Tag Archives: joy

Everyone Loves Me!


I have been told I have a charming personality.  I suspect it’s partly just the personality I was born with and partly from being a middle child in a large family.  I’m basically a happy person. I get a kick out of life and find my fellow inmates on this planet fascinating.  I have made friends easily through my adult life.  I also tend to be very loyal so a lot of my closest friends I’ve known for over twenty years, some since childhood.

I remember sharing my angst over moving to New York City for a job a few years ago with my sister.  “What am I doing? I don’t know a soul in New York?  How will I meet people?”  My sister laughed and said, “You’ll make friends everywhere you go the way you always have.”

And, of course, she was right.  If I go to a new hairdresser, within a few visits we’re best of friends and meeting for drinks and dinner.  When I change jobs my new staff is usually happy I’m there and I make friends among my colleagues without difficulty.  In fact, at a recent job, my boss actually told me one of my fellow directors was jealous because staff liked me so well so quickly.  I just seem to be able to sense the type of support that each person needs to flourish and am somehow able to bring out their best.  I can prompt people to try and succeed at things they didn’t think they could do previously.

I put others at ease.  I laugh at all the everyday occurrences that make some people angry and frustrated and I get others to laugh along with me.  I’m the one that gets the party going.  I coax those who wouldn’t normally dance out on to the dance floor.  I laugh at myself. I use humor as an ice breaker and I’m often the one who helps others to relax and begin to enjoy each other’s company.

I’ve been told I’m adorable, fun, funny, charming, even enchanting.  (Okay, that last one may have been my Mom!)   Everybody loves me: my neighbors love me, the plumber loves me, babies love me, the cable guy loves me, my friends’ husbands and boyfriends love me, my friends’ kids love me, my nieces and nephews love me.

So what I don’t understand is this:  How is it that if everyone I meet loves me I can’t find just one, single man who loves me too?  I only need one man to find me enchanting — not an entire world.  Just one, single, stable, honest man who thinks I’m as special as everyone else does.  I only need one man to share my everyday life, my joys and sorrows, my laughter and tears.

Even at my ripe old age I’m still hopeful that this man exists somewhere and one day we’ll meet.  We’ll connect and he’ll see in me all the good that others do and eventually he’ll look across the room at me the way my girlfriend’s husband still looks at her after 35 years of marriage and say, “I’m a damn lucky man.”  And I’ll be across the room smiling back knowing I’m the one who’s truly lucky.


Life Goes On


by McKenzie James

I get up

Do my hair

Dress for success and put my make-up on

Go to work

Smile and converse

And then I come home and cry about you

I grocery shop

I pay the bills

Run the everyday errands that we all do

Smile at the clerks

Exchange pleasantries

And then I come home and cry about you

I meet my friends

Share some laughs

Smiles and hugs

Let’s do it again

And then I come home and cry about you

I visit the kids

We run and play

We laugh and jest

And at the end of the day

I come home and cry about you

I cry about you

I still cry about you


Comfort & Joy


by McKenzie James

 

I always long to touch you;

you’re more than I expected.

You wrap me in your warmth each night and

I never feel neglected.

 

I see you lying on my bed;

a luxurious, peaceful presence.

I know another night with you

can only bring contentment.

 

I can count on you always being here.

It’s hard to believe you’re new.

I’m already used to the gentle comfort

as I snuggle up to you.

 

You bring me satisfaction

each and every day.

We share rest and relaxation;

you’re worth any price I had to pay.

 

You make me feel warm and comforted

from my head down to my feet.

I love you more than I can say

my beautiful Land’s End flannel sheets.


Thanksgiving 2011


by McKenzie James

I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving various ways through the years.  Countless early years spent with my dysfunctional family members trying to pretend it would be different each year.  Many years on the East Coast with my best friend’s extended family and friends where I learned that those wonderful, loving, supportive families you see in the movies really do exist.  One year, when my husband and I were living in London, British friends invited us to their home and gave us the use of their massive kitchen where we made a five course meal (using their Aga four oven cooker) for twenty Brits who’d never experienced this American holiday before.  Most years of late my sister and I begin the day with a 5k walk.  This year, however, I’m doing exactly what feels right for me at this particular moment in my life.  I’m doing nothing at all.

