Hey Mom, It’s snowing!

15 Nov

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Snow – Everything about it reminds me of my youth.   It reminds me of my parents.  And, It reminds me of growing up in South Bend, Indiana.  The snow always seemed to be piled high from November through March.  Every year.  Not just on years that were considered  “the year of the polar vortex,” but always.  You could count on a beautiful white blanket of snow throughout winter just as sure as you could count on presents under your tree on Christmas morning.  The two-way neighborhood roads would turn into single lane paths that you’d wield your car down.  Snow piled high on both shoulders along your way.

Maybe this is why I still love the snow so much.  It’s beauty takes me back to my childhood.  And, to a time when I was living under the same roof with my 4 siblings and my parents.  Every year you knew that as the temperatures plummeted, the snow would come.  Still, there was always something so pure and magical about looking out at the first snowflakes falling.

Our hearts seem to forever stay childlike in that we will never get over the thrill of going to bed at night when the earth outside our windows is a field of frozen, dormant grass and waking up the next morning to the loveliness of a thick mantle of white snow and frozen tree branches swagged heavily with silvery icicles hanging off each tip.  The sun shining a bit brighter because of its reflection off of the bright ground.

South Bend is famously synonymous with two things – Snow & Notre Dame.  My parents worked at Notre Dame pretty much all their married lives. Our home was fairly close to the campus.  As a teen, my friends and I would ride our bikes across town and spend time tooling around the different quads that made up the campus.  This was mainly in the summer when the students were on break.  The campus felt quiet then.  And Empty.  And it felt like ours.  It was beautiful, lush with flora and serene.  And for the most part, we had it to ourselves from June through August.

On many of those long summer days, we’d pop into my Mom’s office to say hi.  We’d visit for a while and talk to her co-workers sitting at their desks, piled high with paperwork, framed pictures of family members, typewriters and coffee cups.  On our way back out again, we’d pass up the bank of payphones and we’d stop by the vending machine in the lobby to buy a soda for .50 cents.  Then we’d get back on our Schwinn bikes and ride across campus to my Dad’s office and do the same.  “Hi Dad!  How’s it going?!  Do you have a few dollars I could “borrow?”

Summers felt long back then.  The days went on forever and the time went by at a snail’s pace.  But eventually, the warm days of summer would slowly turn to fall;  a favorite season for so many because of the relief that came from cooler temperatures and the beauty of the changing colors all around you.  ND Students would return for classes.  My siblings and friends and I would go back to school.  Before you knew it, the first snow would be at your doorstep, peaceful and white.  Filling you with an unexplained inner excitement and youthful joy.

The changing seasons always remind me of my parents.  Because of where I grew up, winter and snow remind me of them most.  This week here in Chicago, it snowed a little.  Just flurries.  But, in South Bend?  They got loads of it.  It made me think of my Mom and Dad.  It brought back such sweet memories of youth.  It also made me miss my parents – especially my mom, who we lost in February of this year.  I miss her so much.

As I watched the weather reports on TV with news of the heavy snow coming down in South Bend, I smiled.  Whenever the first snow would come, I’d always call my Mom, “Hey Mom!, it’s snowing!” And then she’d say,  “Oh Honey, we are getting so much snow!  You should see it!”  She knew how much I loved winter.  She thought I was nuts.  She did not love it as I always have.  She saw it as work, like most adults do.  She’d call me often about the piles of snow and would tell me how she felt trapped inside.  I would just laugh and tell her not to worry – “I’ll come visit you, mom!  You don’t have to drive in it!”  And, I did.

I’ll always love snow and the sense of renewal and peace that comes along with it.    It will always bring back sweet memories of my beloved parents who are now gone.  I’ll welcome it every year and be sorry when the last of it melts away.  Snow.  Such a wonderful part of the winter season!  “Hey Mom!… South Bend got a ton of snow this week……”

 

“Everything was frozen, and yet it all appeared so beautiful. … Yes, like little children, in spite of the cold, we went from one extremity to the other, perfectly enchanted with the marvelous beauties of our new abode”

- Fr. Edward Sorin

 

 

 

 

 


 

Growing up 70’s

18 Oct

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Prologue

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I grew up in the 70’s. It was a day and age when elementary school aged kids got up early, ate breakfast and ran out the front door of their suburban homes, hopped on their Schwinn bikes and headed out for the day to meet up with friends who lived down the block or around the corner. Or, across the way into the next neighborhood.

There were softball, baseball and kickball games played on dirt lots in neighborhoods that were not quite completely developed yet, making for great meeting spaces. …..”I’ll meet you on the dirt lot” …

old-basketball-hoop-thumb10588649We played four-square on driveways where we drew the lines for the game in chalk. There was tether-ball and hopscotch and tag. There were always groups of boys in the neighborhood playing basketball at each other’s houses. The basketball nets were mounted off of the part of the roof that hung over the garage.

There were no computers or cell phones. There was no cable TV or MTV. Gameboys, Video Gaming and X-Box systems were still many years away from being created by Microsoft. In fact, there was no Microsoft. Bill Gates was an unknown name. And Apple, well, that was a fruit you ate. We played outdoor everyday, all day long, often not showing up back home again until supper time.

For the most part, our moms stayed home and our Dads went to work. Later, as we grew into our Jr High years, some of the Mom’s started going back to work to help pay the high cost of raising a big family. Families were big back then. Or, they seemed to be. Maybe it was because I grew up in a mainly Irish/Italian, catholic area. Most of my friends came from families of at least 4 – 5 kids. And, it was not unusual to have friends that had 6 or 7 siblings.

Those were good days. Simple. Carefree. Easy. They were days when you formed unbreakable, life-long bonds with friends.1970s_schwinn_small_girls_bike_hollywood_blue_make_offer_peru_28526083There were strong family bonds and daily routines that helped to cement the family together. Chores on the weekends. Getting home from school, having a snack, playing outside for a while with friends, riding your bike or watching one of the 4 channels on TV we had. Helping out by starting dinner before your Mom got home from work.  Dinner in my home was always promptly at 6pm. Every night.

These simple times, these family bonds, were all tools that helped to form the adults we are today. They strengthened the ties between Dads and sons, as well as Moms and daughters. The family structure was well built and strong. I miss those easy days.

I ran across a blog this week that brought memories of the 70’s flooding back. They made me think about my siblings and friends from the old neighborhood, as well as my parents. Especially my Mom. Our bond was unshakable. We were close. Not so much through the teen years, which in my eyes, is a normal part of growing up, but more so after I left for college and especially when I got married and we lived states apart. I miss my siblings and my parents. These days, I miss my Mom. So much so that I find myself thinking about her day and night. So when I read this blog Im about to share, I smiled. I realized that those ties between a Mom and Daughter are never broken. The bond between a Mother and child is universal. And deep.

Sometimes I think back fondly and miss those days.  Always, I miss my Mom…….


Something Worth Sharing

Five O’Clock

Re-blogged and Originally posted by Teri Carter

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I miss my mother most at five o’clock.

When I was a kid and came home after school, the TV was my babysitter — Gilligan’s Island at 3:30 followed by The Brady Bunch followed by The Partridge Family — until five o’clock came and it was time to do the few chores my mother had left for me (as fast as possible) before she got home.  I stayed with my grandparents in the summers.  My mother, if she was working the right shift, the good 7 to 3 shift, would sit for an hour or so at the kitchen table with my grandmother, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes and gossiping, until we went home, just the 2 of us, around five.  As a teenager, I would dink around with friends after school, knowing I had to be home by five, that my mother would be waiting for me to help her with supper.  It was our time, our hour or two in the kitchen, just the two of us, before her new farmer husband came in from working in the field and the night became all about him.

I miss my mother most at five o’clock.

I remember being in my 20s, away from my hometown and working in cubicles and traveling all over the country.  Feeling successful, but untethered.  I called my mother at the end of most workdays.  Hey mom, what are you doing?  Nothing, what are you doing?  Going to grab some food, you?  Making supper.  When I got married, became a mom, and quit my job — all in about a 6 month span — I’d find myself in the kitchen alone around five, trying to figure out how to make a not-boring, edible dinner for my family of four.  Husband not home from work; kids doing homework or watching “The Simpsons”; and me pulling random items from the refrigerator.  I’d pour a glass of wine and call my mother.  Hey, mom, what are you doing?  Making supper.  Me, too, what are you making?  Chicken.  How are you making it?  Well … fried of course!  And we would laugh.

