What do you want your obituary to say?

Something I never thought about until a few weeks ago, when I started writing obituaries for The News Herald…

Obits come to me every day by phone, fax, email and sometimes people come into the newspaper and I collaborate with them.

In an odd way, it’s an honor to write (or help write) a summary of the story of a person’s life. Their interests, accomplishments, employers and the loving families that they leave behind–or that have predeceased them.

When I started the job, I was nervous about grammar and punctuation. Readers of this blog will understand! I’m not the ‘punctuation princess’ and I often bend the rules of grammar, sentence structure, etc.

familyMy job might just drive my children crazy.

I’m reminded each day that there are no guarantees. I’ve written notices for infants, teenagers…all the way up to nearly 100 year olds. There’s no hiding from it. Anybody can pass away. At any time.

After a rough day last week, I told my children that I needed them to drive carefully. That I loved them too much, for them to be careless. They knew I was serious. They made me promise to be careful, as well.

My mother passed away when I was 20, after a three-year battle with cancer. And my mother lost her mother early as well. My Aunt had lost both of her parents by the time she was 16. Her husband lost his father when he was only a teenager.

Probably, this is why my family ‘gets’ it. We’ve always gotten along. We don’t argue over petty things. If we’re angry or hurt, we address it with each other quickly, then move on. To the important stuff. Being together. Laughing. Having fun.

I was raised by (and around) people who lost parents young, and I lost my mother young. And I think that’s where I learned my values. Values shared by my family.

I always thank people. (Even if I don’t like them!) Those who do me a kindness will be thanked, like it or not!! I always tell my children I love them. Daily. Still. Even though they are teenagers. I don’t want things to go unsaid. Even if my ways seem silly to others, I sleep better at night.

Which brings me back to my original thought.

What would be written about me?

She was ‘nice.’ (little family joke)

She was a terrible driver. Sang so badly, that even at 18 months old, her daughter begged her to stop. She did NOT let her daughter have a pet snake, but she never said no to dogs…and even a cat, though she took Allegra every day so the kids could keep the cat.

‘Things’ happened to her; torn meniscus while gardening, dislocated (and broken) fingers watching a track meet, heels regularly caught in metal stair grating sent her tripping through door to work, tended to spill diet coke on herself while driving her car, never used oven timer and often ‘forgot’ things were cooking…and cooking. Went from always being early, to NEVER being on time.

COULD NOT complete a white picket fence. Appropriate, as my life is not a ‘white picket fence’ kind of life…

fence

What I would like people to say?

That I was kind, compassionate, that I always did my best. That I never forgot my priorities; children, family, friends, dogs. That I enjoyed each day. (Or most of them.)

Did this get you thinking?

What would you want your obituary to say?

What might it say?

A Weekend Trip With Darling Daughter …

I haven’t blogged in a while because I’m recovering…

Prior to last weekend I was getting ready to go out-of-town with Darling Daughter—and this week I’ve been regrouping from our little adventure.

We live east of Cleveland, but headed to Columbus overnight to watch our high school wrestling team compete in a tournament, then stayed for daughter to do a scholarship competition at a college just outside of Columbus.

And so we watched wrestling on Saturday, and then went shopping at the mall that evening.

At the mall…

Darling Daughter: Mom. I’m stuck! The zipper…

Daughter was in the fitting room and I went in to help.

Darling Daughter: ZIP IT. And I mean that in two ways!!

Later at the shoe store…

Me: I’m hot

Daughter plopped down in a chair.

Me: I need orthopedic heels for work. My black dress shoes are instruments of torture.

Nice Salesmen to Daughter: Long day of shopping girls?

Darling Daughter: No. we were at wrestling…

Poor fella was stunned. Daughter and I exited the store.

Darling Daughter:  Did you see his face when I said we were at wrestling?

Me: No.

Darling Daughter: He looked confused…

Then it hit us. He had no idea what to think. What the hell kind of wrestling were we watching? Where Daughter and I wrestling? We laughed so hard we couldn’t breathe…

As we made our way through the parking lot to our car, I asked Daughter if there was anyplace else she wanted to go. There’s no limit to the shopping that can be done in Columbus.

