One foot in front of the other….

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I am finding that I feel stuck. I see both my feet and they keep betraying me an I sit and wonder why. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I seem to move? What is stopping me? I hear and know of the words like, pain, depression, empty, sadness, lonely, worthless, tired.

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I suppose these apply to some degree. How in the world do I keep moving when everything inside says stop, give up, quit? I am not a quitter, I am not the type of person that throws in the towel, and yet I am stuck.

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 The phone rings now and then and sometimes I answer it and pretend to be who they think I am or want me to be. The happy one, the silly one, the one who has the answers. The thoughtful one, the perfect one, the one who nothing ever really gets too. I call it the Pollyanna . I can’t find her anymore. I have grown extremely tired.

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I am holding my breath and praying to someone out there and hoping with every breath I take that the staircase is actually there…

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I cannot see it, I hope it is actually there as I take that first step and pray with everything I have that my foot will land on solid ground. It begins with taking a breath, breathe in and breathe out…Then put one foot in front of the other and that’s just the way it begins.

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This is not a sad tale, or a tale of giving up, or saying goodbye. I needed to begin again and start somewhere.

So I am starting all over again.

Why not?

What do I have to lose?

If I don’t who will?

Here goes…

Thank you for joining me again today I promise to keep moving and sharing again. I have missed it, and I hope you will keep pace with me again.

~ Robin joi

a simple bird.

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Baby it’s cold outside…

As I drove this morning to go play with a very rambunctious pup today I stopped and looked around. It is winter, among the dull and gray roads covered with coldness I see the pretty lights that are busy spreading smiles all over my town. It does make me smile.

Today I am not feeling well, a cold has seemed to land inside my head. I am not a fan of being sick. I always tell my kids it is against my religion to catch a cold. Oh well stock up on tissues and cold medicines and snuggle down with my three beasts and hope for the best. I blame this cold on my 18-year-old. Could be worse…

December is my birthday month and this year I am happy to say I am actually NOT headed into the hospital to get a new body part. This year I am gong out for lunch with my favorite partner in crime. My husband. I love to go for lunch . It has been a very long time since we have gone out for anything, too busy trying to keep our home afloat. I think it s okay to sneak away for a small bite to eat, now and then, it too is good for the soul.

It is my favorite place in the universe to eat!

Salmon in any style is simply delicious! ( maybe that’s the Jewish part of me coming out!)  The people who work there are very kind to me. I just love sushi what can I say? It is ART on a plate!

Sushi Towns | Nigiri, sashimi, and rolls in the great American cities

What is not to love about it?

It is the best!

I am counting the days…. I have never been one to celebrate my birthday much, I always celebrate my children’s and my spouse, even my friends. I don’t know, my birthday has such a bunch of weird mixed emotions.

I was born on my grandfathers birthday, as a small child he would tell me I was the greatest gift he could receive and had no need for material gifts. He would then go on to show off the material gifts he received from other relatives. A Rolex watch for example that came from a doctor.  It made my heart sink when I realized my gifts, were hidden in drawers or never opened up. I had painstakingly made these with love, embroidered hankies and paintings I made with such love for him. I always felt a little small and never quite good enough for anyone to be proud of.  It is funny how these sorts of things stay with us so many years later.

Embroidered Handkerchiefs and Vintage Clothing | eBay

How can I celebrate my own birthday without thinking of this man I held higher than life?

I would call him up on OUR birthday and wish him the happiest of days. He would reply later in life, ” Why thank you for remembering!” Then he would tell me of the gifts he had received and then go on to tell me I was wasting money on the phone call ( times have changed, used to cost ALOT to call long distance.)

He would remind me to breathe and then hang up the phone.

He had forgotten it was my birthday too.

Age had set in, I suppose. It left me feeling sad.

Maybe this year is a little different for me because I was able to say goodbye to him this summer when I was out east with my girlfriend.

She will never truly know what a gift this was for my soul.

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I think he knew I was there.

( the only dry headstone in the entire cemetery)

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I miss these moments with my grandfather, and I don’t have one single photo of us together. ( that is part of the reason I take and keep so many photographs.)

I think he would be pleased at the life I have managed to keep up.

Maybe, now I can enjoy the rest of the life that is mine.

Grandchildren are an amazing gift in life. I love to watch the OMG kind of love I see in my granddaughters eyes when Grandpa comes home or sits down to play a game with her.

