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A Poetic Moment

In recognition of National Poetry Month, I perused my mother’s 7th grade poetry book that she never returned to the nuns in 1943. She clearly loved the tattered brown volume filled with her notes and dog-eared pages.

This poem reminds us how a simple moment can remain in our memory for a lifetime. It’s the premise of my essay collection titled Musing Off the Mat – memories and everyday moments.

Memory

My mind lets go a thousand things,
Like dates of wars and deaths of kings,
And yet recalls the very hour —
‘Twas noon by yonder village tower,
And on the last blue noon in May —
The wind came briskly up this way,
Crisping the brook beside the road;
Then, pausing here, set down its load
Of pine-scents, and shook listlessly
Two petals from that wild-rose tree.

                                              – Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Take time to read poetry. It will comfort you.

Shop Small. Shop Local.

I’ve always been a big fan of small stores. They’re cozy. You can see and reach everything easily. You get personalized service. And you’re happy to support owners who work their tails off.

As a new author, I’ve found small businesses welcoming. Here are a few that sell Jimmy and Me, A Sister’s Memoir and Musing Off the Mat – memories & everyday moments.

Helen Thomas Simply Smashing gift shop on Main Street in Andover, MA. Owner Lisa supports local artisans, especially women entrepreneurs. Books, jewelry, artwork, and home decor are tasteful and personalized.

West Village Provisions is the Cheers bar in the bucolic town of Boxford, MA. Owners Kim and Mike have created a strong sense of community in their store. Go for a snack or lunch, pick up groceries, eclectic gifts, and books.

I AM Books is an Italian American shop in the heart of historic Boston. Owner Nicola offers unique books, gifts, and neighborhood activity including Italian language lessons.

Jabberwocky bookshop, in the quaint coastal town of Newburyport, MA, has been selling books for 44 years. Owner Sue has an extensive collection, a knowledgeable staff, and hosts frequent author talks.

BookEnds in lovely Winchester, MA offers a wide array of well-displayed books as well as gifts, cards, and music.

Things A Drift on beautiful Long Beach Island, NJ is an active member its community. Owner Cheryl offers all things nautical, home decor, jewelry, books, and more, all in a fun little shop that will lift your spirits.

Support your local merchants!

A Visit from My Father

I hadn’t slept well and woke too late to make the morning yoga class. So I stayed in bed and drifted back to sleep.

I dreamed I entered a small cafe in a neighboring town. No one was in the restaurant. Feeling a little disoriented and indecisive, I prepared to leave. I told the guy at the counter that my morning schedule was screwed up . . .  that I knew it wasn’t a problem and then finally agreed to a breakfast order.

I moseyed between the tables and looked over when I noticed Daddy sitting at a table. He’d come in from the cold and his hands were between his knees. That’s the way he often waited.

“Daddy!” I yelled happily. I rushed to him and hugged him. He was wearing a gray sweatshirt hoodie and the hood covered his head, tied tightly under his chin. His face was rosy and looked thin. “How did you get here? How did you find me?” I asked.

He said clearly, “I knew how to find you.”

Ever since my father passed away, I’ve been praying to him. He answered my prayers and visited me. I felt peaceful the rest of the day.

End the R-word

Spread the word to end the word. Today is the national day to show respect to individuals with special needs.

When I was a child, I heard the derogatory and insulting word “retarded” too often. It was directed to my brother (and to me as “the retard’s sister”) on the playground, in school corridors, and in other public places.

Decades later, I heard it with derisive laughter from “professional” adults in business settings. To this day, it still pains me to hear such hurtful language.

I pledge #Respect through my words & actions. Will you? Pledge now to create communities of inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities. r-word.org

Remember: the only “R” word for citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities is RESPECT.

Ditch It!

It’s week 3 of my “Ditch It” program. Now that the nest is empty, I’ve decided to get rid of one large item a week.

This week’s item from the basement, aka the warehouse: an Ikea chair.

“Mom, you’ve been trying to pawn off that chair for years,” said my daughter. “No one wants it.”

She’s right. Although I donate to the local thrift shop and consign items seasonally, some things should just go to the curb.

Such as the upright Hoover vacuum cleaner I bought for my first apartment in 1982. It’s been in my husband’s workshop serving as a hook for his “yard clothes.” Gone!

Or the 30-year-old bicycle hanging in the garage. Its handlebars have held the heavy duty outdoor extension cord for at least a decade. Vamoose!

I’m feeling lighter already . . . and scouring the basement for next week’s relic.