Monday, August 4, 2014

The House of Mirth

August 4, 2014

Several weeks ago I visited the Edith Wharton House in Lenox MA. It was a perfect day for a road trip. A sunny, clear gorgeous Saturday. I met Margo early and off we went. She even drove! Of course we missed the exit because we were so busy talking but that is part of the fun of a road trip.

The house and its grounds were beautiful. We ate lunch on the terrace overlooking the garden. Then we took a tour of the house. Wharton designed the house herself and it had to be perfectly symmetrical to suit her taste. Could she have been a little OCD? Doors and windows had to match on both ends of the house even if there was no reason for them to be there. But what was really interesting and unknown to me was her prolific writing. Not only novels but books on gardens, travel and home design. My knowledge of her only extended to Ethan Frome which was required reading in high school and the movies I saw based on her novels. I was ashamed of my ignorance but its never too late to learn.

We had a great day that Saturday. After the house tour we had drinks outside at The Red Lion Inn and then a leisurely dinner in town. But through all the nonstop conversation we paused at one of the exhibits to really take in this quote by Wharton about her feelings for Walter Berry. "He found me when my mind and soul were hungry and thirsty, and he fed them until our last hour together." How beautiful.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Boys Are Stupid

July 30, 2014

Just a case you forget.

Boys Are Stupid!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

My New Old Name

July 22, 2014

I legally changed my name several weeks ago. I thought it went pretty easily. One day I was Graboff the next day Mentone. Ah....but remembering that is not so easy. I was Graboff for more years than I was Mentone. How bizarre. To think I had someone else's name longer than my own. I remember considering not changing my name when I got married. Keeping your own name was a popular thing to do then. Or hyphenating. Believe me, Graboff was not a name I was fond of. In fact I clearly recall when my former brother-in-law Steve told us he wanted to change his last name. Even HE did not like it and he was born with it. But I willingly took it. What would happen when we had kids? I didn't want two different names in the house. It would be too confusing. Hyphenating was too long and I thought ridiculous. I wanted everyone to know we were clearly a family unit.

But now I'm confused. It takes forever to get all the documents changed. All the banks, licenses, social security card, credit cards, utility bills, passport, health insurance and I'm sure some things I haven't even thought of yet. I still sign things with my married name. It takes concentration to sign my new name. It doesn't flow as easily. And even though my kids are adults I feel sad not sharing their last name. I AM happy to have my new old name back. And I know that as with all things it will get easier and easier. But it is bittersweet.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Planned Parenthood

July 7, 2014

This past Saturday I drove by Planned Parenthood on my way to feed my grandkitties. I hadn't even realized where it was in New Haven. On Whitney Avenue between Edwards and Lawrence streets. I would have driven right by it if the protesters were not out there with their ridiculous signs and propaganda. I remember these same people stationed at a spot in Westville when I used to drive my kids to school back in the day.

That scene made me think about the latest ruling from the Supreme Court. Not the Holly Lobby one, but the buffer zone. I was very disappointed with that ruling. As a nurse I have been drilled with HIPPA regulations. What I can and cannot say to protect my patients' privacy. But it seems I can legally stand outside a health care facility and harass women with my personal beliefs about abortion and birth control. And I can get VERY close to them even though these facilities, in the past, have been targets for fanatics who have shot employees and bombed the buildings.

Again, shame on the Supreme Court. I'm thinking the women who use the Planned Parenthood clinic can not afford a private physician. Many of them are there for just routine care or birth control. And I would have to say that no woman has an abortion without serious emotional turmoil. They do not need to be bombarded with psychological torture.

I realize this is America and EVERYONE has a right to express their own opinions. That's what makes me proud to be an American. But....we all deserve the right to safety and privacy. As far as I'm concerned these protesters are  no better than the terrorists who try to instill fear in society. Many of these women have no other recourse than Planned Parenthood and I'm sure some are scared off by these lunatics. The last time I went to Washington I noticed there were barriers around the White House and the Capitol. I would call that a buffer zone. Maybe those should be taken down also.

Friday, June 27, 2014


June 27, 2014

I recently saw a quote on Facebook about boobs. "They prove that men can think about two things at once." I'm not sure that's actually true but it's funny. But breasts are so much more than that. Besides the clearly sexual part they are made for comfort and nourishment. Nourishing babies. I'm not into the toddler thing but to each their own. I don't think you have to whip out your breast at a restaurant or other public place to feed you child. I'm sure that can be done in public in a discreet way. I have in fact seen it done that way many times. And comfort...there is nothing like putting your head down on a soft pillowy breast.

Last week I went for my yearly mammogram. You haven't lived until you have been naked from the waist up, your boob being kneaded by the Xray tech and then pressed in a vise with your face smashed against the plexiglass screen. "Take a deep breathe." Really, I haven't been breathing since you clamped me in here! A few years ago I had to have a needle biopsy. I clearly remember the doctor, a male, tell me I shouldn't feel anything. Then he proceeded to use what can only be described as a nail gun to excise some breast tissue. I almost hit the roof. "That hurt?", he said with a hint of disdain. Hell yes, it hurt. Lets try doing that to your scrotum, I thought. Since he was still holding the gun I refrained from saying it out loud but I never forgot it!

Breast of my biggest fears. So I faithfully go for my mammograms every year. Yesterday I got my report in the mail. The girls are fine and they are not dense!! Yeah for me. Since most breast lumps are found by a woman's partner I have been trying to remember to do self exams more frequently. So if you see me grabbing my chest, I'm only checking for lumps!

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16, 2014

                                                                 "Take Me As I Am"
                                                                      Mary J. Blige 
[Verse 1:]
She's been down and out
She's been wrote about
She's been talked about, constantly
She's been up and down
She's been pushed around
But they held her down, NYC
She has no regrets
She accepts the past
All these things they
helped make to make she
She's been lost and found
And she's still around
There's a reason for everything

You know I've been holdin on.
Try to make me weak,
But I still stay strong.
Put my life all up in these songs
Jus so you can feel me.
so you can get the real me

So take me as I am,
or have nothing at all.
Just take me as I am,
or have nothing at all.