These are such precious moments and I am thrilled to capture them for her.

Before They Were Parks - Brooklyn : NYC Parks

Playing handball in New York .

My grandfather was famous for this sport. He was quite the sportsman. Tennis, swimming, Polo, the list is far too long. Oh how I wish I had photographs of these times…

I am certain he would shake his noggin at the world today and that people play video games instead of  being outdoors . Times have changed that is for sure.

Well, that’s my thoughts for today, I will leave with this little note.

If you are blessed enough to know your grandparents, or a grandchild, make the most of the time . Time is fleeting and there never seems to be enough of it..

 Treasure it.

Embrace it.

 Make the time.

Contemplating life.

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This year, I say a thank you to my grandfather in particular, who did the best he knew how.

I thank him for loving me when I thought I was pretty unlovable.

Happy birthday Papa.

I hope you are finally resting in peace.

In memory of Herman Rudolph

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I miss you every single day.

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Life is short.

Hold on tight to those special ones.

Thank you for joining me today.

I hope that everyone who is able to share a moment with their grandparents or a grandchild takes the time to do so. A phone call is greeted with such love, you cannot imagine.

If you don’t I am available to borrow.

~ Robin joi.

a simple bird with an extraordinary life.

Turn on the lights…

It is that time of year, pine needles, ribbons and swirls, singing and music surround, every station you turn on is about Christmas and joy!  The wonderful smells of freshly baked cookies with sprinkles delight.

  Light up the town, wishing all in your sight . From here to Kentucky and far across the seas to everyone everywhere being joyful and cheer… It always seemed funny to me that people are so sensitive about others wishing them a Merry Christmas. I am a Jewish gal from Brooklyn , trust me I am well aware that people celebrate Christmas! Kwanza too! I am also aware that Chanukah is this time of year ( I am not good at celebrating it however). I quietly remember my younger days when it was the celebrated holiday of my grandparents.

Dreidels!

Menorahs.

I am certain there are others holidays I do not totally understand that some celebrate this time of year. I do not have a menorah anymore. I did once upon a time and it was very precious to me. It was taken from me a very long time ago now,  I have yet to come across one to fill its spot. Perhaps one day … for now I decorate a tree with all the trimmings I can find. I used to do it all, these days not so much. Why a tree? I say why not a tree!

It is quite the spectacle!

I think it is beautiful at any rate, gathering year after year the memories you have made from whatever it is you have done through the years. It is a scrap-book of sorts to be put on display! It is joyful and playful and bright city lights wrapped tight on a tree! Dangle the painted and delicately made, with glitter dusted ornaments and silver abound, it twinkled so softly and it fills up the skies. A drive on a cold winters night to see all the homes that are filled with an extraordinary sight. Lights that sparkle and yards filled with fun, the characters loved finally get to come out and play, it brings out the child in all who allow!

Movies filled with love and stories are told about way back when and silly fun. Then we remember the times that were had and the people we have lost who have long since passed away, tears will be shed and drying eyes happen too and the outburst of giggles about the time with Aunt Sue! There is plenty to smile at no matter where , if you close up your eyes and think of that day. Remember my children of those very cold nights when you were tucked in your beds, and I woke you and wrapped you with blankets galore to be saddled up quickly for a run through the shop to get us some hot cocoa to warm up our night, then we drove through the town looking at lights and deciding who’s home did it best all around. The drive al around was filed with such joy, the music played and we all sang along. Who knew way back then it would become us who decorated all tacky and evenly paved. Santa’s and elves, candy canes too, the mistletoe hanging from a doorway above for a kiss in the hallways such love, what a delight! Don’t forget all the other the Frosty’s and snowman  and Pooh, a Tigger, a camel and the wise men come too. The candles are lit they light up the yard, but I think they put smiles on many on such cold winter nights. 

Yes, it is that time of cold winter nights and plenty of fires, cozy warm socks to cover our toes, long underwear, turtlenecks and long woolen sweaters single mittens and lots of lost pars as well.

  It is also a time to remember those too who do not have those things and find joy in your eyes, of the most simple things you can’t really buy, believe me I must say there is nothing like a kind chat and a cup of something warm to drink. Take a moment to give to those that have not they appreciate it believe me it’s a fact!

