Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful for...a peaceful holiday season

my dad made this nativity creche in the seminary
Last year,  the holidays were hard.  Almost unbearable.  I remember driving through my favorite shopping center with Chrismas lights,  music,  and decorations,  and furtively fighting back tears. It sucked.  I hated being depressed and did my best to rise above it.  But when I would least expect it,  grief would take hold and ruin the moment.

I'm ready to party this year. My family and friends are healthy.  We are all gainfully employed.  My loved ones are all in a good place.

The tree is up already.  The lights are on.  I am almost finished with my shopping.


Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankful for.. BBQ chicken sandwich, spicy beans, and the whole darn day

Some fine grub to be had here- "mmhmmph" (voice a la Billy Bob Thornton in Slingblade)
Sometimes a day goes so perfectly.  It's always the unplanned ones that are the ones you remember forever.  Today was one of those.

- mocha peppermint Coffee Mate
-2 children who woke healthy and went to school
-a run with Coldplay
-warm shower
-lunch with brother Tim,  SIL Cindy, mom, and Scot at The Barbeque Co. 
-DSW shoe store
-beers with the family
-a friend giving me a wonderful furniture hand-me-down :)  
- chilly sleeping weather with a down duvet 

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful for... my husband

Yes I understand that every life must end, aw huh,..
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go, aw huh,..
I’m a lucky man to count on both hands
The ones I love,..
Some folks just have one,
Others they got none, aw huh,..
Stay with me,..
Let’s just breathe.
Practiced are my sins,
Never gonna let me win, aw huh,..
Under everything, just another human being, aw huh,..
Yeah, I don’t wanna hurt, there’s so much in this world
To make me bleed.
Stay with me,..
You’re all I see.
Did I say that I need you?
Did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn’t now I’m a fool you see,..
No one knows this more than me.
As I come clean.
I wonder everyday
as I look upon your face, aw huh,..
Everything you gave
And nothing you would take, aw huh,..
Nothing you would take,..
Everything you gave.
Did I say that I need you?
Oh, Did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn’t now I’m a fool you see,..
No one know this more than me.
As I come clean.
Nothing you would take,..
everything you gave.
Hold me till I die,..
Meet you on the other side.

I was driving to a hair appointment the other day when this song came on the radio. I had heard it before and liked the tune.
I parked the car,  and listened to the words. What a beautiful song.

Today, and always, I  am thankful for my husband.  He spent the entire weekend doing my dirty work. On Saturday he spent two hours putting lights on the Christmas tree.  Yesterday he decorated the back fence,  and strung-up lights in the front trees.  I'm sure that's not he imagined spending his weekend,  but a trip to Bangkok was out of the question.

He does no taking, only giving.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thankful for.... time, and a slow head

Davy Crocket and Mary
  Verbally,    I  cope with turmoil inappropriately.   I don't think,  I just say it.    My vocal audit button gets stuck.   I cry, scream,  and let the F-word fly.  Just last week in Macy's I flipped out when I wasn't serviced to my satisfaction.  This impetuousness had led to many hurt feelings and embarrassment.  

 I can't write when I am upset.  The words seen to fall out of my brain and swirl around my feet like leaves in a storm.  I can't catch them,  and if I were to,  I wouldn't know what to do with them.  This is probably a protective mechanism that stems from the greatest lesson my dad ever taught me; never put anything in writing that will come back to haunt you.

So,   I'm sorry I dropped a juicy romance bomb on you all and then vacated.  At the time,  I didn't know what I could properly share with you,  or even how to put it in words.  But it's really for the best that my mind works this way. 

After my last post,  my mother informed me that  she loved David.  She also announced that David Carpe Diem  would be coming to live with her for the winter. This announcement came on day 5 of my mom's trip to the North Woods. In the form of an email.  HUH?  

  I had a meltdown.  It was mental,  and verbal.   In written form,  it went something like this: 

This man,  this man I had  never met would be hanging his hat in the closet where my dad's sweaters still sit on the shelf.  This man, this man  I had  never met, would be sitting in his jammies watching the 58 inch TV my dad bought and never got a chance to enjoy.   This man, this man I had  never met,  had so quickly worked his way into my mother's heart.   I didn't know him,  he didn't know me.  WTF?

The same person who had set-up her mother  on Match.Com  was now fuming because she had gone and found love.  How fair was that?  But lines get blurred when your best friend is your mother,  and yet you will forever feel like her eight-year-old  child.   For so many reasons,  this announcement was threatening to me.   Was my mom  abandoning me, sacrificing our time together,  and forgetting the  memory of my father? And how did all this happen in five days?  Did five days instantly diminish the meaning and depth of forty years with my father?   For the next day,   I wallowed in my own little pity party,  waiting for my mother to return to Arizona and some form of  reason.

David will still be coming out to stay for the winter. But he won't be a complete stranger.  One of my Peace Treaty Rules is that Davy Jones( it's what I call him) come out to meet the family before he moves in;  it seemed like an acceptable demand.  He is coming out next week.  I'm opening my heart and head to this man but will be watching him like a hawk.  If he's quick to use my mom's money and heart,  I'll just as quickly substitute Bernice's Alpo next month.  If ya catch my drift...

