Archive for May, 2011

Memorial Day-some thoughts…

May 29, 2011

Memorial Day…we are all happy to have a reason to not go to work, but the truth is that those who are serving our nation today probably don’t have the day off, especially if they are serving outside of the United States.  Please take a moment to appreciate those men and women who currently serve in the Armed Forces and those who have served in the past.  Take a look at the history of this special American holiday.

The bulk of the blog entry today was not written by me.  I received an e-mail from  Paul Dake , a realtor with Keller Williams in Limerick, PA.  I liked what he sent in his message and asked him if he minded if I shared his message via my blog and he agreed that that would be fine. It starts off with two meaningful quotes:

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”  –   John F. Kennedy

“When we say “War is over if you want it,” we mean that if everyone demanded peace instead of another TV set, we’d have peace. “ John Lennon

Dear Friend,

We have so very much to be thankful for.

The freedoms and luxuries we enjoy in our daily lives are immeasurable.  Take a look at what your friends are posting about on Facebook, then think about the hundreds of little things we do every day that are sometimes taken for granted.  Our children’s activities, the work we do, the meal we prepared, the book we read, the music we love, and the list goes on and on.

Americans serve this country so that we may continue to enjoy these freedoms.  Men and women from all walks of life perform duties beyond our imaginations.  Many of them spend their holidays thousands of miles from their loved ones.  And too many of them have given their lives serving our country.  We all have a connection to these courageous people, and owe them our deepest gratitude.

Think of them this weekend as you enjoy time with your family and friends.

Raise a glass to honor them, even if with just a simple, “Thank you.”

I came across the quite moving letter below and thought I would share it with you.

Wishing you a happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend!

Paul Dake

To My Comrades in Arms:

You have served in a Regiment that has been engaged in all the activities of America’s part in the great World War. From Baccarat to Sedan you have fought, never having been forced one foot to the rear, and never having lost a gun or a prisoner taken. You have gained every objective demanded of you and on time. Generals of two great fighting nations have mentioned you in orders.

Some have made the supreme sacrifice and their graves now hallow the soil of a foreign land.  Your achievements have been abreast of the best artillery men of the world – you have made the record of your regiment magnificent.

I have been your Colonel during every hour of the life of the regiment, and your faithful and distinguished service has taught me from the first my one prayer that I might do my part – ‘God, make me worthy of my regiment.’

You are leaving the service with a record of which you can well be proud and wherever you may go, in whatever walk of life, I can wish nothing better for you than that your future will be as brilliant as the time spent in the service of your country.

No honor the future can have in store for me can ever be as great as having been your Colonel, and with all the lasting affection of my heart, I bid you farewell.

George E. Leach
Colonel, 151st Field Artillery
Rainbow Division

May, 1919

This is MeddlingMom….

Oprah will really be missed! The good thing is she’ll still be a force for all of us!

May 25, 2011

Yes, today was the last performance of The Oprah Winfrey Show…25 years is a long time…she has been an unbelievable force for good and taught so much to so many during that time.  No one could have ever imagined what she would have contributed with her brand and her way of being.  I can understand how much she must be ready to step down from this particular daily routine. The level and quantity of contribution is simply enormous.  I wonder how many hours a day she worked.  How has she done it? Yes, I know she has staff and several houses and doesn’t have to do all of the mundane tasks most of have to do.  Even so I hope she gets some relief from the constant pressure.  Somehow I don’t think she’ll be idle since her OWN network will keep her extremely busy.

Today’s show was particularly inspiring.  She was at peace with her decision.  She was  generous to speak about herself in a way that she never has before, not to the same degree.  I enjoyed watching her “go solo”.  She has asked us to pay it forward, to contribute to the world and to our communities.  Yes, Oprah has been blessed with unusual opportunity.  Remember what she said regarding Glinda, the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz…”You always had the power.”  And so do we all!

This is MeddlingMom…find the reason you were put on this earth and follow it!

Clutter!!! Oh, I am so happy I saved that box of catalogs for 4 years!

May 23, 2011

I have just come from our basement…it’s a scary place, I am telling you!

