Sunday, November 13, 2011


I recently learned the creator of the comic strip Family Circus, Bill Keane, passed away last week at the age of 89.
I love Family Circus. My favorites were the ghosts, Ida Know and Not Me who were always blamed for the children's mischief. Rest in Peace, Bill Keane. I appreciated you humor for many many years. Thank you.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A girl!

My brother who lives in Chicago called to tell me they weren't planning any big vacations next year and was wondering if I would take care of my niece for a week so she could have a mini-vacation over the summer. Would I think about it?
Answer: YES! OF COURSE! WHEN?! I'D LOVE TO! OMG! Imagine me with a little girl for a week! Oh, the excitement!

Friday, November 11, 2011

It doesn't take a rocket scientist

We lovingly call MIL "the FBI" because she finds everything out. One of my son's friends calls his mother "CSI" because she analyzes and questions the slightest things. I think these kids just think we are dumb.

When I'm gone for a weekend leaving a college age child home alone, I know there will be a party and it doesn't take the FBI or CSI to figure it out when you get home. Let's see the trash was taken out to the curb for pick. Maybe because they didn't want me to see all the garbage? But they are not full grown adults yet and so the beer caps in the kitchen can under the trash bag are a give away as are the shards of broken glass under the sofa stuck to the floor and the vacuum cleaner that no longer sucks up anything because its full of glass and chips or maybe the picture frame that doesn't stand anymore because when they put it back together they put it upside down and the back keeps falling off. Why did they have to put it back together to begin with I don't want to know. Apparently, everyone is safe and sound because I am thinking I would have heard otherwise.

There's another weekend away planned. I hope the house and my stuff survive.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Diner Dinner

After walking around and assessing all the variety of food options our stomachs forced us to make a selection at 10pm. We chose The Brooklyn Diner because well, it's so not Miami and it seemed fitting as our 1 meal in The City. The tux clad maitre d' seated us and gave us menus that boast the Best Burger Platter in the city. The couple speaking Portuguese next to us is enjoying a great looking NY style pizza pie. The two men we past on the way in speaking Italian are enjoying a lovely NY strip steak, baked potatoes and green beans as they discuss home politics, the 2 all-American tweenage boys a few tables down are finishing off their cream sodas as they pull out stacks of $20s and try to calculate the appropriate tip. They decide to leave $60. I can only wonder what they ate or is it they can't do the math. We smile at each other as we hear Spanish being spoken by the 2 men busing the tables around us. We watch as the sidewalk fills in with the after show crowd and a few come in dressed to the nines and order a good bottle of red. As we sink out teeth into the Best Burgers in town an elderly couple sits a few tables down from us. In their thick Long Island accents they argue about what to eat at this hour. She wants a breakfast platter he wants a dinner platter. He insists this is no time to be eating breakfast fluff, she needs real food. She defends her decision in that if they serve it then the timing must be right. He ends up with Spaghetti and Meatballs after futile attempts to order the pot pie and a few other selections that they were out of. She says it will keep him up the rest of the night but she caves to his no breakfast for dinner pressure and orders a Salmon burger but says she won't eat the bread. Our waiter chatted with us and turns out he's from Florida! from Boca Raton in NYC going to school. He misses Florida even though he never thought he would and says he will be back in a couple of years when he's done there. You take it for granted when you have it but you miss it when its gone. He's learned the lesson young. Good for him. The burgers were indeed some of the finest we've had. Perfectly cooked his well done and mine rare. Yes, we are a couple. The pickle quite frankly was delicious. I haven't had such a good pickle in a very long time. We bundled back up and headed out to walk to the garage where we left our car and while in line we overheard some show reviews. It was a great way to spend an evening. I love people watching.

The overheard from strangers while in line reviews:
The Bonnie and Clyde show is way way too long. The songs are good, catchy even, the performances string but the show just too long. It needs to be cut by at least 20 minutes.
The Adams Family was superb. Everyone in the world should see it.
The Anniversary performance of the NY Workers Union is not for everyone. It can only be appreciated by those who were there and understand its roots.

Where was I?