  Time  home ( and the telephone )has brought my mother and me   the clarity and  rationality that seemed to be strangled in red wine, and warm blankets in Wisconsin.   My mom is still my shopping partner,  and she still holds a place in her heart for my father.    My mom talks to David every day,  and they sound very sweet and loving  on their phone calls. They are getting to know each other,  better. They are sharing histories, likes,  dislikes.  It is a reverse courtship of sorts,  and   I am overjoyed to be a witness to it.  I am ecstatic that my mother is happy.

Today,  I'm grateful for  time,  and my  inablitly to write in times of stress.  Things have  unfolded rather nicely around here.  I would have hated  to have to issue a retraction for something I wrote prematurely.   I do enough apologizing for my sailor's mouth. 

Please read Jen's blog,  and Liz's, too.  They are my blogger buddies,  and have lots they are thankful for, too. ->

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Seize the Day (and the stranger)

My mother met a man.  Last week.  Online.    Half the year he lives in the house he built with his own hands,  on a lake in Wisconsin. The other half of the year he lives with his son,  here in Phoenix.  That's how he found my mother.  

Harry bikes.  And travels.  He's fit.  We is a widower. And 73. His profile on says "Carpe Diem".  Coincidentally,  my mom's  profile says "Carpe Diem".  In the space of a week,  they emailed a couple of times and  spoke on the phone for an hour.  That's all any of us (my mother included)  knew about Harry.

On Wednesday,  my mom left the house,  without intending to return for five days.  She took 2 airplanes,  and a one-hour car trip.  To get to Harry,  and his house in the middle of nowhere.  She did this after talking to this man for one hour.   Without knowing his political leanings,  education,  or prior employment.  We,  her family and friends,  were freaked!  In the space of a day,  two of us ran background checks on strange Harry. 

I spoke with my mom today,  24 hours into her trip. She is happy,  and I could hear Harry laughing in the background.  As much as I wanted to remind her (again)  about lessons she taught me in my youth about strangers and dangers,  I  refrained.  This spontaneous trip was something she had to do.  Maybe after 69 years,  she knows something I do not.

Today,  I talked to the mystery man myself.  

"Your mother is a fantastic woman,"  Harry said.  "I don't ever want her to leave."  "She is wonderful."  His voice sounded old and sweet,  with a charming mid-western lilt.

Who knows where  this frenetic,  crazed relationship will lead.  As long as it's not in a dozen trash bags at the bottom of the lake,  I will consider it a success.  

We got off the phone with  my mom sounding relaxed and joyous  in  this strange man's house.  I heard this strange man giggling in the background.  He was making her a salad  for dinner.  They were drinking red wine.  And planning a hike through the snow tomorrow. 

  Carpe diem,  indeed.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Kyle Massey
    Any higher with the hand and my momma will neuter you!
  Jennifer Grey and Derek Hough (my favorite pro dancer)
I used to have an idea of  who watched Dancing With The Stars.  I envisioned a decrepit woman in her shag-carpeted living room,  Swanson TV dinner on her metal tray.  My TV trays are wood and I'm still a couple of sciatica attacks away from feeling old.   I'm gonna  blame my tumble into television Wasteland on the lack of better choices during Monday night prime-time.  I'm hooked now;  I'll stop apologizing.  Have you seen the show?

It's been an interesting season in that everyone seems more D-List than usual.  Where was the hole they dug  Michael Bolton out of to do the show?    Jennifer Grey (Baby in the Corner) is fantastic.  She's quick, lively,  and has quite the hard bod.  I adore Kyle Massey,  a young Disney Channel star. The kid oozes chutzpah;  I almost choked when he said he was 19.   I was sad The Hof was voted out so quickly;  he was good for some cheesy Baywatch flashback moments.
 Alaska's 1st Daughter is a dead carp. I know some bad dancers (some are reading this).  But she's dreadful.  And  yet she's still there.  What gives?  I can only think it's her mother and the Vast Right -Wing Conspiracy tying up the phone lines with votes.

Really, do me a favor.  Tune in on Monday night,  ABC, 8:00,  7:00 central.  I couldn't give a hoot about dancing,  but just seeing the elaborate costuming gives me the mid-Olympic ice skating fix I crave.

 I even have Scot watching.  Shhhh... he'll be mortified I told you.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Re-union of Souls

                                                        Will and Toni
                                                         Diane and Toni
                                                                    Toni and Jen
                                                Toni,  Jen's head,  Will (sideways)
                                                         Jen, Diane,  Toni
                                                            Will, Jen,  Toni

We were touring  Camden Catholic last weekend,  looking at the Wall of Honor,  the gym,  the sports fields,  etc.,  when an old classmate named  Michelle turned to me.
"Toni,  did you do any sports or activities when you were here?"  she asked.

" NO,  Nothing.  I did nothing." I smiled.

I answered honestly.

I wasn't a jock.  I wasn't a student government prepster.  Not a stoner, a nerd, or a drop-out.  For three years at that intimidating school,  I was afraid of everything.  So instead of putting myself on display and risk failing,  I did nothing. 

I had friends.  At a school where it was hard to fit in,  hard to find my place,  I found friends who embraced the awkward teen I was.  They chose me.  And at 14,  all I wanted was a place I felt safe.

At 38,  I've figured out who I am.    I have confidence to spare,  and have made something of myself.  I have run,  I have led,  and I've dropped out.

I went back last week,  head held high.    I could keep pace.  I could join the in-crowd,  and be accepted.

But did I want to spend three precious hours with people who never took the time to get to know that timid,  frightened girl?