I miss my mother most at five o’clock.

In my mid-30s, I remember thinking that one good thing about having a sick mother was that she was always home, always there, to answer on the first ring.  I would start dinner, pour a glass of wine, and dial.  Hey mom, what are you doing?  Nothing, what are you doing?  Making dinner.  What are you making?  She was no longer able to cook, so she cooked vicariously through me.  Sometimes I lied and pretended I was making things I had no clue how to make — Chicken Cordon Bleu — to change up the conversation, to give us something else to talk about besides doctor appointments and inhalers and the shortening of time.  I’d even make up the ingredients, the steps, the ease of making something new; anything to distract us, to entertain.  All chicken, I would say, doesn’t need to be fried!  

I miss my mother most at five o’clock.

These days, when my husband and I decide we’re getting fat and it’s time to cut back, he will suggest skipping dinner.  Often I’ll agree:  what a great idea that is, we can just have a little snack, nothing big, you’re right.  But I never follow through.  I blame it on the clock.  On time.  It doesn’t matter if it’s winter or summer, daylight savings or dark by five, I pour my glass of wine and open the refrigerator door, ready to finish off the day the only way I know how.  It’s five o’clock.  What are you doing?  Making dinner. 

Do you have a space to call your own?

15 Oct

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It’s been raining for days.  I used to dread cold, gloomy, rainy weather.  That was before my blogging days.  Now?  I look forward to them because frankly, they seem to provide the best environment for writing.  They have a way of helping to diminish the guilt that we tend to feel when we stay indoors on sunny days.

I bought a desk a few months ago.  A desk that I could tuck away into a corner somewhere in my home – into a carved out a space of my own for the days I wanted to write.  Days just like we’ve had this week.  It landed up in the spare bedroom.  A room that once housed my oldest son before he got married.  A room that in my oldest son’s opinion, “got taken apart, dismantled and redecorated far too fast after he moved out”  (He’s still a little heartbroken over that fact!).

My own space!  It’s a place that I have carefully crafted into my very own oasis.  It’s cozy and feminine and perfect for slipping into when I want to get away from the chaos and monotonous routine of everyday – the doorbell, the phone, my last remaining home bound son and his friends, my Hubs and his constant, endearing male questions. “Honey, where’s my glasses?” “Did you get the mail yet?” “Margaret, what on earth have you been using the credit card on!?”

Those are the moments when, yes, it’s time to hideaway in my oasis.  I mean, honestly, for the past 30 years I have lived in a house of all men and myself.  The ratio is 4 to 1.  A ratio, in all honesty, that I have loved and adored because, well, let’s face it, boys are easier to raise than girls.  No raging hormones.  No cat fights with their female friends.  No over the top emotional displays of drama.  And, if my guys did get into a “disagreement” with their friends, it was heatedly discussed one moment and then forgotten the next.  Easy as pie!  Love my guys more than anything on earth!!!!

These days, I find myself hiding in my new, beautiful retreat more and more.  And, during all times of the day and night.  When Clark’s big, resounding snoring is keeping me awake, off I go to my oasis.  This was an added bonus provided by my special holed-up sanctuary that was a wonderful surprise!!  I had never thought about it as an escape from my sleepless nights when one of Clark’s colds (which he assures me that neither I nor anyone else on earth has ever experienced anything remotely as bad)  or his allergies made it sound like I was sleeping next to the freight train.  I used to just poke, kick or pinch him to get him to roll over to his side. This tended to give temporary relief from the quartet of loud trombones coming from my Hubs slumbering mouth.  When he became so accustomed to those tactics that he started to sleep through them, I tried a new approach.  I’d slap the mattress real hard right next to his head.  At first, this would startle him out of a deep sleep.  Heart racing and breathless, he jump straight up, hold his heart and ask me what in the world happened.  Naturally, I’d pretend to be asleep, rouse sleepily and tell him he imagined it.

Now, I can just slip out of bed and away from his personal symphony and head to my own peaceful crash pad.  It’s a win/win for both of us!!  Hurray!

When I first decided to redecorate the room, I promised my hubs it would be a simple project.  Slap a coat of new paint on the walls and buy a new bedspread. Like all worthwhile decorating projects, it turned into a monster.  Once I got a new bedspread, well, the old night stands had to go.  And, once those were replaced, New drapes, mirrors, wall art and lamps soon followed.  Each day as Clark would get home from work and climb the stairs to change his clothes from work, he’d pause briefly by “the” room, glance inside and wonder what new addition he’d find.  I would always assure him that whatever he spotted was a great deal with a huge, slashed discount!!!  Now that I think of it,  I was actually being very considerate in how I was saving him so much money!

This week, I’ve decided I need a small sofa, chair and ottoman or chaise in my home away from home.  And, I’m on the hunt!

Stormy days.  I once found them depressing, boring and lonely.  Today I find myself comforted by surrounding myself in the space I call my own.  Do you have a special place you that you can escape to when the creative juices are flowing?  Or, when you simply want to be by yourself for, well, whatever reason?  I hope so.  It’s a life changer!

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Mamma Mia! Let’s Celebrate our Love for Italy!

13 Oct

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Today is Columbus Day.  The day in which we remember Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas.  In honor of this great day and this man whom came from Italy, I’m celebrating everything Italian today.  Italy, with its great vineyards, amazing food and rich history, seems to be a heritage that we are infatuated with.  Who doesn’t love all things Italian?!

 The Top Reasons why we celebrate and Love Italy.

 

 The Pizza

You can eat it daily.

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The Spaghetti

You can twirl it like nobody’s business.

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The Wine

It’s guaranteed that you get this fruit group into your daily diet.

And, good wine is more important to you than a pile of money.

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 Italian – the universal language

You’re really good at talking with your hands.

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Grape Juice

You know exactly what cherished Television show this scene is from.

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The Produce

You could spend hours wandering the open air fruit and vegetable markets.

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 Italian Men & Women

You’re pretty sure the Italians were first in line when God was handing out looks.

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Transportation

It’s your dream to drive a little car.

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Or maybe even a scooter.

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Landscape

Frolicking in vineyards has always seemed like your calling in life.

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The Easy Life

You really just like to relax and hang out wherever!

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Joe

Your day is not complete without a little coffee.

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Flora

You’re pretty sure the window boxes everywhere were hung for you.

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Dino

You know all the words to THAT’S AMORÈ

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Leo

Since your early days of finger-painting, you’ve dreamed of becoming an artist in Italy.

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 Leo

Uhm, ’nuff said

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Italian Desserts

Leave the gun, take the cannoli

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Where Were You On October 2, 1998?

2 Oct

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Where were you on October 2, 1998?

You probably have no clue.  If you racked your brain trying to remember, you probably would not be able to recall.   But, if I asked you where you were on other significant days in history, chances are you’d probably not only recall where you were, but what you were doing and who you were with.

Where were you September 11th, 2001?  Where were you when Kennedy got shot?  Or, when Pearl Harbor got bombed?  Some of you may recall where you were when Nixon resigned.  Or, when John Lennon got shot.  Or, when Elvis died.

These significant days in history act as markers on the timeline of our lives.  Because they were so catastrophic and life altering, we can remember exactly where we were and what we were doing in that specific moment in time.

We can also recall our specific whereabouts in our times of personal crisis and joy.  When a baby is born.  When a loved one dies.  When a best friend calls us up and tells us they are getting married.

October 2, 1998 – a significant day in my life.

You may not recall where you exactly were then, but I know exactly where I was.  That was the day my Dad lost his battle with Cancer.  I was with him.  My Mom and one of my two Brothers were there, too.  16 years ago today.  (That’s so hard to believe!!) I was sitting on the side of his bed holding his hand.  It was the first time I was with someone when they took their last breath.  It was the first time I held someones hand and felt them go completely still and feel their life end.  It was surreal.  And sad.  And at the moment, something I could not wrap my brain around.  Even tho I knew he was near the end of his life, nothing quite prepares you for that moment when your parent actually passes away.  Breathing in life one moment – and in the next instance, complete stillness.  Their soul moving towards Heaven.  It was a powerful moment in my life and a precise moment on my personal timeline where I will always remember where I was and what I was doing.

