Running Free

Running Free

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Kid Brain

Recently, one of my son's (aka DS as in"Dear Son") let me know that one of the girls on his swim team asked him about my blog.

"How does she know I have a blog?" I asked him.

"Evidently you mentioned it to her a while back," was his response.

"Mmm" I thought to myself.

"Can I have the URL?" he asked. "

"As soon as I can remember it," I responded.

I was till trying to process the fact this this young 10+ something remembered a conversation that she had with me at some point in my long distant past.  And not only could I not remember the URL for my woefully neglected blog, but I couldn't recall ever having told any of DS's swim mates that I attempted to keep a blog.

As I pondered this lack of memory, DS poked my arm, "Um, Mom, C____ (I shall just give the young lass a first initial in order to protect her privacy) is texting me asking for the link..."

"Okay, let me go look it up."

We happened to be home when this interrogative came into focus. Oh, did I not set the scene?- shame on my- just because I have an MFA in creative writing does in no way mean that I actually can write....that said- close your eyes and put yourself in the moment: dinner time, pot of water boiling on the stove as a not very pleasant hiss reminds you that perhaps it is time to turn the heat down....the clanking of dishes as you set the table, toss a salad and attempt to submerge long grains of whole wheat pasta into the cauldron of boiling water....

Okay, now back to the the URL and the memory - or lack thereof.  I log into my computer (hence the importance of being home) look up the URL, and dutifully pass the series of letters and dots  along to DS who in turn passes it along to C who has been texting dribs and drabs to DS. Texting is one of those skills I have never mastered. Indeed, one needs a dictionary to decode what it is I am trying to say- typing, well, like cooking, it's a skill that is not inherent to my genetic coding.

The ability of young ones- a mere decade old give or take a few years is actually a wonderment to me as I approach the age which shall not be named. I know my memory is not what it used to be. I must make lists and create little ditties to help me keep tabs of where I placed the password to my PC or my security code for this that and the other device.

Years ago, I too had a mind that was quick and witty and spot on. And as I try and wrack the feeble old noggin for the conversation that enabled the young C to have interest in my blog I recall a young thing- no more than three or four. He was a rather shall we say petulant and indulged young thing. At the time of our encounter I was working in a clothing boutique called Virgina Allen. It does not exist any more. But at the time when I worked there, it sold classic pieces designed for the executive woman on the rise.

This young whippersnapper was swinging like a chimpanzee on one of the round tables from which hung jackets and skirts. It had a glass topper that probably weighed twenty pounds - and as I eyed the young thing he probably weighed twice that much- which meant that any excessive force might be enough to tip the rounder, the clothes and the glass over- the outcome would not have been pretty.

I asked the young lad to please not do that- I believe I even used the word "Please."

"Oh be quiet you old billy goat!"

 I kid you not. This is what the young thing said to me. Lucky for me his mother and her designer bag decided to come and look for the long lost child at that exact moment.

"Your son just called me a billy goat," I said.

She gave me the  Greenwich Glare (this was in Greenwich, CT circa 1987)  -  took Junior by the hand and left.  For those of you not familiar with the Greenwich Glare it is a set way way of looking through someone of less financial success. It was often observed in the women of Westport and the  preppy wives of the Greenwich set. As a poor college student at the time it was a look with which I was intimately acquainted. Imagine ice daggers piercing your eyeballs and you can imagine the look.

A billy goat. A kid of a different kind. And now - here was DS's friend C asking to for a link to something that I couldn't even recall. Her kid brain certainly was in a different league to my Billy goat gruff days.

Billy goat indeed....

copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The World Keeps Getting Smaller Alice...

Recently, we as a human species passed the 7 billion mark on the number of people living on this planet called earth. That's a lot of zeros:  7,000,000,000. As I got to thinking about this number it made me realize that it seems that long since a post was last made to this website. And for my dear loyal, devoted fans who have been begging me to write, write, write (okay...imagination is a good thing...) here it is- the new and improved humor from one member of the human population of 7 billion+.