When I moved here 4 years ago, most of my belongings went into storage.  It was very expensive because I do have a good amount of furniture and belongings that are quite valuable – NOT!  Let’s get something clear, here and now…yes, I do have some furniture and lots of belongings which have value for me. Everything has a history…the problem is that we are talking about what now appears to be ANCIENT HISTORY and RELICS!  It was good to go and open the boxes and to see just how much I don’t need – probably at least 2/3 of what is there. I probably don’t want most of the other 1/3 any more either.  So the timing today was perfect…I am so ready to say, “Bye, bye” …. My things were in storage for about 2 1/2 years @ the rate of close to $350 per month….when I saw the amount of crap that was in those boxes…I could just upchuck right here and now!  I guess I can only be expected to move forward at my own pace…I am just so happy that I am ready now. 

One of the boxes I opened was quite deep, maybe 25 inches and when I opened it I was appalled that it was filled with catalogs and  magazines…all at least 4 years old…what a great value, right?  I guess I am learning from this experience, but why does it take so darn long to “get it”? 

In the past few months I have found myself looking for good types of organizing tools to use in the house, basement or garage, always trying to streamline things; I have noticed recently when I do that, I think …why would I bring in this tool rather than go through all that I have and eliminate what I don’t really need?  That would remove the need for purchasing shelving, bins, etc. and would take away the added burden of trying to figure out where to put that unit! Imagine!  So that’s where I am right now.

I know it is a lot of work getting rid of things.  I do already use Freecycle to give things away to people who are local. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a great way to reduce, reuse and recycle within your own community and contiguous communities.  You simply go to the site, join  in whichever communities you would like to and as you have things to give away, you post them…I love the Freecyclers!  They are wonderful people…you can also post things that you are looking for and receive items for free.  No money is ever exchanged, not allowed.  Of course if you want to sell items, you can go to CraigsList and click on the closest city to you.  Keep in mind there are shelters for battered women and children and for men which might be interested in clothing or houshold goods (as people get ready to leave and move into their own apartments).  There may also be other charities like Purple Heart or the Salvation Army or Goodwill Industries, all of which are well-respected organizations.  They may accept used cars, clothing, funriture, household goods.  Give them a call.  Of course right now, if you have clothing and houshold items they might be appreciated in all of those states where there have been recent tornados and there is such devastation.

Getting back to my clutter, there is much organizing going on at my house.  Keep in mind as you sort…do I need this, what is its value to me, could someone else need it more than I do (probably a HUGE YES!) and of course, why have I kept this so long?  Good luck with your purging.  I know I can use all of the thoughts and prayers I can get!  It will be well worth the effort. I know removing the unneeded items will give me great relief!  Clutter is a burden!

This is MeddlingMom…have a wonderful week!  Oh, by the way, those magazines and catalogs are going out with the recycling on Wednesday!

Denzel Washington speaking at Penn

May 16, 2011

He hasn’t spoken at commencement before and found the idea to be intimidating.  He is inspiring.  If you are trying to figure out what you want to do with your life, your thoughts, your dreams, your talents, your time, please watch this video. 

Nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks. Nelson Mandela said, “There is no passion to be found playing small and settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

You will fail, you will lose, you will embarrass yourself. Embrace it because it is inevitable.If you don’t fail, you’re not even trying.  He quoted his wife and said, My wife said, “To get something you never had you have to do something you never did.”

Nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks. Nelson Mandela said, “There is no passion to be found playing small and settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

What are you going to do with what you have? Your gifts are needed by the world. If you can, please look  at this video.  There is much good food for thought.

Think about what he says…it isn’t really new news.  Let into your head and heart Denzel Washington’s words.

This is MeddlingMom…

Medical Insurance- an eye opener!

May 13, 2011

Ok, we all know what a mess our health care system can be…a real challenge.  Each and every one of us who is fortunate enough to have medical insurance knows how lucky we are; most of us have real concerns over what would happen if we didn’t have coverage.  Even with coverage and co-pays, taking care of one’s health and paying for it can present daunting challenges.  And we all know how tough it must be each year for employers of  very small businesses to find a way to continue to offer a plan that doesn’t break the company’s bank and that of the employee.