I got up this morning (okay, my sister actually woke me up with a phone call trying to guilt me into that 5k–  and don’t tell her but it almost worked!) and took my dog to the park for a long walk.  I will do some writing because it’s simply what I do regardless of the day of the year.  I will lounge around, possibly do some research on my latest diagnosis, watch the leaves fall in the yard, build a fire in the fireplace, and contemplate all that I have to be thankful for and how to get my life back on the right track.

This week has already been difficult for me.  It began on Monday with the “for sale” sign going up in my yard.  Next I received a confirmed diagnosis from my doctor which, although it explains a great deal, is going to be difficult to manage and medicate.  The week then took a turn for the worse when an already difficult employee issue escalated to a point that it caused a rift in the team and had to be dealt with. By last night I was feeling pretty down, especially since I was supposed to be spending this long weekend vacating with someone I truly care about that sadly no longer cares about me (if he ever did — but that’s a topic for an entirely different article).  With all this going on it is sometimes too easy to forget how good of a life I have.

This morning, however, I woke up renewed in some way and thinking about all I have to be grateful for.  So many of the basics we take for granted: I have a roof over my head that doesn’t leak, I’m warm and safe in my home every night, I have enough food (okay – I have TOO MUCH food), my life is relatively free from violence.  These are things that many in the world struggle without every day and yet they are only the beginning of all I have to be thankful for.

I realize that although I have many things “wrong” in my life I am thankful that at least I have the ability to articulate what these problems are and the skill set to figure out the answers or seek help when necessary.  Many people lack even this basic ability and must rely on the rest of humanity’s good will on a daily basis.

I’m grateful that whatever is wrong with me physically I can still walk 5k on my better days and that I still have a strong libido at my age.  (Even if I have no one to share it with I’d still miss it terribly if it was gone!)

Mostly I am thankful that I have friends and family with so many differing perspectives that they keep me always questioning and clarifying my own beliefs.  My loved ones are not only the ones I turn to share laughter and moments of intense joy but they are also the people who have supported and encouraged me through job changes, divorce, cross-country moves, medical issues and heartbreaks.  They all bring their own unique form of comfort to my life and I’m grateful for each one of them.

Regardless what I decide to create out of my life going forward, and that topic will be on my mind a lot today, I’ve already been lucky enough to have access and exposure to many things that the majority of people never will.  I’ve had personal, social, career and political experiences too numerous to count that have enriched my life and broadened my world view.

Life is always a choice.  We have the option to focus on our problems or to celebrate our successes. We can make a list of those who have wronged us or think lovingly upon those who lift us up.   We can count all the things that are unsatisfactory in our life or we can count the things we’re grateful for.  Today I’m counting my blessings and I’m including my ability to write this, and all of you who read it, among them.


Maleena


by McKenzie James

I was going to write a poem today

about agony and grief.

About how life has beaten me down

and I can find no relief.

 

Then I stopped to visit a home

where a two year-old was at play.

I found a bit of hope again

just seeing her that way.

 

Everything she saw excited her.

Everything was a cause for joy.

She stomped across the living room

with an old pot and a wooden spoon as toys.

 

She ran to me and hugged my legs

and seemed so glad to see me.

I couldn’t help but smile and laugh

and soon it wasn’t so bad to be me.

 

She has no sense of life’s problems yet.

She has no sense of time.

She lives within the moment

and most every moment’s fine.

 

Her laughter bubbles up

at the simplest, oddest times.

She thinks the world a marvelous place

and I hope nothing happens to change her mind.

 

I was going to write a poem today

about sadness, grief and pain.

Instead I watched a child at play

and found some joy again.


Does He Know?


by McKenzie James

 

Didn’t he know I’d always love him?

That I’d always put him first?

I would have always stood beside him;

stuck by him through better or worse.

