All posts by cathysikorski

About cathysikorski

A caregiving author and lawyer trying to keep it all together

Mid-life…a Toddlin’ Town……

As we get more mature, we seem to have some issues that we didn’t have before. And yet, I’m beginning to remember that even toddlers had those same issues.

My youngest daughter was the queen of misunderstandings, or she couldn’t hear. The first day she came home from kindergarten, she was happy and enthusiastic.

“Mommy! Mommy!” she cried so elated, “I want to be a cupcake! I want to be a cupcake!”

“A cupcake, sweetie?” Of course, I jump right into mommy-mode: “Oh, honey, do you mean we need to make cupcakes for school? Okay, we can do that.”

“NO, Mommy,  no, no, no. I want to BE a cupcake!”

“I don’t know what you mean, honey. ”

“Mom,” her older sister chimes in with the voice of a condescending eight-year old to her elderly mother who is already so uncool, “she wants to be a Brownie.”

Ooops.

A bit before that, she came into the kitchen one dark, cold winter night from helping Dad take out the trash claiming, “Mommy, Mommy, I just saw O’Brien!”

Could this be O"Brien?
Could this be O”Brien?

I looked at her quizzically. “Who is O’Brien and what is he doing in our driveway at night?”

“No, Mommy, I saw O’Brien!” I have no idea what this child is talking about. We have no neighbors named O’Brien. We don’t really even have neighbors, certainly none close enough to be in our driveway at night for no known reason.

My husband comes in just at the tail end of her accusatory tone indicating that I’m not the smartest Mommy like she thought I was.

“Cathy, I showed her the constellation, Orion.” Oh.

So when my husband says to me while we’re watching Jeopardy, “What’s for dinner?” and I say: “How do I know who the winner is, it’s not over yet!”

Or I’m conversing with my daughter on the phone as she walks through the streets of New York City and she’s telling me about her date:

“And then he got a swan and we shared it.”

“A swan? Why would you share a swan? What does that even mean? Do you keep the swan on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday? Where is it now in your bathtub?”

“MOM…a flan…. F-L-A-N…flan!”

 

It is nice, isn't it?
It is nice, isn’t it?

Oh, that’s nice.

I think, well this isn’t age, it’s just a misunderstanding. Anyone, even a toddler could make that mistake.

Oh and I laughed so hard, I peed a little, which a toddler would do too. So…I’m feeling younger every day, as I walk past the Pampers aisle to inspect the Lisa Rinna Always Sexy Underpants.

“You Just have to Laugh….”

©2017 Cathy Sikorski

skydiving-birthday

Happy Birthday to me!

I turned 60 this week, let’s reflect on that:

  1. The good news is I was here to see it, the bad news is I am NOT READY to be 60!!!
  2. I noticed I don’t hear so well. I’m sure my family noticed this a long time ago. But now the TV sounds like it did when my Nana lived with me. The neighbors at the end of the block know when I’m watching Hallmark movies instead of working.60-card60-card-2
  3. I debate every day whether to wear that sample of ‘smooth-lining,  Always full-panty protection’ if I’m going somewhere where there is no bathroom for hours (think Women’s March).
  4. I battle between drinking coffee and wine every day. Then I whine between drinking water and herbal damn tea.
  5. I have so many great ideas by breakfast, and forget all of them by lunch.
  6. I still want to wear stilettos but my feet, back and ankles want me to wear serviceable shoes. ” But look at my feet!” I tell them, “they’re soooo cute!”
  7. No one listens to me…not even my feet.
  8. Tweezers are my new best friend.
  9. I hate Windows 10 and I want to kill it.
  10. In my birthday pics next to my Mom, who is still here to celebrate 60 with me, I see how much I look like her…….and realize how much I act like her.mom-and-me-and-60
  11. A “grateful check” can be anything from my amazing husband, great friends and wonderful family to I-remembered-to-buy-toilet-paper!
  12. My brother now tells me that telling people they can have their dreams is stupid…but none of my dreams include physical activity, so I’m still good!

