Thursday, December 30, 2010

HAPPY NEW YEAR

When I lost 150 lbs, eight years ago, everyone marveled at my fortitude. They assumed I went on a diet after the first of the year and stuck with it. The truth is, I didn’t. Temptation would have sabotaged my efforts. Instead, without telling anyone, I began walking, four to six miles a day. The weight just melted off and I suddenly had a new lease on life. For about four years, it stayed that way. I felt like a completely new person… the old me, discarded, once and for all. Unfortunately, little did I know, that all that walking had a cumulative effect on my body. It helped to mess up, my already, arthritic knees. And the end result was devastating. Seemingly overnight... the walking, I loved to do, became impossible to do. I was in unbearable pain. I had lost my favorite pastime, in addition, to my new self. The weight came back on. And the damage to my psyche was immeasurable. It’s taken me years, to finally accept my limitations. So I’m telling you, when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, try not to be too unrealistic about the goals you set for yourself in the coming year. Just remember you could have the rug pulled right out from underneath you, too. Researchers have differing opinions on whether you should keep New Year’s Resolutions to yourself or share them with everybody you know. In my case, talking about my goals, ahead of time, makes me less likely, to follow through on them. Just too many prying eyes, watching and waiting. It’s too easy to slip up, and disappoint someone else, in addition, to yourself. And that adds unnecessary pressure. Therefore, I’ve found, I make much better progress, on my resolutions, if I keep them, my little secret, until after the fact. Then, when I have something to really brag about, I can share, and bask in the glory of my accomplishment. So, on this New Year’s Eve, remember… “An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up, to make sure the old year leaves.” What are you?

Friday, December 24, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS

The beauty of the season is upon us. What a wonderful time of the year. In a festive holiday mood, with our tummies stuffed full of food… my hubby and I... bundled up in hats and gloves, as the cool night air, nipped at our noses. We clamored into the Dodge Caravan, happy… that the automatic car starter had warmed our seats, in advance. Flurries were in the night air, as Christmas music played softly on the radio. With no destination in mind, we headed down the road. Giddy with excitement… we were going a-wandering, in search of AWESOME outdoor Christmas displays. Everywhere we went… from one neighborhood to the next… lights dazzled in hues of red, green, amber, white, and blue. Wooden snowmen, Angels, Nutcrackers, Reindeer and St. Nick’s… stood in yards and on porches.  Giant snowflakes and stars, lined the rooftops. Icicle lights dripped from gutters. Trees glistened in house windows and in front lawns. Wreaths… with big red bows, dotted doorways.  As we drove past the houses... we caught random glimpses, of families gathered around, dining room tables, and in living rooms, celebrating the holiday. After a couple hours of being out, on the town, exploring... it was time for us, to head home. On the way back… guess what? AMAZINGLY... we saw eight REAL deer, mingling, in a neighbor’s yard. It just had to be… Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. Santa must be busy at work. It won’t be long now, until he stops to visit you, too… Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

JUST IN TIME

Worried that the temperature outside was dropping into the single digits… I hurried out to my car, to bring in the two six-packs of raspberry tea, still in the trunk. I didn’t want the bottles to freeze. Last year, I had a bottle of soda pop explode in there. Besides making a mess, I almost wrecked my car, when the thing went off. And, I didn’t want a repeat performance. It had snowed the night before, so my hubby had cleared off all the snow sitting on top of my trunk, so I could get inside. But there was still some residual ice, hanging around, making it difficult to close. With the tea in hand, I slammed the lid shut, best as I could, and made my way back inside. Two days passed before I had occasion to venture back out to my car. But when I did, it was because I needed to go to the store. It was 5 degrees, with the sun shining. Angry because my remote car starter wasn’t working, I had to manually do it. Everything was frozen, though. My car door didn’t want to open. I had to struggle with it for 5 minutes. When I finally put my key in the ignition, all I heard was CLICK! CLICK! CLICK! The battery was dead. I called my husband. He decided to come home early, from work. Meanwhile, he told me where to find the battery cables in the garage, so he could jump start it, when he got here. He said the current battery was the original one, so it was time to replace it. My hubby had an hour and a half drive home, and might not make it here, before the store closed. So, I could be without a car for a couple days. That made me antsy. I didn't want to be stranded. I wanted this problem resolved sooner, rather than later. Instead of waiting for him, when my daughter got back, I suggested she help me, instead. We attached the jumper cables between her jeep and my car, getting just enough juice to start my engine. I kept it running, making the decision to head up to Sears, for a new battery, praying the charge would hold until I got there. Fortunately, it did. Thank goodness for small miracles. The mechanic asked me if I knew my trunk lid was open, too. I said, “No, I didn‘t!” But that explained the dead battery. My trunk lid is connected to a power source, a light. For two days it sat open, in freezing temps, wearing down the battery. Mystery solved. So all I needed now, was the brand NEW battery, to get me going again. While I watched Oprah in the waiting room… the store clerk and my husband, via cell phone... decided WHICH one. It took an hour to put it in. Installation was not straightforward because of where the manufacturer has the battery situated in the Stratus. But... the guys at Sears, got it done. And I’m back on the road, just in time for Christmas.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

ONCE UPON A TIME

Once upon a time, because of a job, we lived in two places. And when we did… we took down the outdoor mailbox, at our primary residence and replaced it with a post office box, downtown. We did this because we were constantly having fights with the mail carriers about holding our mail when we were out of town, at our other residence. Changing the address to a PO Box fixed the problem. But it created new ones. For example, once or twice a week, we have to go downtown to pick up our mail. With this chore comes a lot of headaches. The biggest one is finding a parking space, somewhere near the Post Office. I have BAD knees and can’t walk that far. So I have to drive around the block more than a few times to locate a place. Minutes click past. Eventually my persistence pays off and I usually nab one close by, but sometimes I don‘t. Then it becomes quite a trek. Next problem… climbing a gazillion steps. I have to use the hand railing to balance myself as I climb. Hard to do if you’re carrying packages to be mailed…especially since the railing is coming out of the cement and is unstable. No other way up because the handicap ramp is being revamped and is closed. Finally I’m inside, but I don’t get far. There is always a line out to the door. No matter what time of day, they only have one or two service windows open. After a while, my knees feel like they’re going to buckle from the pressure of standing there so long. I tell myself to hang on. But it hurts. Meanwhile, people often cut in line, in front of me, courtesy of friends and family, already there. Not fair, but it happens. When I finally get my turn, I make the most of it. I ask them to check my PO BOX for notices of packages or anything else too big to fit inside it. Then, I’m ultimately loaded down with stacks of junk mail, catalogs, magazines and occasionally boxes, as I leave. Navigating my way back down those outside steps, holding all that, hardly being able to see in front of me, proves almost hazardous. How I keep my footing, I don’t know. By the time I get back to my car, I’m ready to collapse. What should have been a ten minute jaunt to the post office, turns into forty minutes. Each time I go, the wait is a crapshoot. And with holiday time here, it has just gotten worse. How I long, to walk to the edge of my driveway, to get my mail. Now that we live in only ONE place, we‘ve considered going back to curbside mail. But if history tells us anything, it’s this… the local carrier would botch things up, so we’d have a bigger mess to deal with, than we do now. Better to leave things alone. So I'm done kvetching.

Friday, December 3, 2010

NAUGHTY ME & THE CHRISTMAS TREE

Years ago, when my hubby and I lived in the mountains of Pennsylvania… at Christmastime, we would buy a LIVE evergreen tree to grace our home for the holiday season. It would fill our humble abode with the fragrant smell of fresh pine and delighted us to no end. When the NEW year came, we would plant the tree outside, somewhere on our property and it became a permanent part of the landscape. This family tradition lasted until economics forced us to leave the region and migrate to the Midwest. Live evergreens weren’t readily available where we settled, so we began to buy fresh cut pines for our Christmas celebrations. But they came at a huge price and were always laden with trouble. We could never get the tree to sit upright in the stand and despite our best efforts, it dropped pine needles all over the place. After fighting this hassle for several years, we decided there must be a better way. It was then, we discovered the ARTIFICIAL tree. The simplicity of the concept, wowed us. We were hooked. Why hadn’t we done this sooner? Content with our decision, to go FAKE, we adapted. We could still get that fragrant smell of evergreen, by using liquid potpourri or scented candles… so our home was filled with holiday cheer. Over the years, since that first one, we’ve had a variety of artificial trees. Some were easier to maneuver. Others were purchased because they were prelit. Many were donated, decorations and all. Our most recent tree is about 7 years old. There are two pieces, to it. It stands about 6ft tall. It is called a TWIG tree. I fell in love with it, the moment I saw it. The branches are just a little more sparse, than your average tree. But it looks so realistic, you’d swear it came straight from the forest. Although it’s a cinch to put up and take down… I have a confession to make. Last year, after the twelve days of Christmas… I left it standing, firmly in place, in the corner of my family room. It was so gorgeous with it’s sparkling white twinkle lights, golden garland and crimson red bulbs...why destroy it? I thought my husband would nix the idea of a year round tree. But to my utter amazement, he said, “Christmas is only 11 months away. Let’s keep it up.” During the seemingly endless spring, summer and autumn months, the tree’s presence sparked serious debate about our decision to keep it decorated. But when songs of Christmas began playing on the radio, right before Thanksgiving, this year… I felt vindicated.  It was only then, we flipped on the switch, lighting all the lights on the tree. Until then... it had remained dark, all throughout the year. Still pristine and beautiful, it glistened, radiating joy. I smiled... with tears in my eyes. Time flies. All those months, of waiting for Santa to return, had finally melted away. Now, here I am, basking in the glory of a new holiday season, sharing my little secret with you. Have you ever been, naughty, and kept your Christmas Tree up, year round? It might just become a NEW holiday tradition, here at our house. What do you think?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