What have you been up to these days?  One might ask.  Well, despite the number of Homo Sapiens now walking this earth, it seems to me in many ways, smaller. Technology has allowed me with a click, a tap, a sneeze almost -  to turn on a light, anwer a phone or connect with a friend thousands of miles away in Paris.

Indeed just last Thursday, the phone rang in Plato's Cave (what I call my office cubicle) and as I struggled to understand how to fix an unbalanced anchor tag in my html code (I know me -a total right hemisphere gal coding- - it is bizarre- those tags are enough to drive me to the dark side - but that is a story for another day.

I picked up the phone to be greeted with, "I am walking along the Seine. It is 11:30 at night. I have just finished dinner with clients and I thought of you...knowing how much you love this city of lights- and rather than take a taxi, I opted to walk back so I could share the sites with you long distance." And thus began a five minute conversation with a dear friend who happened to be in Paris for work. I suppose I can share that he works for Bill- and is a PC-kinda guy- I am an Apple kinda gal- but we don't let our technological differences stand in the way of our friendship - no, no no....

So, you see as the planet increases the number of bipeds taking up residence, it seems to shrink in terms of how we are amazingly able to connect- even when we are physically very far apart. Now I will admit I am mostly Luddite in nature- I do not tweet, chirp or groom gardens on Facebook.  However, I do send letters - and I do use text and I do use email- I am a big believer in the electronic message these days.

So please, my loyal and devoted fans- do share how the word is smaller in your version of Alice in Wonderland- despite the growing number of people- do you feel more connected than say five years ago?  Let us take an online, very unsophisticated poll and see what we come up with...

Alice is back and she  promises to be a better and more frequent blogger with many tales to tell....

Thanks for sharing your lives with me!

copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Goodbye Bill...Hello Steve

Dear Bill,

We have been together a long time. Close to twenty years.  We’ve weathered many ups and downs; and if there was ever anyone who could show compassion as I sat knee deep in muck in the middle of the night, it was you. 

You were always there with quiet guidance and a solution,“ Let’s try a reboot,” you’d suggest.  Or maybe after studying the problem for a bit you might say, “I think we need a  Control+alt+delete. ” Whatever the case, you were there for me. My knight in shining Armorall.

You taught me many things. And I am grateful to you Bill. I really am. I mean if it weren’t for my time with you, I would never have learned that patience isn’t a virtue.  It’s a necessity.  

When the Wreck of the PC came in the wee hours of the morning and claimed my hard drive as its own I didn’t cry. I didn’t scream and run stark mad out the door. I took the thing to the local tech hospital where I kept an around the clock vigil as the hardware doctors tried to perform a last minute intervention. One more breath from the drive. Just one file with all the data for my report. That’s all I needed.

“These things happen.” That’s what you said. Nobody is perfect. Well, that may be true. Today, I come to you with outstretched hand and a bid of adieu. We shared conversation across the campus of your beautiful building in 1995. Yes, you and I walked side-by-side and chatted about the newest baby, Windows 95. Oh, I know, I am dating myself here. It goes to show how time does indeed fly.

So I thought you should be the first to know – Rasta Woman convinced me with a single word.  I ran into her (literally) at the Farmer’s Market where she had the most perfect specimen of an eggplant in her hands.   Her skin glowed with something akin to love and she told me that she had seen the light. I should paint the scene for you- I was inspecting a quart of organic strawberries when I dropped them all over the hemp-strewn carpet of the stall.  I stepped on Rasta Woman’s foot in the process of collecting the perfectly ripe specimens. Oh and the scent – they were just exquisite.

But, I digress.  As I began to apologize, she shared with me the truth of the world as it applies to the computer. Lo and behold  she did it with a touch of a finger and the name of a fruit. Rasta Woman with the impeccable skin placed her cool hand on my cheek and whispered a single word, “Apple.” My cheek and me were flushed with embarrassment and the remainder of the peanut butter that at one time had been on the sandwich of my six year-old’s lunch.

Rasta Woman rules. She is the light at the end of the dark tunnel of lost data, slow boots and endless crashes in the middle of the most urgent project. No more. I'm sorry Bill.

