Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Look out Guinness World Record Book of 2010, do I have a record for you.....

I'd rather chew on a big ball of tin foil than grocery shop. It’s boring; it’s lonely, and spending all that money on a bunch of crap the kids are going to eat in 1.5 hours just about kills me.

The job physically hurts my body, and the cruel and aggressive treatment of the other shoppers hurts my psyche. Experience Meijers on a Sunday and you will know exactly what I'm saying. It's not for the faint of heart.

The kids used to come with me to the grocery store when they were too young to stay home by themselves or when they were teenagers and I feared that if left alone for any length of time one of them would stab the other in the eye with a rusty screwdriver. Then we'd be taking a trip to the ER for a tetanus shot and I'd be trying to figure out how I was going to fit the purchase of a glass eye into an already too tight budget.

It was often easier when they came because they liked to push the cart, and load the groceries onto the belt, then back into the cart, then into the trunk and then to the house…..pure bliss.

And really, I didn't mind, every once in a while, having to slap one of them in full view of the church lady standing in line behind us when they (he) begged for a king size Mounds bar (he didn't even like coconut, he just wanted it cause it was red, his favorite color).

I pretended not to notice when one would lob a double roll of paper towels over the top of one aisle while the other tried to catch it in the cart in the next aisle.

It was a small price to pay to have company at the grocery store.

Anyway, with them now all grown up and with better things to do on a Sunday morning (like sleep till noon), I usually shop solo.

This past week when I walked into the grocery store I looked past the huge grocery carts I normally use.....

and noticed this little beauty.

I swear, I heard trumpets.......

I wrestled the miniature basket from the cart corral and was off and running. That little thing was light as a feather. The push was smooth, the turns precise.

I was in love.

No, make that lust...all it took was a few aisles to see that the little cart did have a down side...I was running out of room for all my groceries.

As I made my laps, up one side, down the other, every few aisles I would stop and readjust my groceries so that I could fit more.

I had an astonishing number of things in my tiny cart.

My lap mates were beginning to comment and one even had the nerve to say "needed more than you thought eh?"

I wanted to shoot off a witty comeback, or a dirty look. But, I was too busy trying to keep all the stuff in the overflowing cart.

I fell out of lust with the cart when the wheels copped an attitude and the cart became hard to push.

I limped to the check out lane, tired from our lovers quarrel and unpacked my goods.

As the cashier scanned my groceries we exchanged small talk. When she was almost done I pushed the little cart to the end of the lane.

The cashier glanced down at the little cart and yelled "You got ALL THAT in THAT little cart?"

When the total came to $128 dollars and 95 cents she started calling her co-workers over.

Like a carney she yelled "Come see all the stuff this lady got in this mini cart...come on, you've got to see this".

They ooohed and ahhhhed and asked again and again if I'd used ONLY the little cart. Even the manager on duty came over to see.

I was an instant celebrity.

"Is this some kind of record?" I blushed, proud of my accomplishment.

Wow, with a little imagination and a cute little grocery cart...well, the sky could be the limit.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


(This picture and title were totally stolen from a card my precious daughter gave to me....I have it up on the fridge and it never fails to give me a chuckle...)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Birthday Barometer = Big Time Blues

I have a girl friend who hates when her birthday comes. She gets depressed weeks before the big day and it only subsides when the day has passed.

I’m certain the depression does not come from her aversion to aging, but rather it comes from an internal barometer reading.

The reading of that barometer indicates to her that all is not well.

That yet another year has passed and she’s not where she thinks she should be.

She’s not someone’s partner, or someone’s mother. She should be somewhere else in her career.

She called me crying the other day, in the middle of birthday week meltdown, she needed a shoulder to cry on.

Scrambling for ointment or some type of dressing to put on her hurting heart, I started checking off a list of the things that she does have.

That band aid didn’t fit at all and actually it appeared to further irritate her hurting heart.

I looked deeper into my repertoire of broken heart cures and fixes and found a bit of authenticity that looked like it may be worth a try…

“Alright then, have a good cry! It does really suck that all these things that you want so badly have somehow managed to dodge your grasp.” I told her

Grabbing another dose of realism I continued,

“Maybe it is time you really go after what it is that you want. Step outside your comfort zone and do something totally out of character for you. Tell a special someone what he really means to you and what you are hoping (and longing and wishing) for”.


“You need to be good to yourself, take some time off, and pamper yourself. Do all the things you never feel you have time or money for”.