 

I would have helped him reach his goals.

I would have kept him from the cold.

I would have picked him up when he fell.

I would have loved that man through heaven and hell.

 

We could have shared passion, laughter and life.

We could have held each other close every night.

We could have built something that others would envy.

We could have, we should have, but it simply ended.

 

Does he know what he is missing?

Does he know what we might have had?

How many people wander forever searching

and are never offered such a chance?


Friends for Life by McKenzie James Part III


Meredith sat back down at her desk and picked up her pen.

I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve sat alone in this apartment with only the television to keep me company.  Tonight, I came home believing it would be another one of those too quiet evenings but I’ve already had several interruptions.  Sometimes I feel as though I’ve read everything there is to read, traveled everywhere there is to travel, seen everything there is to see, and yet something is missing. 

Listen, when it comes to the obituary…just list Marina as my surviving sister….leave the rest of them out of it completely.  If they couldn’t be close to me in life…they don’t need to be recognized in death.  Do whatever you want about a memorial service.  You know I have never understood why people care what happens after their death.  It is truly the height of self centeredness to try and control things after you’re dead.

The house phone? Carlos must have forgotten something.

—————–

“Thanks for letting me use the house phone, Carlos” Eleanor said.  Eleanor knew Meredith wouldn’t ignore the house phone.   She needed to get through to her and she was fairly certain tomorrow might be too late.

She noticed that Meredith had become more and more withdrawn and quiet lately.  She knew Meredith was saddened that her love life had never gelled but she was such a fabulous friend to so many.  Meredith had been a part of her life for as long as she could remember.  She had changed Eleanor’s life for the better the first day they met.  It was freshman year and Eleanor blushed just thinking about what a techie dork she’d been back then.  Lost and confused on her first day of classes Meredith had helped her find English Lit and then later helped her understand English Lit.

Since then they’d been through everything together from childbirth to planning Eleanor’s mother’s funeral.  She couldn’t imagine her life without Meredith in it.

“Carlos, did you forget something?” Meredith asked as she picked up the phone.

“It’s me, Mer.”

“El, what are you doing?”

“I’m downstairs, can I come up?”

“Well…um…yeah… of course…come on up.”

As Eleanor got in the elevator she found herself thinking back to that day at the campus coffee shop when Meredith decided she’d had enough of Eleanor and Jimmy smiling shyly across the room at each other and got up and invited him to their table.   After that day, it was the three of them against the world.  They got through everything together: finals, Jimmy’s parents’ divorce, graduation and the search for what to do next.  They’d been through a lot and Meredith was still the only one who could make Jimmy smile when he was in his lowest funk.

Eleanor knocked on Meredith’s door.

—————–

“Hey, Meredith, sorry to just pop in but it’s an emergency.  They just hung Jimmy’s last painting at the new gallery and he’s a wreck.  I got him settled down and left him at Louis’ with a drink.  Can you please come out and work your magic on him?”

“’Well El, I had planned to get a lot of writing done tonight.”

“Come on, Meredith, you know you’re the only one he’ll listen to.”

“Okay, okay, let me get my wrap”

As they stepped out on to West 86th Street Meredith took a deep breath and took in the streets of New York in early fall.  She’d always loved this neighborhood with its wonderful, bustling, busy, streets.

As they walked toward Columbus Avenue to make their way to Louis’, Eleanor linked her arm through Meredith’s and spoke.  “Do you want to tell me what’s got you so down lately.”

“I’m fine, Eleanor, really.”

“No, you’re not fine.  I’ve known you for 30 years and loved you for every day of it.  Do you really think I don’t know you well enough to know when the world has you down?  You’re an amazing woman, Meredith, and a woman I can’t imagine not having in my life.  You give so many people so much of yourself.   You normally take on the world with an energy that’s frightening to behold.  You’ve been withdrawn and quiet for weeks.   You haven’t stopped in to see us at home or at Louis’.  Something is terribly wrong.  If you don’t want to tell me about it, that’s fine,  but I’m not letting you out of my site until you can ensure me everything’s okay.“

She looked over at Meredith and saw the tears quietly streaming down her face.  She stopped and wiped them off and hugged Meredith close to her for several long seconds before opening the door to Louis’.  They stepped into Louis’ Place and he greeted them with open arms, planting a kiss of each of Meredith’s cheeks as was his custom.

