Monday, December 31, 2012

What I Learned This Year

January 1, 2012

1. If your spouse cheats on you it is a reflection of their character (and the person they are with) not
    a result of something you  have done or not done. No matter what they would like you to believe.

2. I have fantastic kids.

3. I have fantastic friends.

4. I CAN hold a grudge.

5. You have to ask right up front,"Are you married and/or living with someone?"

6.  If someone deletes your comments from Facebook they are not the laid back zen master
     they claim to be.

7.  I CAN manage a household. In fact I can manage two of them.

8.  I can also pay the bills (even on line)take out the garbage, change the kitty litter, take care of two
     cars, put up the Christmas lights, light a fire, buy appliances and take myself on vacation.

9.  I'm a really good cook.

10. I'll never be skinny.

11. I can put pictures on my blog (even if it takes half a day) without help from my kids.

12. As my friend Mary often reminds me, there are worse things than living alone.

13. Tears are endless.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Full Moon

December 28, 2012

No big thoughts today. Just happiness for Lauren and Matt. Not only a full moon but their wedding day as well. I'm so happy for them and excited to spend the day celebrating their joy.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

All Gone

December 27, 2012

I just finished reading "All Gone, A Memoir of My Mothers Dementia with Refreshments" `by Alex Witchel. Ms Witchel is an author and columnist for the New York Times. The book vividly describes her mother's decline from a college professor to someone who did not always recognize her children. And the toll it took on the author. She turns to her mothers cooking to bring her back and shares the recipes for many of her favorite childhood meals.

It captured my feelings when I am in the kitchen cooking old Italian peasant recipes. Calm and secure. Like I did when I was young and thought I would always have my parents and sister to rely on when things got hard. So cooking keeps me from getting panicked or overwhelmed. I think of all the meals Jennie made and remember thinking to myself, "How can she stand doing this day after day?!!" Not to mention the countless dishes to be washed. How boring! But I find myself doing a lot of it myself now. Maybe it kept HER from feeling overwhelmed. Like there was a sense of order to the world. If only I had known then I may not have given her such a hard time about EVERYTHING!!

I recommend this book to anyone who has lost their mother. It is painful but ultimately heartwarming. A real tribute to their close relationship. And to those of you still lucky enough to have your parents this book will make you appreciate them even more.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


December 26, 2012

I am so relieved Christmas is over. I usually want to take down all the decorations the day after but I didn't put that many up and they are so pretty I think I'll keep them up for awhile. I remember wanting to take the tree, ornaments and all, and throw it in the back yard. But there was no tree with ornaments this year. And I didn't miss it.

So here are the traditions I will have to keep:

     1. The stockings (for Hilary)
     2. The Angels (for Josh) The puff pastry ones I bake not the heavenly kind.
     3. Two big dinners. (Christmas Eve and Day)
     4. Presents
     5. Cookies for breakfast
     6. Christmas cards (maybe)
     7. Going to the movies on Christmas Day. (Just not Les Mis. Russell Crowe singing was
         something I could have missed.
     8. Most important of all visiting with family and friends during the season.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

White Christmas

December 25, 2012

My kind of white Christmas. Enough snow to make it pretty but not so much as to make me wait by the door for Hilary to return from work. Yes, she is still my my baby...and so is Josh for that matter and now Jocelyn will have to put up with my crazy behavior. And it started on cue on Christmas Eve! Perfect, right Min?

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Stockings Were Hung....

 December 24, 2012

I have been trying to get rid of the Christmas stockings for years. The ridiculous things I bought to fill them. A total waste of time and money. And they were a fire hazard, hanging right over the mantel.This was the year to get rid of them for good. So many other big things had changed. This would be inconsequential.

I mentioned it first to Josh and Jocelyn. No big response. But did I detect a slight disappointment? Okay. Next was Hilary. "NO STOCKINGS?!!" Oh no. I knew right away I was doomed to hang them.

So up they went. Even one for Ophelia. I bought myself a new one in the interest of new memories. Its very cute. AND I bought ridiculous things to put in them. Next year I'll buy new ones for everyone since I guess they are a tradition I will have to keep.

I even started a fire in the fireplace ALL by myself. Ok. I had major coaching from Annemarie! It was a beautiful fire even if it was a little smoky! I just used the last of the wood from my other life. Yesterday I started using the "fake"logs I bought from the store so I don't have to deal with looking for firewood yet. Not as authentic but no mess, no kindling and no replenishing of the logs. Maybe another new tradition.

Friday, December 21, 2012

National Day of Mourning

December 21, 2012

Today is a National Day of Mourning for the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre. A moment of silence to be observed at 9:30 AM. Not just for the children and adults who were killed, but for the far reaching effects on the families and community.

We are all in some way responsible. We have to be the vehicle for change to prevent this from happening again. Both through stricter gun laws and increased health care for the mentally ill. Words alone are not enough. My thoughts are with everyone directly affected by this tragedy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


December 19, 2012

Every time there is a snow storm, hurricane, ice storm or power outage we all joke at work that we should have been teachers. No one is calling to tell us to stay home. We don't get up to check the TV to see if work has been cancelled. We work all kinds of shifts and weekends and holidays. And we always hold up teaching as the perfect job.

But in truth I could NEVER be a teacher. Many teachers I meet at work both as patients and visitors always say to me, "I could never do what you do." But I could never do what THEY do. Spend all day with 20-30 kids in a classroom and mentor them. Impossible. At least for me. I remember when I dropped Hilary off for her first full day of kindergarten. They were BOTH in school for the next SIX hours!!! If I could do cartwheels I would have done them up and down Alden Avenue. And I never expected that they wouldn't be lovingly cared for. Maybe not always for Josh as he inherited my penchant for sarcasm. (Kidding. I'm sure ALL his teachers loved him!) But I knew they would be safe. And that someone much more patient than I would be helping them grow into responsible adults.

Thanks to all of them who put up not only with my children but with me as well. A crazy, biased mother who wanted EVERYTHING for her kids. The Sandy Hook teachers are heroes. Like most mothers they would never leave their children behind. ( I could never understand women who could give up custody of their children.) I would like to think I would respond in the same way if faced with such a harrowing situation.

Monday, December 17, 2012

No Words

December 17, 2012

Robbie Parker, the father of Emilie Parker, a six year old killed on Friday in the Sandy Hook school shooting spoke very eloquently this weekend. He asked that this tragedy "not turn into something that defines us, but something that inspires us to be better, to be more compassionate and more humble." I was awed by his grace and sense of forgiveness in such a painful situation. There are no other words to better express the gravity of what happened here in Connecticut this weekend. Our hearts are broken.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sandy Hook

December 15, 2012

When I wrote about first responders yesterday I never imagined the tragedy that would unfold in such a sleepy section of my state. I drive through Newtown and Sandy Hook many times to get to the flea market in New Milford or sometimes the Danbury Mall. It is a beautiful, picturesque area. It could be a postcard of traditional New England.

I was at work having lunch when I heard the news. At first there were no details and we all hoped there would not be any deaths. But as the news unfolded we were horrified at the extent of the tragedy. Everyone went on  a computer for the latest news. The visitors had information streaming on their phones. Except for 9/11 I can't remember feeling so sad and horrified.

And for the first responders again I offer my heartfelt thanks for the job you do. EMTs and paramedics especially can't ever make enough to compensate for the work they do. If I were hurt out in the field I would want one of them treating me. They are the best. And to all the teachers out there, thank you as well for taking such good care of our children.

Children killing children. My heart goes out to all involved.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Happy Friday

December 14, 2012

Not much to say and no time to say it anyway. Running off to work. I survived my first Pilates class. Going to try Zumba and cycling next! In spite of creaking joints and groaning on my part.

I used to work with someone who proclaimed "Happy Friday" every week. At that time it really was happy. No weekends, holidays or call. We didn't know how good it was. But we still have jobs. So think of everyone who is working this weekend to keep you safe and healthy. Not just nurses and doctors, but policemen, firemen and EMTs.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Living on the Edge

December 13, 2012

The Edge. Means many things. To me today it refers to the gym. One of the good things about getting emotionally battered in a divorce is not eating. Losing weight like crazy! Having people ask me if I was sick! No one was ever concerned before that I was TOO thin. I was getting compliments at a time when I have never felt worse.

But alas, the good and bad thing about getting better means returning to the table. Eating is one of my favorite past times. I love to enjoy a good meal with family and friends. And now I found that I like to cook! What to do?

Later today I'm meeting a friend at The Edge, the gym. The same friend I HAVE traveled to the edge with on our medical missions. Not that she needs it but I DO! Especially because I have to travel to Thailand with her soon and we are planning a short island respite after the mission. Time to get in shape! But Lor, how about a snack after Pilates?!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

If You Can't Beat Them....

December 12, 2012

A continuation of my battle with the squirrels. I decided to take Hilary's advice and feed the squirrels. I put out food for them at ground level with the understanding that they would leave the bird feeder alone. I had a very long talk with them and I thought we understood each other.

