CONVERSATION WITH…A NOSE…FEARING LIFE WITHOUT BEING BLESSED

Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I noticed an elderly nose limping along with a suitcase.  I caught up with her and started a conversation.

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Hey nose, where are you going?

NOSE: I’m outa here. I’m leaving Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road. I need to move on. I don’t know what else is out there for me, but I need to find it. If not now, when?  But…I’m scared.

Scared about what?

NOSE:  About not being blessed.

Huh?

NOSE: Here’s the thing. I’ve always been around others who know me. They bless me every time I sneeze.  I’ve had so much emotional support in my life Every time I sneeze, someone says “Bless you!” And when I’m stuffed, I hear, “Bless you! Bless you! Bless you! Bless you!” Constantly! I’ve become dependent on it.

I can see how that could happen.

NOSE: But! You know when NO ONE blesses me?  When I’m in a place where I don’t know anybody!  Like, let’s say I’m on a random bus or train, or in an elevator. If I sneeze, no one blesses me because they don’t know me! Or…if I sneeze and people do say “bless you,” they mumble it awkwardly, like they’re not sure if they should have said it in the first place.  I know that’s gonna happen again and again and again if I’m not with others I know!  I won’t be blessed!

Maybe you should trust the silence. And trust your instincts even if you’re not feeling supported or blessed. 

NOSE: What makes you so sure about all this stuff?

Because I’m going through the same thing, but I’m one step ahead of you.  As I’m growing older, when I want to try something new, I’m finding I don’t care as much if other people don’t “bless” what I’m doing or approve of it. Maybe it’s just something that happens with age.

NOSE: You think so?

Maybe. I mean, these days, if someone doesn’t like something I’ve written, or painted, or what I’m wearing, I listen to what that person has to say. But then, I think to myself, “Maybe there’s no right or wrong answer here. Maybe we’re just two different people in two different ‘places’ in the universe at the moment. Our perspectives are different, but there’s room for both in the world.”

NOSE:  I see your point.

If I feel centered in what I’m doing, I’m not as afraid.

NOSE: You must be in therapy.

You know? Maybe you and I are blessed in a different way.

NOSE: How?

Maybe we’re blessed that we have the freedom, time and health to go out in the world and experience it differently.  It’s a privilege.  It’s a different kind of blessing.

NOSE: I can get into that.  Thanks for the suggestion.

You’re very welcome.

NOSE: Haaa-chooooo!

Should I say it?

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How are you blessed?

CONVERSATION WITH…A TARNISHED EMMY AWARD…WONDERING IF TWO DREAMS CAN COME TRUE IN A LIFETIME

Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I passed an abandoned house.  In the attic window, I noticed a tarnished Emmy Award.  Since the house was empty, I wandered upstairs and had a conversation with that poor, neglected award.

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Emmy Award, what are you doing up here all alone?

EMMY AWARD:  I’m tarnished.

Yeah. I’m surprised you’re not made of real gold.

EMMY AWARD: That’s my million dollar secret.  And since I’ve been sitting here in the window for years, the sun has faded me to silver.

Wow. On a positive note, your upper arms look amazing! I mean, holding up that ball for years has given you great upper body strength.

EMMY AWARD: Thanks.

Your arms are so sleek and toned.  Mine are so flabby I bet if I moved them up and down fast enough I’d fly away.

EMMY AWARD: That’s enough about my arms. Here’s the bottom line. There was a time when I stood for someone’s dream come true.  I stood for that happy time. It was amazing, but that ship has sailed.  I represented a dream, but I don’t think it’s possible for two dreams to come true in a lifetime.

I don’t agree. I think no matter how old we get, our creativity can carry us to new places if we let it.  More than one dream can come true.

EMMY AWARD: Not for me. I’m pretty much forgotten forever.  I’m not seeing myself standing for anything important anymore.

 Actually, I have an idea. I write a blog. Other bloggers read it, make comments, or let me know they “liked” a post. At this time of year, I’d love to let them know how much I appreciate them. They add so much to my life.  I’m most grateful.

EMMY AWARD: So what does that have to do with me?

