She is allergic to grass, flowers, and the outdoors? She loves the celebrity obsessed magazines and lengthy conversations about his uncle’s, father’s boss who married her on [insert specific date, time and location]. They now have [insert number] kids who are living in [city1] and [city2]. She is a strong woman who talks about her battle with breast cancer as if it were a cold. “Never mind that,” she says, as she reappears in another colorful pantsuit with a perfectly matching scarf. Her Chanel lipstick always in tow… She is sharp as a tack, and she is the classic beauty she always was.
He is a retired military man and dentist turned farmer with property in Pennsylvania that he may love more than his own bedroom. Vegetable growing, tractor duties and woodworking… all favorites. He’s also a longtime docent at a Washington, D.C. museum because of his vast knowledge of pre-Columbian Art and English gardens. He explored the Amazon several years back in search of the rarest orchids. His knowledge base is extraordinarily large. Pick a topic minus i.t., and he has it covered. His button ups are almost always blue in color, and his pants remind you that he probably did more hardcore cardio than you did this week. A little dirt won’t kill you.
They’re married, by the way, and my grandmother, Charlotte, just celebrated her 90th birthday! Grandpa Dave is 92.
They’re hilarious, together and a part.
They make me think about marriage, then and now. What made them say, “I do” on September 25, 1943?
I am pretty sure I have learned as many lessons about relationships in their company as I have from my own personal experiences. They can be tough, but they are everything, aren’t they? So, once you snag a good one, hold on tight!
I just had a birthday, and no, I’m not telling you guys how young I am!
Isn’t it funny how much we want to be 10-and-a-half. Eighteen. Twenty-one. We want to be older as if it’s a ticket to real life… no obstacles… freedom. Then, you’re squirming in your late twenties, and the questions start rolling in:
Am I happy? Where should I be at this point in my life?
Birthdays have a fantastic way of doing that. Don’t they?
I thought of all of the plans I’ve made over the years: The daydreams I had as a little girl as I played in my parents front yard, and the bold visions I had as a bull-headed college student walking the streets of Boston as if I knew it all. I had it almost all figured out. The city I would live in… the career I would have and the kind of man I would marry. Some of us make so many plans, and those plans always seem to create an expectation or expectations. It’s probably not exactly what we were initially going for. We can do a little sinking under that kind of pressure, but I think, in part, it’s because we’re thinking about it all wrong.
What’s best, at least for me now, is thinking of it as grey area… a charcoal sketch. All of those plans — a sketch that we can turn to for direction as we grow old and hopefully wiser. We can always do a little erasing, smudging and a some shading outside of the lines. I think that may have been a bit of a realization I just had a few days ago, or at least, I really began to truly understand it. So, lets just say, that’s one more year and one more lesson… or TWO. Number two is I’m getting too old for some kinds of crazy.
My uncle offered to let me jump out of a plane strapped to him or some other guy on the big day, but that just didn’t sound enjoyable on any level. He does it every weekend. Picture my face in complete awe every time I’m reminded of that endeavor. Instead, I chose tranquility. I don’t get much of it in the news biz, and luckily, it was the day after Thanksgiving. I was in Miami with my family so relieved I could even put a bikini on underneath a pair of shorts. Well, kind of. Lol.
I had almost forgotten how special the ocean is. How it can make you feel. It had been too long. The translucent, blue-green water…The salt in the air…the birds chirping away…swaying palm trees…It’s magical so I got on a paddle board on Key Biscayne. It was something new, something different…
I walked in honor of my grandmother and aunt, two beautiful survivors; Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5k Walk, Fox59 team, Indianapolis, October 20.
An email from my aunt, JoAnn Forster…
I was 39 years old, no history of breast cancer in my family, a mother of a 13-year-old, single, committed to exercise and healthy eating, and my life was about to forever change. I had my yearly gynecological and breast exam two weeks before. I had no issues or concerns. My Doctor went thru the motions, and I happily breezed out of the office after having been pronounced healthy and good to go. Two weeks later I was doing a self-breast exam in the shower and felt something that sent an immediate rush of fear to my brain…. Fear, to no worries, to fear, to denial, to fast forward to what if, to fear, and to death.
I have always been very sensitive to my body and never had the comfort of youth of feeling invincible. Quite the contrary. Some of my earliest memories are warnings of vulnerability, and they have stayed with me, as I grow older.
I called my Doctor’s office and requested an appointment and was adamant that I did not want to wait for weeks. I saw him a few days later, and I was escorted to his office, not an exam room. I told him I felt a small lump in my breast. He smiled and assured me that he had done a thorough breast exam. I assured him in my normal, calm, assertive way that my 39 years of knowing my body and feeling this lump was worth his attention. He stood up and walked to me and asked me if he could he could feel it. To my shock, he did a quick exam over my clothes and once again assured me of my good health. I asked him for a proper exam, which he did. He said he felt nothing and tried very hard to be accommodating and caring. I told him that even if he could not feel it, I knew something was there, and I wanted to do all I could do to find out what was happening in my body. He reluctantly agreed to order a mammogram.
I owe so much to the young doctor who listened to me, even after the mammogram did not detect any growth. She would not give up, and to this day, she uses my case to demonstrate to her students the smallest tumor any patient found and was not initially detected thru standard tests. I had Stage 1 intraductal breast cancer in one breast. I opted for a mastectomy on that breast, and, a year later, on a prophylactic mastectomy on the other. I knew I would never have another day of peace for my son and myself if I didn’t do all I could do.