For a while all was well. They ate their food and the birds flocked to my feeder. I watched them from my kitchen window. It was lovely. My cardinal couple came everyday.  I felt like Snow White without the dwarfs. But that's a story for another day.

But then I looked out and saw a squirrel climb over the baffle and hang upside down eating out of the feeder!!! I went running out there to chase it away. I was disappointed that they had broken the very good deal I gave them. I had no choice but to spray the pole and the feeder with olive oil. I went back inside and watched that rodent run up the pole and slide all the way back down. Hysterical.

So for now there is a truce. I will continue to put out food for all of them, occasionally spray the pole and enjoy the scene. It has been my experience however that these creatures always outwit me. I hope not. I don't want to have to resort to any weapon more drastic than olive oil.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Can Computers Replace Doctors?

December 11, 2012

Last week the Times had an article about computer diagnosis. Programs that allow one to input symptoms and it will give you a differential diagnosis. And apparently some systems are quite accurate.

But to replace a doctor? I don't think so. I know many physicians who can outsmart a computer. Really. They are compassionate and caring people. They spend time with their patients, answering questions and going over things again and again. Sometimes so much so that I want to go behind the curtain to rescue them(or at least hurry them up!) I would like to think we can exist side by side. Computers to AID human contact not replace it. Some of the best treatment involves just listening to patients. And some of the best doctors really listen to their patients. And the really terrific ones listen to the nurses as well!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Season.... Harder Than I Thought

December 10, 2012

I made it through Thanksgiving. The one holiday I anticipated as the hardest. But instead of feeling better I feel, if possible, sadder. I find everything brings back memories. The cheesy decorations in department stores, the sentimental Christmas songs, the cards and holiday lights. I am constantly on the verge of tears. Annemarie said it's because I was too numb to feel anything last year and now the reality has finally hit home. I would have to agree with that assessment. But I've always been a big proponent of facing things and dealing with them. SO I guess I will follow my own advice in this case too.

I went to the movies this weekend with friends. We were going to see Anna Karenina but I decided I couldn't see a heavy, sad love story. Especially one involving a cheating spouse. So we saw Flight instead. I thought I would enjoy seeing Denzel in almost every scene. But even he was sad. An out of shape alcoholic. And the crash scene! So authentic it was scary. But a good movie. And no crying (from me at least!) Then a very enjoyable dinner in Fairfield. Good food and good friends will get me through another holiday season. And hope that next year will be easier. For the first time in ages I don't have a song to cheer me up. But I think I recruited someone to see Pink with me in March!

BTW, my Christmas at the Beach candle is heavenly. Maybe that will be my new tradition next year.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Check Engine Light

December 7, 2012

Wednesday Hilary left for the gym in the morning. A few minutes later she was calling me on the phone. She doesn't just call to tell me she loves me. I answered with, "What's wrong?"

"My check engine light is on." Oh shit! I needed some work on my car also but have been trying not to think about it. Did I mention, I HATE car maintenance. Should I take an Ativan or should I deal with this now? Deal now, I decided. I needed to work the next two days so it wasn't going to get any easier.

I called Steve at Skip's garage. We have been going to him for years and I already had the "divorce" talk with him. So there wouldn't be any awkward moments when he asked "How's Dave?" But still, I just didn't want to deal with it at all.

But I did. He told me to come down and he would look at the car. Thankfully nothing seemed to be wrong. We picked it up and he didn't even charge me. He said he could fix my car next week. ( I seemed to have hit the same bank drive through on two separate occasions!) And I got to have lunch with my daughter at Bread and Chocolate. A cute little cafe in Hamden. Breakfast and lunch only. A perk for for having to deal with an unpleasant task. Not to be a Pollyanna but maybe there is a silver lining in most situations if you can keep your wits about you!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ipad Upgrade

December 6, 2012

I finished Breaking Bad season 4 last week. I've been trying to get the new episodes to load on my Ipad. ( And just as I originally thought, Walter is a psycho.) Sunday I went to dinner with Josh and told him my dilemma. I needed an upgrade to IOS 4.5. What exactly is that? I had no idea. He told me I had to connect my Ipad to the desktop. Okay. I knew how to do that. Easy. He also suggested I start watching Dexter. It's about a serial killer who only kills other serial killers. Interesting. So that night when I went to bed I tried to watch it. But again it said I needed to upgrade.

Tuesday I brought the Ipad downstairs and connected it to the desktop. Turned it on. Looked at it for a few minutes. Nothing. Wasn't it going to do something? Didn't it know about the upgrade? Okay. SO obviously it wasn't as smart as I thought. I was going to have to be more involved. I looked up directions on line but couldn't figure out what to do. That night I called Josh again.

"Mom, you have to hit Ipad." ???? Where was that? "Bring it over when you come on Friday. I'll do it." Just then Hilary walked in the door from a 12 hour shift. You would have thought I asked her for a kidney. I was determined to do it myself.

I found the icon and the update started. Yeah!!! I proudly called Josh to tell him. He said it should take less than thirty minutes. Three and a half hours later I had it up and running. I think. All the passwords are changed and new credit card information entered. It was always hooked up to Dave's information and I was tired of seeing his name every time I needed to sign in. But I honestly don't know what I did. Still can't figure out how to get Breaking Bad or Dexter. So I guess I'll be bringing it to Josh on Friday anyway. Maybe he can even help me with Spotify.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Victoria Peak

December 5, 2012

In April of 2010 Dave and I went to Hong Kong after a medical mission in Vietnam. Why he came on that mission will forever remain a mystery to me as he was already deeply involved with the lesbian conversion. It was my third trip to Vietnam and it is one of my favorite places to go for medical missions. I was excited to be returning and we even brought Hilary with us as she was majoring in nursing.

After the mission was over we met Josh and Jocelyn in Hong Kong. They were teaching English that year in a small school in a remote village in China. I hadn't seen them in seven months. Hong Kong is a fascinating city. The very old and the very new exist side by side. The harbor is beautiful. The people are stylish. High end malls on every street corner right near markets that sell live animals and produce. I loved it. We had a great time (or so I thought)

One day we visited Victoria Peak. It is the highest area in Hong Kong. We went up by tram and I was a little disappointed to find a mall and restaurants there. But when we went up to the observation deck I was enthralled. The view of the city and the harbor was spectacular. There was a house situated on the mountain that looked so calm and peaceful I wanted to own it and live there. I remember not wanting to leave the mountain. I stayed up there a long time. Maybe I had a premonition of what was to come. Someone offered to take a picture of all of us and I was delighted. The happy family.

But as with all things we had to return to reality. I think of that house a lot. I wish I could find that calm peaceful feeling again. The same one I had in a country so far away.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Fidelity. Unnatural?

December 4, 2012

Last week one of the physicians I work with told me that fidelity was "unnatural." His words, not mine. Wow, I wish I knew that 35 years ago, when I was young and my body parts weren't trying to defy gravity. If I had known it was "unnatural" to be faithful my life may have taken a completely different track.

I would have to say that being faithful to one person is hard but not impossible. At least I would like to think that. I know that it was hard for me but I managed to not have an affair (or two) during my marriage as tempting as it would have been. But I could never bring myself to follow through. I knew I would not be able to face my husband or live with myself. And in the end, when we are all alone, what is left but self-respect.

It was also implied that I was anti men. Not true! I LOVE men. They are essential for the continuation of the species(at this point in time anyway.) It is wonderful to have them around to take out the garbage, change the kitty litter and put gas in the car. But all kidding aside, I loved being part of a "couple." I loved having an intact family. I would like to think that there are many men who are capable of being faithful to one woman. But fidelity alone is not enough. Love, loyalty and respect are also important. But maybe I set the bar too high. it unnatural to expect fidelity in a relationship? Equally so for women as for men? Please let me in on the latest thinking. I would like to be prepared for my next relationship.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas at the Beach

December 3, 2012

I used to love Christmas when I was young. The tree, the songs, Santa. But then I grew up. I had to BE Santa. The crowds, the shopping, the carols. The overheated stores. The anxiety of buying the perfect gift for everyone. The perfect tree (which we never had) the perfect outfit and the perfect dinner. Anyone who knows me knows I am NOT perfect. I don't even want to be perfect. It's boring. But I fell under the spell of holiday craziness.

On Christmas morning the kids would come down and open all their gifts. Their excitement would last for that day. Many of the highly anticipated gifts where not all that was expected. One year I looked around at all the "things" we had bought and I was disgusted by the excess. Children in third world countries were dying from lack of clean water and here we were spending hundreds of dollars on junk. (Reminds me of Jennie saying "Kids in China are starving. Finish your supper." No wonder I have a weight issue!) So I started to cut back on all the gift giving. Instead of buying "things" I tried to concentrate on spending time with my family and friends. Going out to dinner, for a drink or to the movies. NO GIFTS! This year my plan is to donate to Feed the Children. Of course I will not escape the gift giving altogether. I DO have a lot of people to thank this year.