The meaning of Christmas is not about stuff, It matter not who you believe in up there in the sky but of how you relate to those that are here, and to give more than you take or ever receive. I have experienced both ends of this life I concede. To sip from a cup that I found on the ground, looking for some warmer place to lay then on the cold winters ground. I spent time on a couch of a kind persons soul who offered up a place that was not cold. Tables have turned so I live in my home surrounded by those I love more than myself. I have spent many a night in my home that is warm because of the kindness of others who came to my aid.

 It has been such a whirlwind of so many things, first went my roof with the leaks and the rain, then it snowed and it melted and it poured all the same. Then a man came and fixed up the old roof so it stays dryer inside, then my frig bit the dust leaving us running around trying to figure out which tiny frig held the milk inside. Not ideal I must say, but I kept telling myself it can always be worse. Then some amazing people arrived with a frig on their side, installed in my home which just has to be G-d!

I cannot explain it any other way I have tried.

If that was not enough to get you to think let me explain just a little about what happened next.

I was doing the best that I could, sorting out what next had to be done, and staying as lively just as I should. Keep smiling because if you stop , you’ll  most likely be crying ALOT! When suddenly my husband got up from the bed, hearing some insane noise just under our bed, there was hissing and rumbling and something was terribly wrong. It is what nightmares are made of this could NOT happen NOT now!

OUR FURNACE HAD DIED!

I simply found myself yelling STOP!

It was as though my world came to a screeching halt. There was no way this had come to pass. I held my breath and curled up tight with my husband to keep warm and when the sun came out we bundled up and began to deal with the day. I made a few calls and wrote a few emails and I prayed, I mean I truly prayed. I had nothing to lose I thought to myself so standing on a chair to be as close as I could, I yelled please G-d make it stop!

It was a miracle is all I can truly say, the furnace was replaced, we have food in our frig, the roof isn’t leaking . Stuff is just stuff that can all be replaced, but the connections you make and the people who’s lives you have changed they are what matter it is extremely clear. Take nothing for granted and never give up on hope, keep your friends and your families as close as you can. Learn to ask for the help that you need, it amazed me all the people who gave.

We are not in it alone, there are many who help. I am truly blessed by these good people who came, not just fixed the roof or the frig that they bought but the people who entered my life. Friendships have blossomed, new friends to be had and the paying it forward continues to live proud.

While, I am never quite sure, I struggle a lot I know that you just have to keep going and never just stop. Some days are harder than most, but those days teach us something maybe not to be too proud. Learn to care about others and see what you can do to offer a cup or simply a hand.

I choose to believe that life is good, despite all the trials and pains that it has. I have chosen to keep trusting in something far greater than me. Call it what you will, it is really just faith, faith in friendships or strangers along the way, faith that things will get better with hard work and such love, keep your hearts open and stop now and then, look all around, lend a hand and a smile.

Whatever it is that you choose to do remember there are people who need help and you may too. Judge not of others whose paths you don’t understand and keep in mind most are doing the best that they can.

Merry Christmas to all, Happy Chanukah too, Wishing Merry Kwanza as well.

Remember to breathe and to always BELIEVE!

Thank you for joining me today.

A very grateful bird.

~ Robin joi

“Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.”

November has arrived, It is my favorite time of year. 

It is time to clean out the cobwebs of the year and prepare for the cold winter nights. It is right around the corner. Stacking up the wood piles for the fire pits, the fireplaces, and  the wood stoves.. keeping us warm during those frightful cold nights.

It’s that time of the year when we gather around and remind ourselves of all we have to be thankful for. It is a time to reach out to others and hold out a cup of warm coffee for someone who may not even have a roof to cover their heads. Load up on the kindness that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of our own lives. Step outside yourselves and reach a helping hand…. it really doesn’t take much.

I have much to be thankful for, much that I am extremely grateful for. For those that know me, or follow me you have heard me speak of my playing “rain buckets “ each time it rains, or snows, for my poor roof has been attacked by the killer raccoons and squirrels trying to make a home for themselves in my roof.

It caused me great heartache, but I always tell myself it could be worse. I could have NO roof. I am not used to the kindness of strangers and it is very hard for me to ask for help.

I just always figure I will do without…. somebody else most likely needs the help more than I do and so I just keep plugging along. Bailing water when it rained, just became apart of my life. 

Not so cute when it is your home they are destroying.