FULL OF MYSELF

Earlier this fall... after years of wearing the same coat, I bought myself a NEW one for the upcoming WINTER season. When I got home, from shopping… I stuffed it in the front closet and forgot about it, until the temperatures outside dropped. Then… on a day when the thermometer hit 25 degrees, I hastily retrieved it from it’s hiding spot, putting it on, to run some errands. Amazed by how warm the coat felt… I congratulated myself on such a smart purchase, not to mention the fact I had only paid $49 for it. Full of myself… I scooted from store to store, that day, accomplishing each task on my TO DO LIST. With one last stop to make at the grocery store, I hurried through the checkout line with my basket filled. As I was getting ready to pay, the cashier said, “Ssh! I’ll take care of that for you.” Flabbergasted… I thought she meant the bill, until I saw her wielding a pair of scissors, leaning over the conveyer belt. “Wait a minute. What are you doing,” I asked? She responded, “I’m taking care of a little problem you have.” Perturbed she wasn’t being specific enough. I said, “What problem?” She smiled sweetly and pointed to my arm. I glanced down, still not seeing anything. In one fell swoop, she pulled my arm upward, reaching underneath with the scissors, going SNIP! SNIP!, proudly producing a HANG TAG with my coat’s price and size, in her hand. I gasped, immediately thinking of all the places I had been that afternoon, with that tag, hanging out for all the world to see. What if someone thought I had shoplifted the coat? Sensing my discomfort with the situation, she told me, not to worry about it. She too, had once forgotten to remove a tag. “It’s not a big deal,” she said. I whispered back, “Thank You.” If not for the kindness of this stranger, I would never have known of my, fashion faux pas. I have never been so embarrassed in my whole life.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

TURKEY DAY

Last year, at Thanksgiving, our stove was broken. This meant a huge sacrifice on our part. We would have to eat out at a local restaurant advertising Family Style dinners for the holiday. Their description of the upcoming meal, via a newspaper ad, sounded mouthwatering. So, we made reservations and anxiously anticipated the BIG day. A couple weeks passed, and on Thanksgiving... we arrived at the eatery, at our allotted time, with a HUGE appetite for turkey with all the fixings. Grateful that the cleanup would fall on someone else’s shoulders, that afternoon... put us in a festive mood. Unfortunately, that mood quickly changed, when the food was brought to the table. Instead of hearty slices of turkey on our plates, we saw several strands of unrecognizable shredded dark meat. I hate dark meat. I never eat it. Besides there was hardly enough for a mouthful. We were instantly disappointed. As far as we were concerned, the STAR of the show, the TURKEY, was missing in action. When we inquired about it, the waitress apologetically intimated that we weren’t the only ones with complaints. Turns out, that shredded stuff was the turkey and there wasn’t a lot to go around. She had strict instructions from the chef. We could have all the fried chicken or ham we wanted, but the turkey was limited. That’s why it was being shredded, to stretch farther, amongst the guests. Meanwhile we were encouraged to fill up on an abundance of stuffing, yams, cranberry relish and green beans. What else could we do?  We gave up on having white succulent turkey breast for our Thanksgiving Day meal, as promised. It just wasn’t in the cards. The restaurant, hadn't lived up... to it's own hype, for the holiday. Our Family Style dinner, was RUINED.  Then I realized... how ungrateful that sounded, on a day when humble appreciation is revered. SHAME ON ME. Lesson learned. Shortly thereafter, we bought a NEW stove. No more complaints about eating out. This year, the menu is up to me. And I can guarantee, the BIRD won’t be hiding on our plates. It'll be... front and center. Now, if I can just get my hubby and daughter to CLEAN UP, afterwards, it'll be a miracle? From our house to yours… HAPPY TURKEY DAY. And don't forget, to Count your Blessings.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

HERE WE GO AGAIN

The holiday season is in full swing. Decorations are up and stores are busy competing for the next sale. I have most of my shopping done. But I’m struggling to come up with ideas for a couple people on my list. So, I opted to buy some gift cards. Denomination, fifty dollars, which was clearly marked on the front of each card. Yet when I went through the line, at the register, to check out… the salesclerk specifically asked me, how much money I wanted to put on the first card. Flabbergasted by the question because the answer was so obvious, I told her, “ It says $50. I want to put $50 on the card.” I thought the subject was put to bed. But she responded, “Are you sure? You can put any amount you want to on the card. It doesn’t have to be $50. Perturbed, I retaliated… “The card is clearly marked $50 on the front. Why would I confuse or disappoint the person I’m giving it to, by putting a different amount of money on the card?” Surely this made sense to her. Think again. She continued to ignore what I was saying and continued with her own spiel. “The card is good for any amount of money. Ten, twenty, thirty or a hundred dollars. So what do you want to do?” At this point, I wondered if I was on Candid Camera? Calmly, I said… “ I want you to put $50 on the card.” She repeated, “$50.” I told her that was correct, hoping she finally grasped the situation at hand. Concentrating on my order, she reached for the next item. Another $50 gift card. Would you believe she started the whole dialogue, about the cards, all over again. With a perfectly straight face, she asked me, “How much money do you want me to put on this card?” I thought to myself, “You’ve got to be kidding.” Here we go again. I laughed out loud. She didn’t look amused. It’s one thing to be conscientious about your job. It’s quite another to be a pain in the rear. Christmas can’t get here soon enough.

Monday, November 8, 2010

KNEE- HIGH

I am knee-high to a grasshopper. And all my life, it’s been a problem. When I was young it was cute to be diminutive, but now that I’m a senior citizen it isn’t. I swear I’ve shrunk. Clothes don’t fit me, anymore. Particularly, pants. Every pair I buy, needs to be taken up, at least four inches. Even the ones marked SHORT. It’s ridiculous. The same thing is true for all skirts and dresses too. In the old days, I did the tailoring myself. Now I can’t manage it. My fingers go numb, trying to hold the needle and thread and I can barely see, on top of that. So I take everything out to be done. The local seamstress sees me coming. My tailoring costs are enormous. I swear she bought a new car, last year because of me. To add insult to injury, I have other problems, as a short person. Reaching high shelves or display racks is also an issue. Most the cabinet space in my kitchen is off limits to me. When I was younger, I’d just climb up on a chair, stepstool or ladder to get what I wanted. But with two bad knees and arthritis, I can no longer do that. I have to ask my hubby for help. And you can forget that. He’s older and has more problems than I do. He has vertigo and isn’t climbing up on anything, either. So, we just make do with what we have at eye level. His and mine. And that means avoiding the second, third and fourth shelves in my cupboards. I’ve probably got things stashed in there, that are no longer fit for human consumption. LOL But what about all the other, non perishable stuff? Sadly, I haven’t used my GOOD china in over eight years. It’s tucked away on the third shelf, in the corner of the room, making it impossible to reach with unsteady legs and hands. Putting it there, when I was spry seemed like a good idea at the time. But in retrospect it wasn’t. It’s hard to know when my size is going to affect me, adversely. Another example is traveling. Recently when I had occasion to stay at a hotel, I almost panicked when I realized the bed was too high for me to sit on, much less sleep on. I had to pull the desk chair over and perform an acrobatic act just to reach it. God forbid, if I had to get up during the night, once I was tucked in. I would have fallen on my butt, maybe even injured myself. Truth is… when you’re short, life is jammed packed with obstacles, and everyday becomes a challenge.

Monday, November 1, 2010

BULLIES AND A LITTLE GIRL

In hindsight... growing up, is hard to do. I have empathy for all school aged children. It’s tough being a kid. You have to answer to everyone, while trying to figure out who you are. It can be difficult to conform. And marching to the beat of your own drummer is tricky, at that age. You can be labeled or ridiculed, for doing nothing at all. A lot can get lost in translation between adults and children. And between, children and children.  Life is complicated. You have to HANG TOUGH. You can’t be too thin-skinned to survive the ups and downs along the way. I’ve reached the age, now… where if I want to wear my TRILBY out and about, I do so... and I ignore any snide remarks being bantered about, because of it. But kids don’t have that same filter. They haven’t learned to compartmentalize. They tend to take everything, to heart. And that can lead to heartbreak. When I was a small child... I was the victim of bullies. The elementary school was about four blocks away from my parent’s house. You could take the long way there or you could take the shortcut through the neighbor’s backyard. Every time I tried to take the shortcut… trouble reared it’s ugly head. I would start to climb up the long hill which lead to my street... when I’d get about halfway up, BAM, I didn’t know what hit me. I‘d end up tumbling to the bottom. I got there... because a small group of little hoodlums... would grab my books and papers, toss them all over the hillside, and then push me down, until I lost my footing and fell. They laughed and laughed, as they ran away, leaving me there, in tears, in a crumpled mess, to collect my things. I felt horrible. Being picked on, wasn’t fun. And this wasn’t an isolated incident. They did it to me, over and over again. I tried to fight back. But I couldn‘t defend myself. They threatened worse violence towards me, if I told anybody. I was scared. I was one lone little girl, up against an angry mob. I finally conceded, that I’d have to take the long way home, to avoid the confrontations. So that’s what I did, even though I thought it was unfair. I also eventually told my parents, who were quite upset... by my dirty clothes. And, by how long it was taking me to get home after school, each day. They alerted the neighbor to what was going on in their backyard. I wonder if those BULLYS grew up to be juvenile delinquents? Or became... mean, rotten adults? Perhaps, it was just a phase they went through as youngsters, and later outgrew? To this day, the memories linger and I will never forget the pain and humiliation I felt from their bullying. I’d like to say, this experience, made me stronger. I guess it did. But I still question why it had to happen, at all?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

I HAVE NEVER POSTED PHOTOGRAPHS.

IT'S TOO SCARY.

LET'S TRY IT AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS.



















FROM MY HOUSE TO YOURS.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN.

Friday, October 15, 2010

IS THE ORDEAL OVER?

