Thursday, December 31, 2009

the flamingo club...

I'm not feeling the positive vibe from eHarmony. The prospects presented thus far have not made my heart feel all aflutter like on their commercials. It looks as though it might have been a better investment to buy some swamp land, and yet I continue to dredge through what matches they send.

There is a very interesting man in Zanesville that is witty and good looking. Bad news...Zanesville is 150 miles away. A little far for a coffee date.

I won't rule it out. Yet. I can't imagine moving presently, but you just never know! It's always good to have friends if it doesn't work out romantically.

Thinking about Zanesville brought some memories. The last time I was in Zanesville, I was there when I was a mere 16 for a synchronized swimming State Competition.

Yes. I was a synchronized swimmer.

Every week, 4 times a week, my mother would drive myself and Beth downtown to the YWCA for practice. We would swim for 2 hours. The first 1/2 hour was a warmup in the pool eggbeating. That's when you use your legs like eggbeaters in the water. No hands, just legs. We had to keep our hands above the water line.

Then we would have to swim laps. Not normal lap swimming, but on our backs sculling up and down the pool propelling ourselves with just our cupped hands pushing the water back and forth. Sound easy? You weren't allowed to create any water movement. It had to appear as if you were being pulled along. Body perfectly still, no current...up and down the pool 20 times each way.

And then, the warm-up for our lungs. As if we hadn't gotten that enough already. Holding your breath, you were to swim underwater for as many lengths of the Olympic sized swimming pool that you could. By the time I completed my last workout with the Flamingo Club, I was able to swim 4 lengths.

It was after all this 'warm-up' that we finally got to start practicing our routines.

The kind of routine that landed Beth and I at State Championships.

I was in amazing shape.

Beth and I had advanced to the point where we were a duet. Alike in stature, we made a good team. We practiced hard and could mirror each others moves so we appeared as one. We were good. She was also my next door neighbor and bestest buddy ever. So our teaming up to swim competitively together was a no-brainer.

Unfortunately, for me, I could hold my breath longer and had more endurance and strength than Beth did. So I was always the one underneath the water's surface pushing her up out of it to do all the pretty leg tricks and above water gestation's. Pointing, spinning, smiling...I was the power. She got all the glory.


That stance seems to have permeated everything in my life.

I'm the support behind everything. The background.

Which is actually the way I like it.
Or at least what fits me best.

I do the windows so the store looks good. I'd dress the models so they looked great on the runway. I'd make the basic story boards so the artists could then draw it out to present it to a client. I'd run the store so the company made it's figures and looked good.

Always behind the scenes.

So being out front and center with eHarmony is a stretch for me. I'm not great at tooting my own horn, although I know I can play. I just need a nudge.

And to be honest. Completely honest. With myself and what I expect.
And what I want. No shortchanging myself. I need to say what I mean and mean what I say.

I made it through the guided communication with a gentleman out in Willoughby. Gentleman might not be the right term. He sent me this note letting me know what he expected at this point of our getting to know one another.

Got your email. It sounds like your really booked up. Let me give you my approach to these things and you can see what works for you. Typically people over 40 have especially demanding schedules or at the minimum they require a lot of time in order to do the things they have put in place. I am that way. If you want to do any dating, I have found it to be a pain in the ass for the most part. Typically I find myself "squeezing" things in only to be not that enthused with the result. So, I can appreciate your alignment of priorities etc.
My philosophy today is that I typically skip the emails, the making plans and the talking on the phone unless I think there might be at least something interesting going on. If I do think there is something interesting going on, I will at least try to establish enough communication to get us to a meeting or a date. Once that happens, the rest is usually self evident. I don't mind busy schedules, especially once I have established the fact that the person is someone I am kind of interested in getting to know.
If you think it is worth trying to connect, then lets talk on the phone first and see if that warrants a translation into a face to face. If not, then thats totally OK too and I understand how things go. So, let me know what you think and we can figure out a good time to talk, or let me know if you think you just cant swing it right now. Either way, I will understand.

OK. That seemed a little odd. It is the holidays after all. With barely enough time for the people I DO know, let alone add another to the mix right now. So I sat on it a few days to think about it. With my response of :

Hi Randy.

You know, I got your e-mail and have given it much thought.
One of the things about my joining eHarmony was to meet someone and be completely honest. In my responses, in my choices.
And although I understand your wanting to 'cut to the chase' and be prudent with your sounds as if you've been down this road of meeting people and them not quite adding up to your expectations.

I appreciate that.

But in the same regard, your completely straightforward approach in skipping any e-mail 'conversations', get down to the basics and then see if we should just takes the mystique out of the dating experience and makes it more of a business arrangement. At least for me...
I'm new to eHarmony, so I've not been through perhaps the same processes as you have. It sounds as if you have pursued other people to be disappointed. I'm not at that stage yet. Like I said, I'm a newbie. My knee jerk reaction from your e-mail is, "I don't know..."

Yes, schedules are tight this time of year, but I don't want to be someone to 'squeeze in' to anyones planner. Your message makes me feel as if I don't already add up and not worth your time. And I don't even know you...
So I wish you luck in your search. I guess we are approaching meeting someone special differently.
I hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season!

And then immediately get a *bing* on my phone for an incoming e-mail. I open it to get this...

Hey Nancy,
Actually, I appreciate your analysis but in fact, the idea of being disappointed after meeting people has nothing to do with my prudence. The long and short of it is that I believe that two adults who have lived 40+ years of life each should be able to step up and share a conversation. If you think that meeting someone online is going to add "mystery" to the experience, get ready to be disappointed. Relationships require effort, end of story, this is nothing to do with the processes of Eharmony, this has to do with my experience in life. You can imagine anything you want, but until you talk with someone, meet someone and get to know someone, you will never know that someone. When someone tells me that they are too busy to pick up a phone until next week, I just have to question the fact that either they are the most busy person alive and have no time to date, or dating is way down on their priority list of things to do, or they have some paranoia or pre-concieved notions about dating and they have this need to go through 2 weeks of emails, followed by 4 phone conversations, followed by 2 meetings for coffee, followed by a lunch date, followed by a dinner date... I just don't have time or energy to figure it all out. I think humans were meant to speak to each other.

You've got to be kidding. Right? Didn't he just send me a note that he doesn't 'do e-mails'? How do I know who this person is and if I give them my number that they aren't going to track me down and kill me while I sleep. I mean, I don't even know this guy. Seriously. How would I know whether I want to meet with him if he won't put forth the effort to communicate? And then send me a note saying that humans should communicate? Did he or did he not just contradict himself.

Bah. I happened to be with Christine, my current BFF and she helped guide me through the quagmire of 'respond or don't respond'.

"Fuck him. What a dick.", she quickly responded.

"I know! Isn't that odd?"

I didn't respond. I just pushed the 'close match' button conveniently located. Seriously. If we couldn't get beyond two e-mails exchanges what possible future would we have? THAT match ain't goin' nowhere...

But I did get a lovely Christmas wish from a guy in Avon who wished me a "Merry Christmas, beautiful Nancy". He's a lawyer. My dad wouldn't be altogether pleased with his choice of professions, he thinks the best place for lawyers is 6 feet under. But if they are part of the family...well, wouldn't I get free service?

Christine...Damn girl, get your head out of the gutter. Free advice, darlin'. THAT's what I was talking about!

Ah. Memories. It's like being back in the ol' Flamingo Club days...

it's always someone else's legs up in the air.


Happy New Year, my friends! I will see you in 2010 after the Blue Moon.

Friday, December 25, 2009

santa snow, please?...

I know I talk about my darling daughter...a lot. And I suppose I'm a little biased in my opinion of her.

But seriously, when you read the following letter written by her to Santa this year, you'll agree that she is just one amazing kid.

Dear Santa,

If anything, this year all that I really want for Christmas is for it to snow. I don't mean a thin layer of frost on the ground. I really mean SNOW! A big snow, the snow where theres enough snow that schools out. When every one is able to go across the street and have a snowball fight or build a snowman in their front yard. If you can't make it snow, then can I get something that is like a craft, or an art project. Something simmallar to that. Maybe a new sled, I'll exept anything you get me. Anything! Whatever you think I would like. If you can, please, LET IT SNOW!