But during all this time of cheer what I always wanted to do was spend Christmas at the beach. Dave and I had always planned to do that after the kids where grown and wouldn't miss us. I still yearn to spend Christmas somewhere warm someday. (Sorry, Margo) To be on the beach while everyone else is slaving over dinner and worrying if their gifts will be well received. Enjoying the sun and the sand. Reading a book and toasting Santa. Hilary and I went to Yankee Candle a few weeks ago. I bought a candle called Christmas at the Beach. I guess that's as close as I'll get this year.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Reality TV

November 30, 2012

Why do people watch reality TV? I have never seen a reality show in my life. I live reality everyday. Both in my personal life and at work. I want to see fantasy on TV. I want to laugh, be entertained or learn something. I don't want to be immersed in the angst of someones problems, real or created for the show.

Dancing With The Stars is recapped every morning on Good Morning America. Why do I care? What happened to reporting the news of the day? Interviewing interesting people and informing us about what is going on in the world? Do the people on The Bachelor REALLY marry each other after a TV show? But then again who am I to talk about marriage? Maybe the odds are just as good for them as they were for me. I just don't want to see it in my family room.

If not for Modern Family, Gray's Anatomy, baseball and basketball I would not be watching TV at all. I may have to get into football again as violent as I find that to be. Then I will have something to watch no matter what the season.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


November 29, 2012

Yesterday I took my sister to the Yale Stroke Center to see the doctor who became like family to me last year. I won't name him to protect his privacy but at a time when I was literally on the edge, hanging on by my fingertips, he provided a calm and compassionate outlook. I asked for him everyday and came to rely on his advice.

You may remember that a week after Dave left to live with his lesbian lover, my sister had a stroke. I was literally inconsolable. But I knew I had to take care of her because she had always taken care of me when I was young. I talked myself into getting up and going to the Yale Neuro ICU every day for 6 weeks. I carried a legal pad and wrote down everything that was said to me. Every diagnosis, the name of everyone who entered the room, her vital signs and sometimes, what she ate. I knew I was risking staff alienation (no medical person likes to see someone taking notes on everything that is being done) but I had to have a record because I was so disconnected I couldn't remember anything. I wanted to explain my situation but it wasn't about me so I kept quiet. I knew sometimes I looked like a lunatic but I didn't care.

I was sure my sister would never leave Yale. But she eventually went to an ECF and worked hard at physical, occupational and speech therapy. She is home now with lots of help and her doctor today was very pleased with her progress. And he was the same calm and rational presence that I remembered from a year ago.

So I have to thank all the nurses and residents who graciously endured my crazy behavior. Who took all my phone calls no matter what time. The staff who explained to me over and over what was happening and what was being done. I am proud to be a member of the same profession. It is always harder on the other side of the bed. But they made it much easier for me. I will be eternally grateful.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The End of Your Life Book Club

November 28, 2012

I've been reading The End Of Your Life Book Club. It's a true story written by Will Schwalbe. It is    about his mother's terminal illness. He accompanies her to many of her doctor's appointments and chemotherapy sessions. They both shared a love of books and they decide to read the same ones while she is ill and discuss them. Not your typical book club where people eat, drink and maybe discuss books. This woman clearly loved reading and shared it with her children.

Although she is dying it is not a sad book. It is heartwarming to think of the tremendous love they have for each other. I hope I never have to endure such a book club in my own life but I would like to think that I instilled a love of reading in my own children.

I remember as a kid Jennie would say to me, "You always have your nose in a book." Not as a compliment though. She thought I should be helping around the house more. Unless I was studying. That was sacred. But reading for pleasure was not encouraged. So I studied a lot. Books transported me to places I never thought I would visit. It make me experience things vicariously through the characters. I could be anyone and go anywhere. I loved getting lost in a good story and I still do.

But if I DO need an end of my life club I would like it to be movies. There is nothing better than sitting in that dark theater (if everyone is being quiet!) and pretending to be the leading lady (especially if playing opposite George or Brad or my all time favorite Robert Redford) So I hope my kids keep that in mind. But what I'm really hoping for is a quick and painless "end of my life club."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sleeping with the Night Light On

November 27, 2012

Okay I'm going to come right out and admit that I am afraid of the dark. When Josh was little and we were alone at night and he thought I was fearless he didn't know I was just as afraid as he was. Or maybe he did. Hilary on the other hand IS fearless. She watches scary movies even when she is alone! I NEVER watch scary movies or read scary books because I know I will be in for weeks of sleepless nights. Listening for noises in the dark, setting the alarm in the middle of the day so I can take a shower and locking all the doors. Yes, Jocelyn, I know I go overboard.

So when Hilary works nights I sleep with the night light on in my room. Why I feel safe when my petite, little daughter is home I can't explain. Someone suggested I buy a bat and keep it near my bed (she has a bat called the Savage, but she is young and strong.) My friend, Red, suggested that by the time someone gets close enough for a bat I wouldn't stand a chance. Maybe pistol lessons are in my future. Maybe a Christmas present to myself.

Now I even keep some lights on downstairs at night. When I slept at Annemarie's during the power outage she had lights on downstairs all night. I thought it made the house look cozier. And lived-in. And  another added bonus, when I go downstairs at 5AM for work I don't have to worry about breaking my neck or god forbid re-injuring my poor ankle.

I'm probably never going to conquer my fear of the dark or sleeping in an empty house. But I have purchased a lantern and there are LED flashlights charging in every room. At least I'll be prepared for the next power outage! (Yes, Annie. I've learned my lesson.)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Kissing Ball

November 26, 2012

This past weekend is my traditional time to put out Christmas decorations. It is not my favorite holiday so I have been slowly whittling down the amount of things I put out. Last year as you can imagine was a total bust. I managed to put lights outside on the lamppost but that was pretty much it. I was in such a state after that I never took them down. So this year I just had to pull away the cornstalk and plug in the lights.

But I did have to drag away the two huge bundles of hay that I put out there for the fall display. Bundles that I cheerfully lifted out of my car in September and placed in the yard with the pumpkins. But after the hurricane and the snowstorm they weighed a lot more than they did when I bought them. It was like dragging two dead bodies across the lawn into the little woods in back. Hmm... glad to know I am strong enough to do that if needed! (Joking, of course)

Anyway, thanks to Annie, who took me to Home Depot after happy hour on Friday, I am now the proud owner of a kissing ball. I've always wanted one and now I have one hanging on the back porch. I see it every time I look out there and it makes me smile. So... if a handsome stranger shows up out there I'll have to think twice before calling the police. (Unless he's wielding an ax)

I also bought greens to fill my outdoor pots and battery powered lights to brighten everything up. I usually have a huge wreath on the garage but it seems awfully high up. However I've done so many things I never thought I could, maybe this week I'll drag out that really tall ladder and put up my wreath. I should probably wait until Hilary is home in case it doesn't go as planned!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy Anniversary

November 25, 2012

Because of You      Kelly Clarkson

Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don't get hurt
Because of you
I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me
Because of you
I am afraid

Hopefully I can replace these lyrics with songs from Pink. Baby steps.
I will not make The same mistakes that you did I will not let myself 'Cause my heart so much misery
I will not break The way you did, you fell so hard I've learned the hard way To never let it get that far
Because of you I never stray too far from the sidewalk Because of you I learned to play on the safe side So I don't get hurt
Because of you I find it hard to trust Not only me, but everyone around me Because of you, I am afraid

I will not make The same mistakes that you did I will not let myself 'Cause my heart so much misery
I will not break The way you did, you fell so hard I've learned the hard way To never let it get that far
Because of you I never stray too far from the sidewalk Because of you I learned to play on the safe side So I don't get hurt
Because of you I find it hard to trust Not only me, but everyone around me Because of you, I am afraid


Friday, November 23, 2012

My Last First

November 23, 2012

Yesterday was my last first. The first Thanksgiving spent as a single woman in the last 31 years. The last of the big holiday firsts to conquer. Not a day I was looking forward to. But it's over and I'm still here! And I had a good day. Bittersweet but good. Spending the day with people who WANT to be with me instead of the farce of my last Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for my family and friends. They have supported and sustained me through this year. They listened to me cry and rant and yell. They were there even when I was silent (a much scarier place to be for someone who talks so much.) They forced me to get out of bed and return to the land of the living.

I am thankful for my job. A place where everyday I meet people who need my compassion and expertise. Where I can put my problems and sorrows in the proper perspective. A job that makes me grateful for the gift of good health.

But I am also thankful the day has come and gone. Now I can get on with a new life. A life where I hope to take more chances. To be unconventional and maybe a little risky. To live life a little more on the edge. I have nothing to lose.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Eve

November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, is almost upon us. The first time in a long, long time that I have not cooked a big dinner. Instead I am relying on friends(again) to help me create new traditions. Dinner with Annie and her family and dessert with Margo and my family #2. Today I am making sauce, lasagna and anginettes to bring to my sister's tonight for our Thanksgiving celebration. I wasn't going to write at all because I did not want to be "Debbie Downer" but I am leaving you with a song from my new BFF.

If you did not see Pink perform at the American Music Awards check it out on YouTube. She was fabulous.