[Verse 2:]
Now she's older now
Yes, she's wiser now
Can't disguise her now
She don't need
No one tellin her
What to do and say
No one tellin her
Who to be
She's on solid ground
She's been lost and found
Now, she answers to G-O-D
And she's confident
This is not the end
Ask me how I know
Cause she is me.

You know I've been holdin on.
Try to make me weak,
But I still stay strong.
Put my life all up in these songs
Jus so you can feel me.
so you can get the real me

So take me as I am,
or have nothing at all.
Just take me as I am,
or have nothing at all.

[Bridge: 2x]
So it's all or nothing at all,
All or nothing at all
Don't you know I can only be me.
(I can only be me, yeah)

So take me as I am,
or have nothing at all.
Just take me as I am,
or have nothing at all.

Take me as I am.
Take me as I am.
Said it's all or nothing at all
Said it's all or nothing at all

Just take me as I am,
or have nothing at all. (This is me)
Just take me as I am, (take me as i am)
or have nothing at all.
Just take me as I am, (take me as i am)
or have nothing, nothing at all.
Take me as I am.

Thanks to msz. diva for adding these lyrics.Thanks to sscampbell8 for correcting these ly

Friday, June 13, 2014

Top Ten Summer

June 13, 2014

                                          Top Ten Reasons to LOVE Summer

Even though it has been raining in Connecticut for what seems like weeks I am so looking forward to my favorite season.

10. Longer days energize me. I actually go out after work instead of putting on my jammies.

9. Having lunch on the beach.

8. Sleeping with the windows open.

7. Reading on the beach.

6. My birthday. Okay it's not all about me. All the July birthdays, Lauren, Josh and Megan, too.

7. Peaches and tomatoes.

6. Listening to the radio (yes, my little portable radio) on the beach.

5. Hot dog roasts! Always think of Bud when I think cookouts.

4. Happy hour on the beach.

3. My huddle buddies.

2. Walking on the hot sand.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

June 9, 2014

                                             The Top Ten Things I Miss About Winter


                                                       I'll bet no one ever expected this.

10. Sitting by the fire.

9. The first snowfall. All soft, white and sparkling.

8. The  bright red cardinals at my feeder with the fairyland white snowy background.

7. Curling up under a blanket and watching a movie in the afternoon.

6. Using the cold, freezing temperatures as an excuse to stay home.

5. Baking cookies.

4. Cooking hearty, long simmering dishes.

3. Starting cocktail hour at 2PM when you're snowed in.

2.  Reading a book in the middle of the day.

1. Wearing pajamas at 4PM because its dark out already.

Friday, June 6, 2014

My Other Car Is A Broom

June 6, 2014

Let me recommend Safelite Auto Glass if you have any dings or cracks in you car windows. I can personally vouch for them as I have been a customer twice in the past year. I have been driving cars for 40 years and this past year is the first time I needed to have my windshield repaired. Not once but twice. The first time was a small ding. This time it was a long crack ( defined by the experts as longer than a dollar bill.) This has led me to try to explain such a phenomenon.

Beside the windshield issues I have also hit the bank drive through not once but twice. And the second time I was being extremely careful. I didn't hear the sickening crunch until I was almost clear of the area. I then hit the side of the garage with my mirror causing the casing to come apart. The mirror still works but there is a crack in the casing which is unsightly. Why is this happening all of a sudden? Well, okay I have often hit the garage in the past but not to this extent.

There can only be one explanation. The car is cursed! Yes, that's it. I won? acquired? received? the car as part of the divorce settlement. Sort of like compensation for making a mockery of the memories of my life. What can I expect from such a "gift ?" Beside the windshield and the various "accidents" there was also the punctured tire saga. If I didn't know any better I would think that someone put a spell on my vehicle. Well technically it isn't my vehicle yet. I better be extra vigilant when that day comes. But if you hear that I have suddenly lost my brakes...please think of this post.

Monday, June 2, 2014

June 2, 2014

Yes,  I'm trying another on line dating service after the disastrous experience with eHarmony. And so far I'm not faring much better. I still remember being told by a former acquaintance that online dating is not for people of a certain age. I'm starting to think he may be right.

I feel like I'm selling a used car. Trying to promote my best features in 50 words or less. Or is it 250 words? But really it would take a lot longer to describe how truly wonderful I really am!!! Maybe I'm indescribable! That must be the problem. I get confused between the winks and the faves and the "likes." I'm not in high school anymore and never liked that stuff even when I was.

Margo, don't read this next part. As soon as I respond to anyone with a few details about myself I never hear back from the potential "date." I really try to honestly describe myself to people who express interest. There's no point in wasting anyones' time. I don't have a lot of time left and I've always liked getting right to the point. So I tell them I am irreverent and sarcastic, but in a good way. My kids will always come first. I'm not looking for someone to "complete" me. I am still a work in progress and hope I always will be. I'm not looking for a soul mate. I thought I had one and look how wrong I was about that. I'm not waiting to be rescued or taken care of. Margo, I know you are reading this even though I warned you not to, and you are shaking your head. And pretty soon you are going to try to call me to"discuss" my attitude.

But let me tell you about the men and what they want. LOTS of them want a woman who is "athletic and toned" or "slender." (Match descriptions)  Some of them can't spell. Many of them don't like to read. They ALL love the outdoors, hiking, kayaking, down hill skiing, etc. Really? Some of them look like they can't get up from their recliners. One guy wrote that he liked 'curvy" (another Match word) women and lingerie. I had to read that several times because I was sure it was a typo. But my favorites are the men who are "currently separated." Can't you even wait until the divorce is final to look for a new mate? That's like claiming you are single even though you are living with your girlfriend.