“Celebrate you!” I begged. “You are so worth a celebration”.

“A man and a couple of kids are the icing on the cake sister…a cake you just may have to wait a bit longer to taste”.

That seemed to be what she needed to hear. The sniffles dried up and I could hear her smile.

In case she reads this today I want to give her a message….

You are one of the most generous caring people I have ever known. You are also one of the most intelligent and creative too. As a friend, I’ve never asked you for a thing that you did not deliver. You have cared about and supported my children like they were your own. You have always been smart enough to know when to bite your tongue. And wise enough to know when not to. You are brave and hardworking. And you have wonderful taste in jewelry and lipstick.

As for those men and children, (just like everything else in life) some days they are not all they’re cracked up to be.

However, if they are meant for you… they will not go by you.

(and so help me God…when they do come to you, you had better not call me and complain about, and pine for, all those days you were a footloose and fancy free single, childless woman…okay, I guess you can, and I will listen and as sure as the sun shines I will offer some cheesy advice and so on it goes).

Patience and the acceptance that you are where you are supposed to be right now in your life…that is my birthday wish for you.

Happy birthday….and many more. xoxoxoxoxoxo

I can't make pretty cakes, but if I could, I would make one just like this for you (except for the monogram initial on the top, which I would change to represent your name...tee-hee).

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lisa, so nice to see you again..........

The last time I saw Lisa she was bald and toothless.

And, so was I.

This was our second chance meeting…our first, was as newborns at Wyandotte hospital, where we shared a nursery and our mothers shared a hospital room.

Our mothers never should have been at the hospital on this same day for our births. I was born a month before my due date and Lisa had complicated things during her mother’s trip to the ER where she’d gone to have a broken arm set by deciding that she was going to be born too.

The new mothers struck up a fast friendship during their week long hospital stay and when it was time to go home they each promised to keep in touch.

Sometimes, life has a way of getting in the way and the weeks passed quickly for the busy mothers. And so they never did find time to reconnect.

They were delightfully surprised to see each other again standing in the aisle of St Elizabeth’s Catholic Church, each holding baby girls dressed in white, it was baptism day.

Again the mother’s promised to keep in touch and once again they did not.

Some 40 years after last seeing Lisa at St Elizabeth’s my mom and family were planning a surprise birthday party for me. The theme for my party was, “This is your life”…and so thinking how much fun it would be to invite Lisa and what a mystery guest she would be they worked through the magic of the internet, found Lisa, and invited her to my party.

She was to be billed as “my first friend”.

Lisa was not able to attend the party, but she sent me a card and a letter. She also sent a beautiful little trinket holder, which has a home on the window sill in my kitchen.

I use it to hold my pennies from heaven.

And, to remind me of the kindness of strangers.

It’s been ten years since Lisa sent me the card and the trinket box. I kept her letter in a storage bin with some pictures and other things I wanted to save. Every now and then I would be looking for a picture or something and I would stumble upon her letter.

I have the same reaction each time I stop and think about the woman who sent it…my mystery friend.

I wondered all about her…we started out so much alike, sharing important things like date of birth and a Christening day…. Did we have more parallels along the roads our lives have taken us? Did she crush on Donnie Osmond? Listen to Grand Funk? Did she fall in love in high school? Did she marry, become a mother? Was she dreading old age as much as I?

I was curious about Lisa.

This year for our big “5-0” I decided to look her up and repay the favor.

The favor being a big smile on my face and a warm fuzzy in my heart.

Lisa had sent an article and a picture of herself with the letter. She worked at the post office then, and as luck would have it, she was still working there when I called and spoke with a supervisor about my plan.

On the day of our birthday(s) I shopped and got Lisa a silver plated compact mirror, which I had engraved to say…..

“CELEBRATE 9-24-2009”

(A good friend of mine had sent me this exact gift and I loved it so much I thought it would be a nice keepsake for Lisa too).

And I brought her a big yellow HAPPY BIRTHDAY balloon too.

The gift and the letter Lisa sent to me years ago told me that she was kind and warm. When I caught up with her again I saw for myself that I was correct in my assumption.

“Happy birthday” I said handing Lisa the balloon when she walked out of the back room at the post office.

“You don’t recognize me do you?” I asked.

“The last time you saw me I looked like this” I continued as I slid a picture of me (and my darling mother) on Lisa and my Christening day.

