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Window Seat Faith

Living by Faith and Enjoying the Journey

The Grandmas Riding High

I’m still counting my blessings after spending yesterday afternoon with my mom, Grandma Ruth soon to be 83 and my husband’s mom, Grandma Marilyn, the 90 year-old computer wiz. It was sort of an impromptu adventure. It’s rare that I’m off on a Monday, even rarer that is the “go to” for taking Grandma Marilyn to doctor appointments. She decided after moving close to us, that she wanted to remain independent and make her own way. She managed to find a community volunteer program that accompanies seniors on their appointments. 

So, her need for a ride to the eye doctor and my Summer Monday home was sort of a God aligning the planets kind of thing. I pulled up at her senior complex and she made her way out, wheeling her walker. I was standing at the passenger door of my Dodge Ram ready to help her let go of the walker and get her hand on the handle grip. She’s incredibly frail, with long legs and arms, yet she’s deceivingly strong. She’s got stepping up into the truck down to a few cool moves. I am only there with my arms out just in case and to fasten her seatbelt. She hiked up her left pant leg, she said she needed be able to bend her leg easily to step and push. I didn’t question. It was amazing to watch. And once I the seat, she scooted over to the center; her body consumed by the size of the seat. She was accomplished and comfortable. 

I rolled her walker to the back, opened the tailgate and struggled with my weak arms to lift and place the folded walker. I thought, as I have often, that I want to have the will to live and do that Grandma Marilyn at 90 has. 

I pulled up at the doctor’s office and I had to be certain to take out the walker before opening Grandma’s door. She’s been known to put her hand on the handle grip and swing out of her seat, standing in wait for her walker to arrive. The grandma gumption thing is so very real. I have to operate like a mommy with a toddler, when I’m with Grandma Marilyn. It’s not that they can’t do it, more a “let me help you” sort of approach. 

She made her way into the doctor’s office and up to the reception window. She seemed to have celebrity status. I think any 90 year old patient who shows up for Well Care Visits, should be celebrated. 

She was in an out faster than she anticipated and we were back in the truck without a hitch. The afternoon was still young; I wanted to take her on a joy ride. And she seemed game. She offered to treat for lunch. I suggested we see if my mom wanted to come along. The two grandmas enjoyed each other’s company so I could sense Grandma Marilyn’s heighten pleasure in the lunch date that was quickly taking shape. 

Grandma Ruth, answered her cell phone which within itself was an indicator that God had indeed aligned the planets. She drives and first of all could be anywhere from Long Island to the mall; with her phone being off, in the car or at home. But, it was our day — she answered and she was home! 

Grandma Ruth’s condo was our next stop; she was ready to hop in when we pulled up. I got out to help her up into the back seat. As I made my way to the passenger side, I shock my head for the craziness of having the Grandmas in our family truck. 

I opened the back door and gathered take-out wrappings, newspapers, athletic gear, tote bags and empty water bottles, from the seat and floor. I knew Grandma Ruth would busy herself with cleaning while taking the joy ride to lunch. She gripped the handle and lifted herself into the truck. A retired nurse, even at her age she still probably had more strength than me. 

We made our way to lunch, again out of the truck. I was a mommy, guarding them both. First Grandma Ruth, like the big sister to Grandma Marilyn, the toddler. Grandma Ruth watched Grandma Marilyn while I parked the truck. They kept me on my toes and I was absolutely thrilled!

We tried out a couple of tables and seats before figuring the right fit for Grandma Marilyn and her walker. There was a run to the bathroom. Grandma Ruth offered to go with Grandma Marilyn, but this was all my pleasure.

After lunch, were back in the truck. Their bands on the grip, their willing legs pushing forward. And I was sweeping off to one more stop, a department store I’ve been trying to get Grandma Marilyn to try. I was holding my breath; I felt like I was sort of pushing it. I was so afraid they would pull the plug on our adventure. 

Surprisingly, we pulled up in front of the store and they were totally about it. Out of the truck again. This time they didn’t stand and wait for me, they hit the automatic door button and made their way into the store. I watched them, as if watching two teens scurry into the mall. Would I find them, by the time I parked the truck? 

I walked in the store and couldn’t spot them, it was all on one level. Seemed easy enough to stand and take it all in. But I found myself moving through the store and looking making my way into the mall. Then I backed tracked realizing that the Gramdmas were 90 and 82; they were not jetting anywhere! I circled back and found them steps from the door, picking out pants and blouses for Grandma Marilyn. It was sort of a shopping frenzy, happening in slow motion. I helped, I was the advanced team, looking ahead on racks and pointing the way, before they could move on. 