-Thank you
With Love, Amelia


She's the best. I'm blessed to know her.
I don't question which list she's on. It's always on the Nice list.

I think this might be the last year she is a 'Santa' believer. Some of the other kids at school are already on the non-believer sideline. She and I cry at the end of the movie Polar Express when some people can't hear the bell. Because you can't hear the sleigh bells if you don't believe...

The year it came out I managed to procure one of the coveted silver bells and golden ticket as a Christmas present. It was Bears favorite gift. She keeps them in her room year round and pulls the bell down from it's shelf from time to time to hear it's gentle ringing.

I love sitting in my office, which is across the hall from her room, and hear that ring.
It reassures me that she's so good. Still innocent. Still young. And young at heart.

I'm still young at heart.
I can still hear the ring.
I try to hold onto the view of a child, to see things in their simplistic form as a child would. Life is too fleeting for all the nonsensical things adults ponder. All the undue stress that we place upon ourselves. If only for a moment to allow the wonder of the season take all our worries away. And let us dream of lists made for Santa.

One of her school friends asked her, "Do you still believe in Santa?"

"Yes." my little one replied.

"I do too." said Lucy.

"I don't. There isn't a Santa Claus. It's just a story. For babies." Chloe chimed in.

And with that, Amelia then hopped into my car to head home, leaving her school friends to debate the 'does he or doesn't he exist' on the sidewalk.

"Mommy, Chloe doesn't believe in Santa." she told me. She turned to face me in her seat and with sadness in her voice said, "Isn't that just Soooooo sad?"

"Yes, Baby. It is."

Our street has a yearly tradition. Some of the closest of our neighborhood friends gather and carol our street. The entire street sets out lanterns to light the walkways and we stroll between houses with our pathetic version of the Christmas classics. You'd think after all these years we'd sing like the Tabernacle choir. But we aren't that good and get off key, out of tune and mess up the chorus to almost each song. But we make merry and have a good laugh over our mistakes. Many at the houses we sing at have begun to expect us and offer us treats and libations.

Every year we make plans to amend our song books to list just the songs that we sing best and leave out the old ones that the little ones have trouble with. With each year we also say we will increase the font so our failing eyes can see it. And most importantly we will limit all songs to only one stanza. Trust me, no one wants to hear all 5 verses of God Rest ye Merry Gentleman. At least while we're singing.

Then we retire next door to continue our good cheer. We clap each other on the back, commend ourselves for our vocal abilities and wish each other a heartfelt Merry Christmas. It's good to have such wonderful neighbors that you can honestly call 'friends'.

And finally the end of evening draws to a close. We saunter back home to snuggle, relax by the fire and bask in the lights of our Christmas tree. We talk about Santa and never forget to leave out cookies and milk.

Once tucked into bed, we wait to see if indeed it will snow. A White Chrsitmas is always at the top of our list.
But it hasn't.
Not today.

Apparently Mother Nature wasn't cooperating with Santa when he asked her to make it snow for a little girl in Lakewood. It's rainy. And windy. And cold, but not cold enough for snow.

But Santa did bring her the sleds.
And some art things.
And alot of other things as well.

Ah, the beautiful wonder of Christmas. It's been a grand day.
Wouldn't it be nice to feel this loved all year....?


I hope, my friends, you all had a very, very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

last call, gate number 2...

I sometimes wonder how much of our lives are destined by our names.

Does being named 'Nancy' determine what kind of car I drive, people that I'm friends with or type of dogs I own?

Would another name change the person that I am today? How I think? Who I know? How we interact?

I was adopted at birth.

I never wanted to be one of those people on the talk shows that dwell on 'who their parents are'. My parents were wonderful parents. I always felt loved and well cared for. I never wanted for anything and overall had a very, very nice upbringing.

My parents waited a long time for children.

I have a brother 4 years my senior.
He's adopted as well.

I believe that we were fortunate in having a better upbringing than some children because my parents really 'wanted' us. No oopsies, no mistakes, no Irish twins. They applied to adopt children because they weren't able to have any of their own and then they...waited.

It took several years before my brother became available. He was also adopted at 3 days old. My parents almost immediately applied for a second child. I came along 4 years later.

My brother when told he was going to have a baby sister built a place for me to stay.
It was outside, next to the dogs house.
He wanted me to stay dry if it rained.

I was about 3 or 4 when my mother told me I was an adopted child.

We had this big upholstered rocking chair in our living room; green nubby fabric worn thin from love on the arms. I was sitting on my mothers lap with her rocking me cradled in her arms. She said, "I'm not your real mother. You're adopted."

Yeah, right mom. And my brother is from Mars.

Oh...he IS from Mars. Silly me. (Sorry there Charles's, ol' boy...I couldn't help myself.)
Seriously though, I was like, "No. YOU'RE my mom. You'll ALWAYS be my mom."

And that is about all that we ever talked about it. Not that she or I didn't want to. We just...didn't. No need to really. Why?

Sometimes when I would be asked questions at the doctors office I would wonder..."Does high blood pressure run in my family?" But other than medical questions, I rarely think about it.

I DID get upset when listening to Howard Stern one morning. He kept going on and on about how adopted children weren't wanted by their 'Real Parents' and that's why they were adopted. I wanted to call in. Let him know what I thought. I thought that had his own parents known what an asshole he'd turn out to be, they might have given him up as an infant. Of course, from what I understand, they felt that way most of his childhood. As you can tell, I'm not a big Howard fan. Some are, I'm not one of them. And his statements didn't help his case any.

Once when traveling to the Abacos in the Bahamas I forgot my passport at home. I knew exactly where I left it. On the butcher block in the kitchen. I called a friend when I got to Miami to have them overnight it to me as my flight to the Hope Town was in the morning.

I relaxed, had a nice room service dinner, set out my travel clothes for the next day and slept well. The next morning I called down to the desk to ask if UPS had delivered my package. They informed me that Yes, UPS had been there, but No, there was nothing for me. We called UPS and found out that my package had gotten misplaced and was now somewhere in Tennessee. That wouldn't do me any good when my flight was boarding in 2 hours.
So I called my mom.

She faxed down every piece of paper she had to identify my existence. She faxed her passport, her birth certificate, my birth certificate and my adoption papers.

Prior to that moment standing in the lobby of the Intercontinental hotel, I'd never seen them before.

I had been previously named by my birth parents. Marsha.

I now had in my hands my previous name. Complete with middle and last name. With this information I could easily track down my birth parents. Find out what the story is/was. But I felt no need. I felt no anxiety, no remorse for another life, no wanting to confront. What I felt was relief. Relief that my name was Nancy. Not Marsha Dee Wallner. That didn't sound right, feel right or have the same cadence of my own name.

I wonder if I had grown up with the name Marsha, how different would I be from the person I am today? I can't see myself answering to the name Marsha. It just fit. Me.

And then I think of my good friend Melissa. Beautiful, funny, witty, kind. With 3 lovely children and 1 loving husband.

And my neighbor Melissa who also has 3 lovely children and 1 loving husband.
And an old school friend named Melissa. Who also has 3 children and 1 husband.
If my name had been Melissa...would I have 3 children and a husband?

Is this coincidence that everyone that I personally know with that name seems to have marital bliss? And gorgeous offspring?

Maybe I should start wearing red like other Nancy namesakes. Maybe I should Google prominent successful people with the name of Nancy and see what connects them. Or maybe just change my name. To Melissa.

I talked my way onto that flight to the Bahamas without my passport. They allowed me on but couldn't guarantee that I could pass through customs once there. They asserted that there was a high probability the Bahamians would turn me away and I'd be returning to Miami to wait for the proper documentation. I succeeded in talking my way through customs onto the Island. I had to stay until my package caught up with my travels. I would not be able to return to the States without it.
But that's okay, it's gorgeous there in Hope Town.

