clue you into how your own parents must have felt dealing with your shenanigans. 

     Genetics plays a bigger role than you think.

     Retirement is so much fun. No further explanation required.

     Hobbies might turn into your career, or a second one.

     Your preschoolers start their love life early.

    Returning back to your hometown is never the same once you’ve gone away. Those childhood memories are best kept tucked away.

     Your heart breaks when one of your adult children is suffering or in difficulty. Giving emotional support and sharing advice is all they need, though.

     Buying a new car, furnace or putting on a roof is expensive and that they don’t last that many years either.

     Living at a distance from your family is lonely at times. Living close, on the other hand, can have its ups and downs, too.

     Hanging out with a preschooler is an education in itself in unconditional love and friendship.

     Nobody ever tells you that a multitude of feelings often occur all at the same time, and everything is fine.

     Talking to older relatives before they pass on gives you insight into your ancestry. 

    As a young parent you spend your week between the pediatrician’s office and the grocery store, and sometimes those are your only outings into the adult world.

     You never get ahead of bills and taxes. 

    Certain things you gracefully phase out with age like leggings and wilderness camping. 

     You can do life at 50 and not be crumbling to pieces.

    Mattresses wear thin as do complicated people.  

     Your in-laws will want you to spend every holiday with them.
  
     The stock of sympathy cards goes up while your wedding invites go down in relation to your age.  

     Boyfriends, or girlfriends, come and go, but true friends last forever.

     When your children make you handmade cards and gifts for Mother’s Day, those are cherished forever. 

     Car seats are lifesavers.

    Little kids get sick a lot, and in a flash, they recover. In the meantime, you hang on to a cold for days. 

     Eating every morsel on your plate doesn’t have anything to do with starving children in Africa. 

     You repeat yourself the older you get. 

     Finding your first gray hair and wrinkle happens when you are least expecting them. 

     Your mind has brain freezes at the worst possible moments.

    Someone you thought was your second cousin is only a friend of the family. Somehow the person got blended in and you never knew the difference.

    You would be running in a 5k as a senior participant.

     Cherishing family heirlooms is as valuable as decluttering your house of extra stuff.

    Getting your feet wet is not going to give you a cold.

     Picking up the phone to talk with your mom or dad is a habit hard to break after they pass away.  

***
     Being intelligent, powerful, maternal, and sexual- all these qualities go together- is what you are all about.
          
    

I wonder what ever happened to...



     The nine-month pregnant mother in the head-on car crash I witnessed on the highway near Rochester was rushed off by ambulance to the hospital quickly before the rest of the accident victims were thoroughly examined.
     The whole thing should never have occurred in the first place – thus, the name accident – except an overanxious driver behind me decided to pass three cars, one of which was mine.
     Mistake. A car was coming in our direction.
     I knew the two cars would hit. I had that bad feeling in my gut and the sound at impact was a huge deafening noise, which was frightening.
     Fortunately, I was able to veer to the right on the shoulder and get out of the way. The driver who had darted out suffered minor injuries, and immediately, he was out of his car assessing the damage.
     It was the young woman that emergency personnel were most concerned about.
    Along with everyone else, the police questioned me. When I got home badly shaken, I wrote everything down that I had seen just in case I would have to testify in court. I was positive that my mind would play tricks on me later and the story would blur.
     An appearance never came to be, and I know nothing more.

***

      The credit card I lost somewhere while shopping is a complete mystery.
      I didn’t realize it until the next day when I was rearranging my purse and the card was missing from its usual spot.
      Retracing my steps, I went back to each store hopeful after cancelling the card with the bank. I should have know better that if the card had been turned in by an employee or customer at one of the smaller stores, I would have been contacted.
     I was convinced it must have dropped on the floor in the supermarket when I rushed to put it away while grabbing my shopping bags. At least, that’s what I visualized in my mind. Not so.
     Nothing had been charged to the card. It could have been far worse. It was only a tiny blip on life’s speed bumps. However, it drove me crazy trying to figure out how I might have been so careless. Lesson learned for the time being - until the next slip up.
     That mistake stays unsolved and the card is long gone crunched into bits in garbage heaven. May it rest in pieces.