“My favorite customer returns!  I haven’t seen you for weeks and Jimmy tells me you haven’t been yourself.  I am fixing you something very special tonight of my own creation.  It will make your taste buds burst with joy and make you happy to be alive.  Sit…sit…   Marie!  Bring my guests some fresh, hot bread.”

Jimmy smiled up at her.  “It’s an intervention.  What did you expect?  We love you Babe.  Sit and sink your teeth into these delicious crusty calories.  If my gorgeous face and Louis’ food and hospitality can’t make you feel better then there really is no hope.”

Meredith smiled in spite of herself and sat down between Jimmy and Eleanor.

“Pass the butter,” she said as she grabbed a hot crusty roll out of the bread basket.   “This is no evening to worry about saturated fats.  I love you two, do you know that?  Thank you so much for watching out for me.  Quite a few of my friends have checked in this evening.  It’s hard to believe with so many who obviously love me I was feeling isolated and alone. ”

“You never have to be alone as long as El and I are still kicking, you know that Mer.”  Louis chose that moment to sit a platter featuring a scrumptious, roasted Poulet de Bresse on the table.  There was a group “Mmmmmm……” as they began to dig in and share one of the simplest joys in life.

—————–

Meredith let herself in to her apartment and dropped her wrap on the chair by the door.   She looked over at the clock on the mantel to see it was close to 2am.  They had sat at Louis’ for hours, just like the old days, talking, laughing and simply enjoying the closeness the three of them shared.

She walked over to her desk and looked down at the letter she’d been working on when El had called.  She sighed, picked it up and ripped it in half once and then again and tossed it into her waste basket followed by the pill bottle.

Tomorrow was another day.  Who knew what changes would come with it or what difference the next 24 hours might make?  As long as there are people who love you, and there are tomorrows, the exploration never ends.

THE END


Friends for Life by McKenzie James Part II


(Letter to Eleanor continued)

Well, you’ll know by now that Laura got the part.  Was there ever any question?  How that enormous voice comes out of that tiny girl I’ll never know.  No one hearing her on stage would ever believe there once was a question about whether or not the child would have a normal lung capacity.  That’s one of the things I did right with my life is help out Dottie when she needed help with those babies.  She always thought I was doing her a favor, but you and I know it was the other way around.  I loved mothering those kids.  But they’re all older now and they’ll b e fine on their own.  My work there is done and I rarely see or hear from them now that they’ve been launched into lives of their own.

I know you can’t imagine what it’s even like to be alone every day.  You have Jim and the kids and your house is always bursting at the seams with visitors from all over the world taking advantage of your wonderful hospitality. 

You’ve been a good friend, Eleanor; a lasting friend who has always been there for me.  I thank you for that. I feel badly leaving you this last difficult task to handle for me.

Meredith heard someone knocking on her apartment door.  It must be Carlos, her doorman, because no one else could have gotten by him and up to her floor without being announced.  He knew she was in her apartment so she’d better answer.  She didn’t want him worrying what was wrong and using his key.

Carlos knocked on Ms. Meredith’s door.  He wouldn’t do this for the other tenants, he thought to himself, but Ms. Meredith wasn’t just any tenant.  She treated all of the staff like real people, always asking him about his wife and family, remembering him on holidays and special occasions, not acting as if he was less because of his job.   He had just signed for an international special delivery for her.  The protocol would be to phone and let her know it was there and then leave it on the desk for her to sign for it when she had time to pick it up.  That’s exactly how he’d handle it for anyone else in the building but he thought international special delivery might be really important and Ms. Meredith looked like she needed something to cheer her up when she came in tonight.

“Hello Carlos.  What are you doing up here?”