I had a wonderful place to stay, and I fit into the local climate and settled into the pace of the Islands. I really didn't want to leave. As far as I was concerned, UPS could take all the time they wanted to deliver my passport. But all things come to an end and one day while sitting on the pier, enjoying the local food and cold beer, a dingy pulled up to the dock.

"Are you Nancy?" he asked me.

"Yes. I am."

He then handed me a brown UPS box. My passport had finally arrived. 3 weeks to the day that I arrived, it was now about time to go home. To the states.

Our hostess on the island name was Grace.

Nancy means grace.
So I was already home. In a way.

But I wonder...had I been Marsha, would it have been the same? I think not.

That just wouldn't


Monday, December 14, 2009

super powers...

I have ears.
Two of 'em, actually. One on each side of my head. Just the way they are supposed to be.

Nicely formed, if I do say so myself, and they both work quite well. They aren't too large like Horton, and not too small like Jerry. They are just right...for me.

Every Friday morning after the kids are safely in school, a small group of us ladies get together for coffee and conversation. A koffee klatch, per se.

I love these ladies.
I really do.

They are always a constant source of support and inspiration; laughs and amusement.

I look forward to Friday mornings.

This Friday past the conversation veered to sleep patterns. Go figure. With the holidays zooming in, obligations stacking up, schedules tight, we talked about how we are individually dealing with it.

I've long left my diva days behind. I'm a 'early to bed and early to rise' type. I figure I must have been a farmer in a past life. When it gets dark, I go to bed. When the sun rises, I get up. Pretty simple stuff, boring perhaps, but simple nonetheless.

But as of late due to my overworked brain, my farmer has left the field. Sometimes it works for me. Sometimes it doesn't.

There are those nights that you just can't quite fall to sleep. And the more you dwell on your lack of sleep, the less able you are to relax to let the zzz's come over you.

One of the klatch ladies shared that she takes Tylenol PM which aids her in her quest for rest. Another chimed in that Benedryl works for her. And as I'm adding a little more sugar and a little more cream to my heavily caffinated beverage allowing me to remove the toothpicks aiding in holding my puffy eyes open, I'm thinking a martini later might help. We chuckled through our fatigue about our common bond of sleepless nights, the conversation circled around.

Christine said she'd lost her ear.

"Um, your ear? Are you a distant VanGogh relative? I know it's been cold, but how did you lose your ear?" Secretly I'm scanning the sides of her head under her hair to see if there is a bandage concealing something missing.

She said, "My 'Mom Ear'."

Her ability to hear what's going on around her once she's asleep.
Aaaahhhhh. MOM Ear.

I have them.
Mom Ears.
I just didn't know what they were called.

They don't look any different than regular ears, they just react different.

I never fall too deeply asleep. I can always hear what's going on.
I not only tune in to my own household, but hear the sounds from the neighborhood as well. Even with the windows shut tight for the winter I hear my next door neighbors when they pull in or out of the driveway. When they drag their garbage can down to the curb at 5am, or come home at 3. I seem to be the only one to hear this. No one else in the house does. None of my other neighbors hear it as well. But I do.

Is my hearing that great?
Have I been blessed with some super power?

Last night I heard car doors. At 5am. I had to get up for a drink of water and to release some water anyway, so I peeked out the windows. My master bedroom is up on the third floor of my century home. The eves act like giant ears. I can see everything from that vantage point, and hear most things for blocks. A pair of binoculars and I could be my very own block watch.
There are 4 police cruisers on my dark street and 5 uniformed officers. They are going back to their cruisers from my neighbors house a few doors down. Strolling back in no hurry. No visible agitation, no one in handcuffs. Why are they here before the break of dawn? My mind is running all possible scenarios. I've not come up with anything yet...but damn did my ears work well.

My daughter has 'selective hearing'. If you mention chocolate chip cookies, she can hear you from several yards over. If you ask her if her homework is done, I might as well be on the moon.

I had a dog with selective hearing.
And a husband too.

Is this super hearing 'mom ear' a learned thing? Or are you born with it.
Does it come with parenthood?
Or marriage?

I remember waking as soon as my husband would pull in the drive when he was out with friends. Before his usually late arrival I was blissfully taking in the sights of my inner eyelids. But as soon as I heard the tires on pavement...I'd be wide awake.

My mother had super hearing. Or now since Christine told me, Mom Ears.

We lived at a base of a hill. It was quiet there, outside of the gentle sound from the stream in the backyard. You could sometimes hear a distant train, or over head air traffic from the airport 10 miles away. Very few cars came down our road. It was a very tranquil neighborhood.

My bedroom had a balcony. Prior to cable we had a large tower antenna right off my balcony. High tech for it's time, it could rotate to pick up a television signal. We could get stations from different states. It also provided a stellar way to enter or exit the house without being noticed.

Or so I thought.

I had a curfew.
Many times I broke it.

One time coming home, I switched off the my cars engine at the top of the hill and coasted into the driveway, bringing it to a stop quiet as a mouse. I snuck around back, stealthily climbed the antenna tower and hoisted myself gracefully across the banister. As I went to open the patio doors there stood my mother.

"Why didn't you use the front door? I left it open for you." she asked me ever so politely.

"Uh, I didn't want to wake you...?", I sheepishly (and foolishly) threw out there as a possible excuse.

She just gave me that look.

You know the one.

The one that tells you you are full of kaka but I'm not going to acknowledge that because you and I both know you are in the wrong but I don't want to wake your father because it really isn't that big of a deal however next time don't make me stand waiting for you to sneak in the house off the balcony.

That look.

I hated getting that look.I tried not to get that look. I'd had rather a barrage of profanity's or a verbal lambasting about responsibility. I might have even preferred a paddling. But not the look.

The look could make you cringe.
And make you cry.
And also make you hope that you will be good enough in the future to never, ever see it again.

Unfortunately I did see it again. Several times. I was a diva!
But it never hurt me any less. And over time, I did get better. And low and behold I did see it less. I wonder if I'll get 'that look' as well as my inherited 'mom ears'. Maybe I should start working on it...
MY look won't look like hers, I'm sure.
I've tried to practice it a few times, but I just look like I'm constipated.

What a dire punishment that would be for an errant offspring.
To give them the look that makes them run...

for the Ex-Lax.


Friday, December 11, 2009

for love of sheep and cashmere...

As the time continues to tick away, I look at my daughter and wonder "Where really did the time go?" Where?

When? How....?

How did it manage to be so fleeting? How did it slip by me? I was there all please tell me, when exactly did she get so damn big?

Boo'est turns 11 in January.

We have a door in my office that over the years we have marked with spurts of growth and dates. We haven't measured her for a bit. So we did the other evening. She stood by the door and I was amazed where she was on the chart. She had grown a full 4 inches from the last marking...which was just 5 months ago.

I recalled a time last month when she took her shoes off at night and in the morning they didn't fit. In a matter of 8 hours her feet had grown. Really. I was amazed and wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't actually seen it with my own eyes.

Recently she has taken a liking to fashion. She pays a little closer attention to what she's wearing. Which is cool. I like her fashion sense. Her interpretation of fashion emulates my own. Understated, classic with a twist. She just wears slightly more color. Like red. I don't do red.

After school she was changing out of her uniform and getting dressed in 'street clothes'. She changed not once, not twice; but four times before the ensemble is acceptable. Leaving in her wake a pile of clothes that looked as if Hurricane Ida had rumbled through her room as well.

Now this might be a common occurrence with kids these days, but it's never been like that with Boo before. She was like an Old Navy spokesperson, jeans with a printed T. Flips or Uggs and she's good to go.

At some point that changed.

I just don't know when...

It seems just yesterday that I was out running errands and she was just a baby. Strangers would stop and give you advice. " cute. Take note! It doesn't last long!"

And your like, "Uh yeah, Right...okay, thanks for the advice!"

When your silently thinking to yourself, "I don't know you." Besides, I know that I'll remember every. single. minute. that I'll ever spend with my daughter...

But years later I now realize that they were right. Every single word was right.

It does fly.
It did fly.

And it continues to fly.

And now I find myself saying the very same thing to other unsuspecting parents in line at the grocery...

