Listening skills

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Harry Potter World, where even frogs have words.

We all want to be better listeners.   It’s a great skill to have and people like good listeners.  But the sad fact is that while we want to be good listeners, we really want others to listen to us.  We like to talk, and we want people to listen to us, because at the end of the day, it’s really all about us, right?   Seriously, though, I am going to talk about listening.  First of all, there’s hearing and there’s listening.  I hear you but I don’t know what you said because I don’t really care.  To truly listen and absorb meaning, you have to close down your brain to unruly activity and focus completely on the other person.  This is the hard part, for this means it is about the other person, not you.   When you truly listen, a wonderful things happens.  You connect to another person in a very intimate and personal way.  This is how relationships are built. Continue reading

Lest we forget

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I just got back from visiting my parents in New England.  My father has severe dementia and barely recognizes me, and my mother is becoming more frail and declining cognitively.  When I get a phone call from the assisted living facility where they live it usually means that something is wrong.  Lately it’s been my mother.  She had been in the hospital after a fall and was going to a rehabilitation center.  I had to convince her to go, so I wanted to go and provide my support.   I try to make the drive without stopping often; one stop usually does it for me.  I fill up the gas tank, hit the bathroom, and grab a drink or a snack.  On this trip I was nearly out of gas when I saw a sign for Newtown/Sandy Hook.  I can’t explain exactly why that had such an impact on me, but it did.  I pulled off the highway.  After filling up with gas, I headed down the road to see the school.   Continue reading

Pink pussy power: a hat to warm them all

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I hope my readers will forgive me using a certain word in the title.  It’s actually taken from a website and a hat initiative called “pussyhat project” which can be found here:  pussyhatproject.com.  I am a knitter and lately a bit of an activist, so this project appealed to these two interests.  I came across the project on Ravelry, a social network for knitters.  Last week I ordered 18 skeins of pink yarn when my favorite yarn store offered free shipping.  On day four I’ve completed three hats.  I keep coming across more and more people who want to attend the Women’s March on Washington — website here —   and who need a warm pink hat.  Because baby it’s going to be cold outside!

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Thanksgiving hopes to share a slice of the American pie

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Another Thanksgiving has come and gone.   The leftovers have been doled out to company and casseroles washed and put away.    The dogs got their annual treats and we gorged on an extra helping of stuffing and a second slice of pie.   Our lives are marked by these cultural traditions.  In America Thanksgiving is our premier holiday for families.  It’s a time when children and in-laws get plane tickets and take time off from work to gather at the family home.   We shop carefully for special items and construct a dinner meant for double the number of guests.   Because you never know if an additional guest or two may need a seat at the table. Continue reading

A trip to the hospital, times two

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Last Saturday I left the house to go to a hospital in suburban Philadelphia.   Our cousin Richard was very ill and I had planned to spend the afternoon visiting with him.  I completed my morning routine:  fed the dogs, walked Barkley, took them outside again and left them with a peanut butter smeared Kong and some calming music before heading out.  The day did not turn out the way I expected.   A few miles from the hospital as I was traveling along a side road an SUV coming towards me drifted into my lane.  I honked and tried to get out of the way, but there was no shoulder and no where to go.  I did visit Richard, but before I got to his room I made amy own trip to the emergency room. Continue reading

The Out of Towners in Florida

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Anyone who has seen the classic movie “The Out of Towners” knows that it’s about a couple from the mid-west who visit New York because the husband is there for a job interview.  During the visit a series of bad things happen to them.  This past week we traveled to Florida to visit Larry’s family.  I’m not saying that our visit was like that experienced by the poor couple portrayed in the 1970 movie by Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis, but we did have some issues at our hotel.  For the first time we  packed up our bags and walked out. Continue reading

A man, a dog, and an altercation

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I was out walking Barkley yesterday with  my friend Nancy when something happened.   We were on a street around the corner from where I live when a big German Shepherd came running out from the yard into the street and approached me.  I have to say, it scared the S*@T out of me.  The situation ended with no injuries except emotional ones.  The owner of the dog called his dog back and then verbally got stuck into me.  We had an altercation.  First I was shocked, then angry, then I got to thinking.    What did it mean? Continue reading

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

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There is an old adage that says absence makes the heart grow fonder.    I was thinking about this recently because my husband is away for a while.   When he travels he says that I don’t miss him, while he misses me.  That isn’t exactly true.  What happens is that I adjust to him being away, which in my book means that if I think too much about missing him I have a harder time during the separation. Continue reading

Time Travel at Zern’s Farmers Market

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On Friday nights and Saturdays the place to go for local food items and an assortment of other shopping pleasures is Zern’s.   This place is hard to describe.  It’s part food market, part flea market, and part craft market.  Wrap it all up into an indoor shopping experience in Gilbertsville, Pennsylvania.   This iconic place has been around a long time.  As a boy in the 1960s, my husband rode his bicycle there from his home in Pottstown, about six miles .   Continue reading