 

One Good Reason to Love 60!
One Good Reason to Love 60!

And as I wrote that last one…………….the FedEx guy came to my door and delivered this, from that same brother!  Oh and yeah, that is me at iFly indoor skydiving….so, I guess I might be ready for 60!

You Just have to Laugh…..

© 2017 Cathy Sikorski

beer

Now, I know why Cleveland Rocks……

As an attorney, I receive a bi-monthly lawyer magazine. Most of the time, I just glance through it and put it in the recycling pile. My favorite column is a satire article at the end of every edition entitled “To Wit.”

But this month, To Wit was outdone by real life.

I have to admit here, that the only additional information I always peruse is the “Discipline” column. This is usually one or two pages delineating all the disciplinary actions against lawyers. It ranges from Emergency Temporary Suspensions to Temporary Suspensions, to Reciprocal Discipline from other States, to Disbarments and Disbarments on Consent, which means the attorney agrees that he royally screwed-up and agrees to give back his license.

The first reason I read the Discipline page is that my Catholic school guilt complex makes me breathe a sigh of relief each time I’m not mentioned. The second is absolutely dirty-laundry  interest, of which I am sincerely ashamed. Sorry.

What stood out in this month’s Discipline was not that any particular lawyer was subject to punishment for some heinous crime, nor anything salacious was happening in the discipline of lawyers across the counties.

No, the thing that stood out was a paragraph about an unfortunate attorney who was obviously battling a serious problem with sobriety and the Disciplinary Board was trying very hard to help this person.

” Mr. X was placed on probation for two years, subject to a sobriety monitor. However, despite “repeated efforts” by the..Lawyers’ Assistance Committee, the Board was unable to find an attorney in Cleveland qualified to serve as a sobriety monitor.”

Now…………I have no idea what’s going on in Cleveland. I mean, I know just in this year,

Alleged Lawyers of Cleveland
Alleged Lawyers of Cleveland

the Clevland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship. So, that was certainly cause for partying. The Cleveland Indians almost won the World Series. That contest went all seven games. I’m sure there was quite a bit of beer being consumed during that thrilling October and November. And every third Friday, there is Polka Happy Hour, which if you’ve ever polka-ed, you’d know can be pretty darn exciting.

But I’d have to believe that the Committee took all of that into consideration which is why they kept going back to Cleveland after all these intoxicating times…hence, the phrase, “repeated efforts.”

Let's Rock at the Hall of Fame!
Let’s Rock at the Hall of Fame!

I’ve never been to Cleveland. I would very much like to go there one day.  I’m definitely interested in seeing the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. But I think they may have a serious drinking problem in that city. I’m worried that a visit to Cleveland may end up with my name in the Discipline pages if I’m not careful. On the other hand….”ROCK ON, CLEVELAND!!”

 

“You Just Have to Laugh…..”

©Cathy Sikorski 2017

secret-santa

Secret Santa Millennials…….

There’s a post going around Facebook that basically says when my grown kids ask me what I want for Christmas, let them know I just want TIME with them.

This is the mantra of all the empty-nesters out there. So I have a proposition. Instead of a cookie exchange, or a Secret Santa gift exchange, I propose we do a kid exchange.

My kids live in cities far away from me. I can’t go Christmas shopping with them. We don’t have time to bake cookies together. We don’t go to the local Christmas Symphony concert anymore. We can’t play that game at the Mall where we would watch the young mothers gingerly place their toddlers and infants, all dressed up in their Christmas finery, onto the lap of a big scary guy with a white beard and a crimson red suit and guess which child is going to be delighted or scream their bloody head off. Good times.  My husband and I don’t listen to missed notes of flute practice for the school concert, wondering how it will all come together to actually sound like Christmas carols.

So enough with the melancholy. Let’s put all our millennials’ names and addresses out there to each other! Let’s find out where they live and whoever lives the closest to you, you get to have them for the Advent Season.

