Archive for the ‘Dog Journal’ Category

Taking Life In Gulps

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

Eating You take life in gulps! You eat too fast. You’re going in six directions.

Words of my mom. To me. All my life and hers when she was still living.

Was this the observation of a wiser, slower generation? Or a wiser, less frantic woman? I think the latter.

Growing up, her sisters said, she was the last to finish a meal. When I was growing up, she was still the last. Ultimately, in the independent living dining room, she was still the last.

“I’m just a slow eater,” she would say. “Go on if you have to.”

But no one ever did. They sat. They told her their stories. She listened and chewed. They waited.

Although she regularly apologized for the delay, I can’t remember anyone complaining. She wasn’t a dawdler. She was a savorer and a listener. Someone easy to sit with. Someone who took it all in.

Looking back, I have to admit she was right about the gulping. It’s an excellent habit to break. Not that I have. But I’m working on getting the six directions – whatever they were – down to five.

Mom would be proud.

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What Is Success?

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Drop of waterThree times in the last two days, conversations with friends have turned to the question, “What is success?” It’s a good question. How do you measure it? Coincidentally, the same question was the timed writing topic this week at the Sunday afternoon writing workshop Jen Richards hosts at her soon-to-be closed (sigh) Worthington consignment store, On Second Thought, whose great success has been as a community gathering spot with Jen at the helm. Anyway, here’s my 10-minute shot at answering the question. I’d love to hear yours.

Success is not measured in dollars or inventories of adult toys or even inventories of impressive adult connections.

The best measure is in ripples. Those likely unplanned and unintended, who-woulda’- thought moments of impact that one life has on another.

The ripple could be a memory – a snapshot of some selfless act that pushes us to do the same. Or some lingering phrase powered by so much wisdom that years after, a grandchild or even some innocent bystander might be moved to extraordinary kindness or optimism or even heroism from having heard it.

It’s funny. We don’t act as if success will be measured in this way. Instead, we amass, we connect, we study, as if we’ll be measured by our possessions or influence or an exam grade.

The fact is, we can collect and network and dissect the theory of relativity but we might have as much influence serving coffee in a diner – offering a drop of support that pulled someone back from the edge or the encouragement that nudged someone else to greatness.

This is not to say traditional measures of success are bad. It’s fine to drive the Lexus or pilot your private plane. Every once in a while, though, to keep things in perspective, it might be a good idea to skip a stone across a pond.

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Medical equipment takes world tour

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

African bush taxiI just love it when synchronicity kicks in to solve a problem. So it was this week when my son called, wanting to know where to buy a canvas clothes closet just like one I had in the basement. Since mine was only holding unused medical equipment and I hate the idea of spending money needlessly, I was inspired to clean out the wardrobe and hand it over to him.

Fine idea, but ever try to unload pieces of random medical equipment all in one place? If I were in charge of the world, there would be a centralized Medicare warehouse that redistributes this stuff, but don’t get me started. And we won’t go into the full time job it would be to sell it all on Craig’s list.

Instead, I Googled the problem and discovered a warehouse called MedWish International (www.medwish.org) , a non-profit in Cleveland that distributes medical equipment worldwide. And ta-dah! I had to drive up that way regardless for a friend’s book-signing party. So Tuesday saw me trucking up 71-North, Prius jammed with a manual wheelchair, half a dozen seat cushions, some sort of circulation pump, a variety of crutches and canes and the crowning glory – a bedside toilet chair. I felt like I was driving an African bush taxi and I prayed I wouldn’t break down.

Happily, the medical delivery went without a hitch. MedWish Director of Operations Mimi Hable even met me in the parking lot and helped unload.

So as of last evening, mission accomplished! My son has the clothes closet. MedWish has a ton of equipment. And thanks to my husband’s perseverance in acquiring this stuff in the first place, people around the world – and especially their tushes – will be more comfortable. Success all around.

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