Or,  did I want to surround myself with the people who gave me the confidence to find myself?

No brainer.

What a blast I had with Jen, Diane, Will,  and my old friends.  It was  comforting  to know that while  I have changed and matured,  I wasn't a complete idiot at 14. My instincts were  right-on.  My friends were the best.  And they  still are. They are now  warm, smart, fully-developed adults.

I never did talk to the popular girls, still skinny in their tight jeans.  And I didn't approach the then-chiseled boys who were now  chubby dads. 

I wasn't afraid or intimidated.    I just didn't want to waste the scarce  time I had.

  I spent the time with people who  knew that the kid who did "nothing",   was still a "someone."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Reunion - Part I - Jennifer

I have returned from the reunion.  Not unscathed,  but I'll go into that tomorrow.

I met Jennifer at Camden Catholic.  I'd like to say in what class,  or what funny thing was said,  but I don't remember.  I'll be honest;  I don't recall half the crap people were reminiscing about all weekend.  

I liked Jen right away.  We had similar tastes in music,  fashion,  and shared the same bubbly spirit (sarcasm). 

Jen and I lost touch for eighteen years.  After two years of looking for each other,  we met up again on Myspace.  It was like time had stood still;  we gabbed about the same old bands and makeup.  We also discussed jobs and wrinkles.  

About six months ago,  Jen invited me to stay at her house for our 20th reunion. 

On Friday,  I arrived and was treated to coffee and cinnamon rolls.   She spent the weekend fufilling my every Jersey wish.  We had cheesesteaks,  Philly pretzels, and homemade chowriffic Cioppino (her recipe is on her blog).  We visited a friend,  went to see her mom,  drove by my old house.  She  had a friend over, and hosted a reunion pre-party.  Wheh...

Jen makes you feel needed,  listened to,  appreciated.  And you feel the same for her.  She has an appreciation for culture.  She is patient.  She is kind.  She makes you laugh your arse off.

I'm glad she's in my life again.  Great weekend,  great friend. 

They say friends come into your life for a season,  a reason,  or a lifetime.  I think we're shooting for the last one. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

We're more than just spray tans

I'm used to Jersey jokes.  For some reason,  New Jersey is everyone's punching bag. For the most part,  I laugh it off.  But sometimes,  it gets annoying.  Why always Jersey?  I don't hear about people in Des Moines being picked on for their potatoes.

  I've told a lot of folks  I'm headed back to Jersey  (this trip is  exciting for me,  as I haven't been to the homeland in almost nine years).  With straight faces,  three people  asked me if I know Snooki.   Are they serious?  Are these the same people who would ask  "what exit?"

Yes,  Jersey has its share of scary things like Snooki, Newark, and the Jersey Devil.  But I  think of Jersey and have better visions.  I see   Princeton, Mendham, Cape May,  tomatoes, antique shops, and  cider doughnuts.

I must tell you,  I was insulted.  Really truly insulted. 

Do I look like I would know a Snooki?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Jersey Gurl

Scot is still in disbelief he married a Jersey girl.  He always thought he'd meet a Georgia Peach. Not sure what the  hell form of perfection he believes that term implies, but   I feel obligated to inform to him that Paula Deen is from Georgia.

We'll meet strangers and he'll actually mention  my state of origin in the introduction.  

"Yeah,  her name is Toni and she's from Jersey." 

I'm not sure what that means.  Does he feel fortunate  he married someone so outspoken and cool?  Or is he horrified?

Jersey has competitive shopping, traffic circles, crazy hot-blooded Italians and long diner lines.  With all those every-day life stressors,  everyone's inner biotch has to emerge.  If it doesn't,  you will be walked over,  and your table will be taken.

Whatever.  I'm damn proud of it, biotch.   Jersey gave me my voice.    It molded my personality and allowed me to ask my microbiology teacher why she was "staring at me like I was crazy."  Okay,  maybe it also  deleted my vocal sensor.
 On Friday,  I will be seeing some of my favorite Jersey People.   I will be staying with fellow blogger and friend Jen.

  I  can't wait to see and hear my favorite fellow Jersey Gurlz.

Friday, October 8, 2010

"Good Times!"

When the shit  hits the fan around these parts,  Scot looks at me and says
"Good times.  Yep,  good times." 

  Sarcasm at its best,  or worst,  depending on your view of sarcasm.  We don't know any other language around these parts.

Since mid-August,  it has been "good times,  good times" around here.    For the past 8 weeks Nora  has been sick,  on-and-off.  School one day,  home sick the next.  Nothing awful,  but something slightly sinister right under the surface.  .  It started as a fever, morphed into a sore throat,  soon engulfed her urinary region,  returned as a fever,  and at times wreaking  havoc on her stomach.

After six trips to the doctor,  which included blood work and urinalysis,  one trip to the ENT,  and  an X-ray,  we still didn't have any answers.  She didn't have strep throat or mono.  But she had swollen lymph nodes and a fever.  Symptoms of lymphoma.  Yes,  I said that.  Nora's pediatrician threw that word out and for the next week all food that entered my system funneled out my ass as fast as it went in.  I lost my sanity and five pounds.  Last week,  we had a CT scan performed.  (Did I mention this was all covered with our great, new employer- sponsored insurance?  What a blessing.)

On Monday we received wonderful news.  Nora's scan was clean.  With the exception of a few raised nodes in her neck,  lymph nodes were all normal!   It is assumed the neck nodes are a lingering reminder of the phantom virus she harbored.  Her fever is  gone, and she is my plain old , regular Nora.  A vibrant spitfire. 