***

     My seat companion on a short flight from Paris to Bilbao, Spain, has a special reason to be excited about the trip. She came all the way from Toronto to reunite with a distant relative she had connected with through Ancestory.com.  
     While we sipped tea and pastries, the woman shared that her growing up years were in Spain during the Second World War. Her family fled to Canada leaving behind relatives and friends. She wore the clothes on her back and carried a small suitcase of her earthly possessions.
     She told me how this girl and her were close growing up. Apparently, they had lost touch over the years, and she sighed saying that moving to a new world kept her family too busy.
     “People get let go other than in your memory,” she said.
   A lucky break determined her ability to actually meet her relative that lived in the Basque Country. It seems that her grown daughter and son-in-law had moved from Canada to Bilbao for work a couple years prior to her searching her genealogy. Once she had established the connection, the Bilbao daughter met the relative and convinced her mother to travel.
    When we parted at the end of the flight, I wished her good blessings. It was joyful watching someone walk off the plane in such high spirits.  I hope the reunion went well.

***

     The cab driver and the two other male passengers were stuffed in like sardines with my daughter and me for a four- hour drive from Albany to Islip.
     It was a snowy late afternoon when flights from Albany were grounded and since my plane was heading to Long Island, the airline – those were the days – put us in taxis bound south free of charge.
     I could see that the other cabs were filling up faster than ours. Sure, no one wanted to be cooped up with a frantic mother and a weary child, especially if they were to find out that the little girl was mega prone to carsickness.
     A head would pop in, look at us and pull back out to find another cab. Finally, two latecomers had no choice but us.
     Besides, it would be a slow drive on slick roads.
     None of that happened. The cab driver was cheerful and sang all the way taking turns with the rest of us. We were spontaneous and goofy. There was no stick-in-the mud in our midst.
     By the time we arrived at the Islip airport no worse for the wear, all was forgotten when my parents came to greet us.
     Sometimes when you anticipate a certain outcome, you get surprised. Look at how great things turned out when everyone co-operated and made the most of an unfortunate situation.
     The cab driver had to turn around and go back to Albany. The other two businessmen went out the revolving doors. Thanks everyone. And by the way, my daughter never got carsick on this adventure either.
***

    We all wonder about people, places and things from time to time that come into our lives for a brief moment.

                     

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Peeps still rule the candy aisle



     Peeps are back in, or did they ever leave the candy aisle?
     Other than getting a shaky sugar-high, eating a Peep is munching on emptiness. You get little worthwhile for your investment.
     Compare that statement to political campaign rhetoric. That’s as deep as I will put my toes into the arena. I’d rather nibble on Trail mix.
     Little did I anticipate that my Facebook page would be inundated with comments.

     I was anticipating a chuckle here and there, and maybe a smattering of likes. In its place, I struck a nerve - a very, deep- seated coveting for sucrose.
     Boy, was I wrong about those little treats neatly lined up in rows like a marching band displayed in a plain carton covered with clear plastic wrap.
     Soon Peeps became a trending topic on my Facebook page, and I got miles of free publicity. Peeps are the victor in the popularity contest.
     From, “I love Peeps,” to poems and saber-sharp comments such as, “Peep shows rule,” I learned that Peeps are alive and well just like their devoted fan club.
     One mom wrote, “__’s antibiotic is so nasty she has been downing it and eating a Peep, followed by drinking water. A peep =  a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down in the most delightful way!”
     “Sweet,” I replied. (That wasn’t very original.)


     A writer friend who regularly posts in verse on Facebook cleverly said,
“Poor little bo
fell fast asleep
only to find her basket with peeps
all spilt and dry beside
when she woke to a poke
and ran over hillocks to sing
as loud as she could nearby
but to no avail
for the first day or rain
they floated downstream
and left their coatings behind them.”