Darling Daughter:  I’ve had it. I just don’t know if I can look around anymore.

Me: It HAS been a long day of shopping…

Darling Daughter: How long HAVE we been shopping?

Me: Maybe an hour and a half?

Darling Daughter: That’s IT?

More laughter. Less than two hours is a pathetic effort, really.

Thankfully we’re both blessed with a sense of humor, because we spent most of the day laughing. Mostly at each other. And I had a blast with my girl.

HOWEVER, THIS IS WHAT I’M WORKING WITH:  007

Yes. Daughter went to bed in socks, sweats a hoodie—even AFTER completing an extensive bedbug check.

Darling Daughter: Just be glad I don’t have gloves. If I did, I’d put them on.

She was serious. We both knew it.

There were even sticky notes on the headboards…

009008

On the nightstand, there were little, white notepads that said “for your thoughts…”

Daughter stuck one of the yellow sticky notes on the notepad and wrote, “This is not reassuring.” She’s never shy about sharing her thoughts.

Darling Daughter to me: I mean, you assume that’s the case.

Daughter was nervous about the college scholarship competition. I tried to calm her down…

Darling Daughter: Sure it’s no big deal. Only my future. What if my dreams are dashed?

Me: Then you’ll change your dream. Get new dreams?

NOT the right thing to say. (Just a little advice to other parents of seniors…)

AND HERE’S WHAT DARLING DAUGHTER IS WORKING WITH:

gigis cupcakesMe: There’s a cupcake shop.

Darling Daughter: You don’t NEED a cupcake.

Me: I might need one…

She also had to cope with my driving. Not improved now that I’ve got my handy, V6, stick shift, Nissan—good thing the leather head rest is cushy, because her head kept bouncing off of it.

I can’t sit still–NOT helpful when we sat through the college info session and she was so nervous she thought she was going to throw up. And I kept making her seat move, jostled her around.

AND WE BOTH HAD TO COPE WITH GETTING LOST:

I plugged 615 Sandusky into the GPS, but Daughter had written 61 S Sandusky in my notebook. We drove around until we were both completely aggravated.

Me: Clearly, we’re at a gas station. NOT a college campus.

Darling Daughter: Yes.

Me: We can hardly MISS a college campus!!!

Daughter finally looked at the directions (again) and as we talked it through, she realized our collective error. I read her ‘S’ as a number 5.

By the time we reached the college, I badly wanted to enroll her—and LEAVE her there.

And had she like the school, I’m sure she would have LOVED to stay!!

Last night at Steak ‘n Shake we discussed the college visit with Aunt Kate…

Aunt Kate: So it went well?

Darling Daughter: No. I failed miserably.

(Or so Daughter thinks…which means that we hoofed it down to Columbus, stayed overnight at a hotel, dropped several hundred dollars…for nothing??)

Aunt Kate: Oh well, it was a good experience for you.

Me: That’s what I said. She doesn’t really agree…

We discussed it a little more and I joked that Daughter could always live at home and commute.

Darling Daughter: No. I can’t!!

Me: I know. No way you can do that.

One thing we BOTH agree on.

Daughter cannot live at home. We love each other, but she is 100% ready to leave the nest. Has been most of her senior year. And I’m ready (or at least I think I’m ready??) to let her go…

This morning:

Mom: Can I take shampoo to school?

Me: Sure. I don’t care which one you take, just leave something…

Darling Daughter has late arrival, yet she gets up at 5:30 and does a 6am morning run (and workout) with a couple of other girls crazy enough to run at the crack of dawn. She showers at the school, then heads to the library to study and do scholarship applications before her first class at 9am (ish).

And so there was NO shampoo in the shower this morning…

That’s why I was on the worldwide web at 7:30am looking for a recipe for making your own shampoo. Which I created with a combination of baking soda and warm water, then rinsed with vinegar per the instructions online.

