Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fading Lights

Most everyone that reads this blog knows that I stay pretty busy. And it's never a surprise when you don't hear from me for a few days. Trust me, it's never a lack of anything interesting going on.

I haven't been feeling so bright the last week or so though and the blog has suffered. You see, my 77 year old mother is not doing well. She has a bright personality for the most part. And when she's awake she's a joy to be around. The problem is that her body is just getting tired. She's had a rough life and done many amazing things with it. Most people that knew her over the years loved her. And as long as I've known, everyone has called her Mom if they are blood related or not. Today has been a good day and we welcome that. I would like nothing more than her to prove everyone wrong and live for another 20 years happy and healthy. But, to be realistic, that's not likely.

On top of that, we have my 87 year old father that has been with her for 58 years. He's at home trying to figure out what to do next. He's afraid to visit her in the hospital because that would tell her that she doesn't have long as he's never been able to bring himself to see her in the hospital before. As much as they drive each other crazy, they are lost without each other after all those years.

I know that when it's all said and done, we'll all be fine. And the nice thing is that she's not in any pain at all. She's just plain tired.

I am working on a couple of projects for you and there are some stories that I've been meaning to get to you all from my experiences. Be patient and I will be back very soon.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Voices from the Back of the Car

When I met my husband that got me into my current business, I ran my families limousine business. I did all the books, answered phones, washed and cleaned the cars and drove the monster cars. We ran a very nice business. We specialized in smaller limousines that were more personal and romantic. The limousines you see today are nothing but party barges that have lost all the romance. I'm glad to see that people are hiring drivers for their mobile partying rather than driving drunk. However, I'm also glad that I'm not the one driving them around. Drunks can be so annoying and you find yourself driving from one 24 hour store to the next just so they can all use the restroom, unless your driving one of those ugly buses that have a restroom on board. No romance there. "Let's take a toilet with us!"

So now I spend my driving time behind the wheel of a hearse. I have yet to have even just one passenger call up to the front and tell me that they need to use the toilet. My passengers are much quieter and let me listen to whatever I want on the radio. To date, I have had no complaints from any passengers about my driving. Although I'm sure that I've ruined a few days of others on the road that are in a hurry to get to tennis class or wherever they are going.

On occasion though, I will pick up a job driving a private limousine for some people that I know. Since I've driven for them many times, I know them and some of their needs throughout the night. It's always fun to listen to them discussing business and personal issues and getting a peek into a life that I'd otherwise never get to see. They in turn can relax with their friends and enjoy a cocktail or two and not worry about where they are or how to get there. They simply tell me where they want to go and when they need to be there and leave the rest up to me.

On Friday night, I took the limousine owners wife and some of her friends out on the town. Their destination was a trendy fondue place about an hours drive from where they live. Along the way I got hear all about the fabulous vacations that they've all taken and how one of them has just sold their house but doesn't have a new one yet. So they are shacking up in a small 3 bedroom/two bath cottage on the lake. It's so small and all their furniture is in storage. I heard stories of the horse camps that they were all sending their daughters to over the summer and how the construction in town has made it difficult for them to get to the golf club for dinner. And how it's worse in the daytime traffic to take the kids to private school or tennis. It's better than "real housewives" on Bravo. It's Real Housewives of Michigan!

As with reality tv, it's nice to watch and hear all of this. But at the end of the day, I like my life. I enjoy my small home with my husband and dog. Sometimes seeing people with nothing will help you to appreciate what you have. In this case, seeing people with "everything" helps me to appreciate everything that I have and more.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Life After Death

Well the 70 degree day today certainly made quick work of clearing up all the snow that we've had. It also brought everyone out of their homes for the first time all year. It was nice to see a little life in the neighborhood again. We opened all the windows and let the house have a fresh breath of air.

Suddenly there was a scratch at the door. When I opened the door, there was the little pug dog from down the street. He came down to ask if Pugsley could come out and play. So they spent a good hour playing in the yard before his mom called him home.

