Running Free

Running Free

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mai Tai Monday

My Dear Husband (DH to those of you in the know - my dear followers) of a decade plus recently decided to take a one week vacation. A pure unadulterated stick to your roots stay-cation at the homestead. This was his dream. Simple and easy.

He has been in need of such a break from the daily grind for a while, and with DS in a half-day ocean camp, DH would pretty much able to do what he wanted to do on his time table. Of course should he require a partner in crime I would be willing and able. Caveat being I had to be back in time to pick up said son from camp.

Well, on Monday, the first official day of the DH sojourn to solitude and rejuvenation, I began my daily morning ritual of making beds, getting a load of laundry started and packing a lunch for DS to take with him to the beach. DH slept in and was left to dream and count little lambs.

I roused the younger version of my husband and he prepared for his day at the beach by wolfing down a granola bar and a cup of milk, and after a friendly reminder from yours truly,” “Don’t forget to brush your teeth dear,” DS and I left for camp.

We were running a few minutes late and usually when this happens there is a good deal of gruff from the small one grimacing about why brush when he would just be eating again in a few hours. But not this morning. This Monday morning was looking up.

Off we went, my pint sized blonde son with a smattering of freckles across his nose and his long tan legs poking out of his jammer. My goodness he was getting tall and lanky. He certainly didn’t look like a little boy anymore. But I wouldn’t tell him that.

On the twenty minute drive we chatted about the upcoming quiet month of August- no camps, no swim, and just pure sweet nothing. How exquisite. Especially for an eleven year-old whose only real responsibility thus far in life was to make his bed, brush his teeth, put his clothes in the hamper and help out when asked by Mama on occasion. Other than that, the world was his oyster as I often told him. “I don’t like oysters, mom,” was his pat response. “They are slimy. So can we make my world be something more like a Wiener schnitzel hot dog or pizza?”

After dropping DS off at the school where he would be transported with his class of twenty or so like minded beach bums in training I waved goodbye, blew him a kiss and headed off to the gym. I had an appointment with a nine o’clock SET class (strength, endurance and training class) and I didn’t want to be late.

While I sweated and groaned throughout the sixty minute class my DS was home unattended and getting into goodness knew what. So when I walked into the house looking very much like something the neighborhood cat had dragged in from a hard night , I was greeted by the sights of my my DS was standing there all smiles.

“Honey, how about you and I head down to Fashion Island for a nice lunch?”

I looked at him for a moment. My DS asking me to go to one of my all time favorite crime spots in the world – on a Monday morning.

I put down my sweaty towel and asked him if there was a reason he had chosen Fashion Island- an incredible outdoor mall set amongst palm trees, Koi pond and piped in music- not to mention my two favorite stores – Bloomies and Neiman Marcus.

I admit it- I am a shopaholic- I love clothes and as a former assistant buyer at B. Altman’s many many years back the love of fashion has stayed with me. Nothing better than a good dose of au courant to chase away the blues of a recession, yes indeed.

Of course I love any chance to have a date with my sophisticated man, but I knew there had to be more to the story since DS is anything but a shopper. DS explained that he needed to replace his Bose headset and there happened to be a Bose store in Fashion Island. Of course I knew exactly where it was located. After all, Fashion Island is my home away from home. I can often be found sitting under the umbrella of a large green tree with an iced coffee watching little children experience the magic of the Koi pond. It is a cost effective way to relax and enjoy at the same time.

After a 12 minute shower I was dressed and ready to go. We hopped in the car and made our way to the Island of Fashion where much to my husband’s chagrin the Bose store did not have the headset in stock. No worries, he would order it online.

Next stop- lunch. We decided on Cheesecake Factory and had a nice corner table where we could look out onto the skyline and the ocean. I ordered water and a salad and DS ordered a soup and salad combo and water – and a mai tai. It was 11:45 a.m.

“It is five o’clock somewhere,” DS said with an impish grin as he took his first sip.

I watched him savor this Monday morning treat and joked about it being a “Mai Tai Monday morning” and he laughed. We both did actually.

It is the simple unplanned pleasures of life that we must grab when they are afforded. And today, DS was grabbing for a mai tai and I would drive us home. All was good.

Well, we ate our delicious lunch and as DS slurped the last few liquid droplets of his drink I could tell that the alcohol had begun to work her magic and DS was smiling a big big grin.

“Everything okay Papa?” I asked.

He wiped his mouth on the napkin and glanced up at the ceiling, out at the ocean and then at me.

“I am wonderful,” he said.

And such was the first day of a vacation for an overworked husband much in need of a respite. Mai Tai Monday may become a yearly event.

Taxi cab at the ready!

copyright 2008-2009 all rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Take a Hike

“Honey, I am going on a hike.”

These were the seven words uttered by my Dear Husband (DH) the other evening. We were in the living room being lounge lizards. I was playing catch up on back issues of The New Yorker magazine which had begun to pile up in a most annoying way. DH was reclining on the other end of the couch looking at his Kindle. Somehow I can’t imagine the Kindle as actually supporting the task of reading, but, to each their own.

“Okay,” said I. “Have fun. Be back before breakfast.”

I studied the cover of the magazine in my hands. A nun, a girl in a bikini and a woman in what appeared to be traditional Islamic dress with a hijab and long black dress sat staring out at the reader. I noticed that the woman in the Islamic attire was actually similar to the outfit of the nun except that she wore a big ol' cross on her chest.

