Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I remember watching my girls grow up and reach certain milestones of independence. Of course, having the three very different personalities that my lovelies possess certainly added to their individual experiences and the show we got to see. One of the steps they each reached with confidence was their development of fashion sense and the accompanying ability to dress themselves it their desired attire. I believe the phrase I heard most adamantly and often was "I can do it myself!" This was often followed by the middle one having gone into the hamper to find what her older sister had worn the day before and putting it on, wearing it proudly inside out and sometimes backwards. Or maybe it was the youngest, who dressed in her first outfit, was not likely finished with her ensemble should the mood strike her and could often be seen with an additional little sundress worn as more as an accessory than an actual piece of clothing. She was also the one that when it came time for school pictures, would fancy an antique hanky passed down from one of her grandmas tied neatly around her neck and positioned just right to one side. Or perhaps our oldest, the most easy going who never really seemed to care what she wore, if it fit, if it matched, if it was hers or if it was clean. She was so laid back in those days, I am sure if we had let her run around naked, she would have, without so much as brushing her hair. She was an artist, a thinker, a doer. She left silly, mundane things like what to where to whomever had nothing better to think about or do. That was usually me.

I can do it myself! I imagine I probably said that to my mom as well at a similar time in my growing up. I am happy to say that I have been dressing myself, however successfully, for about 43 1/2 years and although there have been the panicked moments of stepping into an elevator heading to a job interview or going to meet a friends' parents for the first time that I'd wonder "Oh my God! Did I remember to put underwear on?" there has only been one or two occasions that I have actually forgotten to put on the ever important undergarments or perhaps have worn mismatched socks. For the most part I have been able to get up and find something to clothe myself in and then venture off into the world with no additional help.

That is, until now. No, I didn't break an appendage that is critical in the process of dressing, and no, I have not lost sight, although some might say that may just improve my color coordination and overall sense of style. No I needed help to "climb" into one of my Christmas gifts. My beloved went over and above this season and spoiled me rotten with a vast collection of goodies including the Reebok line of EASY TONE shoes and apparel. Let me just say, these are something else. The walking shoes are not only acclaimed for toning glutes and hammies when I walk in them, but they DO NOT look like astronaut moon boots. I know, right? Then, just when you think it can't get better, it does....Now there are EASY TONE work out clothes that all but lift the weights for you. All Ihave to do is put these attractive pieces on and not only will my muscles be working out even more effectively, taking me down to the svelte body I know I have hiding somewhere on the inside...way, way, deep inside..but I will look really super while doing so.

The top comes in blue and hot pink and with sleeves or without. Beloved bought me sleeveless, hot pink. Who knows me better than him? And then these amazingly sleek feeling black exercise trousers. I can not wait to try them on and since it has snowed and I most likely won't be "walking" for a bit I figure what the heck, I am sure I can wear these under more clothes as I help to shovel the driveway. Sounds like a plan, right? This is where I should tell you that if you are eating or drinking maybe you should stop. Just for a moment, ok, now I'll continue.

I am standing in my under-roos looking at these amazing pieces of exercise physiological technology before me and start to formulate my plan of action. (As I type these words, I find I am at a loss to explain exactly what I was thinking but.....) I immediately realize, while holding the top and feeling it's resistance to stretch, that I probably do not need to wear my exercise bra. This material will not allow any movement from the girls, this I am sure.

And so, as I have so many times before.....let's say once a day every day for the past 43 1/2 years which is about 15877.5 times, I proceeded to put my shirt on. This is usually a very simple exercise that typically takes no longer than say 7 seconds, 8 tops, with arms going in the "arm" holes and the head going straight up the center through the neck/head hole. Most days I put my arms in first and follow with my noggin, however sometimes I just feel like being a little crazy and I go head first always ending with the same results: my arms out the arm holes and the head...well, you get it. If I am making this sound too simple it is not my intent. It's just that I am trying to illustrate that I know how to do this. Seriously, I really do. Or at least that's what I thought.

Here I am putting my shirt on..arms first...nope...a little too snug but of course, that's part of the selling point...ok...deep breath....let's go with head first..... uuugghhh! Phew! Done. That wasn't so bad..nice deep breath....relax.....ok, now one arm up and in...up and in.....argh..finally up Wow! This stuff is great! I bet I have already burned 100 or so calories and I still have one arm and hole left. After catching my breath, I put in about 7 minutes for this second arm until I finally gave up.

Picture if you will, me standing in my under-roos, which look surprisingly like Granny panties, half in and half out of this hot pink contraption looking mighty fine, but turning blue and unable to move past this stage of dress. Have I mentioned that I haven't even been able to pull this material down OVER my ta ta's yet? Quite a picture, huh?


My middle girl came to my rescue. I can only imagine what she was thinking as she stood there appraising my predicament. When she finally stopped laughing, she was able to help me with arm #2 and after we both caught our breaths she helped finagle the material down over my bosom and all the skin accompanying them. All in all it was a productive 28 minutes and I was pleased that the pants took less than a 1/4 of the time. Let me just say, had my girl not come to my rescue, I don't know where I would be right now.

I guess I'll eventually have to take these clothes off to wash them but I'm going to try to get just a couple more days of wear first. I'll also be sure to have someone close by to help with my eventual exit and then freshly washed re-entrance since I know "I can't do this by myself!"


Yes. I know, it has been a while. I would like a chance to remedy that. Of course, I have missed you dear friend, BLOG. It's not that I wasn't thinking of you or hadn't thought to visit, I have been away for far too long, it's just that by my standards there wasn't much sense to come along if I didn't have much to say or bring to the conversation. It seems as though the only time anything I found even slightly interesting would pop into my head was very late at night when I was listening to the deep and steady breath of my dear one. Laying there, with my head on his chest and my arms tangled with his...I felt it a little rude to suddenly jump up and grab some paper and a pen to write down my thoughts and so......

As I said, I would like to go forward into the New Year with more to share if only with you BLOG and perhaps untangle myself every once in a while to make the effort to reach the paper or keyboard.

Friday, December 3, 2010

John and Martha had dreamed of their new home for what seemed like forever. Instead of the cold drafty place they had shared with Martha's family for so long, they would finally have a warm and cozy home their own with plenty of space for their things and for entertaining. They had moved in at the end of summer, beginning of fall and everything seemed wonderful. They had an easy time moving with the help that Martha's brothers had offered up and the weather had cooperated as the fall was more of an Indian Summer with warm days and very comfortable nights.

They settled into their routines and life was wonderful for this nice couple. They would lay in bed at night and sigh, both voicing their gratitude and joy for such a great find. They lived their little lives in their great big home and proceeded to build their family and LIFE WAS GOOD!

That is, until the day they noticed that the holes in the screens, or doors as they liked to call them, leading into their home were closed up tighter than an nun's....ooops....sorry.

Anyway, they scurried around to the other set of openings errr..holes ...that they had been coming in and out of. Nope..nothing. John looked at Martha and Martha looked at John and started to weep, gently at first until finally giving way to full blown sobs.

"Our children! Our children are in there. It's getting cold and we are here and they are in there...Oh John!" she wailed. John pulled her close to him and she laid her head on his furry chest. Stroking her hair, he assured her that all would be well.

I went up into the attic to retrieve Mr. Wonderful's new garment bag recently purchased for his numerous upcoming business trips. This garment bag was definitely an improvement over the previous one partly because of all the extra compartments for socks, underwear, belts and accessories but also because the last one had been handled by airport gorillas for some time and they had not been that gentle with it. It had fought the good fight but was no longer suitable for travel. Opening the knee wall door, I reached in and pulled out the new bag and with it a couple of half eaten acorns....hmmmmm.....this should have been my first clue...However, it wasn't until I went to open the garment bag up and realized that something had eaten clear through what should have been the zipper area.