We are relaxing in the family room right now.   No coughing,  no hot head.   Just the sound of the Braves game in the background,  and the kids complaining of being bored. Every so often Nora comes over the lap top and knocks into my hands,  scattering my type.  What  should have taken me ten minutes to write has taken me a kid-distracted half hour.  

   "Good times, good times."   

And it really is. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Sumnmertime and the livin' is easy.  And lazy as shit.

I've been reading (Over the Edge:  Death in Grand Canyon  ,  Sunk Without a Sound:  The Glen and Bessie Hyde Story).  I'm into the Canyon and the dumb asses that fall over the side.

I've been playing Mastermind with the kids,  and wondering exactly how long before those same kids drive me batshit crazy.

I've got lots of news,  lots to say.  Haven't won the lottery or had my boobs done,  but it's all exciting for a girl in Suburbia.

But sometimes I have so much that it can't come out fast enough.

I leave on Saturday for a week at the beach.

When I return,  the kids head back to school.  At that time,  I am promising myself (and the 5 of you out there for pay attention to my habits)  that I will take the time to put thoughts to paper.   It helps to keep me sharp (HA) and focused.  Gotta bone up before my chemistry class starts in late August.

As for all my blogger friends,  I'd like to see you all return to your posts as well.  What do you say to a nice Labor Day return to blogging?  I miss you all and would like to know what you're doing.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bernice, AKA Bernicio Tel Toro, BC

                                                         Snow White
Somebody Help me?!  

I love Bernice.  Of all the dogs I've ever had (Jeremy, Chester, Cheyenne, Lucy, Jack, Annie, Patrick,  Cody) she is the best.   Sweet disposition,  gentle, loyal,  smart,  and obviously happy-go-lucky. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Shopping With Feeeeeling

The Chinese restaurant in Madeira , across from the pottery shop where I bought the rooster
Rooster on display (which makes me think of   the Chinese restaurant )

Mazatlan memento

Mickey shorts
As I poured my coffee this morning,  I said "good morning" to my Madeira Rooster.  You see,   I decorate the house,  my ears,  my body, and my internal organs  with stuff bought while on  vacation.   For some totally bogus reason,  traveling lubricates my spending senses,  lulling me into a drunken state of  free spending.   This is not helped if the currency is foreign;  then the money resembles tokens for the merry-go-round and I instantly devalue their worth.  An overpowering need to sentimentalize and remember every place I visit culminates in the purchase of  roosters, paintings, shorts,  and exotic-sounding Mexican pharmaceutical prescriptions (wart cream in Spanish comes off sounding like Verrrrrrruga).

The painting is from our last trip to Mexico.   The shop proprietor  bubble-wrapped the whole thing, then covered it in butcher's paper.  It was suddenly three feet tall . I carried it like a precious baby through the streets of Mazatlan.  After the Dos Equis wore off I was glad to see I still liked it.  Actually,   I adore it (plus, it reminds me of the last cruise my dad took with us - see!  you can justify anything if you give it feeling! )

The items I make off with  are rarely Sombrero Purchases ( you've heard of this right? - crap you don't want once you sober up and are struck with the realization that big straw hats don't look good outside of Cancun.)   That's not to say I don't have a little bit of remorse about the plaid Mickey shorts that spoke to me in a moment of Disney weakness.  No,  I say that just for Scot.  I brought them back to the room and under his breath her uttered,  "sombrero."  For the record,  these have been worn off the ship. 


Sunday, June 13, 2010

For Dad

The Michigan commercials are back. And they still make me cry. And laugh. I can't help but think of the embarrassing armpit Detroit is for Michigan.

I wish we had been able to go last year; for a last "blow-it-our-asses" for Dad.

Next summer, I hope to return for a good, long visit. After all, life is short, and sunrises are limited.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


This is my boozed-up brother and his boozed-up friend, Doug. This pic has nothing to do with the post, but it always makes me giggle.

I've neglected you.
I can assure you, I was busy. Sort-of. On June 1st, I started two summer school classes. One meets on T/TH, for 3 weeks, from 7-11 a.m. The class is nursing assisting. We watched the Alzheimer's Project last week and I wet myself all over with tears. I looked around and noticed that the only other folks having a hard time controlling their emotions were the other older folks in class. The 20-year-olds were snapping their gum and yawning. Some day they'll get it. Till then, let them live in their universe of blissful ignorance. :) This week we will go over death and dying. Such wonderful timing. The class is a bit hard to take in parts, but is part of my prerequisites.

My other class is online. It's pharmacology, and is quite interesting. I kind of dig knowing the different drug schedules. It's over on June 30th.

Last week, Scot and I celebrated our anniversary on the 6th. We went to a local resort. We drank brewskis by the pool, swam, and went to our favorite Mexican restaurant. We then returned to our cool sanctuary of a room and spent 12 hours lying in our cold sheet fluffy bed watching HBO. Truly. It was marvelous. The next day I celebrated my birthday. Mom joined us for sushi, and afterward we went to a frozen yogurt place that has the world's best salty-sweet peanut butter sauce. Screw cake- give me ice cream. Couldn't really top a weekend like that!