Try by Pink

Ever wonder about what he's doing
How it all turned to lies
Sometimes I think that it's better to never ask why

Where there is desire
There is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame
Someone's bound to get burned
But just because it burns
Doesn't mean you're gonna die
You've gotta get up and try try try
Gotta get up and try try try
You gotta get up and try try try

Eh, eh, eh

Funny how the heart can be deceiving
More than just a couple times
Why do we fall in love so easy
Even when it's not right

Where there is desire
There is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame
Someone's bound to get burned
But just because it burns
Doesn't mean you're gonna die
You've gotta get up and try try try
Gotta get up and try try try
You gotta get up and try try try

Ever worried that it might be ruined
And does it make you wanna cry?
When you're out there doing what you're doing
Are you just getting by?
Tell me are you just getting by by by

Where there is desire
There is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame
Someone's bound to get burned
But just because it burns
Doesn't mean you're gonna die
You've gotta get up and try try try
Gotta get up and try try try
You gotta get up and try try try
Gotta get up and try try try
Gotta get up and try try try
You gotta get up and try try try
Gotta get up and try try try

You gotta get up and try try try
Gotta get up and try try try

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sleeping With Walter

November 20, 2012

After I finished watching The Sopranos I was looking for a new series. An acquaintance suggested Breaking Bad. It is on AMC but I've been watching it on my IPad after I settle into bed. (No TV in the bedroom) Josh didn't think I would like it because it involves drug activity and at first I didn't like it at all. I HATED Walter. He was sneaky, passive-aggressive and self centered. I tried to be sympathetic to his character because he has lung cancer  (the reason he was "cooking" meth and selling it, so he could make money for his treatments and to support his family.) He is a genius chemist who missed the boat with a high tech company where he could have made millions so now he is working as a high school science teacher.

Jesse was the reason I kept watching. He is the assistant and responsible for the actual selling of the "product." A former student of Walter's and recovering(sort of) addict he's not the sharpest tool in the shed, or so I thought. But he has developed into a compassionate, thoughtful human being. Someone who can stand up for his beliefs no matter how screwed up. And Skylar, the wife. Tall, blonde and beautiful with big boobs. Something I always coveted! (If I were to make a deal with the devil it would be that. To be tall, blonde, with long legs and HUGE boobs!) She looks good even when she gets up in the morning.

Walter was a different story. Mean and sarcastic. But he is growing on me. Not so mean as he would like you to think. He actually stepped up for Jesse which elevated him in my eyes. Maybe he is just a scared, flawed human being who is trying to survive. Like the rest of us.

I am on Season 4. I think the current season is 5. I am already thinking about my next series. The girls at work suggested Sex and the City. I must be the only woman in America who has never seen one episode. But I don't know if I can transition from two highly charged shows to something so light. Yes Josh, I do like dark stories. Maybe they can bring back Tony and all the Italian food they used to eat all the time. I would much rather sleep with a nice (?) Italian man.

Monday, November 19, 2012

New Haven Restaurant Week

November 19, 2012

Last week was Restaurant Week in New Haven. In truth not that spectacular of a deal unless you are into eating a lot of food at one time, but fun. So many people were out and about right before the craziness of the holiday season.

I tried Press Pizza twice. Once with my "loving son" and once with my friend Annie. Not your typical New Haven pizza parlor. It is small, intimate and very upscale. The menu features artisnal pizza but has lots of other items as well. The salads are delicious as was the macaroni and cheese and the tuna tartar. On Friday the Christmas decorations were up. A little early for me but beautiful. All gold and glittery.

Next on the list was Ibiza. Another upscale restaurant that I ordinarily wouldn't go to in the middle of the week. Again with Josh and Jocelyn. Delicious Spanish food in a very refined atmosphere. Of course when I made the reservations I called the wrong restaurant. Istanbul Cafe was listed right above Ibiza. I had to grovel at the desk to get a table as they were very busy. But Istanbul is another of my favorites so it would have been okay to eat there.

And finally Carmen Anthony's with friends from work. A delicious steak and mashed potatoes. And a traditional steakhouse cheesecake for dessert. (something I would NEVER have ordered.) All good. And fun to be out during the week when I would have ordinarily be hibernating in my house.

It's a good thing my ankle has healed enough to allow me to start walking again for exercise. (My orthopod friend was right, I needed to wear sturdier shoes. Sexy, huh?)  After this week I certainly need it! Might even be time to start going to the gym with Hilary!

Friday, November 16, 2012

What to Look for in a Man

November 16, 2012

Recently my therapist asked me to think about what would be important to me in a new relationship. What kind of characteristics would I look for in a man? So here is the start of my ongoing list.

1. Directness and Honesty.  Get in my face if you want to make a point. Tell me what you want. I
    don't like guessing games. Stand up for yourself.

2. Try a compliment every once in a while. I know I don't look like Angelina Jolie but a simple "You
     look nice today" would do.

3. How about some romance. This time I want flowers and cards. And surprise gifts (although not the
     ones given to atone for cheating.) No chocolate! Potato chips!

4. I want to come first this time. I'm worth it.

5. I want to meet someone I can use my favorite movie line on. "You had me at hello." Well my
    favorite line from that movie is, "You complete me." But I'm not expecting that to happen. I
    will have to be responsible for completing myself.

But maybe this is too ambitious of a list. Maybe I SHOULD start with speed dating. Or just get a
blow up doll and program the words myself!

Some Girls  by Pink
I just want real love Most girls want a man with the mean green Don't wanna dance if he can't be Everything that I dream of A man that understands real love

I just want real love
I just want real love Most girls want a man with the mean green Don't wanna dance if he can't be Everything that I dream of A man that understands real love


I just want real love Most girls want a man with the mean green Don't wanna dance if he can't be Everything that I dream of A man that understands real love

     I just want real love
Most girls want a man with the mean green
Don't wanna dance if he can't be
Everything that I dream of
A man that understands real love

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Who's Running the War?

November 15, 2012

Not to beat a dead horse (as I am sometimes prone to do) but how do you have time to read thousands of flirtatious emails and process all you need to do to make intelligent decisions about a WAR? A war where you are asking young people to put their lives on the line? To DIE for their country? Why are you embedded with a women who has never written a book before? WHAT WERE YOU BOTH THINKING? Oh sorry, I guess we all know now what men use to think with instead of a brain. Or maybe that IS their brain.

And Paula, Harvard? All that money spent on education and this is how you use it? To threaten another woman in a sordid love affair. And Jill, calling the FBI. That's too perfect. A woman scorned!!! I love it!!! And you are both married to physicians. I won't even go there.

I know people are human and make mistakes. I know sex and power is an erotic combination. Because, believe me, if you looked across a crowded room these would be the last two men you'd pick to sleep with. But don't we all have moral standards? A line not to be crossed. A time to step back and say, "This is just not right?"

I don't pretend to know all the reasons we are in this war. But I do know if my son or daughter were over there I would be enraged over this scandal. On second thought we as Americans should be enraged at the utter stupidity of the people we hold in such esteem. The people who are supposed to be protecting our troops.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


November 14, 2012

I've been slowly doing over every room in the house. Not big major changes but little small ones to make them all my own. My bedroom is completely redone (except for the mattress, can't really bear to part with the Bob-O-Pedic), new curtains in the kitchen ( totally different from what I had before) new fireplace screen and even new curtains in Hilary's room. Now I'm concentrating on Josh's bedroom. Turning it into a guest/sewing room. I've taken all the books out of his bookshelf to store for him. He refuses to let me throw any of them out or give them away. But some of the books I can't bear to put in the basement.

The Polar Express, my favorite Christmas book. I wonder which one of us liked it the most. I hung a framed poster of the cover in his room where it still is today. I remember when we went to New Hampshire to ride their rendition of the polar express. It was magical even to me. Or maybe I should say especially to me. I wanted to go again this year but don't have anyone young enough to go with. Bill Peets' books that I read to him all the time. And all the Dr. Seuss stories. Those may have to remain in that room as well. Maybe whoever the guest is that stays in that room will appreciate those stories as much as I do.

It seems everything I do is fraught with memories of the past. My memories, that I am trying really hard to preserve. Memories that are tainted with incredibly painful revelations that are only just becoming apparent to me. Looking at pictures from our family vacations and thinking, was he cheating on me then? Comparing me to someone else? Was I settling for sloppy seconds when this picture was taken? All of us smiling at the Grand Canyon, Santa Monica Pier, San Francisco, Yellowstone, Rome and all the countless other trips we took together.

Not helpful for my mental health or self esteem but hard to escape. I'm waiting for time to heal those wounds and help me to accept that I can only be responsible for my own feelings and actions. And the time to make new and possibly better memories.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Joint Credit Cards

November 13, 2012

It's a very sad day for me today. I just opened the last of the paper towels and laundry detergent that I bought with our joint credit cards. It lasted close to a year. I wish I had started my purchases sooner but for a while I was in no shape to actually do any practical thinking.