You can bake those cookies now! You stopped baking because all you were doing was eating them for breakfast. Now….you can get rid of them. Take them to your Secret Santa Millennial. Better yet, take them to their job! Everyone at their workplace will be thrilled to see you, especially with those home-baked cookies.

You can make plans to take your borrowed millennial ice-skating, Christmas shopping for their Mom (who knows better what their Mom would like than another Mom?). Your millennial will come to your house for hot chocolate and help you with the Christmas decorations! You can take selfies and send them to their real Mom and post them on Facebook, so everyone knows you have a Secret Santa Millennial. Think of all the other Millennials who will be so jealous when they see your “Insta” postings.

Your Secret Santa Millennial will probably teach you how to Snapchat! Then, everyone can  see all the fun you’re having, like you used to with your own kids…but only for 10 seconds!!! How cGIPHY Studios Originals nice santa santa claus naughtyomforting is that? In case, you do something naughty instead of nice!

And I feel very certain the millennials will love this. We all know they are hungering for another Mom to send them texts, call them, Facebook comment, and show up at their work and apartments with Christmas cheer, suggestions, plans for their weekends. It will be like they never left home! What could be a better Christmas present than that?

Since I just saw that Facebook post and came up with this idea, I’m going to have to concede that it’s too late for this Christmas. But don’t worry, I never forget any of my amazing ideas, so I’ll be contacting all of you for your Millennial’s “deets” next year!

Can’t wait for my kids to read this and comment!!

Merry Christmas and all the Best in the New Year to each and every one of you!

“You Just have to Laugh……”

©Cathy Sikorski 2016

Christmas Door

The True Meaning of Christmas………………..

This has become the Christmas of boycotting….everyone is telling everyone else where they can shop and where they can’t shop.

It doesn’t matter why or what  you’re protesting. You can’t buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks, underwear, ties, beer, vodka, cereal, cookies, soda, anything in Target, anything on Amazon, gift cards for anywhere, coats, shoes, take out food, and some of these things and places are being boycotted on both sides because no one can seem to get their facts straight.

So we are all going to have a Christmas where we go “commando”,  can’t get drunk, can’t have coffee to help with our hangover,  have no presents to complain about, can’t go out with those restaurant gift cards to those places we would never go without a gift card, won’t have a warm coat to wear or a tie to wear to church, no cereal for breakfast, so somebody better be cooking Christmas breakfast AND dinner….like that would ever happen. And think of all those  people who don’t even celebrate Christmas  who can’t call for take-out on Christmas Day?

And no cookies for Santa, unless you’re one of those crazy people who still bake, are there still people like that? I sure hope so cause those elves who make cookies are probably out of work right now.

This was not well thought out, people. It’s Christmas, for heaven’s sake. How are we supposed to buy a bunch of crap for others that they don’t want or need if we are boycotting all things capitalistic?

Yes, I am inspired by this. I think we will all come to find the true meaning of Christmas.

See how nice our underwear is, George?
See how nice our underwear is, George?

To paraphrase Clarence in It’s a Wonderful Life…… You see, George, you’ve really had a wonderful life and some wonderful underwear. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?

The true meaning of Christmas….is about not throwing out your old underwear until you have new ones….otherwise, the term “Jesus!” takes on a whole different meaning.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Wonderful New Year to all my amazing readers. I wish you joy, happiness and clean underwear wherever you go!

“You Just have to Laugh………….”

©2016 Cathy Sikorski

firetruck

Where’s the fire?

Two weeks ago, I wrote a tale about my mother-in-law needing to move to assisted living because the fire department had been called one too many times when she left things on the stove.

I thought that was the end of my fireman stories. Until yesterday.

I went to visit my friend, Lisa, at her brand new Senior Living apartment. As hip young seniors we keep trying to turn this experience into a fun-loving event, rather than a crystal ball into our future as we look down the hallway at the walkers and scooters sitting outside apartment doors.

Every time I go there, Lisa has a new story that most assuredly will provide material for our sitcom about TBIs (Traumatic Brain Injuries) combined with Senior Housing. It’ll be a  hoot, based on our initial research!