     Those pastel marshmallow Peeps are having a renaissance like Star Wars and hula-hoops. No longer just an Easter candy when the business was established in the 50s, Peeps are found year round.
     What a smart company to capitalize on success and tackle every American holiday. Super Bowl Sunday with Peeps and beer.
    At least with the new Star Wars mania you can count on the force with you while shoveling down empty calories, getting a sick stomach and a mega headache from too many Peeps.


     As for hula-hoops, you whittle the waistline down if you can handle hours of wiggling your hips. Certainly it is not an activity for compromised body parts in any way.
     One Facebook friend told me that his body has been holding together with rubber bands for years, and he would no more attempt doing a hula-hoop routine than jumping into Conesus Lake in mid April for the Vincent House Polar Plunge.
     Someone else suggested that they leave hula-hoops to the grandkids, and instead, show them pictures when they were in their prime. And eating Peeps, too. You know you did.
     A friend texted me – she didn’t want this out to the public - that Peeps s’mores, home-made chocolate covered Peeps, Peeps marshmallow chocolate chip cookies were a few of her regular recipes.

     Peeps are made from sugar, corn syrup, gelatin, and various food dyes.  - in other words, every ingredient that is bad for you, but oh, so delicious to the taste, or so you say.
     An annual "Peep Off" competition is held in Maryland on the first Saturday after Easter, when Peeps are greatly discounted, to see who can eat the most in 30 minutes.
     A contest –not verified by Guinness, though - was recently held and if you ate so many Peeps this Easter that you felt like you can't eat any more, then you're just an amateur compared to Matt Stonie. 
     Stonie is a competitive eater who celebrated the Easter holiday by downing 200 of the marshmallow treats in about 14 minutes. If you're counting, that's 5,600 calories and 1,360 grams of sugar in one sitting.
     If you want to watch this “meaningful and informative” video, here’s the link.
     Another Peeps contest states, “Do you have an excessive amount of Peeps sitting around your house after Easter? You should send them to a guy who devours them by the dozens. 100 Peeps in two minutes.”
      Really? That’s a handful of trivia I could live without.

     I was shoved out of the way near the sale display of candy the day after Easter, when large and small hands were grabbing Peeps as if they might vanish from the earth.  
     I will own up right here. As a kid, whenever I went into a store and no one was looking, I’d squeeze the living daylights out of one those little Peeps.
     Peeps do get stale. Trust me. I know since I pushed them aside in my Easter basket as a kid. I’d open the package, take in whiffs of its disgusting smell and hide those critters in my closet. My cat would not take on Peeps even in his most desperate hour.
     As marshmallow ages exposed to air, it dehydrates becoming "stale" and slightly crunchy. According to Just Born, the Peeps parent company, 25%-30% of their customers prefer eating Peeps stale.
     Are you in, or out on that one?
     The Racine Art Museum sponsors the International Peeps Competition from April 1–28. Anyone can enter the contest around the theme, "peep-powered work of art." I suppose those hardy folks in Wisconsin know how to spend their days when spring weather has barely peeped.
     I give up. I’m moving on and investigating why the gram weight of Snickers candy bars has reduced while the price remains the same.





Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Walking in step with Alzehemier's

    

     I couldn’t help but notice. One of the members of our tour group in Spain, a man in his mid-seventies, was shuffling and staring a head blankly while holding his wife’s hand. Ah, I recognized the signs all too well.
    Oddly though, his wife looked like I remembered my mother in her active and vigorous earlier years – a blond thin woman with a nervous demeanor who would chat incessantly to anyone and everyone. I had the sense that the wife had a great ability to handle any situation. My mother in her prime did, too, before her mind got murky.
     Our group did a lot of discoveries on foot, and it was while walking on the streets of Valencia that I saw the man being pushed along and talked to like a child. It irked me.
     I wondered why he would be on a three-week international trip, until an occupational therapist in our midst said that maybe the couple was having their last vacation and we should honor it.
     Most of the other group members didn’t take a lot of interest in discussing the pros and cons of traveling with someone with Alzheimer’s, and they let it go.
     Not me.