On my agenda today? A lunch event where I’ll be speaking in front of nearly 100 people—making clean hair a must. How clean it really is, I’ve no idea!!

There you have it. My life is kind of a crazy comedy of errors. Bound to happen when a 42-year-old single mother lives with her 18-year-old daughter. (And I’m not even counting the teenage body, the dogs, etc.)

Tomorrow, I’m just hoping to have shampoo…

Hurricane Sandy and Things I Don’t Understand

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This gallery contains 4 photos.

On any given day, there are many things I don’t understand. To some degree, I know it is because I’m a simple girl. (If there is such a thing as a simple female.) As I watched Hurricane Sandy coverage I wondered… … Continue reading

What Was I Thinking ???

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This gallery contains 4 photos.

It’s Friday…. And Friday is my day off work. I still work, but often at home and at a more relaxed pace. Because the day was gorgeous, a walk on the beach with The Little Black Dog seemed the Perfect way to … Continue reading

Things I’ve Been Thinking About Lately…

In no particular order, some of what I’ve pondered recently:

Why doesn’t anybody from HGTV ever stop me outside of Home Depot?

I would love a bathroom redo. A yard makeover. Pretty please with sugar on top would somebody remove my gravel driveway and install pavers, black top, or cement? They could redo anything. I would cooperate—and not get mad like some of the ungrateful people they show on the design TV shows. They could pick whatever they wanted. Plenty of projects around my house…They could even pick two.

 

 

 

 

How in the he#% does Daughter do her hair with this curling iron?

Seriously. It is in pieces. Most of them long gone. She slides the little metal tube thingy onto what’s left of the curling iron and creates curls and ringlets without burning her fingers. And it looks lovely. She used this method to achieve the look in her senior pictures. How? People go to the salon for curls like that. And should I be concerned that she plugs her ‘rigged up’ contraption into an outlet in my home?

On men, women and relationships…

Why do men see right through men and know exactly what they’re about? And it takes a woman about 2 minutes to know  what another woman is about. And yet men and women spend YEARS in relationships–without a clue. Just no idea what their partner is about. Would it not make more sense if we could read the opposite sex, as we can read our own? And yet, we often cannot. Why. Just, why?

Why can’t I find 31 gothic pickets?

I’ve needed them for a couple of months. When I DIDN’T need them, I saw them everywhere. Now that I am LOOKING for them, I cannot find them. Which means I have a partial fence. I cannot apply the fresh coat of white paint, nor can I install the arbor above the two posts that look silly. And I don’t want to complete the landscaping, because it will get in my way when I paint the doggone thing.

Pulling into my driveway last week:

Me: I’ve GOT to find those gothic pickets.

Aunt Kate: Why?

Me: Look at the fence!! I want to finish it up…make it look pretty.

Aunt Kate: But it makes me laugh every time I pull into your driveway.

I’d hate to spoil her fun…

Why is Table #6 taking such a long time?  

It has been in my garage since June. When I finally started it, I couldn’t get the stain off the top. I dumped a bottle of stripper on it over the course of a couple of days. Scraped. And scraped. Then scraped more. Then spent a few evenings looking like I took a swim in sawdust. Probably the table is ¼” shorter than it started out being. I had thought I might finish today, but I need more paint for the chairs. When I blow my nose, whats coming out is Italian Olive…the green color I’m using. I can look forward to another day of Italian Olive snot tomorrow. Because I am STILL not done!!

How long does it take to grow new toenails?

Son wore old cleats for football Two a Days. And they were too small. His toenails were a mess afterwards. And he walked funny. (Really, really funny) No idea how he played football after that. A couple of weeks later, one big toenail is completely off. And the other is 90% off. How long is it going to take for the boy to have a BRAND NEW set of big toenails? Because I think he needs them. And again, why? Surely he wasn’t the only kid who didn’t yet have his new cleats. Things happen to him that don’t seem to happen to others. But then, he is my son. I will spare everybody the photos. Looking at his toes nauseates me.

Got answers to any of that?

Feel free to share…