My husband is a strong man. Little bothers him. In all the years we’ve been together, I’ve never seen him so sick, that he couldn’t function. But now he is absolutely, positively, miserable. He is in terrible pain. He has been suffering with a toothache for the past two weeks. One tiny, little tooth... has literally knocked... the wind out of his sails. The oral surgeon put him on an antibiotic to attack the infection in his mouth. But the pain hasn’t subsided, in all this time. He's been living on soup, alone... because he can't chew. Meanwhile, arrangements were made to have the EVIL tooth removed, since it can’t be saved. And after days of waiting, that finally happened today. My husband was put to sleep, to have it done. With COPD, this can be very tricky. They had to give him the right mix of oxygen during the procedure and carefully monitor him. He went ‘under’ around 1:20pm. I sat in the waiting room, in an uncomfortable chair, thumbing through an old stack of PEOPLE magazines, while he had surgery. My presence was required since he wouldn’t be able to drive home, by himself, afterwards. When I joined him in the recovery room, forty minutes later… he was lying on his side, bundled up with a burgundy colored blanket. He was white as a ghost. It frightened me. He looked so vulnerable. I’ve never seen him like that. He didn’t want to wake up. And he didn’t want to go home, either. He was comfortable where he was at. But with a little coaxing, they finally got him to sit up. He was still very groggy and his speech was terribly slurred. It was literally impossible to understand what he was saying.Twenty more minutes had passed. They asked me to bring the car around to the front entrance. It’s quite a trek. I was worried he wouldn't be able to make it because he was so unsteady. As a precaution, they decided to put him in a wheelchair, to bring him out to the van. I was surprised by this, but grateful, that they weren‘t taking any chances... since there was the possibility, he could collapse.  I was never so happy, to get him home, inside the house and situated in his recliner. However, once here... time dragged on. The bleeding in his mouth worsened. We went through dozens of gauze pads. He's still in alot of pain. Has a headache. His cheek is sore. He is one sick fella. But finally... after about four or five hours, his coloring had returned, and the bleeding lessened.  Suddenly, he was hungry and thirsty for some juice, Greek yogurt, and a Vicodin.  Will the ordeal be over soon? Time will tell. At least now, things are on the mend. Thank goodness. Unfortunately, our next dilemma, is finding him other kinds of food, he can eat, while healing. Soup is still at the top of the list. But at this point, he's had his fill of it. Any other suggestions?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

MODERN CONVENIENCE

Recently, when our old dishwasher broke... we bought a new one. But my hubby wants to know why we wasted the money. He doesn’t feel I utilize this modern convenience to it’s fullest capacity. This is a source of contention between us. Maybe you can help. I’m curious about WHAT other people do in their households? Do you rinse off your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher? Or do you put them in there, filthy dirty? Yours truly always washes mine off in hot water, with lots of soap, before loading the machine. My husband thinks I’m nuts. Why bother? He feels I should just throw them in there... full of gunk. I strongly disagree. The dirt will get caked on, and be harder to remove, especially if I‘m not using the dishwasher that day. Doing it my way… if I need an extra plate or spoon, throughout the week, before it‘s run… I don’t worry about taking something from there... I know they will be clean. I know what you’re thinking… I’m crazy, right? I should let the dishwasher do its job. Why bother to have a dishwasher, if I just use it, as a 'fancy' drying rack. I guess you can’t teach an old dog, like me, new tricks. I got into this habit of cleaning the plates, bowls and utensils, thoroughly… from back in the days, when I didn’t own a dishwasher. And as time’s gone by, I haven’t changed my mentality. So, if truth be told, I mostly use the dishwasher to sterilize. And that’s especially comforting, if we’ve been sick. Otherwise, having a dishwasher, for a family of two, isn’t really necessary, is it?  So why am I so happy, to have one?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

WARM TOES

Now that autumn is officially here, my thoughts are skipping ahead to that next seasonal transition. During the winter months, we turn back the thermostat to approximately 60 degrees, at night. And for some reason, it feels colder than it actually is, inside the house. I’ve tried in vain to get my husband to bump up the numbers a few notches, but he refuses. His COPD rules the roost. I’ve written about this before. He uses various medicines and inhalers to control it. But, most importantly, he keeps it very, very cool inside our house, so... according to him, he can breathe easier. Cooler temps are great in the summer, but in the dead of winter… not so much. Therefore, our bed is piled high with blankets and a comforter. But I still freeze my rear end off when I try to go to sleep. Plus all that excess material I’m weighted down with, as I toss and turn, is a real pain, too… especially since it doesn’t seem to do it’s job. Baby it’s cold inside. Snuggling helps and is obviously distracting. But it doesn’t completely eliminate the COLD. And to be honest, all this shivering interferes with a good nights sleep. I’ve tried jersey and flannel sheets, to add warmth. My hubby HATES them. So I have to listen to a litany of complaints. And frankly, I’m sick and tired of hearing them. Every winter season, I broach the subject of using an electric blanket, and get the idea shot down, by him. But surprisingly, this year he didn’t. I don’t know WHAT changed or WHY??? But all systems are now GO... for an electric blanket with dual controls. YEAH. I'm so excited. Unfortunately, the problem is… I don’t like any of the ones, I’ve seen on the market, so far. They’re flimsy and lightweight. You feel more wire, than blanket. I’m so disappointed. But... my quest has just begun… so keep your fingers crossed, that I find something, before the first snow flies. I’m seriously looking forward, to my first warm toes, in years.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

OPEN SESAME

My house is old. The doors and windows are outdated. The windows are especially bothersome because it’s hard to open them. Seriously, it’s a real struggle. But then, the funny thing is… once you get them up, they have to be propped open, with a stick, to stay in place or they‘ll fall down. Unbelievable. It’s a pain in the rear. Over the years I’ve learned to just keep them shut. If I want to enjoy fresh air, I just go outside on the patio. Because of the size variations, the old doors have been difficult to replace. The old windows, not so much. The problem with them is the cost. We have a lot of windows. And that’s not chump change we’re talking about, to get new ones installed. So we’re doing it piece meal. A few years ago, we were feeling a bit flushed and we opted to replace the front windows only. They LOOK wonderful. But in the two years, that followed installation, I had never opened the new windows, not once. Old habits die hard. I was so used to the OLD windows being there, I simply kept forgetting we had the new ones. But when the temperatures dipped… I surprised myself… by opening them for the first time. It was so easy. They stayed up, no sticks required. Imagine that? What a bang for the buck. The cool, fresh air permeated the interior of the house. The sound of sirens and cars whizzing past, added new background noise to our everyday existence. It was marvelous. I had forgotten how much I loved the smells and sounds of the outdoors, inside. Never has such a simple gesture been so well received. Even my hubby liked the difference. And without doubt, the cats loved the new windows, too. They sat in the bottom of them all day. From now on… the windows stay open, until the snow arrives. Now all we have to do, is find the money to replace the rest of them.

Monday, September 20, 2010

AUTUMN FEVER

The official start to autumn is only a couple days away. But the thermometer here is supposed to read almost 90 degrees tomorrow. HOT! HOT! HOT! Not exactly the kind of weather to usher in the new season. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. It can stay summer just a little bit longer. It’s just that I happen to LOVE autumn. It is my absolute favorite time of the year. The cooler, but not cold temps are a big part of it. Guess I’ll have to wait for them to arrive later. With Autumn Fever knocking on my door… I opened the big hope chest, behind my sofa, today… and took out all the fall decorations. After about an hour… my house was adorned with autumn décor. Pumpkins are sitting out and about, inside and out, my humble abode. They decorate end tables, kitchen and bathroom counters, the fireplace mantel, a faux wood burning stove and the front porch. A large LEAF wreath, greets visitors to my front door. And a burnt orange tablecloth covers my dining room table, with green leaf placemats. In years past, I would also decorate my windows and doors with leaf garlands, too. And I would string up orange lights to accentuate the autumn colors. My husband thinks all the decorating is silly. So I toned it back a bit, once the children were grown and gone. But there are grandchildren now, so I’m back at it. Just wait ’til Halloween.

Friday, September 17, 2010

IGOR, A FOND MEMORY

When Hurricane Igor developed, I couldn’t help but pause, for a moment. It is the perfect name for a hurricane. IGOR. Just the name, evokes something FEARFUL. A scary notion if you have to batten down the hatches and evacuate your home. Luckily it doesn’t look like this storm is headed here to our shores. Although, we will probably get rough surf and strong rip currents from it‘s fury. But this ferocious storm does appear to be aiming straight for Bermuda. Landfall may be this weekend. While, I worry about the people in the path of this powerful hurricane… I can’t help but remember, with a smile, the significance of the name, to me, in my youth. As you all know, the name Igor is synonymous with horror flicks, particularly Frankenstein. That would give anyone reason to run for their lives. BUT not me. I feel a particular fondness for the name. Why? Because… Igor was also the name, of my high school sweetheart’s, Rock and Roll Band. I spent many an afternoon, or evening... in my teens, with my sweetie and the other members of IGOR, at rehearsals and gigs. Nothing scary about it. The boys knew how to put on a GREAT show. And I knew how to ENJOY myself, when they were ROCKING. Oh, the MEMORIES, we made. I could write a book. I haven’t seen those guys in over 35 years. I daresay, if the band was around today, the boys would be in awe of their current namesake. And they would be glued to the TV, following his every move. I know somewhere… my high school buddies, are out there… talking about the irony of all this, too. But like me, they are probably horrified by the potential devastation, lying in the wake, of this still deadly hurricane. Let’s hope it’s downgraded soon. But in the meantime, please put Bermuda in your prayers. And, by all means, ROCK ON.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

WHO KNEW?