I now realize I could have been more thoughtful in my selections at the time. For instance I still have enough kitty litter to last until summer. Suntan lotion galore. ( What was I planning?) Tissues for all the crying. I thought that would eventually stop but I was wrong. At least I don't have to worry about dry eye syndrome. Enough toilet paper to take me into 2013 and body lotion and bath gel to last for a while.

Now I'm wishing that I had bought myself a little bauble or two. I certainly deserved to treat myself. But maybe I wouldn't have been able to wear it without feeling disgust. I continue trying to decide what to wear on my left ring finger but still nothing seems quite right.

So my advice to all those who discover they are being cheated on and especially if you have documented proof that your money is being used to support some tramp, start spending early. I wish I had. I'd still be rolling in paper towels and detergent.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tire Pressure

November 12, 2012

Last week a light went on in my car. It was the tire pressure light. Did I mention I HATE car maintenance? I let it go for a few days hoping it would just go off on its own. But it didn't. It was dark when I pulled into the gas station. I drove up to the air pump and got out. It was FREEZING. The pump said deposit 75 cents for gauge but air was free. A gauge? Really? I knew I had something like that at home in my junk drawer.

So I tried to use the air pump. Okay. Should I take those black rubber caps off the tires? I decided to try putting the contraption over the rubber caps. No go. So I gingerly unscrewed them hoping the air wouldn't come gushing out of the tire. Great!! I think I put air into the two right tires but wasn't sure. By now I was freezing and my hands were filthy. I couldn't bear to turn the car around and try the other side. Not to mention that I couldn't see because it was dark. And I was meeting Josh and Jocelyn for dinner. I got back in the car and the low pressure light was still on.

Later that night I was talking to Annie on the phone. She said I needed to have the gauge etc... and she would help me. But when I got up the next morning I went out there with the gauge and figured out the back two tires are low on air. Now I just have to figure out how to get the air from the pump to the tires!! Whatever happened to full service gas stations? BTW I  HATE to pump my own gas as well.

I went out on a mission but couldn't find a gas station that had air pumps. The one I did find was out of service. Then I remembered I had an air pump at home. We used it to blow up the floats for the kids. I dug it out from the shelf in the garage. It made an unbearably loud noise when I started it. I filled up all the tires, used the gauge and then started the car. Oh NO. The light was still on. Feeling very frustrated and late to meet my friend Alyson at the movies, I left. My plan was to find a service station the next day that did auto repairs and throw myself at their mercy. But as I was driving down the street I looked at the dashboard and the light was out. I DID IT!!!! Who would ever think that little act would make me so happy! But now I can add it to my list of firsts! Pretty soon I'm going to have Jocelyn show me how to change a tire!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Boys Are Stupid Revisited

November 10, 2012

Even General Petraeus couldn't keep it in his pants. Seems like all it takes is a woman leaning across the table saying, "Tell me the story of your life." With maybe a few, "How fascinating" thrown in for good measure. I'll have to remember that. Maybe I should include it in my rules for dating.

Now he can join the ranks of Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Edwards, Elliot Spitzer and Bill Clinton. And the countless other men who couldn't manage to use their brain instead of their penis.

I don't usually post on the weekend but I couldn't let this go by without a comment. Maybe this can count for Monday.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Rules of the Game

November 9, 2012

When Josh was young he used to love to play fantasy games. And now that he is 27 he STILL does. But when he was little he tried to engage me in these scenarios. But I HATE games. Margo, how many years have YOU been trying to get me to play? Some board games are ok. Scrabble, Yahtzee, Bananagrams, but fantasy games where I have to "make up" a character are not my thing.

So... do I have to be a game player to be involved in the dating world? Do I have to pretend to be someone I'm not? Should I play "hard to get" or dive right in? What ARE the rules? Its been so long since I've had to think about dating. In fact, I never really dated even before I was married. I met Dave when I was seventeen. One of my former supervisors (who shall remain nameless, although he DID want to send me home once for disagreeing with him) told me that I wear my heart on my sleeve and everything I'm thinking shows on my face. So I guess that says it all. I'm pretty sure I'm not about to change now.

Some of my coworkers have suggested I try speed dating. You spend ten minutes with each potential date "getting to know" them. That is just perfect for someone who has worked in the surgical world. Cut and run! ( Just kidding) But I need to know the rules first. Any suggestions?

Thursday, November 8, 2012


November 8, 2012

I love to listen to the radio. And since Josh put Pandora on my IPhone (which is always with me) I have become addicted to listening to that. I hardly ever watch TV anymore. I've discovered so many new artists. My new favorite is Pink.

She is totally irreverent and from what I can see the "F" word is one of her favorites. Mine too. Some situations just call for that word. No other word can quite capture that emotion. But I've been using it in a more discriminate fashion lately. It loses its punch if overused.

Her songs are so honest and raw. You never have to guess what she's thinking. I like that. Just put it out there and deal with it. My new resolution.

 Who Knew  by Pink

You took my hand
You showed me how
You promised me you'd be around
Uh huh
That's right
I took your words
And I believed
In everything
You said to me
Yeah huh
That's right

Raise Your Glass

So raise your glass if you are wrong
In all the right ways, all my underdogs
We will never be, never be anything but loud
And nitty gritty, dirty little freaks
Won't you come on and come on and
Raise your glass!
Just come on and come on and
Raise your glass!

I know I'm often wrong, ( and loud!) but I hope its in all the right ways!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Faithful Women Wanted

November 7, 2012

Whenever I sign into my gmail account I am treated to ads. The first time I noticed that they were somewhat specific to my life I freaked out! After I looked up information on Hong Kong I started noticing ads for things to do there. Who was monitoring my activities??? How did they know I was planning a trip to Asia? Then I started paying more attention. Ads for nursing jobs and things to do in Manhattan started to appear. OMG. Big brother was finally here.

Now, whenever I sign in, one of the ads is always from a site called REALLY? Now I'm a SENIOR!!! And it always starts with Faithful Women Wanted. Why just faithful women? Is it because men can't BE faithful? In my case I'm just looking for an honest man. At least if you are going to cheat on me be honest about it. Don't tell me you were out Christmas shopping.

Maybe I can start a new web site called MATUREmenwanted. Are there any out there?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Divorce Excuse

October 31, 2012

How much longer can I use the divorce as an excuse for things that go wrong? I say a year from when the divorce was final. So that gives me until June 22 of next year. Of course I used it before then to explain why I wasn't smiling for months. And if you ever want to clear a room you really just have to say, "I'm going through a very painful divorce." It helps if your voice shakes a little and your eyes well up. The place becomes utterly silent. People scatter like crazy. Except of course for Judge Blue who was very unsympathetic to my plight. But I was amazed at how effective it was as a tool for stopping unpleasant conversations.

Of course, some people think it is time for me to stop using the divorce as a crutch. Why? I say milk it for as long as I can. After all I'm not the same person I was before this started. I don't think I'm a better or worse person but a different person certainly. And I think that is a direct result of this experience.

So I say the statue of limitations is one whole year. It still colors everything that happens to me and affects the way I react to new situations. It is always there in the back of my mind. Now that I'm thinking about it a year may not be long enough. Only kidding, Red! June 22, 2013 is the absolute last day I will use the divorce excuse.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Top Ten Things To Do Without Power

November 5, 2012

1. Light candles. And if you have listened to your friends and bought lanterns, light them too.

2. As soon as the power goes out take a candlelit bath while the house is still warm. 

3. Go to work. It will save your sanity and focus your mind on real problems.

4. Forget looking good. I put my makeup on at work and had my hair tied back for five days!

5. Go to the package store and get takeout for dinner.

6. Stay calm. Things will get better.

7. Wrap yourself in warm blankets and in the morning dress under the covers.

8. Thank the utility workers. They are doing their jobs under adverse conditions. It is not their fault
    you don't have power.

9. When your friends extend their homes to you, say yes! I have tried lots of new hair products,
    soaps and perfumes this week. And been enveloped in warmth that doesn't come from electricity.

10. THE top ten thing to do with no power requires another person. (Most of the time) And if I have
      to  tell you what it is you haven't been reading closely enough!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Update to the Update

Ok. I'm really not complaining. Temp 58 degrees on my house this AM. Came to work at 5:30AM to poof. No estimate on when return to power. All hotels in New Haven booked.

Could be worse but...... Starting to get a little crabby. Feel like I need a treat. A luxury hotel on HOT deserted island would do the trick!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hurricane Update

November 1, 2012

At Annie's tonight. Just took a shower and had a cocktail. Candles in the bathroom again! Do my friends know me or what? I am so lucky!!!!

I could complain that I have no heat ( it was 59 degrees in my bedroom this morning), no lights, no TV and have to open my garage door by hand. But I'm not going to do that. My basement is dry, I have a job to go to and friends to impose upon. Everyone I love is safe. I may not look my best but I am well cared for.

