I think not.

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The other day my mom went to the hospital.

She had three or four episodes (which for privacy reasons I cannot go into here)

And the paramedics came in the ambulance and took her to the hospital.

 

It happens but I do not know about it right away. I am sitting around doing mostly nothing, even though I feel like I should be doing SOMETHING.

 

I look at my phone and I see Aunt has called. I listen to the message which says she is concerned about my mother. She says she spoke to my mother and she did not sound right.

 

I call my mother. She tells me some of the things that have happened. She does not sound right but she does not want to go to the hospital. After a while we hang up.

 

Next day I call to check on her and my dad answers her phone. I think: Why is my dad answering my mom’s phone? He hates technology. He hates phones. Even though my brother bought him a phone, he never uses it. In fact he usually does not even know where it is.

 

“Hi dad.” I say.

“Your mother is in the hospital.” he says.

 

Just like that.

 

“What?!” I say.

He goes on to explain the events of the last three days leading up to the 911 call.

“Oh my GOD!” I say.

“Is she in the ICU?” I ask?’

“I am not sure.” he says.

 

I know this may be unbelievable, but this is my dad. This is how he is. In between texting with my brother I ask my dad for the name of the hospital. This he does know.

 

Here I have a flash of my mother dying and I am not there.

 

I get ready to call the hospital. Things have not been so great lately for the family down in Florida — which is pretty much the whole family except me. My brother and his wife have taken on A LOT down there. My parents have moved in with them in his new house. And then months later moved back out.

 

Right before they move out I talk to my mother. I talk to my brother.

Clearly this is an untenable situation.

I feel terrible because there is nothing I can really do from here except listen.

 

And so I call the hospital. I get transferred around and finally get OBSERVATION. I ask Nice Nurse if my mom can speak now and if I can talk to my her.

 

Nice Nurse says she has a few things to do and then she will check on her and call me back. She tells me she has been trying to get in touch with my dad, but she cannot. This is not surprising because even with hearing aids my dad can barely hear. I give her my mom’s cellphone number and I give her mine.

 

I wait but the call back from Nice Nurse but it does not come.

 

I try again but no one answers.

 

I call my dad back. I tell him, “You have mom’s phone.”

He says, “I don’t know what I have. The lady at the hospital handed me this.” OMG.

But he is 83 so I let it go.

 

“Is it plugged into the wall?” I ask. “Dad you have to plug it into the wall to charge.”

I say.

 

He tells me, “Yes, it is plugged into the wall.”

I say, “Keep it there.”

 

Meanwhile I am texting back and forth with my brother. We talk on the phone but he is working. We still don’t know what has happened to my mom.

 

I call back and I get my mom. She tells me, “They are doing some tests and also testing for Corona virus.”

 

I just try to stay calm. She sounds disoriented. We get off the phone.

 

I THINK I call or text my brother here, but everything is so mixed up I am not sure.

 

Next day and some of the results come back. She has not had a stroke. Thank GOD.

Now we wait on the virus.

 

The test comes back: Negative.

 

I ask my mom, “So what is it then?”

“I don’t know.” She says, “They think it is some kind of virus.”

 

WHAT?! WHAT?

 

“Some kind of virus?! What kind of explanation is that?” I ask.

“I don’t know.” she says.

She STILL doesn’t sound right.

I tell her, “You still don’t sound right.”

“Still?” she says.

“YES.” I say.

“Maybe I need to sit up.” she says.

 

I do not think this has anything to do with the way she sounds, which is sluggish and slurry. But she tries it anyway. I wish I could go there and find a doctor or nurse to talk to. But here we are, in the middle of Covid-19

 

She starts talking about how she can’t stand it there and how she wants to go home the next day.

 

I do not think this is a good idea.

 

I talk with my brother more. He and his wife are very good people. They have offered so much. I wish I could be there with them.

 

And so it is today. And I am waiting to hear what is next. If I do not here very soon, I will track down the Nice Nurse or whoever is on shift.

 

Reader, I have not had the easiest relationship with my mother. And I have not been an easy daughter to raise. I pretty much wildly did whatever I wanted to. I do not know how my parents slept at night. Through the miracle of therapy and Recovery, I have been able to make amends for my part. It felt very good to tell them, “I am sorry.”

 

I have had a distant relationship with my brother. We are nine years apart. I feel I should have held us together somehow. I miss my brother. I want to talk to him more often. I want to see his family more than once a year. I want to be able to see his kids grow. I want to see their accomplishments and soothe their hurts. I want my kids to know his kids. Really know them.