“You’re THAT girl aren’t you?” she asked, smiling

We talked a while. I told her how much I loved what she did for me on our 40th birthday.

She told me that she often reads the thank you note I sent to her.

She posed with me for a couple of pictures and we exchanged contact information.

And, we both laughed when we promised to meet again 10 years from now…

Sounds fun, but I truly hope it’s sooner than that.

I forgot to tell her how good she looks with hair and teeth.

(Note to self....don't wear these jeans anymore, they don't do anything for your butt.)



Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Counting to 49 1/2.................

Oh to be 3 again when I thought the whole world belonged to me.

It might be okay to be 10 again, but then I’d be too young for make-up and high heels.

When I was 10, I complained to my best friend Joyce, “I’m sad” I told her, “because I am now double digits old”.

(My aversion to aging started early…this quote could sum it up “When I turned two I was really anxious, because I’d doubled my age in a year. I thought, if this keeps up, by the time I’m five I’ll be 64.”)

If I were 15 again Daddio would’ve just come back into my life and asked me to “go with him”. (Translation: Going steady, exclusives, going out).

Being 17 was pretty good. I gained some independence with a driver’s license. I earned my hairdresser license and I graduated from high school.

And I love the number 17.

I didn’t like being 20, it was double 10.

I loved being 22. I threatened Daddio to shit or get off the pot as far as deciding to marry me. He decided that he didn’t want to get off the pot, so I guess you could say he took the shit. Or he fell in a pile. Or, whatever.

And then I was an engaged woman.

I loved being 23. I said “I do”….

And it appears that I made a good choice.

23-25 was a lot of fun…. Married lady…sans kids.

Tons of fun those early/mid 20’s.

26 was my favorite age…. You see, the moon was in the Seventh House and Jupiter aligned with Mars then peace guided the planets and love steered the stars…and I became a mother for the first time.

A beautiful flash of power and might.

Poetry in motion.

And, The Sweet Prince Buttercup was in the house.

28 was my favorite age….. You’re my blue sky, you’re my sunny day, Lord knows you make me high when you turn your love my way, a bundle of pink arrived to brighten my days.

And brought with her, a forever and for always blue sky.

I didn’t like 30 at all…. It was triple 10.

Although, it did have one delightful highlight, Daddio and I took a spontaneous and restful (?) weekend trip to Chicago.

And we brought home an awesome souvenir (see 31 below).

31 was my favorite age….. I'll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be….and then there were three.

And this mother was complete…and so very in love with this new beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy.

He’s my beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boyyyyyyyy.

31-40 Pretty much a blur. Three kids…need I explain any further?

I hated 40. It was quadruple 10.

I did have a most wonderful surprise party, that almost made turning 40 worth it.

Around 39 1/2 or so….. (It just makes sense somehow to start going backwards)

I moved for only the second time in my life…and while I mourned the home of my youth, I was so excited to have a new house.

I was told I was still hot (wink)…( okay, I’ll admit the truth about my “hotness” using a quote from my friend coco’s siggy line on our moms site “I’m still hot, just now it comes in flashes”).

I got paid to write.

I changed “careers” and found what I believe to be my true calling.

I’ve heard that in your 40’s you throw caution to the wind and to prove it….

I rode my bike “no handed” for the first time ever.

It is also rumored that you lose your “self consciousness” about that time too.

This is a total falsehood…. I lost my balance and almost fell when I imagined that I saw all my neighbors standing, watching me wobble, no handed, on my old lady bike.

I can now drive to the corner store and not get lost…. (I know most everybody on the street so asking for directions is no longer that big of an embarrassment).

I started a blog.

And, a good diet (which really never worked all that well as I hate to deny myself anything, but hey, I tried).

Still 39 ½ and holding did suck really bad in that my hair started thinning and my family’s curse, the detested “jowls” appeared suddenly and totally uninvited on the sides of my previously unencumbered jaw line.

And sometimes my knees hurt really badly when I climb stairs.

And if all that wasn’t bad enough I've start adding new things to my list of things to worry about.

Like why in the heck did Simon pick Ellen DeGeneres to be a judge on American Idol? And why oh why didn’t I eat more carrots? If I had, I may not need reading glasses today. And is it Ctrl C and then Ctrl V to cut and paste? Or is it Ctrl V and then Ctrl C to cut and paste? I wonder why they have a V in there anyway when neither cut nor paste start with “V”?????

Some of the great mysteries of the universe.