Needless to say, traps were immediately bought and put into place loaded with peanut butter crackers and armed to shut quickly. 1 little, 2 little, 3 little squirrels... 4 little, 5 little, 6 little squirrels....7 little, 8 little, 9 little squirrels and then add about 4 more.....

It's important to share with all of you, especailly John and Martha that no squirrels, baby or otherwise, were harmed in the telling of this story. They were captured and removed in a humane fashion with "Hav a Heart" traps and though law does call for them to be exterminated...I didn't "have the heart" to do so, so they were "relocated" as a group to a nice woody area where they all promptly went up the biggest pine tree they saw. I also went ahead and left their new address for their folks to know where they may be reached and a bill for the replacement piece of luggage.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Mickey is a good boy. He knows he is. He gets reassurance all the time but still he likes that he knows it too. The lights are off except for the small one in the dining room, left on in case someone should wander down in the middle of the night and need to find their way into the room used primarily for eating. Mickey finds it amusing that the only one ever wandering around downstairs at night is him and he has excellent night vision so he really doesn't need that light left on at all.

Most nights he's downstairs, listening to the slow, rhythmic breathing of the house and all it holds as they sleep. Usually he thinks big thoughts until he finds it hard to hold his eyes open any longer and finally surrenders himself to slumber. Other times he gets lonely. Those lonely times are hard for Mickey because what he wants to do is just wake someone up to come sit with him...maybe lay down on the couch near him but he knows he mustn't wake anyone. He has learned from past experience that making noise late at night will only get him yelled at and that's no good at all. Instead, when he is feeling his total "alone-ness", he simply climbs the stairs and ever so quietly finds a place to rest his head. He must remember to get back downstairs early so as not to be discovered although he definitely leaves his mark. Hopefully, no one will notice.

It's comforting to know that almost everything in this house is in order and has order. This makes it easy for Mickey to know what to expect, what to do and where to be. The alarm goes off promptly at 5:30 am, but He doesn't get up until 6. That magic button is really something else stopping that noise and all but who knows? Maybe it just gets tired of being hit a couple of times each morning so it knows when to quiet things down and when to put on it's serious ring, the ring that will finally have Him up and at it for the day. Like a fine tuned machine, He gets up, goes directly to the dresser to pull out fresh skivvies, then into the bathroom for the three S's.... Shave - Sh#% - Shower. Ah, yes, enough warning to give Mickey plenty of time to get back down stairs, laying back down, closing his eyes, pretending he's been there all night. The rest of the house starts to come to life with radio coming from little her room and little her jumping into the shower for what should be 3 minutes but turns into 30..funny, she's the smallest of all but for some reason, she always takes the longest. Little Her is one of Mickey's favorites...she's very loud, has lots of energy and always talks sweetly to him. Middle-Her and Big Her are away at school..Mickey really misses them but loves when they come home because they spoil him with their affection and time...and love. But when it comes down to love, Mickey's real Love, it would be Her. Mickey knows that it's tough because of Him. Him never really wanted Mickey to join the family but because all of the girls wanted him so..... here he is. Her and Mickey get along swimmingly and She knows just how smart her friend really is. It's not that Mickey doesn't like others to know, it's just that he doesn't feel he has to share all he has. He would have you believe that Mickey doesn't understand what He is saying....not clever or some such nonsense, but She and Mickey know the truth. That's how She knows where he sleeps almost every night and how Mickey knows when to head downstairs. Still the scratch marks on the carpet are a dead give away, but for now She and Mickey will just play dumb.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Upta Camp

We are on our way up to Maine to close the camp down for the winter. We threw together a small bag of clothes, made a quick stop at the Coffee shop, and off we went. The sky is surprisingly dark for the hour, seeming much later than 7:15 on this cool Saturday night in October. It’s a beautiful clear night thanks to the brief Nor’Easter that blew in earlier this week. With winds strong enough to crack large branches off of age old trees, you might think that the beautiful fall foliage would be blown away. I am happy to report that is not the case and those stubborn little leaves are still holding on awaiting the official start of leaf peeping season. The outside temperature is 52 degrees here in Massachusetts. In Maine I expect the temperatures to be a bit lower probably in the low 40’s perfect snuggling weather.

The roads are moving along at a reasonable pace and I imagine we are probably going about 70mph. I say imagine because dear Tahoe’s speedometer is broken so it’s kind of a guessing game. We usually try to keep up with the crowd so as not to draw unwanted attention to ourselves from any of the alert Stateys on duty. Though I’m looking down at the screen as I type this, I can tell from the sound of the squeaky windshield wipers that it must have started to mist or rather, we have entered an area where it had been raining and the spray is shooting off the road. Yes, I can see, it’s just a sprinkle. Just enough to encourage reflections of white head lights and red brake lights to come together making up a colorful tapestry dancing between the reflective center lines that wordlessly tell us where we should drive. Other than these car lights, it remains very dark. There are no city streets lamps setting the area aglow, just the contrast between the blue-black sky and the bright lights traveling quietly along.

Mr. Wonderful has snapped open the lids to the coffees and the rich aroma of fresh brewed java comes wafting out, filling the cab of the truck with a sense of warm comfort. The oldie station is playing in the background and I can’t help but smirk when I hear the songs of yesterday referred to as “oldies” today. It’s comforting to hear these familiar tunes, remembering most some of the words. The lyrics and music transport us to a simpler time, a time when my hubby and I were just beginning our journey together and hadn’t even given thought to the possibility of having the type of life we share now, not to mention a second home.

“Brick House” comes on the radio and I can’t help but joke with Mr. Wonderful that I am indeed his brick house, all these years and extra pounds later. He shoots me a sideways glance that makes me know he appreciates how the weight has distributed itself on my being and once again making me feel beautiful. We are making excellent time and should be in Maine shortly. I looked up still thinking we were in Massachusetts only to find that we were already well into New Hampshire crossing the Bay Bridge…Didn’t realize just how well we were doing on time. Passing through our second toll booth, I look at the clock and realize that it’s only taken us a little more than an hour.

All summer we came up as often as possible. Many times we drove separately as my sweetness would be coming straight from his office in Boston and the girls would sometimes come up when they were done with work as well. I don’t mind being alone or driving by myself in my sweet little ride but there is something so reassuring when Hubby is behind the wheel and we are in his truck. Whether we talk and sing the entire ride, I close my eyes and snore loud enough to keep him awake or we simply sit quietly together, just feeling him next to me makes me feel safer and makes the ride so much shorter.

The mile marker alerts us that we have a only about a half hour left before arriving at our quaint little lake house in the woods. We’ll pull in the park -like driveway, unlock the door and flip on the water pump, sump pump and then the water heater. We packed lightly since this is an overnighter so we won’t have much to carry in. It’s funny but even though we’ll be here for less than 24 hours, the relaxation quotient kicks in right away and makes us feel as though we were away for much longer.

Mr. Wonderful will go out to turn on the gas for the heater and we’ll start it up to take the chill off. After quickly freshening up, we’ll head out to our favorite little bar named for some silly man named Will. There we will feed the pool tables fist full of quarters while my Handsome devil schools me in the art of billiards, remembering to let me win one every now and then making sure I don’t lose all interest in the game. And being the sport he is, he will let me pull him up onto the dance floor where we will dance to the homegrown band that’s playing, like we are much younger than our 40ish bodies will remind us we are tomorrow. We’ll partake in a few cold ones so as not to be rude, since our lovely waitress Courtney takes great pride in bringing us the best she has to offer. Wouldn’t want to hurt her feelings, now would we? Then at last, when the band has played their last song and the bartender has yelled out “Last Call”, we will go home. We will pull out the twin sleeper that is in the main room with the woodstove. Yes, it is small and yes, we do have 3 other beds, 2 of them being queen-sized. But there is something sweet about reliving some of our early memories when we didn’t necessarily have the space, the means, the stuff we have now. What we started with was just the two of us with not much more than the desire to go through this world together. Sleeping together on a small bed in a small room with a blazing fire in the stove helps remind us how special the simple things really are. And how very blessed we are to be where we’re at, to have what we have, to know now what we know and above all, to have each other to share it with.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Have You Met My Friends?