     I saw my mother’s image over and over. The sparkle had faded out of her blue eyes, too, and she had an unenthused attitude about her when dementia set in.
     Each situation and person is different depending upon how long they have been dealing with this most difficult group of diseases. In my mom’s case, it was hard enough to take her out of the safety of her house and its predictable routine for a visit to the doctor.
     I would try getting mom interested in something – “Look, there’s the neighbor boy riding his bike in the circular driveway. He’s waving.” - or, “I saw your good friend from church at the supermarket –you know, the lady that sits in front of you every Sunday.” - and it would not receive as little as a nod of her head.
     The empty look in her eyes. The wringing of her hands. It could unnerve me to no end when a tiny thought would come out of her that had no relevance whatsoever to the conversation at hand.
     In Spain  the wife would let go of her husband’s hand on and off and not be the protective one. He would walk along somewhere in our group of thirty-five people.
     He kept at our pace and never lagged behind, although it became quite common to hear one voice or another rise through the crowd, “Where’s Mel?”
     Someone would send an assuring comment back that they had him in sight, or often their arm would be linked with his, and we were all somewhat relieved. The more we all bonded as a group, the more we took turns with Mel.
     My chance came one evening quite unexpectedly. When I was strolling with the man back from dinner, he started talking animatedly with a different inflection to his speech. There was vibrancy to his overall appearance.
     He lived in the Bronx as a graduate student while his wife worked to help him through. They would try and see as many Broadway plays as possible on their limited budget, and he loved the excitement of the Great White Way. Was I imagining it, or was I detecting a click of his heels?


     That’s how my mother would be when we would walk into her room in the nursing home. You never knew which time period she would be in, and most often like other folks robbed of their thinking and social skills that interfere with daily functioning, she retreated back into a pleasant era. The thirties and forties were grand ones for her and she would talk to her husband  - long deceased- like I wasn’t even present. Well, I wasn’t born yet, so I could see that.
     I went along with the man’s exuberant conversation assuming it was probably in the 1960s when he was young and vigorous. He broke into strains of “Lullaby of Broadway” and sang it to me softly all the way back to the hotel.
     At the front door, he looked at me and asked if he could kiss me on the cheek before we parted. “Of course.” It was sweet and endearing.
     I broke down and sobbed that night in my bed. My mother lost all the affection she had when dementia invaded, and she had no desire to have any physical contact. I was brushed away numerous times. Even though she was on medication, she would be quite negative with her caregivers, too, and crawl into her own world.
     Our tour group was careful not to talk between ourselves as if Mel wasn’t present. “I hear you,he said softly on and off in a monotonous tone, and it reminded us to preserve his dignity and not be rude.
    I only hope Mel’s road trip will go through as many green lights as possible, and when he gets to his final destination, he will be singing, “New York, New York.” Perhaps, my mom will be playing the piano for him, her nail polish glowing on her fingertips.
     Life throws in cautionary yellow lights and full stop red ones on our journeys, reminding us how to harmonize and blend with grace what is set out for us.
     Let us honor those struggling with Alzheimer’s and dementia, as well as the important role of caregivers in their quality of life.


    
   
    



Thursday, March 31, 2016

Peeps are back in, or did they ever leave the candy aisle?

Other than getting a shaky sugar-high, eating a Peep is munching on emptiness. You get little worthwhile for your investment.  



Those pastel marshmallow Peeps are having a renaissance like Star Wars and hula-hoops. No longer just an Easter candy like when the business was established in the 50s, Peeps are found year round.
At least with the new Star Wars mania you can count on the force with you while shoveling down empty calories, getting a sick stomach and a mega headache from too many Peeps. 

As for hula-hoops, you shear the waistline down if you can handle hours of wiggling your hips. Certainly it is not an activity for compromised body parts in any way. Leave it to the grandkids, and show them pictures when you were in your prime. And eating Peeps, too. You know you did.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Travelers: stay alert and pay attention



     It wasn’t a remarkable day by any stretch of the imagination. Nor was it a travel day that I will remember for any particular reason. Simply put, and not by any predetermined plan, I observed folks through a more empathetic lens.
     At 5:35 am the van taking me over to the airport arrived at my hotel. The driver, probably as old as me, and more than likely, due to circumstances unable to retire, hopped out and greeted me with the prescribed, “good morning.” He loaded my suitcases systemically into the rear. He knew what he was doing.
     I noticed a worn copy of a paperback thriller – the latest Jack Reacher – folded cover up on the dashboard along with a red plastic container with food for his break time making the repetitive job go by faster.
     He followed the same polite routine he had perfected picking up additional passengers before leaving me off at the airport. “Have a nice day.”