 

But this is not our situation. It stinks to be so far away.

 

And now we are here.

At this place.

I don’t know what is next.

I do know these relationships have shaped, in part, the me that is me.

 

I know people who have lost their mothers far too soon. Way sooner than this.

 

I am afraid.

Is one ever ready to lose someone in their life?

I think not.

 

I think not.

 

 

At the time of the writing of this blog I get a text: Jerry Mundis has died of Covid-19.

 

There are many, many others. This is not the first time many people have lost their lives at the same time. It won’t be the last.

 

We are here for a brief time reader. I start to cry because in some way, all these souls leaving the planet at once is almost too much to bear. I think about all creatures, everywhere, living and dying. Today I will practice kindness and compassion And remember, REMEMBER, love is the most important thing. Yes, it is.

ZOOM!

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Today I am writing this blog.

I have been hanging, inert, unable to come to my keyboard and write anything.

 

What can I say in the middle of a Global Pandemic?

How can I say anything without seeming oblivious and indifferent?

 

Before I begin this blog I just want to have a moment to acknowledge what is happening on planet EARTH right now. And the grief of so many.

 

– – P A U S E – –

 

An offering of a little window of positivity

 

This morning I attend a ZOOM meeting. I attend one of my favorite meetings from Brooklyn. I am excited to get to see some of my old friends on the computer screen. This is not the first ZOOM meeting I am attending this week. I have been attending meetings in all my fellowships.

 

This has been GREAT for my emotional sobriety.

 

Especially right now.

 

The NYC COVID-19 ZOOM meeting list is very complete. Anyone can join. You can google it and hop right on.

 

I get a meeting a day or even two sometimes. I see people I know. I hang out after the meeting. I even get a sponsee!

 

Really, I never want ZOOM to end. I hope even after quarantine ZOOM meetings stick around.

 

This is carrying me through the unreality reality we are all living through right now.

 

I don’t know what is carrying you reader. I hope something is. I hope there is a ZOOM meeting that fits into the context of YOUR life.

 

My life is in recovery.

If you want what I have found, send me a message.

And I will send you the links.

 

We really are all in this together.

Fly! Fly!

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The other day I came home in the middle of the day.

 

This is often the case when one is a yoga teacher. Middle of the day spaces free.

And so I come home to have a snack. And maybe even a quick nap.

 

I walk in the house. I look in the refrigerator. I stand there with the refrigerator door open for many minutes. Even as there is plenty of food in the refrigerator, I cannot seem to find something to eat.

 

I close the refrigerator door.

 

I decide to go upstairs to the bedroom to get my cozy slippers. When I get to the bedroom door I hear a flutter. I open the door and do you know what I see reader?

 

A BIRD.

 

An actual small sparrow flying madly around the room, crashing into one wall, then the other. Then knocking itself out briefly as it flies into the window.

 

I quickly call Philly, who is at work.

 

He picks up. I say, “There is a bird in the bedroom!”

He says, “Sometimes that happens.”

 

Just like that: Sometimes that happens

 

“No. No. No.” I say. “It does not sometimes happen! There are no windows open in this house!”

 

Philly says, “Just open the window. It will fly out.”

I open the window. I do not see it fly out but it must have because all the panicked fluttering stops.

 

“Maybe a window is open somewhere?”

 

I KNOW there are no open windows here, but just to be sure I walk around the whole house. No windows open. No chimney in this house either.

 

So how did the bird get in. What does this mean? Is it a message?

 

I tell Philly, “There are definitely no open windows. I checked.”

“Well,” he says, because he is a Buddhist, “It must have been one of your teachers visiting you.”

 

OMG. Can you believe this.

 

“In the form of a bird?” I ask.

“Yes.” he says.

 

I wish I had more to say here.

But I do not.

 

Palms to the sky reader.

Palms to the sky.

Tuesday with Daughter

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Yesterday daughter came over for dinner.

 

Usually daughter comes over on Monday evenings. But this week she is coming over Tuesday. I am not sure why but I am pretty sure there was a boy involved in the day switching.

 

It is 6pm Tuesday and I am done with my physical therapy.

Daughter texts: Are you coming to pick me up?

 

I text: On way.

 

When I get there I text: Here!

She texts: Ok!

 

5 more minutes and no daughter appears.

 

I text: Where are you?

She texts: Oh! I see you! I forgot you don’t have the KIA.

 

Reader, did I tell you why I do not have the KIA?