After this is over and I have power restored I will have to have another party for everyone who helped me through this. Not just a single girls party this time. But if I still have no power by tomorrow I'll be at the Omni!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

October 30, 2012

Home today waiting for the high winds and rain that are supposed to arrive later today. I have been frantically cooking and baking for the last two days. Why? I know it makes me feel better but what am I going to do with all this if I lose power? As soon as I stopped cooking last night I started to worry about things that might never happen. How will Hilary get home from work, how will I get to work, what will we do if we lose power. Things beyond my control. And most upsetting of all is the fact that I am the only one in charge now. No one to share this with or "talk me down." I was always the more emotional one in my marriage ( surprised, Margo? ) but now I have to be the responsible one also.

But I had my two Annies helping me through. I can hear them even now . Check your windows, get batteries, fill containers with water, get a portable radio, put the temperature down in your frig, fill your tank with gas, keep your cell phone charged. Forget the bread and milk. God forbid I should be without my IPhone!! Then I would be in a true panic mode.

I know this is just one more milestone to get through but it took me by surprise. I never thought I would react like this to a storm. But I guess its just another of the sucker punches of divorce. Just when you least expect it something throws you into a tailspin.

October 31, 2012

I actually did lose power late Monday night so I'm finishing this at Margo's house. A delicious sandwich, a hot shower ( with candles!) and a cup of mint tea to soothe the soul. Nothing like friends to get you through. I have them lined up for the rest of the week!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Wedding Shower

October 29, 2012

This weekend was the wedding shower of Margo's daughter, Lauren. She was the first born of the crowd. And she paid for that honor. All the bizarre notions about child rearing were tried on her and then my son Josh. As I've told poor Josh, you'll either have lots of material for a play or to share with your therapist! But in spite of all we inflicted on both of them they have turned out to be terrific kids. All the kids in our little circle are well adjusted. I guess we did something right.

It was a gorgeous day in spite of the impending storm. The sun came out, it was warm and we had the mimosa bar outside on the deck. It couldn't have been more perfect. It is so nice to be a witness to young love. The excitement, happiness and anticipation of life ahead with someone you love is breathtaking. I remember feeling like that so many years ago.

The food was delicious. And I drank in the afternoon, something I don't like to do because I get bitchy and mean. But guess what? I was happy and carefree. Wasn't I, Min? And that mood lasted well into the night. It was a perfect day. The sweetest girl I know is getting married to her "soul mate.' I still find that wonderful!

Friday, October 26, 2012

This Is Your Brain On Crafts

September 26, 2012

Margo recently sent me an article about crafting. The mental health benefits that crafting can bring. Margo, I'm NOT crafty. Don't want to be crafty, not good at it and don't enjoy it. In fact the very thought of knitting, painting, needlepoint or any other activity in that category makes my blood run cold.

Don't you remember when we took knitting together way back when? We were new brides back in the day. You talked me into going. We were supposed to make a vest. Instead of purling the back I knit or vice versa. The instructor told me to take it apart and I refused. She asked me not to return to the next class. I think you were also asked not to come back. That was my last foray into the world of crafting. (Except for those gorgeous Halloween costumes I slaved over!)

But my friend, you have come a long way from that day. I love the things you make. In fact, you can make things for me anytime you want. But I don't want to personally do any of them myself. Thank you for not asking me to join the prayer group, the bible study or the Republican Party. But PLEASE stop trying to get me to scrapbook, crotchet, embroider or do calligraphy. Rest assured I have enough to occupy my mind!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cooking Class

October 25, 2012

This past Monday I attended my first cooking class at Adult Ed. It is called "The Passion of Italian Cooking." Passion is a good word for Italians. As I always try to explain to people, I'm not yelling, I'm Italian. When I grew up there was a lot of yelling and screaming. But I never doubted for a second that I was loved. At the end of our marriage I heard many times that HIS parents never fought. But they divorced. Maybe they should have had a fight or two.

Anyway many of the things the chef talked about were very reminiscent of my upbringing. The Italian grandmothers and moms teaching their kids how to cook the old world dishes. I never cooked with my mother. I was too busy having fun to be bothered. Jennie always said, "You'll miss me when I am gone." And I would make fun of her. But now I do miss her terribly. Fortunately before she died one of her caregivers copied many of her recipes and gave them to me. I had already conquered eggs and potatoes and chicken soup with her coaching me over the phone but now I can do many of her peasant recipes almost like she could.

The only things I can't get right are her meatballs and sauce. I have tried and tried and can't get them to taste like hers. So whenever I go out for Italian food I always order a side of meatballs no matter what I am having. I did learn how to make a quick marinara sauce Monday night so I have added a new, simple, quick recipe to my list. There really should be no reason for anyone to use jarred sauce. EVER!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Moving Day

October 24, 2012

This weekend I needed to move a desk from my basement to the first floor. I asked my son to come and help me since he took my other desk to his new apartment. He came early in the morning. I had already taken all the drawers out of the desk to make it lighter. "Can you pick it up on your side, Mom?" No, I didn't think I could. But I did pick it up somewhat and we got it to the stairway. Now was the tricky part. We needed to turn it on its side and get it up the stairs.

Easier said than done. Especially with only one strong man involved. We got it up the first step and then I realized I wouldn't be able to lift it all the way up on my side. I called for Hilary to help. She came down, took one look at the situation and said, "Mom, just buy a new one. The men will place it wherever you want!" A true Jewish/Italian American Princess. ( I hope more Italian than Jewish) She did come to help. But the desk slid down the stairs and we all screamed. I yelled, "Dave!" It was utter silence for a split second and then I said, " Okay, let's go."

We finally got the desk upstairs where I wanted it. I spent the afternoon going through the things in there. I threw away lots of paperwork. But there were many priceless mementos in there. Notes from the kids when they were little, pictures and cards I had sent to Dave for a few of our anniversaries. So I guess not the entire 30 years was a bust as he claimed. "You don't see our marriage like I do!!" No, I guess not. I didn't spend my free time screwing someone else. Its no wonder I don't share your viewpoint.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mr. and Mrs. Redbird

October 23, 2012

One thing I was determined not to relinquish was my bird feeders. Although I was not the one to maintain them I love looking at the birds. My particular favorite is my cardinal couple. They are here all year long but in the winter with the snow in the background they are spectacular.

The male is of course the bright red of the couple. The female is a reddish brown so she is not so visible to predators. The male feeds the female during courtship and she makes the nest and of course has the babies. Just like humans. But unlike humans, cardinals mate for life. It makes me sort of happy to know that at least some birds can be faithful and trustworthy. The human race should take note.

Now if I can only figure out how to outwit the damn squirrels. I have moved the bird feeder three times, bought a squirrel baffle and new poles. But they STILL get to the feeders. This weekend I decided to put out food just for them and thought I had the problem solved. But I left a 25 lb bag of sunflower seeds in the garage with the door open and guess who nibbled through the bag and was in my garage cheerfully eating away? My nemesis, the squirrel! Oh well. Maybe I should just learn to live them.

Monday, October 22, 2012

New Neighbors

October 22, 2012

This weekend I actually talked to my new neighbors. They have been living across the street from me for almost a year but I have avoided them like the plague. Why? Last November, while I was in Columbia on a medical mission, my then husband met them first. They lived in Manhattan a few blocks from where we had our studio and they were thinking of buying this house as their retirement home. He told me all this on the phone even as he was planning to leave me. I was excited and thought we could all become friends. But you all know how that turned out.

So, I have been studiously avoiding them even though they have tried very hard to engage me in conversation. I didn't want to have to explain my "situation." It's still very hard for me to tell people without that little quaver in my voice. I never brought the "welcome to the neighborhood gift" and tried not to get my mail when they were out in the yard. But last week Chuck accepted a package for me and left it at my door with a note. So I decided it was time to "get over" my reticence. I went over and apologized for my lack of manners and explained that it had been a difficult year for me. But he already knew about my divorce and was very supportive. I was glad I had my sunglasses on because I know there were tears threatening to spill.

We exchanged phone numbers before I left. So all the angst I had in meeting them was only of my own making. And now I have new friends right across the street.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Everything is Relative

  October 19, 2012

Yesterday was my day off. Because I worked all weekend and went away overnight last week I am very behind in everything. My house is a mess and I have lots of things to take care of for my sister.

So I got up at 6:30. My daughter needed her car serviced so we drove to Wallingford. I HATE taking care of the cars. That was never my job. But it is now. I guess being with your "soul mate" leaves you little time for helping your kids. All you can manage is lunch every other month or so. But I digress. We did enjoy a great breakfast at Ricks on 5, so being the parent who stuck around does have rewards. I know more about my kids then I ever thought possible and they about me. ( Much to Hilary's dismay)

When I got home I cooked. Steamed artichokes and pasta with chick peas. I vacuumed and cleaned the bathrooms and did laundry. Then I went to the library, the gas station, UPS, Liuzzi's Market and the bank. After that I took my handicapped sister to the grocery store where we spent the requisite two hours going up and down the aisles, checking all the prices and looking through a million coupons. I unloaded bags and bags of groceries and dragged the wheelchair in and out of the car. And the ankle I sprained in June was killing me. ( No, I didn't get the cortisone shot and decided to wear sandals because it was warm.) And THEN, at 5PM we drove back to Wallingford to pick up the car. Really cut into my cocktail hour.