Her outfit, after all the change of clothes, was finalized with a pair of gray leggings, black classic Uggs and a teal sweater dress turned into tunic by our tailor Bobby.

I pondered how many other ten year olds have knowledge of tailors. Or have a tailor. One that she knows by name. I find it amusing and slightly disconcerting that she now looks at a clothing item and says, "Bobby can fix it." or "Bobby can take that in."

We were shopping for a new ski parka and she found one she liked. But it had a hood that wasn't detachable. She insisted that it was okay, however knowing my daughter the way I do I knew it would be cause for dislike down the road.

"Mommy, I hate this hood.", she said the other afternoon. "It pulls and bothers me."

"I knew you wouldn't like it. Didn't I tell you?"

"Yes.", she replied, as disgruntled. But then she perked up as the light bulb went off in her head. "Bobby can take it off! I know he can!"

And yes, Bobby did indeed take off the hood of Boo's new ski parka. He said it wasn't easy and normally he wouldn't have done it. But for Boo, he'd do anything.

And she's got the tailor wrapped around her little pinkie.

Oh boy....

She digs Uggs. And I don't blame her. They are comfortable and warm. Hell, I've bought my first pair 20 years ago. But she seem to grasp why people buy the knockoffs...

"Well, Uggs are expensive honey. Not everyone can afford to buy a real pair of Uggs." I explain. We've had this talk about value and the value of money.

"But they sell them on eBay, mommy. You don't have to buy them at Dillard's and pay full price. It's better to buy the real ones. They last lonnnnnggggggerrrrrrrrrrrrrr."

(My smart, smart girl. She WAS listening after all.) "Not everyone does eBay, baby."

"Mommy, it just doesn't make sense. You could buy one pair of Uggs and it'll last 4 tines longer than the fake ones."

"True. You're a smart girl bear."

"You're the smart one, mommy. I learned it from you."

Yeah, that and her new found love of cashmere.
However, I like my cashmere in the form of turtlenecks.

She likes cardigans.

Which reminds me of that other unsolicited saying people always tell you.
I guess that apple really doesn't fall too far from the proverbial tree...


Monday, December 7, 2009

in pursuit of diamonds(?)...

My daughter spent the night at her dad's Friday night.

Sounds all 'modern family', doesn't it?

He and I have mellowed over the years into a very amicable relationship. We do annual family ski vacations and engage in group hugs. He and I are bonded by our love of our daughter. And that's okay. (as long as he no longer tells me I look tired...)

I'm glad that even when we first split, we put bears interests above our own egos. Sure, there have been moments when we've hated each other, but have always worked things out...because of boo. And it shows. She's a better kid because of it. She wasn't damaged like some children can be from splits. I know some parents that can't even attend teacher conferences at the same time. That is just so, so sad.

It seems nowadays the majority of kids are either from divorced parents, remarried parents, single parents or divorced remarried parents. Very few actually have the Christmas card nuclear family with both parents, 2 kids and a dog any more. The 1950's ideal of family has gone way by the side of the road.

I think I'd rather be on that road. The classic family road. I long for the simplistic nature that traditional roles in family provide.

Seriously, this doing everything; being everything gets really, really old.

And to maybe get back on that road I recently signed up on eHarmony.
I know, I know.

It's probably a futile effort and a waste of money, but I thought I'd give it a try. As much as I cringe every time I go to sign on and see the smiling mugs of LJ and Shannon; Married: August 5, 2006!, I do hear good things about it from some people.
I've closed several matches just because I didn't like their photo. That might be a little superficial, but hey, it's realistic at least. Perhaps they were my 'soul mate' (whatever that is) and I didn't give it a shot. I suppose mustaches could be shaved off. But seriously, if someone posts a photo of themselves with a mustache, mullet and muscle shirt? Yeah, I'm not starting any communication with that one. That's a little too much boyfriend makeover. It might work on TV, but not in real life. Perhaps they thought it a good photo because it showed off their 'guns'. It might be okay for some women, but it's not my style. If I want a gun, I'll go to a gun shop.

There were a few guys that I have to commend that they were so blatantly honest. A guy in Toledo listed that he was 'basically a mail carrier'. And 'basically, he liked his job because he had health insurance, job security and enough money to go to the bar on Friday night'. Really, those were his exact words.

He was sort of cute. But I've enough of cute, dumb boys. Oh, did I mention that he was 43? High standards? I don't think so. But I bet his double wide mobile home is beautiful...(bad Nancy. Shame, shame.)

There are alot of short men as well. I'm sure that it's okay if you are Tom Cruise, you can afford to buy lifts for your shoes when you date someone taller. But these guys are Tom. Not that I'm Katie Holmes, but that isn't going to work for me either.

As I peruse these people that have been 'matched' with me, I've become rather critical.

I thought about that the other night. It's so unlike me.

I'm really a very accepting person.
Almost to a fault.
But lately it seems that I've crossed some invisible barrier. One where I'm now more demanding, more attune to what it is that I want. Which somehow makes me less accepting of behaviour that I used to put up with.

Even with my friend whom I used to be romantically involved with, I've noticed a change in my attitude. The other day he was being a moody dick. Normally I'd try to find out what the problem is and resolve it. Yesterday I just told him, "You're being a dick. Snap out of it."

"Me? You're the one on edge!" he replied.

"Uh. No. You're a dick. Call me when you have it sorted out. I don't want to be around you when you're a dick."

"Sorry, I've got a lot of things on my mind.", he said.

Which is fine. We've all been there. But it's not MY problem. I used to make it my problem. I used to absorb the issue and resolve it, shoulder the burden. But I don't need to any longer. There ain't no ring on my finger that makes it my problem.

Go away.
Take care of whatever is bugging you and then, come back to talk to me.
Until then, I've got my own stuff to worry about...

I thought about it.
My response to him; my response to those on eHarmony and decided that somewhere along the way...I've evolved.

I've changed.

I'm finally getting the mindset that it's alright for me to have a say. To know what I want. To feel like I deserve to be treated with respect.

Over at DigitalMCS, Mike recently got engaged. He had a post where he wrote about how his "fiance's eyes sparkled when she smiled." How sweet is that? Pukey, sickly sweet. But I love it and I'm happy for them. It's refreshing. And it's real...

Christmas is the season where you can't turn on a television, open a magazine or read a newspaper without being bombarded with jewelry advertisements. I've seen the Kay Jewelers commercial now about 6 dozen times and each time it makes me want to tear up.

"I love you."

That's all that's said. From the younger guy to his girlfriend; the older couple sitting at their kitchenette table; the middle aged couple having tea by the fireplace...a diamond, in any form, will seemingly convey this message. And yeah. I agree.

But being today what it is, I will continue to peruse the lame list of guys available on eHarmony. I don't have high hopes for the matching site, but I'll try to stay optimistic about it. Because that's what I am, an optimist.

However I admit, I am a hypocrite.

When I 'close' the match, I'm not honest.
I should click on the option that best let them know why I'm not pursuing the communication. Should I be honest and let them know that their profile is creepy, or their picture just isn't showing their best side. Instead I prefer to save them face. I click on the 'other reason' button. Which won't hurt their feelings that they are a schmutz, but might leave them wondering, "Why?".

I have to say that I've gotten a couple of messages from others that closed the match on me. The message was, "I don't feel that the chemistry is there."

To me, that sounds like, "You look tired."
Oh. Look at this one!
Hmmm. This guy in Westlake is nice looking and sails. Cool.
But what's with the soul patch on his chin?
That's gotta go.

Didn't I just see an ad for a sale on Norelco...


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

in. need. of. sleep...

My inner clock is all messed up.
It's usually pretty 'on time', but the last month or so it's been off like a 17th century pocket watch.

Some of this I blame on the time change.

When it gets pitch black at 5:30pm, it makes my body go into sleep mode. We wrap things up for the evening and hit the pillows. Unfortunately when you go to bed at 9, I then wake up at 4...and that ain't good for my daytime productivity.

Or the delicate skin under my eyes.

When your ex-husband stops by and says, "You look tired..." , that isn't something that you like to hear. "You look fabulous!" would have been much better. Especially since that particular day I felt alright. I wasn't tired...yet.

