…And This Happened

I had a right knee revision surgery this week. What this means is that my original total knee replacement (which was done last October) started  breaking down, causing pain.  This happens in about two or three total knee replacement surgeries per 250 in any given year.

In cases like mine, the original knee replacement is removed, then replaced with a new one; this one with a longer bottom piece. So far, everything looks great and I already feel much better. I am doing regular physical therapy as I did before, and it’s going well.

In my session yesterday, the young woman working on me remarked that I had a “positive attitude” about all this. I told her that I had had a *wonderful metaphysical teacher who taught me how get and keep a positive outlook on life in general, no matter what circumstances pop up.

We laughed, and agreed that the right people come into our lives at just the right time. This went on to more chat about how, when you learn that you can actually control your emotions, life immediately changes for the better.

Keeping a positive attitude is not hard to learn, either. Basically, you come into it with a willing heart and spirit. The “techniques” begin with something as simple as looking into your mirror every day, and saying “hi, beautiful!”

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Well, it is and it isn’t. People are always surprised at how hard it is initially is to do this; they are too used to seeing flaws and complaining about them. It takes a bit of time to change your negative thinking into positive, but it soon becomes a habit, and we all know how habits can stay with you.

As you follow this simple practice each day, you develop a positive attitude, and then a feeling of self-worth. You start to feel better about yourself, and before long, you understand that you can change your moods from bad to good. You become positive.

Life takes on a new meaning when you realize that you have control over how you look at the world and the things that happen in your life. Of course this new replacement set me on my heels at first.

Was I upset initially about having to go through the process all over again? Of course I was! But things like this happen, and when you learn to just accept and move on, you can face just about anything.

*My teacher was Noreen McDonald in Wolfeboro, NH. Check out her website at http://www.noreenmcdonald.com.




Time—we never know how much of it we will have. We start off as happy babies; the world is our playground. Nothing seems impossible. Our parents are our safe harbor, and we know we are loved.

We grow up, and make our own lives. We follow our interests, go to school, get a job, possibly marry and have children of our own. The cycle starts over again, and we as new parents teach our own children as our parents taught us.

Life, jobs, grandchildren, pets; they go by in a whirl, and we feel just the same as ever. When we age, we begin to notice that our bodies are slowing down, our minds are not as quick as they used to be, but life is still good.

We start to lose our loved ones and our friends one by one. We become closer to our own end, and life becomes sweeter to us as we see more time behind us than in front of us.

One of our dear friends died yesterday. He was a much loved and respected member of our model railroad club. When his wife died of pneumonia a few years back, he became half of what he used to be. Their two cats were his companions, and instinctively closed ranks around him.

Months passed, and he was diagnosed with liver cancer and leukemia. He already had diabetes, and these two other diseases made him weak and thin. A few days ago he fell in his kitchen without his cell phone. He lay there all night until his brother found him the next morning.

He went immediately to Hospice. The Crankee Yankee has known him for years, and he went up to see him for what he felt might be the last time. As he could no longer talk, they held hands; The Crankee Yankee talked; he listened.

We found out that one of his Hospice nurses had fallen in love with his two cats, so she will give them a good and loving home. I know that he and his wife will love that.

I didn’t know him all that well, but I liked him and loved the times when we all got together. He was Irish to the core, and stubborn to boot. But we all loved him, and right now the world seems a smaller place without him in it.

We will miss you, Ed.



Is It *OCD or Just a Habit?

Years ago I had a male friend who always seemed to say the same things over and over again. I don’t know if it was OCD, or just his way of communicating. For example, if I told him ‘well, it’s snowing again,’ I could count on him responding with ‘yep—it’s snowin’ and blowin’!’ It was the same phrase, each and every single time.

I truly don’t think it was anything serious, like early onset Alzheimer’s; it was just the way he always communicated.

This habit of his reminds me to this day to watch how communicate; am I also parroting phrases? Do I tell the same jokes over and over again? Well, wait a sec—I do often tell the Crankee Yankee the same jokes over and over again (but that’s because he forgets them!).

Of course this could all just be “65-year-old Syndrome.” If/when the times comes that someone says to me ‘do you realize that you just told that joke to me yesterday?’ I wouldn’t be surprised; I am already doing the ‘what the heck did I walk into this room for?’ thing.

Well, I guess that repeating certain phrases over and over again isn’t the worst thing in world. There are a whole lot of awful habits out there that I am not doing (yet), so I suppose it could be worse.