Years ago, my cousin and her hubby, went into business selling SCRUBS to the general public. This was back during a time when nobody but doctors wore them. I can only imagine the dollar signs they’d be racking up today, if they had stayed in the business. Nowadays, everyone wears SCRUBS. They are everywhere you go... at least around here. They are affordable, fashionable and comfortable, to boot. I became a convert when I was in the hospital for a couple weeks, back in 2007. The hospital preferred the patients wear the SCRUBS they supplied, instead of pj‘s or nightgowns, from home. It beat the heck out of those old hospital gowns, with your butt hanging out. As a result, when I was released from the hospital, to go back home, I had to get me a pair of SCRUBS. Not knowing where to look for them… I was pleasantly surprised to find them at retailers, Walmart and Meijer’s. Unfortunately, the selections there, were a tad bit antiseptic, to say the least. So I looked for other options. And I found them on the internet. If you want to really jazz up your SCRUBS wardrobe, people… Tafford’s online, is the place to shop. They’ve got anything your heart desires, when it comes to SCRUBS. I like printed tops, with themes and solid bottoms. But on the pants, I prefer the elastic waist... instead of, the drawstring ones. Both my daughters disagree. Drawstring, according to them, is the only way to go. My older daughter works in the local hospital doing patient registrations, in the emergency room. So she likes patterned tops, too. This is in case something gross happens to get on her, then you won‘t see the stain. My youngest, the daughter who’s the microbiologist, goes strictly for the solid colors. She thinks it looks more professional. While both ladies HAVE to wear their SCRUBS for work… I simply like to lounge around in my ‘Doctor Duds’ here at home, or when I run to the store. Apparently it’s trendy and cool, to look like a health professional, when you’re not. Who knew, I’d be a fashionista, at my age. Have you ever worn SCRUBS?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

POWERLESS

The power lines to my house are in the backyard, instead of out front. I guess when they were laying out plans for the neighborhood, years ago, it seemed like a good idea, to put them there. Lately though, it’s been a real pain in the rear, for us. Not the original owners of our humble abode… the problem is, the trees here. Back when they built the house, the trees had just been planted and were small. Now, fifty-seven years later, we’re living in a woods. Our yard is full of trees, reaching limbs to the sky. The trouble is, some of them are growing dangerously close to the power lines. Their branches are interfering with business. During a wind, rain, snow or ice storm, they could potentially knock out power to the entire neighborhood, not just us. So the power company says the trees must come down. This saddens me. I love trees. I don't want to see any destroyed. But I understand why it must be done, whether I like it or not. Unfortunately to add insult to injury, my yard is now trashed with graffiti. The power company went crazy spray painting... BIG ugly, hot pink X’s... on all the tree trunks, of those trees to be eliminated. It looks hideous. Those without marks get to stay. Lucky them. The last time the power company did something of this magnitude was five years ago. Back then, when they cut down the other trees, they littered my entire backyard with piles of wood and brush. You couldn’t even walk back there. Try as we might… we couldn’t get anyone to haul away the wood. The cut pieces were just too gigantic and unwieldy. We're senior citizens... it literally took us THREE years to clean up the MESS the power company left behind. Therefore, I don’t relish the idea, of them, doing it again. But… I’m powerless to change it, because I don’t want to be power-less.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

BLOG, ONE YEAR OLD

I can’t believe it. This is my BLOG anniversary. I should have champagne, a cake and balloons, to celebrate. HIP HIP HORRAY! I put up my first column here on Blogger... ONE year ago, today. I have written approximately once a week, without a vacation, or day off, ever since. So many nice people, I’ve connected with here. I love you all. I’m genuinely touched when you stop by to comment. I consider you all friends. Since I don’t do Facebook, this is my outlet. That and Twitter. Here's a link to my Twitter account. (http://twitter.com/taryterre1) Just so you know… I wasn’t a stranger to this blogging thing. Before this, I had my very own website where I spent quite a few years writing about politics. You see, I used to be a reporter and photographer for a small hometown paper. My job was to cover town council meetings. I had lots of opinions about local and national issues, I had to keep to myself. But having a website, after I got laid off, let me vent about them. Over the course of time, though… the political baggage was getting too heavy. And so was maintaining the site. Tired of my own rhetoric and that of the pundits, I left the past behind and began blogging about simple pleasures and problems. With only my family and a few friends reading, my new subject matter… I decided to expand my horizons. I dropped my website and joined Blogger. I have to admit... I was a J-Land lurker, and followed you all, over here. I’m happier now that I’m writing about the everyday things that happen to me. Far less stressful. Far more satisfying. I hope you’ll continue to join me, for whatever life throws my way. Just endless musing. A few laughs, a few tears and ALWAYS something to talk about.

Friday, August 20, 2010

PHARMACIST

Ownership of the local pharmacy has changed half a dozen times over the past decade or two. But, the pharmacist has remained constant. I have been going to him for twenty-five years. He knows me, and I know him. There is trust between us. I am free to ask whatever questions I want and he explains what I need to know . He’s the first to notice potentially dangerous interactions between prescribed medications, I’m taking and he’s not afraid to speak out about it. Thank goodness. I’m in good hands and I like it. But things they are a changing. My insurance company wants me to do things differently and apparently so does my doctor. Recently I went to get a prescription filled. It is for a medication I take on a regular basis. It turned into a real hassle. I didn’t notice, that my doctor changed the order on my prescription from thirty days to ninety days. He apparently did this, to save me time and money, but neglected to tell me. Unfortunately, my local drugstore will not dispense any pills for more than a month at a time. So I’m out the BULK supply. I’m fine with that. Thirty days of pills is too much medicine lying around my house, anyway. However, my insurance company thinks otherwise. According to them, if I purchased the prescription MAIL ORDER from an online place, I could rack up the savings, that way… plus get that ninety days worth, all at once. They’re really PUSHING the idea. I’m all for saving a little bit of money... but to do this prescription thing, online, is too cold and impersonal, for me. Buying drugs is not like buying books, clothes or electronics. You need more feedback. Online, I don’t know if I’d get it. I’ve waited for hours on Helplines, looking for answers. Would this be any better? And furthermore, I’d probably get a different person each time I called. Who’s to say, who I’d really be dealing with. Therefore, I want to keep things, the way they are. I want to continue going to my local pharmacy. Problem is… I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to. The insurance company is playing hardball. I was down to my last four pills and they REFUSED to pay for the refill. Because of that, the prescription couldn’t even be dispensed, to me, by my pharmacy until the end of the week, when that very last pill of the four, would be used. I couldn’t believe it? What if I had an emergency or needed to go out of town before then? I’d be without my medication. Their response… get it MAIL ORDER and you’ll have a bigger supply on hand. TOUCHE. We’ve reached a STALEMATE. They are determined to FORCE my hand about this. But until 'Push comes to Shove'... I’m REFUSING to budge. Just call me old-fashioned. A PERSONAL connection, in this case, is better than an ONLINE one, at least as far as I’m concerned.

Friday, August 13, 2010

THE VISITOR

The seemingly big, black and white spider pranced across the floor, like a horse in a harness race. It went from under my bed to the long dresser beside it. My hardwood floors usually don't showcase spiders... but I caught this one's performance out of the corner of my eye, for all of 10 seconds. It was a black spider with a distinctive white geometric pattern on it's back. A triangle with a line, perhaps? The thing glared like spotlights were on it, as it had pranced. I immediately turned on every light in the place, to FIND where it had went. Barefoot, I moved cautiously around. It made me feel a tad bit uneasy. I did NOT want to feel something go squish, under my feet. I was irritated it had interfered with my goodnight time. So what to do now? I knew I couldn't stay up all night, looking for it. But I also knew it would keep me up all night thinking about it... since it was nowhere to be found. I suspected it was very cleverly disguised watching me in amusement. After all how BIG am I and how small is it? I needed to chill. FURGETABOUTIT! But I just couldn't. The question then became... not where the spider was, but WHERE it would go, as I slept. A weary head eventually conceded defeat, when sleep beckoned. So I reluctantly turned off the lights and crawled into bed... worried I would encounter the spider, overnight, right there. Squirming, just a little... I fixated on that happening. Fifteen, twenty, thirty minutes went by. Forty-five, then sixty and I was dreaming. PEACE at LAST. In the morning, the spider never crossed my mind, as I bounded off the mattress and hit the ground running to get a start on my day. Truth be told, I forgot all about that scary creature until I met up with it, a couple days later. I accidentally found it... casually sitting on my countertop, by the sink, in my kitchen. I thought... that was quite a journey, the irritating spider had made... going from one end of the house to the other. Briefly impressed, I got my wits about me. I LOOKED at it and it LOOKED back at me. I hesitated to think, just for a moment... where it would go next, without human intervention. With nerves of steel... I swatted it with a paper towel, then disposed of the spider problem, once and for all. Could have been poisonous? You NEVER know.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

GONE MISSING

You know that phenomenon where you put a pair of socks in the washing machine and part of them end up missing. You look everywhere, but you can’t find the second sock, to make the pair complete again. This is exactly what is happening to our silverware. Particularly the teaspoons and forks. They go in the dishwasher, then get put in the drawer, when they’re clean, and just disappear. And before you ask, no they are not hiding in the bottom of the dishwasher. They’re gone, vanished to parts unknown. We’ve had these sets of flatware for years. I haven’t counted the forks… but I had over 24 spoons when this started and am now down to a measly 8. I kid you not. Needless to say, I’m upset by this turn of events. I ruled out the possibility of my husband being the thief. He’s not taking them and stashing them away somewhere. Obviously, I am not sabotaging my own kitchen. The cats as mischievous as they are, would need pretty big jaws to cart the spoons off. So where did all that silverware go? Here’s an educated guess. Our new house guest is the culprit. Five months ago, our adult daughter, who’s an unemployed microbiologist moved back home. Life here got interesting. I could write a book about the trials and tribulations. To start with, she uses pots and pans but won’t clean them. Then she takes her meals upstairs to her room. I have tried to persuade her not to. But she refuses to eat with us. As a result, she has resorted to acting like an adolescent, at age 34. Case in point… she recently held one of my antique glass FIRE KING bowls hostage for two weeks, refusing to bring it back downstairs, after she used it... knowing full well with my bad knees, I couldn’t go upstairs to retrieve it. She even went as far as to tell me to just buy a NEW one. The only way I got it back was by refusing to give her food. She was livid. How dare I? When recently asked about the missing spoons, she denied having them. Closer inspection of her room by my husband revealed nothing. Which makes this crime even worse. From what we can surmise, she threw them out in the trash, rather than bring ‘em downstairs to rinse off and put away. When she cleans up, up there, everything in sight just goes into a big green garbage bag and out it goes. I’m missing a few plates too. I can’t believe I raised her. Irresponsible doesn’t begin to describe it. And to tell you the truth I don’t know what to do with her. She’s broke, has no job, sits on the computer all day playing games. I sat her down and told her, Enough is Enough. As long as she lives with us, there would be rules she needed to abide by… starting with NO more meals or silverware, upstairs. Her response was to tell me she’d use plastic utensils and paper plates from now on… but of course, I’d have to buy them. UNBELIEVABLE. No remorse, whatsoever, for what's Gone Missing.
P.S. I went to use a Tupperware container today, and discovered, more than half of them are missing too.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

