A Special Edition: Change Happens

Socrates once said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

Last summer I lived in a four grocery store town. Grocery shopping easy.

Our favorite local grocer, less than a mile from our house, announced they were closing for a 5-month remodel of the store starting August 23rd. Re-opening in January.

Word spread. By the end of they day store shelves showed huge gaps where product once stood. We dropped by to pick up a few items and ended up stocking up too.

The store employees, notified the evening before at a company meeting.

The clerks relocated to one of three other properties in the neighboring big city, Tacoma, Washington, or they lost their jobs. They had the option of re-applying for their original jobs once our store re-opened.

A pall hung over the store employees. We were sad too. We figured we would never see most of our favorite clerks again.

Across the street an issue of a different kind occurred. An anti-trust settlement closed our local Safeway. The property was sold to a local chain called Haggens.

Since Safeway sold the property last March, Haggens business dropped by 50 percent. The up side, I could now run safely on the sidewalk on the Haggens side of the street without being run over. The kamikaze drivers shopped elsewhere.

Haggens closed the day before Thanksgiving.

Happy holidays everyone, let the combat grocery shopping begin.

And then there were two, grocery stores.

Because of the Haggen’s closure, Albertson/Safeway bid on the property at auction and won.

The two stores raced to re-open on the same day: Wednesday, February 3rd. At 7:00 a.m. the mayor hosted a ribbon cutting party.

By 7:15 a.m. horns honked, cars raced around the parking lots in search of open spaces. Watching the cars jockeying for parking—crunch—the voice of Kathy Bates yelling “Towanda” filled the back of my mind. “Face it girls, I’m older and I have more insurance.”

Private security directing traffic. The road between the two stores mimicked Seattle rush-hour traffic—bumper-to-bumper, inching along at five miles-per-hour.

The Starbucks on every corner devoid of customers, except for us. All attention focused on the two “new” stores.

We could walk there faster than we could drive. So we did. That’s when it happened, change happened. I found a dime, a quarter, and a nickel on the ground.  My lucky day. And I didn’t get run over retrieving said coins. A genuine possibility based on their location in the parking lot of our recently re-opened grocery store.

This winter, I live in a four grocery store town. Change happens.

Which made me realize, Socrates was right. “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Although he forgot to mention watching for any spare change along the way.  ;)

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Grover “Ugly Honest” Cleveland

This month’s contribution to the Blog of Funny Names. Enjoy.

The Blog of Funny Names

What happens when Sesame Street meets Betty White? You get, Grover Cleveland. One tough cookie.

Grover Cleveland Source: Wikipedia

Stephen Grover Cleveland, mentioned twice on this esteemed blog, here and here, a native son of New York. He served as Governor of New York, Mayor of Buffalo, and while serving as assistant district attorney and again while serving as sheriff of Erie County he earned the nickname “Ugly Honest.” That’s kind of eerie if you ask me.

His vice president, Adlai Stevenson I, a great name worth repeating with his son, Adlai Stevenson II, congressman.

Cleveland was considered one of the hardest working presidents, completing his own paperwork, regularly working past midnight—often later, and battling the Senate as he worked to clean house in Washington. And he succeeded with the support of the people.

He asserted the earliest form of what we now call “executive privilege.”

Like the twice baked potato—resting…

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A Special Edition—One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

GalileoMy uncle is coming to the close of his life. In and out of the hospital, experiencing a part of life he never imagined. Taking him to cancer treatments. Watching him struggle to breathe.

Monday, he asked me why I was helping him, what’s in it for me?

I said, “Making memories together.”

Many of my family members suffered with dementia, are still suffering. What is really important to me are the memories. The funny mistakes, the oops. Laughing so hard we snort beverages out our noses.

The good memories stay, the bad ones drift away.

My own father is disappearing through Alzheimer’s Disease. He no longer remembers my sisters or me, but he can still repeat his favorite stanza of a nursery rhyme.

“Wire, briar, limberlock
Three geese in a flock
One flew east,
One flew west,
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest”

The last line becoming the title of the book and movie, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

A fitting rhyme for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease.

When my father leaves our family, his not remembering me will fade. What remains: Blowing bubbles in our milkshakes, fishing on the open ocean and puking up our lunches—and reciting nursery rhymes.

At the end of of your life, what will you remember? Will you remember the things that made you laugh? Will you remember the things that made you cry? Will you remember the ones you love? Will you look back with regret, with pride, with joy?

What will you find within yourself?

“Wire, briar, limberlock
Three geese in a flock
One flew east,
One flew west,
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest”

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A Special Edition: Catitude—This is How I Roll. Meow.