I’ve lost both of my parents now.  My Dad 16 years ago and my Mom more recently – just 8 months ago.  February 14th – Valentines Day 2014.  I did not have the privilege to be with her and tell her goodbye when her time to leave this earth arrived.  But I’m confident that she knew exactly how I felt and how much I loved and respected her.  I’m confident that she knew how much all of my siblings loved her.

While I’m still adjusting to life without my Mom, the old saying really is true – “Time Heals All Wounds.”  You start to come out of the fog gradually and learn to smile and laugh again.

My Dad was Irish.  He was hardworking and funny and sentimental.  He liked sports, Notre Dame and beer.  He passed his sense of humor and hard work ethic on to all of us.  Thanks Dad!!  When my brothers and sisters and I get together, all we have to do is say one word to each other or give each other one look that was his and we all start laughing.  And we laugh long and hard.  And we remember him with fondness and joy and with the sentimentality that he unknowingly passed on to all of us.  Time heals all wounds.

We remember and speak of our personal experiences and that helps to keep those collective memories of history and personal tragedy and triumph vivid and fresh.  And then, suddenly, 10 years have passed.  Or, 20.  Or, 50

I miss my Dad.  Especially today.  I miss my Mom, too.  I will never quite get used to them being gone – or not being able to pick up the phone to talk to them.  And, I’ll never get used to no longer being able to just get in the car to take a road trip to see them.  But I am grateful for two such loving, selfless parents who showered me with unconditional love.  I’m grateful for the memories of their laughter and smiles.  And kindness.

When was YOUR October 2, 1998??  We all have them.

The good new is, Time Heals all Wounds.

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Welcome October!!

1 Oct

October could possibly be the best month of the year!

Yep, Anne said it best!!

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But if she doesn’t convince you ~ maybe some of these Autumn favorites will!!

 

 

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Welcome October!!

                                                                                                                                    

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What’s Your Favorite Month??

 

Until death do us part

30 Sep

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It’s Tuesday morning.  It’s been my norm for years and years to get up early.  Very early.  Usually between 4:30 – 5am.  Since I decided to retire early – last December – I’ve gotten into the habit of sleeping in late.  Well, late for me.  I usually wake up around 7am.  This was alarming to me at first.  I felt shame and guilt.  I felt lazy.  As my Mom used to say to me, “half the day is gone!”  It must be an Irish thing.  She used to get up early.  For as long as I can remember, she was up before the sunrise.   She would have half of her housework done by 7am.  But, I’ve gotten used to the luxury of sleeping in “late.”

So, its morning.  I’m having coffee.  I’m sitting at my kitchen counter and looking at a blank, white screen in front of my sleepy eyes.  My blog is calling to me. It pulls me in.  But for the past few months I’ve had a sort of writers block.  Clark says I’m forcing it – that when I’m ready to write again, it will come naturally.  Like it always has.  And, he’s right.

Brian – my youngest son – has said to me in the past that when I don’t have anything to write about, perhaps it’s because I have not been doing anything “write worthy”.  He’s observant.  I believe this to be the case of my self-proclaimed block.

 

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I could chalk it up to the transition of summer into fall if I really needed a scapegoat.  The changing of the seasons.  The fault could be laid at the heels of that happy sad place we find ourselves in when saying goodbye to one season and welcoming in the next.  I always feel a little bit melancholy as the seasons change.   And when I’m melancholy, I tend to take a break from writing.  Oh, the changing seasons is a cycle of life that I love – one that I really do not think I could live without witnessing year in and out, but still, it’s a constant reminder of how fast time goes.  The seasons speed by.  You blink your eyes and time flies.  Really, it would be unusual to go through an entire Summer without hearing at least a dozen times…that old familiar phrase..”I can’t believe the Summer is almost over!”  And it’s true.  It’s always a shock to see how fast it went by and how the next season has miraculously arrived without you noticing that it snuck up on you.

But, there it is.  Fresh and new.  A new beginning. A new cycle.  A new Season.   A fresh start.  With all the promise and excitement of what lies ahead for you.  New resolutions. New untapped energy.  Come on New Season…I’m ready!

 

Seasons Change

 

However, If I am going to be honest, my writer’s block could most likely be chalked up to the Clark Factor.  My better half tends to be around the house more than he used to be.  Right now he is upstairs snoozing.  He took the day off.  In all honesty, he takes a lot of time off of work these days.  He is somewhat semi retired.  He usually golf’s on the days he is not working, but I had a mini empty-Nester melt down last week and accused him of not wanting to spend time with me.  Suddenly, this week he decided to spend his time off with me rather than hitting the links with his golf buddies.  Coincidence?  Nah, I don’t think so.  But, I didn’t fight it.  I decided to soak in the attention and enjoy spending some quality one on one time with my Hubs!  YaY!!

Booo!!  By noon on the first day that we spent together,  I was wondering what in the world I was thinking when I practically bullied him into spending his day off with me rather than the guys.  In theory, I was going to love having him around!!  Hurray!! Us time!!   In reality, it didn’t quite work out that way.  He was in my space.  All.Day.Long.  It’s not that he was actually doing anything wrong – I just had not realized how much I liked my days to myself and my routine kept in place.  I didn’t want to spend my day running to the hardware store with him.  Or, dropping him off at the car dealership to get his car looked at.  I didn’t want to eat lunch at 10:30am or watch the financial station on TV all morning.  Or worse yet, watch golf on TV.  And, when we went to the grocery store together, it took some getting used to watching him plow the cart down the center of the aisle and getting into some sort of freakish road rage event with the other shoppers.  *Holy Cow!!*

By 3pm that day, I started to suspect that he was purposely trying to tick me off so I would beg him to please.. please, for the sake of our marriage…go golfing!!!  And, I did.  I told him to go golf with his friends.  He was happier,  I was happier.  I realized that having him around gave me an odd sense of feeling all out of whack.

Slowly (and Thank Goodness!!)  eventually he reverted back to his old ways.  I once again became a (happy) golf widow.  And more importantly, I was able to write again.  He still hangs around somewhat in the early mornings before he heads out for his day with the guys, but that’s a compromise I can live with. 

So now, these days when I am happily alone at home and carrying on with my usual routine, I wonder about what full retirement will be like.  How do retiree’s do it?  How do they learn to live together all day long without driving each other crazy??  Is it something that simply takes getting used to?  And if so, how long is the transition period?

I Love My Hubs!!  He’s my better half and my soul-mate and for better or worse, he’s my best friend!!  Until Death Do us part!!!  But, I pull my hair out when he’s around all day.  I feel like I’m losing my ever-lovin’ mind!!  I can not be the only one who goes nuts when your loved one suddenly decides to spend the day with you.  Can I?


 

 

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12 ways to spend your time and money at Target

8 Sep

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I’m sure by now you have all heard about the massive security breach of credit and debit cards used at Target stores across America.  During the 2013 Holiday season no less.  Now, this week, we hear of another cyber attack and data breach at Home Depots from coast to coast.

I was having coffee with Clark when the story hit the news last week.  I could not believe my ears.  How can this happen twice in the span of a year, I asked him.  And, how do these cyber thief’s pull off these big scale heists?

It’s that cloud!  That cyber cloud that we’re all up in.  That’s the culprit and the source of these leaks.

 

Me: I don’t understand all of this cloud stuff.

 Clark:  *…turns to me *blank stare*

 Me: Well, do you?

 Clark:  *continued blank stare, followed by incredulous look*  pfffft, of course I do….. (insulted)

 MeWell, then what do they mean by “you’re info is stored up in the cloud?”  What cloud?  Where’s this mysterious cloud at? Is it an actual, literal, tangible location?

 Clark  *Well, they don’t tell you thattt. 

Me:   Oh, so you don’t know either. 