GESTURES

Music blares. A car pulls up beside you. Depending on the tune, you either love or hate the next two minutes waiting for the light to change. But do you show your disdain or pleasure? Come on, tell the truth. A nod, a finger, a fist, eye roll, blowing kisses, pouting, winking. How many of us, out there on the road... have experienced something that commands us to send a nonverbal SIGNAL to a fellow traveler. "Hey, listen to me. This is what I think about you, your driving skills, your car, your music, etc." We have all been there and done that, in our own discreet or non-discreet way, with or without the expletives. Years ago... at a stop sign, on a rural road, with plenty of room to maneuver... I pulled slightly forward in an intersection, in order to see around a telephone pole on my left. Believe it or not, an approaching motorist came so close to my car as he made his turn... I heard him spew venom directed at me, and saw the fire in his eyes. OUCH! It hurt. I broke into tears. What had I done to him? It was a wake up call. BEWARE of folks who are having a BAD day. I know I've had a few of them, myself. However, the angry shaking of that man's fist, vividly remains planted in my mind. As frightening as that incident was,  he didn't frighten me near as much, as encounters, on a local one-lane bridge. Usually when I navigate it, no one else is coming from the opposite direction. But when another car suddenly appears and tries to scrape past me... hand gestures and words are at the forefront of my thoughts, next to survival. Now... I’m the one who is mad. One lane, MEANS one lane. Fortunately my fears are quelled and an accident is avoided. Yet the bitterness felt, for the other driver remains. I could have been killed. For some reason... the NEGATIVE gestures directed our way, are the ones most talked about. But the POSITIVE ones... are often taken for granted. Why? We don’t  make a big deal… if someone lets you get in line, ahead of them, at the gas station. Or if a person gives you their parking space. Or if someone blinks their car lights at you, to let you know, yours aren’t on. Or, at a STOP SIGN, when the other driver gives you the go ahead, so you can go through first, even though... you both arrived there at the same time. The truth is... when these things happen... we all nod our head in thanks, or flash our lights to acknowledge the nicety. Why? Because it DOES matter. For that nanosecond, we've found an ally. So... do your good upon the earth, next time you’re out driving. Make your gesture a NICE one. It might make somebody's day, in an unexpected way. But BEWARE... you might hear or see, what they really think, like it or not.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

CATCH OF THE DAY

The first time I ate a lobster, I was in Connecticut.The sign outside the restaurant said TWO LOBSTERS for $8.99. My hubby and I ate there, everyday for a week. The price lured us and the flavor spoiled me. I was hooked. Unfortunately, the price for one of those giant water bugs, goes up, the further inland you go. So when I got home from that vacation...  I learned to skip the fancy restaurant, and instead cart the lobsters home from the grocery store in a cardboard carryout box and steam 'em live. But after a while, their cost became prohibitive and the ritual LOBSTER in a POT routine faded away for boring menus of meat and potatoes. And though my mouth watered for the flavor of succulent lobster drizzled in butter... I avoided the purchase each time I went to the store. It had literally been years since I had one... so when I noticed a sign posted at my grocer last week $9.99 LOBSTERS, one and a half pounds... I jumped at the opportunity. I wanted two. The store clerk came over to scoop them out of the tank they were in, just as a mommy and her toddler happened, past. "LOOK! LOOK!" she shrieked to the small child. "See the lobsters swimming. This lady is going to buy one." I smiled. Proud to share the moment, I interjected, "Actually, I'm buying TWO." By now the store clerk had wrestled the first one to the surface, of the water, for my inspection. Placing the lid partially back on top of the tank and sitting the lobster there... he asked me if it was about the right size? I told him it was and reminded him I needed another one. Watching his hand skim the bottom of the tank... the child sat there in the shopping cart wide-eyed, looking directly into the face of the lobster, already on board. The mother said, "This lady is going to take that lobster you're looking at, to her house,and then she's going to cook it up in a great big pot and EAT IT!" The child's eyes welled with tears, looking at the lobster and then back at me. The mother emphasized the EAT IT part, to bring home the point. And the kid got the message. POOR LOBSTER. BAD LADY. I was humiliated. I felt I needed to explain to the child... but it just wasn't my place. I was irritated by their meddling. But what could I say? The woman raised her eyebrows at me as I stood there silently cursing her. " It's my first lobster in years," I managed to exclaim. The small child turned to look at me suspiciously.. Surely, I wouldn't hurt it, would I?  Lobster #2 appeared, in the clerks hands.  Boxing them up, he said, "You're good to go". I breathed a sigh of relief. The deal was done. Dinner had arrived. No more casual conversation with strangers. These lobsters were coming home with me, right now. However... realizing, the two I had, were leaving all their friends in the tank behind… the child looked SADLY at the other lobsters. And for one brief, fleeting moment, as I stood there watching the innocence of youth... I hesitated, thinking I'd throw my two lobsters back in the tank and be a hero. Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.  REALITY LOOMED. Would meat and potatoes be a better menu choice? "Did your mom tell you about COWS?", I muttered under my breath, glaring at the woman, as I shuffled past with my CATCH of the DAY. Later that evening... when the lobsters had succumbed to the boiling water... something came over me. I couldn't look into the face of death and retrieve them from the pot. I insisted that my hubby take them out and put 'em on the plates. I thought it would help getting that first bite down. But, truth be told... it only took a minute for me to pull myself together, and overcome any grief I was feeling. Delectable and sweet, that forkful of crustacean melted in my mouth. Such a thing, is worth dying for. Lobsters were born to be eaten.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

THE INVASION

The invasion started a month ago. We began to see, an occasional BIG black ant crawling, here or there. Initially, not worried by their appearance, we would stomp them out with our shoes or pick them off with a napkin. But then, over the course of time, things changed. The ants SUDDENLY seemed to multiply. They were attacking from every angle. It felt like we were living in a HOUSE of HORRORS. Ants were crawling on the floors, the walls, my dining room hutch, the kitchen counter. It was disgusting. We needed to STOP them...  preferably at the source. So we went on the defensive looking for their entry location. WHERE was it? Then, I had a hunch. There is a lone wire that comes straight into the house, from outside, to run the cable TV. I wondered if perhaps the ants could be following that line, directly inside, through the teeny tiny hole in the wall. Sure enough, when we went to that corner of the family room to take a peek, we saw a parade of ants, SWARMING in, from behind the molding, where the hole was. The mystery was solved. Next step was to get rid of them all. Armed with a couple cans of TERRO Ant Spray Killer… we went to WAR… spritzing and spraying, one room then another, to exterminate the pests. It took forty-five minutes, to declare VICTORY. Mission Accomplished. But what a mess. Ant carcasses were lying everywhere. It took another hour and a half to CLEAN up the carnage. Then we went back, to reinforce the perimeter of the house, by adding a new invisible barrier of protection, that also included sealing around the hole. So far, so good. The barricade is holding. We’ve been ANT FREE for 6 days. Hopefully, the enemy is not plotting strategy, to regroup. If another attack occurs, we’ll have no choice but to bring in the BIG guns. Professional Exterminators, trained for this type of combat. The Battle Lines are drawn. We have met the ENEMY and he is OURS.

Monday, July 12, 2010

GRAVE DECISIONS

My husband and I are almost twenty years apart in age. Mortality has a way of creeping up on you, when you least expect it. So, a year ago… after several of our friends passed on… my spouse and I started to take stock of what is really important. That included what happens to us after we die. Feeling a sense of urgency to get our ducks in a row… we headed down to the local cemetery, looking for a nice spot. We found it on a hill, corner lot, with a tree. Every now and then, we buy a malt, then go and sit beside our newly acquired real estate, and thank god, we don’t need it yet. But there is peace of mind, knowing it’s there, just in case we do. Lately though, it’s been looking kind of barren there. So we decided, it’s time, to add a stone. Usually, this task is performed by a spouse or loved one at a solemn time and can be quite stressful. We opted to make the experience more upbeat by doing it now, in honor of our 30th anniversary. Finding a ‘contemporary’ piece was our top priority. Not an easy task, in this traditional town, where the norm is pretty standard and boring. But with a little searching, we found a company nearby that was selling something that fit the bill. The stone we picked is rectangular with rounded beveled edges. It suits our taste. Sort of looks like a flat screen TV on a pedestal. After viewing it online… we drove out to the monument place, to see it in person. Once there, it became quite an ordeal. A million different things to consider, when buying a stone. Unfortunately, this piece wasn’t in stock locally. Vermont had nothing like it. So it had to be shipped directly from India, if we still wanted it. We did. But… we now had our choice of six colors. Which one? We hotly debated between... red, black, or gray marble, but ultimately chose the color brown. We wanted  a simple, solid background. No pictures of ourselves or our favorite things. The standard, last name, at the top... on the front and back. Just our wedding anniversary date, with entwined rings, engraved in the middle of it. Plus my hubby and I each wanted TWO, eight word epitaphs added. One on his side, and a different one on mine. Also included on my side would be my maiden name. I want folks reading the stone to know where I came from before I got married. The lady who waited on us was very helpful in putting this all together. The radio in her office had on the John Tesh afternoon show, playing quietly in the background… and he just happened to play, “STAYING ALIVE”, by the BEE GEES, as we filled out the paperwork. We took this as a positive sign. Both of us were grinning... ear to ear, when we heard it. We'll always have that moment to remember. Great story to tell our friends and family. Meanwhile, the Monument Company is going to make a mock-up of the completed tombstone on paper, to show us how it will ultimately look. We’ll get to approve it or make changes in the next couple of weeks. Once that’s done… the whole process, including shipping, engraving and installation at the cemetery will take three months. We put a down payment on it, to get the ball rolling and the rest of the money is due in October, when it's finished. It set us back quite a bit of money. So much so… we could have had a hell of a nice vacation. But when you’re planning for ETERNITY… the SKY'S the LIMIT.

