Mother’s Day Traction

I’ve been thinking about something I read recently, about how one of the most important things a child needs to feel in childhood is to be cherished. If I could only use one word to describe my own childhood that would be it, CHERISHED! So how lucky am I?!

Yet it is so true, I was the fourth and final child, but was made to feel like the cherry on top of the delicious ice cream sundae, the icing on the cake, I was the bonus, the special prize, they were all waiting for me to make life complete. It was as if I was the reason there were six ice cream sandwiches in the pack, then we could all get one, six candy bars in a pack, same reason, I just made everything make sense. That is how they made me feel. I was completely loved. My Mother used to stop me as she pushed me on the backyard swings, just as the swing would need another push, she’d grab the swing with me in it, put her arms around my waist and whisper in my ear, “you are the greatest, the sweetest, the most!” Then she would kiss my face and push me again.

As I have grown up and witnessed the sadness of how many people have never felt that kind of love and acceptance I have only grown to realize what an incredible gift I was given. And now as my Mom spends another Mother’s Day in heaven I am left to say thank you dear, sweet, kind lady, for all that you gave me everyday of my life!

I have great respect and admiration for Mothers because of the wonderful one I had, so I dedicate this blog to all of those that have lost their Mom. I understand your loss and sadness. The more we loved them, the more it hurts on a day like today.

Happy Mother’s Day, and cherish those children, it makes for happy and healthy adults.

The first signs of Spring, broken bones

Wow, what a long winter…..and yes, it is not officially Spring but one step out into the world and the first thing you notice in addition to huge piles of melting parking lot snow, is every other person seems to be wearing a cast or a sling from their time in the non Olympic events of snow and ice walking!

These are just a few of the first signs that we are headed out of our caves, looking for any sign of crocus and daffodils, birds chirping, dented car fenders, clogged gutters, dirty cars, crater pot holes, anything that can tell us we are headed in the right direction, we survived, we have made it thru. It felt like an endurance race this year, it felt like it took the discipline of doing traction to keep the winter blues at bay. Every few days another storm, another arctic blast, another blow to the idea that next week will be short sleeve weather. Heck, at some point you found your self giddy only wearing three layers and wondering what your reflection would look like without ice stuck to your scarf. Dark, cold days, traction had prepared you for non fun events, preparing for tomorrow when today wasn’t a bowl full of cherries.

Who knew looking out at the icicles hanging from the roof would be entertaining when you sat in traction. Or watching the fir trees sway in the snow and wind would remind you of sitting in the same place watching the same trees sway on gloriously warm, blue sky days.

Come snow, sleet, rain or heat, traction always has a story to tell.

Spills

I was thinking about spills today, how I so easily spill things……check out most of my shirts and they have some faded stain on them……I can blame it on my numb hands sometimes but am I also clumsy? No body likes a spiller….when you are a child and you spill milk, watch out, yep, there’s that old saying, “no crying over spilled milk” but if it falls in someones’ lap they are going to yell, trust me! When I was 5 or 6 years old I was on vacation with my family and we were eating breakfast at a cafeteria. We were staying at a hotel affiliated with an amusement park, needless to say I was an excited girl. One of the young women who worked there saw me in the line and asked if I wanted her to carry my tray, my 5 or 6-year-old self was completely offended by the mere question.
I said no, but my Mom thought it was a nice idea and let’s just say the adults won out…….I huffed and puffed behind the college age girl, as she approached our table something happened causing her to spill the tray, and the glass of orange juice all over my Aunt’s summer straw purse……I felt very vindicated as the waitress ran to get towels to clean up the mess, my Mom shook her head, my Aunt laughed out loud….I said loudly and you were worried about me, I could have done a better job!
I’m not sure what brought spills to my mind today other than I was feeling very clumsy before I did traction, I can make a lot of noise in the kitchen even with only using plastic and metal.

Hope you have a spill free day!

Q and A

For some people so much of life is hard. People who don’t know that first hand should be on their knees saying thank you. So much of life is something we can’t comprehend, are we meant to ever understand. Are all the mysteries answered in the end? Is there a big question and answer session after we die, or is there more mystery, more discovery, more waiting to understand?

Some days, some times life is very predictable and simple, get up, go to work, come home, do what you need to do for the next day, be with family and go to bed and do it all over again the next day if you are lucky enough to do so. Other days your life experiences its own collapse, its own tsunami, its own personal September 11th. Your life blows up, maybe it just starts out as an ordinary Wednesday but by the end of it your life feels gutted, gone forever what ever you held most dear. Every day someone somewhere experiences that kind of pain, that kind of fear, that kind of despair. If you don’t know that, start counting your lucky days.