The Apple of my eye is a guy named Steve. I am leaving you for a younger, brighter more virulent man. Yes, it's true .  And my how his Apple does shine. Rasta Woman was right. Apple. One word.   

Steve and I – well – I guess you could say we have entered into a mutually exclusive relationship. He is always ready for anything. He is awake, ready, willing, and able. He has none of this belching and creaking and groaning and stretching. He is ready to go. He hits the ground running- whenever I am ready- so too is he.

Goodbye Bill...Hello Steve…..


A former PC Groupie – now an Apple Convert

copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sock Troubles...

They are at it again. I can hear them giggling and whispering behind my back. It never fails. Just when I think I am in control, that I have things firmly in hand - Kaboom!

The socks of the world have united against me. I have no less than 8 different socks in varying shade of pearl grey, mud spattered white, coffee stained yellow and black with stripes, black with ribbed coating and not a one has a mate.

I feel like I have become the host of the dating game for socks. In this corner over here we have a lovely white sock with a small hole in the big toe – extra air conditioning really- looking extremely dapper and in need of a mate. And over here looking suave and sexy is gold toe reinforced cashmere sock eagerly in need of a mating…

I swear, they go in as two and come out as one. It makes no sense. Does the laundry machine eat them; chew them up and spit them out as lint bits? I just don’t know. Where do these rapscallions hide? Amidst and among the shirt sleeves and coat tails? In the lining of swim suits? In the hoods of sweat shirts? Why can’t they just stay with their mates? What is this divorce court? It is out of control.

And then just when I think I am going to just toss the bunch of rabble rousers and start over – or maybe turn them into dusting clothes for hard to reach place or puppets with bug eyes for me to use as wake up calls for DH and DS, just then out pops a varmint from the inner lining of a recently changed set of sheets or from the folds of a swim towel giving me a smug look as it plops very unceremoniously to the ground.

Failing dismally at my ability to manage the socks I see little hope for the rest of the house. I think it is time to think about a trade-in- I will talk to the DH – maybe there is a good trade in on a used model of house wife these days…

copyright 2009-2010 all rights reserved.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Poof- be Gone...

Poof! Be Gone! That is what I wish I could say and make the myriads of piles just disappear.

What piles you ask? Well, the piles that magically appear on the family room couch for example. Dirty socks strewn haphazardly across the cushions; boxer shorts lounging languidly sans occupant, empty cheese stick wrappers ruing the day, television remote controls in prime view of Hercules the cat, milk cups with dried drops glued to the innards…the list goes on and on. The fairy godmother has until recently been magically managing these endless piles of stuff and sending the items to their proper home: the laundry room, the recycle bin, the dishwasher. Until today.

This is when the above- mentioned fairy godmother accidentally poisoned (well a slight exaggeration) said Dear Son (DS) by offering the young lad who I must admit is a wee bit under the legal age of drinking and driving – a bit of alcohol-laden chocolate sent to us from some dear friends in Paris. Now I will admit that contained within the package was a note explaining what went to whom. The chocolate package looked like it could have been for DS. So, I opened the package and took out a very innocent looking brown wrapper which DS began to unwrap and stick in his mouth.

“Bleck! Ach...” Cough. Sputter. DS ran to the sink to expectorate contents of his mouth and gulp down water. “Mom, what was that?!” he asked incredulously.

I looked at him, red in the face from coughing. I then looked more closely at the package and realized that although there was indeed chocolate and biscuit in the sweet offering there was also a good deal of liqueur – pear brandy to be exact.

Well, I couldn’t control myself and began to laugh somewhat hysterically while DS recuperated from his brief brush with alcohol. “I am so sorry honey,” I said with my most contrite mom voice.

“Next time I will read the note before assuming anything.” I gave him a big hug and a kiss on the cheek.

“That would be a good idea Mom,” DS said. “And while you are at it, maybe you could make that box of whatever it is disappear?”

I gave him the sweets intended for him which he promptly devoured.