Everyone who reads my blog is most deserving of an award.  So I’d like you to become the official Blogger Emmy Award.  I’ll call you the “Blemmy.”

EMMY AWARD: The Blemmy.  I like that.  Has a nice rhythm to it.  I’m in.

Great!  Okay…so……dearest Blogger friends who are followers, commenters, or who have tapped the “like” button on “Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road,” I am presenting this Blemmy Award to YOU.   IF YOU ARE READING THIS POST, YOU ARE A BLEMMY WINNER. Your category?  Best Blogger in a Supporting Role. Thank you thank you thank you for supporting my creativity.

And! Since you’re on the Red Carpet, if you’re up for writing your acceptance speech, I’d LOVE to see it in the Comment Box!

Your acceptance speech can include thanks to other bloggers who have helped you become the blogger you are today (please include their links). LOL.

Happy Holidays to you all, and may all your dreams and wishes come true. 

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CONVERSATION WITH…An Aging Ambulance…About What’s Exciting  vs. What’s Frenetic

Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I passed an aging ambulance in front of a deli.  It was lunchtime, so the driver was inside getting a hot pastrami sandwich.  I started a conversation with the ambulance.

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You know, I’ve always wanted to talk to an ambulance. This is an honor.

AGING AMBULANCE: Thank you. But…why?

Well…I have a dream I don’t share with many people.  I’ve always wished I could have an ambulance of my very own.

AGING AMBULANCE: You’re kidding.

Nope.  I started dreaming about it when my children were in elementary school and had playdates in my house.  I worried what would happen if someone got hurt.  It would have been so calming if I knew an ambulance was parked in my driveway at all times.

AGING AMBULANCE: I’m touched.

And now that my kids are young adults and my husband and I are older, having our own ambulance would totally calm our nerves.

AGING AMBULANCE: Hmmm…

I mean, for example, last week my husband had bad stomach cramps and chest pains late at night.  It turned out to be a stomach virus. But since he’s a bit older, when he was in pain, we were concerned it might have been something more serious.  Having an ambulance in our driveway would have been a dream come true.

AGING AMBULANCE: Hmmm…

Plus I’m a hypochondriac.

AGING AMBULANCE: Well then, I’ll let you in on something that embarrasses me. As I get older, my exciting, dramatic life as an ambulance doesn’t feel exciting anymore.  It feels frenetic. The sound of my siren is just overwhelming noise and gives me a headache.

I can relate.  It’s embarrassing to admit, but large cities feel that way to me these days.  I used to find all the sounds and crowds of people stimulating.  Now I’d rather be in a quiet place.  I’m changing.

AGING AMBULANCE: Me too. When I have to speed down a highway to get to a fire, I just want to go home.  Or when I have to weave through traffic to get to an emergency, it’s not exhilarating anymore.  I’m changing.

I understand.

AGING AMBULANCE: But…I still want to be helpful.  Somehow. Somewhere.

Well then, dare I ask? Would you consider a permanent job sitting at the end of my driveway?

AGING AMBULANCE: What would your neighbors say?

Nothing. They know me.

AGING AMBULANCE: Okay then!  I’m in!

This is wonderful! I guess you just never know when a dream will come true.

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CONVERSATION WITH…An Older Vampire Overwhelmed By Too Many Choices

In a mall Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I heard a strange moaning sound.  I realized the sound was coming from an older vampire bat flying beside me.  I figured I’d try to help.

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Uh–Vampire?  Got a problem?

OLDER VAMPIRE:  Obviously yes!  I’m in pain! I’m too old to rest in my coffin box!  It’s killing my back!  I need a mattress!

I can understand that. I used to be able to sleep on anything.  But now, my back hurts in the morning if I sleep on a mattress that’s too hard or too flimsy—

OLDER VAMPIRE: Well that’s the whole ridiculous problem. I came here to the mall to buy a mattress to put in my coffin. But there are too many kinds!  I don’t know which one to get!  Why can’t there just be one mattress?

I went through the same thing last year.  I wanted to buy a mattress.  It used to be there were soft, medium and hard mattresses. That was all.