She’s been in this newly built apartment building for about a month, as has everyone, so the glitches are still being worked out. The biggest challenge is cooking, not because these people don’t know how to cook, but as I suspect based on my mother-in-law’s experience, because the designers of senior housing were forewarned that seniors leave things on the stove.

In response to that, the smoke alarms have been set to super-very-sensitive. So that if your tea kettle steam starts to sing, off goes the smoke alarm for the entire building. If you’ve burnt your toast, because you LIKE burnt toast (yes, there are some of us out there), the smoke alarm goes off. If you have a few items on the top of the stove that are boiling, the smoke alarm will likely accompany your potatoes, carrots and green beans.

This alarm is not just in your apartment. The entire building goes off with blinking lights and shrill clanging that does not stop until the fire department arrives and shuts it off.

And remember, this is senior housing. These aren’t sprinters who live here. They have to find their keys, get their coats and purses. Don’t even think of telling them to go outside without their purse. Sometimes they are napping and are jolted out of their beds. This has danger, broken hips and fear-of-cooking written all over it.

Lisa told me this has happened at least a half a dozen times in just the first month. I, of course, think she is prone to exaggeration.

Until we come home from our shopping trip, and everyone is out in the parking lot, lights are blaring, we can hear the fire engine several blocks away, the clanging alarm is assaulting our conversation, and I notice that there are half-naked people standing in the parking lot.

aka "Silver Lining"
aka “Silver Lining”

No, they are not Seniors. Sorry, but nobody wants to see that. They are lifeguards from the YMCA, which is attached to the senior housing building. So every time the alarm goes off, they have to clear the YMCA, which includes the pool, in November, when it’s 40 degrees outside and raining. And yes, there is always a silver lining.

Lisa’s 85-year-old neighbor approaches us with:

“Why don’t they just take out all the stoves in our apartments?”

To which another replies:

“I made chili yesterday and didn’t move from the stove until it was completely done. I was afraid to even go to the bathroom, in case it set off the fire alarm. And it wasn’t even five-alarm chili.”

Yep, this sitcom is gonna’ be a hoot!

“You Just have to Laugh……”

©2016 Cathy Sikorski

terrible-92

Terrible 92’s………..

I have been steeped in getting out my book…which you will see below! And, okay, I took a vacation. But boy, do we need some laughter now, right? And it’s National Caregiver’s Month…so, you know…….the life of a caregiver never disappoints.

I was thinking about my mother-in-law the other day and how she was seemingly so content, no matter what was happening. She would read any book you gave her and would comment, “oh that was a nice book.” I used to say I think I’ll give her a copy of  “Mein Kampf” and see what she thinks. The point is that she saw the good in everything and was pretty content with her life wherever she was and whatever she was doing.

Except that one time.

She had left her stove on in her apartment one too many times and the fire department started to know her by name like Norm in “CHEERS!”.  This was not a good thing.  We bit the bullet and started to look for assisted living quarters near our home, so we could go see her on a regular basis. She lived almost an hour away, so living within 10 or 15 minutes of us seemed like a dream come true for everyone.

We found a lovely place, which she approved, sold her condo, packed up all her things, and moved all her own furniture into her new assisted living apartment.  I really hoped it felt like home. Plus, now it was so convenient I could visit her every day, my mom could visit, and my mom could bring some of her friends to visit. Plus, my mother-in-law would now be around lots of people on a daily basis and not feel so isolated.

The day came to move her in, and for the first time in the 25 years I’d been her daughter-in-law, she threw a tantrum.

“I’m not going!” she said.

“Mom,” I reasoned, “you like it there. We went lots of times and you liked your apartment, the food, the people….remember?”

“Why can’t I stay here with you?” she countered.

Indeed, why can’t she?  I don’t have any bedrooms or shower facilities on the first floor and steps were becoming impossible for this 92-year-old.

“Mom, you can see, I don’t have a bedroom or bathroom down here on the first floor.”

“Well, I could go live with your mother. She has lots of room and she could use the help.”