Entire city blocks wall to wall with people rushing here and there. The few, like moi, not rushing are bumping into the speed walkers because we are looking up and around and through camera lenses. We stop in the middle of moving people traffic to snap the memory forever in our minds. You hear car traffic and horns and the voices of so many people. The hum of their conversations, so many languages, only catching snippets here and there. "Will you take our picture?" being the one heard most often. You stop and focus on the happy people and try to make them the center of the chaos that is around them in flashing neon lights that seemingly adds to the volume of the square.

It all seems so foreign and yet familiar at the same time. I recognize these labels and ads seen in my everyday life but here they are super-sized as if on steroids and in stereo.

Answer: Times Square, NYC

Saturday, November 05, 2011


I have been watching my son get around on crutches for weeks now. He broke his foot in September and had surgery to put 2 screws in and has been crutching around ever since. He's been such a good trooper. Hasn't missed a thing. He's gone to all his classes, all his frat meetings, all his school events and all his family happenings. He only missed things on the day of and the day after the surgery. I know he's tired of asking for help and rides and having to coordinate things and depend on other people and I hope that he will be good as new soon. Next week he goes back to the surgeon and hopefully gets a boot and will be allowed to start putting some weight on his foot.

It made me remember when I started high school with 2, yes two, sprained ankles. I would alternate which foot I would rest as I crutched around school too. I know what he's going through. Pobrecito.

PS. I know to crutch is not a verb but we've turned it into one at home. It really makes sense as a verb to me. So, just move on people. Let it go.

Friday, November 04, 2011


I woke up this morning and was in a fog.
The fog isn't outside, sadly, its in my head.
I am all stuffed up and congested.
And I get to go on a plane ride tomorrow.
Oh the joy of stuffy head and pressure of thousands of feet in the air.
Yeah, me!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Halloween Phase II

Halloween has certainly changed for me over the years. Of course, as a child I dressed up and knocked on doors expecting candy rewards from strangers. Really, where did this come from? (Hmmm, fodder for another post another day. )

As a mom, I followed kids around to safeguard them from seriously I don't know what because its not like I could take anyone on or anything. I think it was more to see others all dressed up and ohhh and ahhh.

A friend of mine lives in a gated community making it perfect to contain the children in a singular neighborhood with boundaries not made by mom and therefore automatically acceptable by the children even while in character hopped up on sugar swarming in hordes in search of more sugar.

The group of children that we followed grew and grew over the years. Some years barely able to fit everyone in the picture. Time has changed that crowd. The past year the crowd has thinned. Our now high school and college age children don't need us to take them anywhere much less follow them. We don't buy them costumes although they may dress up for their own parties. if we are lucky they drop by to say hello and we still ohh and ahh over their creativity or chide them at their lack thereof.

This year the crowd was completely different. Not a child in the bunch. The original group of adults still got together, ordered the obligatory pizza and had a lovely time just being together. Did we need Halloween to do this? Not technically. We are the adults and could get together any time we want to but there is something about an occasion that made it more than OK for us to go out on a weeknight and gather with friends for a few hours. We ate, we told stories, we laughed, we caught up with each other a little with no kids in tow because the kids are all adults now. I called it Halloween Phase II. Maybe we can graduate to getting together the same way without a holiday or occasion to justify us. Friendship Phase II.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Holidays are coming!

You think I'm talking about Halloween. No, I'm actually talking about Christmas. Stop rolling your eyes at me. Do you realize that there are only 74 days until Christmas? I'm not ignoring Thanksgiving. It's actually my favorite but it takes less pre-planning.

Now, let's do the math.
74 days (or 1776 hours) I will be out of town for 9 days, that leaves 65 days (1560 hours). There's Thanksgiving and it's week of cooking, that leaves 60 (1440) . I work full time so 8 hours a day for 47 work days equals 15.6 days, leaving 44.4 days (1064). I have to sleep some, let's say 6 hours for 60 days is 360 hours which leaves us with 29.4 days (704). Then consider that I have a life and need to cook, eat, clean, drive to places etc. so take off three hours a day for that which is a total of 180 hours. So, now we are down to 21.9 days (524). Let's throw in 1 holiday party for a total of drive and party time of 6 hours. That brings us to a final tally of 21.65 days (518 hours). That is not a lot of time people to get everything done.

Have you started getting ready? Did you make your list of naughty and nice? Have you done any gift researching? planning? I can answer yes to all of that and so, I feel for once I have a handle on things.

