Hopefully My Mom Can Paddle as Well as She Sings!

Dear friends,
This past weekend I visited my folks. My mom had purchased tickets (an early birthday present for me) to see my all time favorite Broadway actor – Mandy Patinkin sing with Patti Lupone (another favorite). My sis, delicate daughter and amazingly vivacious 78-year-old mother stopped at a Vegan Cafe before the show –

mom green wall(sister, delicate daughter, beautiful mom)

The show was fantastic, no surprises there-

mandyThe big surprise was my dad’s special gift for his wife. My mother – bless her young heart – plays tennis, serves as an Art Committee Chairman, enjoys swimming…in short she loves life and lives it well. She got the idea into her head this year, she’d like to take up kayaking. Her six children advised against it. My father – usually a conservative thinker – threw caution to the wind and gave his spirited wife a shiny new, red kayak for Mother’s Day-

kayakI love my mother dearly. She is so many things to so many people. Her talents are many. She has a beautiful soprano voice. She sang the Ave Maria at her wedding, as well as mine-

mom & dad weddingI painted this watercolor portrait in 2009 for my parents’
50th Wedding Anniversary celebration

I hope when the shiny red kayak touches down on the lake for its maiden voyage, my mother can paddle as well as she sings…

Sweet Memory Found in a Dirty Cabbage Patch

Dear friends,

As a child, I never cared for dolls. My inner-tomboy wouldn’t allow it. There was however this one special baby doll, that my father brought home on a dark night long ago. Oh, she was beautiful. Her silky brown hair was fashioned into pixie and she had dark, malted milk-ball eyes. She wore a simple blue dress decorated with one little yellow daisy. She was the first doll I’d ever seen with eyes and hair like mine. It was love at first sight.

But my younger sister wanted the new doll too. She needed to add the brown-eyed beauty to her massive doll collection. My sister feared her sibling’s unusual desire for the plastic newcomer. She realized claiming her divine doll right in this situation, might be ineffective. My younger sister employed a more sinister tactic – she cried. Her blue eyes were quite convincing.

My inner-tomboy nearly relented that evening. Except as luck would have it, my inner-tomboy fell out of her upper bunk bed onto her head, ironically while showing off how far she could lean down without falling. She cried too – which she didn’t do often. My father who was within earshot came running in. In that tear-ridden moment, I asked for the brown-eyed, baby doll. Gazing at my pathetic face, my father told my sister she had more than enough dolls. And for the price of one head bump, the only baby doll I ever coveted was mine.

Sadly, I can’t remember what happened to my precious doll. Many years later, while at a younger brother’s high school graduation, I spied a beautiful, brown-eyed girl gripping a dirty, bald-headed Cabbage Patch Doll. She cupped the dolly tenderly to her shoulder. The afternoon sun was lighting her flawless face like an angel. I took a photo.

girlI came home that evening, took out my pastels and drew a cherished childhood memory –

Reflections of Spring

Hello my friends,
Yesterday I was sitting in front of my (ashamedly) dirty laptop gathering my thoughts, when a springtime reflection inspired me…

Spring is a time for cleaning winter’s white dust from our homes. It is a time for reflection and renewal –
laptopSpring is a time to face new doors of opportunity and be prepared to leap through when they open-

rock:moSpring is a time to sow the seeds of dreams and cultivate inspired thoughts –

maxWhile traveling down the road of life, we shouldn’t spend too much time reflecting upon past choices –

car sideveiwWe may find we don’t have all the answers, but if we pay close attention, life sometimes sends little messages in plain sight –

successAs we nurture dear optimism, we shouldn’t expend effort reflecting on what the future has in store for us.  We should believe when one door closes another sometimes opens –

mebpRather then cling to the past or dwell on the future, we should cherish the present surrounding us –
sunsetAnd reflect in the joy of Spring’s beauty.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends… (I will be cleaning my house, beginning with my disgusting laptop!)

 

Death of an Ancient One

As a kid, I found any morning walk to my bus stop after a heavy rain daunting. Neither me or my earthworm friends were very happy. I couldn’t bear to watch the endless sea of pinkish-brown bodies wriggling on the wet blacktop. Whenever this upsetting scene accosted my eyes, my inner-tomboy morphed into a worm-plucking machine. Running in a serpentine pattern, I’d grab as many worms as my little hands could carry. Then onto the nearest lawn went the hapless earthworms. I’d continue saving worms until the bus arrived. Once seated, I’d wipe my dirty hands on my navy-blue knee socks so the nuns couldn’t think I’d been digging for the devil.

I don’t save earthworms much these days. I’d like to think that over the last forty years their little earthworm brains have evolved and they’re better equipped at saving themselves. I’ve since taken up offering roadside assistance to bewildered dogs. To prepare myself for this challenge, a nylon leash is stowed in my car and I watch The Dog Whisperer, whenever I can. To date I’m happy to report-I’ve reunited several lost pooches with their owners (though one little dog with oddly big teeth scared the crap out of me).

Bringing me to the reptile saving. A few years back there was an incident which compels me to save turtles for the rest of my life. I learned a terrible, horrible and valuable lesson. Every spring where I live many turtles venture out onto the road. While driving the tank, if I happen to spy a slow-moving shell I pull over and return the turtle to safety.