I am 64 years old with a wonderful husband, 3 kids, 3 grandkids, family I love, a great career, and daily reminders about how blessed I am. 25 years ago I fired that gynecologist and now work very hard to only have doctors that listen, are proactive, and don’t treat me in a condescending way.
Listen to your body.
Listen to your own instincts.
The message always comes.
Don’t be afraid to fight for yourself and for your own life. You are your own best advocate. If there are times when you cannot, make sure to have someone who can be and can speak for you. Fear is not a fact.
And… I asked my grandmother if she felt lucky… looking back.
Here’s a short clip.
What is it about old friends, the really good ones, that just warm your heart. I recently had one of those moments at the dinner table: We were talking, laughing… and for a moment, just for a moment, I found myself on the outside, looking in, with a big smile on my face thinking, this is it. This is what it is. This is what life is about. The special, indescribable connections you can have with another person.
It reminds me of those movie scenes where you see the actors around a table and the background is in a blur as the camera circles during a dramatic scene. Those cinematographers are genius. It’s funny, though, because afterwards, after that moment, this time, I had this odd feeling of happiness and sadness.
It told me something.
We all travel along some kind of path that we call our lives, and when we’re lucky, really lucky, we meet people who will forever change us for the better. At times, our paths may diverge because of a job, a significant other, even an addiction, and it sure can get ugly, but if and when there is a reconnection months or years down the road, it can be beautiful. It gives you hope, and it reminds you to have faith.
As for those who deserve to have you in their life again and vice versa, this is what I know: It will never be the same between you and your old friend. You can never get back that time a part, but you can and should appreciate each others’ journeys. Then, make memories that will last a lifetime. Being in my hometown of Miami the last few days has reminded me of where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, what I’ve said and the choices that I have made that have forced me to grow up and become the woman I am today. And today, in this very moment, I feel even more confident in what I want out of life moving forward and the kind of people I want in it.
Thank you Shanan.
Today, I’m curious about forgiveness. We’ve all heard the line, ‘forgive and forget.’ Being able to do that is supposed to show that we’re good people, but there is a line somewhere, right?? She deserves it… He doesn’t deserve it… Oh, and that a*%! No way! 😉
I constantly hear people asking for forgiveness from their mother, wife, pastor, a judge.. The list is long. I sometimes put them on camera! Are you a better person for forgiving people more often? Do you reserve forgiveness for the people you love? The problem is, either way, it can create the potential for more pain and disappointment on your end. What’s that other saying: ‘Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.’
By now, please tell me you can relate to this? And here’s another one. If we opt for forgiveness… Should we forgive them because they’re human and we all err, or should we only forgive them because we truly believe they won’t do it again? My mother says forgiveness makes your heart lighter. It rids you of negative energy. My father says he just waits for an air-conditioning unit to fall out of a window. He is kidding, but oh, does he hold a grudge. I think I used to be more like him, but something changed.
Pray for me and the little girl inside who was happy as a clam in bright red Keds.
Army infantryman Tim Senkowski lost both of his legs, most of the muscle in his right arm and buttock among other serious injuries in an I.E.D. blast last October in Afghanistan. On patrol, a good friend, who was a few feet away, stepped on the bomb. It was a fatal mistake and one that would forever change Tim’s life.
The last time I interviewed Tim, I remember this one moment so vividly. He ran his finger over the skin just below his right eye and told me about a nail that ripped through his skin in that very spot. It was inches away from taking yet one more thing away from him when the bomb detonated.
Tim has two young boys with his wife. He missed his 1-year-old son’s first steps, and as he learns how to strengthen his stride with prosthetics, his son will slowly begin to lose that toddler wobble. It’s a parallel that was at first, very sad, yet it has become something else completely. Despite his loss and despite the daily pain, Tim hasn’t given up. He is a fighter who is determined to keep a smile on his face, and he is planning for his future because HE LIVED.
At a recent fundraiser for the family, with their buddy ‘Chaps’ at the helm, I saw something great and heard something even better, plenty of laughter. I was introduced to ‘biker games.’ Any thoughts?? Well, just think… the delicious smell of an outdoor barbecue just outside a biker shop with plenty o’ leather inside, a row of bikes in the lot, all lined up, some with their proud papas revving their engines, and some interesting contests involving empty kegs and hot dogs on a string. It was a trip, and it was a lesson learned.
Saw this quote on a magnet in Whole Foods.
“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart. To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart. Anger is only one letter short of danger. If someone betrays you once, it is his fault; if he betrays you twice, it’s your fault. Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. He who loses money, loses much; he who loses a friend, loses much more, he who loses faith, loses all. Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art. Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”
Is life this black-and-white?
Is there always a clear right or wrong in every situation?
Maybe not, but why not work towards making sure our thoughts, actions and words match up? Why not do the right thing? Why not create distance with poisonous people? Why place more value on money than friendship… or even allow it to drive our decisions?
I love this stuff! It makes you think…
After I read it, I thought about a not-so-pleasant phone conversation with someone who is truly special to me. Before I hung up, I did not say “I love you.” I can also tell you how many times I’ve sat down with a mother, father or friend in mourning who are plagued by the last few words they shared with the victim whose picture is all over the news. So, what’s the difference between today and yesterday?? Maybe, we all can work towards being a better version of ourselves.