I have made my lists. I already made my Creme de Vie. I have started researching a gift I want to give. I even already have 2 gifts already and am going to buy a few stocking stuffers this weekend because I have a coupon that expires at the end of October. I am now considering my holiday card design and hope to start gathering supplies this weekend.

So, get to it the Holidays are coming!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Can't give up....until now

I have always held the printed word on a pedestal. I mean c'mon, someone had to think what you wrote was worthy of being printed and distributed; especially a book. Relax, I realize this is an outdated concept but it was one that was hard for me to break away from.

Books were a big deal in our house. We bought many, rummaged for them, collected them, got them autographed whenever possible. Authors were sought out not rock stars. Although, I do remember standing in line very young for Big Bird's autograph. I think I got a yellow feather as a souvenir.

So in part because of all of that, we took care of the books. We used bookmarks. We did not fold corners down to save the page. We did not write in them or underline anything in them. We had a small memo book where you could jot anything down and refer to it when you wanted. You could even put that sheet of paper in the book but don't write in the book.

It was also ingrained in me to read the whole book. I would complain, it's boring. Finish it, it gets better was always the response. I don't understand it all, I'm confused were other excuses to put the book down that I tried. Only to be told read the whole thing and we'll talk about it. It should explain itself by the time you are done.

With all that forced reading of entire books during my childhood, I was ill prepared to stop myself from reading a book that simply doesn't engage me. I'm all grown up now and I would force myself to read the entire book because well, its got to get better right, it will explain itself soon. But there are some books that I just don't understand why anyone bothered to waste their time coming up with all those thoughts and wasting all that paper. Seriously.

Recently, I let myself stop reading a book. Granted I was already 100 pages into the book but I was beginning to avoid reading altogether and decided it was the material not the pastime. So, I stopped. I felt guilty. What if this was the chapter that it all turned around? Oh the stress. I forced myself to pick up another book and oh, no here we go again. This one is not working for me either. That's two in a row. Is it me? What am I going to do?

As a pre-teen I was forced to sit and read but I sit and read now all on my own with no one making me for pleasure. I can't imagine not reading books. So, I let myself stop again. Now I study my To Be Read shelves carefully. Please let me pick a winner. I don't know if I can handle a third strike. I cautiously pick an author I have never read, critically acclaimed, and recommended by friends. Here we go. Oh my, praise the monks who transcribed the first bibles, I'm hooked. I picked a winner.

I didn't strike out. It's not me it was the book. So, at this stage in my life I am still learning. Life is too short to waste on a bad book. I don't have to read the whole book because seriously anyone can put something out there to be read these days. I'm just saying... ;)

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Labor Day Telethon

I missed the telethon this weekend. The first time in forever! The telethon for MDA on Labor Day weekend has been a tradition for as long as I can remember. This year the MDA and Jerry Lewis broke up for reasons I don't know and don't need to know. When I was looking at the Sunday paper I remembered it because the cover of The Parade magazine wasn't about the telethon and I commented. I also remembered reading somewhere that it was going to be shortened to only 6 hours I think. But I missed it completely. I would have called and pledged. I always have even in lean years, I gave $10, something. As a kid my brother and I were each allowed to call and pledge $5 that our parents gave us and whatever we wanted to add from our allowance. I was always broke so sometimes I remember only being able to add a dollar or two. It was a big deal to drop change into the boot of a fireman collecting change at some intersection. One year my brother and I sat outside a local grocery chain, coffee cans decorated a la MDA and then went to the local fish bowl collection spot to be on TV when we dumped our change in. I don't remember how much it was but it was a big deal. I remember always watching the last hour of the telethon, to see how much the final tally was. I would write the amount in my diary and each year compare the grand total to the year before. Each year it was more than the last.
The telethon was a big deal, a major tradition for Labor Day weekend. I never knew that we would call on MDAs services for my grandmother years later when she was diagnosed with ALS.
I guess I will have to make my donation on my own without the telethon to prompt me this year. Its sad because I imagine they will loose quite a bit of fund raising dollars with all the changes.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What a fly may hear.

A fly on the wall at my house would have heard a conversation like this a few days ago.

Sensible Me: What do you have to do before you go on your trip?