I listened to the smooth butterscotch voice of DH as I studied the cover trying to understand what it was the artist was sharing with his art. I traced my hand along the outline of the woman dressed in the bikini. She had on sunglasses and her legs were crossed. I noticed she had on platform shoes that didn't look very practical for a day at the beach.

“Well, I am not sure yet where the hike will take me,” said DH. “I mean I haven’t exactly decided. It may be Appalachia or it may be Argentina.”

“Well, at least you know which letter of the alphabet you are talking about,” I replied.

I glanced over at my DH looking very comfortable in his perch on the couch. His blue eyes were the color of topaz at dusk and he stared back at me as a rogue lock of sandy blond hair plopped over his left eyebrow. He had on an orange tee-shirt with skeletons dancing across the front of it. ‘Rattle them bones,’ was printed in block letters underneath the skeletons.

“You might want to get a haircut before you go,” I said.

He laughed and began to scroll through the electronic device propped on his lap.

"A hike,” I thought to myself. “I can’t even get him to go on a constitutional around the block and now he wants to go on a hike?”

DH gave me a big smile and a yawn, the wide open mouthed hippo-style yawn that seem to go on forever. That kind of yawn.

“Have you read anything interesting on your Kindle? “I asked my husband who had become way too horizontal on the couch.

I decided to try and get to the bottom of this sudden interest in hiking, and decided that maybe asking questions like Miss Marple – on seemingly unrelated matters might bring me closer to the truth.

“Well, there is a senator from South Carolina who is in a bit of hot water for a vacation he recently took,” DH said in a sleepy voice.

“Indeed,” I replied. “What kind of vacation did he take exactly?”

“Well, it seems that he neglected to tell his wife where he was going - just that he was going on a hike someplace to get away and think for a few days.” I could hear the cracks in my husband's ankles as he changed his position on the couch.

“So far sounds reasonable,” I said. Being a firm believer in the importance of personal space I support a few days here and there to get re-acquainted with one’s inner self.

“I guess you could say it turned into a little bit more than a commune with nature,” my husband said with a chuckle.

“It turns out that the good senator from the good state of South Carolina decided the scenery was better in Argentina and decided that neither his wife nor his staff needed to know how to get in touch with him. He was spontaneous- like you honey. Except that when he got to Argentina the only hiking he did was with a pretty Latina with whom it turns out he had been having a riveting email relationship."

I dropped the magazine into my lap and looked over at DH who was grinning- an ear to ear grin that said: “I am a goof.”

“Well dear, if you would like to go on a hike anywhere in the alphabet I am happy to accompany you,” I said in my sweetest candy voice and I winked.

And DH winked back.

Hike indeed.

I wonder who paid the bill for that hike? Come to think about it, I’ll bet the almighty senator will be paying for that hike for a long long time to come.

copyright 2008-2009 all rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pine Needle in a Haystack

It’s good to be a nobody. It’s kind of like being a pine needle in a haystack.

I mean, a nobody will never make it to the front page of the tabloids for having mismatched shoes or a missing button. A nobody will never be paraded in a five page spread complete with broccoli in her teeth and grey tufts peeking out from under a baseball cap. A nobody will not be hunted or hounded by the paparazzi tribe parading around with cameras and direct connects to the Internet.

As a nobody I can burn the meatloaf and the only ones who will give a fig- flying or otherwise - will be my DS and DH. Both of whom are eternally understanding and forgiving. What brand of toothpaste I use, the fact that I have crow’s feet, wrinkles or any other flaw will not become tabloid headlines or a point of reference on the Ryan Seacrest radio program.

Nobody cares about what a nobody eats or reads. When you are a nobody it is indeed like looking for a needle in the almighty haystack; and I like being part of the collective haystack. There is safety in bits of hay. Albeit prickly now and then, but good. Safe. Quiet.

In recent days we have had the passing of some great entertainment luminaries – Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Karl Malden, and Ed McMahon – each of whom shared incredible gifts with the world. Yet, each was singularly human. Each now is a subject of the vicious and insatiable appetite of the masses for salaciousness. Somebody wants to know the sordid details of the laundry and now the closets and dresser drawers are all being scavenged for who has the most untidy, most messy piece of fabric that needs to be hung on the interminable clothes line of lies and deceit.

Being a somebody comes at a steep cost. I applaud the efforts and talents of these individuals who have moved beyond and whose work here on this planet is now done. May they be resting in peace, sipping pink lemonade and listening to a few great tunes on a fluffy white cloud of hope.
When you are a nobody, it means that there isn’t a somebody to garner special reservations at the latest and greatest eating establishment. It does mean that as a nobody sometimes luck steps in and gives you a full hand. It means appreciation for getting a front row seat, or a great table or a smile or a bit of courtesy just because- not because someone expects anything in return- but just because.

Being a nobody means if I decide to run out in yesterday’s sweaty clothes that no one will care and actually it may provide an intended twenty feet personal space barrier to insure that those standing behind me in the grocery or bank give me an extra wide birth. Yup, being a nobody definitely has its advantages and upside.

I like being a nobody to the rest of the world. Because to those whom I care about and those who care about me I am a somebody - snug in the confines of our own little haystack. To me, that is just about perfect. I have no fear of The National Enquirer, People Magazine, TMZ, Access Hollywood, or any of the motley collection of fool’s follies knocking on my door or peering in my window anytime soon.
And that suits me just fine.

I like being a pine needle in the haystack.

copyright 2008-2009 all rights reserved.