OLDER VAMPIRE. Yes, like with The Three Bears.

Right. Those were the only choices. But now we have—

OLDER VAMPIRE: Mattresses with memory foam! A little foam!  Or a lot of foam!  Or they lift your back up and down with a remote!  Or they have extra coils!  Or no coils!  Or they’re thick!  Or they’re thin!  Or they’re attached to a sofa bed! Aaaaah!  I can’t take it anymore!

I admire you for getting angry about it. 

OLDER VAMPIRE:  The truth is…my anger actually covers up my fear.  What’s happening to me? Is there more to understand in the world?  Or am I just not able to understand as well as I used to?

Maybe it’s a combination.  Sometimes the whole thing embarrasses me.  I’m self conscious about it.  So to cope,  I focus on exactly what I want and reject the other choices, even if a different choice might save me money. That’s one way to deal with it. At least I don’t go insane.

OLDER VAMPIRE: I don’t get out a lot during the day. Is this sort of problem just happening with mattresses?

No, it’s everywhere. Like, I had a new window put in my house recently.  But you can’t just buy a window.  There are types that have extra panes, or picture windows that don’t open, or there are windows that open if you tilt them at a certain angle, there’s another kind of window that opens if you pull it up and down and–

OLDER VAMPIRE: No wonder I’ve been having so much trouble flying into bedrooms.

It doesn’t end there! When I go to the supermarket, there’s low fat yogurt, no fat, 2%, 4%, no sugar, less sugar, Greek, regular–

OLDER VAMPIRE: Alright already! Shut up!  You’re giving me a headache!

Sorry.

OLDER VAMPIRE: So, what should I do about the mattress?  How did you resolve your problem with it?

Well, instead of asking a million questions and trying to understand how every mattress works…I went to a store that offered a special deal.  You can buy a mattress that seems comfortable, but after a month if you don’t like it, you can exchange it for a different mattress in the store.

OLDER VAMPIRE: I like that! I’d like to go with your mattress deal if you don’t mind directing me to that store.

I’d be happy to. Just keep in mind, if you’re thinking of returning the mattress, don’t drip blood on it. They won’t take it back with stains.

OLDER VAMPIRE:  I don’t know if I can pull that off.

Well then, just buy a mattress protector. They sell lots of them in Bed Bath and Beyond.

OLDER VAMPIRE: What do you mean by “lots of them?”

You can buy a simple plastic type—

OLDER VAMPIRE: That’s for me!

But… in your case, you might want to pay extra for one that protects against stains and odors, and you might want the kind that zips all the way around the mattress so it won’t fall off easily, and you might want the kind that…

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CONVERSATION WITH… AN OLDER SPONGE…Wondering If Gratitude Includes Feeling Everyone Else’s Pain

Walking Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I noticed an older sponge crawling in front of me.  He was having a lot of trouble moving, so I offered to lend a hand.

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Sponge?  Need some help?

SPONGE: Yes, thank you. I’m older and I’m on overload.

What do you mean?

SPONGE: Well, I’m on my way back from a high school reunion. Everyone I knew from way back was there.  The dish detergent…the Brillo…the bar of soap… We’re all aging. But some of us are feeling better than others.

It works that way with people, too.  It’s very hard to be part of whatever this phase of life is supposed to be.

SPONGE: It IS very hard!  And my problem is, as a sponge, I absorb it all. I take in everybody’s pain, plus my own, and now it’s weighing me down.  In my older age, I can’t hold in all these feelings without having symptoms.  I can hardly move.  Sometimes it paralyzes me.

I know what you mean.  I’m most grateful to be here.  But when I meet up with someone who has very serious health issues, I take in their feelings. I experience their feelings as mine, too.

SPONGE: Today I saw the plastic bottle of dish soap I grew up with.  She’s almost out of liquid soap. She’s scared.  What will her life be like without the soap? They’ve been together forever. My heart hurts for her.

I know someone who’s so sick he has no fight left in him. He doesn’t want to be here anymore.  I feel his pain even though I can’t quite understand it.