     I looked into his weary eyes and wondered how long his day would be, and if there was a second job to contend with, too. I hoped not.  If it was so, he gave the impression that he could handle whatever was put on his plate.  
     After getting my ticket and passing through security, I had time in the departure lounge. Normally, I enjoy watching other travelers and their behaviors. However, I gazed beyond seeking out the unobtrusive folks in their place of work.   
     At 6:40 am I spotted a middle-aged woman cleaner coming down the long hallway. She had her routine down pat, and would methodically take out the green trash bag and replace it with a blank expression on her face.
     Where was her mind? Perhaps, she was worried about the bills that were overdue waiting on her kitchen table. Did she take care of an elderly mother? There is no way that I would ever know, but I reminded myself to be a little more appreciative of all the people who work keeping the airport clean and safe.

     As the cleaning lady headed further on down the way, I saw that she was limping a little bit hanging onto her cart, and her ankles in her serviceable black shoes appeared swollen. That dull ache must hurt unmercifully, and day in and day out, it had to be wearing on her body shuffling miles to clean up after the rest of us.


     At 9:10 am I was at another airport in another city and seated in a cafĂ© for a midmorning snack. The counter was relatively empty and a couple of young waitresses were at the end of the row sharing pictures from their phones back and forth with a lot of giggling. One noticed me and came over quickly, greeted me with a grin and handed me a menu.
     “You two seem pretty happy over there. What’s going on?” I asked.
     You get proficient at small talk as a frequent flyer, and I was tired of those superficial spurts and babbles. I wanted engagement with a human being, and the waitress seemed to be a good prospect for a more meaningful conversation.
     The waitress proceeded to tell me about her kids in a school play last night, and that one of them had been back to school for only a week after surgery. She didn’t explain any further. Her friend was showing photos of her kids and their new puppy.
     She walked over to put in my order and I checked my iPhone messages. When it was time for me to leave, the waitress came over and gave me a big smile. “Hope your day goes well.”
      “You, too,” I said. “ Bet you can’t wait to get home?”
     I broke the stereotypical image of a traveler oblivious to those around her space, and surprised the waitress with a moment of kindness. And I left a decent tip, too, which I always do in thanks.
     At noon my plane landed. While waiting on the tarmac for the pod to connect, I watched the organized frenzy of the baggage handlers beginning to put the luggage on the cart for pick up at the gate entrance. Each one worked in tandem with his colleagues and it seemed flawless.


     One particular guy wearing a Denver Broncos cap covering his ears, was bopping to music on his headset noticeably out of sync with his fellow handlers, but no one appeared to mind. He had strong arms that hoisted suitcases with the ease of a weight lifter.
     He would take a few extra steps to display a dance move just knowing that a planeload of people were watching, or maybe he didn’t care, and he was in his own world of merriment hoping to audition for “Dancing With the Stars.” He made me laugh. Certain people know how to make the most of the mundane.
     By 1:05 pm I was where I was suppose to be, and tomorrow the day would start all over again. More hair-raising gate transfers. Chaotic terminals. Meals on the-run.
     Putting my sight to good use made me a more compassionate traveler today. I was not blinded to those quiet folks who assisted me getting from point A to point B.
     When I lay my head down on the pillow in a strange room, a van driver, cleaning lady, waitress and baggage handler raced through my mind. They were getting ready to start a new day. Thankfully, I had a little more time for sleep.
    
    
    
    
    





Saturday, March 19, 2016

A suitable writer



A competent writer follows the inspiration
of whichever genre he desires.

Numerous mornings he pens
poems, and other days,
there are essays eloquently
formed and shaped together.

