Category Archives: Adult children

The BRAVE Interview #14 September 2017: Sylvia Wesley

Here is this month’s BRAVE Interview with Sylvia Wesley! Enjoy!

  1. WHO are you? I’m a 61-year-old white woman—wife, mother, nurse, and pseudo-bon vivant!
  2. WHAT is your One Brave Thing? Sometimes I feel like just living every day is a Brave Thing and it is difficult to choose a single event!  As a nurse, it seems like so many of my ‘brave things’ encompass caring for people—my dad and my brother, who both died of cancer; my mom with multiple surgeries; friends with HIV/AIDS.  As a mom I gave birth to twins who were 10 weeks premature and their first 6 months of life was pretty hectic, to put it mildly.  As a wife, still being married after 38 years could be considered brave—but probably the bravest aspect there is that I married a black man in 1979, only 12 years after the Supreme Court ruled interracial marriage was not illegal, and our early years involved some struggles in a very white New England. So, after all that, I decided to choose a joyous adventure as my One Brave Thing—I went to Burning Man!
  3. WHEN did you do it? 8/28-9/1, 2006
  4. WHERE did it occur? Black Rock Desert, NV
  5. HOW did you make it happen? Mostly my daughter made the initial experience happen.  She had been going to Burning Man for a few years and always marveled at how awesome it was and she was sure I would love it.  So for my 50th birthday, I was given a ticket to TTITD (aka ‘that thing in the desert’).  Which meant I would be sharing camping space with 38,000+ other adventuring nomads for a week in rather hostile environmental conditions, and only knowing one other person.  A little scary having to be self-reliant in an unknown situation, camping with my daughter’s friends who only had her assurances that I was ‘fun, non-judgmental, fully capable of taking care of myself, and would not act like everybody’s mother.’  So I packed my bags and flew to LA.  We readied all our camping equipment, some party outfits, food and water for a week, and did a 12 hour ride/drive-share to the event with a heretofore unknown person.  After 12+ hours, in a very small mini-van, we were all fast friends.  Getting to and from is just as much of an adventure as being there!
  6. WHY did you do it? For the adventure!  It was one of the best experiences of my life—the bigger-than-life art, the music, the people, the sense of oneness—all magnificent.  I came away with a whole new sense of self.  And as my daughter predicted, I would want to go every year after that, and did so for the next 7 years.  ‘Life’ has since interrupted my annual trek, and I have not been for the past 3 years, but look forward to resuming visits to my personal Mecca in the near future.

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Sylvia!

If anybody wants to learn more about the culture that is Burning Man, go to https://burningman.org/

Read the other BRAVE interviews here: https://kwrites.com/?s=The+BRAVE+Interview

If you would like to be interviewed for this series about something brave you have done in your life, email me at kmcwrites@gmail.com!

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What goes around

When I graduated from high school, one of the things that I was given was a Lane cedar mini-keepsake box. I know this because, unlike other things I might have been given that day, I still have my Lane cedar mini-keepsake box. One of the reasons that I was so excited to receive it was because my mother had one. It had been on her bureau for as long as I could remember, and she kept who-knew-what in it. I didn’t know, because she kept it locked.

Darn!

Anyway, I keep important keepsakes in mine, like childhood memorabilia (my pet rock!), photos, a scrap of paper with my grandmother’s writing on it. That’s mine on the left. My daughter’s is on the right.

Fast forward to 2017, and my own daughter has graduated from high school. Lane stopped this practice of bestowing the boxes in the 1980’s, I believe, but I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if I got her one? I have seen a few here and there over the years, but they were in abysmal shape. Two days ago, I spotted one at a Flea Market on my way to Boothbay. When they saw my interest, the very nice couple behind the table started to tell me about the history of it. Hey, these were people who loved the story as much as the object! My kind of people!

Alas, the key was missing. In the past, this was a deal breaker for me. This time though, I decided to trust my gut and buy it anyway.

We presented it to my daughter today. My husband told her he would get a key for hers, making it truly a gift from both of her parents that I hope she will tell her own daughter about someday, as she presents her with one of her own.

Spartanized

This podcast by Jodi Flynn (Women Taking the Lead) with Joe DeSena caught my eye because 1. I love Jodi’s Podcasts and 2. My nieces and nephew just completed a Spartan Race (not the first for some of them).

My beautiful niece Megan, rocking her Spartan Race medal!

Much of the conversation really resonated with me! I was shocked, because whenever I hear about the Spartan Races, I move right along. I mean, it’s nice for some people…people who like to get all sweaty and dirty and gross. Not bookish, ‘indoorsy’ type people like me.

😀

I could completely relate to Joe’s talking about the topics of ‘concrete, (something else I can’t remember), and ravioli’ (#itsallabouthefood) in the Italian neighborhood where he grew up. That pulled me in, but when he talked about one of the strategies for success is telling everyone you know what you are going to do (“commit publicly”), that was it! I use that strategy all the time! Like, when I lost weight with Weight Watchers (Hey, everyone! I’m counting points today!) and when I write a novel every year for NaNoWriMo (Hey, everyone! I am writing 50,000 words this month!).