SPONGE: I know a bar of soap like that, too. She’s so thin she’s wasting away. She says being like that isn’t living anymore.  When she speaks that way, I absorb her pain.

But…are we supposed to be experiencing gratitude this way?  Or are we supposed to separate our lives from theirs and live the best way we can at this moment?

SPONGE: Maybe both.

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CONVERSATION WITH…LITTLE BO PEEP…A BITTER EMPTY NESTER

Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I noticed a woman with a sheep. Was it possible she was the famous Bo Peep who lost her sheep (from the Nursery Rhyme)?   Had one of her sheep come back? If she was Bo Peep, we had a lot in common! I’m an empty nester, too. I had to check it out…

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Hey there, by any chance, are you Bo Peep? You know, from the rhyme that goes, “Little Bo Peep, lost her sheep, and didn’t know where to find them.  Leave them alone and they’ll come home, wagging their tails behind them?”

BO PEEP: That’s me.  One sheep came back for a quick visit.  I’m smiling on the outside but crying on the inside.

Why?

BO PEEP: Here’s the part they never tell you about when you‘re an empty nester. When your kids come back to visit, you notice they’ve changed. And it hurts.

I get that. My daughter moved far away and when she comes back to visit, I see she’s adapted to her new environment.  She’s not exactly the same person she was when she left. It hurts to see that.  Selfishly, I miss who she used to be.

BO PEEP: Right!  And why do they have to go so far in the first place?  I mean, I raised my two sheep in a beautiful meadow with a sturdy fence so they’d always be safe.  I made sure they had organic grass to eat.  We settled in an area where the weather was perfect—not too hot and not too cold.  There were lots of nice sheep to hang out with. What more could sheep want?

Don’t ask me.

BO PEEP: Obviously it wasn’t good enough for my son sheep.  He whined it was too confining and homogeneous growing up in our meadow. He never wants to live here again.

So where did he move to?

BO PEEP: The African plains. He’s exceptionally fuzzy, so I worry he’ll pass out if he gets too hot. He’s not fenced in, so he wanders around wherever he wants to go—which makes me crazy.  And he’s seriously dating an elephant.

It’s a changing world.

BO PEEP: But it really hurts my feelings. I tried so hard to make a nice home for him.

All this hurts my feelings, too.  On the other hand, I remember when I was in my twenties and moved out of my parents’ house, I was sooo happy!  It was so freeing! I went out and did whatever I wanted whenever I felt like it! And I told my parents I hated where I grew up!  I said it was boring and superficial and I’d never come back.  I must have hurt THEIR feelings.

BO PEEP: Yeah.  Same here.  Before I was Bo Peep with Sheep, I was “Bo Peep with a Jeep.”  I drove that thing all over the world any time of day or night.  My parents never knew where I was. I was a wild woman.

I guess back in those days, we weren’t ready to be the women we are today.  We were…different. 

BO PEEP: And… now that my sheep are living away, I’ve become less active.  I’m quieter and take life a little slower.

Me too.  Maybe when our kids come home to visit, they also notice…we’ve changed.

BO PEEP: And it hurts them.

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­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Hey there dear blogger friends, I’m still struggling with this.  If you’re an empty nester, how do you feel when your kids come back and you notice they’ve changed?  Or if you’re a younger person and have left the home where you grew up, how do you experience your parents when you return for a visit?

 

 

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CONVERSATION WITH…A Claustrophobic Caterpillar…Trying To Cope With Inevitable Changes

As I climbed Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, suddenly I heard a small voice screaming from below! I looked down and realized I’d almost stepped on a panic stricken caterpillar.  I had to apologize!

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Caterpillar!  I’m so sorry!

CATERPILLAR: You almost gave me a heart attack!

I didn’t see you there!

CATERPILLAR: That’s what they all say.

Seriously!  Are you okay?

CATERPILLAR: As okay as I’m gonna get right now.  I’ve got bigger problems.

Like what?

CATERPILLAR: Like, I’ve been putting off going in a cocoon until the last possible minute. I’m claustrophobic.  But now the time has come.

I feel your pain. I’m claustrophobic, too.

CATERPILLAR: Really?