I recently did some research to find some top doctors in several specialties in New York City and Brooklyn. I looked at the article in New York Magazine. Initially, my first concern was to see the proximity of location for each of the top docs.  I knew that some would not take a particular company’s insurance and would be considered out of plan.  That’s a given.  Imagine my surprise as I made phone calls when I was told, ” The doctor does not take insurance”. Wh.a.a.a.a.t.t? My head spun around!  And then I heard “The visit is $500.00”. $500.00?  For an office visit?  Wh.a.a.a.t?  I was in complete disbelief.  So here’s what I learned, some of the top docs continue to take new clients, but because they practice in Manhattan on the Upper east side or the Upper west side and because the earnings of people in that geographic area are so large, they simply don’t have to see anyone who isn’t rich…they don’t need us or our money.  I was aghast, completely flabbergasted

So if you aren’t rich and you want a really good doctor, you might be screwed in Manhattan.  One alternative is to ask if there are any other doctors in the practice who DO accept insurance and then of course, do they take YOUR PLAN?  I did find a few who fit the bill, but  no available appointments  until at least July, some were August.  I spent upwards of 5 hours-maybe more- looking for three different types of specialists.  None of the top docs practiced anywhere except Manhattan and at least  half were at one hospital, New York Presbyterian (one of the top 25 hospitals in the entire country).  Good to know if you need to be in a great hospital, a moot point if you can’t pay cash for the doctor visits, huh?

So there you have it, for the masses, it’s pretty difficult to know if a doctor is good at all…at least in the New York City area.  That stinks if you have what could be a serious medical issue.  This is quite a new twist to me.  I really thought that if you have insurance you can have great care. That is probably because I live in another major metropolitan area (Philadelphia) and have had the opportunity to have great care and great physicians (several are top docs).

I am still blown away by the price gouging…a sad commentary, don’t you think?  How do we get out of this mess? How are people going to be able to find good health care at a reasonable price and have a reasonable process for making an appointment?  What is a reasonable process for making a doctor appointment?  My experience was not a reasonable process. It was very difficult.  It did not make sense; it would have been impossible for someone who did not have the time or patience and organizational skills to persist.  I can’t imagine how it will be 10years from now.  Just getting the address of the doctor’s office was excruciating.  I forget how many buildings I was told were at New York Presbyterian, it was 30 or more!  Something else to consider is that a large percentage (I think I’ve heard 50%)  of people losing their homes today are losing them due to healthcare costs…someone got sick and even thought there was medical coverage, it didn’t cover the costs.  Bankruptcies are right there in the same category, due to medical expenses.  This is huge!

This is MeddlingMom…I wish all of us great health and a great weekend!

“The Green Thing”

May 9, 2011

I received this from my friend Gary today and thought it was worth sharing.  We tend to think we know what is important today, but what is written here is eye-opening.  Everyone is busy, trying to make sure that everything gets done, keeping up with the latest technology and truly trying to do what is right.  The statements in Italics are my comments.


In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that she should bring  her own grocery bag because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. The  woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. The former generation did not care enough to save our environment.”

He was right, that generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, they returned their milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycledAnd lots of families did not have 2 cars, so imagine the savings by not rushing off to the supermarket for every little item!

But they didn’t have the green thing back in that customer’s day.

In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn’t  climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.   If you needed to go 2 blocks from your home, would you drive there or ride a bike or walk? Most people would drive.  That deprives your body of exercise, deprives your children of the experience of riding bikes with you or taking a walk with you, it pollutes the air and it requires that you own and maintain another vehicle. 

But she was right. They didn’t have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby’s diapers because they didn’t have the throw-away kind. They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine  burning up 220 volts – wind and solar power really did dry the clothes.  It cost nothing. Think about the cost of the diapers-for the 2 to 3 years your child uses them. That money could add to the family’s income by not being spent.

Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. In defense, many people have discovered the second- hand and thrift stores today. When my daughter was very young, I loved purchasing used clothing in great shape for lots of her playclothes. Then when I saw an item that would have seemed to be a luxury, I felt I could splurge and purchase it for her! It was  a great trade off.

But that old lady is right, they didn’t have the green thing back in her day.

Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house – not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief, not a screen the size of   the state of Montana.  I remember taking turns choosing shows with my sister on Saturday mornings. It was not a sacrifice at all.

In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn’t have  electric machines to do everything for you.  We did have a mixer, but no juicers, food processors, indoor grills, etc.

When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn.  They used a push mower that ran on human power. They exercised by working so they didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; they didn’t have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time they had a drink of water. And no young children were drinking soft drinks at all!

They refilled their writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But they didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or rode the school bus instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. It would have been  shocking to see the lines of parents dropping off and picking up kids at school, really a ridiculous concept!

They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And they didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad that the current generation laments how wasteful the old folks were just because they didn’t have the green thing back then?