Something in the wind changed for me, I found my voice and reached out and asked for help and a miracle happened.

People helped me.

A lovely man came over to look at my roof and the next thing I knew he was bringing ladders and stuff to fix my roof, it has been a long road to find help, I just didn’t give up all hope.. I kept asking, kept making phone calls and I could barely believe my eyes, people came to my home and sat down with me to help me figure out a plan… and no sooner than my roof was getting patched up my frig bit the dust!

Oh when it rains it pours for real!

A gentle man asked me how I am able to smile and be happy when it seems the world is crashing around me like some horrible storm. Here is what I say, dance.. just dance.. hold your head up and to take a chance, even when the skies are so dark it feels like the sun may never come out and shine. Here is the thing… it does come out, It will shine again.

There will always be problems, the question is how do you cope? Do you ask for help when you need it? Are you too proud to admit you need a helping hand? I am often to stubborn to ask. I am used to doing it alone. I have learned that there are some truly amazing people out here in the world and will help you when you least expect it.

Sometimes I think we stand in our own way! I am trying hard these days to stand back and get out of my way so I can move forward . I want the warmth of the sun on my face, I don’t want to stand in the cold alone. I say thank you to the kindness of strangers who entered my life when I thought there was not a chance in Hell that it would get better.

But…..

It did get better .

My roof is fixed because of the kindness of strangers…

One way or another I will pay it forward.

I have a frig that works and keeps our food cold and gives us water.

Again, due to the kindness of strangers, who are no longer strangers but have become friends.

I started my business and I love it.

My house is still standing. 

I am able to crawl into bed after the day is through with a man I adore.

It is not a perfect world, and there are plenty of days and nights when darkness clouds my world but that’s when I call a friend…..

… and it too passes.

I  am very grateful to so many people.

When you think the your world is old and gray take a moment and step back , get out of your way and take a look around,  it could be worse.  Then reach out for a little help, people are there and will help even when you think you are not worthy.

Don’t lose hope or faith.

…..

and remember to dance, and find things to smile about.

For tonight I will leave with this, thank you to all those who have stuck out the stormy weather with me, and for not losing faith in me when I could not see the light.

It is a good life, not perfect but practically perfect in every way .

A very grateful bird.

 ~Robin

THURSDAY TURNS THE TIDES…..

Like the sweet smells of the ocean… each day brings the uncertainty of whatever may come our way. It is bitter-sweet with the taste of salt water as it brushes over our lips. Time will tell us… and the waves will come crashing just  as quickly as the peaceful moments seem to just settle in.

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Such is the game of life we all are playing.

Without a  moments notice the tide will turn and you best be ready for whatever awaits you when it hits. Wading in the wide ocean is more cleansing than anything one might imagine. However, just as quickly, it  can become an evil monster destroying all in its path . It is to reminds us be ready, saddle up and don’t get to comfortable. make sure you have your paddles ready, you may be in for a long row,, life moves with you or without you… it is just what it is and you either step up or get knocked over.

Like the ocean, life is unpredictable.

Today, was an interesting day.

I walked through the woods with a curious puppy searching for large sticks to grab and strut through the trees as though he owned the land.

I found myself drifting off in thoughts of a far away place, where my friends are and thinking about the day I spent walking through the most magnificent gardens I have ever seen.( well, actually I didn’t really walk through the entire gardens I rode this ridiculous golf like cart)

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Its okay I had a blast!  

These are the bathrooms tucked away surrounded by nothing but ivy!

I remember my friend and her aunt giggling like some school girls that this is where we were going to pee! I almost peed in my pants, I could not believe these were truly public bathrooms, trust me they said.

We ate the most delicious lunch in the cafeteria, but not like some ordinary one. This place had serious food! I was almost overwhelmed ( well maybe I was a little).   

I drove with my best friend all the way to Pennsylvania, to meet up with her aunt . I was a bit nervous I am not going to lie. She may be one of the most amazing ladies I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

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She made me feel like I belonged , that I somehow mattered at all.When we arrived at her home I found this busy little lady with the most amazing smile, she lit up with hugs and stories and a wall of fame of her life. Pride, is what I saw and warmth is what I felt. It was as though we had known one another a lifetime. In truth what we shared was a great love of one human being. My friend.  She is a rare kind of gal, funny, kind, respectful ,so special, beautiful inside and out.,she has no idea how beautiful she really is. I wish she would see herself through my eyes. Both  of these women I spent the day with shared a rare trait to find these days in my opinion. They are a gift in this world, they touch the soul of every single person they come in contact with. They hold each heart in the palm of their hands so carefully and they leave a mark… of a pure love that is astonishing and completely secure like a warm ,fuzzy blanket wrapped tightly around you on a cold day.