A fickle soul that muse
The writer reckons.

It’s best to take the phrases
spreading them
on the page for size
and not puzzling over the results.



Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Live on the sunny side



     An acquaintance emphatically told me that he “didn’t do March.” It bummed him out. How’s that for honesty?


     If March comes in like a lion - and it did in many locations in our readership area - then weather lore says that it will level out by the end of the month. That’s promising for kite flyers, baseball fans and lovers of sandals.
     Living in Upstate New York comes with its teasers, and probably if all goes according to history, we will be up for one more giant storm around St. Patrick’s Day, and that should be it for the season.
     Of course, there will be a little more snow – most likely on baseball opening day - but nothing to write home about in the spring of 2016.
     Don’t get your hopes up unrealistically, or take out your shorts just yet, unless you are spending Easter vacation in a southern climate. Even then, you will come back warm to the bones with leftover visions of blooming flowers to find April raining on your parade. So much for the gentle lamb, wouldn’t you say?
    Here is where positive thinking comes into play, and besides, that’s enough discussion on the weather. I was writing about the topic two weeks ago. Enough. I’m taking it off my radar.

     Changing the subject, it occurred to me that in everyone’s life there is someone – sometimes a family member, other times, not - who smoothes things over when the going gets tough and troubles abound.
     You might call them the “storm catchers,” and many of you relate to that very one person who rescued you from yourself, even if you didn’t realize it at the time.
     A doctor told me that a sixth grade teacher saved his life while he was growing up in a tough Bronx neighborhood. In fact, he repeats the same story every time he sees me, and I believe he wants his personal message out about his gratitude for teachers.
     His parents were poor and did their best raising a large family. His teacher opened him up to the world of books and possibilities beyond simply falling into a street gang with prison prospects in the future. His peers were pushing him in the wrong direction. This particular teacher saw his thirst for knowledge, and showed him a different way.
     I asked him if he ever had the opportunity to thank his teacher - he looked at me for a minute before answering - and remarked that he hadn’t ever thought of it until it was too late. Let’s believe that she knows and is smiling down on him.



     I taught numerous children in the classroom, who for one reason or other, were raised by grandparents. Those kids had so much loving care, and I appreciated the sacrifices of grandparents. They gathered up the physical stamina required to run after younger children. A repeat performance was in their curriculum, instead of full retirement.
     Care giving grandparents were fast learners getting a quick mental adjustment lesson in dealing with a skip in generations along with youthful attitudes, styles and language. I don’t think a child suffered any in the long run, and I know many of them as adults who are flourishing. I give all – grandparents and students - full credit for passing with flying colors.
     In many cultures multi-generational homes are the norm, and children grow up with the wisdom and values of their elders every day.
     I noticed while in Spain that grandparents help raise the children so that young parents can advance in their careers. Although affordable, and in cases, free day care is much more prevalent that in our country, all grandparents pitch in to make things flow successfully.


     My tour guide had two teenage boys and “they are a handful” – those were her words - in the Azores where she made her home along with her husband, a construction worker with unpredictable hours. Her parents were live-ins.
     As a travel guide she spent three weeks away on a job, and then a quick break to go home just in time for another tour on the mainland. It didn’t make for consistency in raising kids without help.
     One day I noticed that our guide was on her cell at every chance she could break away, and she explained to me that it was a discipline issue with her eldest son. She was making sure that her parents were on the same wavelength with how they were going to handle the problem. They would be the ones making the final decision in her absence.
     I visited in a Spanish town where a young couple worked out of their home in a travel business promoting ecotourism in their rural part of the country. They had a daughter in kindergarten, and when they were out giving day tours, the husband’s mother, who lived above them in an apartment, became number one in charge.
     The daughter was used to her grandma, and life went on. In fact, the afternoon I was there, the cutie first went upstairs to give her grandmother her most recent art project before coming down to her parents.
    Keep hopeful and looking at the sunny side of life whether it is thoughts of March’s fickleness, or appreciating those who were part of raising you to handle what’s tossed to you.