So after the three month subscription is over I will most likely cancel this. One thing I learned from this whole experience is that I don't have to settle for something that is "far from ideal." And now that George is getting married I may just have to resign myself to a life alone!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Garbage Day

May 28, 2014

Wednesday is the day I put the garbage out. When I was married I NEVER put out the garbage. I was too delicate....couldn't lift the recycle bins or drag those heavy trash cans to the end of the driveway. But guess what? Since my divorce I've managed to put out the trash every single week! Isn't that amazing?!!

But recently Hamden issued new trash bins. One for recycling and one for trash. Huge, monstrous things on wheels. Big enough to dispose of almost anything! And don't think I haven't fantasized about what could go in there. But now I have gone back to dreading putting them out. I have to put one foot on them to tilt them back and then drag them down the driveway. When I get to the end I have to go out into the street to turn them around and position them just so on the lawn. There are rules about where they can be and how they need to face the street. The wheels are making big ruts in my lawn, not to mention the room they take up in the garage. It seems everyone has the same size contraption no matter how many people live in the house. I don't know how the elderly can possibly deal with these things.

I understand the need for recycling and I am grateful that the town has curbside recycling. I am not complaining, really I'm not. But there are only two of us living here. Maybe it would have been too difficult to have a variety of sizes. As it is clearly stated, I do not own the bin, it stays with the house. As if I would take it if I moved! So a very minor thing to deal with, I know. And I will deal with it because I have no choice. But this morning I thought for a fleeting second, maybe the guys who are coming to cut the trees can drag this down for me!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Top Ten Things I've Learned About the Gym

May 22, 2014

10. When I miss some days due to vacation I feel REALLY old.

9. I always feel good about myself when I get there. Especially if I really had to force myself!

8. I actually leave the house wearing my glasses, hair pulled back and NO makeup. Sorry Claire,
    if you are watching me, I know you told me NEVER leave the house without lipstick!

7. I am still a back of the room participant.

6. Spinning is fun! ( Really... who would have thought I would ever make that statement! )

5. It still annoys me to see the skinny lady with the complete color coordinated outfits. Down to the
    water bottles, hair bands, sneakers and bags. And different colors for different days.

4. I can't muster the energy to go to a 5:45AM class. No matter how much I think about it the night

3. I actually plan my day around the class times.

2. I have my own gym bag. But it doesn't match anything!

1. I still think about what or where I will have dinner, even while exercising.

Monday, May 19, 2014

#BringBack Our Girls

May 19, 2014

Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times op ed columnist, author and Pulitzer Prize winner, recently wrote a column about the missing schoolgirls in Nigeria. He frequently writes about the plight of under privileged women across the globe. And he brought up an interesting question. Why are these fanatical religious groups afraid of educating women?

My own thought strongly relates to my "Boys are Stupid" theory. If women were educated and encouraged to succeed the world would be a much different place. Maybe a better place. But we all know it is much more than that. Women are oppressed throughout the world, especially in third world countries where religious fanaticism is rampant. Forced prostitution, genital mutilation, inadequate health care for high risk pregnancies and lack of birth control are all debilitating problems for women around the world. The lack of clean water is a problem in some countries, especially Africa. Girls have dropped out of school to haul clean water for their families.

So let us keep this in mind when we proceed in our very privileged daily lives. And next time you are wondering where to make a donation there are several at the end of the article I've included.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Reflections on Mother's Day

May 12, 2014

The wedding weekend is over. It was wonderful and I kept my vow to keep the sarcasm in check. But now I want to share a few thoughts on motherhood. And I know I'm going to hear flak about this. But I'm ready.

News flash.... There is a conspiracy surrounding pregnancy and motherhood. Everyone is sooo happy to hear someone is pregnant. "Congratulations!" "Best time of your life!" And my favorite, " I never felt better!" Really?!! I was scared, lonely and my body took on a life of its own. Even though I was a nurse I still couldn't figure out how this huge object was going to emerge without me being in, to put it mildly, extreme distress. And guess what? No amount of breathing techniques, water baths, walking around or hanging upside down made it any better. I knew only my own perseverance would get me through. AND the fact that women have been having babies for centuries and the species has survived. And I did it twice! Without any push gift!

But the real conspiracy surrounds motherhood itself. No one told me how HARD it would be. I'm going home with this baby!! I can't go home. Why can't I live in the hospital and send this kid back to the nursery at night? I don't know how to care for a baby. 24/7. I brought him everywhere with me. Even into the bathroom when I took a shower. I worried about everything. Breastfeeding was a nightmare. It seemed like I took off my shirt more than I wore it. Was he eating enough, too much? Was he sleeping enough. Was I sleeping enough? The days were long and lonely. Going back to work was looming and I didn't know how I was going to leave this baby in day care. And in the end I decided to have Jennie take care of him. Even though I drove from Hamden to East Haven and then to New Haven to work. And then in reverse at night. Ahh, the things we do to survive.

So in closing I want to talk a little about Andrea Yates. Ever since I heard her story so many years ago I felt sorry for her. Her husband Rusty left her at home with five little kids after she had been hospitalized for postpartum psychosis. He had been warned not to leave her alone. When he left for work she drowned her kids in a bathtub. I have always felt for her. She was an honor student in high school and is now in a state hospital in Texas. Rusty has remarried and now has a new family. How nice for him. Hopefully the women who need help and support after childbirth will not have to suffer like Andrea. And if we can recognize that it is HARD to be a new mom more people will come forward and seek help.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Wedding Bells

May 9, 2014

I love weddings. I love the church music that makes me cry. I love the beautiful, radiant brides. I love the handsome grooms waiting at the altar. I love the flowers, the receiving line, the first dance, the champagne toast. A wedding is a day of celebration and love. A new chapter in the lives of the couple. A reason to believe in true love.

Tomorrow Megan and Shaun will become Mr. and Mrs. McGrath. They will begin a new journey together. Shaun, you lucky devil. You will not only be married to one of the prettiest girls around, but you will have acquired the gaggle of women that come with her! Or is gaggle just about geese? Ha... I already know what you're thinking. And Megan, you will have a husband who is not only handsome but can sing you to sleep.