I felt truly privileged..

I felt a little sad.

I felt sad for all that I had missed out on.

I felt sad for never having felt this kind of acceptance and love.

Honest and raw.

Then something astonishing happened.

They took me down to get a cart….reminding me how disabled I actually am, and again I felt my heart sink a little.

Then she spoke, “oh for crying out loud just get in it…. “and I began to smile, there was no judgments, they wanted me to enjoy this day and knew my poor hips would not carry me the entire way.

They, WERE LOVING ME!

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I just had forgotten what that felt like, or maybe in fact I never actually felt that way before. They did not care I couldn’t walk the whole way they made it possible for me to have the time of my life!

NO JUDGMENTS,  pure and total acceptance of who I am and the state of my being.

We strolled ( and I rode) through some of  the gardens, it is HUGE and SPECTACULAR!!

“What is now Longwood Gardens was originally purchased from William Penn in 1700 by a fellow Quaker named George Peirce (1646–1734).[2] Although it started as a working farm, in 1798 twin brothers Joshua and Samuel Peirce planted the first specimens of an arboretum there, originally named Peirce’s Park,[3] and it has been open to the public almost continuously since that time.[4] By 1850, they had amassed one of the finest collections of trees in the nation.[5]

These platters can hold a man who weighs 200 lbs with a tool box! They are incredible.

What I wouldn’t do to go back again and see the rest. 

My brain continued to drift, all the while watching the little pup trot along side me feeling very brave indeed. My life , I thought for a moment, my life is incredible, I have roamed so many places, met so many people, of all walks of life and listened to stories… oh the stories I can tell. It’s my life, pretty incredible don’t you think? I sure do. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I am still breathing. Beauty surrounds us everywhere … you just have to keep yourself open to what awaits you at the next turn, the next corner, or maybe across the street..

Or….

maybe you have to be brave enough to get on a plane and fly across the country to get the greatest hugs ever!

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We were having a great day!

I thank her for so many things, but in this moment , on this day I thank her for sharing her beloved Aunt with me. I thank her for showing me that it doesn’t really matter that my legs are weak, or that my back does’t work properly, or that I hobble everywhere I go. It did not matter I use a cane, it did not matter that my hair has turned gray, the only thing that mattered was sharing such love., such beauty in the midst of an insane and unpredictable life, I will never forget her or this day as long as I live.

I say thank you with all my heart.

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Pretty wicked if you ask me…

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What a view…. I swear I thought I was dreaming.

Back down to earth and the reality I was in, I realized it had started to rain.

So, the little pup and I strolled back to his home for a much-needed snack and something to drink. Then a NAP! Back to the present day to finish the days work and go home to let my beasts out and check on my famous rain buckets and pray to make sure my roof was still attached.

I admit it was a lovely walk through the woods, and thinking about such a wonderful day I spent with my friend.

Our Home!

Thankfully, the roof is still above my head!

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I cleaned up a few things and set out for home… I love my home , even if the roof is testing my patience. So the little pup went straight for his nap and I took myself home.

Home, is a good word. It is a good place.

It is my home.

Luke

Luke

Home is where I lay my head down at the end of whatever day I have had. It is where I am greeted with love,and sometimes such a mess, for I am so busy doing for others I have worn myself out to do for me. That’s okay, for I figure I am only going to be here once.. May as well make sure I am truly living this life I have.Broken as I may be, I am up for the adventures that come my way.

For now I will say this, I had such an amazing summer filled with tears, and laughter and such dancing  one can only imagine. I will tell you about that another day!

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Busy, busy, busy.

“A busy life is a happy life”, my one daughter often tells me, she is correct.

Though I confess… I think…

I left apart of my heart back on the east coast.

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You know who you are, I miss you terribly, and I love you with every single breath I take.

Thank you my friend, thank you…

That is all for today, as I say in my world…

“Say goodnight Gracie!”

Robin joi

~ a simple bird