I have these friends Jim and Margery who I get to visit with almost every day. They are witty and charming and smart. They aren't married, just good friends and co workers, but they could definitely pass for an old married couple. They interrupt and talk over each other, they bust each others' balls and cut no slack whatsoever. And do they make me laugh, not just a chuckle or chortle but a full "laugh out loud" laugh. They can't seem to help it. I can't begin to tell you how much I love my time with these two. I don't always get to tell them exactly how I feel as they do most of the talking but they really do make me think.

Oh, by the way, did I mention that Jim and Margery are my two favorite talk show hosts on WTKK 96.9? Perhaps to you it sounds a bit odd that I feel so "close" to these two radio personalities that I have never actually met in person. Maybe it is odd but Jim in particular strikes my fancy. His self-depreciating ways are endearing and his over-exaggerated "arrogance" makes me really dig him. He likes to have things run a certain way and has no problem taking control of any situation, which I am sure is one reason he chose to run for an elected position in years gone by. I find him amusing and approachable, (and handsome.....what can I say?)

Margery, on the other hand, is a lot like me. She's a technophobe refusing to learn how to use her mobile phone to its fullest potential. She seems to run a little behind a lot of the time, most likely because she is making sure her brood is well cared for. I love hearing her speak. She has a quirky way of annuciating that almost sounds like she has something in her teeth that she's trying to remove in between sentences and like me, she mangles her words. I love that! Her laugh is infectious and her wit is spot on. I especially like the way she spills on herself. Makes me feel right at home and as if I have known her forever.

Together Jim and Margery are a great team and I day dream of when I might be called to step in for either one of them, in the event that one has to take the day off. I worry too that I might actually take Margery's job from her but of course, she still has her job at the Herald. I have heard she is quite good.

Of course, should that not happen, I can wait patiently for our mutual friend Hank Morse to call me to join him on his segment, Dad Chat. Think about it: Dad Chat with Mom Musing...just saying.
Each day I wake up. I make the bed, while Mr. Wonderful is lathering up and singing Marvin Gaye's "Heard It Through The Grape Vine" at the top of his maybe there's no singing...but for sure he is lathering up...he always smells so nice when he comes out amidst the steam that undoubtedly will accompany him since Mr. Wonderful doesn't realize that we have a very functional exhaust fan. As he steps out of the steamroom and into the bed room, we exchange our good morning smooches (and I usually sneak a peak......) and then off I go downstairs to pour the coffee that my darling has turned on only moments before gently waking me. Then like clockwork I make lunches for youngest one and Mr. Wonderful, feed and water my hairy friend Mickey and then take him out for his morning constitutional.

Around 6:30 am, my dear hubby and youngest one bound down the stairs making a bee line straight for their cups of carefully prepared caffeine love, grab their lunches and make their way out into the world for the day. Leaving me to make my way......through laundry, sweeping out the garage, grocery shopping, taking a's exhausting but someone has to do it.

Hours pass, chores come and go and then back into my world comes the man of my dreams and our youngest offspring and oh, the adventures they share...of course, it's funny the adventures they share are very similar to the adventures they shared yesterday, and the day before. Yet, though these stories sometimes get redundant, I look forward the hearing them.

We finish our meals and move onto our KP duties where I generally try to pick washing dishes...There is something relaxing and therapeutic about the water and soap and gazing out the kitchen window looking at nothing in particular. (Drying on the other hand is the worst job, in my humble opinion, especially if the drying towel is either a flour bag or that microfiber crap....:et me just tell you that I despise that material, it is incapable of drying anything and feels icky on my skin..yuck! But I digress. Back to a chore it is the only one that can actually be done without human interaction. I say, So be it! Let them dry on their own. Phew! I am so glad to get that off my chest).

Anyway, our chores are done, our jammies are on and on goes the television. I would love to share how we sit quietly together, put on a beloved program or put in a movie we've seen time and time again, but alas what generally happens is that I take over the over-sized man chair and ottoman equipped with my laptop and the hubby sprawls out on the couch armed with THE remote control. Depending on the night, we wind up jumping between the "Very Dysfunctional Testosterone Driven Family Who Builds Motorcycles", the "Gluttonous Man Who Makes A Living and Has A Show Built Around Him Engorging Himself On Ridiculously Over-Sized Artery Clogging Globs of Fat, Fried in Fat and Served With a Side of Fat" or the good old standby "Home Contractor Hero Saving The Day For Some Unfortunate Homeowner ", (a real feel good show) or some other Meaningless Brain Junk Food . Eventually, snoring starts, first as a hum then growing to a crescendo from the couch. I look up from my "Scrabble" game or my "Texas Hold 'Em" and gently nudging Sleeping Beauty, I send my dear one up to bed or as he puts it...."to warm the sheets". Back to my laptop I go..Scrabble-ing, Texas-Hold'em-ing, or just writing, until at last my eyelids become too heavy for me to hold up. After setting the coffee up for tomorrow, and turning off the lights I haul my fanny upstairs, ready to go to lala land. I take off my socks (I hate hot feet) and crawl between the sheets, which by the way are warm. I slide over past the invisible half way mark on the mattress and find my guy. I find the shoulder I have put my head on for the past 20 years. I throw my leg over the torso that has supported me for the course of our marriage. Gently, my darling's leg rocks back and forth, lulling the both of us to sleep. Our bedtime routine is as reliable as the tick-tock-tick-tock of the nightstand clock. It might even be called mundane and yet though the word itself could have an almost negative connotation, to me it means something very different.

I never actually thought about this until earlier this week. I routinely listen to talk radio and on the afternoon show with my "friend" Jay Severin, of WTKK, his guest, Dr. Keith Ablow was talking about the Chilean miners who were finally being freed from their small studio apartment-sized subterranean shelter and how they might do adjusting psychologically, emotionally after such an ordeal. Provisions, such as an aspirin regimen to prevent blood clots and sunglasses to protect their eyes from the first sunlight in more than 2 months, were taken to enable the men to safely come up the more than 2000 ft journey from their underground home in what has been called an "ultra-claustrophic rescue capsule". The good doctor was wondering what, if any, plans were in place to help these men re-adjust to everyday life. Clearly, life could never be the same as it once was. How were these 33 men going to handle life after the ordeal they had been through. One concern was about how the media would elevate these men to new heights after they had been down so low, no pun intended. As quickly as they had been lifted, they would be thrust back into a life once familiar but no longer routine. Dr. Ablow wondered aloud about the norm these men once knew and reflected that the some of most beautiful moments of our lives are often the most mundane.

Upon hearing these thoughts, I realized instantly how true those very words were. I hate to admit that I have on occasion taken MY shoulder for granted, not realizing how I've become so accustomed to the way we just "fit". I didn't realize how comforting I had come to find that gentle rocking. Mr. Wonderful has been traveling lately. Gone for 3 or 4 days (and nights) at a time, I find almost any reason not to head up to the bed. The sheets are not warm, I have no shoulder on which to lay my head. I find myself staying up as long as possible and when at last I can no longer stay awake, I peel the covers back just enough to slide in on HIS side of the bed, putting my head on HIS pillow, clutching the tee shirt that he sprayed with HIS cologne before he left. Comforted a bit, but missing our routine, seeking the everyday reassurance of our life together that I have grown to love so much.