Some of the sleep issues are stress related. Minor, mind you. But stress nonetheless. I wake up wondering about schedules and appointments. Thinking about what needs to be done and timelines to do it in. And about this....

Remember that project that I started, instigated really, with that mighty swing of my sledgehammer? Yeah. So this is where we are now.
The upside of this dusty mess is that by Christmas my daughter will have a brand new BIG room, complete with walk-in closet and futon for her posse. We've done our shopping at Pottery Barn Teen and picked out new bedding. She's chosen the wall colors and I'm having a custom headboard built. The carpetings been ordered and the new blinds. If all goes well, they should all arrive and the project will continue along as planned.

If not, well...I'll have something else to lose sleep over.

And until then I managing to lose sleep over not having it done. Either way, it looks like I should invest in some Tylenol PM....


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

circles with no end...

Take a good look at a circle.
Can you tell where it started? Or where it's end is?

No, you can't. At least most of the time.

My view of families gathered for Holiday dinners are like circles.

We sit in a circle.
We pass the food in a circle.

"Always pass the food clockwise, honey." I'd remember my mother telling me as soon as I was old enough to handle the dishes.

Some in our family even talk in circles. I never did understand the endings to Uncle Kenneth's stories.

But the best circle story is actually the circle itself...

I have very fond memories of my grandparents farm. My mother grew up there. I spent many summers there with Grandpap and Grandmaw. It was a working farm; cows, chickens, sheep, horses and goats. I learned from them to wake early and get things done. Grandpa and I would concoct a mean chicken feed and make the rounds on the farm welcoming with each step the light of day. Grandma would rise, stoke the pot bellied stove and head to the kitchen.

When we finished our morning chores, we would start back towards the old house. Our noses would eagerly lead the way following the wonderful smell of fresh baked biscuits. We'd bring in the eggs we'd just gathered and Grandma would fry up a few for our hungry bellies.

The kitchen was large and open, the heart of the home. A big cast iron wood burning stove, sink with hand pump by the window. A huge expandable table that could hold the whole family held it's place by the door. The pie pantry held the goodies of the days bounty protected by it's doors and vented tin. The big butcher block table was well worn from years of cooking. That was Grandma's spot, between the pie pantry and butcher block, with her comfy chair nearby for rests.

I now have in my possession the butcher block and pie pantry. They are a couple of my favorite pieces of furniture. I can rub the block and almost feel the flour and hear the squeak of her wooden rolling pin.

One of my fondest memories is coming into the kitchen with grandmother making her famous mashed potatoes. She made the best mashed potatoes...ever.

No electric mixer to do the work. She mashed those suckers by hand with one of those zigzag kitchen mashing tools. Not only could she make delicious spuds, but all of her cooking was simple, yet amazing.

What holds me now even more in awe is that she cooked everything on a woodburning stove. Heavy iron handles lifted the grates off the cook top, she'd stuff a split log in, stoke the fire a bit and determine if the top or oven was now the correct temperature. Can you imagine?

Cakes, biscuits and pies all cooked precisely with no precision. No digital display. No push button technology to turn the oven on or off at intervals. No convection circulation for pastries to be cooked evenly. Just a log. And an iron. And Grandma.

Grandpa used to say that Grandma cooked the best 'fud'. That's what he called it...'fud'. When it was mealtime, Grandma used to open the door from the kitchen, stick her head out into the courtyard where the chickens were pecking bare spots on the ground and yell..."Harley!". It came out more elongated like "Haaaarrrrrllllllleyyyyyyyyy!" going up on the end like in a pig calling contest.

I'll never forget the sound. Or the way Grandma smelled of freshly baked bread.

It seemed to me a simpler life. Simpler times. Yet harder in many respects than the one I lead today.

We lost Grandma back in '77. Grandpa in '83. But every year at Thanksgiving my mind wanders back to the large meals that we would share in the kitchen down on the farm. The table heavily laden with food. As I think about it now, there was alot of preparation that would go into such a meal. No processed foods. No prepackaged ingredients. Everything was made by hand, from scratch. We ate the turkey that Grandpa raised, the potatoes that they grew, the cranberries that we picked.

It makes me appreciate the things that I have now. My digital convection oven with all it's bells and whistles. All of my Kitchen-Aid appliances. When I look at them, I think of the farm. And appreciate all that my Grandparents did.

Each year at dinner I thank both Grandma and Grandpa for my wonderful Holiday memories; Thanksgiving in particular. I give thanks for all of my loved ones that are no longer with us. Sadly, this year I've had to add my mother to the list.

Thanksgiving will have once again changed. Slightly.

My Grandmother taught her daughter, my mother, all of her cooking skills. She too, at least in my humble opinion, made the best mashed potatoes. An even better improved version of Grandma's. And then my mother in turn passed on that speciality to me.

My own daughter told me just the other night, "Can you make your wonderful mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner?"

"Sure, honey. But don't you want sweet potatoes instead?"

"No, Mommy. Your mashed potatoes are the best....ever."

I had to stop for a moment, and catch my breath. It seemed as if I'd been here before.
But I was the ten year old looking up at my mother, not the mom.

At one time it had been my mother saying those same words to her mom when she was but ten.
The circle.
The family circle.

Do you know where it starts? And where it ends?
It's continuous...

and I'm Thankful for that.


I hope that everyone has a wonderful, Happy Thanksgiving! And that you too, have memories that you are thankful for...

Monday, November 23, 2009

the literal landscape...

It's interesting how one week can change a landscape.

Figuratively, metaphorically or literally.

Every Saturday morning, like clockwork, I take my dogs down to the beach for a nice long run. You aren't really supposed to have animals at the beach, but in the fall there are few people there, so I bend the rules a little. Or mold them, if you will, to fit my needs. I highly doubt that a park ranger will come after me. They have other issues to deal with, I'm sure.

I park my car at the far end of the upper lot.

Edgewater Park is a very large park just 3 miles from my home. Just a stones throw from downtown Cleveland. It's a sprawling two level park boxed in by a Yacht Club, limestone cliffs and the Shoreway or Route 2. The Edgewater Yacht Club is located at the far end of the park on the lower level. It's considered one of the premier yacht clubs on the Westside for sailing. It's protected from foul weather by the break wall and you don't have to wait for bridges to rise to get out to Lake Erie.

The lower level has a large open area that has become home to many kite flying enthusiasts. The large horseshoe shaped beach is a popular destination in the summer months. In the winter, there are few people that venture onto the beach area. The north wind can quickly pick up the fine sand and literally sand blast your face if you aren't careful.

The upper level is wooded with a sharp cliffs to the lake below. Picnic tables line the edge for a wonderful view of the downtown skyline and the water crib standing majestically 5 miles out. Large ships can regularly be seen on the horizon and small watercraft bob with the waves while fishing for Perch. The right side of the upper level has a gentler slope with bike and walking path that leads down to the beach and lower level. In the winter months my daughter and I will sled there. Many times we've gathered enough speed that has taken us from the ledge almost down to the waters edge. It's a long walk back up, but well worth the effort.

In the middle is a hidden, beat up, wooden staircase. This trek leads you down to the beach on the far left end of the park. That's our favorite spot to walk. Driftwood washes up and makes the access limited. We like to forge our way to the point where the water meets the cliff. Canadian Geese gather in this slightly protected cove resting for the next leg of their journey. Sienna, my hunter and Labradoodle, tries desperately to catch them. But they are just a little too quick for her. Or they float just beyond her reach in the water, almost as if they are toying with her and testing out her swimming abilities.

On this Saturday morning, as I tight walked over the larger driftwood logs across a small pool of water left with the receding tide, I realized that the landscape had drastically changed in one weeks time.

I pulled out my phone to peruse the photos I had taken the previous week. To check to make sure that it wasn't just my imagination. As I sat on an old picnic table half buried in the sand, long ago tossed over the cliffs edge to land on the beach. I looked at the photos. Yes. Indeed. This week the shell encrusted beach had more stones and bricks that weren't there the week before.

In one week.