 

 

I thought about this for a long time.  I don’t like the fact that I don’t feel safe using my credit card at Target anymore.   Target!!   It’s my home away from home.   I’m there a lot.  It’s not the same Target from my youth.  It’s got snappy advertising now.  And, fun products.  I can get lost in there for hours.  Not to mention, it’s a great place to spend money.  What was once a store for purchasing your cleaning supplies, is now an oasis for wasting hours of time and hard earned cash.

 


 

 

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 Twelve ways to spend your time and money at Target

 

 

1. Circle the parking lot for 15 minutes looking for the best parking space.  If you are there during a busy season, (holiday and school supply shopping) keep your eye on the front door of the store as you enter the parking lot.  As customers walk out, gun it over to the aisle they are headed for.  Then do the slow creep two feet behind them, stalking them all the way to their spot with your car.  Wait for them to load their stuff into trunk, pull out and then….Success!

 

2. Upon entering the store, go directly to the Starbucks that is conveniently located near the entrance.  Purchase an expensive latte with extra whip topping.  You’re going to be strolling the aisles for a while.  Go for the Venti.

 

3. Head straight to the cosmetic section.  Wander through these aisles for a long time.  Purchase new makeup, makeup remover, wrinkle creams, hair shampoos & conditioners, smoothing potions, frizz sprays, gloss sprays, tanning lotions, trendy colored nail polish.  Feel satisfied and move on.

 

4. On your way to the cleaning supplies, get diverted into the clothing section.  Buy a t-shirt in every color.  You can never have enough.  Set the Latte down and browse through the work out gear.  Toss some yoga pants into your cart.  They are comfy to wear while watching TV.  Notice the new PJ sets as you pass up the intimate apparel section.  Be strong.  You don’t need new PJ’s.

 

5. Take a leisurely stroll through the housewares section.   Decide you need some new picture frames for the digital photos on your phone that you won’t end up having printed.  Purchase two.  Also, put the star shaped candy dish that caught your eye into your cart.   Smell every candle on display.  Decide you can not live without the tropical scented one.  Toss it into your cart and move on.

 

6. Feel a bit of Guilt.  Decide that you don’t really need all of the items you have in your cart.  Dig the tropical scented candle back out.  Look around to see if anyone is watching you.  Stuff it in between the two stacks of Kitchen towels you are standing in front of.

 

7. Think about purchasing those kitchen towels.  Your kitchen could use an facelift.  Toss the new towels in your cart.

 

8. Notice the absence of cleaning supplies in your cart.  Circle back around to the household aisle.  Hurray!!  Toilet Paper is on sale.  Grab the large, awkward sized 20 roll package and place it under the cart.  Grab another one since it’s on sale.  Balance it on top of cart.

 

9. Look down at phone and notice Text From Hubby  Where are you??  Are you going to be home soon?  Ignore text. Turn off phone.

 

10. Wheel over to the magazine and book racks.  Flip through your favorite decorating magazine.  And cooking.  Buy both.  Toss in this weeks People for good measure.

 

11. Head to the Checkout.  Feel a bit shocked when the cashier rings up the grand total of $187.35.  Fret over purchasing with Credit Card for fear of data getting breached.  Shrug off the worry and hand over your Master Card.  Sign on dotted line and you’re on your way.

 

12. Head for parking lot.  Look for car.  Where’s my car?  Which aisle am I parked in????

Back in the Saddle Again

25 Aug

 

The Dog days of summer are (almost) over….

 

labarador

 

College kids have returned to campuses near and far and are hard at work studying for a bright future….

 

parties_02

 

 

Vacation and travels have come to an end…..

 

jetlag_caribb

 

 

 


 

The house has calmed down.  My schedule is free.  Look for new, exciting posts coming soon!

Islee-Interior-Decor-Illustrations1

 

 

Walking a mile in their ALS shoes

21 Aug

ALS-Ice-Bucket-Challenge1

This past week as I was bombarded with ice bucket video clips on Facebook, I thought to myself…..I need to blog about this!!   I want to do my part to bring awareness to this terrible disease.  I thought about all the different spins I could put into the post.   And then, just like that, an amazing article was brought to my attention.  An article written by someone who this disease has personally touched.  As I read through her thoughts which she herself blogged about, I knew I could not put into words, what she had managed to do.

Read on…


What An ALS Family REALLY Thinks About the Ice Bucket Challenge

by Bo Stern

Well, we are on week two of the very-viral very-everywhere ALS ice bucket challenge.  I know, I know, I can hear the groans…it started out cute and now it’s out-of-control.  Played.  Clogging up social media sites everywhere.

I even read an article in which the author called the challenge (that has raised an unprecedented amount of money for one of the most outrageously underfunded diseases) a waste of fresh water. Another headline whined, Is the Ice Bucket Challenge Going to Cure ALS?”  Um, no (and – btw – that’s a stupid bar to set for any fundraiser.)  Critics complain that the challenge is really about feeding our American narcissism and does nothing for ALS awareness or funding.  They assert that people should just quietly donate their money and move on with their lives.

I get that they’re cranky, but I think maybe they don’t realize what it’s like to face this insidious disease and then realize that it’s nearly invisible to the rest of the world.  As I watch my husband become entombed inside his own body, I feel desperate for people to understand that this sort of inhumane condition exists. But for some reason, while everyone acknowledges it’s one of the worst fates imaginable, funding for research and patient care is nearly nil. I recently mentioned to a doctor that my husband has ALS and she first looked confused and then said, “Oh, that’s Lou Gehrig’s Disease, right?”  Right.  Why does she -a  doctor of medicine – still only know it by Lou Gehrigs Disease?  Because we humans need to associate things with people.  It’s easier that way.  That’s why the celebrity faces and personal challenges happening in the ice bucket challenge are so effective at bringing in money.  And if someone gets to look good while plunking their $50 in the ALS tip jar, I have zero problem with that.  

Because here’s the deal: We are in for the fight of our lives with this monster, and the very LAST thing I want is for people to give quietly, anonymously, and then slink away. Raise the roof!  Raise a ruckus!  Call all sorts of attention to yourself!  I will be happy for you and every Facebook like you receive, as you nudge ALS an inch or two closer to the collective public consciousness.

So, fear not, dear reader, this too shall pass and your Facebook newsfeed will go back to cat videos and kids singing Let It Go. Until that happens, here’s a little reminder about what it’s like to live with ALS and why this level of awareness is like gold to families like mine.

 

—————————–

 

A Mile in ALS Shoes

People ask me often what it’s like to live with ALS. It’s a brave question because the answers are not very pleasant. But it’s also such a worthy question because understanding how this disease impacts those who suffer from it creates empathy which is so valuable; it carries us into another person’s world and allows us to understand what they’re feeling and how they’re hurting. As I watch my strong husband struggle with things that used to be easy and automatic, I sometimes wish that everyone could see life from his perspective.

If you would like to experience just a tiny corner of an ALS life, I have a list of Empathetic Experiences for you. These are things you can do to walk for just a mile in ALS shoes. If you try one, take a little time at the end to consider that people actually living with the disease have a million miles more to go.

 

    1. Pick up a 10-pound weight. Now imagine it’s your fork and move it from your plate to your mouth repeatedly without shaking.
    2. Sit in a chair for just 15 minutes moving nothing but your eyes. Nothing. No speaking, no scratching your nose, no shifting your weight, no changing the channel on the television, no computer work. Only your eyes. As you sit, imagine: this is your life. Your only life.
    3. Borrow a wheelchair or power scooter and try to maneuver quickly through the aisles at Walmart, without speaking. Note the way people react to you.
    4. Strap 25 pounds to your forearm. Now, adjust your rearview mirror.
    5. Using none of your own muscles, have your spouse or child or friend get you dressed and brush your teeth. Write down some of the feelings you have being cared for in this way.
    6. Before you eat your next meal, take a good, long look at the food. Inhale deeply and appreciate the aroma. Now, imagine never being able to taste that – or any other food – for the rest of your life.
    7. Put two large marshmallows in your mouth and have a conversation with your friends. How many times must you repeat yourself? How does this make you feel?
    8. Go to bed and stay in one position for as long as you possibly can, moving nothing.
    9. Strap weights to your ankles and climb a flight of stairs, taking two at a time. That’s the kind of strength it takes for someone with ALS to tackle the stairs on a good day.
    10. Install a text-to-speech app on your phone or iPad and use it exclusively to communicate for one day.