Now here I am, thinking about me and Spartan Races in the same thought.

Which brings to mind another thought that I have used for years to keep myself from having to be athletic: How can I do a Spartan Race? I wear glasses! They might fall off and then what would I do?!

NOTE: I have never pretended to be the ‘outdoor type’. 😀

My birthday

 

I hope you all had fun with me this week. In addition to the week of cakes, my daughter gifted me with a cake today, bringing my total to eight for the week, and this is the one with which we celebrated with singing and candles.

Here is today’s cake from Wells IGA: Caramel Sea Salt Cake!

Here is a slideshow of all seven cakes in the BirthdayCakeWalk2017.

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For my actual birthday today, I did more than just eat cake, if you can believe it! I ate whatever I wanted. A chocolate bread from Boulangerie in Kennebunk for breakfast. Sausage Flatbread with a salad from Pizza Napoli in Ogunquit for lunch. So far, that’s all. Oh, and the Salted Caramel Cake from my daughter!

And I tried to include things I love (besides food!) in my day. Connecting with my family and friends! Lilacs! The ocean! Reading! Writing! And of course, a visit to a bookstore!!

Now, for the point: It is my birthday wish that all of YOU have a day like this, too. Why wait for your birthday to be kind to  yourself? Do it now. Today.

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Birthday Week CakeWalk (BWCW) Day 2

Day 2, people!!

Today’s cake is brought to you courtesy of my daughter, who gifted it to me, by way of the Wells IGA. She asked me what I wanted and I told her to surprise me, but to get something she liked, too.

Here it is: Carrot Cake

Grade: Pass. Not as good as the chocolate one I had on Day 1, but still good. I would get it again. It could be that I just have an inherent bias toward chocolate anything, so I have to allow for that.

This one has cream cheese frosting, as expected, which was pretty good.

Mini-Carrot Cake from Wells IGA

Looking forward to Day 3!~ 🙂

The BRAVE Interview #10 May 2017: Andrea

Please enjoy this month’s BRAVE Interview with Andrea!

WHO are you? My name is Andrea Maffeo and I am Karen’s sister-in-law.  LOL! I am a medical secretary and have worked for MGH Medical Group for 18 years now. I have been married for over 25 years to the most patient man a wife could ever ask for.  Honestly don’t know what I would do without him.

WHAT is your One Brave Thing? My one brave thing is not something you would expect…….but to me it was my one brave thing.  It’s not something I did for myself like overcome a fear, it’s something I did for someone else.

WHEN did you do it? I did it in July 2016.

WHERE did it occur? Melrose Wakefield Hospital

HOW did you make it happen? Well, that’s a tough one.  I just had to say the dreaded words………’It’s time to let her go.’

WHY did you do it? My mom has never been a well woman, at least not for the past few years.  She was in a rehab/nursing home when she became ill.  She was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with a small bowel obstruction.  While having a CT scan she vomited and aspirated.  She ended up in the ICU and all her organs started to fail.  She went into septic shock due to the aspiration.  The only thing that was keeping her alive was the ventilator.  So the decision had to be made.  And since I was her healthcare proxy, my poor dad couldn’t make the decision at the time, I had to make the decision to let her go.  It was the hardest decision I ever had to make in my life, but I knew it was the right one.  I didn’t want her suffering anymore and I knew neither did she.  This is my One Brave Thing.

Thank you for sharing your heartfelt story, Andrea!

Read the other BRAVE interviews here: https://kwrites.com/?s=The+BRAVE+Interview

If you would like to be interviewed for this series about something brave you have done in your life, email me at kmcwrites@gmail.com, or message me on my Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/k.m.creamer.author/!

Hello from Heaven

big-nana

Big Nana with her great-granddaughter Ariana in her kitchen in Nantasket

As I recently wrote, my son moved into his new apartment. Apartments, as we all know, usually need furniture. As a mother, I want to (over) help him with this. When I got my first apartment, my mother and my grandmother went to great lengths to make sure I had everything I might need or want, opening their cupboards, closets, drawers, and wallets to help me get things I didn’t even know I would need. I always knew that I would do the same for my own children one day.

The current need for my son’s apartment is for a kitchen table and chairs. I remembered my grandmother’s kitchen table has been stored at my brother’s house for years. I checked to make sure it was still there and usable. My brother determined (after some digging) that it was.
I started thinking of how my grandmother, Big Nana, spent most of her life helping her family. She has been dead since 2004, but she is still helping her family all these years after her death. Because now her kitchen table and chairs, at which we ate so many wonderful, lovingly prepared meals, will now serve my son and his girlfriend.

And here is the biggest gift of all: when my brother was looking for the chairs, he found a photo Nana, as well as some of my mother and father that I have never seen before.

It feels like they are all saying ‘Hello’ to us from heaven tonight, and letting us know that they are still watching over us and taking care of us, even though they are not here physically with us anymore.

What a wonderful start to 2017.

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