It is true. Some of the most beautiful and loving moments of our lives are the most mundane ones and I am so glad to have them.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Ok. I lied. I miss my girls. I'm not completely paralyzed with sorrow or anything but I do indeed miss them. I also miss what having them here represented for me....a purpose, MY purpose. Now I suppose I need to go and find a new purpose. What will I do now?

Of course, I realize that my youngest is still with me, but if you've ever met her, you realize that she needs me even less than the other two did. She's independent and adventurous by nature. She loves being on the go and socializing and being involved....she charges her batteries by being with people. She's a positive force and makes an entrance where ever she goes. I am sure she is going to thrive this year and next, in fact, she's informed me that she is excited at having her "own" bathroom. (Wait til her sisters come to visit and hear that one!)

I was telling her about how I am feeling and ever so squarely, she looked me in the eye and said, almost exasperated, "Mom! Who do you think I take after?"

So.....I guess, maybe there is hope for me after all.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pumpkin Pie A'la Nail?

Helpful hint for all those who may be planning ahead for the holidays coming up. If you are planning on bringing a dish, an appetizer, or dessert to someone's home for the seasons' celebrations, be sure of what you are actually bringing.

More than a couple of years ago, I was heading to friend's house for Thanksgiving dessert with his family. Mom, always the cheerful pie baker, was excited to bake a couple of extra pies for my brothers and myself to take to our friends' celebrations.( I could probably write a couple of blogs about the bad words I learned from dear mom when she was making her homemade pie crusts, but I'll save that for another day.) Anyway, as we slowly heaved our stuffed selves into the cars and got ready to head out in our different directions to continue with our holiday festivities, Mom bestowed each of us with a warm pumpkin pie. Mmmmm.... the smell of pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves drifted around our heads and filled the car. The aroma alone was almost enough to make us forget that we were all more than satisfied with the turkey and stuffing and gravy and potatoes that we had just savored. Mom and Dad gave hugs and kisses and wished us all Happy Thanksgiving, and turned to walk back into the house out of the chilled November air. As we all said our goodbyes and started the cars, Mom came sprinting out to alert us that there was a small issue.

As she was walking back into the house, she'd realized she was missing one of her fake nails. Thinking back she could remember having all 10 up until the point of the pie making. Oh, there shouldn't be a problem...the nail probably didn't melt so could we (whoever was the lucky finder's keepers of this treasure) possibly bring it back to her when it was found?

Silly smiles glued to each of our faces, while we actually tried to reason out what the hell she just said to us, we agreed to return her lost...nail. Glad to hear that there would soon be a happy reunion for her fingernail and it's missing adornment, she scurried back inside the warm house.

My brothers and I looked across the driveway to each other..then to our friends and then slowly we started our separate drives to our different destinations, thankful for friends and family, thankful for the meal we just shared but mostly, thankful for mom's warning and the dumpster found behind the corner convenience store.

Up, Up and Away!

So the countdown has started. Only a week to go before our two oldest girls are out in the real world...ok, maybe not the real "real" world but more real than living upstairs with us. They will be moving their belongings out of our house and into their new homes for this school year. The oldest will be living with three other girls, 2 she knows and one's a virtual stranger at this point, and the middle will be moving in with a girl from PA. They have talked a couple of times on Facebook and have coordinated who'll bring what. It will be interesting to see how these new "family" dynamics will work out for our girls.

I had someone ask me recently if I am ready for this change in our living arrangements. How will family dinners be? Will I miss them? How to answer this? After watching my babies grow into these beautiful young ladies, seeing them each morning upon their awakening and making sure that they were nurtured and nourished physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally each day, will I be, when it's time, be able to let them go?

Of course I will miss them and family dinners? They will be smaller and a teensy bit quieter for sure. But seriously, to my beautiful girls all I can say is: "Buh-Bye Now! Go! Have fun! Learn lots! Don't throw sand! Go have great adventures and come back and tell us about them". After all, isn't this what is supposed to happen? I've been under the impression that our job was to raise them up the best we could, instilling good values, an excellent work ethic, respect for themselves and others and then send them out into this world to do what they will.

My dear friend Skittles is having a hard time letting her two oldest boys go off. Skittles, if you are reading this....JUST BREATHE, Baby! It's all good. You've given the best you could and now you have to have faith. You have to trust in you that you and that dear hubby of yours did a great job and life is meant to be lived. In the mean time, come on down here and hang with me and we'll reminisce about when the kiddos were little back in St. Albans when we would pick strawberries, play in your great big yard and eat your home grown peas and go down to the lake.

P.S. I have put aside change for years to make sure we have bail money for the kids should they need it and if they don't...I am sure we can make good use of that money. (Call me!)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Weight is Over

Ok...So I've decided. Enough is enough....or actually, in my case...enough is too much. It's time to get down to it and finally lose the 20 pounds that have been following me around for the last year or so. I am not a dieter...never have been, which is kind of funny since I am a rule follower and diets are all about "rules". But so are recipes and I don't follow those "rules" either. Hmm.. I wonder if it's a food thing?

Well, the good news is that once the girls are in school, the two oldest at college in Boston, there will be much less dinner being made and therefore, much less extra that has to be disposed of, eaten by me. Not wanting to be wasteful, I am in fact being waist-full....and hip-full and butt-full.

Also, I will be spending lots of time at the Y. I love those machines. I love the ones in particular that want my whole history and all of my information to let me know that I will be burning around 500 calories per hour...I just have to enter a couple of little facts about ME. My ...ahem...weight.....blood type, credit card number...mother's maiden name...favorite song....astrological sign. Once all this information is entered in....I just have to GO FOR IT!

At the rate I am going, burning 500 calories per hour....I will only have to do this for, let's do the math....70,000 calories....about 140 hours. Each week has 168 hours of which I should be trying to sleep at least 56 hours. This leaves me with 112 hours a week that I need to fit in my motherly duties, homemaker duties, wifely duties, and those miscellaneous odd jobs that happen to just "pop" up here and there. So if conservatively we say I devote....7 hours a day, 7 days a week to being the mom, wife, homemaker, lawn care specialist, chief cook and bottle washer, that leaves me with approximately about 63 hours free to do miscellaneous things like work out, shower, read, visit with friends. It seems reasonable that if I have 63 free hours in a week, 9 hours 7 days a week, I should be able to find the time to go to the gym and get myself in shape. In fact, if I were to multi-task, say, reading WHILE working out, or visiting with friends at the gym.....I should be able to shrink myself to a smaller version of me in about just over two weeks. That's not including if I actually, dare I say it? DIET?! The possibilities are endless....

Ok, nice dream... but how about going back to the cozy place I like to call REALITY. What is more likely to happen is I will walk with my girlfriends each morning for about an hour and ten minutes (about 5 miles) and then I will go to the Y and devote a couple of hours to the amazing machines they have...So, now we are looking at realistically about 3 hours a day, probably 5 days a week. This changes the equation altogether..I believe now I am looking at sometime next Spring to be down to my initial goal weight. That sounds good to me.

I think I'll go eat a donut while I work out the exact figures.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Beauty in a Bottle

So Skittles, my friend in Vermont, had a situation with facial bleach that left her skin just a tinsy bit sensitive and over-reactive to the sun, reacting with hyper pigmentation. Because of this, she avoided the sun like the plague. However, being up in New England and experiencing so much WHITE due to the snowy winter months, she started to feel that pale was not her color of choice and decided to research her options. By late spring, she had a pretty good handle on the ins and outs of "self tanners" and decided upon a specific brand. Not rolling in dough, she wanted to be prudent in her purchase and make the very most of the money spent on this "beauty in a bottle" choice she made.