Friday, July 2, 2010

UNDER THE WEATHER

I feel miserable. It started with a sore throat. Then… a fever. Now I have the sniffles, congestion and a cough. I hate being sick. But the worse part is being sick in the summer. It’s been a while since I felt this bad. Usually I get sick in the winter, when it's snowing. Now, it just feels weird, to be under the weather, when it’s so HOT outside. My husband’s theory is that I caught this BUG when I was out and about, gallivanting around town. It's possible. But I think it’s more likely, he had a little something to do with it. Here’s why. My hubby has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD. Simply put… he has trouble breathing. It’s worrisome. He uses various medicines and inhalers to control it. But, most importantly, to help… he keeps it very cool inside our house, so... according to him, he can breathe easier. When he’s at work during the day, I have some relief. But the minute he gets home… the thermostat is adjusted downward, again. I’m always complaining, it’s TOO cold in here, and that he needs to turn it back up. He won’t budge. He insists, the only way he can breathe, is by turning it down that low. Otherwise, he says, it feels like an oven, with the air being thick and stagnant. This is his perception from the disease. So... he compensates, by making it feel like a freezer inside the house. And, I think that’s what made me sick. The COLD air helped make my throat DRY and therefore, more susceptible to the germs, that caused this. So that's how one thing, led to another. But I’ll never convince him, that’s what happened. He says if I don’t want him to be on portable oxygen, then I have to adapt to the cooler air. Obviously I don’t want him in discomfort or distress. But why should my health suffer too? I really am sick from this. I’ve been taking Vitamin C and over the counter… cough, cold and flu medicines to get rid of this, for days, now. It’s gotten worse, instead of better. I’m starting to think I might need an antibiotic. Last night, I was looking for a little more relief… so I had a bowl of soup, thinking that might help, break up the congestion. OLD Wives’ Tale. Didn’t work. So I just crawled under the covers and tried to sleep. It was an impossible task. My nose would clear on one side and then get clogged on the other. Eventually it affected both nostrils, at the same time and I found myself gasping for air. It got so bad… I thought I might need portable oxygen, too. Meanwhile, the doctor doesn’t have any appointments available until next week. So I’ll have to suffer and shiver, through the weekend. So much for a HAPPY 4th of JULY. I guess I’ll just have to watch the fireworks on TV, surrounded by a nice warm quilt, clutching my box of Kleenex.

Friday, June 25, 2010

RUSTIC FEELINGS

I deliberately let my backyard, become wild and over grown… to give my patio retreat, a more rustic feel. I have the woods, right outside my back door. It feels good to be ONE with nature. It’s been hot, though. Over 90 degrees. A glass of spring water, with a slice of lemon, quenches my thirst, as I try desperately to catch a breeze. Stagnant air and high humidity hinder any progress made in that direction. Beads of sweat line my brow. A makeshift fan made from a paper-plate, exerts more of my energy, than providing relief from the heat… so the idea is abandoned. I persist in my pursuit of a wilderness STAY-CATION. But it requires me to hang tough. Ants and mosquitoes spar for my attention... attacking from every possible angle. Shaking off ankles, or swatting at my arms provides minimal protection, but doesn't ease the pressure of their presence… so the nuisance prevails. I wanted the woods. That’s what I got. Feeling parched, I take another sip of water. The heat is almost unbearable. Overhead, the buzzing of an airplane disrupts my solitude. I gaze up, from my woodsy habitat, trying to zero in on its exact location in the sky. Can’t see it through the blazing sunlight and towering trees. Leaning back in my rocking chair, I relax. Time stands still here, as the minutes click away. The sun eventually sets, and ambient light fades away… while lightening bugs begin to dance around, adding natural footlights to the scenery. It feels good to let the night, gently take hold. Technology takes a backseat out here…. However, the din of the air conditioner unit creates a rhythmic sound that blends with the singing tree frogs, Great Horned Owl's hooting and crickets chirping... and provides a brief reality check. It’s nice to know… civilization is mere footsteps away, should I wimp out and want to go back inside, where it’s nice and cool.

Friday, June 18, 2010

THE BUG

Earlier in the day, a rather large flying insect invaded the indoor perimeter of our house, slipping past two sleeping cats. Feeling guilty, they let the enemy, invade… the cats, later sprang to action, alerting me to the problem. Meanwhile, this enormous BUG struggled to find a WAY OUT, imprisoned by the obstacles inside our house. Both cats REJOICED at the challenge to chase and try to catch the FLYING invader. They performed amazing acrobatic feats that wooed and delighted me. Occasionally resting, the cats would EYEBALL me curiously, half expecting me, to turn the insect off, like a toy. But when I didn't, they reluctantly continued the chase, running in and out of every room in the house! With wings that fluttered faster than a hummingbird, this BIG bug refused to stay put... flying from place to place, acting crazier than you can imagine, probably because it felt trapped. Jumping on tables, stereo cabinets, kitchen counters and dressers... the cat's encounters with the flying daredevil were fleeting. Armed with a broom, I too joined the chase, trying to conquer this enemy within. At some point though... the whole thing started to get ridiculous. The cats, now bored… deferred to me, to take care of it, once and for all. Satisfied, I had the situation under control, when they saw me armed with our FLY SWATTER… both cats sauntered back into the living room to witness the bug’s demise. Totally exhausted from this INSECT'S escapades, I didn't feel confident... I would ever capture and destroy it. Not one of my feeble attempts resulted in victory. The cats seemed disappointed. DEFEAT STUNG. And since I could no longer pinpoint the bug’s exact location... because it stopped flying frantically about… I gave up the search and went about my business for the rest of the day. The problem is, that an insect, THAT BIG, just doesn't disappear? So either it left the way it came in, or it would be back. Later, as I was climbing into bed… there was a LOUD noise in the living room. I just knew it was that trouble making bug, back to drive us nuts, as our heads hit the pillow. TICKED OFF… I headed to the living room to see what all the commotion was about. After a brief inspection, I didn't see or hear the FLYING insect from earlier in the day... but I'd bet money, our cats knew where it was hiding. Because standing there, in the middle of the floor, were the two cats... playing tug of war with the FLY SWATTER. I headed back to bed, smiling. Let them take care of it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

THE PHOTOGRAPH

The eyes of a stranger stared back at me from the bin on the counter.Something about that gaze, haunted me. It's a look I've seen before. It seemed to shout, "Help me find my way back home. I want to go home." I asked out loud, "How did your picture end up here?" But the truth be told, I already knew. Discarded deliberately or carelessly... there was no one left,who cared enough to keep them safe. No one, except the shopkeeper... hoping to make a few bucks. Years of clutter accumulate in our homes, as we age.Souvenirs of a bygone era, keep us clinging to the memories. Along the way, we part with a few odds and ends. But not enough to make a dent in the history of our lives.When the time comes to WRAP our EXISTENCE... someone else must come in to sort through all the stuff, we've left behind. It is an arduous task... to whittle down the remains of a persons life... into a KEEP or DISCARD pile. If family does it... the sentimental value of an old tool, piece of jewelry, easy chair, painting, blanket or sewing basket takes on new meaning... to our loved ones. Our history lives. But if strangers do it... material value is all that matters. EVERYTHING becomes MARKETABLE. Even the photographs, that in life, we cradle in the palms of our hands... to relive the most intimate moments of a life, lived... can be sold, without smiles or tears, after our deaths... obliterating our personal history, in the blink of an eye. And if there is no family left to care... this is exactly what happens. HOW sad to have lived, loved and be FORGOTTEN by time. In the END, we too could wind up in an antique shop, staring helplessly out of a bin, on a countertop... in an old photograph marked $3.50... wondering if a stranger will happen by, to take us home again.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

THE CELEBRATION

My birthday came and went, but the lingering effects of it, remain. OUCH! I’m another year closer to sixty. The celebration was small, yet wonderful. Credit goes to my hubby who threw everything together. He always does a great job, year after year. One daughter was here, to party… she has officially moved back home with us. She’s unemployed. The other daughter, phoned home. She was busy at her in-laws, with her hubby and children. It would have been nice to also have them here, for my birthday… but her and I, will do dinner out, instead. My parents, who live back east, also called me… timed at the exact moment I was born, fifty-something years ago. It brought tears to my eyes. I was touched by the outpouring of affection. It made the festivities extra special. Only thing left to do, was to blow out all those candles, open gifts and sample the cake. My presents were simple and sweet. A PURPLE Kindle Cover, to replace the utilitarian black one, that’s now on it. Betsey Johnson perfume. A CD/DVD. A box of French Cremes. Some cash to buy whatever I want. And, last but not least… a gorgeous OPEN HEART pendant. Even the kitty-cats, remembered my special day. They gave me a card. Imagine that? I wonder how they got out of the house to buy it? Must have had help. I was giddy at the notion. It was a nearly perfect day. White cake with butter crème frosting, was next. My mouth had been watering at the thought of that first bite, all week long. So as I cut into the cake, the desire to have a mouthful was getting stronger and stronger. That is, until I saw chocolate crumbs on the cake knife. It stopped me dead in my tracks. I absolutely, positively HATE chocolate cake. Yet… hidden beneath the beautiful exterior, of white butter crème frosting, and pretty pink lettering, was chocolate. I was devastated. It was my birthday. I needed cake. But what could I do? Too late to fix the mistake. It wasn’t my husband’s fault. He had ordered white. So rather than make a big stink out of it, and let it ruin my day and everyone else’s… I declared, I would just finish cutting myself a piece, and then eat, the frosting, only. This delighted my guests. "Let them EAT cake."  There’s no accounting for taste.  I just hope this wasn't an OMEN of the year ahead.