Over a ton of wave beaten old bricks and stones, parts of chimneys still intact with mortar, had washed up on our section of beach. How? And from where did it come?

I checked the grassy hillside above and there was no sign of trauma on the landscape. No sign that it was dumped down from above. Plus the age of the bricks and the wear on the finish belied the fact that these had been in the water for some time.

As I sat and contemplated the changes in the photos and watched the dogs romp, I realized how different things can be in one weeks time. Why should my beach be any different?

Last week it was sunny. And warm. The last of the barefoot beach walks for the year. Two weeks ago it was rainy and cool, borderline rain gear weather. This week there was a gray mist so you could hardly discern the sky from the lake from the beach.

Not only had the landscape of the beach changed literally from week to week, but my own life had changed. My personal life seems to have mirrored the weather.

I thought about how our own personal landscapes changes figuratively. Without our knowledge.

Sometimes I wonder how much control we actually have on the changes at hand. How many events seem to change us...not the other way around. That maybe I don't really have that much power to manipulate my own life. Just the ability to deal with what is served.

Perhaps it was just the day, or the color of the sky, or the sense of smallness one feels when sitting at the edge of a large body of water. Sitting there in the mist realizing how small I really am in the grand scheme of things.
And yet, in the mist, the gray haze, my inner optimist continues to remain alive and unfazed. It has this perception and tenacity that serves me well. That inner voice is always strong and clear. It says, "Look how beautiful things are...", no matter what week it is.

You see, it's really all in the perspective.
And view.

I'm so glad mine remains relatively in focus.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

just a little more, please?...

How time flies...

How many times have you heard that phrase?
A million? Maybe two?

"Time flies when you're having fun!"
"My, how times flies."
"Time is money"

Or my dad's saying, "Time is your most valuable commodity."

I know that I've complained about not having enough time in the past, but I really don't have enough time right now.

I'm under deadlines.

Social deadlines, remodel deadlines, financial deadlines and deadlines for work. It's the retail Christmas season, didn't you know? Elves don't come in and do the work. In my stores, it's me. All me. Everywhere you look is a little vignette of Christmas. All those little touches that seem to pretty and festive need to be fluffed. Each store takes at least 3 days to Christmas-tize. And they all need to be done...NOW.

At least Brooks Brothers doesn't set up Christmas before Halloween like some big department stores. I was in a big box store in October and stopped dead in my tracks when I realized I was hearing Christmas music. Or canned Christmas music. Like the holiday delivered as Spam.

I'm not a believer in the capitalisation of Christmas. It takes all the fun out of the holidays and makes it well...less Christmas; more Walmart. People rushing about, anxieties rising, tempers flaring. People trying desperately to complete everything in time for Christmas. Life is too fast paced as it is without the added pressure of having a perfect Martha Stewart holiday.

Presents wrapped just so, house decorated to the nines, holiday parties with all the trimmings...
Who has time for all that?!

I know I don't. At least right now.

I like to take things at a slower pace. Sitting around the fireplace with friends, the room awash in the soft glow from the Christmas tree. I cherish those wonderful evenings through the holiday season, but right now at this pace?...those slow down days seem pretty far away.

I know as we get nearer to Thanksgiving, my brother and dad will start putting in their requests for dinner. I'll start getting a little stressed that I haven't completed everything on my 'to-do' lists. That my time line is a little off. I'll start feeling the pressure of making everything perfect.

One of the joys of Christmas is to give. I love to give presents. I like to find just the right thing for those I love. A signed first edition novel, the antique hand mirror, the handmade knitted creature from one of the local artists...all these were special gifts that I thoroughly enjoyed the expressions of appreciation from those I gave those gifts to.

And I love to get presents as well. Some more than others. There have been some gifts that have brought tears to my eyes, they were so thoughtful. And there have been those that you knew it's just a gift. No meaning behind the purchase. Just something that they got because they felt they had to give. How many times have you opened a package and the first thought is, "Boy, they don't know me at all..."

That's when I don't like Christmas. Because people have lost the meaning of it.
One of my favorite Christmas movies of all time is "The Grinch that Stole Christmas". People version or classic, that movie is not only entertaining but delivers a poignant message as well.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not ungracious. A gift is a gift after all. And it is wonderful that they thought of me to give a present to, but those are the gifts that usually go the Elf Shelf the following year.

Elf Shelf is a program at my daughters school. Children can pick out presents for their parents for a small sum. The funds then raised goes to support school programs. Since it's run totally by donations of gifts for the children to choose from, it's one of the best ways I know to recycle those unwanted gifts.

I used to re-gift. But had a problem one year when I re-gifted to the gifter. Yeah. That wasn't my best ever swift move. So I don't even try that any more. I learnt my lesson, but good.

But I'm almost done with the Christmas decorations. One more day and I'm finished with the stores work. The fluffing of the greenery has ruined my manicure and even wearing gloves the trees have made my hands raw. I hope to not see another Christmas tree, wreath or garland for a long, long, long, long time.

Geez. I forgot.
I've now got to decorate my own. More trees. More garland. More wreaths.

And Thanksgiving is just next week. Lots of details to tend to before the festivities of the holidays begin.

What I need just a little more time...
That elusive little bugger. Time. Spare time.


Saturday, November 14, 2009


I like to procrastinate.

I mean, I don't really like to procrastinate, but I tend to procrastinate. Often.

Subconsciously I find a way to put off things that I don't really want to do. I suppose in my minds eye, it'll be more palatable to get to another day.
These could be small things, like clearing out that basket under the sink with multiple bottles of dish washing detergent or cleaning out that junk drawer. Or they can be large tasks. Reorganizing all the storage bins in the basement or cleaning out the garage space.

If they are on the small list; I figure I can get to it another day. No biggie.
But, if they are on the large list; perhaps the task is too daunting to attempt on my own, or overwhelming in it's scope...I just get it off my radar.

I'm convinced that living in denial could possibly be the root of all happiness.

I'm starting a new project in my home. Yes...another project. As soon as one gets completed, I move to the next on my wish list. This one is going to leave most of the second floor a wreck for several weeks. But I know the end result will be fantastic and enjoyed for years to come.

My plan , if all goes well, is to have it completed for the holidays.

My daughters room is on the south west side of the house. The room next to hers has become the 'catch-all' room. Off season clothing, things to be sorted, school projects and supplies, junk that isn't junk but needs to be all gets tossed in there. And then the door gets shut.

Out of sight, out of mind.

That room faces the front of the house and has a large beautiful window to let in the morning light. My plan is to knock out the wall between the two rooms and create one very large room.

Sounds great, right?
Perfect for a pre-teen?
Room enough for all those future sleepovers?

Except that means I've got to clean out the 'catch-all' room. Which also means I need to organize to find 'homes' for all the stuff that has mysteriously filled the room. A goes to B; B to C; C to D; D to E and then E can finally go back to A. There seems to be much schlepping in my immediate future.

It's funny how things have steps. Alcoholic Anonymous has twelve steps. Overeaters Anonymous has twelve steps. Narcotics, Debtors, Gamblers, Smokers, Workaholics, Sex Addicts...there are an abundance of twelve stepper groups to associate with. There is even a CLA; Clutterers Anonymous which I'm sure would welcome me with open arms.

But I don't need to have group therapy for the task at hand. I need some planning.

There will be at least twelve steps to complete my project. And as with all step programs, the first step is the always hardest. I need to commit myself to the task. So I don't put it off to another day.

This morning I took my sledgehammer and busted a huge hole into the wall.

As I hit the wall I realized what wonderful therapy it was. I could skip my workout because this exercise of destroying my daughters pristine bedroom wall was exercise in itself. It was not only physically exhilarating, but also stress eliminating. I could feel my worries disappear with each and every swing. My frustration with a peer at work, my disappointment in my relationship status, my hidden anger at the medical field for the inability to cure my mom. All these things kept jumping into my head and low and behold, I felt better. Much better.

Sometimes hitting something, or breaking something is the best therapy.