I don’t have the KIA because someone smashed right into it when it was parked on the street. Just like that. No note or anything. It has been almost 3 WEEKS and I still don’t have the KIA  back. Yet one more week of rental car plus our deductible=$$$$.

 

I know I should be wishing the person who smashed it peace and joy and all that spiritual stuff, but really I just want to go smash their car back. And maybe wish them a little bad karma.

 

Anyway, daughter hops in the rental car which by the way is bigger than the KIA so I lose out on some really great parking spots. Although I must give credit where credit is due. The PARKING GODDESS is really coming through for me lately on that one.

 

So, we go. Off to errand. We stop by the Rite Aid to pick up a few items. Daughter is helping me buy MAKE-UP. Since I really never wear MAKE-UP I have no idea what to buy.

 

I do not know if you have been out there in Make-Up Land lately but there is A LOT of stuff to buy now. PRODUCT my friend. PRODUCT. Special brushes and contour and highlight make up. Concealers and make up in weird shades of green and blue and pink that is supposed to even out your skin tone, depending on what your skin tone is. I am not sure how one is really supposed to know for sure.

 

Then there is the whole EYELASH thing. Have you noticed this phenomenon? “Lashes” are a big deal now. Back in my day one just bought a bottle of Maybelline Mascara in the pink bottle with the green top. That was it for the lashes business.

 

And yes, they still make that Maybelline Mascara.

 

But now there are a ZILLION brands. PLUS there is lash PRIMER. I had no idea this existed. You put this on first to make your lashes longer.

(I have tried this. It really works).

 

If you want still MORE lashes you can get extensions or use that Latisse stuff to make your eyelashes grow.

 

I admit I have noticed many young girls walking around with OUTRAGEOUSLY long eyelashes. Sometimes in a way you might think they have kind of lost perspective on how those REALLY LONG eyelashes actually look.

 

You can really spend a lot of money on these products, let me tell you.

 

Since the make-up store is very close to the tanning place, we go do a little tan. Yes, I know it is bad. But we do it anyway. I go tan in the can. Daughter goes in for the spray tan. I myself have never spray tanned.

 

Daughter comes out and I must say I am impressed. She tells me the tan will just get darker as the night goes on.

 

And it does.

 

Meanwhile, Philly has arrived at home and is ready to cook. Usually we have mixed steamed veggies on Daughter night, but tonight we are all running late and so it will be pasta with garlic sauce.

 

We get home and dinner is ready! Philly digs some leftover chicken out of the fridge and mixes it into his pasta. Daughter forges around in the fridge and finds some leftover broccoli and Brussel sprouts from the other night. She adds these to her pasta. I myself am way too hungry to search for anything, so I just sit down to eat.

 

The Parmesan cheese is already on the table, but it is not the good cheese.

It is not the Locatelli. Daughter goes to the kitchen to get the Locatelli.

 

We eat. After we are done eating daughter starts showing us all the tik-toks she has saved. One of them says: What it is like after my boyfriend has been in my kitchen. And it shows three open cabinets, which the girlfriend comes by and slams shut one at a time to the beat of the music. This is funny because Philly does the EXACT SAME THING with leaving the cabinet doors open.

 

SLAM SLAM SLAM. Apparently, the music is very important in these tik-tok things. Also knowing all the references as to WHY something is funny is very important. Daughter explains the references to us since most of the time we are sitting there like: We don’t get it.

 

Tik-tok seems to have its own language really.

 

Next it is clean up time. I announce, “Everyone will now participate in the clean up!”

Daughter is still sitting on the couch tik-tok-ing. I give her a few minutes grace period.

 

Nothing.

 

Then I say, “Daughter! Come and participate in the clean up!”

Daughter then arises.

 

But first she asks me for my dongle and plugs in the really loud music. The kind of music 21-year-old people listen to with LOTS of curse words in every line. Daughter begins dancing around the living room.

 

I think: This is awesome!

 

I do not know any of the songs, but I dance around anyway. Even Zelda the dog gets in on the action. We sing a little bit at each other. At some point daughter stops and gives me the gnarly Daughter look.

 

Daughter says, “Why did you say it like that?!”

 

I say, “I was copying you!!”

 

This seems to suffice.

 

I ask Daughter, “Do you do this at your house?”

“Yes.” she says.

 

“Do you do it in your room or downstairs in the living room?”

“Both.” she says.

 

“Do your roommates do it too?” I ask.

 

“Yes mom.” she says.

I can tell I have hit my quota of questions.