In between all the business and festivities a little cloud hangs. On June 4th, last year, my dad went into the hospital for his surgery. On the 18th, it will be a year since he has been gone. Though the initial pain of losing him has passed, more than ever, I miss him. I miss his quips, his sarcasm, his kindness. The most painful thought I try unthinking is that "I will never see him again." That's a doozie.

I thought about dad a lot last Friday. The kids and I took in a summer-time kid showing of Charlotte's Web, and when I left the theater I looked as though someone had beat me about the head. I had never seen/read the story and obviously Charlotte's death was a great big metaphor for my dad's passing, and the legacy he's left behind. Not sure what the legacy is, beyond a blogging daughter, but you know what I mean...

Both kids have been trading pink eye and ear infections, but so far have been enjoying their summers. Art camp starts this week, and from that point on, summer gets busy for them. They are happy, and healthy and as much as I give them a hard time for following me around the house like the dogs do, I love having them home with me. Their nosiness gives this place such buoyant life.

Scot has been very busy with work. I think that's a good thing. I always equate extreme business with money. I know it hasn't always worked out that way, but I derive some satisfaction in a hard day's work, especially when it's someone else doing the working.

Today will be a magnificent 87 degrees. Such a change from the 110 we had last week. This won't last, and it's unseasonal for June in Arizona. I will lap it up with an outdoor run and perhaps a bike ride later.

Happy weekend, and Love to all.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Laugh your a$$ off funny

When my time comes,  I wonder if they'll have Depends with pockets?

Monday, May 31, 2010

If I Ever Leave This World Alive

Last night Scot and I were watching The 2010 National Memorial Day Concert on PBS. It was co-hosted by Gary Sinise, or as I still like to call him, Lt. Dan. The music was pretty decent, with Brad Paisley and Lionel Richie(yeah, I dig him) among the stars.

Part of the program gave voice to a new generation of young widows, women who lost their military spouses in Iraq or Afghanistan. A very attractive blonde gave a lengthy reading about what it was like to be a widow, at 22. This modern-day account was countered by Blythe Danner reading a Vietnam widows account of facing life alone at the tender age of 19. Sobering. Sickening. And yet these womens touching testimonies were so strong and full of composure.

Fallen military men (and women) pay the ultimate price for freedom for all of us. And when they leave this earth, their broken-hearted families mourn their absences for years.
So, thank you military, and military families. I raise my glass to you all.

I want to share with you what I think is the best Irish drinking ditty about life, death and all that goes with it. If I was presenting at the PBS gig, I would have probably just shown up with this song blaring from a boom box, all Lloyd Dobler style.

Here's the words - the video is a little Euro-distracting.

"If I Ever Leave This World Alive" Flogging Molly

If I ever leave this world alive
I'll thank for all the things you did in my life
If I ever leave this world alive
I'll come back down and sit beside your
feet tonight
Wherever I am you'll always be
More than just a memory
If I ever leave this world alive

If I ever leave this world alive
I'll take on all the sadness
That I left behind
If I ever leave this world alive
The madness that you feel will soon subside
So in a word don't shed a tear
I'll be here when it all gets weird
If I ever leave this world alive

So when in doubt just call my name
Just before you go insane
If I ever leave this world
Hey I may never leave this world
But if I ever leave this world alive

She says I'm okay; I'm alright,
Though you have gone from my life
You said that it would,
Now everything should be all right

She says I'm okay; I'm alright,
Though you have gone from my life
You said that it would,
Now everything should be all right
Yeah should be alright

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bucket List

Here it is. More for me, than for you. Good mental work.

1. Learn chain-maille for beading.
2. retire to San Francisco
3. Adopt more pound dogs.
4. find the perfect spaghetti bolognese recipe. I've tried over two dozen. Some have come close, but...
5. see my children graduate college
6. go back to where St. John, where I honeymooned 12 years ago.
6. run a full marathon
7. have something published
8. learn to play the piano
9. learn calligraphy
10. learn to like vegetables
11. see the Great Wall of China
12. return to the hotel in Hawaii where Scot and I got engaged
13. become a respiratory therapist
14. age gracefully
15. fill my children with self-confidence
16. reassure the afraid
17. bring a dog on an airplane trip, under the seat
18. show my children the world
19. give my husband reasons to believe that while I am costly, I am worth it.
20. learn to forgive, better.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Damn Fine Pasta Dish brought to us courtesy of the internets...

Here's that really good pasta recipe I promised you. I made it for my mom the other night and she was really impressed. This is the same woman that was happy I made it through college.

Here's the back story. As if you give a hoot or even asked. But I find it amusing in our high-tech world.

11 1/2 years ago I was a flight attendant. I would spend three nights a week away from home, usually in Orange County, Chicago, San Diego, or Vegas. One day I was on the treadmill at the hotel gym in Sacramento, watching a local news broadcast. A local chef came on and prepared a great looking pasta dish. I returned home and told Scot the TV channel and city where I had seen the recipe made.

The next day, he returned home with the printed recipe. He had gone to work, looked up this station's website (WHAT???) and printed the recipe for me. He might as well handed me a bar of gold. I was dumbfounded. Where was the recipe? Was it floating inside the computer? How did he find this website on this so-called information super highway? How did he get directions to this site?

. Shortly after this event I had a complete meltdown where I infamously screamed "the Internet is passing me by!!!!!!" I was so perplexed by technology, yet so hungry to understand it. Some years later, it finally sunk in. I think. Scot loves to sarcastically repeat my whine when I'm completing a flying-fingers order on Amazon.