I think shopping, at any age, makes a woman happy. Grandma Marilyn had had her share of fun for the day. And both Grandmas were ready for the joy ride to circle home. 

Grandma Ruth was the first stop. Getting in and out of the truck had become such a natural motion that she seemed to swing her hips out of the truck before I could even get to her side. Hugs and kisses, she was in her stride heading up her walkway pass the Black Eyed Susan’s and Lamb’s Ear.

We were back to the beginning again, at Grandma Marilyn’s. One more lift of the walker out of the truck, one more seasoned pro making her way out of the truck. The same forward motion she had heading out of the her building, she had making her way back up to her apartment.

I hoped back into the truck and felt like the Grandmas had taken me on a joy ride. I hadn’t anticipated how the day would haves unfolded. 

I stepped into the day and received a gift; a gift of time and opportunity. 

Their embrace of life was and as wholehearted and spirited as the way they held on and stepped up into the truck. I call them the Grandmas, but without question, I hold my mother and my mother-in-law on high. To be in there presence for the afternoon is the blessing that I count over and over again. 

Before the Sound of Passion

Shhhhhh, the drums are sleeping. The bird calls, chimes and foot pedal are waiting for the percussionist to arrive. 

I love to pass through my husband, Jeff’s studio and open the blinds, to invite the sun to come have a dance. I’m the early riser; my husband is the nocturnal one. 

As much as this is my peaceful alone time in his studio,  I imagine he enjoys putting the drums to sleep, turning off his recording equipment  and saying goodnight to all his favorites. 

When my husband wakes up, this is where he comes. The mantra for us is do what’s in front of you. The mantra sort of came to be during limbo times between long tour dates.  “What was in front of him” meant whatever opportunity presented itself that day. That mode of thinking kept him in the light, evolving and creating his beautiful life story through music.

 Some days, what’s in front of him is  teaching — drummers from 9 to 90. (It’s amazing how at any age we can connect with our inner rhythm and learn to drum together.) 

Other days Jeff is recording on a client’s music — a studio session musician, at home with his toys. Most days, lately,  the percussionist is a producer and engineer. Sitting behind the board pouring all that he’s learned into helping others create a unique sound.

I stand in his studio, watching the sun stream through and I realize why this is my favorite moment of peace. I look around and don’t see individual instruments; I see a new day of promise. I see endless possibilities. For the first time, I understand what our mantra means: step out and embrace your passion today. 

Growing Wild

Thrive where God plants you.

Next Stop: The Walkway

I take the train like it’s subway in Brooklyn. I jumped on at Beacon to drop of something in Poughkeepsie. Headed north pass the Newburgh/Beacon Bridge, along the Hudson River, just 2 stops. The total up side is there was an hour wait for the next train back to Beacon. The Walkway Over the Hudson was my pastime pleasure. 

Is This Your Favorite Time?

I took Jaco, our Shiba Inu out for his walk this morning. His happiness filled me. He is so puppy like and carefree when he steps out the door in the morning. I asked him, rhetorically, if it was his favorite time of the day. He stood in the middle of the road, in front of our house looking up and down the street. It was his choice which way we would want. Each time we set out to take a walk, I let him lead. As I asked him that question, I admittedly found myself certain that it was my favorite time of the morning. 

Our walks are sort of a reunited kind of thing. I used to walk him when my husband was out of town or body, when Jaco was a puppy. The kids were too young to do it on their own. It was stressful for me because I was juggling bedtime or morning school/work prep with walks that seemed too long.

As soon as the kids were able to juggle chores with school and their activities, we tagged them with walking Jaco. I don’t think they will know how awesome a dog Jaco was, until they’re grown and have another dog. Because Jaco, never pooped in the house and is the most patient, go with the flow dog on the planet. He’s spent the last several years totally going with the flow of my two boys debating over who’s turn it was to walk him. He waited while they dragged down from their bedroom, knocked around looking for their sneakers, stopped to getting something to drink from the fridge, sat back down to watch TV, went back up stairs for God knows what, went to the bathroom… Jaco would stand at attention by the door, follow them around, come back to me or my husband and ask for me to call for them again or sometimes he would lay down as if to deny himself. 