 

After a while I start to get over stimulated with all this loudness.

 

“We need to turn it down now.” I say.

 

This always brings the look of: Ugh. OLD PEOPLE.

 

Soon the evening comes to a close.

I think: Having Daughter come over is such fun!

 

This is really true.

Youth can bring a lot of laughter into your house if you let it.

I am glad Daughter comes to visit us, even if she brings her music with a lot of curses.

 

I love you Daughter.

Your light shines very bright.

Thank you.

Miss Yoga

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Today I was teaching THE YOGA.

 

I was teaching the yoga to the kiddies. The kiddies are mostly four years old, with a three-year-old and a five-year-old thrown in for good measure.

 

Teaching yoga to this age group is a little like herding sheep, with actual vocal feedback.

 

I walk in the door and they are sitting at their tables. They shout:

“YAY! Miss Yoga is here!”

“Hi Yoga!”

“Yoga! Yoga! Yoga!”

 

I smile. I don’t care what they call me really.

 

They get up from their tables and push in their chairs. Next, they line up against the wall and get ready to go into the YOGA ROOM. In the YOGA ROOM Teacher A is laying out their little carpet mats in a half circle. One by one they enter the room. One by one they sit down crisscross applesauce. Also known a cross legged or perhaps in yoga, Easy Pose.

 

I put down my things including my Yoga Bag full of various spontaneous yoga activities.

Just in case.

 

Once we are all sitting, I take out the chime to ring. The chime signals the start of our session. Before I get to ring the chime, “K” shouts out, “Hey Yoga! How come you always wear those shoes?”

 

Really I had no idea “K” was keeping track of my footwear.

 

I tell “K”, “Well it is like this. Usually I am rushing out the door and so these shoes are easy to slip on.”

 

“K” says, “Maybe next time you don’t rush.”

 

I say, “Should I wear different shoes then?”

 

“K” nods.

 

  1. Moving on.

 

We begin THE YOGA. Breathing practice, stretches, poses we have done and some new poses.

 

Everyone has a request:

Can we do Balloon Breath?

Can we do Frog Pose?

Can we pass the bell around?

 

I try to build in as many requests as I can into the short half hour we have. While we are doing our chair pose, “S” says to me, “How come you always wear your hair like that?”

 

Can you believe these kids?

 

You know they are just saying out loud all the things that adults think but do not say, right?

 

I say, “Well “S” I think I wear my hair this way for the same reason I wear those boots! It is because I am always rushing out the door.”

 

“S” nods.

 

We move on. I reluctantly give in to Frog Pose. Frog Pose requires hopping. As you might imagine this can very quickly get out of control.

 

First we have a little lesson on PERSONAL SPACE.

 

We all stand up.

 

I say, “We are going to put a little imaginary bubble around our bodies now.” Then I say, “Make sure you don’t pop your friends bubble by getting too close to them when you are doing your Froggie Hop.”

 

And we squat back down.

“Remember, we are quiet froggies.” I say.

 

Then, I tell them I am going to count to three. And THEN we will hop.

 

I have learned over time NOT to encourage the kiddies to say “RIBBIT!” as this will just end up in a four-year-old scream fest.

 

I count to three.

 

When we get to three up they go. A whole room of bouncing, mostly four-year-old froggies.

 

“Can we do it again?! Can we do it again?” the whole class says.

 

“Ok.” I say. “One more time. But then we have to end. Miss Yoga has another class to teach.”

 

“Awwwww!” the room says.

 

And so we Froggie hop one more time before we ring our closing chime. I gather my Yoga Bag full of various spontaneous yoga activities, and my hat and my coat.

 

“Bye Yogis!” I say.

They laugh. “We’re not Yogis!”

“Oh yes you are!” I say.

 

I peek back as I am walking out of the room.

I catch “K” looking at me.

 

I tell “K”, “Next time I see you I will be wearing my new boots.”

 

“K” gives me the four-year-old thumbs up.

 

It just never gets old around here.

No it doesn’t.

This Precious Life

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The other day lives changed.

On a dime. In a blink.

 

Philly’s Nephew had a massive stroke. 36 years old.

Just like that.

 

He is on a respirator now with a feeding tube and one side of his body paralyzed.

He is not conscious.

Philly is at the hospital right now, just being with him.

 

Reader, I am not telling you this to have you feel badly.

Maybe it brings up something for you. Maybe not.

 

I am telling you for one reason. A reason you have heard before I am sure.

 

Life is precious.