This has been our first real sign of spring and it's been long overdue. Welcome Spring!

The funeral business hasn't been too exciting but I thought I'd pass on this story in the spirit of Pugsley and his little friend.
A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.

He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.

After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble... At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.

When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, 'Excuse me, where are we?'

'This is Heaven, sir,' the man answered.. 'Wow! Would you happen to have some water?' the man asked.

Of course, sir. Come right in, and I'll have some ice water brought right up. 'The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

'Can my friend,' gesturing toward his dog, 'come in, too?' the traveler asked.

'I'm sorry, sir, but we don't accept pets.'

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.
After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

'Excuse me!' he called to the man. 'Do you have any water?'

'Yeah, sure, there's a pump over there, come on in.'

'How about my friend here?' the traveler gestured to the dog.

'There should be a bowl by the pump.'

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.

The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.

When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was standing by the tree.

'What do you call this place?' the traveler asked.

'This is Heaven,' he answered.

'Well, that's confusing,' the traveler said. 'The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.'

'Oh, you mean the place with the gold streets and pearly gates? Nope. That's hell.'

'Doesn't it make you mad for them to use your name like that?'

'No, we're just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.'


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Robyn's Tree

Some of you may remember the poetry of my niece Robyn from last year. I think she's done it again with this one. ....

Lord make me a tree
I want to reach up to the sky
To feel your light
Growing close to you
As you live through me
Let the birds they come
Upon my branches rest
Fill me with your songs
I dance in the breeze
The leaves my dress
Let my fruit be sweet
Loved by all who taste
Let the lives I bare
Be full of your bounty
Endless love to complete
Let my roots grow deep
As I feed on your gifts
Thankful for your enrichment
You nourish my life
With the love you seep
Let my bark be thick
Protect me from rot
May my branches bend
I sway with the breeze
Not snapped like a stick
To be the bloom of spring
Enduring the cold
I've stood through the snow
I'm tried in the winter
Return adorned another ring


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Yoga kicked my ....

Friday was another one of those days that never seems to end. It started on Thursday night working the second job. Of course it snowed overnight, again! With the blowing wind, the drifts were quite a challenge. Even where they had plowed, a half hour later there could be a 2 foot snow drift again.

I got to the garage early to get the hearse. The plow truck had not yet visited the long drive back to the garage from the road. So I gunned the accelerator of my little Suzuki and burst through the drifts with little problem. When I arrived at the door to the garage, there was a 2-1/2foot drift in front of it with the shovel locked inside. So in my nice suit, I dug with my hands to get to the lock. Rolled the door open and started to dig. Eventually I got to the point where I could safely get the hearse out of the garage without sliding sideways and denting it.

The drive to the neighboring county was interesting to say the least. The freeway had one lane "cleared". Traffic was moving around 35 to 40 mph on a freeway with a 70mph speed limit. When I arrived at the funeral home, we loaded up the casket and headed out to the church in yet the next county. This time there was nothing but country roads with corn fields on both sides. At some points there was dry pavement from the blowing winds. At other points, there were snow drifts that we would have to plunge through. All the while it was still snowing. We made it there with a few minutes to spare before the family started showing up. 
Since the cemetery was in the next town 20 miles away, they decided to have the luncheon at the church before going out to the cemetery. What that means for me is waiting around. At some point during the service, it stopped snowing. But the drive to the cemetery was still  very interesting. It doesn't get much more country than where we ended up. As we came into the town where the cemetery was, we had to pass a horse drawn carriage. How's that for country?

The weather has been warm and cold. So things are starting to melt. The cemetery was quite the muddy mess. Some of the family was used to such things and wore their boots. And others were in their heels. But you make the best of it, right.