Bringing her prize home, setting it a shelf in plain sight, she was really getting excited at the promised "golden bronze" she would become. (I should explain here that my good friend Skittles, is not one to move hastily. She is the type of person, content on making the plan and thinking about the outcome but not so anxious to execute said plan.) Anticipation was building and her healthily tanned vision of herself became almost too much to bear until one night, when her dear hubby was working late, she decided it was time. Oh no, not the time to fully commit to the creamy lotion completely covering her body...just the time to do a spot check and see if there was an allergic reaction. No big deal, right?

With kids upstairs asleep, music rocking her house, and White Russian in hand, she carefully read the label and opened the bottle. Taking just a whiff, it smelled nice, like oranges and honeysuckle. Phone rings. She set her prize down and goes to answer to find that hubby is going to be just a tad later than he first thought but please stay up for him. Of course, she will stay up for her fella and off to the kitchen she went making another stronger White Russian since the first one tasted so good and went down so smoothly. (It is here that I should mention Skittles is not much of a drinker.)

Off goes the radio and on goes UMFC (Underwear Models Fight Club) with all of these male underwear models fighting other underwear models over whose britches are the best. Enjoying the show, my dear friend finished the second drink of as easily as the first. Funny how a little adult beverage can boost one's "confidence". Skittles went over to the lotion and started to apply a little bit here and then a little bit there....Oh what the hell! She sat down and rubbed it all over both of her legs, her arms up to her neck and finally her face. Excited to see the results she ran upstairs to check herself out. Maybe it was the lighting but she didn't see any healthy glow. All that money and NOTHING? Harumph!

Back downstairs making a record third WR, she considered the product and how she had applied it. Perhaps she needed to start with her face then neck and arms and finish at her legs..maybe that was what would make the difference. Between sips of her cocktail, she started to apply the lotion in the reverse order of how she had done it before until at last she was satisfied that she had covered all the same areas even better, more thoroughly than the first time. She got caught up in one of those late night infomercials and sat mesmerized until she heard the car door outside alerting her to dearest hubby's return. After an appropriate amount of smooching her sweetheart and concocting a beverage for him, she resumed her position on the couch to see how the paid television promotion turned out. Would all of the food that was placed in the "Super-Duper Baker, Griller, Steamer, Rotisserie Combo" really be cooked in 15 seconds and be able to feed 8 people? How could she walk away from this? She had to know and finally the high-speed host and highly medicated side kick were happy to announce to the viewing audience (as well as the people who were paid to be in the studio and look ridiculously thrilled) the results: Yes, this "Super-Duper Baker, Griller, Steamer, Rotisserie Combo" could really make a full 3 course meal for 8 in 15 seconds! Phew, the suspense had been killing her.

Now that sweet hubby of hers had finished a snack and noticed.... the open bottle of beauty on the kitchen table. As he walked over to his dear one and handed it to her, Skittles realized that she was going to reapply and had gotten side tracked. Or had she already reapplied and just forgotten to put the lid on. Oh well, no matter, she just started reapplying from legs up. Which of course, dear man that he is, hubby saw as an erotic and yet subtle invitation to go "upstairs". And so they did.

At about 9 am the next morning I received a telephone call from Skittles. Seems that there were a couple of life lessons she wanted to share with me. The first being she is not a drinker....what was she thinking having more than one beverage? It is now my job as Skittles friend to remind her that being bored is not the same as being..thirsty. The second tidbit of knowledge she wanted to share was that when self tanning lotion is applied, it goes on with no color at all, making it very important to apply carefully so as not to leave stripes. Just saying... Thirdly, she wanted to let me know that yes, it is important to dress for the self tanning occasion. And then lastly, and most importantly, when applying this type of lotion, remember to wash hands after application so as not to have stained hands.

The visual she gave me was priceless and thankfully for her, she had no pressing plans for the following week. Although Skittles had done her homework and bought an excellent product, she had NOT washed her hands and so they were a dark bronze-y color. Oh don't worry, no one would even notice her hands as they would be much to busy looking at the rest of her. Note: It is not a good idea to wear short sleeves, a watch, long shorts and crew socks when applying this type of product, especially if your goal was to look like you achieved this healthy glow naturally. I suppose because of her relaxed attitude and overzealous application the lines between pale and bronze were indeed well defined.

Like I said, it's a good thing she didn't have plans.

Beauty Mark

One day I get a phone call from my friend Skittles. "Why do I bleach my upper lip?" she asked. I am sure you can imagine my surprise at this funny little question, out of the blue. After a short pause, she must have sensed my befuddlement and so repeated it slower, clearer, louder, "WHY DO I BUH -LEACH MY UP-PER LIP?" Oh...I get it, of course, that's not a silly, self evident question. As I started to come up with a lucid and well thought out answer...she broke down and finally said...."Oh Muse! I don't know what to do....." and started to recount the events of her day that led up to this particular moment in time.

My friend Skittles is a multi-tasker....she has to be since she is a mother of three boys. This day was no different than any other. It started off with Skittles running in different directions getting her sons off to school, helping her husband get ready for work and looking after their pets, all before going to the dentist and running numerous errands around her small Vermont town of Rutland.

In between the boys, the pets, the hubby, she also managed to get a shower, shave her legs, paint her nails and bleach her upper lip. Looking at the time, she realized she needed to run out just then to make it to her dentist appointment on time. She rinsed off her face, put her big fluffy hair in the pony tail and wooosh! out the door she ran.

Dressed in her signature outfit consisting of a white wife beater, jean overalls with one strap hanging down, work boots and reflective aviator glasses, she called her "cop" shades, she made it for her cleaning just in time. After finishing up at the dentists' office, she proceeded with her errands. Walking through her little town making it to the post office, the bank, the pharmacy, the grocery store she soaked up the admiring looks she knew she was getting from others as they too addressed their duties for the day. People seemed attentive and extra friendly offering smiles as she passed them by. Catching a brief glance of her store front window reflection, she knew she still had "it". She was all that and a bag of chips and was more than happy to strut her stuff. Off she went to get herself a bite before driving home to meet the kids as they got home from school. With music blaring and her voice matching it note for note, she titled her mirror down to check herself out one last time as she pulled into the driveway.


This is when she called me. Seems she had misplaced the little plastic utensils that come with the facial bleach and had instead used a knife and bread plate. The chemicals had reacted with the stainless steel knife and had left Skittles with a nice, dark, black line over her lip she had intended to bleach.

It's at this point that she was calling me to find out what to do to get this black mark off of her. She relayed the story to me and recalled in hindsight the "admiring looks" now realizing that they were curious stares.

When we stopped laughing (and crying) long enough, I promised to call some salons and find a solution to her immediate dilemma. Unfortunately for Skittles, the collective response from the professionals I called, besides the disbelief and unbridled laughter, was that my dear friend would have to live with her new beauty mark until the day came that it would eventually wear off.

It was hard to tell her the bad news but I felt confident that she would feel better knowing that she surely couldn't be the only 5-foot nothing, fluffy-blonde haired, wife-beater-jean-overall wearing woman walking the fine streets of Rutland and that surely no one would know it was her behind those shades.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dear ...

