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Do you have a moment?

Posted by Kathy on Oct 15, 2018 in Thoughts from ME

I know you only have 3 seconds to read this. I get it. So I’ll be brief.

OK. That’s it. Thanks for reading.

Oh. One more thing.

Don’t give up.

Don’t give up working on something that’s important to you.

Don’t give up on forgiving yourself if you do not finish it. Or haven’t finished it yet.

Don’t give up on hoping for a time when we can face problems together without harsh rhetoric.

Don’t give up taking a few moments each day to sit, reflect, pray or meditate. Try just 30 seconds.

And lastly, don’t give up when things seem dire.

Breathe. Have tea. Wrap a blanket around yourself and your wishes.

You are never alone.  

 
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One Minute Movie Review: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Posted by Kathy on Jul 17, 2018 in Uncategorized

Run, jog, or ask your neighbor to drive you to see the engaging documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” – a nostalgic, lovely look at the formation and history of minister Fred Rogers’ influential PBS TV show for children – and grown-ups – who listened to his messages of love, connection, and tolerance in the slow-paced Land of Make-Believe, beginning in the late 1960s and continuing until 2001. I watched this new 2018 film, and laughed, cried, and ate snacks, while hearing and remembering his message that I’m special and loved just the way I am. But this time, I saw the way “Mr. Rogers” had responded to current events of the day, something that, as a young mom, I had somehow missed back then. When my oldest child was small, I saw the show as a somewhat placid, reliably clean and non-violent hour that, frankly, gave me a time to rest while very pregnant with my second child. With my 4-year-old safely next to me each late afternoon watching Mr. Rogers, I’d get a well-deserved nap. Now, I have an even greater appreciation for this beautiful, unique human being – one unafraid to teach the basic good lessons of life to our most vulnerable young people on the most popular forum of television. One can hope that the older ones heard it, too. Don’t ignore this film. You’re too special to miss out.

 
4

Writing: learning, bite by bite

Posted by Kathy on Apr 9, 2018 in Uncategorized

I just returned from the well-loved Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop in Ohio, where I learned so many things about what I should be doing. I did not see playing Senior Bingo and watching Hallmark romances on the list. See, those things are  fun until you have to wear the figurative cone of shame, which in this case means finding that pile of very important contacts, connections, and writing tips a year from now under a pile of stuff marked “”THIS WEEK!!!!!” in bold, purple Sharpie.

I’m tired. Tired from traveling, tired from learning, tired from laughing. I had a cumulative four and a half hours sleep over a period of three days. That’s not true. It was more like five. I did lose some sleep because when I laugh so much, something inside me says I should stay up and write and watch lots of TV sitcoms so the humor area of my brain (located very, very close to the chocolate area) can pull in all the funny it can hold and not spill out.

Here’s my plan for this, based on the workshop:

Day 1: Get up early, make a to-do list that includes all things writing-related, about thirty of them, some of which should take, oh , maybe a year. Get car fixed, eat spaghetti, walk, have just one piece of chocolate (with caramel) (that’s dark chocolate) (in case you want to try this weekly plan), and read a really great novel I brought with me to EBWW but had no time to read because of that whole learning thing.

Day 2: Update my blog, wash hair, have cake for lunch, try to write, take a nap, rewrite this list to ease into re-entry (see part about brain contents disappearing.) Postpone daily exercise by a day.

Day 3: Have therapy, remember the “I can write” mantra of the conference, examine if I really want to keep writing as opposed to the equally fulfilling prospect of day trips to casinos, have lots of coffee, and WRITE. Danish pastry? Yes, please. Evening: sleepwalk.

Day 4: Look over notes from last year’s “Columnists” conference in June, put them on top of this year’s “Erma” conference pile, make soup, decide how many times one should may properly use quotation marks in a day of “writing” (to paraphrase an old TV laxative commercial and talking about prunes: “Are two enough? Six too many?”), have tea and a croissant. WRITE, for God’s sake. Update the blog that didn’t get updated two days ago because we all know it didn’t happen.

Day 5: Have pizza and a small (less than the height of a refrigerator) ice cream sundae to reward self. Because it’s the weekend. THE WEEKEND, PEOPLE! TIME OFF! After that, I will definitely get back to writing.

 

 

 
9

The New Valentine’s Me

Posted by Kathy on Feb 13, 2018 in Thoughts from ME

Remember the good old days when Valentine’s Day was wonderful?

Me, neither.

Seems it’s so often filled with angst instead of love and romance.

If you’re in love, it can be a great day to celebrate your relationship by going out together and investing lots of cash on your loved one in hopes that the evening may or may not return on your investment. And by that, I mean finding out if she or he will share the chocolate with you.

If you’re not in love, or not with the one you love, there is the danger of cynicism or random feelings of wanting to punch something, and by that, I mean the Valentine’s card display at your local pharmacy. Please don’t do that, because it’s unbecoming to be on all fours cleaning up a mess of cards and muttering, “Damn those medication side effects.”