In fact, my favorite uncle (born in Maine), often repeats things that he and I think are hilarious, such as the following:

Me: “So Unkie, how’re you doing?”

Unkie: “Good I guess; just rattling around like a bead in a bureau drawer.”

Or this:

Me: “Unkie, what was that joke about the tourist who got lost in Maine looking for Portland?”

Unkie: “Oh yes—a tourist was looking for Portland, ME and got lost on a back country road. He stopped at a fork in the road where there was an old farmhouse. There were two signs pointing two different ways; both of them read “Portland.” An old man was sitting in a rocking chair on the porch, smoking a pipe.

The tourist asked, “Excuse me, sir—does it matter which way I go to get to Portland?”

The old man took the pipe out of his mouth and said, “Not to me it don’t.”

So—there you go; is it OCD or just an ingrained habit? I guess it don’t matter to me after all….






*OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Hope and Love and All Good Things

Hope is hope and love is love,

Shining down on us from above—

The hope we feel for no good reason

Has its roots in every season.

The love that wraps itself around us,

Is free and endless and unboundless!

We come to Earth with ribbons trailing

Of all that’s good with joy unfailing—

Every soul has its purpose and place

Every baby comes with a laughing face—

We do not see the angels who guide,

Comfort, direct, encourage and abide

With us until our very last breath—

Then we finally see the depth and breadth

Of the lives we lived with those we’ve cherished,

Those we’ve been with until they perished

In order to join the circle once again;

Soul to soul and back again.



Please Note

I am having some surgery soon so I may not be posting each day for a while. I’ll be back on line as soon as possible; writing this blog is one of my real pleasures.

Thank you with all my heart for reading; that you would take time out of your day to read my blog means so much to me!

Back soon!



Thank Yous, Thank You Notes and Why They Matter

“Thank you!” How often do we hear those two meaningful words? If a server at a restaurant is bringing your lunch to your table, a “thank you” means something; you appreciate the person bringing you food that you didn’t have to make yourself. If someone holds the door for you, then “thank you” means an acknowledgement of that kindness.

Of course there have been times that we have gone out of our way to help someone and have never heard a word of thanks. But really, that’s all right. The point is that 1) we noticed that someone needed help, 2) we could help, and 3) the help we gave made that moment in time a bit easier for that person.

Certainly a ‘thank you’ for that tiny act of kindness is nice, but if it doesn’t happen, that’s still all right.

Then there is the thank you note issue. While thank you notes appear to have gone by the wayside, they still matter. When you take the time to remember someone’s birthday, anniversary, birth of a child, death of a loved one, a new marriage, and so on, it is an acknowledgement of a special occasion. It tells the recipient that you care about them.

Somehow an email or a text message just doesn’t say as much as a handwritten note. When my mother died, we received so many loving notes of kindness. They became a sort of soft blanket that warmed and comforted us. The fact that so many remembered her and loved her and now missed her meant the world to my dad and me.

While Mom was in Hospice, so many of her PEO sisters sent her funny and beautiful cards almost daily. One wonderful woman, Jane, sent her an Avanti card each week, all depicting cats in funny situations. One that I have kept is a picture of a tiger cat wearing black-rimmed glasses, lying on her back on a sofa, holding a newspaper with both paws. It looked exactly what Mom would have looked like if she were a cat, saying “can’t you see that I’m READING?” I still have it and am going to have it framed.

I kept all the cards Mom got, and there were dozens upon dozens of them. When she died, I put some of the ones she had loved into the coffin with her. After the funeral was over, I wrote thank you notes to every person who had sent cards to her and/or Dad and me. This is something I had promised Mom that I would do.

I wanted every person to know how much those cards meant to us. It felt like all the love and kindness written in those cards held Dad and I up throughout all the trappings of the end of a beautiful life.

So yes, thank yous matter. Thank you notes matter. Congratulatory cards matter. Sympathy cards matter. They are a reminder that we are not alone, that those life events we go through are noticed and that people care. It takes such a little time to write a note to someone, and we may never know what that note may mean.

As a grateful recipient of so many kind and thoughtful notes, I will never forget how they made me feel and how they lifted me up. Thank yous are not a small thing; to many, they are everything.

PS: By the way, and I say this in the kindest way possible; the right answer to someone saying “thank you” is not “no problem.” The correct answer is “you’re welcome.”