Dear (fill in the blank with daughter's name),

Dad and I have been thinking and talking a lot about the current situation with you and (name of the good-for-nothing-boy your darling daughter who has mistakenly fallen under the spell of). While we trust you, the reason we bring certain subjects up is because we love you and want the best for you and would rather risk getting you angry by asking you certain things…then not asking and having your life affected by something big…We want you to think before you act. We are concerned because we see you cuddling most of the time that you are together. We were young once and realize how young love is but you two always seem to be off by yourselves….Most of the time what we see is you in his lap, him in your lap..or both under an afghan on the couch, and while we appreciate how great that is..there is so much more to a healthy relationship than just canoodling. You have told him you don’t want to have sex…..and yet he pushes…so Dad respectfully spoke to him, after seeing him in your room at 2 am in the morning (which made dad very uncomfortable in his own home), and he then lied to your dad about the sex…..he said “You have nothing to worry about (Mr.Man this little stupid man/boy should be VERY afraid of)”. Dad treated(name of the good-for-nothing-boy..well, you know the rest...) with respect and like a man and (good-for-nothing-boy) looked square in dad’s face and lied….

We realize that no matter what we say it is entirely up to you to live your life and choose your path. We can not and will not tell you who to see, like or love. It is our job to simply help guide you to making good and sound decisions. We are not asking that you do not see (good-for-nothing-boy)..we are asking that you be smart.

That being said, I will be making an appointment for you to go to the doctor and get your self on birth control pills. It’s not a matter of trust anymore. It’s a matter of protecting ourselves and you. You, your father and I have worked too hard to get you to the place that you are at, to risk losing your opportunity to go to college and further your education. Again, it’s not that we don’t trust you, we simply realize how the rush of emotions can sweep you away and we think it better you be safe than sorry. We can discuss when would be convenient for you…

Also, there will be no more snuggling in your room together or upstairs in the attic anymore. We have been accomodating by allowing you and (good-for-nothing-boy) full and free access to the attic, when that space was specifically designed and given to all of our children. We feel that not only is it disrespectful for you to carry on this way in our home, but your responses to our trying to engage in adult conversation with you has been hostile or flip.

Also, while we agree with (good-for-nothing-boy) that spending time with you is worth so much more than $8 an hr, we also feel that in the real world, you two will not be able to spend all of your time together, because unfortunately, that won’t pay the bills. If you are fine working and supporting him that’s fine, but he will not be sitting around here while you do so.

The fact that he didn’t think twice before disrespecting “stay at home” moms, knowing that your mom is a stay at home mom, doesn’t bode well. It is partially because I am a stay at home, that he is so comfortable when he comes to visit. We don’t respect a “stay at our home boyfriend” especially when he chooses to simply hang, or run out and grab a sandwich for himself, while you are working. We feel that we have been incredibly generous in opening both of our homes to (good-for-nothing-boy), including him at our meals, our holidays and almost every weekend. We have taken him out along with us and treated him as family. We have tried to help keep him warm and offered him not only new boots, pjs, socks…but let him borrow your dads things as well. We’ve allowed him to stay to the point where he surely has gotten used to these niceties and has perhaps misunderstood our intentions. While he is pleasant enough, he does not contribute to our family or our quality of life. We are glad that he makes you happy and for that reason, he can visit. But knowing now that he does not respect either your father or me, it is no longer acceptable that he lingers here while you work. From now on, on the days you have to work, he has to go home.

You give him gas money so he can come down and now you have to drive up there….. he doesn’t give a thought to what happens should you break down on the side of the road. We feel that he knew getting into this relationship where we lived. He has chosen to drive down. It’s a shame he doesn’t think it’s fair that he does all the driving…your dad and I think it’s more than fair given how he’s been treated while here. While I am not comfortable with you making the drive, I am not saying you cannot make it but you do need figure out how to pay a portion of the car insurance (trailblazer cost is $989) before you will be able to drive up to (some God forsaken po-dunk town in the middle of NOWHERE).

He wants you to change…..wear these clothes, do you hair this way, don’t talk to, or text, these friends…drive up….what about him loving you exactly as you are, as your dad and I do. What about him digging what he sees when he looks at you instead of trying to alter that image.

He’s trying to get you to do things that you that will only get you into trouble. In essence you are saying to your dad and I that you are willing to throw “our” relationship to the dogs for your relationship with (good-for-nothing-boy). For the record, we have not nor will we ever try to get you to do something that is not good for you. In fact, the opposite is true..we have invested our time, our love, our energy and yes, a lot of financial resources to see to it that you have a world of opportunities to choose from.

Again, we are not asking that you do not see (good-for-nothing-boy). We are simply asking to be treated with the same consideration, decency and respect that we have treated both you and (good-for-nothing-boy) with. If he makes you happy, we are glad and we will continue to be cordial. We will not, however, stand by and make it easy to have your life complicated.

Love Always,

Mom and Dad

P.S. Dad bought a gun....just thought you should know...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


This is my disclaimer.

I am not a writer.

I am a wife.

I am a mom.

I am a soccer coach, a CCD teacher, a substitute, a foster mother, a surrogate mother to a Dutch exchange student, a driving instructor, a home ec teacher, a medical advocate, a chaperone, a chaffeur, a therapist, a nurse.

I am the lady in line at the supermarket who had brought one cart to the cashier and is leaving with two. Oh and by the way, I am using all of those coupons...sorry for the delay and thank you for your patience.

I am the wanna be vegan, sometime vegetarian, closet corned beef and bbq ribs fanatic.

I am the silly woman who walks around in her pjs, coffee in hand, talking to her flowers and the birds and bugs that inhabit her gardens.

I am the lady who somewhere must have some Italian in me because I feel the need to cook for and feed all I meet,("Mangiare, mangiare piĆ¹"), including all strays - animals or human that wander into my world.

I am the girlfriend who would rather help than ask for help and has on occasion been a know-it-all (I know, you didn't tell me in so many words but I know...) and has expressed my solicited/unsolicited opinion/advice in a overly passionate display.

I know a lot of little things, a master of none but have a terrible memory. Most of my memories come from a scent, a taste, a song. Of course, the songs I remember best are not the hip ones my kids play over and over again but the songs from the 70's when I was a kid.

I dream of being a runner though I move like Fred Flintstone.

I would love to design and sew my own clothes, however, I am "needle & thread" challenged.

I am secretly (ok...maybe not so secretly) a Rockstar! In fact, I fancy myself a hard-ass like Pink with all of her soul and talent but of course, my memory issue has been a road block to my road to stardom.

I would love to have a vineyard and harvest the fruit that will fortify souls and complement meals, and toast weddings and anniversaries but I find I can't drink as I once could. I get a little too loud, a little too silly, ready to sing on the tables. How could I possibly become the winemaker I know I could be if I am unable sample my wares if I can't handle my wares? (Oh, I remember - you swirl, you sniff, you sip, you spit.)

I am an inspirational life coach with stories to move and motivate others who may need a little kick in the rumpus, unfortunately I haven't secured a slot on tv or my own radio spot.

I am sure that there are those out there who could come up with another dozen things I am, good, bad, or ugly. This is just the tip of the iceberg I call "Me".

Please, remember,


Monday, August 16, 2010

Fly Away

Earlier this spring, a house wren with it's long pointy bill and up-cocked tail made a nest outside of my kitchen window in a hanging basket. Not so good for the pretty pink petunia that used to live in the dangling flower bed, but great for me to observe the little brown bird and it's fuzzy little offspring. It's hard to imagine how after all her effort with making the nest, laying the eggs, incubating them with her own body heat til at last they finally hatched and then feeding and caring for them, she is able to just boot those little fellas out of the nest. As they plummet to the earth, I wonder if she is fully confident in their ability to go out and fend for themselves in this great big world. I wonder too, how could she have taught so much to so many so quickly.

The lady wren toils making an intricate nest, with help from the poppa bird. As the daddy bird starts making a "dummy nest", the momma goes out to find a suitable neighborhood for the real nest. Once momma has selected a site, she starts construction sometimes using sticks from the "dummy nest" made by poppa. She finishes the nest quickly usually taking between 3-14 days. Small dry sticks are placed together to form a tall base 4-6" deep. Then mom makes the nest cup which is lined with grass, inner bark, hair, and finally feathers. Comfy, cozy and safe from predators, mom is ready to move on.