We get caught up.

We forget what is important.

In the last moments of our lives what will we be thinking?

 

About that proposal we did not get to finish?

About the movie we wanted to see?

 

No, I think not.

We will be thinking about those we love.

If we could have just one more day with them.

One more day

Together

In this precious human life.

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Next Shopper!

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The other day we went to the co-op.

 

Going to the co-op is always an adventure. You never REALLY know what they will have in stock. You just get what you get and you don’t get upset.

 

Plus, you also never know how crowded it will be at any given time. We try for dinnertime. This way we do not have to navigate our way through really skinny aisles with throngs of people looking for good produce.

 

And so we go. We head out in the KIA and drive over to the co-op, which is much smaller and more manageable than the Brooklyn co-op. However, it is still a CO-OP.

 

We park. Here in Philly you can park in any direction you want. It does not have to be in the same direction the traffic is going. And if you live in SOUTH Philly you can park right in the middle of the left-hand turn lane.

 

Can you believe this?

It is TRUE.

 

When I first moved here I was driving down there and going to make a left-hand turn. There was a big line of cars in the left-hand turn lane.

 

I think: Godammit. Look at this line of people making a left. I am going to be totally late!

I sit there in the line for like 10 minutes before I realize: THERE IS NO-ONE IN THE CARS!

 

Apparently, this is a normal occurrence in South Philadelphia. People park right in the middle of the street. Just like that.

 

Also, people use cones. I don’t know where they get the cones. There is probably like one store down there just selling cones to everybody. So when you pull out of your parking spot, the one that is in front of your house, you put up a cone or two so no one takes your spot.

 

This would so not fly in Brooklyn. People would just get out of their cars and throw the cone down the street. Or maybe steal it for themselves.

 

But here if you move the cone and park, it is very likely you will come back to find your tires slashed. It seems this is how they roll down here.

 

Anyway, we head into the co-op. Philly heads one way. I head the other. We have a fine-tuned system for co-op shopping reader. It is VERY efficient.

 

First, Philly gets one of the big containers to put our food in. Next, I head towards the cereal. Philly heads toward the deli counter. We pass each other in the aisles.

“Hey did you get the bananas?” he asks.

“Yes.” I yell back as I head towards the broccoli.

I walk over to the spot where my raspberry bars usually are. But they are not there!

I ask Nice Co-op Worker, “Do you know if there are any raspberry bars?”

Nice Co-op Worker tells me, “Check over in those bins.”

 

I walk over and the raspberry bars are there! I examine each one of them and look for the ones with the most crunchy crumble on top. I decide to get five since last week I got four and I ran out one day short of shopping day.

 

Raspberry bars have become a staple of my diet.

 

I finish downstairs and Philly goes upstairs to get the coffee beans. He ALWAYS gets the coffee. There are two kinds: Fair Trade Midnight Sun and French. They are very dark and greasy.

 

Now we get in the PAY line, which is also more manageable than Brooklyn Co-op – where you can wait longer in line than you have actually spent shopping in the store.

 

We slide our basket along the line. Philly goes over to get the box grabber which he will need since all the boxes are thrown way up on top of the refrigerated section. Today is a good box day. We get two medium boxes right at the front.

 

This rarely happens.

 

When Cashier calls out, “Next Shopper!” we are ready with our boxes. Luckily, we get Cashier closest to the line which means we don’t have to pick up all our groceries, we can just slide them on down to Cashier.

 

I happen to be an EXPERT spatial relations box packer. I had to do a lot of this myself back in NYC. This is HOW I became and expert.

 

Philly is also very good at this. In fact, it is kind of his THING.

Ok, I let him do the box packing.

 

While we are in line Nasty Shopper starts arguing with Cashier. I hear him saying, “We did not have a conversation about putting the heavy items at the bottom.” Cashier is handling it very well. But Nasty Shopper just keeps coming back with, “We did not have a conversation about putting the heavy items at the bottom.”

 

This is funny because at the Co-op you pack your own box. Really I feel like punching Nasty Shopper right in the face. But ok, I do not.

 

Philly finishes with the boxes. We pay. I groan at the amount like I ALWAYS do. And Philly groans at me groaning since MY groaning at the amount embarrasses him.

 

And now it is time to go home. Philly carries one box. I carry the other box. We slide the boxes into the back of the KIA and carry them into the house when we arrive.

 

And this is how it is, reader

This is what one does for fun on Saturday night when they are older.

Or maybe it is just us.

 

Next Shopper!