Best wishes to the happy couple. Rain or shine it is going to be a glorious day.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Viva Las Vegas

May 5, 2014

A nursing convention in Las Vegas. That should be fun, right? I was there many years ago on my way to Bryce Canyon. The kids were teenagers. As we drove from the airport the city arose from the desert like OZ. We stayed at the MGM Grand.  I HATE to gamble. I work too hard to throw my money away like that. But it was hot, which I love, and we went to great restaurants and saw some good shows. I spent most of the day by the pool. We were only there for three days. I think that is key to an enjoyable experience.

Las Vegas is like Disney World combined with Times Square on steroids. Both two of my least favorite places in the world. The next time I go to Disney it will be with grandchildren. (If I have any!) And the only reason to go through Times Square is to get to a Broadway show. We are not REALLY in Paris, Venice or New York in those casinos. Just like we are not really in Mexico or Morocco at Epcot center. It is make believe. Go see the real thing.

And the weather. It rains one inch a year in Vegas and both times I have been there it has rained. Am I bringing the clouds? And this time the Santa Ana winds brought cold weather and windy conditions. Even though I sat by the pool on my free day it was too cold to go in the water. And let me tell you a little about the hotel. When they tell you to bring your own coffee pods, be very afraid. Not only the pods but a cup, which we purchased in the gift shop. That's all I'll say on that subject. I'll leave the rest to your imagination. Just let me assure you that physicians would never be expected to have a conference at this hotel.

But I'm not really complaining. While our colleagues were working Jeanne and I DID have a good time. We learned new things, networked with colleagues from around the country and had some memorable moments. And let me add a picture of our poster so you can see that we actually presented one. I'll refrain from posting the picture of our component night where we had to dress up like show girls. Some things are better left a mystery.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Leftover Ham

April 22, 2014

"Do you think a ten pound ham will be big enough?" I remember asking that last week as I was buying it for Easter dinner. I'm sure there was an Easter miracle here, somewhat like the fish and the loaves, because I still seem to have at least 20 pounds of ham left over in my refrigerator! I had a few slices in a sandwich last night when I got home from work but that didn't make a dent in the pile left over. I remember worrying about the amount of food...will it be good, will there be enough variety, but most of all will there be enough? Even after Annemarie said, "It's a mid day meal not the last supper." The anxiety that every Italian woman feels when preparing a meal for her family... I even considered getting a tray of eggplant form my neighborhood Italian deli.

But when I woke up Easter morning and started cooking I felt strangely calm. And happy. Of course there would be enough food. All the "kids" where bringing dishes. How did they get old enough to do that? How can they be in their late twenties when I feel like I'm only in my thirties?!!! And Jocelyn, I'm officially handing over the mac and cheese to you. It tastes so much better your way! From the huge antipasto to the delicious desserts and the warmth of family it was a perfect afternoon. Even the weather cooperated. And as they say in the Master Card commercial having Margo cleaning in the kitchen was priceless!

                                             My beautiful Easter gifts, including a whimsy!

                                                       Margo in the kitchen! Love You!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Eating Our Way Through Florence

April 17, 2014

I have been so busy these past few weeks. I've been working a lot since I returned from vacation.
Eating, drinking and traveling in Florence, Italy. A place I have always wanted to visit. Two years ago I was lying, prostrate on my bed, crying that I would never leave my house again. Never go out to a restaurant, let alone go to Italy. I'm so happy I was wrong about that!

My trip was fantastic. My memories will last forever. And I hope Josh and Jocelyn will always remember the fun we had. The two gelatos a day, the cappuccinos at breakfast, the happy hours in our apartment and the very late dinners. And all the wine, and the strawberries and the Italian potato chips with the cat figurines that I collected and are sitting on my bulletin board now. Our own special grocery store and the Pitti Palace right down the street. Federico our landlord and Martin, our tour guide. The bus trip to Sienna and the lunch we had there outdoors on the steep street. The cooking class in Federica's apartment, with the view of the Duomo from her daughter's window. The churches and museums and paintings and sculptures. And for Josh the medieval manuscripts and buildings. For Jocelyn, all the craftsmen, especially Giuliano Ricchi who took us through his workshop and proudly showed us his handiwork. My little upstairs room where I went to sleep and woke up to the sound of church bells. The tiny kitchen where I made Italian coffee every morning. So many wonderful moments that I will treasure.                          

                                                                  Lunch in Sienna


                                                              Our Apartment


                                                            The Produce Stand

                                                                   Our Market

                                                        The View from the Duomo

                                                             Federico, our landlord

Friday, March 28, 2014

Tax Season

March 28, 2014

It's been a very busy couple of weeks for me. Last weekend my nursing organization held a conference in Farmington. Since I am the treasurer I handled the registration. All of the officers did an outstanding job. The conference was a big success but time consuming for all of us. I did spend the day before shopping in West Hartford center with Jeanne and the afternoon following shopping with Annie. It was even sunny and warmish.

I spent the following week getting ready for my trip to Florence. No complaints there. But in between all this I also paid my taxes. Wow. I didn't realize all the money involved in that endeavor. First let me start by saying I forgot to pay my January taxes on both the house and the cars. They were there in the folder marked taxes and on the calendar where I clearly marked, PAY TAXES. And I did pay taxes in January. But it was the tax on my alimony. Which was right in the folder with the other bills which I never even looked at. I still don't understand why I have to pay the taxes on that and HE gets to count it as a deduction. Anyway when I got the delinquent notice I immediately ran to the tax office like a criminal.

A few weeks later I received a letter in the mail from the City of New Haven. They apparently contract with an agency called Municipal Tax Services. This agency goes around at night taking pictures of license plates in the city and tries to collect taxes on vehicles they claim are "garaged" in New Haven. What a rewarding job that must be. Needless to say I was not happy to receive this in the mail at such a busy time. It identified me as the "plaintiff" and stated I had the Burden of proof. But criminals like bank robbers and murderers don't have to prove anything. Somehow that doesn't seem fair to me. Which I let the gentleman from that agency know. A law abiding, tax paying, working, productive member of society has the burden of proof for a car?!!! Why doesn't the city have the burden of proof? Show me a picture of the license plate with proof that it was taken in the city of New Haven on a certain consecutive number of nights.