Back eons ago, when I was separated from my then husband, he had moved out of our home and into an apartment. Not just any apartment, but a really nice one on the lake. I thought it a bit extravagant since his rent was more than our mortgage payment, but who was I to question. I didn't rock the boat. I didn't have a voice.

I suspected his continued infidelity although supposedly that was over and we were going to work things out. I was in that neighborhood and stopped by unannounced. Despite his protests to the contrary, his behaviour belied the fact that he not only was continuing to see his mistress, but that she was there, right then.

I was hurt. I was angry. But I didn't say anything and got into my car to leave. At the base of the driveway I had a change of heart. What I realized at that moment was that I needed a voice. One that could be heard. One that would resonate loud and clear, way beyond this minute in time.

Who would've guessed that my voice would come in the form of the brush bar of my Land Rovers. I put my Discovery into drive, floored the gas pedal and crashed the garage door.

Oh yes. I did.
Twice. For full measure.

On my second smash into the heavy wooden door, the alarm from the BMW cradled inside started to wail. I had an exuberant feeling with each high pitched squeal of the car I just killed. I backed down the driveway, flew the bird to my husband standing gaped mouthed in the window and drove off.

I decided it would be prudent to make a visit to my parents home. I reasoned there would be a high probability that I may need to secure a temporary loan from them to fix the damage due to my impetuous demolition derby. My mother stood in our U-shaped kitchen washing dishes while my dad and I sat at the kitchen table. I braced myself for the lecture of a lifetime, but instead what I got was a laugh.

My dad started laughing as I've rarely heard him before. One of those deep guttural laughs that can only be described as a chortle. Tears streamed from his eyes. At which point I couldn't help by laugh along as well.

My mother peeked her head from under the kitchen cabinets and a sweet soft voice said, "How...did it feel?"

"Great, mom. Fantastic even."

"I've always wanted to do something like that, but have never had the courage to do it.", she said in her sugary voice.

My dad chimed in through his laughter, "So that's why you have a brush bar!"

That was it.
We were all done in, laughing hysterically in the kitchen. We laugh about it still.

That one moment was worth 5 years of therapy.

It allowed me to step beyond where I was. Which before then I hadn't been able to do. So yes, there is therapeutic satisfaction in hearing the sound of breaking glass, splintering wood and crunching metal.

It also makes us push forward. Without the possibility of procrastination.

Just about the same way this huge hole in my wall just did.

I suppose the next tool that I a checkbook.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

one more cocktail party...

I'm throwing a party!
An awards party to be exact! So c'mon in, settle down and grab a cocktail...

Okay, so it's not noon yet where I am, so I have a chai instead. Just grab a beverage of choice, and settle on in and we'll get started.


I was recently the honoured recipient of several awards from some really wonderful bloggers that I would like to acknowledge and then pass on to others that are more deserving that I.

The first one comes from Dan. at Vacant Mind. He thinks I'm Fabulous!

Darlhrlink, I never knew? *wink, wink*
Dan always amuses me with some wonderful insights and humor. Please do go and check out his blog. You'll be glad you did. I know I you will be too! Trust me on this.
The rules for this little award is to give 5 current obsessions and to pass it on to 5 other bloggers who are also 'fabulous'. So let's see...what are my obsessions this week. (you know they change, don't you?)

1. Raking leaves.
We have a annual leaf pickup in my community and they travel up and down the streets with these big trucks and suck all the leaves off the treelawn. My timing is usually off. I either get them out there too early and it burns the grass from having them piled up there, waiting...too long. Or I hear the trucks on the street and I'm frantically raking and blowing the leaves to beat their passing me by. I've been watching and I think I have it timed right this year. We'll have to see...

2. Rock & Rye.
I went to the Melting Pot for dinner last week. (Great, by the way) We stopped by the bar on before leaving to watch a little of the game. The bartender, Kellie, bought us a shot. I'd never had it before. Rock & Rye. It's whiskey blended with rock candy and fruit. Sounds weird, tastes great. But I now need some aspirin...

3. Napping.
There's nothing like an afternoon nap. If I can squeeze them in. It's a sorry state of affairs when once up you already start thinking about when it'll be nap time. What can I say? Just don't call around 2...'cuz I won't answer the phone.

4. BigMac's.
I shouldn't eat them, but when you get a Mac attack, you gotta listen! Somehow I think the current Mac attack I'm having ties itself to the Rock & Rye. And probably the nap gets tied in there as well. Hmmm.

5. Bonfires.
Something about bundling up on a chilly evening throwing logs on a outside fire is quite zen like. I could stare into a good fire for hours. The weather this fall has been quite good at cooperating and we've enjoyed some rousing flames. You can always smell a bonfire in the air. I like it when the neighbors pop over, "Hey, we smelled the fire, what's in the cooler?" Insta-party.

And now, the five recipients that I think are fabulous!

1. John at Ride My Mind. He's one of my new favorites! I even have him now on my sidebar so I won't miss any postings!

2. Sondra Stinglash at Callithump Thunderblog. She's got some really good humor. Always an enjoyable read.

3. Kfred at Flatline Thinking. He's off the wall in a beautiful sort of way. Go look see, and tell me what you think.

4. Leah over at Funny is the New Young. I love in her profile she states that she's vertically challenged. She's pretty damn funny...

5. Shell at Everything is Better on a Stick. Go say "Hi". A fellow Ohioan, he's got some great things to say. We just need some people to listen!


The second award comes from KaLynn at Kacklin' with KaLynn. She's a new bloggy friend but has commented on just about every post Ive made since we 'found' each other! Isn't that fun?

The rules with this one are that I pass it onto some new bloggers that I have recent;y discovered. I will pass it onto 5 newbies that I enjoy reading.

1. C.J. Koster at Mr. Teacher Man. I never tire of C.J. I mean seriously, how could you?

2. SuziCate at The Water Witch's Daughter. I love the look of her blog. I love the title of her blog. She's pretty damn cool. Like water...

3. Joshua at The Technical Parent. He too is a new bloggy. We've all been there. Go check him out.

4. Cyndi at Take Note. Clever and honest, she sometimes says what I've thought but didn't say. Did that make sense? Mind meld with me here...

5. Mike at DigitalMCS. He just got engaged! He's rather funny...and he gives me compliments on comments. Flatery will get you anywhere...

Click on each.

Thank you.


And pausing ever so slightly to announce the third award. This also comes from KaLynn. (She's obviously been stockpiling her awards over there and has been so generous by sending a few my way.) Fact is, both that she sent to me I hadn't seen before! So these are new special beauties that I can now prominently display in my cabinet of awards!

The rules are pretty simple (as great lemonade is!) . Link back to the giver of said giver of lemonade and then pass it onto other bloggers with great attitude or gratitude!

The blogs that I choose for this award are:

1. Chrissy at IShouldBeenAStripper. Not only is she my best friend, but she got me into this whole blogging arena. Add to that she doesn't already have this award and she's been given a huge dose of lemons in her personal life as late...she needs a lemonade stand. SHE is the grand master of great attitude. Love ya' Chrissy.

2. Menopausal New Mom. A new blog for me, but from what I've read so far, I'm going to enjoy this one!

3. Julie at At home with Myself. You might have seen her as my Follower of Note last week. If you missed her, go take a look. She's beautiful, smart AND witty!

4. Poems by me. I'm not always a big fan of poetry, but I like the way she writes. I hope you do too!

5. Judge Fudge at I don't know you but I probably don't like you. Now normally with a blog title like that you might think, "How does this guy have positive attitude?" Check him out and you'll see. The title does not reflect the person...:-)

The past two awards didn't tell me HOW many people to pass it onto. So I suppose you can use as many or as few as you'd like. I like the number 5. Can you tell?


The next award is from Chandni at Life, Through my Eyes. She honing her writing craft. She's quite the artist. Go check her out!

The rules with this little award are to list 7 things which nobody knows about me. Hmmm. Since I've listed things that no one knows in the past, you might already know these! But I'll give it a shot.

Remember, I don't answer to keep those thoughts from your mind.

1. I have a morning routine that uses not one, but six different creams for my face and body. That's alot of counter space, yes.