On to the recipe. I've been making it all these years. It was as delicious as it looked on the 12- inch gym TV. I have Scot to thank for finding it inside that big electronic box that sat on his office desk, all those years ago.

Pasta Creole Chicken

2 pieces boneless/skinless, cooked chicken breast
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1/4 cup diced red pepper
1 tsp. chopped fresh garlic
1/4 cup red wine
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream (I use fat-free half-n-half. I have used both and there is NO diff. in richness or flavor)
1/2 cup marinara sauce
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. chili pepper flakes
2 cups cooked penne pasta

- Heat olive oil in pan. Add onion, green and red pepper, and garlic. Stir and cook approximately 1/2 minutes.

-Add red wine, salt and pepper, heavy cream (FF half-n-half), and marinara. - cook over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes to thicken sauce. Add sliced chicken, cayenne pepper and chili flakes. Stir in cooked pasta.

- serves 2.

My notes: I've served it over every kind of pasta. I've added more cayenne for spicier people, and I've tripled the recipe. The FF half-n-half works great. The wine MAKES it!!! They will think you slaved all day; tell them you did.

Six Feet Under Finale Scene

I have been inspired by Jen ->
She shared the final scene of LOST with all of us.

I was a faithful viewer to Six Feet Under from 2001-2005.

Here's the story behind the final scene; in a nutshell. Three siblings, Claire (the girl leaving in the car; she's going off to art school), Nate (Peter Crause) and David ( Showtimes's Dexter). The three of them help operate the family's funeral home.

Nate died during the final season of the show. 10 seconds into the clip, he tells Claire "you can't take a picture of it, it's already gone." He's also shown in Claire's side mirror as she leaves. For the rest of the clip, you see the other main characters from the show as they die, followed by their name and dates of birth and death. Many times a fallen loved one is standing nearby, to offer comfort. As the matriarch dies in her hospital bed, her deceased husband is seen sitting in the corner of the room, smoking a cigarette. It sounds crass to read, but when viewed has a hauntingly effective way of showing us that although we may exit this world completely alone, a loved one is waiting for us, on the other side.

Extremely powerful. Beautiful song. Please watch it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tequila you with kindness

Some of the drug ads I see on TV these days have me doing a second listen. A good one is for one of the erectile dysfunction meds. They advise, "If you have an erection that lasts four hours or more, call your doctor. " I once heard a comedian do a riff on that saying if he had an erection that lasted four hours, he would call every chick in his address book!

My favorite is for the asthma medication Advair. In the ad, they say this, "Advair may lead to asthma-related death." WHAT? Well, that seems counter-intuitive. Give me some of that for my mild asthma and maybe we'll just knock then whole breathing issue right out of me; I will simply breathe no more.

The below spoof for tequila is done with an actress who has one of the smooth and silky voices of pharmaceutical commercials. It had me laughing.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dinner Divine

I've been following Weight Watchers again for the last 3 weeks.  I have good days and bad.  Thursday was bad.  Yeah,  4 margaritas,  25 jumbo shrimp, and a bowl of chips are not countable points.  But tonight,  I was pretty good.

I've been getting into turkey burgers.  I really/shouldn't/can't have beef,  so I'm doing turkey.  And it's starting to be so good that I'm not even missing ground beef anymore.

  Terriyaki Turkey Burgers:

1 lb. lean turkey
3 tbs. panko bread crumbs
1 tb. original terriyaki sauce (the thin,  not-too-sweet stuff)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon fresh or powd. garlic
1/8 teaspoon cajun spice
fresh pepper

We cooked the burgs in 4 oz. portions.

Topped it all with pineapple slices,  (whole pineapples are only $1 at Fry's right now!!!),  dill pickles, and terriyaki mayo (2 tbs. light mayo mixed with 1 tsp. terriyaki and a shake of white pepper)

Eat with  Kettle Brand BAKED potato chips in Salt-n-Vinegar. Have you had these?  Have you?  Holy cow.  65% less fat than regular chips and they actually feel and taste like chips.  Not that baked crap Lays puts out.

Oh,  and I had two Fat Tire Skinny Dip summer beers.  They are a light beer weighing in at a slim 110 calories.  Tons of flavor,  with only 2 Weight Watchers points. 

It was fantastic.  Delicious. And I  have no remorse.  Didn't have the corn pictured,  but it looks pretty darn good, no?

Tomorrow,  I will share one of my favorite recipes with you all.  I made it last night after a long hiatus and remembered again why I love it so...

Good night dear friends. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Inside the Actor's Studio Questionnaire

Liz, over there on the margin (not that she is stuffed in the margin, I just don't know how to link her in here) challenged us Lady Bloggers to fill out James Lipton's questionnaire. It's the same list of questions he asks every celebrity. Even though I think Lipton is a bit of an intense freak, props to his question; they really get you thinking!

1. What is your favorite word? arrabiata
2. What is your least favorite word? necrosis  (no,  change that -  cancer)
3. What turns you on? sense of humor
4. What turns you off? self-absorbed people
5. What sound or noise do you love? children laughing
6. What sound or noise do you hate? cell phones ringing
7. What is your favorite curse word? A tie; Mother F@#ker, Douche Nozzle
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? columnist
9. What profession would you not like to do? Air Traffic Controller-"OOPS, didn't see that!"
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates- "Here's your beer, and take this one for your dad. He's been waiting for you by the pool."