Now what has any of this to do with poofing? Well, nothing really, except that it got the above mentioned fairy-godmother-of-sorts thinking that she had better enable her DS to fend for himself – from the likes of yours truly proffering candy – and better learn to control his environment- which means starting with limiting the messes. By not creating them.

Or having created a mess- cleaning it up.

Poof! Be Gone!

copyright 2008-2009 all rights reserved.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Daylight Savings....

“My hour of sleep was savagely ripped from my loins in April and today, the one day I can take comfort in reclaiming that hour by sleeping in my wife decides that I have actually gained an hour to do more with the day. “

These were the words uttered out of my husband’s mouth at 7:15 a.m. this past Sunday which happened to begin Daylight Savings Time. The sun was high in the sky and the actual time as I informed him was actually 8:15 a.m. And we had a whole new hour to carpe diem.

He looked at me with one eyes and rolled over in the bed, pulling the blankets up over his head. I tried to sneak under and give him a gentle loving kiss on the cheek. But alas, he held those covers tighter than he holds onto his wallet when I walk by.

“Papa, it is a beautiful day outside. You must get up, do a few deep cleansing breaths and welcome the start of the fall.”

I heard what sounded like a groan emitting from the bed.

“I am trying to gain back the hour that has so rudely been wrenched from my arms. The hour that I truly deserve and have earned.”

I tried futilely to pry the covers from his hands and provide him with a gentle shake, rattle and roll, to try and get the blood flowing through his body which was pulled into a fetal position.

“Just think of all the great things you can do with your newfound hour dear. “

I succeeded in helping my husband roll over and unleash the covers. I gave him a big hug and a smile and said, “Welcome to the fall my dear husband.”

The day was just beginning. An extra hour to enjoy.

If only I could make my husband see the beauty of this philosophy…

copyright 2008-2009 all rights reserved.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Wee Bit of ...

Paisley prints went out a while ago. Or so I would like to think. The spermatozoa splotches of pinks and purple and psychedelic shades of blue and green never did much for me. Which is why I was surprised to see a motley collection of shapes that looked like paisley prints recently rimming the seat of the downstairs toilet seat.

The seat itself was up. The messy collection of prints was around the circumference of the seat proper.

“Hm, thought I to myself, “That is strange. I just cleaned this bathroom yesterday.” (I am the maid, cook and bottle washer (make that cup washer) in our humble abode.)

Well, as I peered in for closer inspection I noticed that the normally clear water in the bowl was not clear. It contained. Well, this is a G-rated website, so I won’t bother with descriptive. Let it suffice to say that the color was a shade of liquid amber.

That said, I gave a squeal when I realized indeed what had taken place in the commode.

Kitty (aka that Hercules) had decided to go for a look, drink, goodness knows why. Curiosity I guess.

I do know that I went out of the bathroom and summoned dear offspring and asked him to come ‘have a look.’

“Now, my dearest son,” said I in my most matronly voice.

“What do you think has happened here?”

He took a look at the toilet seat, inspected the curiously edged paw prints rimming the white seat and pronounced, “It looks like Hercules was here.”

I gave him the “That’s your response” look along with a gentle finger pointing and said, “Please be more careful next time – put the lid down next time.”

He sighed and said, “I’m sorry Mom. I won’t do it again. Now can I go back and watch the wrestling match on television?”

I gave the toilet and the bathroom sink and the floor a good scrubbing.

As for Hercules- I contemplated giving his paws a cleaning, but wasn’t sure how he would react….

I swear this cat is going to make me decide that having a chameleon for a pet might just be the answer.

They don’t chew wires do they?

copyright 2008-2009 all rights reserved.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Kibble Loaf

I admit it. I am not the world’s greatest cook. Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray, Julia Child (rest her Butter lovin’ soul) have absolutely nothing to worry about from me in terms of competition. But, if they knew they would probably shudder and refer me to the Food and Drug Administration for family endangerment – if they knew.

But they don’t. In any case, it all is nonsense really. I am not a good cook. My family knows that. My friends know that. Practically every friend I ever had knew that. Past tense being the operative word here.

