Saturday, July 23, 2011

Trickle Down

This summer I have noticed so many things that I believe speak to the drastic turn in our economy. Budget cuts and job cuts are starting to really surface in our mental health and welfare in ways you might not imagine.

I was eating in a once beautiful hospital cafeteria. The atrium had faded artificial silk flowers that had turned an ugly bluish color. The soothing fountain near the dining tables was no longer flowing. The windows were cloudy and streaked. All probably reflecting someone’s maintenance job that was phased out no doubt.

Even a trip to the local grocery store has changed. The store used to have daily window washers and workers out in lot picking up paper and trash and getting the store ready for the day at 6:00 a m. Now, you see trash everywhere and carts strewn about in the rain rusting so when you use them they are hard to operate and noisy. Their squeak another reminder the quality of our life is being affected in subtle ways. The thing I really miss is the complimentary coffee while you shop.

Even Mother Nature has contributed to our depression. No rain and drought conditions have us under water restrictions. Once manicured lawns look bleak and brown. Waterfalls and fountains outside of developments are only working on weekends. In some areas it reminds me of the old movie The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Senior citizens are on budgets that require deciding between electric bills and medications. People are using credit cards to buy food, pay mortgages, doctor bills, car repairs and going deeper in debt. It is so sad.

This week I saw a grown man cry at our vet because his dog needed Chemotherapy and he could not afford it. Another man had a cat that was having seizures and needed a script refill. The vet couldn’t do it without the $50 physical. The man left with his head down.

I need to look to these changes and remind myself of the many blessings I still have. I have a hospital, doctors, and stores. I have a job I love, food to eat, medicine. I have family and friends who care and love me.

I have decided to look to the sun. The warmth is a gentle reminder of God’s power. I will imagine each warm ray God’s hand like a Father’s touch and give thanks.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Dear Dutchie

Dear Dutchie,

It seems like a short while ago that you lost your battle with cancer. You were the “Auntie Mame” the “Martin Matriarch”. Each time the family gathered you made sure every second was filled with fun and excitement.

Although I am one of the “outlaws” of the family I have been a part of the Martins for forty years. We traveled to Washington for many reunions from Jersey, Ohio and even Florida. Trust me we carried on in Martin tradition.

You would have been so proud of Cap & Kenny’s branch this year as they tried to organize a gathering to rally and make new memories for a new generation. I felt your presence and know you were with us.

Darcy channeled you when she argued with the front desk with their unacceptable service.

I saw Kelly gather up the kids and fly kites on the beach, something you would have done.

Chuck took the kids to the water slides and played with them in the pool for hours. He fed an alligator chicken to the delight of the kids.

Deanna was the official swim teacher, and family photographer. Her smile was contagious.

Darcy and Kelly sang Karaoke as the family whooped and cheered.

Annie, Patti, Joanie, Kelly, Kara were a great audience reminiscing and laughing at the kids antics.

Fred was “Doctor Fred” diagnosing and giving advice in the pool. Dan said that was his new handle. He finally got rid of the nickname “Feet”.

Even the “outlaws” John Mark and Paul spent some bonding time on golf course.

The littlest “cousins” were all BFF’s and eager each day to see each other. The big kids made memories with the little ones. Annie went on the never ending ride with Ellerie, while Brayden and Aiden braved a roller coaster with a cheering crowd and Fred took Abbie on her first big Ferris Wheel.

We went to nice restaurants, tried new foods, and listened to music. We played Martin trivia with the old cards, updated questions, and added a few new ones from new memories. But most of all we promised to try to get together again and make sure those who could not come this time would want to come the next gathering.

We love and miss you Dutchie. Thank you for teaching us the importance of family.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Vacations are like looking in a mirror.

Sometimes you learn things you like and sometimes you learn what you don’t.

I felt like I was on the show “Intervention” when my family made me aware:

I don’t know how to properly put on sunscreen.

Who gets a perm in the middle of summer???

My clothes would fit better if I were measured for a bra.

My toes are too gross to color.

I walk way too slow.

My boobs should NEVER be photographed in a bathing suit.

I have trouble making Kraft Mac n Cheese.

Apparently, I have a unibrow.

I still get drunk on one drink.

But these things I do know:

I admire Annie’s sophisticated Shabby Chic, her patience and parenting skills.

Paul ate wings every day.

Abbie is nurturing, sensitive and likes to compete like her mom & dad.

Paul ate wings every day.

I am in awe of Ethan’s math & rummy skills and ability to make you feel special.

Paul ate wings every day.

Ellerie’s impish twinkle makes me melt and she is the textbook youngest child.

Paul ate wings every day.

Martin reunions are still a hoot and everyone likes to party.

Paul ate wings every day.

Fred is my number one fan no matter what.