Looking back on all the happy ages I‘ve been, I’m thinking about changing my thought process, and possibly even facing I guess.

50, may be…..

and could be….

more than just a number that is 5 x’s 10 ????

I will (today) start looking very forward to the next 50 years of my life. Who knows, maybe the next 50 will be just as magical as the first.

My new life quote…. “I want to die young, of old age”.

Thanks for listening. I know it was looooooooong. Consider it the ranting(s) of a middle aged woman who appreciates that you cared enough to read.

I'm off, wish me well.......

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sentimental reasons.............

“I need another wind chime” I said to my grandpa. I couldn’t bear looking at him while I asked, so instead, I concentrated on my foot as it pushed around a small pile of dirt on his garage floor.

“Another one?” he asked “What happened to the first one?”

“I don’t know what happened to the other one” I lied, “it was just hanging there, broken”.

He was the type that liked to watch you squirm so before he could ask any more questions I started talking really fast….

I ended with “will you make me another wind chime?”

“For sentimental reasons, please, make me another one”.

“FOR SENTIMENTAL REASONS!!!!!!!!!”  His voice boomed, his threw his head back and he let out a huge laugh.

“Did you hear that Soph?” he asked my grandma who’d come into the garage to get some canned tomatoes.

“Babe wants another wind chime… for sentimental reasons” he said it again shaking his head back and forth.

The wind chime had been a gift, a hand crafted gift from my grandfather.

He had fingers as fat as cigars, and hands as large and leathery looking as a well worn catcher’s mitt.

It was a true mystery how using only his God given tools he was able to tie all those tiny little knots in the fishing line that held the wind chime together.

It was no mystery how the pipes came to be. Walk into his garage at any moment during the chime making days and you would find him hunched over the vice that held the pipes in place, making it easier for him to cut.

He dressed for work everyday, even though he’d been retired for years. Thick navy colored button up work shirt, thick matching navy pants, and dark heavy work shoes.

The man was working. Busy tinkering in his old garage.

Big wide back, big thick arms sawing back and forth and back and forth on those pipes till the back of his shirt was damp from sweat.

A week later I got my new chime.

“Here you go Babe” my grandfather said handing me the musical decoration.

He shook it so it tinkled ” don’t let anything happen to this one” he instructed.

I hadn’t thought about my wind chime in years. It’s been living tucked in a box in my basement for as long as I can remember, being kept safe, for sentimental reasons.

This past weekend I saw my friend Joyce’s magnificent wind chime. The largest one I’d ever seen and it got me to thinking about my own.

I asked my sister Susan about the one our grandpa made for her.

“It’s gone” she explained “I had it hanging for a long time and it got old and it finally broke”.

“I loved it a lot, it had such a nice sound” she said.

“I never hung mine” I told her “But I’m going to find it and put it up. It’s been sitting in a box too long".

“I can’t believe I never hung it up”. I said, feeling a bit guilty. 

If I hadn’t remembered about the wind chime I could only imagine my kids one day going through all my boxes, getting rid of my treasures. They would stumble upon my wind chime and have no idea about the work or the love that went into making it.

How hard it was to ask for a second one.

How my goofy word choice made my grandfather laugh. Years and years after the fact he used to say “why do you want it Babe? For sentimental reasons?” every time I asked him for something.

An inside joke that always made us both smile.

The kids wouldn't understand the sentimental reasons behind keeping it in a box in the basement safe from vandals. Vandals like wind and time. 

One never knows when one may need to listen, even without any breeze, to the soft tinkling of a hand crafted memory her grandpa made for her.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

His last first day........

My (oh so very hairy and grown up) baby boy will be walking out the door this morning a senior.....the big man on campus. I will have him pause so that I may snap this moment in time on his sister's Kodak Sure Shot. He will grumble and complain about how "stupid" it all is. And how he doesn't have time and blah, blah, blah.

I could pull out my “long, sick pregnancy” or my “8 hours of labor”, I could use the “5 months of selfless breastfeeding”, or possibly the “remember the time you split open your chin at the playground and I had to chase you down the street in order for the doctor to stitch you up”, I may even toss in the real big trump “do you even realize just how much money I hand to you on a daily basis?” card to convince him he somehow owes me his cooperation…but I won’t.

I know he’s going to have a lot of senior fun this year. He’s already pulling rank, during practice, on the poor underclass players on his football team. Making them carry all the equipment and wait at the end of the line to eat team dinner.