Friday, May 28, 2010

WIN OR LOSE

I’m not a gambling woman. You won’t find me frequenting casinos or playing poker. Betting is out of my league, except for the occasional lottery ticket. No use throwing good money after bad. But three times a year… from the beginning of May until early June… we get a hankering for horses, at our house. This historic sport dominates our weekends. We become glued to the television set watching The Kentucky Derby, The Preakness and Belmont Stakes. You see horse racing is in my blood. My dear departed grandfather was more than familiar with a race track. He used to play the ponies, in years gone by. One of my earliest memories... is seeing him with a pencil, stuffed behind his ear, and a racing form in his hand. Just like him… my hubby and I try to pick the ponies, the day of the races. Instead of relying on the newspaper, like grandpa used to do… we scour the Internet looking for details on the horses, their owners, trainers and jockeys. We compile the data, print out the odds, and pick our favorites for the big day. We're in it, to WIN... but no cash exchanges hands. We do this for BRAGGING RIGHTS only. And we do it for FUN. On Derby Day, I follow tradition and wear a hat, downing a cocktail or two. But please... no Mint Julips, we hate them. Sorry Kentucky. During The Preakness, I lament about Black-Eyed Susans not really being in season. They use daisies with painted centers. My heart aches when I hear Maryland, My Maryland… it reminds me of home. Then, we anxiously wait to see the weathervane on top of the Old Clubhouse Replica, get painted with the winner’s colors. When The Belmont Stakes finally rolls around, a few weeks later... we already know... whether or not, there’s a contender for The Triple Crown. And we know... that this is the last leg of the season, for us... so we can’t help being a little melancholy, as we belt out the lyrics to New York, New York. This is it. Game On! “Start spreading the news”… “ To the VICTOR go the spoils“… to the LOSER… there’s always Horse Racing next year.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

OPEN OR CLOSED

As a young child my bedroom door was always shut tight. I could make a tent out of my sheets, hide inside and read books by flashlight, after dark. I could play dress-up with the clothes in my dresser. I could dance or lip-sync to the music blaring from my blue and white record player. I could watch the orioles and robins gather outside, my window. After I had gone to bed for the night… if I heard my parents talking… I could scramble out of bed, tiptoe across the cold hardwood floor and put my ear up against the great big door. Like a giant amplifier, the door seemed to echo their muffled conversations, so I could catch a word or two. When I got bored listening, I’d head back to bed, to sleep. The room was my sanctuary, comfy and cozy. But the reason why, was the door… it sealed me off from the outside world and allowed me to discover another one, where I ruled supreme. It stayed that way until I became an adult. Flash forward to the future. Things have changed. All grown up… I now sleep with the bedroom door wide OPEN. Keeping the door open allows me to breathe easier at night. Shutting it makes me feel claustrophobic. I don't know why? Maybe because it acts as a barrier. Or because it's so soundproof, you can't hear anything, outside the room. Curious how my perception has changed about that. Don't get me wrong...  I love my bedroom... but I just don’t want to be locked away from the rest of my house. As I've aged, the house as a whole, has become my new sanctuary, not just one room.  Several years ago… following an operation on my knees, I was forced to keep the bedroom door shut, so my cats would not bother me in bed, as I recovered. It was heart wrenching for them and me. UPSET by the IMMOVABLE object in their way, they scratched at the door, tore up the hall carpet and cried all night… making me feel worse than the pain from my surgery, or the knot in the pit of my stomach, from the room closing in on me. We got through it, but it was tough. I don’t want a repeat of that happening, no matter what shape I’m in.  I appreciate the fact that some doors must be closed for security or privacy. But as long as it’s just the hubby, the cats and I… this is an open and shut case. The bedroom door remains open. How about you… do you sleep with your bedroom doors open or closed?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

EVERYTHING CHANGES

Four months ago, I became the facilitator to a support group I attend with my daughter. We meet every Wednesday evening at the hospital for about an hour. It gets us out of the house and gets us talking about our problems. I got the job because the lady running the group, quit. She found it too time consuming, and it was interfering with her real job. She had only been there six or seven months herself… (the facilitator before her, had a nervous breakdown.) I’m not sure why, but I offered to step in and take the reins. Shortly after I stepped into her shoes, I began to understand her dilemma. It is an overwhelming responsibility, to be in charge. There is so much to do, to take care of business. Emails to answer, ads to place, phone calls to decipher, brochures to gather, handouts to copy, etc. Plus all the time it takes to do these things. Each week is a crapshoot. There is no way to determine who will show up and who won’t. Sometimes we have a full house and other times, less than a handful. Building attendance has been a BIG problem. It’s easy to get discouraged when you show up each week, but nobody else does. Sometimes when people, show up, they want to talk and things just naturally flow, throughout the course of a meeting. Other times, my job to MOVE the meeting along... becomes very necessary. I try to incorporate stories from the national and local news, along with information from the Internet, to spark conversation. Some nights it works and some nights it doesn’t. When things are moving slow as molasses... and the hour seems longer than a day, I want to pull my hair out. I can’t force these people to share, if they don’t want to. But without their input, we have no meeting. So… I’ve found, by offering to end the meeting early, they either agree to say goodnight, sooner than intended... or the conversation usually picks up again. When a session goes well… I can see the appreciation in folk’s eyes. And I’m humbled by the notion… I’m helping, just a little. Unfortunately, things went terribly wrong, last night. A random incident changed everything. Because of confidentiality, I can’t go into details here. But generally speaking, someone had a meltdown and became threatening. It was frightening. I handled it as well as I could, given the circumstances. But since I can’t control who is permitted to attend the meetings... the fear is, something like this, could happen again. To be frank, I don’t get paid for this gig and it isn’t worth risking my life, or the lives of others. I don’t want the emotions it triggered in everyone there, to resurface on another night. And the hospital doesn’t want to be liable. So… with a heavy heart and the hospital’s encouragement, the group will be disbanded. I am devastated for all who participated. I’ll miss the regulars and the free valet parking… but to tell you the truth... I'm happy to be retired once again.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

LINKLETTER MOMENTS

 Our family is proud. The granddaughter… complete with PURPLE gown, cap and tassel… marched up the aisle and collected her 2010 diploma, graduating from PRESCHOOL, this week. It was a tender moment filled with tears and smiles. The ceremony held all the 'Pomp and Circumstance' of an older crowd, and went off without a hitch… unless you want to count all the shout-outs, and waves, from the kids on the stage… to moms, dads, and grandparents, in the audience.
 
Before the event… on the big screen in the auditorium, the Preschool played a montage of magic moments from the past year. In it, teachers asked each student, now that they were heading off to kindergarten… what they wanted to be when they GREW up? With serious conviction each stated their goals. Their answers were typical Linkletter folly. Some just wanted to go to kindergarten. There was the little boy who wanted to play baseball, forever, for the high school team. Another boy… wanted to become a TRANSFORMER, because of the movie. One girl wanted to work where her mommy worked. Another wanted to be a mommy. I LIKED that one. It’s a noble profession, if I do say so myself. There were an endless array of children that wanted to be firefighters. When asked what their job would entail… they answered, simply… “To BURN down buildings.” A few wanted to be scientists or doctors, so they could help people. Others wanted to be teachers. One or two superheroes emerged. And then there was the little girl who stated unequivocally, she wanted to be a MERMAID… the reason why… because mermaids get to SWIM.
 Curious what my granddaughter was going to say, I anxiously waited for her response. The teacher asked, and she said, “A cop. I want to be a cop.” I gasped. This came as a BIG surprise to me. It’s going to take grandma a while, to wrap her head around this one. I NEVER want to see that precious child, in the line of fire. Of course, I’ll love her whatever, she decides to be, in the next eighteen, or so years. But.. I’m betting she changes her mind, sooner, rather than later. Especially, because the follow-up question to her was, “What do cops do?” My granddaughter just sat there, looking kind of puzzled, with no response. Bad guys – Beware! With a little coaxing, she figured it out.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

SOUNDS OF SILENCE

Being retired, I like to sleep in. It is one of the few luxuries I afford myself. This morning I was all comfy, cozy in my bed... when I awoke, to the drone of a riding mower outside. The engine rattled and rumbled at an obscene decibel level. Seems my neighbor decided to cut his lawn. How dare his chores interfere with my guilty pleasure. I glanced at the clock. It was 7:45 am. Give me a break. It was way too early, in my book, to be doing work of this magnitude. But, nonetheless… there he was, puttering around…. cutting away, disturbing my beauty rest and slowly driving me crazy. It would take him at least an hour to finish it. I wasn’t sure I could handle the noise for that long. I have treasured the SOUNDS OF SILENCE, long before Simon and Garfunkel, wrote about them. Besides, Mr. Neighbor had already cut his grass on Monday afternoon. And now, early on Thursday morning, here he was, at it again. Surely it hadn’t grown that much in three days time. Why on earth would he cut it again? What is the man’s problem? Then it hit me. He was panicking. Impending rain. The weather forecast called for stormy weather all weekend. So he was cutting ahead of some self imposed deadline. Still seems pretty ridiculous to cut so soon, after, you first did it. Why not wait a full week, like we do? Then the grass will show some real growth. Let those dandelions break the surface exposing their bright yellow buds. Pick them, make some wine. Let the spreading clover invite the honeybees for a tryst. Seriously, kick your shoes off and ENJOY nature, instead of whipping it into shape. I’m going back to sleep. A little R&R never hurt anyone. I’ll cut the grass, when I get to it, and not a second before… rain or shine.