Friday, May 14, 2010

Going Beady...

I'm starting to shake and sweat. I'm heading to my favorite bead store, Scottsdale Bead Supply. I've gathered some dimes, nickles, and quarters to spend on new beads. I will probably spend an hour or two browsing the large wall racks of semi-precious stones and Swarovski crystals. I tell myself constantly I am not Laura from The Glass Menagerie, as I lovingly gaze and fondle my bead collection.

I need a job.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Photo Retrospective

Top Photo : Seville, Spain, 1983
Middle Photo: Pisa, Italy, 1995
Bottom Photo: Madeira , Portugal, 2010

The restaurant in Seville overlooked a beautiful valley. We sat at the hilltop restaurant and took in the vast views which included a meandering river and dusty mountains. My mom, dad, and Tim (a recent high school graduate) sucked down a pitcher of sangria. In typical Spanish "manana" service, we waited for the check that never came. We waited so long that we eventually got up and left without paying. A moment of scampering scandal turned into panic when the rental car wouldn't start. After a few moments of nervous laughing, the car turned over and we raced down the hill.

The first photo resurfaced shortly before our trip to Italy in the fall of 1995. I purposely set up the second shot to replicate the Seville photo. Right down to the hand placement. We were sitting at the base of the Tower of Pisa. As the evening wore on and the drinks kept coming, we began to think we could actually see the monument leaning towards us more and more.

The third photo was an attempt to recreate the top two photos. Before boarding the cruise ship, we plopped down at a scenic marina bar and had ourselves a local beer. Or two or three, as the picture shows. We were down a man for this photo op, but as I sat there and posed one thought popped into my head; life changes. It might be different, but it's still worth documenting.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Happy 6th Birthday, Nora Ruby

She was born on a Tuesday, so the name is even more fitting. We sing The Beatles song to the girl all the time.

Last week she turned 6. Sometimes I don't know if it's been the longest six years of my life, or if it's flying by; all depends on whether or not her crying days of colic are fresh in my mind, or if she's being the angel baby she is now.

All she wants to do is please. She is lovely, sweet, kind, and funny. She has moments of being extremely high-maintenance, but I think any person worth spending time with deserves your TLC.

Last week she was looking hard at me when I came out of my bedroom.

"You look 20," she said.

I love that kid.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

There are places I remember, All my life

Madeira, Portugal

I can recall falling off the plastic coffee table in the family room when I was four (I still think the only thing that saved my skull was the shag carpeting). The first day of kindergarten is seared into my Fear Vault. I can moderately recall parts of my wedding day, although I can pinpoint the row on the airplane, returning from a trip to Chicago, when I realized I wanted to marry Scot. Better yet, I can tell you everything Scot and I saw, did, touched, ate, and smelled in Chicago.

I will forever remember the entire day I spent in Madeira, Portugal. It wasn't one magical moment, but a bunch of precious sensory nuggets, strung into ten sparkly, shiny hours of one day.

That's why I think we should all travel more. Our souls need to be reawakened at the beauty the world has to offer. Grass is greener on the other side, children's laughter is sweeter, and the beer, it does taste better.

Monday, May 3, 2010


Wherever we went on the ship, "Ears" were there.

"EARS" got attention. The bride was brought up on stage during Jason Bishop's magic show and was also a finalist in the masquerade mask contest. She wore her mask in conjunction with the ears. Oh sure, it's cute to wear you Mickey Bride-Do, and Mickey Groom Hat; on the day you get married. This couple got married in Disney World, the week before the cruise. They were never without their headgear; they wore them in the theater, at dinner, by the pool, in formal portraits.


Yes, there are worse things. But funnier....?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I could write a book...

It was fantastic. The ports were great. The food... well, I gained 5 pounds. So, where do I begin? There is so much to say that my mind has formed a back log of wonderfully sludgy thoughts. Here's one.

I like Disney. Always have. Adults that love Disney seem to be missing something in their life. Like a father. Or a true sense of reality. Over 400 of the 1500 passengers on our cruise were Disney Bloggers. They constantly wore a lanyard that displayed their log-in ID. Such as Tinker22 or MickeyMe2U. Some were overweight, most were men, all were weird. In that "Chester" sort-of way. On "Pirates of the Caribbean" night, I spotted no less than 10 men in full pirate regalia. Costumes that they put in a suitcase; highly coveted suitcase space that the average man might covet for oh... I don't know.... shoes or dress pants?

The stateroom doors on the ship are metal. Previous Hard Core Disney Cruisers know this and fill their suitcases with door decorations. There were several occasions when I was returning from dinner (half-crocked) that I had to remind myself I wasn't in my dorm hall. These weren't sorority decorated doors. I was on a Disney cruise.

For a week, I stared at our neighbors door and looked at the name tags. The names were something like "Barbara" "Lori" and for certain, "Disneyana".

"Is that a joke?" I asked Scot. Upon further examination of the cabin's self-made fabric mailbox, I could tell the room was inhabited by a family. Two women with hyphenated names, and a daughter. Was the daughter Disneyana? And was that really her name?

My family had a sick compulsion to turn door magnets upside-down, switch mailboxes out, and commit other mischievous acts which would be looked down upon by the Disney Cult. I blame my brother for this; he started it. One evening the girls and I returned to the room before Scot, who had the key. My kids started turning "Disneyana's" magnets around. I stifled a giggle and told the kids to knock it off. Suddenly, the neighbors door flew upon; we were caught with Jasmine in our hot little hands.