Anyway enough of the pity party. I am SO grateful to have the option of working part time to have a day off to take care of my errands. I am happy to have a job, have my kids close by and healthy, and have my sister living in her home again. Six months ago I felt like I would't survive this. Today I feel lucky.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


October 18, 2012

I Don't Want To Miss a Thing  by Aerosmith

I could stay awake just to hear you breathing
Watch you smile while you are sleeping
While you're far away and dreaming
I could spend my life in this sweet surrender
I could stay lost in this moment forever
Every moment spent with you
Is a moment of treasure

Don't wanna close my eyes
I don't wanna fall asleep
'Cause I'd miss you baby
And I don't wanna miss a thing
'Cause even when I dream of you
The sweetest dream would never do
I'd still miss you baby
And I don't wanna miss a thing

Laying close to you
Feeling your heart beating
And I'm wondering what you're dreaming
Wondering if it's me you're seeing
Then I kiss your eyes and thank God we're together
And I just want to stay with you
In this moment forever, forever and ever

Don't wanna close my eyes
I don't wanna fall asleep
'Cause I'd miss you, baby
And I don't wanna miss a thing
'Cause even when I dream of you
The sweetest dream will never do
I'd still miss you, baby
And I don't wanna miss a thing

I don't wanna miss one smile
I don't wanna miss one kiss
I just wanna be with you
Right here with you, just like this
I just wanna hold you close
I feel your heart so close to mine
And just stay here in this moment
For all the rest of time

I heard this on the radio yesterday and it brought me back to 1998 and a movie birthday party we had for Josh. Armageddon had just come out with Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler. We took a bunch of teenage boys to the movies but I think I was the one who enjoyed it the most. It was so corny but I love big, loud action movies. And there is nothing better than watching that kind of movie in the theater. Big screen, total darkness, loud surround sound and popcorn! You could almost believe you are part of the story. Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis together don't add up to George but they're not bad to look at for a few hours. And Liv is just adorable. Hard to believe that Steve Tyler is her dad but he too has a sex appeal that is really unexplainable. He could sing that song to me anytime!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

In the Kitchen

October 17, 2012

One of my favorite cookbooks is one I recently bought. It is called In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite by Melissa Clark. She is a food writer for the New York Times and has written and collaborated on many cookbooks. Her recipes are practical but different and enticing.

When I cut back my work hours I was excited about trying her recipes for Dave and I. For a long time I could not look at her cookbook but last night I took it out and made her asparagus with anchovy bread crumbs and eggs. It is the perfect supper to make when getting home from work, tired and hungry. Simple, easy to prepare comfort food but with a twist.

Maybe I will try all her recipes like the Julia/Julie blog. Maybe I should forget the wine trail and just cook this fall. At any rate I would encourage anyone to try some of her recipes. Especially my Google+ acquaintance who is into corn pasta ( if you are still reading. ) You could get them online at the New York Times or maybe just Google her name. You would be surprised at what real food tastes like.

Financial Advice

October 16, 2012

My financial adviser, Charlie, tries really hard to help me understand my finacial situation. I have met with him many times. In fact I am going to see him again today. I was supposed to go over some of the brochures he sent me home with from our last meeting.

I recently read an article that stated women are not as astute as men at grasping finances. I find that a broad generalization but in my case it is probably true. While Charlie is talking to me about the caps, NASDAQ, S&P 500, securities etc. want to know what I am thinking about? His shirts. Yes, that's right. His shirts are so white and neatly pressed. And he wears cuff links. And the cuffs are monogrammed. Does he send them out or does his wife spend all day getting them into that pristine condition? Then I look up and realize he is asking me a question!!! WTF was he talking about? I usually gather my things at that point and tell him I have to go home and think about my options. When I get home I throw the pamphlets on my desk and promptly forget about looking them over. And even if I did I wouldn't understand them.

Maybe I should just fess up to him. I have no idea what my best options are. Just do whatever you think is best. But I hate to have to admit that. So when I go back I will try very hard to pay attention, Maybe I'll just ask the shirt questions right up front and get them out of the way. Then I'll be able to concentrate on the important stuff.

An update on cohabitation. I read an article in the Times this weekend. People who cohabit are no happier than married people. In fact less so. All committed relationships take lots of work. There's a surprise.

Monday, October 15, 2012

There's Frost on Your Pumpkins

October 15, 2012

Margo, if we hadn't gone away last week I would never have remembered that line. And it is priceless!

We had the first frost this past Friday. I had to go to work Saturday morning and it was SOOOO cold. I wanted gloves but didn't have time to look for them. I used the seat warmers in my car. I finally turned the heat on in the house this week but wasn't happy about it. I will really miss the summer. I have so much more energy. Now it will get dark early. Some days I feel like I leave for work in the dark and come home in the dark. (Sunset last night at 6:10 PM. )  Then I really feel like hunkering down under the covers.

But this winter I am going to try not to succumb to that outlook. I don't think it will be good for my mood. I am going to try to FORCE myself to go out in spite of the cold, dark nights. Or maybe, I can have people here in my warm cozy house. Then I don't have to worry about going out!

But I am still hoping for a few days of Indian Summer. I haven't put away all my sandals or taken my sweaters out of storage. There may still be some balmy days ahead.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Berkshires

  October 11, 2012

I just got home from spending the night in the Berkshires with Margo, who has been my friend since seventh grade. We used to spend the weekend before Christmas at the Red Lion Inn for several years when the kids were little. Margo and Annemarie have continued that tradition but I did not. Dave thought it was too boring, why couldn't we go to a different place each year?, yada yada.

Margo was worried that I would be bored. That I only enjoy big cities with lots to do. And I do enjoy that. But I also enjoy the quiet and peaceful places. I enjoyed reminiscing about being young. About Claire saving me turkey on Thanksgiving because she knew I didn't have it at home. About the corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day which I would certainly never have had in my Italian house. About her hiding the aginettes. About being Daughter #3. About Bud worrying about me when Joe broke up with me right before the junior prom and how he called up to us, "Does she need a glass of water?" as I ran up the steps crying! I wish he were here now to offer me water and consolation.

Aside from the fact that I forgot my overnight bag at home and had to turn around a half hour into the ride to retrieve it and Margo booking the room without the bathroom ( which I clearly offered to pay extra for!) I had a great time. And I did look hot walking down the hall in the terrycloth Red Lion Inn robe to the shower.

We talked about old times and some of the newer times. I even got to visit two new libraries. It was just what I needed and at just the right time. The trees were not at peak but the company was superb. Missed you though Annemarie!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


October 10, 2012

On the day I got divorced the judge told me I was entitled to alimony until I remarried. He also said I could cohabit as long as I did not receive financial support from that person. Duh? ( As the kids say now) Why would I want to do THAT?

So I could answer to someone, wash their smelly socks and underwear, cook their meals and explain where I was going all the time? Ask their permission to go on a medical mission to Vietnam and then get told two years later that it was the "turning point" in our relationship. That was the point at which he "fell out of love" with me.

So if I never plan on getting married again (which I don't, in spite of what everyone thinks) why on earth would I want to cohabit? Isn't that just like being married without the license? Aren't you expected to be faithful, trustworthy and honest just like if you were married. Isn't someone waiting for you to have dinner with, spend free time with and vacation together? Are you allowed to seek out other partners or pretend you are single just because you are not legally wed? Why not just GET married? Because you are, for all intents and purposes, married. I suppose it makes it easier and cheaper to just walk away. I guess for the guy that is the perfect setup. But for the woman not so much. And as Jennie used to say to me all the time, "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?"

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Carnegie Hall

October 10, 2012

I've never been to Carnegie Hall. Not as a performer which I could NEVER be. No talent in that department whatsoever. But not even as a member of the audience. WE had planned to go last year. But maybe it was only ME who planned to attend. Anyway needless to say I did not make it there last year.

I guess that will be one goal for this coming holiday season. Thanksgiving is weighing down on me. My favorite holiday, all askew this year. Should I make the traditional dinner? The one I have loved so much. The turkey, my special stuffing and cranberry sauce. My "to die for" mashed potatoes. Haven't quite found a vegetable that has made the "must have" list but I usually come up with something edible. ( the roasted brussel sprouts that I loved got the thumbs down from everyone else.) The Godiva cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory. The pumpkin pie.

Or should I just forget the whole thing. I know it will be the hardest hurdle yet. Getting out the Christmas dishes will only remind me of how I was fooled last year into thinking everything would be okay. I realize now he was already planning his escape. I wonder if there is a performance at Carnegie Hall on Thanksgiving Day.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Outlaws

October 9, 2012

I was having dinner with a friend last week and we were talking about our ex in-laws. Or outlaws as the girls at work referred to them. I realized that none of them had reached out to my daughter in any way.