So the male wren takes the female wren out for a crazy night of woo-ing...good food, great company, maybe some music and a nice bottle of wine, and a little ...oh wait. (Sorry, that was me). Actually, they sing, their wings quiver when excited, and while woo-ing his gal with his special song, his tail is tilted upward. After this whirlwind courtship this momma wren is ready to set her alarm and wake very early in the morning to pass 1 egg per day up to 8 days. Now, this momma is a small bird and I can't imagine that passing eggs the size of a dime could be comfortable so it makes me wonder if any of the numerous songs she sings is actually a cry out in pain, a "Get this thing out of me!" tune.

With this fine home made, and the eggs laid, it is time for mom to settle in and sit. And sit. And sit in this tiny, albeit very well made nest, with no cable, no phone, no magazines. Oh sure, maybe she did have friends drop by but I never saw a visitor bearing a Bundt cake.

What is she thinking, I wonder? Is she planning their names? Do wrens even name their offspring and if they do, are they names like Nick and Mary or just chirps and sounds? Anyway, there she is consisting on a diet of spiders, beetles, caterpillars and other critters, until the day comes when these little eggs start to wriggle beneath her. A beak followed by 2 over-sized closed eyeballs on a tiny little body that is naked and pink and vulnerable. It's wings being hardly recognizable as something that will eventually make flight possible for this little fellow. Surely only a face a mother could love. The eggs tend to hatch one at a time, versus all at once, making it a "first come, first serve" situation as far as eating is concerned. I wonder how she keeps track since they all look the same to me. Sorry momma.

Both parents take turns feeding these little buggers. It takes about 18 days until their wing feathers are developed enough for flight (also known as fledging) and another 12 days or so to to be fully independent. Off they go, out into the great big world.

When, in this short span of time did she divulge the secrets of life? How did she get them to sit still and stop chirping long enough to listen to flight instructions? What about the ones who complained about the food, "I don't like my worms chewed so much" "Can't we have something other than spiders"? Did she put the naughty ones in the corner? Do nests even have corners?

In any event, ready or not, here they come. A new batch of bright-eyed house wrens flitting about, with little hops in between. The songs start up and the process starts again. At this point, mom may re-nest for another brood or 2. WHAT? Maybe she feels that since she hasn't gotten her figure back she might as well. Who knows? I feel exhausted just thinking about the "I'm not touching you"s she must have heard from all those little semi bald winged creatures she brought forth to this planet.

It is amazing to me that I don't walk around and see tiny little fuzzy wren carcasses strewn about, evidence of their not listening when mom was lecturing. I wonder if she and I were to talk what she would be able to share with me of her mothering skills. How to give life and then let it go off seemingly so easy? Do wrens love? Does it break her heart to see the little ones grow up? I bet it does but I think that she is a "tough love" kind of mom, knowing it's important to let her birdies fly. Even if it were to upset her at the thought of her young ones leaving, she'd never show it. Somehow, in a very short amount of time, nothing like the 18 years I've been given with each of my little birds, she has been able to instill in them what she thinks they need to know. She has given the tools for her babies to use out in the world. And then gently, she nudges each one of them up to the edge of the nest, tells them she loves them (I choose to believe they do love), to go off and have great adventures and then someday, come back and share them with her. Off they go, one by one until she is alone. She looks around at her empty nest and decides what to do next.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Search is Over

I am a girl who likes red wine. It has not always been the case. It took quite a long road to get to the place where I can consider that glass of "wonderful color and round rich palate" a friend not foe. I believe it all started when I was 19.

About a hundred years ago, in a faraway place called Florida the drinking age was 19. WooHoo! I was going to be 19...just 12 months...seemed like the longest 12 months ever. And please don't think for a second that I hadn't had an adult beverage before. Who hadn't gone to their parents coveted liquor cabinet and taken a little rum, and a little Jack, and a little gin and a little of this other clear liquid and put it all in a little bottle to be hidden away til the big football game on Friday, only to find that the girls who shared it with me only did so because they had already exhausted their own parents' cabinets? But I digress. Being the pretty much almost always goody goody two shoes (aside from the above mentioned transgression), and being a "rule follower" I was excited that I was about to be legally allowed to do something that up until this point I was not. December finally rolls around and at last, it is my birthday! I am 19. I am legal. Three days later, on January 1st, they changed the law and the legal drinking age went up to 21. Don't panic, I was "grandfathered" in. Phew!

I was working in a restaurant at the time but could only hostess up until this point because of that whole "age" thing, whatever! Now I was going to get my chance to waitress and make some real money. First requirement was to know the menu, inside and out, forward and backward. I would need to know the proper answer when some hungry Joe Schmoe and Mrs. Schmoe came and asked how is that Hawaian Chicken made? "Well, thank you for asking. That would be a chicken breast marinated for no shorter than 2 days in a slightly sweet teriyaki sauce, grilled to perfection placed lovingly on a bed of rice pilaf and topped with a grilled slice of pineapple. It comes with the salad bar and bread" and then I would make my subconscious yummy sound and smile as if that would be the convincing element should my lovely description of this $8.99 entree not be enough. Again, I digress. Let's just say, I had to know all about the meals and of course, the wines that would accompany them.

A Saturday morning meeting is called for an official "Wine Tasting". The restaurants Manager thought what better way to educate that have a professional come in and give us first hand knowledge. Sounds great! I'd go to this class then get cleaned up and go to my bestfriend's rehearsal dinner that night. What a nice day this would turn out to be.

I get to the restaurant with all the other waitstaff, most of whom have been on their feet carrying trays to hungry people for at least 19 years and probably knew all that they wanted to know about this wine or that, and would have rather been home sleeping in or taking care of grown up things on their morning off. I bop in all bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to learn. Maybe it was the bopping, or perhaps it was my youthful exuberance that set these otherwise nice people off. Who knows? For whatever the reason, my fellow wait-staffers watched me as I tasted each and every one of the 12 wines going from a dry table red all the way to a dessert wine and then SWALLOWED each sample. It seems that "wine tasting" is just that, you taste, you smell it, you swirl it, you roll it around in your mouth and across your tongue and then you spit it out. I did not get that memo. So here I am drinking all these different wines and to make matters worse it was on an empty stomach because as I said before I had that rehearsal dinner later that evening so I was watching my calories early in the day.

Can you say STUPID? I was stupid. My elders were stupid. Management was stupid. They let me out of there to get in my car and try to drive home. I say try to because all I remember is getting terribly sick and passing out in an Albertson's parking lot. Luckily, my ex-boyfriend's mom was shopping and took pity on my poor sorry soul. I know that on the inside she was saying "Ah Ha! I knew this girl was trouble!" but on the outside she was very gracious, at least that's how I remember it. She somehow got me to my mother's house safe and sound. (Thank you Joan.) Suffice it to say that after being thrown into a shower of hot, cold, hot, cold and throwing up a lot of icky stuff I did not die, I only wished I had.

Being the good friend that I was I still made it to my bff's rehearsal dinner, which was held in a smoky Elk's Club lounge with a live band playing just a few feet away, although I was still quite green around the gills. This had to be penance. No more bopping for me.

Eventually, I felt better however I could not go near all. In fact, I even stopped whining..ok, so maybe that's a little much....

