Losing Mom: A Life in the Details

Standard

Nancy Kiehne Miniature Books

In recent years, I’ve wondered: Is life about the big picture or is life in the details?

The big picture is good. It keeps us from wasting time on things that don’t matter. It enables us to step back and analyze problems, trends, and accomplishments. The big picture lets us rise above pettiness.

But details are good too. Your fingers trace the geometric design on a throw pillow. Your eyes catch the wink of a favorite cousin. You hear the clack of the roller coaster the second your feet hit the boardwalk. Details help us mark our days with appreciation and whimsy.

My mother died on Friday after a short bout with cancer. I prayed she would go once the pain became intense.

And so the job, or perhaps I should say the honor, of mourning her begins.

Do I grieve the big things? The loss of a mother. The ending of an era. The last parent.

Or do I grieve the small things, the details? I unpack Easter rabbits she painted and recall how Mom loved holidays. My grandson flies his first kite, and I can’t phone her with the news. I take out a recipe card, and there’s my mother’s handwriting.

Mom was a collector. In the photo above, you see some of her miniatures: books, animal figurines, tiny houses, a doll, and doll house furniture.

And she was an artist. Here are those Easter rabbits.

For collectors and artists, it’s all about the details. And although this grief is new, I’m thinking that’s how it will go for me. Photo by photo, memento by memento, flashback by flashback, I’ll miss my mother. I’ll miss her in the details.

But I’m not complaining! For as the big picture tells me, who would want it any other way?

What about you? Have you lost your mom? Any words of wisdom for those of us fresh to the loss?

Photo Below: My mom, Nancy Kiehne, on her 90th birthday in December

 

Toasts! A Book Giveaway

Standard

Toasts

 

I’ll toast to just about anything. I love to celebrate (and I love to raise a glass). When June Cotner and Nancy Tupper Ling put out a call for toasts for their upcoming anthology, I couldn’t resist!

I’m lucky enough to have 14 toasts featured in Toasts: The Perfect Words to Celebrate Every Occasion, published last fall by Viva Editions.

Since  it’s almost April Fools Day, I present to you my toast, “To Foolish Fun!”

Friends, you can fool me once!

Friends, you can fool me twice!

Here’s to lots of foolish fun,

Before this crazy day is done.

 USA Today calls Toasts an “adorable collection of special thoughts.” You’ll find toasts and blessings for weddings, funerals, christenings, retirement, birthdays, graduations, bon voyage, holidays, and plenty of  other occasions.

I was surprised and touched to read my name in the Introduction:

Toasts Intro

Wouldn’t my British Literature professor at Duke, now gone to the ivory towers in the sky, get a jolt out of that one! I remember her quoting Wordsworth with gusto shortly after returning papers. Mine had a less than stellar grade at the top in a large red letter.

Back to April Fools Day. Promise me you’ll use my toast on April 1. Offer it at breakfast, send it over the office email, put it on your FB page. I’d be delighted, no fooling!

Giveaway: Thanks to Viva Editions for offering Friend for the Ride one copy of Toasts: The Perfect Words to Celebrate Every Occasion. For a chance to win, please enter a comment by April 5. (The comment link is at the bottom). U.S. and Canada only. Thanks!

You’ll want your own copy of Toasts, and the book makes a creative gift, especially for graduations, wedding showers, and birthdays. Click here for the Amazon link.

Toasts

Sex After Menopause: A Vibrant Nation Live Webcast

Standard

Capture

Sex and menopause.

What a topic, a topic that’s often top on our list of menopausal concerns. Vibrant Nation, a leading online community for women 45+, is sponsoring a Live webcast discussion, “Sex After Menopause,” on March 31 at 1:00 PM (EST).

Here’s why they chose to focus on this complicated and sometimes touchy (no pun intended!) topic:

“We women deal with many physical and emotional changes during and after menopause. Some of these changes can take a real toll on our relationships, including our sex life.

To complicate matters, it’s often difficult to find straightforward, trustworthy information about how to deal with issues like changes in our libido and pain during sexual intercourse.”

Vibrant Nation sexual health expert and blogger, Dr. Barb DePree, will lead a panel of women in sharing their stories and advice for getting that spark back in the bedroom.

dr-barb-03

And guess who’s going to be on the panel? Me!

Sign up here to attend. See you then!

And here’s the link to a post Dr. Dupree wrote for Friend for the Ride.

Disclosure: I am participating in a Vibrant Influencer Network campaign. I am receiving a fee for posting; however, the opinions expressed in this post are my own. I am in no way affiliated with Pfizer and do not earn a commission.

The sponsor has asked that I turn comments off for this post, but if you have any questions, just email me. My address is on the right.

Boredom: Hot Water Heater Confession

Standard

A truly intelligent person is never bored.

My mom’s admonition. Woe to anyone in her household who dared complain of boredom.

Last week, thanks to an early March wind, I wimped out on my walk. My indoor tasks screeched boredom: gather tax stuff, answer emails, sort mail, and empty a suitcase.

A truly intelligent person is never bored.

No! Boredom is not allowed. Think, Barbara.

I began by washing the kitchen floor on my hands and knees (to get it super clean), but I ended by dusting the hot water heater.

I dusted the blue metal top of the tank. Talk about dust…

Hot Water Heater

I dusted the pipe below.

Knob

I even dusted this yellow ticket.

I love hot water (who doesn’t?) I like spending time in the quirky pantry of my old kitchen. And I enjoy dusting when there’s so much dust you can write your name.

I don’t know if it’s truly intelligent to dust your hot water heater, but it sure zapped my boredom, and now, when I hear her whoosh on to heat another tank, I say to myself, “There goes the cleanest hot water heater on the block.”

A truly intelligent person is never bored.

Do good things come of boredom? Is it okay to be bored if that boredom motivates you to accomplish something new?

What about you? Has boredom led to happy moments or hours? To new projects or insights or service to others?

Healthline!

Healthline

I’ve been hired to write humor on guess what subject? Menopause! Here’s a link to my first gig on Healthline.