Once these former friends tasted the (ahem) comestibles from my kitchen, well, those of you wise and vintage enough to recall the song from the Sugarhill Gang from the early ‘80s just might remember the following lines:

have you ever went over a friend’s house to eat and the food just aint no good
the macaroni’s soggy, the peas are mushed
and the chicken tastes like wood….

The above lyrics, from the 1979 hit called “Rapper’s Delight” pretty much summarize how most folks feel about my cooking. And I am right there with them. I wouldn’t eat my cooking either- if only I were rich enough to afford a live-in cook.

I give me credit for trying- again the operative word – trying. Take for example the other evening- a typical dinner in the household of DH and his mini me- also known as DS – (Dear Son for those of you just tuning into this riveting blog). I served up a dinner of vegetables- asparagus I believe, salad and meatloaf.

I got a bit creative this time since I can never remember exactly what the recipe calls for anyway. So I added a dab of this and a smidge of that and served it up piping hot to my ravenous boys. So follow along if you will and picture the following.

The scene:

[The kitchen table, low light, father, son and mother sitting down about to eat. Son says evening blessing, “Thank you for our food. Amen.” Short, sweet and to the point you might say.]

Son: Mom, did you do something different to the meatloaf? It tastes a little well, strange.

Mom: No, not really.

Dad: Seriously honey, what did you add to it? It does have a different flavor. (Here he tries to swallow a mouthful – it appears to be somewhat painful.)

Son: Mom, is there kibble in this meatloaf?

(DH tries to not choke on his asparagus as son spots out these words.)

Mom: No, there is no kibble in here.

Son: Mom, did you put some of Hercules’ cat food in here? It does have a certain texture to it tonight I mean…

(Son and Father are in hysterics by this point over the possibility that I have indeed put kitty kibble into the evening meatloaf.)

Mom: Well, I can see that this is another successful meal.

Dad: Now honey, don’t take it personally. We still love you.

Mom: Indeed, I did not see you nor hear you for that matter jumping to my defense which by default makes you as guilty as said son.

Dad: But I didn’t say a word.

Mom: Perhaps that is the problem. Perhaps you could have asked our son to be well, less well, more grateful anyway.

Son: Hey that’s it Mom, our evening grace will from now on be:

"Thank you for our food and may we not be served kibble again. Amen."

I think I will end this scene here, with 'moi' grinding the evening meal down the garbage incinerator.

[Son and Husband are still laughing as they stick two spoons into a half gallon of chocolate ice cream and head off to watch an episode of the Disney show, The Suite Life of Zac and Cody.]

Sweet life indeed....

copyright 2008-2009 all rights reserved.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kitty Litter

Six weeks ago I was a perfectly average domestic diva. For the record, I coined this phrase in 1998 the year my son was born and actually had taken out the domain names including, - and then my DH said that I didn’t need them- had I only kept them…but I digress.

As I mentioned, a mere month and a half ago I was just doing my best to juggle housework, meal preparation, family outings, swim practice for an eleven year-old and the usual collection of things that take up time. I was plenty busy with daily life. It was rather routine, but comfortable. No complaints really.

Did I mention that was six weeks ago? Let us refer to that period of time as BP for ‘before pet.’ Now here I am six weeks later with a four-legged creature of the feline variety that has taken up residence within our house. Let us call this period of existence the Now Pet (NP.) This now ten month-old kitty named Hercules Apollo for his Herculean strength, has inserted himself smack dab in the middle of our daily life.

As a matter of fact he is more than comfortable and has made himself right at home. So much so that as soon as he hears a pot or a dish he comes running into the kitchen to see if perhaps there is a sweet nibblet available for his enjoyment. I know he comes running because around his neck is a crystal collar with a bell that jingles as soon as he takes a step. I would not be good with a stealth kitty under foot. Would not be a good thing – for him or me- or the family now that I think about it.