On this particular spring day several years ago, I’d been rushing to collect the big son (who was much smaller at the time) from elementary school. We had to find a birthday gift then get to a party. On the way to his school, a large snapping turtle – the kind that live 150 years – was making his way across the road. He was better than halfway and the road was not heavily trafficked. A fleeting thought entered my mind, “Pull the car over and make sure the turtle gets across.” Followed by the next fleeting thought, “No time. Everyone will see that giant turtle. It’s impossible not too. He’ll be fine.” I continued on my journey feeling nary a twinge of guilt. I picked up the big son and we proceeded to Target.

On the return ride, my jaw dropped open, my mouth hung agape. I was in disbelief. The huge, ancient, beautiful turtle didn’t make it across the road. I was broken-hearted but the guilt was far worse. I vowed from that day forward, much to the giant husband’s chagrin, to save every single turtle or reptile, no matter the time, place or situation.

I will admit that picking up and carrying that giant snapping turtle last year was not very smart, but the darn thing wasn’t moving fast enough and I had to help him cross the road.

turtle head/Prisma

turtle head/Prisma

How Do You Know if Your Husband Still Likes You?

I’ve listed a few benchmarks based on years of experience for you-my friends, to help assess the status of your own unions. I personally use these common situations to answer the question: How do you know if your husband still likes you? Feel free to use the same criteria where applicable…

Your younger-married version of a healthy fish dinner – frying canned tuna, frozen mixed vegetables and mustard together is met with a fork and a smile (he might admit disgust years later).

He overcomes the enormous disappointment of marrying into large Italian family where only two people enjoy cooking and neither one of them is you (you fry canned tunafish).

He allows you to pick a tiny pimple on the tip of his nose. For the next several weeks, he roams the world with a scab the size of a pencil eraser on his face.

He does not get angry when you hand him his freshly-laundered, leather wallet complete with soggy money and warped business cards.

He is supportive when you’re temporarily replaced by an insane amalgam who calls herself  ‘first time mommy.’
Gene:ARK
You request drawer dividers to separate your numerous socks and he builds them.

He rubs your back whenever you say it’s sore, even though you complain that his back is “sooooo much bigger,” when he asks the same of you.

When you (both) forget your Anniversary and it’s no big deal, because you consider yourselves the most intimate of friends above and beyond any other titles.

To summarize: Your husband still likes you if he can recall what life was like before he met you, and he still chooses scabbed noses and fried tunafish.

An Unusual Exotic Dancer

Admitting sheer stupidity is depressing, so it is with great humility I share this story with you-my friends.

Not far from my home, but far enough away is an exotic establishment. The nondescript building sits along a main route. Now don’t let your imagination wander, there’s no nudity involved in this story unless exposing my naked soul counts. The brick exterior of this exotic house holds no aesthetic allure other than its ‘mysterious’ blackened windows. The tall, magenta sign in front of the building – nearest the road is another matter. Whenever I happen to be driving by and get a moment to read the neon sign, I find myself thoroughly entertained. I’m fascinated by dancers’ names like Mama Lucious and Dolla Tiny Feathers…
Cloven with HeartNow back to my stupidity…the giant husband’s folks were visiting from the Land of Enchantment. One night, New Mexico Nana and Papa wanted to treat us to dinner. The six of us packed into the car, drove to a nearby restaurant and enjoyed a lovely meal out. Returning home we took a different route which lead us passed the exotic dance establishment. When I spotted the neon, magenta sign ahead, I began telling my in-laws what fun it was to read the dancers’ names. As our car passed by the glowing words, I blurted out “Wow, look at that unusual name – Montofris. That’s the best name yet!”

The giant husband and in-laws burst into hysterical laughter. In my unbridled enthusiasm, had I been unwittingly humorous? I didn’t understand what had just transpired. It took several very long minutes for the giant husband to catch his breath. When he finally calmed down he simply said, “It’s not Montofris darling, you read the sign wrong it’s Mon to Fris.” Then he began laughing all over again.

All I could do to defend myself was stammer, “They forgot to put spaces in between the words!”

The giant husband stored the Montofris gaff in his arsenal. To this day, whenever I boast of how brilliant I am, he quickly shoots me with Montofris ammo.

But who knows, I may have the last laugh yet. Somewhere out there lovely Montofris could be making happy the hungry hearts of the well-intended…

Shaping Goo

Life is like gooey jello: add hot and cold water to something sweet then hope it solidifies into a fun shape. We view our lives in terms of taking shape. We view our bodies as changing shape (some more shapely than others). The glorious upside of aging (besides getting all jiggly), is the ability to look back with humor. Peering into our chilled jello bowls, we have the luxury of laughter as we recall our youthful lime-green messes.
jelloPerhaps that is why at 50 years of age, I can now giggle at pirates with eyepatches. I too wore an eyepatch. I was in fourth grade – my patch was pink (a bad tomboy color). My eyepatch had an elsatic band much like a costume eyepatch. The eyepatch covered my right eye ‘casue the left had astigmatism.

My adult jello bowl also allows me to chuckle at food handlers’ plastic gloves. I too wore plastic gloves. In fourth grade a weird skin rash decided to take up residence between my fingers. First thing every morning, my red-itchy hands were slathered with cream then stuffed into plastic gloves as to not smear my school mates.

Today, I can gaze deep into my jello bowl and say with confidence it’s okay to be jiggly. I can affectionately recall the lime-green messes. I remember the little chubby girl with the pink eye patch and plastic gloves and can honestly say – 4th grade really sucked.

If I can admit all this while smiling, I will not live my life shaping goo.
me with caroline