“Hi Ms. Meredith.  This came in for you just moments ago.  I thought it might be important and I wanted to get it to you.”

“Thanks Carlos.  You know you didn’t have to do that.  I would have gotten it next time I was down.”

“I wanted to.  You’re always good to all of us and I thought you deserved special treatment for a special delivery.”

“Thanks Carlos.  You have a good evening.  Tell Maria I left her some bulbs for the roof garden in the back office.

“Okay, Ms. Meredith.  I’ll let her know.  You have a blessed evening.”

Meredith opened the Express envelope and immediately knew who it was from simply by the beautiful handwriting on the interior envelope.  It was obviously an invitation from Martina and Joaquin.  Martina’s hand writing was exquisite, always had been, even though she’d had no formal education.

Please join us to celebrate the publication

 of Joaquin Aguirre’s first novel:

Evenings in the Vineyard

Saturday, November 13, 2010, 7pm

Aguirre Vineyard

San Rafael, Mendoza, Argentina

Inside the invitation was a hand written letter.

Dear Meredith,

You know how upset I was when Joaquin decided to turn over management of the vineyard to Benjamin to spend his time entirely on his creative pursuits.  I was angry at you for a long time for advising him to follow his heart.  I was worried that Benjamin would fail, that Joaquin would fail, and that we’d end up with nothing. Now here it is two years later and both have been successful in their pursuits and none of us have ever been happier.

You must join us for the celebration.  Joaquin listened to you when you told him to do what would feed his soul and the rest would take care of itself.  It’s because of you that he gave himself the time to write the most beautiful and provocative work I have ever read.  (Okay, I admit to being a bit prejudiced.)  It’s a wonderful book.  I know you will love it.  I will let you in on a little secret.  It’s dedicated to you!

So come visit us, my friend.  We love you and can’t wait to celebrate with you.

          Love always,

                   Martina

Meredith had met Martina and Joaquin over ten years ago on a trip to Argentina and they had hit it off immediately.  Two years ago during a visit Joaquin had admitted to her how unhappy he had become.  He told her that the Vineyard, although a part of his family for generations, was not really what made him happy.  They had sat up long after Martina had gone to bed and talked about art and writing and the things that made their hearts swell.  She had told him to feed his soul and the rest would work out.  Thinking about it now, where did she get off telling anyone that?  Had her life worked itself out?

To be continued…


Paula’s Irreplaceable Beauty


She is beautiful and vibrant and strong and unlike many it goes far deeper than simply the beauty of her youthful body.  No, her beauty comes from being wise beyond her years.  It stems from having already experienced much pain in her short life and having fought through it and risen above it.  Her vibrancy comes from experiencing the world more intensely than most around her and then, not simply allowing it to wash over her, but being driven with curiosity to understand and make sense of it.

She contemplates the world and human relationships with the same intensity and driving quest to understand that makes scientists capable of achieving the next life-saving medical breakthrough.  She loves people while being completely aware of their glaring imperfections and yet she refuses to accept her own human blemishes.

She strives to understand life and the human existence but doesn’t see how important she is to the daily lives of those around her.  She fails to see how many of us are drawn to her vibrancy and light.  She fails to see how many of us would be lost and left with a gaping hole in our souls if she were not a part of our lives.

She is beautiful in her intensity.

She is beautiful in her strength.

She is beautiful in her creativity.

She is beautiful in her intelligence.

She is beautiful in her vibrancy.

She is beautiful in her caring.

She is beautiful in her passion.

She is beautiful in her loyalty.

She is beautiful in her accomplishments.

She is beautiful in her spirit.

She is beautiful in her curiosity.

She is beautiful in her wit.

She is beautiful!

McKenzie James

October 6, 2011


Mary-Go-Round


Leap

Run

Joy

 

Sweet

Calm

Spent

 

Touch

Whisper

Smile

 

Lazy

Soft

Slow

 

Longing

Dreaming

Loneliness

 

Ache

Break

End

 

Wink

Spark

Flame

 Leap

 

McKenzie James

 October 5, 2011


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