 

And to my friends living with ALS: please give us more ideas and help us move into your world for a bit. We want to help make your lives rich and full and I’m not sure we can do that without at least a basic understanding of what you are facing. I think I speak for many when I say: you are superheroes and we are in awe.

With unending hope for a million-mile cure,
Bo

Ice

via

A few things you should know about Breckenridge, Colorado

13 Aug

vail-pass-sue-taylor

I’ve lost my heart to Colorado! Breckenridge, and all of Summit County, to be exact.

After spending nearly 2 weeks in this beautiful state, my loyalty to remaining a city girl is wavering.  If you have never been to this Rocky Mountain State for a visit, run.  You will not be disappointed.  There is an over-abundance of things to do.  It has earned its Pikes Peak or Bust” slogan for good reason.  It’s one of the few destinations I’ve traveled to that is a fantastic place to visit regardless of season.  Whether it’s Summer, Winter, Spring or Fall – you’ll not be able to claim boredom in this phenomenal outdoor recreational haven.

A few things I love about Breckenridge

Here Comes the Sun – Breckenridge brings glorious sunshine, breathtaking blue skies, beautiful greenery in the summer and lots of soft fluffy powder for skiing & Snowboarding in the winter.  Breck  (as the town is affectionately referred to by locals) enjoys 300 inches of snowfall and 300 days of sunshine per year, creating the perfect playground for people of all ages.  So leave your S.A.D at home, pack your sunglasses & sunscreen and enjoy some time in this phenomenal outdoor recreational haven.

sunshine

 

The Great Divide – Breckenridge is divided into the North and South side. On the north side of the mountain you can find a more laid back crowd. This is where you’ll find more of the locals.  The South side of the mountain is made up of a more rowdy younger crowd.  The tourists flock here.  Between the North and South side of the mountain is where you can find the best shopping.

North

 

Mustang Sally – Parking is free!!  Transportation between the small neighboring towns in the area is provided for free, also.  Whaaat??  It’s true!  If you want to get from point A to Point B in Breckenridge, don’t bring your wallet because the ride’s on them.  And if you are headed into town, it won’t cost you and arm and a leg to parallel park on the street or to leave your car in the nearest lot.  Again, Free!

Free_Parking_2

 

Rocky Mountain High – We all know that Denver is nicknamed the “Mile High City.” What you may not know is that Colorado is home to a total of 54 14ers! – (A mountain peaks exceeding 14,000 feet!!)  Folks from all walks of life travel to the beautiful, rocky mountain to challenge themselves physically by climbing to the top of those steep peaks. The elevation is high.  The air is thin and the weather can change quickly up there.  So if the idea of being on top of the world sounds good to you, plan ahead & be prepared to bag one of the Colorado 14ers.

LT_RefMkt_Co14ers_1107_WRK7

 

Sports and The City – Denver, which is a quick trip 81 miles East of Breck, is just one of a handful of U.S. cities that enjoys a representation of four major sports leagues of North America: Broncos (NFL), Nuggets (NBA), Rockies (MLB) and Avalanche (NHL) within the city limits.  Denver fans are fiercely loyal to their beloved teams!  So while in Denver,  grab a brew and a stool at one of the favorite local sports bars while visiting this diverse city and enjoy a day of cheering on one of these FAB teams!!

Cosports

 


 

 

If none of those facts grab you as good reasons to visit this Rocky Mountain state, then maybe a few of the reasons listed below will influence a visit  to this heavenly playground.

 

The Spa’s

The Altitude

The best jumps in the World

White Water Rafting

Biking

Skiing

Running

The Hiking

The Bars

The People

Hot-tubs

Shopping on Main Street

Historic District

Year Round Ice Skating

Golfing

Summer Music Scene

The Art District

The Wildlife

Fishing

Snowboarding

The Sheer Beauty and Majestic Scenery.


Our Trip

Remember These?

25 Jul

 

Last February, Facebook celebrated a big birthday.  As a way of saying Thank You to the millions of people who use Facebook on a daily basis, they gave each of us a short – one minute – personal birthday video.  A photo montage of highlights from our lives – starting from the anniversary of your FB join date.  The perfect minute, set to the perfect music.  They did it so tastefully.

I watched mine over and over again when it first came out.  Then the excitement faded a bit and like a beloved childhood toy, it sat dusty on a shelf.  Unwatched, but readily available for those days when you felt reminiscent.  Or in need of a little pick-me-up.

And, I do reach for mine.  I reach for it on days when I need a reminder of just how blessed I am.   It’s a constant reminder of just how much I have been given in my life and how fortunate I am to be surrounded by an amazing family and dear friends.

Are you on Facebook?  Do you remember the day you received your birthday video?  When was the last time you dusted it off and watched it?

Today is a good day to take a moment to sit back, take a short breather, and be grateful for the many blessings that surround you every single day.

social-media-like

Move over Hallmark, there’s a new card in town.

18 Jul

Have you noticed those funny little ecards that are all over social media sites?  You’d have to have been living in an isolated cave not to know exactly what I’m talking about.  They’re everywhere!

I started taking notice of them about a year or so ago.  But in truth, they came onto the scene in 2007 – (I googled it!!)  They have their own Facebook page with well over 1 million Likes.

They’re brilliant!  And witty!  And quite honestly – completely truthful and accurate.  They say in one line, what most of us try to stammer out in a long-winded, beating around the bush, run on sentence.

I like to email them to Clark sometimes.  They easily convey, what I can’t seem to get across to him.  Like this one….

boss

 


 

 

There’s many advantages to sending eCards.  They’re free.  They’re delivered automatically to our electronic devices & received immediately with a few clicks of the mouse.  There’s no limit to the audience in which you can send them to.

The Weight Loss Friend

losing weight

 The BS’r

busy

 The Selfie Abuser

selfie

The Grammar Nazi

grammar

 The Screener

nottextingme

 The Facebook Creeper

creeper

The Employer

Employer

The Fraud

Fraud

The Gym Member

Gym1

The Interupter

interuppter

And finally – The Online Addict….

online

Oh Canada!!

15 Jul

 canadian_maple_leaf

It was 3:30 a.m. – I was sound asleep, exhausted from the long, extended weekend getaway that my Hubs and I had decided to go on.  Somewhere in my dream an alarm clock was going off.  Loudly.  An overly annoying, blaring noise – over and over again.  Disturbing my sleep.

Finally realizing it was not a dream, I came out of my fog, rolled over and hit the button that turned off the rude invasion.  My eyes opened slowly.  Confusion clouded my brain.  Where was I?  Oh, in Canada.  It was an unGodly hour and we had to get up to catch the first flight out – back to the U.S.

At 3:30 a.m.?  Yes!  It was Clark’s way.  First flight out.  Always.  I had grown accustomed to it and actually kind of liked getting on the road early now.

The 4th of July fell on a Friday this year.  That meant extra time to celebrate our country’s Independence.  A long weekend – plus a few days tagged on to the beginning and the end.  It was the American way!!  Take a one day celebration and turn it into an extended, 5+ day mini vacation.  U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

happy-4th-of-july-2012-fireworks-flag-usa

And so, we did.  But all good things come to an end and our vaca was over and it was time to hit the road and head back to reality.

As we arrived to the airport, I noticed the huge crowds and quickly realized that everyone had the same idea.  Get away for an extended holiday and catch the early flight home.  YIKES.

The Montreal Airport was a mob scene!  People pushing and shoving.  Confusion.  I would soon find out that it was the calm before the storm.

lines

Fast forward 4 hours…….

 


 

Our flight was cancelled due to…well, who really knew why.  It’s like a huge, top-secret dealio that the airport officials keep from you until the last moment.  And even then, the cynic in me tells me that half the time, the story you get is BS.

 flights-cancelled

 

Long lines at the re-ticketing booth formed quickly.  We were, oh, about 200th in line.  And, the line was moving at a snail’s pace.  Seriously – How long does it take to re-issue a new ticket on a flight that is NOT cancelled??

