However slight, sudden noises in the night manage to wake me.  It’s been like this since she lived with us and hasn’t changed in the twelve years since she passed.  Every creak from the attic or sound of footsteps takes me back and puts me on alert.

Some nights, she’s still down the hall, talking to someone who isn’t there.  The soft conversations last, on and off, for hours and often escalate into full-blown yelling episodes with someone standing in the shadows of her mind.

When all seems to become quiet, underlying noises emerge, almost like a forewarning of what is to follow.  Soon, one more escape out the door.  Back to what little she could remember from all that Alzheimer’s had taken away.

Once again, I sit up in bed and listen for five or ten minutes, waiting for her door to open.


workshop-button-1From Mama Kat’s….Listen to the sounds in your house for 5 or 10 minutes. Write about what you hear.



Remain neutral…


It’s weeks away.  Christmas.  Otherwise known as the holidays, complete with Santa, Reindeer, Elves, decorated trees and that one petrified mass of dried fruit, nuts and rum, called Fruitcake, which continues to be sent around the world from person to person.

Along with everything red and green, the season brings Hanukkah, the festival of light and beautiful traditions and Kwanzaa, a celebration of family, community and culture.  Those with different religious backgrounds reach out and acknowledge these joyful festivities, possibly the one time of year when most of us make attempts to set aside our differences.

But not all.  Many communities already deal with those who object to Christmas tree and Nativity displays, even to the placement of Menorahs.  Now, such disapproval continues to rear its ugly head in the direction of schools, the retail market and various private organizations who engage in any specific Christmas oriented activities.

I had a recent discussion with a young person who was upset and shared a story about a holiday event they had been looking forward to until someone in the respective organization levied a complaint about keeping the overall theme…neutral.  Neutral?  Is this what our children are to learn as they head into adulthood?  Remain neutral, refusing to accept or respect the long-standing religious traditions of others and declaring a would-be war on Christmas and all other devotional observances? Set aside the cheerful celebrations, the sometimes-overdone decorations and the important sense of sharing and giving to others?  Always remain politically correct and keep your religious observances to yourself?

The New York City public school system banned Nativity displays in 2002 yet allowed what they felt were less overtly religious symbols as menorahs, Muslim star and crescent and Christmas trees.   I felt this was an insult to Christians, Jews and Muslims to have their religious beliefs categorized under an almost innocuous, borderline neutral, heading.

Where is the harm in allowing our children to participate in all of the seasonal activities, regardless of any religious affiliations?  Why can’t youngsters learn to respect and celebrate all religious practices?  Why are we focusing on mandating that every observance be conducted in a secular manner because acknowledging all holiday traditions with the collective pomp and circumstance involved makes certain segments of our society… uncomfortable?

How is this explained to any youngster who asks why?


workshop-button-1  From Mama Kat’s….Talk about something you learned from your child this week. 

What I learned was from someone else’s child and it upset me, a great deal.  This young person was looking forward to being part of a holiday event until an outside source registered a complaint, demanding that the function be kept “neutral”. 

In my own life, I enjoy a family with different religious backgrounds and have raised my own children to always acknowledge the religious celebrations of others.  Why so many choose to hide behind walls of indifference and downright ignorance is exhausting, especially where the holiday season is concerned.  There is not one of us who is better than the other based on who or what we worship or what seasonal event we choose to celebrate. 

The idea is to embrace each other as human beings. 


Two years ago…

A lone bicyclist made his way on a wide and leisurely country road on a beautiful September day.  He had no idea that, in a millisecond of time, his life would forever change.

Coming up behind him, a vehicle side-swiped him; the cyclist was violently hurled into the air, one foot still in a pedal strap on his bicycle.  Medical, law enforcement and other local personnel responded to the accident scene where all were witness to the severe head damage along with other major bodily injuries suffered by the bicyclist.  From that point, the critically injured man was medevaced to a major hospital for emergency treatment. 

In this community, just about every element of local news makes all the newspapers or other media outlets, but not this time.  Those close to the situation questioned why there were no other news releases about this incident, especially since there is an ongoing debate over “Shared Roadways” here in New York.  Any time there is a vehicle/bicyclist encounter, it’s on the front page of every news publication.   Only one small, subscription-only newspaper, the type usually found in supermarkets, carried the story.   A brief synopsis of the sole article about the accident shared the details, stating that the bicyclist veered to the left as the offending vehicle was passing.  The closing sentence of the article read “Police issued no summonses”.  Names of the two parties involved were not stated nor was any mention made concerning any type of vehicle operator testing done at the scene.

Most cyclists stay to the side of roads whenever possible, except when avoiding debris which may be in their path.  New York is one of 9 states that have a “general law” that provides that motorists must pass bicyclists at a safe distance and speed.  The general speed limit on the road where this accident took place is 50 m.p.h., except on certain winding turns where it is lower.  As on many roads, motorists usually push the limits and in a worst case scenario, if a vehicle is being operated by someone who is “distracted” …on a cell phone, driving aggressively, speeding excessively or…driving under some degree of “impairment”…disaster follows. In any vehicle vs. bicyclist situation, it’s more than obvious just who will bear the brunt of a collision.  The magnitude of pain and suffering goes far beyond this individual who was so viciously struck down and who will never again be the same.  What follows can be an incomprehensible aftermath, as in this case.  A family’s financial and emotional resources have been exhausted for necessary care and therapy and they are left to wonder why there is not more pro-activeness in keeping questionable, even dangerous, motorists from injuring or killing an innocent person.

All of the facts may never be known.  Questions will remain unanswered and the threat of another family being impacted by the careless, even willful, actions of someone who should not be allowed to drive… can happen any time.  Today, I received an email from the wife of the injured man and the words from one paragraph must be shared…

“It’s been 2 years since our lives were shattered on that fateful day. We are still struggling to find the pieces and trying to put them back together, knowing too well that full recovery is a myth and stability elusive at best. We are weary, but we cannot give up. We will soldier on, striving for the best we can achieve. We had hoped to defy the odds, but continually modify our goals as reality dictates. The first year we were fighting for our lives. The second year we were working hard on recovery. Still fighting, but realizing our goals were no longer achievable. We continually readjust as the realization of his capability overtakes us and we mourn our losses. This coming year we will continue our fight, but will look to put some of the joy back in our lives.”


workshop-button-1From Mama Kat’s Workshop…What were you blogging about last year at this time? How have things changed? 

Last year, at this time, I started writing this post but set it aside. The family in this story are people I’m proud to know as friends and, like so many others in their huge circle, I admit to feeling helpless in not offering more than the usual thoughts and prayers. For two years, I’ve been an outsider to the death of someone’s dreams, of growing older together and enjoying a lifestyle both worked so very hard to achieve.  I’ve also been witness to an incredible love story which deals with every special moment, however small, that these two people are blessed with.

With regard to bicyclists, I am very outspoken, mainly where there are individuals who cycle recklessly on many roads and almost look to incite negative encounters with motorists.  Here in New York, “Shared Roadways” should mean some type of cooperation between cars and bikes but unfortunately, too many cyclists fail to observe the traffic and other vehicular rules which apply under this “shared” banner.  In no way does this give any motorist the right to threaten a cyclist or drive in any manner which would cause them harm or injury. 

As I wrote, no one will ever know the complete facts in this situation.  Except for one…and he’s still out there on the roads. 

He needs to read this.