Jaco doesn’t seem to have a biorhythm time clock. There’s never been a routine time for walking him. On a school day morning, he would get walked before they dashed out for the bus, which as the years progressed changed — the elementary school bus pick up at 8:20, middle school 7:20 and high school 6:30. On the weekends he was remarkable. He would sleep late on Saturday, easily until 10:00 or 11:00 — unless it was football season. I don’t think my kids realize that most dogs have to go when they have to go; no waiting, no false alarms or buffer of time. 

Over the past year or so, Jaco and I have decided that we need time together and more exercise. So, we have a relaxed routine. And you know, unlike his come what may schedule with the kids, he’s holding me to a time factor. Even on the weekend. 

Sometimes I’m not happy with it when he’s ready before I can fully focus and pour coffee. But, as soon as we step out the door, heart is swept away by the pep in his step. He deserves that happiness; he’s the best dog on the planet. And I think it’s our time, carved out from the day that the Lord has made. 

Feeling Memories of Brooklyn 

The 13 years that I called Brooklyn home were full of unimaginable growth, life and love. My husband and I were dating and newly in love, when got this big idea to go check out apartments in Brooklyn. It was a beautiful spring Sunday afternoon, with the Village Voice in hand, we made the rounds from Fort Green, Clinton Hill and Park Slope. We weren’t moved by anything, until we walked into this industrial, dusty looking artist loft space on Union Street, next to the Brooklyn Casket Company. 

I can’t begin to tell you what we thought of it; why it clicked. It was big with industry gray painted floors. No closets, a double decker washer dryer and a white and black kitchen. 

I’m not sure, maybe it was the owner of the building who was an artist, who seemed more like a handy man, complicated college professor. What did we see? I wish I could remember. All I know is we went back to Long Island crunching numbers and making plans. We came back to Brooklyn the following weekend, signed the lease and were making the move two weeks later. We boight 1,200 square feet of Berber carpet, to cover the gray floor. Dan the artist Handy man, built a closet and we called it home. 

Life happen in a come what may kind of way, but in retrospect very fast. Within 13 years in Brooklyn, we —got married, had three kids, bought a brownstone, made Brooklyn’s neighborhoods our go to for parks, dining, shopping, gatherings, adventures, schools, daycares. And three maternity runs to the Methodist Hospital.

We thought we would never leave Brooklyn. The neighborhood feel was like putting your hands in rich soil. The natural earthiness of it was so easy to dig in and live. It wasn’t until we had our third kid that it started to feel complicated and like a endless race. 

I was I. Brooklyn today, a sort of quick dash for work. I took the train to Borough Hall. I got off and recalled the countless parking tickets I’ve paid there, at the DMV and getting our marriage license. 

Clinging, to my navigational Google Ma, I walked to down the street and around the corner to catch the M57 bus to Redhook and couldn’t exactly recall how Red Hook lined up between Carrol Gardens and South Slope and whatever. 

A man asked me about the bus route, if the bus would go down Court Street. Why did he ask me! Why did I feel abliged to answer? I gave him the wrong info and felt bad when I was on the bus and passed the street he referred to. I was pretty certain that the bus passed him too. 

I was glued to the window seeing shops and landmarks that touched my soul. I could feel myself being young and love spending nights out for dinner and drinking until the bar was closed. 

I could reach out and touch the vision of walking in and out of shops on Court Street, shopping to make our loft a home. 

My heart longed for the young mother moments on stroller adventures with my daughter. 

Life was slipping through my hands like sand. I felt it, yet there was so much new about the neighborhoods. 

It wasn’t my home; my neighborhood anymore. It was only a memory I could reach out and feel. 

Making Time to Smell the Roses

Work with a Scenic View

Living the getaway life. Hudson Valley River Cruise on the Evening Star from Peekskill, New York. Bear Mountain State Park, Bear Mountain Bridge, West Point, freight trains on the west side of the Hudson, Metro-North’s Hudson Line on the east side. Garrison, Manitou Preserve, Storm King Mountain, Breakneck Ridge, Iona Island, the sun and the blue sky. 

Paved in Literary Pearls

I’m pretty sure I’ve been down 41st Street, between Madison and 5th, but I guess I’ve never looked down at the sidewalk. 

Yesterday, I happen to see someone take a quick picture of the sidewalk. I looked down and discovered the sidewalk, on both sides of the street, is lined in literary pearls of wisdom. 

I felt like I was skipping along on a Candy Land game board. Still taking in each message, but I found them insightful, confirming, thought provoking, inspiring, on-point and some simply funny.

I’m sharing these pictures, like holding out nuggets in my hand.

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