Just been thinking how much we all take for granted or how some folks just don’t seem to get it. They seem careless, not care free. They don’t seem to cherish the moments, the people who matter….maybe they don’t ever think about it….but some day their life will implode and they will be left on the side of the road wondering what the heck just happened. Hold tight to what you have, look up and say thanks to what ever you believe in and love more, do more, be more….we only go around once and the clock is ticking.

Something fishy

You might have noticed things look a little different around “Thoughts in Traction” these days……I’ve changed the format just a bit…..I like the fish swimming around in the background…..(my favorite part of the Dentist office experience is the aquarium, watching those fish swim around is relaxing despite the sound of the drill flowing from the back room.) Maybe I should think about installing an aquarium next to where I sit here to do traction, watch the fish swim while I’m hanging here……..well, that doesn’t sound relaxing but you get my point, I hope.

My two great nieces each have a fish and one day things were a little too quiet and sure enough a little hand up to its elbow was deep in the bowl trying to “see” the fish up close. Can’t say that I blame her, I always want a closer look, but not too close, I now have a shellfish allergy…….sounds too funny, except when it’s happening to you……all these years of living, eating clams and shrimp and now I have nearly bought the farm three times eating something too fishy…….life is crazy……..so I’ll be sticking to my little fish in this blog, they are calming and they don’t stop my breathing, so win, win!

Green Grandma

My Grandma wasn’t Irish, but her birthday was on St. Patrick’s Day and every year she’d wear her dress covered in shamrocks and any green pin or necklace any grandchild would give her. My Mom would buy her green and white carnations and her giant cake would be covered in white and green icing. I’m thinking about all those birthday parties today and all the fun. It was a great way to celebrate a Grandma kind of Grandmother. Her birthday and Christmas were the few exceptions you’d ever see her without her apron, and not a half apron, a full apron. The kind you could easily get lost in when you got a hug. She was the kind of Grandma that had a candy drawer and made your favorites when you came to her house. She was a Grandma out of a book on “How to be a Grandma.” She had the most beautiful hands. When my Mom got a new piano as a gift one year she finally convinced my Grandma to play for us. Prior to that she’d only sit at the dining room table moving her lovely fingers to the imaginary keys. I grew up hearing stories of Grandma’s beloved father giving her a piano when she was nine years old, yet I had never seen or heard her play the piano until that moment and I would never again.

Thinking of you today Grandma, I miss you and all that you were, but as long as I’m alive you’re alive in me.
Happy Birthday!

Mona Lisa smiled at me

When one is in Paris you pinch yourself, when one is in the Louvre you shake your head at your luck, when one is in line to see the Mona Lisa you think the day can’t get any better.

Only thing that might if you let it get in the way of full happiness is that I was in a wheel chair. It helps me get around as easily as possible and see as much as possible, but I don’t like how I feel in a chair with wheels and sometimes I don’t like how folks treat me in one, but on occasion it is a necessary part of my life and I must deal with it. On to more important things, the Mona Lisa! So just at the moment when you think the best view you will have of this lovely lady is the backside of the rows of people in front of you a very tall man dressed as a museum guard points at you. He begins to speak to you in a language you pretend to understand much better than you actually do and somehow you do understand and before you know it he’s opening a gate for you and you are in a cordoned off area two feet from Mona Lisa. The crowd of hundreds is many feet behind you as you feel their jealousy and you stop and connect with your new friend. She is protected behind glass but you realize you are as humanly close to her as anyone other than museum staff ever gets to her. You know that she on this special day in your life, has smiled at you. Because of this chair with wheels and the problems your body has that put you in it to make this day possible to even be here has all come to this moment when Mona Lisa smiled at little old me and made me not only first in line but as close as possible! Thank you, you made my day, made me feel very special and I will never forget meeting you! Paris, you are not always an easy place for me, as people talk and walk very fast and bump into you and never look back, but in that moment a most famous painting and I had our moment and all is good!

PS. I haven’t posted in a while, well, two months or more. I was busier than I wanted to be but still doing traction. I missed you guys, I missed connecting with the group of folks I’ve created in my mind that cheer me on, some of you are very real and some probably not, but anyhoo, I’ve missed you and it is nice to be back.

Olympic Traction

I had an entire post written about my thoughts to introduce Traction to the Olympic Committee and then I hit the wrong key and puff……it’s gone. Yet, I’m still here, sitting in traction, Olympics or not. The fingers are not full of energy today to attempt typing it again so I’ll just say, watch out four years…..only thing, is it a winter or summer event?

You’re not crazy, you just drive like you are

The first time I knew I was doing it I was driving on the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago, Illinois. I knew I was being judged for my out-of-state plates and I was judging right back the rattling, rust machine that was plugging along in front of me. I wanted it to move over, get out of my way, I had somewhere to be, somewhere obviously far more important than them I selfishly assumed. Besides I thought if I didn’t pass them I justified for the folks driving behind me either drive in my trunk or leave me in the dust. There are just some highways in this world you must have your stuff together or get the heck out-of-the-way!