Yeah. I don’t do elevators, tunnels, airplanes, MRIs…whenever I can avoid them.

CATERPILLAR: Well I can’t avoid going in my cocoon anymore.  I’m exhausted all the time.  I’m always starving and stuffing my face with leaves.  I’m not the caterpillar I used to be. Every part of my body is telling me this part of my life is over.

 So, before you go in your cocoon, why don’t you take a Xanax?  Or have a glass of wine?  I have a glass when I take short plane flights. It takes the edge off for a few hours. 

CATERPILLAR: We’re not talking hours here, we’re talking weeks.

Well, at least you only have to go in your cocoon one time.  Then it’s over! And you’ll be able to fly!  Don’t you want to fly?

CATERPILLAR: No.  I love crawling.  I don’t want to give up my feet.

I hear ya. 

CATERIPLLAR: And I don’t want this part of my life to be over.

I know!!!!  I have two kids and I loved bringing them up.  But they’ve grown up and just left home.  I don’t want this part of my life to be over either.

CATERPILLAR: We’re soulmates.

Yes. But it seems the universe is pushing us to move on. We have no choice.

CATERPILLAR: Yup. I have to fly.

I have to fly, too.   I mean, my daughter lives far away now. If I’m able to get myself to sit in a plane for five hours, I can visit her a lot.  And if I’m able to fly even longer, I can see so many parts of the world. I’d like that.

CATERPILLAR: Maybe flying will open new doors for me too. Maybe I’m part of something bigger that I can’t see. So, I guess I’ll take you up on that bottle of wine.

I said a GLASS…

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THE FOLLOW UP:

Weeks later, the caterpillar came out of her cocoon! Though she had a major hangover…

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…after a few hours she was able to fly in a straight line.  And me?  Well, since I’m still Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, when I click my heels together I can visit my daughter in a flash. It works for now.  But…if you’re a bad flyer too, I’d love to hear from you.  What do you do on a plane to avoid jumping out of your skin?

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CONVERSATION WITH…The Cow Who Jumped over the Moon…Dreaming of Overcoming Her Overactive Bladder

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Recently, I met up with a highly successful athlete and super mom, The Cow Who Jumped over the Moon.   She was coming in for a landing on the Yellow Brick Road and was kind enough to chat.

Cow, it’s a real privilege meeting you.

COW:  Oh thank you.

So, you’ve definitely made your mark.  I mean, every night, jumping from your barn all the way over the moon and back to your barn has inspired cows throughout the world. What does it take to keep this up every night?

COW:  An overly ridiculous amount of drive.

I hear ya. But I have to admit,  I’ve heard rumors that after a very long career, you have an age- related issue that might bring your moon jumping days to an end. What’s going on?

COW:  Can I be frank?

Of course.

COW:  After giving birth and years of wear and tear, I find I need to pee all the time. Holding it in during my jump around the moon and back has become unbearable.

You’re not alone with that problem. But if you stop jumping over the moon, it will be the end of an era!

COW:  I know! And I don’t want to stop!  My work defines me.

I feel your pain. My work defines me, too.  But in your case, do you think this might be an opportunity to reflect on where you’ve been in your life and where you’re going? 

COW:  OMG. That sounds so depressing.

I’m just saying, you seem to be pretty intense and focused. Maybe let the lighter side of yourself come out and see where it takes you?

COW:  You mean, redirect my Type A personality toward something that makes me less crazy?

Something like that.

COW:  Hmmm…Well…I suppose at this point in my life, when I jump over the moon, I don’t have to land directly in my barn right away.  I mean, what’s my rush? My calf is a teen and doesn’t want me around all the time.  If I have to pee, I can crash land someplace else on the way home.

You mean, like, randomly crash land in Italy?

Why not?  I could find a Ladies Room there. Have a nice pasta dinner.  And if I’ve had too much wine to jump back the rest of the way to my barn, I’ll take a train or a bus home.

Awesome idea!  Every night you could crash land in a different city.  

COW:  I’ve always wanted to see Pittsburgh.

And any time you need to make an emergency landing, you can always stop at my house.