2. I have a stash of 'snacks' in the bottom drawer of my nightstand. Sssshhhh. Don't tell anyone.

3. When I buy new shoes, I walk around the house in them first. I hate it when I see people that can't walk properly in their new (or old for that matter) shoes. If I can't walk in them, but they look fab...they go back.

4. I hate word verification when leaving comments. I've only gotten a handful of Spam, but that's why the trash icon is there! You don't like the comment, delete it. I can't tell you how many times I haven't gotten the letters right and lose the comment. I won't bother to go back and try again.

5. I'm horrible at saving presents. I bought a Christmas present for my daughter yesterday and was so excited I went ahead and gave it to her. Ooops.

6. I lost my daughters second hampster. I left the top off it's cage by accident. I don't know whether it got out or the cat got it...but it's gone. Double oops.

7. I like a little coffee with my sugar. Thick, rich, sweet. Like the kind I had in Cuba. Yummm.

And I will pass this Kreative number onto:

1. Shannon at Recovery From a Life Not Lived. I like to compare my "been there done that' list with hers...

2. Pines Lake Redhead. I love her comments, her posts, her blog. Okay?

3. Pseudonymph at Rad Mamblings. She just, frankly, keeps me entertained. A hard feat, I might add.

4. Living on the Spit. I love the photography in this blog. Just go see...

5. Jennifer at Momma Made It Look Easy. I like to grab a cup of tea and see what their up to. It's cozy. You'll kike it.

6. CAM at MoonScribble. You just never know what you'll find. But I usually kike it.

7. Adventures in Dating (and life) Single Mommy Style. She just flat out cracks me up.


So thanks to Dan, KaLynn and Chandni for my new banners of adoration! I love them!

I will keep them, and care for them and polish them when needed. It's nice that you thought of me. But damn, is it hard to abide by all these rules! The best thing about getting the awards is to pass them on. It's a wonderful little blogosphere in which we write and really neat how interconnected we all are.

Enjoy your new reading list! There's alot of new ones there!

Phew. That was alot of work! Nap time? Cocktail time? Nah...

Now, I've got to go out a rake a few more leaves...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

hot pipes...

Do you have a favorite restaurant? Or bar?

You know, one of those places that just feels like you've come home?
Like Norm from Cheers?

I have one of those...

It's just a small little place, still decorated from the 1960's. Complete with wagon wheel light hanging above the horseshoe bar.

I've been going there for years. I know all the people that work there. And they all know my name. I don't ever have to 'order', as I'm a creature of habit and get the same thing every time I'm there. They even know how to time it. Put the order in when the first drink gets down to about there...

It's seamless. It's comfortable. It's a 'no brainer', if you will.
All I have to do is show up.

Last week my favorite little hole in the wall replaced some kitchen equipment and closed for several very long days. I kept forgetting. I would head there only to be disappointed that they were still closed for the remodeling. I would approach and see that they parking lot was near empty and silently 'hooray' that I wouldn't have to wait for a bar stool. And then I would see all the chair turned up on the tables and realize that indeed they were still...closed.
I can live without going there, but because I knew that I couldn't order my normal bowl of spicy garlic wings...I had an almost insatiable craving for those messy things.
And others just won't do. I've tried. They have to be Herb's wings.

They re-opened yesterday.
Just before the dinner rush.
And what a rush it was...

The place was packed. Most of us regulars were there clamouring for our favorite spots at the bar. Some had to linger in the background as their weren't enough seats. Or grab a table, God forbid. All the conversation happens at the bar.

Because of it's shape, it's not unheard of to have the entire bar involved in some conversation or another. It can range from every topic imaginable. Newbies there probably feel a little irritated with people talking over them while they eat, but this is a Herb's tradition. And one that won't die easy. If you don't like socializing, sit at a table. Don't take up precious bar space.

There is a great mix of people who are regulars at Herbs Tavern. The walls show all of the history of the place. Old photos and memorabilia adorn most available space. Not the generic kind like at a TGIFridays, but personal stuff of people that have been there through the years.

One of my favorite people to saddle up by is Clarence "Clancy" Shaffer. He's in his 100th year of life. On September 19th, 2010, he'll be the grand age of 100. I asked him whether he's excited that he'll get a nod from the President when he turns 100.

"Bah. I've already met 10 of them. United States Presidents, that is."

I bet he has. I love Clancy. He's got some fascinating stories. I want to write them all down.
He won a silver medal for boxing in the 1921 Olympics. He raced in the Whitbread Challenge and just recently sold his sloop that used to belong to JP Morgan. Clancy's a big game hunter and has ventured far into untamed regions that we only view on NatGeo or read about in magazines. He's an inventor that has credited to him manufacturing the A frame rafter used to support most homes.

There are a gazillion more things that Clancy has done. It's always fascinating. His wife Gertrude died a few years back. They were married for over 70 years. She was 94 when she passed.

Clancy orders the same drink every time he's in.
Vodka and tang. With 12 Sweet & Low's. In a tall glass. He orders two each visit. No more. No less.

I've come to believe that it's all the preservatives in those little pink packages that may just be responsible for his longevity. They are preserving him, 1 gram at a time.

He's always in a suit coat and tie. He tells me he owns 92. I believe him. I don't think I've seen him in the same one twice.

If Clancy's there, expect an hour long conversation. And then he'll pat your hand, kiss your check and drive the 2 miles back home in his big Buick. On parting he always says, " I hope to see you again."

I hope I see him too. I suppose at 99, seeing anyone at least one more time is definitely a bonus.

Sometimes newbies will question the presence of this older man at the bar drinking his peculiar concoction. Most are enamoured. Clancy's like a rite of passage into whether you're new or a regular.
But there are a few that just seem to have no respect for their elders. There were a young couple in last week sitting at the bar and snickering amongst themselves at Clancy's expense. It angered me.

When Clancy left to use the restroom, I asked them, "Do you know who that is?"

"Noooo. Just some smelly old dude." giggled the bimbo.

"Uh. Yeah. No. That was Clancy Shaffer. He's 99. And has done more in his lifetime than you ever will do in yours. Have some respect."

They left shortly after. They don't deserve a space at the bar. Our bar. My bar. They weren't part of the regular clientele. You have to earn that.

There is a drawback for being a regular. People know you. There is a camaraderie amongst those familiar faces. It's very easy when they are all there to get over served...

People are always buying rounds for each other. Last night I had 2 shot glasses denoting a free drink, overturned in front of me almost the entire evening. Maybe it's because everyone was there. Lance and Heather, Pam and Dave, George, Kurt...everyone. Add to that that Dean and Lisa got married, the evening turned out to more festive than usual.

It was like being at a reunion with everyone that you want to see.
A good time was had by all.

Perhaps too much of good time. If that is possible.

I drank 7 bottles of water from the time I went to hit my bed to present. I guess I'm trying to flush all that excess from my system.

"Hot pipes", some people call it.
And that's what I have this morning.

I stopped drinking soda awhile back, but I crave bubbles today. What I wouldn't give right now for a Diet Coke. I just may have to break my 'No soda" rule.

And junk food. A Big Mac would be awesome. And some fries.

Yeah. That's what I'm going to do.

I'm going to go to McDonald's and get me a Big Mac meal. Consume 120% of my daily allowance of caloric and sodium intake in one. big. meal.

And then...I'm going to nap.
It's 9am and I'm already scheduling in a nap.

Life is pretty damn good.

It's a glorious day. It's looks to be one of the last great weekends of the year before the nasty weather is headed our way. The remainder of the week is going to be 30's a wet. So I will get my 'sorry over served ass' up and out to play in the leaves today. I must.

But right now, I'm planning my junk food bliss.
As if all those wings last night weren't enough.
The leaves can wait just a few more hours. Or days.
I've got to rid myself of these 'Hot Pipes'.
But it sure was fun getting them...

Addendum 2:20pm: I've had my BigMac (delicious) and my fries. But decided instead of the Diet Coke to go for the Iced Mocha. I mean, why not?
I've also managed a short nap AND taken the dogs for a long walk AND played in the leaves with then down at the beach.
Life IS good.
And I'm not talking about the T-shirts.