I realized today I was doing it again, a shiny newer car passed me and I thought, wow, I want to follow them, they know where they’re going, they can predict traffic patterns, they know which lane will keep moving in rush hour, they will get me to where I’m going on time if I follow them. It’s time for me to come clean. I car profile, I driver profile too. We often sum things up by appearance and as much as don’t want to admit it, I do it too, everyday. If I see temporary tags I think they must be too new to the vehicle to know how to properly operate it so I pass ’em. If I notice someone’s plates are geographically more than two states away from the state I’m currently driving in, get out of my way, slow poke alert, must be lost or on vacation, either way, going no where fast enough for me.

But if the car is nondescript and also in my way, then does anything I consider weird or dangerous that’s when I go beyond the car and look inside. If the person looks like they posed for their driver’s license photo yesterday I’m frankly a little afraid of them and if they’re all silver-haired, I’m afraid of them too. Just to be clear, it’s not ok what I’m saying, it’s not pretty, it’s not kind, it’s not what I want to say that I do but I do it probably everyday. I’m a profiler and I don’t work for the FBI. I see a woman driving a van full of children I’ll straighten up in my seat, tighten my hands to the wheels and consciously drive “safer.” Anybody spending their time smoking and driving, I think their not only filling their lungs with some bad stuff but I think they might make a wrong turn and suddenly hit the brakes in front of me but yet a cab driver in my rear view mirror is some secret challenge I have within that I don’t want passing me.

Oh yeah, and I don’t like seeing anybody wearing a hat when they drive, seems to me it blocks the vision, oh, unless it’s subzero outside and the hat wearing is because of the temperature, but then I begin to wonder shouldn’t the inside of the car be warm enough now. Ok, just to reiterate, winter hats are ok, everything else, nope, unacceptable in my book of what is right and wrong with cars and drivers. Also, don’t drive a convertible anywhere near me, you make me nervous and I think you are a distracted driver thinking about the weather and how you look driving your convertible. If you drive a motorcycle and don’t wear a helmet I want to pull you over and ask you what kind of health insurance coverage you have. If you drive with your windows down when it is raining I want to get away from you because I’m afraid your car is unsafe and about to combust in flames or something awful because that must be why you have to keep the windows open. Please, and don’t get me started if I see an animal in the car or a tractor-trailer full of livestock you are dead to me, I am convinced at any second the dog/cat/pig/etc. will grab the wheel and plunge a lane full of cars over an embankment.
I’m nuts, I admit it, I sit in traffic and judge. I actually think if the car appears newly washed it seems like someone less likely to cause an accident. If the car already has a dent in it I check to see what the speed limit is because I want to get away from it asap. My condition worsens the longer I sit in traffic. I have no excuse, I’m just the crazy person that sits in TRACTION so she can feel her fingers and retain her independence to drive at the same time the worlds’ worst driver and deadliest vehicle must be right next to me today in TRAFFIC. Yep, makes total sense.

Forcing Spring

I feel cool. I’ve watched many a gardening show and dreamt of having the skill and know how to take care of a little patch of beauty. I’ve tried here and there and have had moments of glory but Mother Nature and her elements have not always been my friend. All of my gardening mishaps have led me to appreciating the first signs of Spring in potted tulips and hyacinths growing in gardening centers. Rarely have these beauties made it to my table if they were growing in my yard. They’ve either been snacks for chipmunks or killed by late frost. I’ve just not had a lot of luck with growing bulbs. I know, every other yard displays them, looks easy to accomplish, but if I want to see blooming early spring bulb plants I need to buy them at the garden store or walk to the neighbor’s house.

But this year is a new year and I’m growing things indoors! Paperwhites adorn my desk and fill the room with a lovely fragrance that has me wondering where I am! I’m waiting any day now for the daffodils to pop. Who knew you could grow such beauty in the tiniest of spaces indoors? Here’s all I did: I placed the bulbs in a brown bag for a couple of days or maybe a week, at the first sign of root growth I set them in shallow wide container and surrounded them with a few pebbles or small decorative rocks. I then covered the rocks with water, I’ve consistently keep the water over the roots but have been careful not to ever completely cover the bulbs, add water as needed. Voila, then the most amazing third grade science project happens right in your tired winter home! Forcing bulbs indoors is easy and fun and if it works you look like a master gardener and if it doesn’t I’m not telling.

Spring is coming, hope grows right before my eyes. Old dreary traction is surrounded by a lovely scent and pushing toward a new day.

(Bonus, if you bought that bag of bulbs in the Fall and never got around to planting them here’s your answer, it will look like you planned it that way all along) Good Luck and a special thank you to Mary M. for her introduction of the idea into my life!