Tag Archives: brothers

The Comfort/Sanity/Happiness Kit


Because we all need our marbles…

I enjoy giving goofball presents to people who appreciate my sense of humor and understand the spirit behind the gift.  Gag gifts between me and Reed at Christmas happen from time to time, although it is not an annual occurrence.  He started it when we were kids and he bought me a Chia Pet.  Over the ensuing years various crazy presents have passed between us, such as monkey dishes (I gave him a set the year after he presented me with a monkey lamp), bright pink slip-on sandals from him that decorated my office wall back when I had an office, and an extremely ugly “giggle jug” lamp that I gave him which had a goofy smiling face on one side and a frowny, but hilarious, face on the other.  My crowning goofball gift to him happened the Christmas I was able to obtain a beauty school head that a friend’s sister-in-law had worked with as she completed her training to be a hairstylist.  Score!  It was by far the goofiest gift I have ever given to Reed, or to anybody for that matter.  One Christmas, Reed overwhelmed me with 4 additions to my ugly necktie collection!  I actually wear my outrageous ties now and then, so this gift was priceless.

I have been working on an idea for a comfort/sanity/happiness kit to give to friends and family who need one or all of those things, especially in times of sadness or stress.  It would contain things like bubble wrap for stress relief (who doesn’t LOVE to pop bubble wrap?!  Again, when I had an office, I kept bubble wrap in it to work off my frustration);  A Slinky, for the soothing sound it makes as it passes from one hand to the other; and some jingle bells for those moments when a little music is needed.image

And definitely some marbles.  Who among us doesn’t occasionally feel like we have lost our marbles?  The gift of marbles assures the recipient that, no, you haven’t lost your marbles, because right here they are!




The comfort/sanity/happiness kit might contain other items like bubble bath or a scented candle, a mix CD of music tailored for the recipient (a few people still actually use CDs, I think!), a book the recipient might like, a special snapshot, a recipe, or a jar of bubble-stuff to blow bubbles at the world. It’s a lot better to spread bubbles than profanity (although, I’ve been known to spread both!).  The only limit to the kit is one’s imagination and the desires/tastes/needs of the person who will receive it.

What would be in YOUR comfort/sanity/happiness kit?

The contents of mine would vary day by day…but I would always want, and need…

My marbles.



Bobbing For Inspiration


Giftedness in the family

I’ve been writing blogs for about a year and a half.  Throughout my life, I have kept journals, usually in times when I’ve been depressed and overwhelmed.  And I’ve written lots of really bad poetry over the decades as well, again during periods of deep pain and distress.  In my wildest of dreams, I would love to publish a book.  I’ve heard that every person living has a book inside them…and for most, that’s where it should stay!  Mine is most likely one of those.

Reed, my brother, is the writer in the family.  I have always joked that he’s just waiting for the generation ahead of us to die off and then he’ll hit the market with a scathing family tell-all that will sell millions and he’ll be able to live the fancy life forevermore, Amen.  Image

I think he and I see our family and our world in very different ways, and we probably always will.  He is more realistic, but also more of a risk-taker in making his dreams happen.  I like to dream, but I require a certain kind of security to function comfortably.  He wrote a book that was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  He has written dozens of magazine articles and interviews, as well as overseeing and writing publications for his companies when he worked in the corporate world.  People like what he has to say and they like how he says it.Image

I went to a party years ago where he was signing books and got started talking to a lady there after Reed introduced us.  In the course of our conversation, she leaned in conspiratorially and said, “You know, your brother is really an exceptional person,” as though she was sharing a big secret of which I was unaware.  Without blinking, I responded, “Of course he is.  We come from a long line of them, and he is exceptionally exceptional!”  Image

Since I began writing my blogs and sharing them, people have started saying that I should write a book.  Aunt Helen wants me to write about the family history, and I agree that those stories need to be kept alive for the simple reason that no one could make that stuff up!  But I always say that Reed is the writer, and he is.  All I do is share stories, memories and the feelings that come with them.  I don’t write with any kind of eloquence or expertise.  Reed is the smart one, the gifted one, the big brother who inspires me.

As different as we are, we also have much common ground.  We share parents and genes, memories and experiences.  We know what it was like to lose our Granny when we were kids and how it changed each of us forever.  We know what it was like to grow up in that house, the good and the funny, the traumatic and the damaging.  I’d take a bullet for him and I believe he would for me.

Last summer I had weight loss surgery and it was a big, invasive deal.  As much as Reed hates hospitals (and he HATES them), he came and kept Jeff and me company back in the pre-op area for a couple of hours while the doctors and nurses did their final preparations before my operation.  As they got ready to wheel me back, I kissed and hugged Jeff and we exchanged our “I-love-you”‘s.  Then Reed leaned down to hug me and I said, “I know we don’t usually do this, but, I love you.”  You know, in case I died or something, I didn’t want to leave it unsaid!  And he said he loved me too.  But his showing up there had already said it for him.

He writes words, but he lives actions.  He shows up.  He dreams, and he lives on his own terms. As I go through my life bobbing for inspiration, I can always find it in him.Image