Steve, who apparently was happy to hear we were getting divorced because I was "the reason the kids weren't close," never bothered to call Hilary and invite her to the "family reunion" held in February. And Debbie, who never censored a word in all the time I knew her, ignored her as well. But Josh got calls from both uncles claiming to want to "get to know" him. Why?

I never expected any of them to contact me and was surprised to hear from Jay at all. But to ignore Hilary is inexcusable. At least to me. Is it too painful to deal with the women who are left behind or are only the men important?

So, Steve, I am out of the picture now. What's the excuse?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Cooking Therapy

October 8, 2012

I have found that cooking cheers me up. Hey Mom, I AM turning into you! Bet you never thought it would happen! I spent the weekend cooking up a storm. Sorry, Jill. No jewelry shopping.

Made a vat of chicken soup and froze some in anticipation of that scratchy throat I know will come some cold bitter night. Then lots of vegetarian meals for Hilary. String beans with potatoes and carrots in sauce, beans and macaroni and cream of tomato and basil soup. I used the last of the basil from my deck. There is just a little left for me to freeze and use in the winter. The smell of fresh basil in the middle of winter is awesome. If I don't stop cooking I will be using the bariatric toilets we had installed at work!

I also had the yard work done this weekend by a very nice young man. It made me both happy and sad. Glad to see everything looking neat but sad that it is being done by a stranger. Looking out the kitchen window and seeing someone I don't know in my yard. But next time he comes I WILL know him. He'll be Brian, the guy who takes care of my lawn. I even talked him into eating some of the food I made. See, I am getting just like Jennie.

The garden is gone too. I had Brian take it out. I really hate yard work. I hate digging in the dirt, sweating and getting accosted by bugs. Next year will just be the herb garden on my deck and maybe some flowers. The tomatoes at Hindinger's were better than any I could have grown and they are practically in my back yard.

Am I feeling better? Maybe, a little. Baby steps, as Bill Murray said in "What About Bob." One of the funniest movies ever!

Friday, October 5, 2012

My Melancholy Baby

October 5, 2012

It's been a long week. I worked extra this week and my house is a mess. Maybe that's why I feel so "blue." What a strange word to describe sadness. October never held any special meaning for me so I don't understand the why I'm feeling this way. But I'm just going to "go with it."

If I have one suggestion for anyone going through this it is to be good to yourself. Sleep late if you want, say no if you need to, put yourself first for a change. Instead of thinking about what everyone else needs, think about what you need.

I remember back in December when I had to take a leave from my job. I felt guilty sleeping until 7:30 because I always get up early. But I DID sleep late for weeks because I needed to take care of myself. And now I realize that no one else will be looking out for me. So I feel acutely aware of the need to be responsible for my well being. Not just physically ( Okay, Annie, I know.... I need to get that cortisone shot in my foot. I'm working up to that! ) but emotionally as well.

Sometimes it is hard to do that. But important. Put yourself first for a change.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


October 4, 2012

Yesterday I went into the chart room at work. I almost walked out without reading the quote someone had put up on the board. I don't usually pay attention to those Pollyanna sayings that people post but I'm glad I took the time to read this one.

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us" by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

It got me thinking about a lot of things. I know I have survived (sort of) an emotional roller coaster these past few years. And I know I am facing more emotional upheaval. I am still pretty gullible. I know there will be those who will take advantage of that and of the fact that I usually take everyone at their word. I thought the tears would dry up at some point. But I guess as long as we put our feelings on the line we have the ability to get hurt. And I also realize, in hearing the stories of my patients, that my troubles and hurts are miniscule compared to some.

I don't want to lose the person that I have become. I know I could be more patient and thoughtful. It's a work in progress. I hope that in being the person I am someone, somewhere will be able to appreciate my good qualities and accept the bad ones. ( I could reference "Dark Side" by Kelly Clarkson but I won't!)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Teenage Dreams

October 3, 2012

Katy Perry. How old is she, anyway? I love her music. I just heard Teenage Dreams for the first time yesterday. The lyrics are certainly not rocket science.

"Let's go all the way tonight
No regrets, just love
We can dance, until we die
You and I, will be young forever.

You make me feel
Like I'm livin' a
Teenage dream
The way you turn me on
I can't sleep
Let's run away and
Don't look back,
Don't ever look back"

Certainly this is every mans' dream. Teenage love. The trophy wife. The "hot young babe." Even men my age and older aspire to that. Is it the sex or the status? Will everyone think you are "such a stud?' Does it make you feel like more of a man? I suppose even women my age would like to be squired around by a young sexy guy. I know I would. Although chances of that are happening are not as great as the other way around. There are always women who are wowed by the money or the power of the older man no matter what the age or appearance.

So where does that leave me and the numerous friends I have who are vibrant, sexy and fun? The octogenarians, who would just as soon settle for the young babe themselves? I have always judged a man by the criteria of "Could I wake up next to him in the morning and count on an intelligent conversation?" ( Except for George. He wouldn't have to talk at all.) But truthfully it looks like I don't really have to worry about that. I guess I should plan on waking up to a really good book. Maybe someone will write a song called "Middle Aged Dreams!"

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

News Haven

October 2, 2012

News Haven is closing this month after spending 30 years on Chapel Street. It is one of the last news stands in the state. I used to love to go there and look at all the glossy magazines and foreign newspapers. Whenever we would go to New York or Boston we would stop there to get a magazine or recent newspaper to find out what was going on in town.

Apparently the internet has taken over much of the news. Young people don't read newspapers. They search the internet. Our own local paper has dwindled to a few pages. I'm afraid the same will happen to our libraries. I love to visit libraries in different towns and cities. Each one is a reflection of the neighborhoods they  inhabit. I love the sheer number of books in one place and the quiet. Oh, the quiet! I imagine what it would be like to spend the day in quiet instead of in the crazy, loud, high pressured surgical environment. Sometimes I think I would have liked to have been a librarian. But then I come to my senses. I would probably go stir crazy. And I really love the constant motion of my job.

But, there is nothing better in the winter than being on the sofa under a blanket and reading the Sunday papers. Especially during a snowstorm. I am always so happy when the paper guy delivers my papers during a storm. Especially if it's Sunday and I don't have to work. It's much better than curling up with the Ipad.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Anger Management

October 1, 2012

I know some of my writing can be interpreted as angry. Well, I AM angry. I would like to know of all the people whose  spouses have lied, cheated, betrayed and ripped their hearts out just how friendly you feel toward that person? And for those of you who think I am never "getting over" this, you are also right. I AM never getting over this. But I don't expect it to ruin the rest of my life. I deserve better than that. Because beside being angry I am also warm, funny, loyal, interesting and kind. ( I think I just described a dog)

 I'm glad for everyone who has met the loves of their lives, had a really amicable divorce and get along great with their ex spouses. I feel wonderful for you. I'm thrilled for all the people who can vacation, celebrate and party with their ex spouses. I can't and won't do that. I don't have to. My kids are grown and can make their own decisions about their father. There are no "good" divorces. We are all just doing what we need to survive.

And as for Friday's blog about the Train song.  It was a JOKE!!! The song is supposed to be funny.  Of course I would never wish him any harm.

Friday, September 28, 2012

50 Ways To Say Goodbye

"50 Ways To Say Goodbye"by TRAIN


My heart is paralyzed
My head was oversized
I'll take the high road like I should
You said it's meant to be
That it's not you, it's me
You're leaving now for my own good

That's cool, but if my friends ask where you are I'm gonna say

She went down in an airplane
Fried getting suntanned
Fell in a cement mixer full of quicksand
Help me, help me, I'm no good at goodbyes!
She met a shark under water
Fell and no one caught her
I returned everything I ever bought her
Help me, help me, I'm all out of lies
And ways to say you died

My pride still feels the sting
You were my everything
Some day I'll find a love like yours (a love like yours)
She'll think I'm Superman
Not super minivan
How could you leave on Yom Kippur?

That's cool, but if my friends ask where you are I'm gonna say

She was caught in a mudslide
Eaten by a lion
Got run over by a crappy purple Scion
Help me, help me, I'm no good at goodbyes!
She dried up in the desert
Drowned in a hot tub
Danced to death at an east side night club
Help me, help me, I'm all out of lies
And ways to say you died

I wanna live a thousand lives with you
I wanna be the one you're dying to
Love...but you don't want to

That's cool, but if my friends ask where you are I'm gonna say
That's cool, but if my friends ask where you are I'm gonna say

She went down in an airplane
Fried getting suntanned
Fell in a cement mixer full of quicksand
Help me, help me, I'm no good at goodbyes!
She met a shark under water
Fell and no one caught her
I returned everything I ever bought her
Help me, help me, I'm all out of lies

She was caught in a mudslide
Eaten by a lion
Got run over by a crappy purple Scion
Help me, help me, I'm no good at goodbyes!
She dried up in the desert
Drowned in a hot tub
Danced to death at an east side night club
Help me, help me, I'm all out of lies
And ways to say you died

Why didn't I think of this? When I was too humiliated to tell people my husband left me for a lesbian why didn't I just tell them he died?