"Hi!" I managed in a pleading jovial voice.
"The kids and I were just enjoying your door," I stammered.
"Hello" the neighbor said curtly.
I was not getting out of this unscathed. At this point I had nothing to lose with her, and and could only fulfill my curiosity.
"Is there someone in your room/ really/ named "Disneyana?" I asked.
"Yes, that's my daughter. We named her Disneyana," she said.
"Woooowwww... won ..won...wonderful, " I stammered.

With that, I turned on my heel and made for the elevators. I had been caught. But she had named her daughter Disneyana. Surely a call to CPS could have been in order.
We were even.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I'm Leaving, On A Big Boat...

Been a little...distracted. Busy.

On Friday, I will be leaving for a wonderful vacation. I hesitate to call it a trip-of-a-lifetime, as I never like to say anything is a one-time shot. We have only one life- gotta shoot for as much as we can get!

Scot, Maggie, Nora, Mom, Brother Tim, SIL Cindy, and I are setting sail on the Disney Magic. My sis will not be joining us as she had some huge expenditures this past year (new house, 2 college-age kids) :( . We will board in Orlando and spent 14 nights cruising the Atlantic, with stops in the Bahamas, Madeira, Cadiz, Gibraltar, and Barcelona.

I know, it's big. Dear Dad planned the cruise over a year ago. Sort of a "Blow It Out Your Ass" final trip for him to take with the family. Believe me, I've been cursing him out for both missing the trip and depleting our savings account. I jest. We will miss him, but more money will not make up for the experiences ahead of us (cocktails on our veranda in the middle of the Atlantic, monkeys in Gibraltar, swimming in the Bahamas!)

The big trip is almost here. I'm typing naked, self-tanner slathered on my body. The house is in a packing disarray, and the kids forms to officially witdraw them from school sit on the kitchen counter. We are scrambling to tie loose ends. Scot is cramming work in, and I am leaving instructions and sticky notes all over for my nephew Nathan, the dog sitter.

I am excited. Nervous. My best friend Joelle sent me the most gorgeous travel journal, so that I can document the adventures. I will. And I will report back to you with details.

Cheers, my friends!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Is there an illegitimate child in my child's future? Not if I can help it!

"Nora, you may not get those shoes! You are not a hoochie, and you are not working the corner. FORGET ABOUT IT. IT IS NOT HAPPENING!"

You are five years old!"

- Me, on a recent shoe-shopping trip to Kohl's, for Nora
(the above pics are the desired shoes)

When Nora was 4 she told me she wanted to name her children something to the effect of "Stargazerlilly" and "Sugarplumb". That wasn't it, but you get the drift.

When we go out clothes shopping, Nora always wants the washed-out pastel polyester dress. The one where the top is a thin cotton that gives way to layers of flimsy fire-retardant blue and cream rayon ruffles.

She's been known to put glitter in her hair while prepping for school.

When I'm putting on makeup the kid stands behind me, taking notes.

Why do I have a sick feeling this child seems to be headed directly to the "strippa po"?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Can I have another 30 minutes of your day?

Women should exercise an hour a day to maintain weight, study says -

Posted using ShareThis


No, really. I didn't need to hear this.

Part of me would rather think it was somehow my dieting fault, like the final bite of Scot's Baskin Robbins Tax Crunch cone was what undid the hard run. But I didn't realize I should be doing more exercise.

On second thought, maybe I'll be able to make peace with this. This study shows there is only so much you can do to fight age and a slowing metabolism.

I am alive, And save the damn sciatica (from running) I am healthy.

Not bad.

That article is going in the trash. Who needs more guilt?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Reason #895 I love my mom...

The greatest thing I have ever learned came from my mother.

She taught me that all of us carries certain gifts that we bestow upon the world.

"God gives something to everyone."

I still hear my mom utter her patented line today. As a kid, I recalled it every time I met someone who intimidated me, or in times when I had the shallowness to pity a person.

The girl next to you in homeroom might have been a knockout, but she didn't have a sense of humor on a bad hair day.

Jimmy, your next-door neighbor, was plug as a bug in a rug, but the kid would defend your ass on the playground.

My mom is a smart lady. Her strength and goodness shine. Other stories on her to follow in the coming days.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Three names you go by:
1. Tone
2. T
3. Lovedoll
Three things you are wearing right now:
1. blue nightgown
2 Wedding ring
3. watch
Three things you want very badly at the moment:
1. continued health
2. some cute new flats
3. a good book
Three people you are certain who will answer :
1. Jennifer
2. Karen
3. Darci
Three of your favorite foods:
1. sushi
2. pasta
3. ice cream

Three people you last talked to on the phone:
1. Scot
2. mom
3. Kelly

Three things you are going to do tomorrow:
1. Go to Marshalls (for cute flats)
2. lunch with Scot
3. attend Art Open House at kids' school

Three of your favorite beverages:
1. coffee with cocoa (daily)
2. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
3. Bloody Mary
Have fun!! :) and BE HONEST!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Cake Wrecks

I've been busy looking for a new place online to waste all my time now that I've given up Facebook for lent. Or really just because my kids want their mother to read them stories before bed (needy things!)

Here it is.

It's worthy of your time. Kind of like what would happen if the creatures of Walmart started a bakery.

There are true masterpieces on the site as well. :)