And I will add my two cents’ worth.  It is true that we have many improvements  that appear to make our lives easier today. If you look more carefully, you will see that some of the improvements cost us in many ways.  Preparing food is enjoyable, satisfying, provides heathier meals and costs less than prepared foods. Many of our conveniences give us too much opportunity and time and encourage us to NOT USE OUR BODIES.  Now I know what I am saying sounds extreme, but there is value to NOT using modern conveniences…like this computer.  Imagine if you had no computer and had to actually call or see your family and friends or maybe even stepped outside and spoke with a neighbor! It sounds crazy, doesn’t it?.  I suggest that we not throw  the baby out (as the expression goes) with the bath water and re-evaluate where we might adjust some of our practices.   If you look around, you might be surprised at what you could cut that would not really be such a big deal. Think of quality, not quantity[ think of value. Imagine playing a game with your children or friends  instead of having everyone in separate rooms playing electronic games (or in the case of the friends, instead of sitting around eating and drinking more!).  I could go on and on…sometimes it’s more fun and more valuable to plant and maintain a garden with children, family, friends, rather than look at it as one more thing that must be done for the house to look appealing. It is actually fun!  The same goes for cooking with each other rather than going out to eat.  You can turn your nose up when you hear these ideas, but many people are suffering with our national economic situation, high gas prices, loss of jobs, healthcare costs and just trying to keep their heads above water….not to mention the feelings of isolation..maybe some of this could help you to have a better life.

This is MeddlingMom….be green, happier, healthier and re-evaluate…think VALUE.

Happy Mother’s Day!

May 7, 2011

This was originallywritten on July 15, 2007 , revised May 7, 2011 

Happy Mother’s Day!  It’s beautiful here in the Philadelphia area!

Being Authentic….how does one achieve such a goal? 

I’ve spent much of my life following my “drummer”, one that is significantly different from that of most people. In some ways I’ve been lucky; I was raised in a very progressive, free-thinking home with parents who respected us and usually treated us with the high regard you would expect from your friends or peers.  We weren’t told or manipulated into compromising our thoughts or our desires, although we were shown by example what type of behavior was expected of us. Consequently, we grew up feeling relatively confident and competent. Of course, we four siblings are prone to life’s insecurities and lack of self-esteem on occasion just as all people are subject to being human and all that that condition entails. 

So what does being authentic have to do with my childhood?  I believe that when one respects the inner workings of one’s self from a very young age within a kind and respectful environment, one grows to be a validated and internally strong person. I have known few people who experienced the freedoms I did as a child. What grows out of a loving and considerate home environment is a person who does not need to compete in an unhealthy and aggressive mode. I have no need to think I am better than others, although I do enjoy competing with myself. I thrive on doing my best and giving more than is expected .I believe that is because I was not pushed or prodded. There was no harassing or haranguing by my parents. I don’t remember being told I “should” do this or that. 

Mom and Dad were a happy couple. I never heard a harsh word between them, never heard arguing or anger. They were pretty well-suited and were true friends. They each had interests of their own and they also had interests that they shared with each other and with us.  My father was a self-employed dry cleaner, made a very comfortable living (he did work 6 days a week, in good weather he golfed on Friday afternoons). We children were not aware of the every day luxury that was a part of our lives until we were well into adulthood.  I call it the Tiptoe Through the Tulips childhood. 

Yes, there were things about my childhood that were not idyllic. Our parents thought we girls would marry someone who had a business and we would be supported in the lifestyle in which we had been raised.  Consequently, they were not particularly concerned about us attending college (this was the 1960’s, not many girls had career aspirations).  They were good people. I believe they lived their lives in a pretty authentic way. They had beliefs that they adhered to and believed in standing up for what was right.  They believed in being the individual you were meant to be and allowed us the space to be who we were.  They did not apologize for who they were or for their beliefs. They were not co-dependent at all. In our home, people had the space and freedom to think. 

Having said all of this….

How can you be authentic when you are not perfect? Or when you haven’t done everything you promised you’d do? Or when you can’t do everything you’ve promised, because you simply are not capable of doing that anymore?

These are the issues we deal with as we have gained more knowledge of the ramifications of our actions. 

It sounds corny, but LOVE, LOVE, LOVE is the answer.  Love yourself, Love the one you’re with, Love your family and friends, treat people like they are special, and show your love by being open, accepting, supportive and loyal. Live in a space that comes from love not fear. Share who you are with those who welcome you and share your gifts (if you don’t know what they are, ask someone who knows you well)…you have been given gifts in order to share them, not to hoard them!  If you do that and take a stand for what is right rather than what is convenient or popular, you will be able to look yourself in the mirror and know you are doing your best. You will be authentic.