Anyway, we finally got it straightened out. My insurance agency clarified it but not until after I was asked to send proof that I owned my home. What did that have to do with the car? So, thank you, City of New Haven, where crime is rampant, for using tax payer dollars to harass law abiding citizens from other towns and adding just a little more stress to my life.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fortune Cookies

March 17, 2014

"The axe soon forgets, but the tree always remembers." I usually laugh at my fortune cookie fortunes. They are usually whimsical and far fetched. I really like the ones that say I will come into a lot of money or will travel the world. But this fortune was too close to home.

Yes, time helps. But it doesn't necessarily "heal all wounds." The wounds will always be there, it just becomes easier to bear. Living your life helps. Being with other people helps. Knowing that you are stronger than your problems helps. But as I've said before there are always the "sucker punches" waiting where you least expect them. This week it was in a fortune cookie.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Banning Bossy

March 14, 2014

There is apparently a movement to "Ban Bossy." You might ask what that means. Well as far as I can tell from the story on TV  there are some girls who are intimidated by being called "bossy" by their classmates. I'm going to assume that is mostly male classmates. They are not perceived as "feminine." So Sheryl Sandberg, the CEO at Facebook has started an awareness campaign to ban the word "bossy." And it is endorsed by Beyonce! They claim that girls will not show their leadership potential if they risk being labeled as bossy. Bossy, not assertive or intelligent. Bossy.

Really?!! This week I went to a reunion planning meeting at Sacred Heart Academy, my all girls high school. The four of us there talked about how "quiet" we were in high school and how we didn't become "bossy" until we started working. All those wasted years! I noticed the really popular girls were not at this meeting. And all of us there are successful women. Successful, in spite of being bossy. Imagine how far we could have gone if we WERE bossy in high school!

So boys can be bossy and its called leadership but when girls are it's bitchy. Have we come this far only to slide back to the 50's? Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, where are you? I have always encouraged my daughter to stand up for herself and in spite of how quiet I was in high school ( yes, I know how hard that is to believe) I am proud to be called bossy. Even if, in couples counseling, I believe I was referred to as domineering. Not so flattering but I hope just one person's opinion of me!

So Sheryl and Beyonce I ask you, how did you get were you are without being Bossy? It will take more than banning a word to change society. How about teaching our children to respect each other as individuals instead of stereotypes. That is the real issue here.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Pre Divorce Maintenance Top Ten

March 10, 2014

In the months leading up to my divorce I received some much needed advice from one of my very good friends. After crying with me over the emotional wreckage of my marriage and family she composed a list of practical things I needed to accomplish. An "Angie's List" of divorce preparation. I decided to follow her advice since I was still in possession of the joint credit card. I'm sure I've missed a few things and added a few items of my own but here it goes.

10. Make a walk thru of your house and list needed repairs.

9. Get the furnace serviced and ready for the winter.

8. Check the air conditioning.

7. Clean the chimney and vents.

6. Get the cars tuned up.

5. Replace old window treatments.

6. Redo the master bedroom.

5. Buy a new appliance or two.

4. Spruce up the yard. Tree trimming and mulch.

3. Open your own bank account and credit cards.

2. Organize important papers.

1. Treat yourself to something nice without feeling guilty.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Over The Rainbow

March 3, 2014

I didn't see many Oscar movies this year,. I'm not sure why. I think I'll blame it on the cold, snowy weather. But I did get to see the whole Oscar show. I wasn't on call AND I didn't have to work the next day. Of course I did nod off a little but luckily Hilary woke me up by screaming, "MOM, you're sleeping," right before Pink went on. Thank goodness. I would not want to have missed her performance of Over The Rainbow.

Dressed in a sparkling red gown that perfectly replicated the ruby slippers I was so in love with as a child. I remember buying Hilary a pair of sparkly red shoes when she was little. I wish I had saved them. I LOVED those shoes. Yes Margo, I should have been more sentimental. But anyway I do remember singing Over the Rainbow. Where troubles melt like lemon drops and bluebirds fly. And with Judy Garlands' children in the audience and clips of the movie on the screen. Perfect.

And what can I say about Bette. Another favorite song from one of my most favorite movies. She is simply a classic. I wish I could see her in person. I know both she and Pink are fabulous performers. If only they would perform together. What a fantastic show that would be to attend.

The gowns were beautiful. Every one of them. And lots of actors brought their moms. I REALLY loved that. I'm still holding out hope that someday Josh will be up there and I will be sitting in the audience. Maybe way, way in the back but I'm sure I can yell loud enough to be heard!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Dark Horse

February 28, 2014

The gossip world is talking about the breakup between Katy Perry and John Mayer. Some of the columnists say Katy is afraid to commit after her disastrous marriage to Russell Brand. I can certainly understand that sentiment. I not sure if this song has anything to do with her feelings but I love listening to it.

                                                                    "Dark Horse"
                                                                      (feat. Juicy J)

Oh, no.