When said kitty hears me in the kitchen he can almost be assured that he will indeed be given a bit of something more than his rather drab and boring bowl of round brown pellets – the recommended diet from the veterinarian. So, he will often get a piece of chopped up deli ham or turkey on a plate that was part of our wedding registry (I digress once more). Hyacinth from “Keeping up Appearances" would be proud of me I am sure.

Kitty has his own little placemat with color coordinated bowls for water and dry food and then there is the lovely small china plate that holds special treats. Among his favorite are tuna, turkey and ham. He also enjoys a teaspoon or two of vanilla yogurt, but will not turn up his nose at blueberry yogurt for that matter.

Speaking of turning up one’s nose, he has developed quite the skill and does indeed register his dislike when I proffer him with salmon. After a sniff and a lick he turns his kitty eyes - two sparkling orbs – and implores me to take it away. If he really is displeased with the offered vittles he meows.

Imagine - it isn’t enough that we took him in when he was cold and hungry, that we provide him food and shelter, but now he has the audacity to meow when he wants something different. Like a petulant child. Indeed I say.

As life with a pet continues, I find that I think of kitty when I receive an interesting piece of mail that might provide entertainment for him. His hours are more like those of a movie star and he usually naps until well after noon unless I prod him awake for a bit of exercise.

I have created a few stimulation zones and try to insure that there are new and fun things for him to explore. His latest enrichment item is a Trader Joe paper bag in which I place toys from his treasure box - I am assuming that every kitty has a treasure box n'est pas?

Of course the whole kitty litter thing is an exercise in patient and humility. I try and change it daily. I don my mask, double bag and my scooper and get busy. It is a lovely site. Often Hercules will observe me from the doorway of the guest bathroom which is where we decided to place the kitty’s special throne.

He sits on his back legs with his front white mittens placed neatly in front of him with his head cocked to one side as if he is trying to figure out what it is I am doing.

“I am cleaning up your poop,” I explain. “I thought I was done with diapers but it seems I am not,” I sigh and he comes and nuzzles against my leg.

It is his way of saying thank you. At least that is what I imagine.

This is my life in the NP era….

copyright 2008-2009 all rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mad Catter Momma

I must be batty. Or Catty. Yes, that is it. I have become the mad catter momma. You have heard of the Mad Hatter. Well, close your eyes and imagine a wrinkly old lady with a stooped arch to her spine and leathery hands and a big mop of unruly hair on her head and you will have a picture of what a mad catter mama would look like.

Yours truly has become a cat owner. Who would a thunk? Certainly not moi. I mean, the closest I ever came to owning a pet was back in the mid 80’s when I had to babysit 25 hamsters in a lab during college spring break. While the rest of my fellow college buddies were off in the Bahamas or Florida, I was in a lab weighing said hamsters, observing how much of the hulled sunflowers versus the unhulled sunflowers were gobbled by my four legged furry pals and changing way too much sawdust. I had enough of the stuff to last me a life time.

Having a husband and a son is more than enough for this ol’ mama. Or so I thought. Life was fine just as it was. Until a couple of weeks ago when DS out of the blue inquired if I would like to go for a morning walk. Of course I jumped at the chance. As we walked along the Eucalyptus lined path near our house we talked about going back to school, the new adventures of being in sixth grade, what to have for dinner and when we should plan to go and see the new movie “G-Force.” Deep stuff.

We were on our way home when we heard a sound in the bushes. We stopped and looked; peering out at us was a honey colored tabby with white mitten socks. We stopped to say hello and noticed that the kitty did not have a collar.

But this kitty was ever so friendly. He (or she) came up and proceeded to give us purrs and licks and to follow us the three blocks to our house.

Well, DS and I figured that the kitty belonged to someone and that they were probably looking for him (her- we learned later that kitty was indeed a “he”). We also assumed that the kitty was probably hungry. We invited the kitty into our humble abode and since I was not sure that the kitty would like cheerios, I decided to offer the kitty some tuna.

He gobbled the tuna and sat there in the kitchen purring contentedly. DS and I watched in fascination as the kitty proceeded to snoop and inspect the various rooms of the house before deciding to join us for an episode of the Suite Life of Zack and Cody.