I hope your Mother’s Day is a good one…I wish my Mother was here…she had to go in 1975 at 57 years old. I miss her every day…she is with me…she taught me so much…

This is MeddlingMom…celebrate those you love today and every day…..

Live today to the fullest because tomorrow is not promised to anyone.

May 5, 2011

I admit it…I did not write this. I receive many e-mails each day. This one came from my friend Bonnie. We have known each other since Bonnie was 2 1/2 and I was 4….a very long time.  Even though we have very little contact, Bonnie is someone I care about deeply and could have written this for and about.  I hope you pass this along to all of the important people in your life.  This one’s for you, Bon, and for your wonderful Jimmy!

One day a woman’s husband died, and on that clear, cold morning, in the warmth of their bedroom, the wife was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn’t “anymore.”  No more hugs, no more special moments to celebrate together, no more phone calls just to chat, no more “just one minute’.

Sometimes, what we care about the most gets all used up and goes away, never  to return before we can say good-bye, say “I love you.”

So while we have it, it’s best we love it, care for it, fix it when it’s broken and heal it when it’s sick.

This is true for marriage ….. and old cars, children with bad report cards, dogs with bad hips, family and aging parents and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it …… because we are worth it..

Some things we keep — like a friend who moved away or a sister-in-law after divorce.   There are just some things that make us happy, no matter what.

Life is important.  We only have one.

We only have one mom, one dad, one unique brother or sister or friend.   I received this from someone who thought I was a ‘keeper’! Then I sent it to the people I think of in the same way.

Now it’s your turn to send this to all those people who are “keepers” in your life, including the person who sent it, *if you feel that way.*

Suppose one morning you never wake up.  Do all your friends know you love them?

I was thinking….I could die today, tomorrow or next week, and I wondered if I had any wounds needing to be healed, friendships that needed rekindling or three words needing to be said.

Let every one of your friends and family know you love them. Even if you think they don’t love you back, you would be amazed at what those three little words and a smile can do.

And just in case GOD calls me home . . . here you go.

Live today to the fullest because tomorrow is not promised to anyone.

This is MeddlingMom….have a wonderful day.

From William and Catherine to Osama Bin Laden…

May 3, 2011

Well, we’ve had some strange times…to say the least…

For months we’ve been hearing about “the royal wedding” ad nauseum so to speak.  All last week it was impossible to watch television without being shown more photos (or more of the same photos) and being indundated with  information about the couple and their families, etc.  I watched part of the goings-on on Friday as I was getting ready for the day and had fun seeing some of the TV shows leading up to and after the wedding…everyone seemed to be doing something “about or related to” the wedding.  The hoopla had barely died down when we heard the news…

Osama Bin Laden is dead.  Well, that was quite a shock after so many years of searching for him.  To most Americans the concept of actually finding and capturing Bin Laden was “way out there”…not much chance of doing that, especially after so many years…over 9 years since the tragedy called 9/11 and more if you count the other travesties he was involved in prior to 9/11.

It’s been daunting, hearing the coverage, the cheering and celebrating and people saying they are happy he is dead.  I have been  relieved to hear some people speaking about their feelings of not really being happy that someone has been killed…feelings of conflict and confusion…that’s how I feel.  I don’t really believe in violence or execution. Having said that, I understand how complicated things can be.  When you capture someone who has done such evil as Bin Laden, you then have the grave responsibility of housing, feeding, dealing with all of his rights and the legalities of a trial, the security of keeping him safe (now that would stick in anyone’s craw!) and attempting to find justice for the victims…it’s all a bit too just seems easier to not have to deal with all of that. Although I don’t feel that justice has been served (how CAN there be justice for all of those who were killed.. by one death?) I do feel that no longer having Bin LAden on this earth does give everyone some simple way of ending all of the drama.  There will be no energy given in the news about him after all of this news fades away.  There will be NO DRAMA…no chatter…no bull, if you will.  Or at least there will be way less of it than there would have been had he been captured and brought to trial.

Funny, our President who has been referred to as NO DRAMA OBAMA, our President who was critical to this successful  (for want of a better term) operation…and who will be given credit for all of this happening…our President has managed to stop Bin Laden’s Drama!  Congratulations, Mr. President!!!

This is MeddlingMom…have a good week.

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