Every now and then, while standing in the worlds slowest and longest line, I’d sneak a peek at Clark to see if the vein in his neck was popping out.  The one that pops out when he is about ready to explode.  It was.  I would look away again and pretend I did not notice.  It was like sitting on a time bomb.  If we did not get service quickly, it was going to get ugly.

Somewhere in front of us, there was an irate woman dressed in some kind of tropical get-up with a matching festive hat, screaming about missing her connecting flight to Aruba.  Sorry lady, you aren’t getting to Aruba today. 

There was a small, determined,  Japanese woman who came out of nowhere and had marched to the front of the mile long line, talking in her foreign tongue, waving her ticket in front of the agents face.  The agent kindly told her to go to the back of the line.  She continued to frantically wave her ticket.  He continued to tell her to wait her turn.  He finally won out.  She turned around and headed back.  Sort of.  She went about halfway back and hid behind a large pole and made an attempt every once in a while to rush the desk again – only to get the same response.  Wait your turn.

 hiding2

 

During all the chaos, and after about 2 hours of waiting in the line that never budged, Clark, with neck vein bulging,  overheard an agent saying he was going to open another desk down the hallway.  He turned to me frantically and told me to get a head start, head the agent off and be first in line.

A good plan of attack!!  I hurried down the hall, dragging my heavy, overstuffed, carry on luggage in tow, and beat the agent to his post.  Hurray!!  First in line!  I noticed others had followed me.  The agent rounded the corner and was a bit surprised that we were all standing there waiting for him.  Tickets in hand and hope in our eyes.

Clark joined me in line, did some fancy talking and before you knew it, we had two seats on a connecting flight home and a handful of food vouchers!  Food always calmed Clark’s nerves.  I peaked at his neck vein.  Yup, calm again.

While waiting for our newly, rescheduled flight,  Clark and I spent time in the Maple Leaf Club.  This is the private club.  (I use the term loosely – it’s really a glorified waiting room.)  It’s for frequent travelers to sit in while waiting for their flights.  I looked around the room.  It was filled with other passengers whose flights were also cancelled or delayed.

One benefit of the Maple Leaf Club is that you get free food and beverages while you wait.  Like any other venue where food is included, people were swarming around it.   As the server would bring out more carts with some new offerings on it, the crowd would all get up at once and stampede over & pile their plates high with whatever it was.  Then, they’d slowly saunter back over to where they had been sitting – waiting for the next wave of food items to pounce on.  It was amusing and annoying all at once.

BuffetLine

 

At 4 p.m, – 12 hours after our ordeal started – We were still sitting in the club.  I started to get antsy.  The food was now boring me.  We had seen new faces come and go.  The crowd had completely turned over.

There was an Amish man sitting a few seats from me.  He was wearing a black hat that was flat on top with a big, wide brim around it. He had a full length black beard and long chin length ringlets hanging down on either side of his head.   As I looked at him, I knew that I would never have made it in this life as an Amish person because, well, ringlets.

There was a very thin, very fashionable french (Canadian-french) lady, sitting a few seats opposite the Amish man, eating a carrot stick. I was tired and needed a shower and was getting annoyed.  I wanted to scream at her…oh go out on a limb and eat a cheese cube why don’t you!!

cheesecube

My eyes traveled around the room and settled on Clark who was sitting across from me. His brow was furrowed. (what now?)  He looked up at me, informing me that our original, non-stop 6a.m. flight home, which had been delayed & then cancelled & re-booked, was once again delayed.  Ohhhh Canada! – Oh brother!!  Would we ever get home?

We would.  And eventually we did.  Almost 18 hours later, three cities and two airports. We made it back home. What had originally started out as a 2 hour non-stop flight home, had turned into an 18 hour ordeal.  But, we got home.  Safely.  It never felt better to walk in to our home than that night.  Exhausted from the long weekend and the travel day home.

I must say, traveling with Clark is always one great big adventure.  We travel often and on the fly.  Never really knowing where we will end up.  But we always have a great time.  Canada was lovely and we had a blast!  I’d take a day of nightmarish travel in exchange for a trip with Clark any-old-time!!  Bring it on!

What we need now, is a vacation from our vacation!

 

vacation

 

 

What’s in a Tag?

2 Jul

tag_istock

Lately, I have spent a bit of time revamping my blog.  A new title.  A new domain.  A little tweaking here and there.  In the end, it pretty much looks like it did to begin with.  I guess I liked it just the way it was.

As I went through the process of making a few small changes, I discovered that the tags that we attach at the end of our stories, magically get organized into an invisible filing system.  When you hover your mouse over any of the tags, and then right click with your mouse, all stories within the same category appear.  Wallah!  Just like magic!  I love this newly found feature.  For someone as innately unorganized as myself, it is like having your very own secretary.

After discovering this feature, I found myself clicking & opening different tags from all the blogs I have written over the past year or so.  I was curious to see what I had unconsciously written about most.

I discovered that there was a small common sub-theme sprinkled throughout most of my posts.  Sometimes in a small way, sometimes big. I kept seeing it mentioned over and over again.  My Mom.

I paused when I noticed this.  A warm, sweet feeling flooded my heart.  Followed by a mixture of emotions.  Happiness, love and then sadness.  That feeling of void because she was not with us anymore.  One day, just like that, without any notice or forewarning, she was taken from us.

We used to talk on the phone several times a week.  If it was in the morning, we’d sit and chat, always laughing together. Though miles apart from each other, on those mornings we’d go through a pot of coffee together.  Or if it was in the afternoon or evening, wine.

She always mentioned my blog.  Commenting on what she liked about a certain post.  About what made her laugh.  Or cry.  If too much time went by between posts, she’d ask when I was going to write next.  She said the first thing she did each morning was look to see if there was an email notifying her of a ‘New Blog post from Margber’ - She said it would make her day if there was a new post.  That she got excited and looked forward each day to reading my blog – but was let down if there was nothing new.    I never really knew if that was true or if it was just a tall tale to her daughter – a way of conveying a mother’s love.

I tossed around the idea of making a tribute post to her for her birthday.  It was two days ago.  She would have turned 79. I wanted to honor her in some small way.  But the words never came.  So I let the moment pass, silently honoring her special day.  Missing her so incredibly much.  Offering up a vow to give anything for one more cup of coffee together and long, drawn out phone conversation.  It had been so long since I had heard her voice.

After the bittersweet feelings of this discovery started to subside, I thought about her with a smile in my heart.  It made sense to me that her name was peppered throughout my writing and continues to be.  She was a major influence of mine in regards to following my muse.  Thank You, Mom!

She was such a positive role model in my life.  Recently, more-so than ever, I’ve noticed that I am becoming more like her each day.  Oh, I know my kids and hubby have kidded me about this for years, but it was not until the past few months that I truly became aware of just how much I AM my Mother.  Not so much in little ways anymore, but in big, wonderful ways.  I  embrace this fact each time I catch myself doing something or saying something that she would have said.   My actions so often mirror actions of hers that are branded on my heart.  Years ago this would have made me cringe.  Today?  It secretly pleases me.  I think of it as God’s way of keeping our loved ones spirit alive and present in our everyday Lives.  Thank You, God! 

My mom’s passing still seems so surreal to me.  In a way, I think it always will.  Mainly because she still feels so present in my life – through my actions & in my words and through my writing.  Stumbling upon those tags and their path that led me back to my mom, was a cherished gift.  Re-reading some of my posts about her was like stumbling upon a treasure of gold.

Happy Birthday, Mom.  I Love You.

  the-beautiful-heart

 

 

Goodbye Fliphone

30 Jun

evolution

 

Imagine my shock last week when my sweet sister emailed me to tell me that she had finally admitted that perhaps text’g is here to stay and that she went out and got a smart phone!!  Hurray - Goodbye Fliphone!!

Ok, truthfully, her Hubs gave her a brand new, shiny smart phone for her birthday.  Way to go Brother-In-Law!!  I was both excited to get her email telling me this Fab news – and also very confused at receiving an email rather than a catching wind of it through a text.  C’mon sis, get texting!! 