[Juicy J:]
Ya'll know what it is
Katy Perry
Juicy J, aha.
Let's rage

[Katy Perry:]
I knew you were
You were gonna come to me
And here you are
But you better choose carefully
‘Cause I, I’m capable of anything
Of anything and everything

Make me your Aphrodite
Make me your one and only
But don’t make me your enemy, your enemy, your enemy

So you wanna play with magic
Boy, you should know what you're falling for
Baby do you dare to do this?
Cause I’m coming at you like a dark horse
Are you ready for, ready for
A perfect storm, perfect storm
Cause once you’re mine, once you’re mine
There’s no going back

Mark my words
This love will make you levitate
Like a bird
Like a bird without a cage
But down to earth
If you choose to walk away, don’t walk away

It’s in the palm of your hand now baby
It’s a yes or no, no maybe
So just be sure before you give it all to me
All to me, give it all to me

So you wanna play with magic
Boy, you should know what you're falling for
Baby do you dare to do this?
Cause I’m coming at you like a dark horse
Are you ready for, ready for
A perfect storm, perfect storm
Cause once you’re mine, once you’re mine (love trippin')
There’s no going back

[Juicy J - Rap Verse]
She’s a beast
I call her Karma (come back)
She eats your heart out
Like Jeffrey Dahmer (woo)
Be careful
Try not to lead her on
Shorty’s heart is on steroids
Cause her love is so strong
You may fall in love
When you meet her
If you get the chance you better keep her
She's sweet as pie but if you break her heart
She'll turn cold as a freezer
That fairy tale ending with a knight in shining armor
She can be my Sleeping Beauty
I’m gon’ put her in a coma
Damn I think I love her
Shorty so bad, I’m sprung and I don’t care
She ride me like a roller coaster
Turned the bedroom into a fair (a fair!)
Her love is like a drug
I was tryna hit it and quit it
But lil' mama so dope
I messed around and got addicted

So you wanna play with magic
Boy, you should know what you're falling for (you should know)
Baby do you dare to do this?
Cause I’m coming at you like a dark horse (like a dark horse)
Are you ready for, ready for (ready for)
A perfect storm, perfect storm (a perfect storm)
Cause once you’re mine, once you’re mine (mine)
There’s no going back

Monday, February 24, 2014

Divorce Recovery Top Ten

February 24, 2014

                                                Top Ten Signs of Recovery

10. I  go out to dinner. A lot.

9. I can travel. In spite of the fact that just a short while ago I thought I would never leave my          
    bedroom, let alone my house.

8. I can say, "I'm divorced" without the catch in my voice. Although I do still find it unbelievable.

7. I can manage my finances. And for anyone who really knows me that is an incredible feat.

6. I can plan for the future. And be happy about it.

5. I have made new friends.

4. I care about other people and their problems again.

3. I can go to sleep without Ambien. Although I still have it around for emergency use.

2. I can get out of bed in the morning without the pep talk in my head.

1. I have realized how lucky I am even if my life did not turn out as I had planned. And I can assure           others who are just starting this journey that they will survive.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Here Comes The Sun

February 17, 2014

The sun woke me up yesterday for the first time in over a week. It slowly lit up my bedroom right before Ophelia jumped up to give me kitty kisses and tell me it was time to feed her. Oh sunshine, how I've missed you.

I was just giving in to the insidious cold, dreary winter. Grey skies, bitter cold and snow everywhere. My back yard looking like a frozen tundra. The receptionist at my beauty salon jokingly said she is thinking of moving back to Russia. At least I think she was joking. I was seriously thinking of purchasing those lights that people with SAD use. And then you came back. The sunshine!!! Even though it is still freezing cold just your bright light is enough to bring a smile to my face. I ask for so little. Please don't leave for a while.

I have had such a case of cabin fever because you have been gone. It doesn't help that the snow refuses to stop. And the temperature is at frost bite level. But when you are gone the world is such a depressing place. There are only so many fires and movies and books you can read under the blankets. Only so many pots of soup and comfort meals and cookies you can make before you start to go stir crazy!!! I want to go out. I want someone else to cook and serve me. I want to see a movie in the movie theater. I want to park my car on the city street. I want to pick a place to go without worrying about a parking lot. I want to stop saying, "Let's see what the weather will be like," before I make plans.

I did go out for brunch at Lena's in Westville with Hilary yesterday. It was wonderful to be served and be among the human race. So people DO actually go out in the winter. It was so crowded there we had to wait for a table. I'm sure it was because your golden rays gave people the motivation to leave their homes. Sunshine makes everything so much better. Life is much more manageable when bathed in sunlight.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Storm Alert

February 12, 2014

I don't want to complain about the weather again, I really don't. But I can't help it. I know this is New England. I know there are four seasons and some of the joy of living here is the unique experience of them. But really, another storm? A slow moving one? Why? The snow in my yard is slowly creeping its way up to the door. It is so cold that nothing has melted. The snow banks just keep getting higher and higher.

And the COLD. So bitter and chilling. I've had so many fires this year that even that cozy scene is starting to get old. I have finally succumbed to the fact that I will not willingly go out until it gets above 30 degrees. Hibernating under the blankets. Looking up recipes for hot toddies. When I leave the gym the sweat on my body turns to icicles. Isn't that a pretty picture? Maybe that's why I haven't had a date in 2 years!!!

It remains to be seen what tomorrows' storm will bring. The weather reporters are already gearing up to broadcast all day long. Maybe the Olympics should have been held in Connecticut. It's colder here than in Sochi. Please let this be the end. And may I get through this by planning my trip to Florence. A girl has to have something to look forward to.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Meet The Beatles

February 10, 2014

Last night I stayed up past my bedtime. I was still downstairs at 10:30. Unheard of especially in the winter when I sometimes put my pj's on at 4:30. When I started to watch the Beatles tribute I didn't think I would make the whole show. But something magical happened. I was transported back in time to an era where things were simple and I truly believed love could conquer all. 

What a great show. Watching young artists signing the songs I grew up with was amazing. And to see the audience all signing along was a testament to just how timeless their music has become. I can't ever listen to a Beatles song without wanting to sing along. 

Let It Be, Revolution, Sargent Pepper and I Wanna Hold Your Hand. I remember my sister buying me my first album, Meet the Beatles, when I was six. I can still see myself in our tiny living room in East Haven playing it over and over on the victrola. I still have that old album and the record player! Paul was my favorite. I used to kiss his picture while listening to him sing. I used to pretend they wrote Lucy In The Sky for me even after I realized it was about LSD. And of course, I Saw Her Standing There, because I was seventeen when I met Dave. The story of my life and my generation all there last night in my family room. Who could sleep?