Use the help? Not use the ‘company.’ Use the help. What’s she going to do, be my 80-year-old Mom’s washer woman and cleaning lady?  This was not going well. Next, she may tell me she is going to get a job and her own apartment.

“Mom…..” I was stuck, I didn’t know what to say.

“I’m not going. I’m just not going, ” she pouted, and….not kidding….she stomped her foot like a toddler who doesn’t want to take a nap.

I took my only recourse.

“Get your coat. We’re leaving now. And no more shenanigans.”

Sometimes everyone responds to MOM.

The next day I went to visit. She told me I had to leave because it was lunch time and there was no room for me at her table.

“You Just Have to Laugh…..”

Cover by Dwayne Booth!!
Cover by Dwayne Booth!!

©2016 Cathy Sikorski

 

sas-shoes

Shoes, Glorious Shoes…….!!!!

I have been fighting against “old lady shoes” for quite some time now. Okay, I’ve just been fighting the ‘old lady’ thing altogether. But I love shoes…high shoes, shiny shoes, fancy shoes, boots, sandals…you name it.  I can’t get enough of all kinds of shoes. I think for two reasons. One, I like looking down at pretty things, and two, my feet are really skinny. It’s so dysfunctional, I know. And you’d think most people would hate that because all shoes don’t fit. But I like using the word skinny sometimes when I’m not ordering a Cinnamon Dolce Latte.

Yet, the gods of comfort are beckoning to me. And not in a nice way. The other thing I love to do is travel. And every shoe-loving woman will tell you that travel and shoes are like oil and water….unless you find the perfect vinaigrette…. which I think I may have at my new bff shoe store…SAS shoes.

A while ago I told you how I dutifully took my Mom to get her standard shoes at SAS, and

Pretty even without me in them!
Pretty even without me in them!

much to my surprise, I found a pair of adorable patent leather flats that seemed too good to be true…super comfy and shiny and fun! I loved them right away. Six months later I took Mom back for summer sandals and again I was chomping at the bit to go across the street to the fun, funky shoe store as soon as Mom got her feet squared away for comfy walking.

And lo and behold, there in the SAS store were these candy-apple sandals that felt as yummy as a treat at the county fair. I plunked down my credit card and decided I would

Sexy French Feet Thanks to SAS Shoes!
Sexy French Feet Thanks to SAS Shoes!

give them the ultimate test………I took them right out of the box and off to a walking trip in France.

My feet never felt so good…at least I didn’t notice they felt bad, what with all the French wine and croissants. No, it was better than that, I could walk on the beach, go shopping, see the sights and not once did my feet hurt…and they were pretty, and shiny!

I was re-thinking the ‘old lady shoe’ prejudice.

Then I got an email from some lovely gal named Taylor at SAS shoes.

“Would you like to review our new fall shoe called ‘HOPE?

Would I????©2016Cathy Sikorski

©2016CathySikorski
Happy Feet!

These beauties came just in time for a quick trip to NYC to spend time with our daughter and meet the new boyfriend. This was a big risk. I can be pretty cranky if my feet hurt. There’s no way to get around NYC without walking for blocks and blocks. So I put on my new burgundy suede HOPE shoes and off we went. I should have told the new boyfriend to HOPE for the best. Boy, did he get lucky!

I do so love SAS shoes. My arches were happy, the color is so ‘in’ this fall, and museums didn’t leave my feet hopeless. It was such a beautiful “Autumn in New York….” day that we even walked the 20 blocks home from lunch because we were enjoying the day and each other so much. I think my daughter and the new boyfriend are now a fan of SAS shoes!

In that former blog, I decided that SAS must not just mean San Antonio Shoemakers, but also Style and Sass (that’s my new name for them!). So, yes, I got the HOPE shoes for free to review them, but the other SAS shoes were on me. Now, SAS shoes will always be on me….to rest from my 4-inch heels and remind my feet, I really do love them!

“You Just Have to Laugh…..and wear comfortable cool shoes!”

©2016 Cathy Sikorski