I thought back to when I first started texting.  It was awkward and slow.  It took some time for my colossal, mammoth fingers to get used to typing on the miniature keypad.  The only person I really had to text was my Hubs & Kids. Sorry, Fam!!  It took me some time to figure out my way around auto correct.  My texts were filled with typos (due to mammoth fingers) and I’m sure some people thought I had no idea how to spell or what I was even trying to say.

 

 

 

Ellen1

 

 

Ok, so I will give her a break because she is new to this.  Before she knows it, she will be all wrapped up in social media and ignoring the real world just like the rest of us.  Happy birthday, Sister!!

 

 


 

Pitfalls of Texting

 

1 – Texts can be easily ignored

MjAxMi04ZTVhODhjY2U5OTIzM2Jk

2- Miscommunication

somewhat-skeptical-laughing-out-flirting-ecard-someecards

3- Rudeness in some circumstances

texting

4- Used to avoid talking to People

howyoufeel

5 – Can’t be sure who you’re talking to

boyfriend

6 – Could cause friction in friendships

nottextingme

 


What was your first experience with smart phones and the world of txt’g?

 

Bon Appétit

20 Jun

Did you know that there is literally a different food or beverage honored on just about every day of the year?

Wait. What?

You may be asking yourself – Why does the U.S. need all of these National Food Days?  Who decided that on January 14th it was National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day?  Why on February 8th do we salute Peach Melba?  (Excuse me, but what is Peach Melba??)  I mean, sure, french fries deserve the accolades, but don’t pretend anyone’s actually dying to celebrate national raisins.

Today is National Dry Martini Day.  Hip Hip Hooray!!!  OK, not true,  Yesterday was martini day.  However, I have decided to celebrate yesterday’s day, today…well, because martini’s.

martini-gospel

I know this fun (martini) food fact because I couldn’t sleep last night and was up at 2:30 a.m. browsing Google for some new cocktail recipes and stumbled upon this website – BoozeMenus - which lead me to check that fact out on the AMERICAN FOOD HOLIDAYS site – and they said it was true.  This is good news because A) I like food holidays and B) I like martini’s.  Since the national food days calendar includes fun cocktails and interesting beverages, it’s a win – win!

MjAxMy1lZDRlNDA0N2M1NGQxZTc0

After finally calming down from my initial joy in finding out that it was the day to celebrate the dry martini, I started skimming through the list of celebrated foods that have their own self appointed day.  I was surprised – no, shocked!! – to see the names of some of the odd selections that made the cut.  The list not only included celebrated foods, but also tossed in a few activities -

May 6 – No Diet Day (Love this one!!)

no-diet-day-2011-2-220x300

August 31 – Eat Outside Day.

buttercup01

A national holiday technically needs to be recognized by Congress, and though I hate to disappoint, I have to let you all know that these National Food Days are not officially recognized holidays. Shocking, I know.

If you could nominate one of your favorite foods to be celebrated nationally, which would it be?  Which will you be celebrating this year?  Confused by all the National Food Holidays that just seem to pop-up out of thin air? America makes sure each acclaimed food holds its rightful place on the calendar. Celebrate your favorite foods this year by using this handy guide!!  You’re Welcome!!

- American FoodHolidays -

 

original_Bon_Appetit

 

Being Margaret

13 Jun

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Hello People!  Finally, after months and months of trying to resolve the issue of losing my domain, (oopsie-daisey!) I’ve taken the plunge & registered a brand new, shiny domain!!  And no, you’re not seeing things.  I’ve also revamped my site a wee little bit with a new, updated, fresh title!!

I had been thinking about changing my site title for a very long time.  Changing it from ‘Twenty Thirteen’ to, well, anything else.

A few months ago I went through an exhausting ordeal while attempting to renew my domain.  It was stolen right out from under me!! – and is currently being held for some ridiculously large amount of ransom by an evil domain shark!! (I may or may not have felt forced to temporarily turn to the bottle during this ordeal – devastating!!) There’s an entire racket built around snatching expired domains from current owners and selling them back at exorbitant prices. (my previous domain is now valued at over $1000. – ridiculous!!)  It’s a sad situation that many unsuspecting people fall prey to out of laziness, procrastination or in my case, simply by being caught up in the system.  This article explains how the entire process works.  Bookmark it!  No, first set your domains and upgrades to Auto-renew (which I THOUGHT mine WERE set on) and then do yourself a favor and read this article. 

Fast forward 4 months.  Like so many devastating situations in life, there was a hidden, silver lining.  The loss of my domain forced me to step out of my old, familiar, blogging comfort zone and take a good, deep look at the branding of my blog and the direction in which I wanted to head towards in the future.  (I know, deep!!)

After much obsession thought and discussion with my friends, spouse, kids, neighbors, friendly checkout lady at the grocery store, – pretty much anyone I could corner – I realized a small revamp was in order.  I had put much thought into leaving my original title behind.  It was restricting and limiting.  It did not really point to the purpose behind my blog.  It did not give my readers a clear vision of what my blog was about.  In short, it had to go.  (whoa, I surprised myself!  Being as fickle as I am, who knew that a title change would be in order because I’d still be blogging a year after I began?!?!)

It was a decision that I did not take lightly.  I thought about it for months.  I weighed all of the pros and cons and finally decided that it was a step in the right direction.  I was moving away from my lost domain and taking control!  (Evil Domain Sharks!!)  Still, it’s a change.  And, a big one.  Anyone who knows me personally knows I am just a teeny tiny itsy bitty uncomfortable with change.  When it comes down to it, aren’t we all?

But I forged through my fear and today I introduce to you my new title – Being Margaret!! –  Hey! That’s me!..Hurray!!!  That’s right,  I’ve taken the leap – it’s goodbye to Twenty Thirteen and hello to Being Margaret.  I’m excited for this new chapter.  I’m thrilled that I was able to not only arrive at a solution that worked in my favor, but also, that I was able to outsmart the evil Domain Sharks!!  AHA!  Take that, you evil doers!

Change is inevitable.  It’s never easy.  Often it pulls on our heartstrings.  We try to stop it because we like our comfort zone.  But also, because it signifies the beginning of the end of something.  Of moving on.  We like staying put right where we are.  We are not ready to say goodbye.  Or to say so long for now.  We like keeping things just the way they are, comfortable and familiar.

So as you all mull over my new site title and become familiar with it, I will leave you with one of my VERY FAVORITE quotes about change and about endings.  As for me, I get a shiny new star for outsmarting the evil domain sharks.  Hmmmm, Being Margaret – I like it!!!

 

There is a universal truth we all have to face, whether we want to or not, everything eventually ends. Last day of summer, the final chapter of a great book, parting ways with a close friend. But endings are inevitable, Leaves fall, you close the book. You say goodbye. Today is one of those days for us. Today we say goodbye to everything that was familiar, everything that was comfortable. We’re moving on. But just because we’re leaving, and that hurts, there’s some people who are so much a part of us, they’ll be with us no matter what. They are our solid ground. Our North Star. And the small clear voices in our hearts that will be with us … always.”

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How to become a seasoned traveler

8 Jun

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Hey!  It’s Summertime!!!   Time to take to the highways and sky-ways for travel.  Here are a few helpful tips on becoming a seasoned traveler.  You’re Welcome!

 


 Helpful Hints

 

  • Dramatically roll eyes when your fun friend suggests taking a weekend trip together while out having cocktails

  • Order another round of drinks

  • Jump on board

  • Discuss possible destinations with fun friend

  • Start small – possibly a road-trip to a neighboring state.

  • Pay the high tab from cocktails you’ve been having while discussing fun road-trip and decide to pin down destination soon.

  • Ignore work, chores, spouse, kids so you can obsess all week about where to go on fun girlfriends road trip

  • Decide a weekend is not long enough

  • Extend weekend trip to an extended long weekend road-trip.

  • Call fun friend at work to discuss extended long weekend road-trip details.

  • Scrap the idea of road-trip.  Decide to fly across the country

  • Look for good airfare

  • Pay exorbitant price for airfare

  • Book earliest flight of the day as not to miss a single minute of fun get-away.