I sometimes miss those simpler times. Living in a small ranch with one bathroom and 3 small bedrooms. There was no family room or dining room when I grew up. Only one wall phone that I would go into the bathroom with to talk privately. Do I really need all the rooms I have now and the three bathrooms? When I'm cleaning I definitely miss the tiny ranch of my youth. Or maybe I just miss my youth! But last night brought it all back again. And reminded me of how lucky I am to have lived the kind of life I have. Bittersweet...

I could never bring myself to get rid of these.

My old record player

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

San Diego, Anyone?

February 5, 2014

This past weekend was a treat. Not so sunny, but warm and dry. By warm I mean 40's instead of teens. I wore my fleece jacket instead of the long down coat. No gloves or scarf. Just when I gave up the idea of leaving the house to Josh and trying to talk Hilary into moving to San Diego the nicer weather arrived. But not for long.

Snow on Monday, but just a little. It actually looked beautiful on my way to work. That soft heavy snow that clings to the trees and makes the whole scene look like a movie set. Quiet and serene. The perfect New England picture. (Also causes power outages but we won't mention that) This morning was different. So much snow out there when I woke up made me glad I did not have to work. Then sleet and freezing rain. Perfect trifecta of bad weather. I went outside to shovel near the garage door where the plow left a pile of snow. Just in case it gets frozen later. When I was done I was wet and cold. Love that!

So I will dream of the summer and my flip flops. Maybe I will look at jobs in San Diego or Santa Monica. I wonder if there are any nursing jobs in Turks and Caicos.

My cute little birds in the back yard.

The scene in my front yard this morning.

Ahhh, my happy place. Maybe I'll make a rum punch this afternoon.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Happy Hour

February 3, 2014

Josh and I have discussed reviewing chicken wings, much like I did ice cream. I was pretty crazy during that time. I remember driving all over the state and beyond trying ice cream at different places. Oh the restorative powers of that creamy, icy confection. So now I guess it's time to talk about more substantial food. Now that I am less crazy. Ok. Still crazy but in a good way.

Chicken wings....the happy hour staple. I'm sure I already mentioned that Dempsey's is one of my most favorite places to eat and drink. The food is always good and you get to throw peanut shells on the floor. The wings are delicious, but then again I'm biased. I've also recently had the Asian wings at Briq. Very different with a sweet marinade but soooo good. Both places are in New Haven and have an extensive menu and great drinks.

But last night we went to Mikro in Hamden. I love it there. It's small and cozy and has craft beers. We again had the chicken wings. They were falling off the bone good. The blue cheese was a little to firm for my taste, I prefer dipping to scooping, but all in all a good choice. We have tried many things on the menu and there isn't a bad dish to be had.

So I'm not sure what is my favorite so far. Probably Dempsey's because they take such good care of me there. But I guess we have a lot of tasting to do.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Summertime Sadness

January 27, 2014

Let me just say that I missed the ENTIRE Grammy Awards last night because I got called into work. Just as I was putting up my feet at 8PM the call came. I did get to see Beyonce and JayZ putting on a performance that would have been best performed in their bedroom, but I missed Pink, Katy Perry and Madonna. I did see a small portion of it on the very tiny TV in the PACU lounge but not on my HDTV with surround sound! So I don't know if Lana Del Rey won any awards for her song, Summertime Sadness. But what I do know is that I have severe summertime sadness.

I'm tired of hearing about the polar vortex, arctic air mass, snow or black ice. I'm also tired of hearing about the projected weather forecast for the Super Bowl. They picked an outdoor stadium on the east coast. It snows here and gets cold in the winter. Didn't anyone think of that? As a born and bred New Englander I am used to the bleak frozen winter months between January and March. Months where the only thing I can think of to do is dress warmly, throw a log on the fire and cook comfort food. Months where even going out to dinner or a movie is predicated on how close I can park my car to a warm area.

Where are you, summer? I'm waiting patiently for you. Although I can't imagine not having a winter season, (are there really people who haven't experience snow and ice?!!) I am a summer girl. So I'll just have to wait for the first signs of spring....tulips and daffodils, robins and longer days. In the meantime I'll keep the fire going and the heat turned up.

                                                         "Summertime Sadness"

Kiss me hard before you go
Summertime sadness
I just wanted you to know
That, baby, you're the best

I got my red dress on tonight
Dancing in the dark in the pale moonlight
Done my hair up real big beauty queen style
High heels off, I'm feeling alive

Oh, my God, I feel it in the air
Telephone wires above are sizzling like a snare
Honey, I'm on fire, I feel it everywhere
Nothing scares me anymore

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Babies R Us

January 22, 2014

I recently heard a news story about a high end restaurant chef tweeting about the appropriateness of taking children to expensive restaurants. I so enjoy trying new restaurants and different cuisines. It is an activity I look forward to whether here at home or when I travel. I love to read about new places and dishes. Going out to eat is one of my most favorite pastimes.

I HAD to look up the details of this story. The restaurant, Alinea, is in Chicago. It looks fabulous. Pretentious, but fabulous. If you are a foodie look it up. It's amazing. Dinners are $210 per person. AND you have to purchase tickets months in advance. You can not cancel without forfeiting the money for the dinner. Definitely not a place for children, especially 3 month olds. This particular couple had babysitter issues at the last minute so they brought the infant with them. Apparently said infant was unhappy throughout the meal and cried loudly. So loudly that the kitchen staff could hear them in the back.

I have lots of sympathy for that couple. Having kids is HARD WORK. It involves SACRIFICE. And other things I won't mention here as this is not a childrearing post. It is terrible that your big evening was going to be ruined by babysitter problems. Let me clue you into something....lots of evening will be ruined by many issues involving your new addition. And not just evenings, but days and nights as well. But to inflict this on the other diners who were out for a special night is just rude and insensitive. Not to mention stupid.