H: I have to take the car for an oil change (we had an appointment for 3PM the next day), buy chlorine tablets for the pool (I had told him to get them on the way home today but he chose not to and I chose not to remind him of the fact), vacuum the pool, pack my clothes, pack and ship the printer and scanner, go to the bank, plus work. I guess I will pack in the morning after I drop you off at work, then I can pack the office equipment and get some work done, then go to the pool...".

Sensible Me: I stopped him there. Too many flaws with the plan already to let him continue down this slippery slope. "Why don't you vacuum the pool now before going in while the sun is going down? It won't be so hot and draining and then you can cross it off your list."

H: "No." Shaking his head offering no reason

Me: "Why not, is that too sensible? To work in the yard while its cooler?"

H: laughing, "Yea, that's sensible, we can't have that. Prohibited with a capital P!"

Sensible Me: laughing but not giving up, "Why don't you pack tonight?"

H: "Can't yet. I may need to buy some things for the trip."

Sensible Me: "Well, then you should at least get all the stuff together after dinner so that if you do need something, you'll know and then you can get it on your way home after you drop me off at work."

H: "Hmm, you think so? Think things are open that early? You think that would work?"

Sensible Me: "I know. It sounds to sensible to be true doesn't it." as I continue to list the stores that are open and en route in the morning. Will they never learn that sometimes, I really know what I'm doing?

H: "Sensible! Can't have that! Absolutely not with a capital A!" He laughs. Thinks he's cute. LOL!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


We get together
To celebrate, to laugh,
To eat, to mourn,
To share life's moments.

We get together
To help, to listen,
To give, to receive,
To share life's moments.

Each and any moment can be shared.
So, let's get together, live in the moment,
To share all our life.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Boys and showers

I have so much fun hearing stories of other kids who are younger than mine and the frustration of the parents as they tell you their daily drama in that 'you don't understand' tone because this has only happened to them and no one else before. Then of course the laughter that comes after when you share your exact same story or finish theirs for them because been there, done that!

A perfect example, was hearing about these parents who struggle daily to get their boys to shower. They have to tell them way too many times and sometimes the child comes out with dry hair or even a streak of dirt still across their neck. We all go through this.

I remember my boys bickering at bath time. Always arguing you go first, no you go first. Then magically it flipped to I'm going first, no me first. I honestly don't remember when it it flipped but it did.

Even when I was a kid I remember my brother being reminded to use soap when he showered. One time when my father went to check on him because he was taking too long. The water was running in the shower but my brother was sitting on the floor of the bathroom with his pajamas on playing with his little plastic green army men. My father about hit the roof! He looked ready for bed but all he had done was change his clothes. He hadn't bathed. LOL!

Every age has its stage. Some are better and some are worse. I just know that they are stages and this too shall pass at least until the next stage. ;)

I think the stage mine are in now are the "eat me out of house and home stage". They eat 24/7!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Defining Gift Giving

Giving gifts. We all know there are so many kinds of gifts to give. You could give a money or go buy an item with your money to give to someone. Then there are the things you do that are gifts. Giving of your time and talent. You can give kind words, a smile, a helping hand of some sort etc etc.

So, here's what I have been pondering lately. If you do it habitually, is it still a gift you are giving? If you make coffee every morning, is that a gift you give albeit daily to those who drink it? Or does a gift have to be something more than what you would normally do? Maybe your normal is a gift for someone else? What you think is simply trite, daily, habitual behavior is in fact a gift for those around you. You simply need to be more aware and mindful of these actions and how they are offerings that you give.

I don't know the answers to these (and so many other) questions but it's what I have been thinking about lately. All because of the book I am reading, 29 Gifts from the website I mentioned the other day.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Cool Quote - a la Congress

"What is a committee? A group of the unwilling, picked from the unfit, to do the unnecessary."

Mark Twain

This quote selection is an homage to the (ahem) deal congress stuck this week to avert financial crisis where they have agreed that a "special committee" because they think whittling down the number of people arguing and playing tug of war to 12 will guarantee a smooth process. Yeah, right!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Write something

In junior high one of my favorite teachers was my English teacher. Every so often she would tell us to take a a sheet of paper and a pen. I know. I know. You're thinking "Ugh, a pop quiz." There were plenty of those but every so often it was an assignment that she told us had no right or wrong. HUH? We didn't get it at first either. She would write a word or phrase on the board and tell us to write anything down. Whatever popped into our heads. Other words, phrases, sentences, a paragraph. Random sentences. Anything. There was no write or wrong. There was no erasing, hence the pen. Even if you misspelled something, just keep going. It was timed. We only had 2 minutes.

