Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Who's Feckless Now?

I have caught flack on more than one occasion for voicing my distaste on the delicate subject of open mics at weddings or funerals. My experience has been that there are some people who, when handed a microphone, haven't the slightest idea of what an epitaph means: "a brief statement commemorating or epitomizing a deceased person or something past." It is not an opportunity to see who can prove they were closest to the happy couple or the recent dearly departed, with tales or jokes. Such attempts at humor, or worse - self-aggrandizement at the expense of someone else's name or reputation - are sadly nothing more than a display of poor self-esteem or poor upbringing.

Unfortunately, the compulsion to grab a moment of fame isn't restricted to the reception hall or funeral parlor. More than one person, given a platform - be it social media or guest spot on a talk show - has proven that s/he has no business handling a microphone until they have spent some time with Miss Manners.
Those who seize their right to be offensive should not be shocked that others take offense. - Miss Manners

I don't care which color you are on the political rainbow, rudeness and bullying of any family member of someone you don't like is nothing more than ill-mannered. And the recent brouhaha over Ivanka Trump Kushner's post of her sweet baby followed by her condolences in the wake of Kate Spade's apparent suicide has left me wondering if those jockeying for spots in the media limelight even own a dictionary, or know how to use Google to discover the meaning of a word they are so smartly battering around.
Feck is a Scots term that means "effect" or "majority" and comes from an alteration of the Middle English effect.  So, something without feck (or feckless) is without effect, or ineffective.
Hardly an apt description of a woman who graduated cum laude from an ivy league university, speaks three languages, uses her talents and resources to support Boys and Girls Clubs, National Urban League and other charitable organizations dedicated to helping children with cancer and EMS organizations. Ineffective? Not by my definition.

Maybe her critics are getting "feckless" confused with another archaic word that also begins with F? I cannot say. One such critic seems to have decided to forego higher education in favor of hogging the mic in pursuit of those accolades that the "Entertainment Industry" enjoys bestowing upon itself in recognition for numbing the masses with their dog and pony shows. I suppose that is considered "feck", or effective, in some circles. To me, it only serve to reinforce my mother's adage: If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

But I doubt you would receive a Grammy or an Emmy for that.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Family and such

I recently came to the stunning realization that often our families know us the least of anyone. This thought came to me in the most innocent way... a gift from a loved one. While the gift was thoughtful and funny, the sentiment it expressed was light years from the personality and mindset of person to whom it was gifted.

If you have read any of my meanderings at all, you know that I am given to pondering the underlying moral or message of any given situation, and how it applies to me. (Or not.) What is the take-away value?

This is not the first time I have had this revelation when it comes to family. Probably the first that I am aware of was at the funeral of an aunt. I had known this person for almost 30 years. But I did not KNOW her. That's the funny thing about funerals, if they are done well. You learn things about a person that leaves you regretting that you did not take the time to know them better, and resolving to change your self-centered ways and let more people have an influence in your life.

But, why is it that our family often knows us less than other friends, or sometimes even co-workers? My theory is that family "knows" who you used to be... their memories of you define who you are in their mind. But that does not keep up with real time if you don't spend a lot of time with them. And let's face it, in our culture, that is not often our reality. My three siblings live STATES away from me. We measure our distance in the number of plane changes, or days it takes to drive there. We are thankful to be able to see each other once a year. Thank goodness for Google Hangouts and Duo for keeping in touch. Even so, we have other family who live close by, but with work schedules and kids activities, we are thankful to be able see each other once or twice a year for a summer BBQ or taco night. Everyone is going in their own direction (me included) and we just don't make the time. So the niece who was interested in art or the cousin who was interested in horses remains fixed in our minds and we do not keep up with current events and changes in outlooks and interests. We lose touch, but unlike a friend, there will always be the connection of family.

Can we honestly call it a connection when we are only connected by our name? I am loath to abandon a relationship merely because I have not made the effort to keep it current. But, other than abandoning all of my own interests, what is the answer?

Friday, September 1, 2017


It's difficult to wrap my brain around the fact that it has already been 22 years since we said 'good-bye' to one of the most influential men in my life. September 1, 1995. My father-in-law J.W. "Jay"- one of the best - he has been missed.
He would be 100 years old this year.

What makes me sad is what he has missed since he left us. He missed meeting 10 more great-grandchildren - one of whom I secretly call "Jay" in his honor. But more than that, I am sad that those 10 great-grandchildren will never have the pleasure of knowing "Grandpa Jay" beyond the stories we tell them, or experiencing first hand the love and fun he would have lavished on them. He had his faults, and he made mistakes, as do we all. But he was kind, and loving and forgiving, and hardworking and honest, and loyal and dedicated. He gave this world 3 sons whom I have seen exhibit those same qualities; all character traits I think are well worth being passed down to the next generation, and the next generation...