COW:  Really?  You would do that for me??

Of course!  Your  passion to see the world will inspire me to move my rear out the door.  I think you should go for it!

COW: Easy for you to say.

I know.  I won’t even get on a plane.

COW: But I think I will try the crash landing gig.   I just hope all those landings don’t mess up my knees.

The world will be watching.

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As the cow considers crash landing near restrooms around the world, please share your travel tips or recommended destinations.

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CONVERSATION WITH…a dandelion freaking out about turning gray (Part 1)

 

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Traveling beside a flower garden on the Yellow Brick Road, I noticed a dandelion in emotional pain.

Excuse me, Dandelion… I know we’ve never met and this might be none of my business, but…. can I help you?

DANDELION:  I don’t know what to do with myself!  The best days of my life are over!

Why do you say that?

DANDELION: Look at me.  I’m gray. I look like a walking rat’s nest.  And look at the rest of the flowers around me.  Pink, orange, purple, blue, and they all have their petals. Why is this happening to ME? Why am I the one who has to go through this?  I feel so alone.

I’m not an expert, but there might be a bigger picture that you can’t see.

DANDELION:  I doubt it.  It feels like everything’s against me. Even the freakin’ wind.   It keeps blowing my gray strands all over the lawn.

Maybe you just have to ride with the universe and see what happens. Maybe you have a different rhythm than the other flowers.

DANDELION:  You’re not helping.

Seriously, I understand your thing about being gray.  I color my hair.  But I believe there are periods of darkness we have to plow through, and eventually there’s an end to them. It seems like it’s part of some kind of balance in the universe.

DANDELION:  I’ll say one thing. If there’s some kind of end to my despair and loneliness, it will be a miracle.

Do you mind if I come back in a while and see how you’re doing?

DANDELION:  Your choice.

CONVERSATION WITH…a Dandelion turning gray     Part 2

 

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I’m back with the Dandelion who’s gray.

DANDELION: Now I’m bald.  But I have to admit, my loneliness ended.  I never thought it would happen.

Awesome!!!  What’s been going on??

DANDELION: This is gonna sound completely weird. But…when the wind blew my gray strands all over the lawn, they settled under the ground. Then they grew and came up.  So now I have children. Look at all my beautiful kids!

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DANDELION: It’s a miracle.

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CONVERSATION WITH… a squirrel struggling with her “new normal.”

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Traveling past a park on the Yellow Brick Road, I saw a squirrel scampering around who looked completely confused.  I rushed over.

Hey Squirrel,  are you lost?  Do you need directions?

SQUIRREL: No.  I need food. I’m so hungry.

So why not get something to eat?

SQUIRREL: I can’t. I buried my acorns under the ground, and I can’t remember where I put them.

Ooooh.  In a weird way, I can relate. When I park my car at the mall, when I come out, sometimes I can’t remember where I left it.

SQUIRREL: So?

So every time I park, I have to make a mental note of where I am.  And if I’m somewhere new, I actually write down the name of the street and cross street.

SQUIRREL: No offense, but I don’t think that’s a fair comparison.  I mean, you just have to find your car.  I can starve to death.  I’m really scared.

Can you make a trail of footprints or pebbles that lead to where you buried your acorns?

SQUIRREL:  That makes me nervous. What if I forget where I made the trail?

How about if you ask someone to remind you where you buried the acorns?

SQUIRREL: Then I’d have to ask for help!  My kids have their own lives!  I don’t want to bother them with this!  It’s humiliating.   I can’t face it! I’m an independent squirrel.  Always have been.

I guess you don’t want to do anything about it?

SQUIRREL:  My therapist says this is my “new normal” and I need to deal with my body differently because I’m older.

I’m going through that with my therapist, too. Here’s my“new normal.”  I try really hard to eat healthy foods and stay at a reasonable weight.  But every time I eat the slightest thing that’s junky, I put on weight.  I never used to be that way.  I guess it is what it is.

SQUIRREL:  That’s tough.

It is what it is.

SQUIRREL:  You said that already.

Oh yeah.  I forgot.

SQUIRREL: At least I remembered something.

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