I live in the Pacific Northwest. Clouds and rain, the sky’s fashionistas. Those of us who live here supply our own blue skies—in the form of blue tarps. And we bring our own sunshine, whether in the clothes we wear or the vehicles we drive.

Consider me a Mini Cooper enthusiast. Last summer my better half and I rented this Mini Cooper hardtop for a short trip in July. We rented our sunshine and loved the car.

Summer driving, we had a blast.

Summer driving, we had a blast.

Then the December darkness arrived. Record breaking rains, clouds so thick sunlight took a nap.

Time to shop for Christmas.

Home Goods recently opened in our small town. On a shelf near the cash registers sat this little number. A Mini-memory maker. Summer, sunshine, speed. It found a new home in our living room.

It drives like a go-cart, dances like a butterfly, and cruises like a bee.

It drives like a go-cart, dances like a butterfly, and cruises like a bee.

And a new driver . . . even before the grands could come over and give it a spin.

Would you fluff this blanket for me?

Would you fluff this blanket for me?


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A Special Edition: Respite on a Rainy Day

A few years ago I wrote a post about keeping your sense of humor and taking respite care of yourself called “The Deodorant Date“. At the time I wrote the post, we cared for one member of my family.  It has grown to three and we are happy to help. However, it can be emotionally and physically exhausting.

My better half and I practiced some healthy selfishness this past weekend. We disappeared for half a day and went to the beach to watch a storm along Washington State’s coastline.

Rain lashed our windshield. Wind bent the trees. Double rainbows formed during sun breaks. A king tide forced salt water waves up the grass covered dunes. Salt water and seaweed permeated the air.

Pure heaven.

Then a mini tsunami hit our coast. This footage was taken at Joe Creek near Pacific Beach, Washington, just north of our location.

Video credit: Irene Sumi

For those of you who know my penchant for funny names, we visited the towns of Hoquiam, Moclips, Copalis Beach, and a side trip to Cosmopolis.

Who wouldn’t want to go to Moclips, just to say they’d been there? It’s not as exciting as Forks, but it is on the same highway. And no trip to Hoquiam is complete without a stop at the Humdinger for the hand-made milkshake of your choosing—no powder mix, real ice cream. Mmmmm.

Then we experienced this sunset which reminded me of something I mentioned to a fellow blogger once.

Sunset at Copalis Beach, Washington State.

Sunset at Copalis Beach, Washington State.

Next time we’re going to Sequim—not for the famous lavender—so I can take a picture of the Kitchen-Dick Road sign. Who wouldn’t want to meet at Kitchen-Dick? Even for a deodorant date?

I hope you enjoy the sunset, enjoy your weekend, and enjoy a moment or two of respite.



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A Special Edition: February 20th Is Only Five Weeks Away

In my small town, we support a YMCA.  Last year one of the janitors fed me a gym secret.

I’m going to share . . . again.

 * * *

We’ve all done it, made a resolution.

January 1st, we put our resolution into action. Feeling the enthusiasm, joy, trepidation of a kindergartner on the first day of school.

January 22nd hits. Some of us fell off the resolution joy ride, while others continue strong.

The staff at your local gym are marking off the days on their calendar. That special day when the last of the irresolute “resolutioners” fall off the resolution joy ride.

It’s the same day every year.

There are only 5 weeks left until that special day when the gym staff can take a coffee break. And the janitors no longer pull double duty cleaning the locker rooms.

February 19th.

Let’s mess with their heads. Let’s make it a strong finish. Let’s all show up on the 20th!

To finish is to win.

TO FINISH IS TO WIN. (Yes, that’s me at the finish line.)

For those of you who make it to February 20th, how about a little Queen with “We Are The Champions.” Freddie Mercury’s choice of outfit. . . well, it was the transition from the seventies to the eighties.

Until next week.



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The B’s Have It for Beulah Bondi

It’s a wonderful life for Beulah Bondi. This month’s contribution to the Blog of funny names.

The Blog of Funny Names

Beulah Bondi—an actress with the alliteration we love—grew up in Valparaiso, Indiana. A town chock full of funny name goodness, take Orville Redenbacher for instance. Arto covered him cleverly here. The stars aligned in Valparaiso with famous actors and popcorn all in one place.

Beulah started her acting career at age seven playing the lead in “Little Lord Fauntleroy” in 1895.

Moving to New York she made her Broadway debut in 1925 and by 1929 her performance in “Street Scene” brought her to Hollywood, where she reprised her role as Emma Jones in the movie version. The Broadway role won her a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. A well named award indeed. Say it with me, Pulitzer. Doesn’t it just roll off your tongue? Not to be confused with Wurlitzer. I guess that would be music to our ears.

Who doesn’t love a little controversy sometimes. Bondi was born Bondy…

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