Friday, April 23, 2010

GOING BANANAS

I love fresh fruit. I call it Nature’s Candy. So I indulge myself whenever I can. With spring here and summer rapidly approaching, more kinds of fruit become readily available at the local grocery store. Strawberries, honeydew, cantaloupe, blackberries, mangoes, pears, watermelon, raspberries, pineapple, blueberries, clementines, apples, plums, peaches and grapes are all delectable. But because of certain medications my hubby and I take, grapefruit is off limits. We love grapefruit juice, but have had to learn to adapt to life without it. Did you notice what else is missing from the list? Bananas. I have a self imposed ban on them here at my house. Why, you might ask? What could possibly be wrong with bananas. They’re a great source of potassium. And taste delicious when smashed with peanut butter and smeared on bread. The trouble is one of my cats LOVES bananas more than I do. Bananas are just NOT cat friendly, so it isn’t safe for her to eat them. She’ll attack the bunch, wherever I put it, and start chewing on the peels, breaking through to the pulp. There is no place I can hide the fruit. She can sniff it out, from a mile away. I tried putting them in the cupboard and she found a way to open the door, to get to them. Even though they don’t belong in the refrigerator, I once hid them there. She stood by the door meowing because she knew they were in there. It drives me bonkers. So, I just don’t buy bananas anymore, to avoid the problem. I miss them, though. It’s tough for me to give up something I like so much. What I won’t do, for the love of a BANANA CRAZY cat.

Friday, April 16, 2010

TIME STOOD STILL

On a whim… I typed the name of a long lost friend into a search engine, last week. We lost touch when we both moved from a quaint suburban town in Pennsylvania. It has been twenty-three years since I last saw her and her family And suddenly there, at the click of a mouse… was her current address, phone number and family photos. My heart skipped a beat. Previous searches had left me empty-handed, with no information. But this time around, I had found her. I was gobsmacked. She had moved again. Scanning the photos on FLICKER, I rejoiced at seeing familiar faces, even though they had aged. There she was… with her husband, sons, daughter and grandchildren. They all stared back at me from the computer screen. Time stood still. Memories flooded forward. I met her when I was a newbie to the neighborhood. She knocked on my front door and literally said, “Avon calling.” We became steadfast friends, from that first encounter. Her younger boys took piano lessons with my daughters. And... her oldest girl, babysat for mine. We were bowling buddies, lunch and dinner companions too. It was a sad day, when the moving van, packed us up, to go. My family headed to Ohio, and hers, to somewhere in Kentucky. I lost her new address… so I sent letters to the old address, hoping they would be forwarded, but I never heard back. Now all these years later… there she was via the internet. I was so happy to see her smiling face again. The question is… do I call or write to reestablish contact. I’m a little scared to pick up the phone. A voice from the past could be accidently rejected. So… I decided to sit down and write her a nice long letter. I’ll tell her everything that’s happened to me, in the past decade or two and hopefully she’ll reciprocate. I’m not sure how I’ll be received after all this time. But I have to make an effort to try and rekindle the friendship. Meanwhile… I’m loving my computer and all this newfangled technology.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

CAR TROUBLE

The seal around the windshield in our minivan worked loose. My husband could tell something was wrong when he heard a loud whooshing sound as he was driving. Then he saw the rubber gasket flapping around the window. He got home in time, before it completely came out. He tried to squeeze it back in, but it wouldn’t stay put. So… he parked the van in the driveway, and that’s where it’s sat, for the past couple weeks. Due to his busy work schedule, he couldn’t take it in to be fixed last week. And then because of the holiday weekend, the shop was closed. An appointment has been made for the coming weekend, so hopefully it works out. Instead of taking it to the car dealer… who wanted an arm and a leg to even LOOK at it…. he’s decided to take it to an auto glass place to be repaired. They told my husband on the phone… that to FIX the seal, they’ll probably have to replace it… which means taking the windshield out. And… they WARNED him… the windshield MIGHT break, when they do this. Which means… we’ll have to PAY for a brand NEW windshield. Guess that’s how they make their money… REPLACING WINDSHIELDS, not seals. Don't think our auto insurance will cover it? We have a $200-300 deductible. Oh well, it‘s always something… money in, money out. Good thing we have a spare vehicle to drive, or this would be a bigger deal, than it already is.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

HAPPY SPRING

At long last… it’s time to say goodbye to those comfy, cozy flannel sheets… I love on my bed… on cold, cold nights. No more heavy coats to weigh me down, when I’m out and about, either. Time to pull the warm weather clothes out of mothballs in the closet. And get the lawnmower, gassed, oiled and ready to roll. No doubt about it. Spring has sprung. Temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s, this week, clinched the deal. Flowers are blooming. Birds chirping. And every night at dusk, predictable as a clock, and regardless of the weather… a cute little BUNNY RABBIT scurries out into my yard to munch on growing grass. Meanwhile... I've got to decorate the eggs. I'm suddenly craving PEEPS and jellybeans. It MUST be spring. A time to REJOICE, and a time for RENEWAL. And... a time to INDULGE in... everything chocolate.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

COMPUTER PROBLEMS

I fear I've LOST everything. My MAIN computer crashed and nobody can look at it... to try to FIX it... til the weekend. So I have to temporarily use my netbook which has limitations. I'm having trouble finding my blog friends from scratch. So it may be a while before I'm back in action, commenting on your blogs and writing this one. Keep me in your thoughts. Good vibes might help.

Monday, March 15, 2010

LUCK OF THE IRISH

The other day I went to Walmart and what to my wandering eyes did appear… but a GREEN felt hat with a BIG sequined SHAMROCK on the front. Immediately enamoured, I decided I had to have it. It was perfect to help celebrate St. Patricks Day. It would go in my closet and join the other holiday hats I have. Some are antiques. Anyway… I finished shopping and took my merchandise to the front register and checked out. As I was pushing the cart, with the bag in it, towards my car… my cell-phone rang. It was my husband checking to see when I’d be home. We got into a conversation, as I stepped in my car and drove off. I was about a mile away before I realized I had forgotten to take the bag, from the cart. I hastily did a U-TURN in the middle of the road and headed back to the store. The cart was not where I left it. I went inside to see if someone had turned in the bag, with the hat and receipt. Surprise! Surprise! Nobody had. Someone had simply taken it from the cart in the parking lot. What a LUCKY find for them. I was mad. First… at myself, for leaving it… then, at my husband for distracting me, and finally, at the person who found the hat. Didn’t they think someone would MISS it and come back to get it. What gave them the right to just take it. I wouldn’t have kept the hat. Would you? It put a damper on my spirits. And reminded me of another incident, years ago in Chicago. I wore my favorite TARA brooch to a concert there. It was made with beautiful crystals and Irish Connemara marble. Sometime during the show or after… the clasp must have worked open and I lost this precious piece of jewelry. I cried for days, knowing it could never be replaced.. I wonder why things happen the way they do? Apparently the LUCK of the IRISH was NOT with me that day, either. No blarney. I’m Irish. My great grandmother, on my father’s side was born in County Cork, Ireland. She came to America on a big boat with her family, my family… back in the 1800’s. And the rest is history. Every year for St. Patrick’s Day… we celebrate by wearing green, dancing a jig, singing songs and eating corned beef and cabbage. Personally, I like boxty, instead. They’re Irish potato pancakes. I love mine wrapped with veggies… asparagus, onions, peppers, mushrooms that have been sautéed in Guinness, a classic Irish stout. You then top it, with a creamy pesto. You could add lamb, steak or chicken to the wrap, for a heartier meal. There’s an old Irish poem that says… “Boxty on the griddle, boxty in the pan, if you can't make boxty, you'll never get a man.” Something I don’t have to worry about... I can cook and I'm married. Traditional foods, family history and holiday celebrations, aside... I want to know why I didn’t inherit the GOOD LUCK of my people. Where’s my hat? Where’s my pin? Where's a leprechaun, when you need one?

Monday, March 8, 2010

PRICE OF ADMISSION

Years ago… we went to Toronto to see The Phantom Of the Opera. My husband and I love Broadway. But the cost of spending a weekend in New York, New York is a bit prohibitive, these days. So we opt to do the next best thing. We buy tickets to our local Broadway Series. Our Civic Center brings in professional theater troupes from around the country, four or five times a year, and we get to see the latest BIG NAME shows, at a fraction of the price and with a lot less hassle. So far this season we’ve seen… The Drowsy Chaperone, The Rat Pack, The Pajama Game & Bye-Bye Birdie. It’s exciting, fun and we have a blast going. My hubby always has to rush home from work by 6:15pm. He barely gets through the front door, before we’re leaving to go downtown. The shows start promptly at 7:30pm. No time to change clothes. No problem. Things here are kind of laid back… so nobody gets dressed up for these events… and that makes it kind of nice, since they’re usually held on a weeknight, instead of a weekend. Since I can’t stand for long periods of time and have trouble walking… there is no mingling, in a lobby crowded with people, with no place to sit. So… we end up staying in the car, talking… until fifteen minutes before the show starts. Once we know the doors are open, we sneak in, heading straight to our seats. Our seats in the auditorium are always on the end of an aisle, usually rows J or K. Because we get there later… we don’t have to keep… sitting and standing to let other folks into the row.  We deliberately position ourselves close to the bathroom for intermission to beat the flocks of people who will be heading there. Once situated in our chairs, we wait... listening to hushed whispers from those around us. Interesting stories abound. When the lights dim, you can hear a pin drop, as the curtain goes up. The hall is immediately transformed into another time and place. And for two or more hours, we are there… somewhere, far removed from our daily lives. Emotions running rampant.What could be better than live theater?  Sadly… the time goes much too quickly, and before you know it, the performers are taking their final bows, as thunderous applause erupts from the room. Memories will linger, for endless conversation. But as the curtain closes, and reality hits us squarely in the face. It’s OVER. That magical place and the anticipation of going there, gone. Yet, we gather our coats… heading for the door, knowing it was worth the price of admission and so much more.