After the two hour drive home, I had enough time to get myself a small meal before my husband and I headed out to a yoga class. I've always been into natural healing since my father was a chiropractor. I've often done some yoga at home with video or television. Well, he found a class that was labeled "Real men do yoga" It was geared to men only and he signed us both up to experience it. Of course with our business, we never know what days we'll be working. So when you sign up for something, you know that there is a risk of being sleepless and overworked when the time comes to do it. By the time the class started, it was 7pm. I've been up since 7:30pm Thursday. Now, it's time to do men's yoga. Let's just say, It kicked my butt! It was wonderful! I loved it. The room was warm. Which was very welcome to me. I'm cold even in the summer in Michigan. When it does get warm here, everyone rushes to turn on the air conditioning. So the 90 degree room was very nice. I have to admit that I am no body builder and every guy there had a lot more strength than me. But I think that I was more coordinated than them. Regardless, it was a non-competitive atmosphere. But I gave it my all. The hardest part was the cool down  at the end. When the yogi said to lie flat and melt into the floor, he almost lost me to the lack of sleep. I was warm, exhausted and lying down with the lights out. Good night!

I managed to make it home, and into bed. Which is where I stayed until late in the day on Saturday. My husband did Saturday's funeral so that I could sleep. I then spent the day watching TV and napping. I did venture down to the mail box in the evening. But that was the extent of my adventures for the day. Today, I find that I am sore everywhere. But, it's a good sore. I am well rested and feeling like I can take on the world once again. I think I would do the yoga class again. Maybe next time, I'll do it with the girls though.

Oddities in the Graveyard

To those of you like myself that enjoy finding the occasional odd grave marker, I present to you this collection. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did.
I suppose you can't take your money with you. But that doesn't mean that you have to leave it to your kids. This way anyone passing through the cemetery can enjoy all your wealth.
Benches are actually quite popular. One made of granite however, is noteworthy.
This is something that should be written on someone that I know's grave. If she ever actually dies from one of her many illnesses.

Have you seen some odd grave markers in your cemetery visits? Share them with me at sazinmi@gmail.com and I'll include them in a future post. Or just share a description in the comments.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Head on with Darwin

It started out as a simple funeral. The deceased man's wife did not want a long drawn out procession. She intended on meeting the hearse at the cemetery to witness the burial. No slow parade or big show, just the basics. Well, when her son got to the church, he had other ideas. He asked the director where to line up for the  procession. When the director told him that his mother had requested no procession, he told the director " I know you have a job to do, but it's my dead father and I'm going to the cemetery." He was invited to meet us out there at which he replied to the director that he was going in the procession. Of course we don't want to argue, so we went to his mother and she said to do whatever he wanted, with a roll of her eyes.

So they all lined themselves up behind the hearse. The nice thing was that I didn't have to stand out in the cold waiting for them as they arrived. However, without my direction, the parking lot was a mess. We had some people lined up in a line that wrapped around the lot. And others trying to park in "regular" spots in the middle of it all. By the end, there was no room for anyone else in the lot and everyone was "parked in" so no one could move. I really saw the importance of my job of keeping an organized lot.

The service itself was nice. With a great tribute to the man who had died and a long sermon to follow by the minister who's name was of all things, Darwin.

When we pulled out of the lot, we went very slowly because we still had people trying to join the procession. Remember, they were all parked so no one could get out. We had someone stay behind to put flags on the cars and get the headlights on as they joined in.

It wasn't long before the director in the lead car called me to ask if I had noticed what was happening behind me. As I looked in the side view mirror, I was horrified! That son that had insisted on the procession was swerving into on coming traffic forcing them off the road. He was insisting that people pull over to the side of the road in respect for his father's funeral procession. While it is a common courtesy in some areas to stop for a procession, there are no laws on the subject and people don't have to stop. Often, people don't even realize that it is a procession until the first few cars have passed them. I noticed one lady staring at my hearse, only to look up and see that this guy was directly in front of her in her lane coming head on, headed right for her. Since we were out in the country on this one, the approaching traffic is going 55mph or so when  they are confronted with on coming traffic in their lane. This woman hit the gravel on the side of the road going full speed, almost rolling her car into the ditch. Even going around some blind curves, this guy was forcing people off the road. There was two points where we almost stopped the procession in the middle of the road to reprimand this guy. We travel in procession for safety. We create awareness so that everyone can get to the cemetery safely. When we start causing traffic hazards and people get hurt, then the game is up. We ended up slowing the line of cars to a crawl so that we made more of a scene and hopefully get people to pull over before being run off the road. Finally we reached the cemetery and finished our job. We chose to have Darwin talk to him back at the luncheon instead of causing a scene at the cemetery.