By now, I either have your attention or you are deleting pictures from your phone because your storage is full. Which brings me to my point of this Valentine’s Day message of love. See, I’m getting older, and when it turned 2018, I made a very quiet promise to myself that I would let the real me out. The unabridged version, the version you may not like. I may end up with fewer friends. But I think I will feel better about myself. To that end, and for today, I have a few words.

If you really love someone, you will never, ever send them, on “Messenger”, one of those cartoons or photos or videos that people send around at holidays and other times when they see something inspiring, which usually follows large amounts of caffeine consumption. If you love someone, you will never, ever send the video of that 5-year-old who sings like the next Beverly Sills. You won’t even send the cool one of the hands passing a glowing ball of light to each other. And you especially will not send a picture of Valentine’s roses.

Why?

Because I, like millions of people around the world, get the “Your storage is almost full” message on my phone quite regularly. And I just spent an hour deleting, one by one, a bunch of these things from Messenger to free up enough space to take my own pictures, get apps for things I need or want, and so on.

Not to be mean or ungrateful, but STOP IT. Not to be unkind, but STOP IT. Not to be bossy, but STOPPPPPP ITTTTT. For everyone’s sake, STOP IT. Also, some of them may be insidiously harmful in other ways (viruses or hacking.)

If you really, really love someone, or even might like them, you will call them, visit them, send a handwritten note (WHAT?!?!?), email, text, or message them with your own real words. Yes, real words. Like the kind we used to make up. Before pre-fab messages were born. Those really were the good old days, the days of awkwardly saying, from the heart, “I’m interested in getting to know you” or the famed “I love you.”

So please – skip the pictures that we’ve all seen a thousand times. RESIST the temptation to send that picture of a bouquet of flowers to everyone on your Messenger list.

JUST. STOP. IT.

Any questions?

PS – I love you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 
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Family Vacation: Be Careful Where You Step

Posted by Kathy on Jan 1, 2018 in Uncategorized

It’s winter. You’re freezing. Grab a hot cup of tea and a cookie. Here’s a little story for you. It’s free. There’ll be time enough later to suffer the winter challenges. (Click link below for full story)

Relax. (And hurry up about it)

 
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Seriously – just for a moment

Posted by Kathy on Nov 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

The Thanksgiving leftovers are just about gone, converted to sandwiches and soup, innovative snacks involving biscuits and desserts, without concern for normal mealtimes or format. That’s fine with me, as it never made sense to me that we usually ascribe certain foods to set meals.

Now – we move along toward the December holidays! This year, I make my usual promise to keep things simple. I envision a simple tree with just a few plainly wrapped packages. In my fantasy, I even see them tied with string instead of the fancy colorful ribbons. The reality is I’ve already started lists for family and close friends, and my kids have already started asking me what I want.

But for today, I will keep it simple. An ice cream outing with family, maybe do some writing, maybe read the book I recently bought by a local mystery writer…and because our national attention span is something like seven seconds, I’ll keep this message simple: Enjoy what you have, share what you can, keep the simple holiday fantasies going and give in to materialism only when it feels important.

 
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The case of being forever not young

Posted by Kathy on Nov 16, 2017 in Uncategorized
Reposted from “Lightly Roasted” – My Generation Magazine – link below for full column)
Relax. (And hurry up about it) by Kathy Eliscu
I remember those lazy days…sitting around a farmhouse table, playing board games with family, kids splashing in a kiddie pool, adults laughing, sipping cold drinks

Last summer, my niece Kathy, her toddler, and my daughter Sally, a preschool teacher, planned a trip from NYC to visit me in Maine—the baby’s first vacation. My niece is a Broadway performer who deserves “Mother of the Year” for educating her toddler in the arts. I mean, the child already says “shuffle” and actually does that tap step. In perfect rhythm.

To continue (reposted from My Generation Maine):

Relax. (And hurry up about it)

 

 

 
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Never a Cop When You’re Trying To Ignore Something

Posted by Kathy on Sep 30, 2017 in Uncategorized

Burdened: A dark tale of a driver and a bird

 
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Why I Am My Own Best Date and Other Ways To Save Money

Posted by Kathy on Sep 1, 2017 in Thoughts from ME

Yeah. I tried online dating. I was gonna try it for a month, but for another six bucks or so, they said I could have three months. That three months was the longest two years of my life…

“I’m on an over-50 dating site. When I log in, I see photos of gorgeous 40-somethings, false advertising at its prettiest. No leg veins there. No saggy man-pecs. Only thing missing is the “Just Kidding” sign.

Back in the day, we met people the good old-fashioned way—in bars. Most singles now, even boomers, rely on dating sites. I recently wrote about dipping my dating toes into the sea of eligible men. And I use that term as loosely as the skin hanging off my various body parts. I ended up quitting a free site. But like peeking at an accident, I can’t stay away, so I subscribed to a different one. The results this time? Not great.