  • Look for good hotel deal in a small, reasonably priced hotel.

  • Book a suite at a swanky hotel

  • Get disgusted at lack of weekend getaway outfits.

  • Go shopping for new wardrobe.

  • Sneak new wardrobe into house when hubby is away at work

  • Feel guilty

  • Hide new wardrobe in back of spare bedroom closet.

  • Call fun friend to discuss new weekend wardrobe

  • Get excited

  • Brilliantly decide to extend weekend road-trip to a week-long get away.  Hurray!

  • Go shopping for more clothes

  • Start obsessing about weather for fun girlfriend’s trip

  • Go shopping for comfy vacation walking shoes

  • Buy three pairs

  • Call fun friend and tell her about new, comfy walking shoes.

  • Check out vacation destination weather again

  • Worry about possible rain

  • Screw the rain.  Who cares!

  • Go shopping for new rain slicker and travel umbrella

  • Call fun friend and discuss new purchases.  And, weather.

  • Lug old suitcase up 2 weeks before trip and set it in corner of bedroom

  • Decide old suitcase is not good for fun getaway

  • Go shopping for new weekender bag

  • Call fun friend and tell her about new luggage

  • Check on vacation weather again

  • Start laying out clothes for fun girls getaway.

  • Call fun friend to ask what she is packing.

  • Over-pack

  • Unzip suitcase extender for extra room

  • Take a few things out of suitcase that you decide you don’t need.

  • Re-zip overstuffed suitcase

  • Have fun friend stay with you the night before leaving on fun friends getaway.

  • Check out vacation weather with fun friend.

  • Ask hubby to drive you to airport in the morning.

  • Worry about possible, heavy traffic on the way to airport.  And, the weather.

  • Set alarm clock for 3am to avoid being late for first flight out

  • Lug overstuffed, heavy suitcase down the stairs and out to waiting car.

  • Arrive at airport 2 hours early for first flight because there was no traffic.

  • Board airplane.

  • Get situated in seat and worry about who will be sitting with you in third open seat.

  • Avoid eye contact with boarding passengers

  • Pray for someone skinny.

  • Cough and pretend to have massive head cold as boarding passengers check out open seat.

  • Turn to fun friend in excitement as seat remains open.

  • Talk about weather at destination

  • Talk about all the fun you will have

  • Order a Bloody Mary from Flight attendant

  • Talk about how this will be the BEST TRIP EVER.

  • Land at destination.

  • Lug overstuffed suitcase out to cab

  • Wait in massively long cab line

  • Load heavy suitcase into trunk of cab

  • Swerve away from Airport and Off You Go!!

  • Arrive at Swanky Hotel.

  • Check into room.

  • Drop off luggage

  • HURRAY!   Have a GREAT fun friend getaway!!

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A Bite of the Big Apple

5 Jun

 

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I have been fortunate enough to have traveled to NYC a time or two. Actually, Clark and I go there whenever our schedules permit. We both absolutely love that city.  It’s big and bustling and has an energy like no other place I know of.  I have wanted to take my sister there for a long time.   I’ve brought up the topic to her more than once.  I would beg and plead. “It will be fun!” “You’ll love it!!” Then one day, just like that, she agreed! Whoa! I was shocked! My heart flipped over! I could feel my NYC Tourist adrenaline start to surge through my veins. She agreed!! Hallelujah!!!

So after months of planning and what would become daily emails and phone calls, off we went. We were New York Bound! Big Apple, here we come!

We stepped off the plane in NYC – with suitcases in tow, we grabbed the first cab we could. Hurray! We were on our way to our fancy Big Apple Hotel!! The cab driver was like an Indy car racer! How exciting!! Swerving in and out of heavy traffic. Honking his horn at anyone who got in his way. I LOVED it! My sister, mouth gaping open, was holding on for dear life. I assured her we were safe and that after a few days, she’d get used to the fast pace of the big city. Did I mention that she is from a small town in Indiana?

When we got to our hotel, we were excited that our room was ready for us. (We took the first plane out and arrived at 8am – didn’t want to waste a single New York Minute!) We headed straight up to drop off our luggage.  We had decided to book a suite. And boy was it ever sweet! It was fabulous and big and the definition of luxury! It was situated in a corner room on a high floor. It was probably bigger than most NYC apartments. We had a great view of the city. And skyline. This was living!! It had 2 bathrooms and plush bathrobes and an amazing mini bar (with equally amazing prices!!) We reluctantly made a pact not to touch anything in it regardless of how tempted we got.  That was settled!  We changed and off we went. The Big Apple!!

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And so it went – Our days were packed. We got up at the crack of dawn and would fall in bed exhausted well after midnight each day. I took her everywhere a first time New York Visitor would want to go. We stood atop of the Empire State Building and went to the Top of the Rock. We visited the 911 Memorial & Museum and took the ferry out to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. We went to the ABC & NBC studios and made our way through mobs of people in Times Square. We visited The Ed Sullivan Theater where David Letterman tapes his show. Every day, we walked past Radio City Music Hall and Carnegie Hall which our hotel was situated between.  We explored Central Park and the Upper West Side (My Fav!) – as well as Midtown and Downtown. We traveled by subway everywhere we went. Or walked. And walked. And walked. We went to Grand Central Station and shopped on 5th Avenue. We went to Plays and had late night dinners. We spent Friday night in Little Italy and Soho.

The day before we left, we decided to walk the Brooklyn Bridge. Oh Yay!! So exciting!! And Fun!! This historic bridge was massive. And Beautiful. And the doorway onto the island of Manhattan from Brooklyn. And it was crowded. Yikes! ridiculously so.

We found our way to the foot of the bridge and started to embark up the ancient, wooden slats that made up the narrow walking path used to cross the bridge.  It was probably about 10 – 15 feet wide. There was a white stripe (or was it yellow?) painted down the center of it which made it even narrower. We were surrounded by thousands of people who also were walking the bridge. And, riding there bikes over it. WHAT?? Whoa!. Half of it was for walking and we shared the other half with bikers who were riding over it at dangerous, high speeds. At first I was a bit uneasy with the way the bikes would so closely whizz past us. But then, you forgot about them as you got caught up in the most beautiful scenery you have ever seen. You were walking across this amazing structure and you could see views of the NYC skyline that you’d only seen before in books or on television. It was magnificent! And breathtaking.

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I had my camera and was taking 100’s of pictures. I spotted a group of guys doing maintenance on the Bridge. They had climbed up the thick, metal wires that helped to suspend the structure. They were up several hundred feet over the water. There were lots of people taking pictures of these guys. The photographer in me wanted to get that shot!  I turned to focus on one of the men and BAM! Before I knew it, I was knocked off my feet and laying face down on the Brooklyn Bridge.

‘OMG..what just happened?’

I was a bit dazed. I looked up and saw my sister standing over me. Mouth gaping open. With a stunned look on her face. And then I heard a loud, snarly voice swearing at me. “What the F***…this is the bike lane you idiot”

Hmmph. How Rude!! I looked around and got up quickly. I could see a bike laying on its side. It’s rude rider knocked off to the ground. (Dear God, had I caused that?) In my excitement to get a good shot, my foot had accidentally crossed over the white line and caused a collision. (The rude bike rider was not very forgiving.)  I stood there in my touristy red shirt, camera hanging crookedly around my neck and scuffed up knee and kept apologizing over and over again. She just kept rudely snarling at me. It was one of those humiliating times where you hope nobody noticed. But you know they all did.

The embarrassing moment passed and we parted ways, I kept telling my sister how terrible I felt. She kept saying.. “Oh, nobody was paying attn.” I knew she was lying but somehow her words made me feel better.

I never did get the shot. But I did get this shot….

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How can you write about a ‘FAB! NYC Vacation’ in one itty-bitty blog post? It’s an impossible task!

My sister and I had the time of our life! We ate. We drank. We went without sleep. We walked all over that huge, beautiful city with that touristy, deer in the headlight look. And, loved every minute of it!! More than once, I caught my sister out of the corner of my eye with her mouth gaping open. Just staring in wonderment and awe.

Like all vacations, it went too fast.  But we have such GREAT memories!

Take a look….

 

 

 

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