I think that it is a nice thing to do, if safety permits, to pull over and let the procession pass. But like I stated, there is no law saying that you must do so. Sometimes it just is not safe and others, people have not realized what they are seeing until it's already passing by them. I think that we handled the situation the best that we could. What do you think? Should we have confronted him?

Friday, March 4, 2011


I've seen many of strange things at funerals. Families will request all sorts of things. At the funeral homes, we'll try our best to accommodate them. However, usually at the churches they have their rules. They always stick to their rules and keep the service pretty straight forward. Often with the exception of the mention of the person's name, you wouldn't be able to tell one funeral from another.
 We have a new Priest at one of the Catholic churches that we frequent. And with this Priest, comes a whole new set of rules. Starting with, he only does funerals on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Other days are reserved for things such as Christenings and Communions, etc..  Well, with all of these events that can be important over the coarse of life for a Catholic, you now have the option of the Priest's assistant to be present. He's been to the seminary and really seems to know his stuff. He's a big black Labrador Retriever named, Max.  He's always ready to help out wherever he can. ( With permission of the family, of course. ) I tried to be discreet with the camera so it's a little hard to make out but you can see Max  roaming around during the service. He makes sure that everything is going well. He stops at various pews and lets mourners scratch his ears or give him a pat.  He'll casually mozie up to the alter and sit by the priest while the hymns are  being played.  During communion, he didn't even beg. He even followed Father around the casket while the incense was offered. Although he did let out a little sneeze at that, and everyone found  it amusing. 

(Talk about the dogma of the church.)  Max and the Priest lead us, the pall bearers and family out of church at the end of the service and sat next to the waiting hearse while we placed the deceased inside. He then  met us out at the cemetery when our procession arrived.
After the committal was over I walked  with Max and his  "Father ? " to their truck.
 Feeling a bit mischievous I walked to the front of Fathers truck and overly examined it. Father gave me a questioning look and I replied, "I was just wondering if your licence plate said " Dog is my co-pilot."

Pugsley is very excited to hear of Max's new position and is now inquiring when he can start working with us in the hearse. He says that he can round up cars with the best of them. And after all, he ads, they may need help out at the cemetery with that hole or something. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Growing up with a father that was a chiropractor, I know all about natural healing. I know that if you keep your stress levels low and eat the right things, your immune system will be strong enough to ward off anything that comes your way. I know that every choice that we make in life leads to the next chain of events. If we choose to react negatively to something, it's going to cause our stress levels to go up and our defenses to go down. If we choose to overwork ourselves, we are setting ourselves up for a fall. On a daily basis we are bombarded with germs and viruses (Especially at my second job in the drug store). But if we take care of ourselves, we can fight off these unwanted intruders in our bodies.
It would seem that the last week of pushing myself to the limit has taken a toll on this body of mine. Poor Pugsley is waiting patiently for his Daddy to return to his usual self of daily walks and plenty of wrestling. And I'm waiting for my creative juices to start flowing again.
While I'm told by others that they saw it coming, I did not. It hit me hard and it hit me fast. I think that I am on the road to recovery now. Only time will tell. I am doing nothing but resting and checking my favorite blogs. So while I am out for the count, keep on doing what y'all do and I'll rejoin you soon.
And don't do what I do..... Take care of yourselves.