The very first word was WATER. I will never forget it. It was one of the longest 2 minutes of my life. The stress. What if I got it wrong? If I didn't write enough? If I rambled to much? How do I start? This blank piece of paper stared back at me. It was horrifying. If I made a mistake I couldn't erase it and start over. There wasn't even time. Oh no! How much time is left. "1 minute", she called out. Panic washed over me. I looked up and stared at her. What in the world did she want me to write? She was looking around the room and said, "Write something, anything. 20 seconds". I wrote my name at the top of the page and then I wrote a list: rain, shower, downpour, wet, drenched. "Time's up. Pens down. Pass up your papers."
I remembered being relieved it was over and panicked at the same time convinced I had failed.

As we left the room for the next class she handed us each our papers back with a smiley face in red ink. Our homework was to bring it back the next day because she was collecting them again. We were stunned. The assignment was the topic of conversation all day. Between classes and at lunch that's all we talked about was how weird, what was the point, how much more we could have written, we all thought of encyclopedic volumes we could write now.

We did these assignments for 2 years. More time was added to the assignment, 5 minutes to write whatever. Eventually, she would write comments on the papers but they were never critical. Our last assignments before graduating 8th grade was the word WATER again. This time I wrote over 2 pages. It wasn't a fully developed essay but good paragraphs some of which actually went together.

She returned them to us stapled to the first water assignment with the same comment on everyone's paper. "Look how far you've come" and the smiley face in red ink across the top of the paper.

I still think of those assignments when I try to think things through. Sometimes I still think in a list like the first assignment and sometimes its full sentences that come together. I find it curious.

Thanks Mrs. W for teaching me to think, think whatever but think.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Mindful of Giving

I know yesterday I said this would be more than a place to journal about me but bear with me. Baby steps people.

I also know that in the past I have blogged endlessly about doing things for others and how that makes me feel good. Trite. I know. But seriously, learning, teaching, giving, creating, doing for another I have honestly come to the true realization that those are the things that make me happy, content, and feel satisfied.

So, many times I feel like I didn't do enough. I should be doing more. I recently shared this feeling with a friend and she pointed me to a book she heard about. I ordered the book last night and surfed around the website, 29-Day Giving Challenge.

From what I gather one of its main ideas is to Be Mindful. At least that's what spoke to me as I was looking through it. In that vain I am going to try to reflect daily on how I have given that day so that I can be more mindful of my happy moments and be grateful for them.

Moments yesterday:
I bought coffee for the office because I knew we were low and all need our fix. I held the door open for a man carrying a stack of boxes and offered to help so he could make it down the stairs since the elevator wasn't working. He offered me the bag that was hanging from 2 fingers saying it would help him balance. He was very grateful.
I stopped at the grocery store on the way home and bought the ingredients to make Rice Crispy Treats for my son and then I made them.
I made a card for a friend who's struggling with health issues and pulled together the supplies to make a few others. I'm mailing the card today.
Hubby had a headache so I offered to massage his head to ease the pressure. Shared a good laugh because nice effort, poor execution didn't help at all as I truly have little strength in my hands.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

A year later...

It's been over a year since I have posted but I have been thinking about it again lately. Coincidentally I have been running across articles and writing about 'listening to your inner voice' and 'going with the flow' and living the life you were meant to live' and all kinds of esoteric things like that.

The thing is every single time I read those kinds of things my mind wanders to my crafting, cooking, reading and writing. All creative things that I enjoy doing not that I particularly excel at any of it but it invariably brings me joy. Even when I the result ends up in the garbage that momentary frustration is still makes me feel good about me because I tried. I think I need to be creative. Seriously. I have precisely 1 bajillion projects in my head, I have started either literally or on paper approximately a ton of them and accomplished a handful of them. I think I need a little focus.

To that end I think blogging is a good place to start. It will help get the juices flowing again. So, I am jumping back on the band wagon and hopefully this time it will be more than just a journal of me. Maybe some short stories will pop out or an essay. Maybe you will just get a rant who knows. But I am going to dive in head first....tomorrow. Today, I sat on the edge and got my feet wet.