I think one of the things I appreciated most about him was that he always referred to me as his "daughter." There was no "-in-law" qualification. I was his daughter, and he treated me as such. So today, I am lighting a candle and stopping again to remember this man who was a very large part of my life for 24 years, and continues to influence even today.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

42914 :: We Don't Have to Agree

Sometimes we don't agree with each other. That's OK with me. What's not OK with me is when someone assumes that I therefore hate them or feel compelled to change them to my way of thinking. What I do wish is that people would afford each other the same courtesy and respect that they desire for themselves: the right to their own opinion.


More likely than not, when you run into someone who disagrees with you, they are not looking to string you up. It's OK if they are vocal in explaining why they feel the way they feel. Dialogue is necessary to understanding each other. If you are so threatened about the opinion someone has, you might do well to examine why you feel threatened. Sometimes, it can be because you are not confident that you have made the right choice and are afraid that changing your mind will make you the loser.

The only losers are people who turn their backs on another human being without giving them the respect they deserve as a fellow human being.

It is no secret that I hate labels. Labels only mean something when there is a standard, like "100% Fruit Juice, no added sugar." When we slap a label of "Christian" or "gay" or "[insert your political party here]" on someone, those labels are far less standardized and come with lots of stereotypes and misconceptions on the part of the label-er or the person being labeled. Not to mention those labels represent only a fraction of what makes that person who he/she is. Unlike a juice box, no one is 100% any label we can think of sticking on them. And I guarantee that there is no person on this planet with whom you are going to agree 100% on any given topic.

When we can have an open, honest discussion about feelings and opinions, there is no place for labels or name-calling. There IS a place for saying, "Well, I don't quite agree with your choice / conclusion / opinion." Past that, name calling, shaming, belittling, or intimidation have no place in a civil discussion. We have enough other things to discuss... why not focus on what we have in common instead of our differences. We need to stop defining people by their "other-ness."

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

42913 :: Slip Sliding Away

Not that I needed a reminder. As if I could forget the day I became a mother.

That my daughter is now 40 years old comes as somewhat of a surprise. I do know how to count, it's just that I have somehow missed accounting for about 35 of those years. I was told upon entering Motherhood that I should not blink, as I would be surprised by how quickly it passed by. Those were some true words.

So, in 40 short years we have gone from my precious Honey... this lovely young lady...

to this accomplished, amazing, strong, spirited, beautiful mother of her own two lovelies...

I think I now understand how my Dad felt when I told him I was applying for Medicare. It's hard to fathom where the time has gone.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

42827 :: Reflecting on Judi

Taking some time to reflect on life after saying good-bye to yet another friend today. Cancer and other illnesses, if nothing else, at least give us time to prepare our hearts for that good-bye, but violent, instant death of a friend happens just as often, I have found. And it is wrenching.

A friend does not need to be a bosom friend or BFF to be missed. A friend is not necessarily that person you spend a lot of time with or have photo albums full of memories. A friend can just as easily be someone who is able to give you her whole smile and attention and make you feel that she genuinely cares about you. It does not take a huge investment of time, but it does involve being real and being vulnerable.

We look at Facebook sometimes and wonder how someone can have so many "friends." It's really quite simple: love on people.

So today we all  hugged each other and said as we seem to say too often these days, "We've got to quit meeting at funerals... let's get together soon."

A profound meme was posted after her memorial service that sums it up for me...
...that was Judi's legacy... the love she deposited into so many lives.

Friday, March 31, 2017

42825 :: Labels and Such

After reading this well-reasoned piece recently posted by , some thoughts regarding "mediocrity" and other labels formulated itself, that I just had to jot down...

Here's the thing about "mediocrity" - as soon as we accept labels from society, we redefine our value based on other's expectations and value systems.

Who is to say that a life spent within a narrow scope of influence has any less value that a life spent affecting millions?

That is not to say that a Mother Theresa should not follow her own passion and calling, but the point is: It's HER passion and HER calling.

Didn't Elizabeth Ann Everest, the nanny who helped shape the life of Winston Churchill, instill within him the drive and determination that consequently pulled an entire nation through a devastating war with the resolve to persevere despite the ever-present threat of invasion and defeat, and thereby affect millions who never knew her name? How can her role be labeled "mediocre"?

I would so rather see a world with a million persons who are parented with love and integrity, taking their passion into their world one person at a time that to see one Hitler wreaking his bigotry and hatred on 6 million and more.

It's not so much about what you do, but being obedient to what you are called to do.