I want to talk to the women first. Because, men? You know there are 3,000 women for every one of you. So go watch sports for a few minutes.

Ladies, you’ve learned by now that if a nice older man becomes divorced or widowed, you have exactly four minutes to snag him. Three, if you live in Northern Maine (population factor, plus—cousins.)”

For more of my amazingly pathetic entree into the boomer dating world, read the whole story at: http://mygenerationmaine.com/2017/08/02/love-at-first-site/

Love at first site?

 
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Lightly Roasted ~ My GenerationMagazine

Posted by Kathy on Jul 18, 2017 in Uncategorized

Although summer means fun, in the world of Eliscu, it’s never that easy.

To prepare for a carefree summer, I take a brief post-birthday jaunt to NYC to visit my daughter Sally. For the first time ever, I’m staying with her, even though she has a cat and I have allergies. Whatever.

I don’t want to seem ungrateful, but I’m spending the weekend living inside a litter box.

First clue that things aren’t going well: Exactly seven minutes after I arrive at her sweet little typically-NY-tiny, just-vacuumed apartment in Brooklyn, my eyeballs turn the color of Satan’s pitchfork. My eyelids and the general condition of my sinuses? Reminiscent of the flu epidemic of 1918.

“Sal, there’s a lot of cat hair in the bathroom,” I wheeze out to her. “And the litter box is in the tub.”

She whisks in, moving it temporarily outside the bathroom.

“There’s still some kitty litter in the tub,” I add.

“It’s OK,” she says. “It’s organic.”

Her cat Layla, by all accounts, cares little for anyone’s feelings, and despite my sneezing and wheezing, chooses to blatantly ignore me. Instead, she continues to pose in any number of sexy positions, which would delight all but the most callous of visitors. I am not amused.

The next day, once we’re out and about, we eat, walk everywhere, go to a Broadway show, I laugh, cumulatively, more than I have in months. My symptoms calm down. Later, Sally gives me her bedroom, supposedly free of cat hair and dander. But each day, though I’m a sergeant guarding the bedroom door, that frisky, sassy cat finds just the one second when I open it to bolt in and hide under the bed.

“Layla? Treat!” Sally calls from the living room, Layla (or Sally) falling for it every time, and she (Layla, not Sally) leaving behind her a trail of allergens for me to inhale.

I get through that night with extra antihistamines, reminding myself that most of the next day we will be out. I’m saving money on a hotel, a result of my father’s insane frugal influence. Thanks a lot, Dad.

The next morning, in the pint-size bathroom, my expensive, special-thread dental floss flies out of my cosmetic bag, crashing onto the floor into pieces, the floss spool unraveling in a glorious pirouette over a few fragments of kitty litter and, I’m certain, thousands—no, millions—of microscopic feline fecal germs and God knows what. I’ve taken microbiology. Left up to my overactive imagination, I am, I’m sure, en route to a big ol’ case of bubonic plague.

“$@#&!!!” I shout. For good measure, I scoop up what’s left of the floss container and place it—OK, throw—into the sink and curse some more.

You may wonder why I don’t look up nearby hotels immediately. I’m wondering the same thing when Sally suggests “real New York pizza” for lunch. I lose track of my hissy fit long enough to get dressed, using last night’s nightie to step on, as if that will protect me from more sneezes.

Cheapness factor aside, I am already physically miserable. Now it’s becoming a survival challenge.

We have an amazing day in NYC and get back to the apartment in time to see Layla imitating Marlene Dietrich.

The next morning, I ask Sally if the stray kitty litter pieces in the tub bother her.

“That’s why I have the squeegee! Just run the shower a minute, then turn it off, and squeegee out the tub first,” she explains.

“That’s DISGUSTING!!” somehow slips out. Too late I realize it’s … too late.

Sally looks at me. In a moment I’ll forever remember, she looks directly at me (I wasn’t wearing my glasses, so she might have been rolling her eyes upward) and speaks calmly.

“Mom,” she says. “I don’t tell you how to manage your house.”

Things go much better after that. We go to a Weight Watchers meeting together and giggle over her “bravo” sticker, admire handsome young men in cafes, shop. The day after, she lugs my unruly luggage during the trek through Brooklyn and the crowded Penn Station.

On the train ride home to Maine, my eyelids are settling down. I’m dreaming about my spacious, clean farmhouse. Planning summer day trips. Thinking that next time I visit Sally, I’ll put us up at a hotel. Amazed at how I made it through Layla Boot Camp.

I hear a beep. It’s a text from Sally.

“I cried when you left. Please stay here again—someday. After all, Layla won’t be around forever.”

Wha???

Oh, dammit. That kid really knows how to work it.

I hear some hotels take cats, too.

Kathy Eliscu, a retired RN, received a National Society of Newspaper Columnists Humor award in 2012 for her Maine Women magazine column. She is the author of “Not Even Dark Chocolate Can Fix This Mess,” a humor novel. She blogs at www.kathyeliscu.com and lives in Westbrook.

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