The chef did not ask this particular couple to leave but put the problem out on Twitter. I think there should be a policy in such a high end, expensive place. No children under age 12? 13? What do you think? And before you say that children should be exposed to all kinds of dining experiences, I totally agree. But the line has to be drawn somewhere. If I'm in a family restaurant a little rambunctiousness is fine. I love to talk to kids, they are great. In fact I love them a lot more now since they are not returning home with me! But if I've gotten myself all dressed up to enjoy a QUIET, adult dinner in an expensive restaurant I don't want to hear a screaming baby or put up with a toddler running around my table. Just saying.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Please Refrain From Talking

January 15, 2014

I know this is going to offend some people but the first thing I thought of when I heard someone was shot in the movies for talking and texting was "It's about time." I did feel bad when I heard the victim died but I can certainly understand the feeling of the man who shot him. Up to a point.

I have a certain ritual when I go to the movies with my kids. I try to get there early enough to sit in the very back row so no one can kick my seat and I don't have to listen to them talk or make food noises. If I have a coat I place it on the seat in front of me so no one sits there. Unless its really crowded. Lately I have been able to sit in other rows so my friends don't realize how crazy I am, but my kids know my real preference. 

And talking is simply not tolerated unless someone is having a medical emergency right in the theater. Even then, can't you go out to the lobby to have your heart attack? But seriously, I have wanted to throw hard candy at the heads of talkers and have been known to ask them to be quiet. And not in a nice way. I didn't pay $12.00 to hear someone's opinion of the plot,  dialogue or cinematography. OR to hear their phone conversations or watch their phone light up with texts. STAY THE HELL HOME. I know. My crazy is showing but I can't help it. Sometimes I have the urge to ask people as soon as they sit near me,"Are you planning to talk during this movie because I will move now if you are!"

And thus the reason I don't have a concealed weapons permit. I'm sure there is more to this particular story than we know. I totally believe in stricter gun control, background checks, etc. And I don't REALLY believe patrons should be shot for talking... but texting a three year old? I didn't think they could read yet. And I'm sure there are issues involving anger management. I think we should probably just start with throwing talkers out of the theater. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Corn Pudding

January 13, 2014

In keeping with my new tradition of the traveling Thanksgiving, one where you show up at friend or relative's house with a dish, I was amazed to try corn pudding. I would never have had that if I had cooked dinner. In my Italian family Jennie never even heard of corn pudding and if she did she would have labeled it as ridiculous. And if she did make it my father would not have eaten it. In fact we never had turkey because he would only eat lasagna. I went to Margo's house after my dinner for the traditional Thanksgiving feast. And I wonder why I can be model thin!

Well let me tell you, corn pudding rocks! I kept going back for seconds and took some home. I wanted to eat it as soon as I got in the door but I restrained myself. I've been thinking about it ever since. Bonnie was kind enough to email the recipe and I made it last night. I really believe it goes with everything and am pretty sure you can eat it for dessert. Just saying.

I will share the recipe with you. Try it. You will not be able to resist. Many thanks to Bonnie Pyler for the recipe.

                                                Corn Pudding

1   12 oz can whole corn
2   17 oz cans creamed corn
5  lightly beaten eggs
1/2 cup sugar
4 TBSP cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp instant minced onion ( I used onion powder)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter

I used slightly bigger cans of corn. This is an old recipe

Combine corn and eggs. Add mixture of sugar, cornstarch, salt, mustard and onion. Stir in milk and butter. Pour into greased 3 qt casserole. ( I used 2 1/2 qt) Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour, stirring once.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Bridge Scandal

January 10, 2013

As if I didn't have enough bridge phobia. Now I have to worry about man made traffic jams on major bridges. Very high bridges. Oh it only the George Washington Bridge I have to be concerned about traveling over? Is it only in New Jersey that politicians are REALLY stupid? But then again...Mark Sanford WAS reelected in South Carolina. I suppose stupidity like that is universal but I hope it is tempered with some staff members that have not only a brain but a conscience.

The pictures I saw on TV of the aftermath of closing lanes on the GWB were horrifying. Mass chaos. Cars all over in what looked like a parking lot. Emergency vehicles unable to get through traffic, school busses just sitting in traffic and cars EVERYWHERE. How do you close lanes on one of the busiest bridges in America without a valid reason? Did it just take one phone call? No one questioned the validity of that decision. They just went out and put up signs? I sometimes have to make two or three calls just to get the linen carts emptied in my unit never mind CLOSING lanes in New York City!

The emails following the debacle are revealing as well. Governor Christies staff delighting in the confusion and frustration of their own constituents. Just to punish the mayor of Fort Lee, NJ who did not support the governor? Really? And I can't even use my favorite excuse, Boys Are Stupid. The deputy chief of staff was a woman, a mother of four. Shame on you. And for the governor to claim he didn't know. Please. No one believes that. No matter how long the press conference lasts.

My suggestion to Governor Christie, ( I was starting to like you. Your tough no nonsense approach) just get a ten gallon hat and a pistol. We can bring the wild, wild west back to the East Coast.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Winter Sports?

January 8, 2013

I recently spent a  few days in Vermont. I went snow shoeing (under duress.) It was fun but I don't really have to ever do it again. Many years ago I went to the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont where I went cross country skiing. I remember skiing up a hillside to what was billed as a restaurant. It took us most of the morning and when we got there it was a cabin in the woods that sold hummus sandwiches and sprouts. The kids were young and I recall using an outhouse in the freezing cold. You really haven't lived until you remove your garments outdoors in sub zero temperatures. On the way down I had to remove my skis because I was too scared to keep them on. I went a few more times after that, but I never really enjoyed being out in the cold.

On this trip I remembered all the reasons why I never "took" to skiing. The equipment ( boots, skis, head gear, googles), the clothes ( hats, gloves, scarves, neck warmers, ski pants and jackets), the logistics (being bussed from your car or hotel to the mountain) and the expense ( lift tickets, rentals, hotels.) After an ill fated attempt at having a drink at a near by lodge was thwarted by masses of people crowded in to the lounge I was grateful it was never a sport anyone in my life was interested in doing.

Now the sun and the sand and the ocean...that's another story altogether. I could spend a lifetime there. I thought I was going to become a California girl all those years ago when I went out there to work. Maybe there is still time. One thing I know for sure Vermont is not on my list of second homes!