“That’s what they get for being underclassmen” he says rolling his eyes when I tell him that he is as rotten as they come.

Thank God this boy of mine doesn’t mind school, not at all like his older brother. His brother would walk out the door on the first day full of hope and enthusiasm, two days later he would be asking if he could take a sick day. It was a rough twelve years.

In ways like school this son is more like his sister, college bound and academically focused on certain goals. He has high aspirations and dreams. So far things in school have come easily for him. According to his sister he is in for a rude awakening when he transitions to college.

I can’t and won’t dwell on that, college is a year away and while I type this he is still in high school.

No, today I will live in the moment… with my thoughts I won’t fast forward, and I won’t reminisce about the other eleven first days of school. The ones that came and went so quickly, more quickly than I ever could have imagined.

Oh how I loved to walk him to class the first day, every year until he was in high school (okay, I am exaggerating a bit here)…but I did love it when he needed me so.

He is excited about today, and this year. And I am too…even if I am a bit sad that I won't have any more first days.

Man oh man….it is tough seeing the last one grow up.

“Heyyyyyyyy, wait, I want to get a picture of you” I will holler in answer to his “see ya ma” as I hear the screen door slam.

Begrudgingly, he will oblige “Do this quick, okay ma, I don’t want all the neighbors seeing me standing on the porch ham-ing it up like some kind of freak”

“God how I hate that you do this to me every year” he will rant on, a forced hurried semi smile on his face. “Come on hurry up”.

“How do I turn this camera on?” I’ll ask for the ninety seventh time.


“Shut up, quit yelling, the neighbors will hear you” I caution.

“Ok, now hold still” I say, I’m really ready this time to capture his handsome face on film.

“Oh, wait a minute; is this the button I push to take the picture?” (Oh how I hate being technically challenged, and rushed especially moments like these when the pressure is mounting)

“MOM..….. Come on. I gotta goooOOOOOO” he pleads.

“Just stand there you idiot and let me take your damn picture” I yell back.

“You know I suffered eight whole hours of back breaking labor to bring you into the world. (see, I just knew he would push me to it) You can stand on this freakin azz front porch and smile and pretend that you are a nice kid who is kind and respectful to his mother” I say, through clenched teeth.

I finally find the right button and hope that I have him situated smack dab in the middle of the little box while I try to focus (my eyes aren't the best and the square is quite small) and I “click” and the image of my tall handsome baby walking out the door for the first day of his very last year…is now a documented moment in family history.

He’ll storm off the porch, then feel bad that he yelled at me and he’ll run back to give me a peck on the cheek.

“Love you mom” he’ll say as he leans in to kiss me.

I watch him run back to his car and wave as he passes by.

What can I say? I am a work in progress....

Monday, September 7, 2009

Daddio, a man of many talents......

This morning Daddio called me into the kitchen to tell me that he had something for me......

"It's a special chip" he said proudly as he gently placed the potato chip in my palm.

"Awwww" I said looking at it's awesome shape "It's got a heart in it".

"I bit it that way, just for you" he said with a big smile.

(Later he admitted to lying about crafting the was all in an effort to impress me he explained when he confessed)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The broken, battered, very bruised ego......

She is probably so sick of hearing “if it is meant for you, it will not go by you” and “maybe next time” and “please don’t give up”.

In my desperate attempt to bolster her broken heart…I try to think up all sorts of “you can get through this” and “things will start looking up” and “it will soon be your time” words and phrases.

I don’t think she believes me anymore.

And, honestly, I am starting to not believe me either.

My darling daughter, the blue sky of my existence lost out on another part last night.

As a community theater actor she’s been suffering a lengthy and serious lack of a good part....a major drought.

It pains me so looking into the cornflower blue pools that are her tear filled eyes.

They leak, and I dab, and I kiss, and I cry too (but never out loud so she sees me).

I am tired of explaining to her that maybe she is too short or too blonde or too not the director’s neighbor’s brother’s girlfriend and that is why she didn’t get the part.

I am amazed that she never gives up.

It makes me proud to be her mother.

But I still worry about the long term effects of her many bruises, her constant battering.

Will my never ending cheer….. “go-go-go”, “rah-rah-rah”, “never give up”, hurt her in the long run?

I don’t want her to give up her passion.

I just want her to always and forever get up one more time than she falls down

….even if sometimes; it feels like I’m asking too much.

Thanks for listening.