So time went by with me drinking girlie Foo Foo drinks and boy Beer which were ok but they never quite appealed to me. There seemed to be something so classy, so romantic, so mature about drinking a glass of wine. Dare I try again? I tried White Zinfandel, it was alright but so light and still kind of silly, it seemed only one step up from Boone's Farm Strawberry wine. I tried Chardonnays, Pinot Grigio's and Reislings but I'm sorry...YUCK! Just couldn't wrap my tastebuds around the "crisp dry essence of pear, vanilla and cedar chips that lend to it's complex taste" or the too sweet Reislings. Still I pushed on until at last one day I won a raffle at my childrens' school where the prize included a bottle of Rosemount Shiraz, out of Australia. Hesitant to try, anticipating the all too familiar headache that often accompanied that glass of red, I poured my first glass of red wine. I looked at it. I swirled it. I sniffed it. Finally, I sipped it. And it was good. So I had another sip, and then another. "Richly textured with well defined, ripe blackberry flavors, soft generous tannins on the mid-palate and a long, rich finish" the label had read and although I am no expert I can say it was defnitely pleasing to my palate.

Waiting for the headache that never came, I realized that this was it! At last, I'd found my glass of wine.

Just a side note now, I am not nor have I ever been affiliated with any of the mentioned wines/wineries and it is with a clear conscience I offer up my recommendations. Please remember, I am one of those consumers who totally buy off of the look of the label and the description provided. The following are some of my favorites. Let me know what you think.

Jam Jar Shiraz - With tastes of fruit, berry, bottling, spices, fun, herbaceous, raspberry, bramble fruits. Read more:

Bohemian Highway - Spicy, blackberries, smooth, red, fruity, licorice. Read more:

Barefoot Wines (Any and All) - I find this label to be fun, fresh, cheerful and easy to go with almost everything. Considering I don't like whites as a rule, Barefoots Chardonnay is delicious, light and easy to drink and the Moscato is refreshing and sweet. Read more: spicy, nose, blackberries, color descriptors, smooth, red, fruity, licorice Read more: http://www/barefootwine. com

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Summer's End

Some people mark the end of summer with school starting. Others, by the cool crisp evening breezes that encourage you to snuggle up under an extra blanket. I have come to know the end of summer by bidding farewell to my friend Robert.

It seems a paradox that though summer seems long, it is also so short yet somehow, Robert and I can accomplish a lot in those short weeks between June 26th and August 16th, though it still doesn't seem long enough. I have watched as the sun has bleached his brown hair to blond and tanned his hide but good. I notice the changes that being up in God's country with fresh air and a spring fed lake and plenty of sunshine bring, especially to someone like Robert.

Robert is very bright and even a little charming. He is a builder, a hunter, a dreamer, a do-er. He is not afraid to speak his mind and he has a winning smile that is forever changing like him. He makes the long journey from Jacksonville Florida up to Wilson Lake in Acton Maine every year stopping along the way to visit relatives and have adventures. Often when I first see him, I am startled by how he has changed and yet, how he's still the Robert I know and love.

I like to cook for him as he is not afraid to show how he feels about what has been put in front of him, whether it's steak, which this year was a new favorite or the first batch of pancakes I made this year which turned out less than good. He has a filter but I love that he is free to share his feelings and insights and opinions.

This year was a particularly good year for Robert and I as I spent more time "up-ta" camp then I have in the past. It allowed more time for just the two of us. He has helped me to pick blueberries and has complimented each muffin I have made him, regardless of the fact that the blueberries outweigh the muffin batter by 2:1. We have caught frogs of all sizes and built fairy houses. We've tooled around in the paddle boat and floated effortlessly in the cool water of Wilson Lake. Always the hunter, he wore his mask to dive down and explore the lake below us and then up he would pop and share the secrets he found beneath the water's surface. He is also one of the best marshmallow roasters I have ever met and that's saying quite a lot since I am, myself, a roasted marshmallow officionado.

He has gifted me with all sorts of beautiful stones and rocks found on the way from his camp to ours and along the waters edge and has even helped me find just the right spot to "showcase" my gems. One year he brought me a pair of bright turquoise knock-off KEDs that he found at the free desk at the waste facility. He thought they were pretty and they were practically new and just knew they were for me. I didn't have the heart to tell him they were 2 sizes too big.

Robert comes up every year with his dad Ron and has a summer full of adventures before going home to do some more growing, learning, living. I've been watching him grow and change for the past 3 summers and can truly say that this boy is one special fella. He has already outgrown the first bike his dad got him up here and his swimming has improved so much that he is up to the "Guppy" level at the Y. But the little leather vest, tie dyed shirt and crocs he lives in, haven't been grown out of yet (although the jeans from earlier this year had gotten so small that they needed to have a duct tape belt to hold them shut). This year I was even able to see him outgrow some of his teeth.

I enjoy witnessing this beautiful child make his way through his small world, his small world that each day gets just a bit bigger. I like to think of the memories I hope I am helping this adventurer make of his summers spent up at the lake in Maine. Perhaps he will write a book one day and I will be mentioned as the lady who would play Monopoly with him or who had him over for his first sleep over away from his folks. Maybe he'll remember the day when we both saw the craziest Pig formed by the fluffy white clouds above us, at the same time.

I watched him yesterday as he gathered up his water guns, airplanes, frog bucket he left at my house. I asked him to keep in touch and he said he would. He knows how to Skype he reminded me.He walked down our dock and boarded his paddle boat with his mom and dad. They said good bye but I noticed my friend was uncharacteristically quiet.

My friend Robert left for Florida today. It must be fall.

Who Knew?

Who Knew?

If someone said three years ago......(fill in blank with something pertaining to you and your life)....
who knew?

For me....I would have to fill my blank with: Who knew three years ago that I would meet MY inspiration? I saw her across the bar....actually, I was in the dining part of this down home establishment and she was at the pool table...Black tank top, jeans a little too big held up with a worn thick leather belt and a pair of well-loved Rock Star boots (clearly a biker chick and I am so a wanna be....maybe she can tell me if the Harley Davidson Sportser really is too top heavy for a woman my size). She was holding her cue stick, planning her next shot against her invisible opponent. Of course I am intimidated who wouldn't be, but with a couple of ice cold glasses of courage (draft or bottle?), I muster the gumption to approach this tough lady and ask her about her bike....I hope she doesn't think I am a total goober. If my "perky little housewife from the burbs" capris and sandals don't give me pink and whites surely will.

In my head I hear her slightly put off voice patronizingly telling me to go on home....sit down with the hubby and settle in for a nice sleepy night of Dancing with the Stars with maybe an extra bonus of a repeat of Sex in the City. But no...I do not hesitate...."So you ride?" I ask, not waiting for a response..."what do you think about the Sportser?" I leave out the Harley Davidson part because EVERYONE knows it's implied....

She looks at me quizzingly as if she's been asked this question before and wonders if perhaps she's got a "Yes I AM a biker"sticker mistakenly thumb tacked to her forehead...and says in a voice better suited for a woodland nymph or fairy than a rough biker chick..."Oh, I don't ride..but I want to.."

What? What? No.....come on.....where's the gruffness....where's the edge? I mustered all my guts up for this? I look around...ok...surely this has to be an episode of "Punked" by Ashton. Gotchas! Just a wicked nice, should-be, could-be Biker chick who just hasn't gotten quite that far....who has no idea of what an impact she's made on this silly, lilly-arsed middle-aged mother of three.

It's only been two weeks since I've met my friend but it feels like I've known her for years. She's not only sweet but she is funny, loud, obnoxious and smart and as it turns out...she IS edgy. She swears like a pirate, can hold her liquor, doesn't swim but does walk on the wild side...and I do so love hearing the stories. What can I say? I am inspired. She makes me want to take chances and try to do things I've never done before, like write this blog.

Is it any good? I dunno. I don't think I even care. I am just taking a chance to put my voice into words and share them with who ever might accidentally stumble upon them. If this is the one and only or if it goes on for a bit...who knows? For now...I am inspired to step up and outside of myself and for this inspiration I thank my new friend. Thanks, You.