DS of course wanted to keep the kitty but I was concerned that someone was looking for this kitty without a collar and despite his attempts to ingrain himself into my non feline loving heart (he sat on my head, kneading it and purring with his little kitty head on the side of my face- I kid you not) I knew we would have to make a good hearted attempt to try and find his rightful owner.

We called the local animal shelter that sent out an officer to pick up said Kitty who by now we had nicknamed Hercules for his ability to push empty boxes around with the mere swat of a paw.

Well, to make a long story short, no one claimed the kitty. And here we are a week later with a new member of the family, hereby referred to as DK (Dear Kitty, who is also fine with being referred to by his name: Hercules Apollo.)

He sleeps on top of the head of DS and will come and snuggle on a lap and chase a ball and attempt to get into all kinds of mischief.

Not wanting kitty to be lonely I of course went out to Toys R Us looking for age appropriate kitty toys. After all, he is more like a baby than a baby really. When I explained that I was looking for small balls and such for a kitty the store clerk just smiled and told me to have a nice day.

Of course every kitty needs a soft blanket and Hercules loves his blue blanket which he sleeps with every night. When we leave the house I turn on the jazz station which I think he enjoys and I let him know we will be back in a few hours.

I have not yet resorted to calling and leaving messages for him to insure that he knows I am thinking of him, but I am sure that day will come soon.

Thus, closing your eyes can you not picture a bag lady – albeit with a big brown bag-and a good pair of shoes – walking the streets of a local beach community with a honey colored tabby following close behind- like the pied piper perhaps. Or the Mad Hatter.

Be kind to the old batty catty lady. She may be someone you know...

copyright 2008-2009 all rights reserved.

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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tissue for Your Thoughts...

I was in need of a piece of paper to scribble a thought I had about the recent death of Michael Jackson.

It was just a thought that the muse had whispered in my ear and the chance of it flitting away like an air bubble within the next five minutes was highly likely.

I was getting ready to drop the children – yes you read right- children- as in plural – as in more than one – at their summer camp. For the next three weeks my DH, DS and I are part of the goodwill ambassador foundation. We are sharing our house and home and our simple life with a fourteen year-old French boy. Oui- c’est vrais.

I was taking our young Frenchman and DS to their Ocean Camp at the other end of town. Two mop heads poked up from the back seat of the car as I made sure that I had indeed opened the garage door.

Garage doors and I have a somewhat static relationship. I once upon a time backed up a brand new car into the garage door that was coming down and it scalped the back side of the new car’s bumper.

Another time, the same car now that I think about, I decapitated a side mirror. My poor DH….but stories for another day.

This morning I was in mom mode and needed to get my charges to their camp on time. Garage door opened, key in ignition, I was listening to the familiar deep throated growl from my car when the thought hit me. My icon of youth, Michael Jackson, had passed away. He was just a few years older than me. Immortality or lack thereof was sending goose bumps down the back of my neck.

I began backing the car up looking over my shoulder to make sure I didn’t accidently hit a concrete boulder or an unsuspecting neighbor walking the dog. Michael Jackson was still with us. He had just taken on a different form I told myself. His music lives on in the myriad of his LPS, CDs and DVDs I had collected over the years.

I wanted to write this thought down in case it slipped out the back door before I had a chance to at least introduce it to the grey matter of my rather spotty mind.

I stuck my hand into the dark belly of my purse that for some reason seemed endless this morning. I felt around with my fingers and felt the shape of a phone, a wallet and a soft and squishy item that I was not sure about.

Aha! My fingers brushed against a slippery piece of something that crinkled when I tried to grab it. Paper! I pulled the sorry looking scrap out of the purse and stopped the car. On the paper was the following:

turkey meat
small packages of Pringles chips
sun screen
Gatorade large six pack orange/red/yellow
cheese squares
one carton of organic low fat milk
Paul Newman’s lemonade

Riveting I thought to myself. How could I ever find room on this eensy weensy bit of paper to scribble my latest thought?

“Mom, can I have a tissue please?” I heard from the back seat of the car.

“Sure, honey,” I said, reaching into the console and pulling out a wad of the soft white stuff. Handing him the tissue I had an epiphany.

I can write my thoughts on a tissue - albeit unused.

“Thanks Mom,” said my son blowing into his cotton cloud.

“No, it is I who must thank you,” said I. “You helped me to be resourceful in a dire time of need,” I said as I furiously scribbled my thoughts on the soft tissue in my hand before they muse left me.

Desperate times desperate measures.

Salt and Vinegar

After picking up my two charges from their morning summer camp we made our way home for the afternoon meal. Two hungry boys with growling bellies is not a pleasant thing to encounter. Lunch was needed ASAP.

Thus, I scrambled as quickly as a mom with two legs can: hauling out deli meat, mustard, mayo, cheese, wheat bread, veggies and created a lovely lunch complete with a watermelon appetizer, Sprite and organic cookies.

Emile, our visiting French boy, sat next to my son on the couch. They chuckled and laughed as they watched the antics of a television show about two mop headed boys names Zac and Cody. I gathered from the raucous laughter that the boys on the TV had similar dispositions to that of the two boys sitting in my living room.

“Hey Mom,” said my tow-headed son splayed on the couch.

“Can we have some of the Salt and Vinegar Pringles I bought for Emile and me?”

“Okay,” said I making my way over to the pantry.

Where two of the blue and gold cans had recently stood at attention there was now a big empty space.

I gulped, realizing that these salt and vinegar chips were something the boys looked forward to almost on a daily basis. And it was summer, so I didn’t sweat it too much. However, I began to sweat thinking how was I to break the news of MIA Pringles to the young lads?

I felt a tap on my shoulder. “Hi Mom, I thought I would come over and help you find them,” said Dear Son. Sheesh, he was getting tall, I realized. Now he came up past my shoulder. I shook my head and stepped back while he stuck half his body inside the pantry prowling for the cans.

“They were here yesterday,” he said pointing to the gaping maw of what used to be home to two cans of unopened Pringles.

“Hm,” said I standing there perplexed, as my son’s eyes filled with tears.

Part of me wanted to laugh - after all, we are talking about chips - not even spilled milk- over which the phrase, “crying over spilled milk,” was created. But looking at his pinched face I realized that this was no laughing matter.

“Well, honey,” said I putting on a stiff upper lip. “I am not sure where they went. Perhaps Daddy has been having a midnight snack when we are all snuggled safely in bed. You know how he enjoys a good munch while he is watching a movie or playing WOW.”

DS closed the pantry door with a sigh and a small sob and just stared at me. His eyes were glistening and I knew that I had about three seconds to resolve this situation.

“We bought those chips for Emile and me, Mom” DS moaned.

I rubbed my hand across his cheek, and wiped a lone teardrop slipping forlornly down the left side of his face.

Shaking my hips left to right, I did what I do best, the Mama dance. “I will r-u-n, o-u-t, n-o-wwww,” I crooned to the tune of the Jackson Five’s ABC-123.

“I will be back before you are even half way through your lunch,” said I trying to feel as brave as I sounded. Now I knew how George Washington must have felt before the battle of Brandywine Creek.

I hopped out, ran to the market and picked up two cans of Salt and Vinegar Pringles as well as two bags of Lay’s Salt and Vinegar chips. They were on sale - buy one, get one free.

I flew home, feeling like Glinda the good witch of Oz, except that she had an amazing ability to poof while I had to wait for three lights to change from red to green. Opening the door I found four eyes, four hands and two mouths eagerly awaiting S&V chips, and I delivered. Smiles and a myriad of ‘thank-yous’ greeted my ears.

“You’re the best Mom,” said DS with a mouth stuffed with the salty pleasure.

“Glad to help,” I smiled as I made my way to DH’s cave where I deposited the two-for-one bags of salt and vinegar chips. This way, he could have his own booty without dipping into that of the boys.

Everyone would be happy.

At least this was my hope.