Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Warm, November Day





 

The gift of a warm, November day.
Dark shadows upon the 
     luminescent waters, at bay. 
Trees, wrapped in colors, 
               not ready to let go.
Like a worn-in sweatshirt, 
    the gray, 
          hovering clouds 
embrace my soul.  








The gift of a warm, November day.  
Scattered pictures,
     sprinkled in dust
                  - leading the way.
Rusty sounds beneath my tired,
          yet humbled feet.
Earth's awakening -
                    once again,
                          I feel complete.  

   
                   ~ Leslie Morrissette

Avoiding "Reality"

Pregnant AND a teenager?
     Fake boobs?
Pumped up lips?
     Loser boyfriend?
Don't get along well with others?
     Throw temper tantrums?
Drink too much?
     Take too many drugs?
Spend too much money?

You, TOO, can have your own "reality" television show,
     where all of this behavior is GLORIFIED
                                                     and GLAMORIZED
                                                                   and CELEBRATED!
 
The other day, one of my preschoolers told me about the episode of
     "Little House on the Prairie" she had seen the night before.
I wanted to pick her up and hold her in that moment forever. 
Oh, how I sometimes miss Charles and Caroline, Mary and Laura, and their dog, Jack! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Kiwi




Kiwi.
Green, like the crystal clear Caribbean waters - Kiwi.
Soft breeze gently blows,  
               warm sun - kissing my nose, 
          white sand tickles my toes . . . 


Kiwi.  




Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Come What May

Transformer blew,
     the sky turned blue,
 and then I knew . . . "OH SHIT". 

No lights for DAYS! 
No t.v. WAVES! 
No Facebook FAVES . . . "OH SHIT"! 

Two hours later, I had a dream. 
I saw a light, I saw a beam. 
I woke and saw my lamp was on. 
Am I AWAKE? Can this be REAL?

It was, indeed, to my surprise. 
A welcome sight to my tired eyes. 
And, in the morning, Sandy was gone,
     scattered branches on the lawn. 

We were lucky. 
Some, not so much. 
Power outages, trees falling, flooding, and such.

For those in need, if you need a place to stay, 
     just hop in your car and head our way. 
And, just remember, the sun will shine again. 
As the old saying goes, 
     "come what may" . . . 
                        "come what may".   

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Glass Shards


When I rubbed my hand and my fingers across his back,  through his thick, gray and white fur,
     I could feel pieces of things -
scratchy things, bumpy things, like . . . leaves, sticks, and such.   
I could not see those things; I could only FEEL them.

It felt as if my hand could get lost in his fur - so thick, and so . . .  DEEP.

How did it GET that way?

Then, I felt something sharp, and I began to pull it out - a tiny piece of glass.
I went in again, and found another piece, small and sharp.
One by one, I pulled out the tiny pieces of glass shards.

How did they GET there?

My poor dog, Charlie.

And . . . then, I woke up.    

I wonder why I had THAT dream, I thought.
Then, I remembered.
I had broken the lid of my crock pot, just the night before.
It shattered into pieces - shards of glass spilling everywhere.

And, also, I remembered that Charlie needs a haircut.      
 


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

. . . of the day.

Coffee Mug -

     Duck's Cottage



Weather -

     Beautiful!  Crisp, Fall morning.
Autumn colors everywhere.
Expected to warm into the 70's.



 Mood -


    Peaceful.  Mellow, but motivated.

 
Question -

     Should I quit the Boxing membership that I signed up for a month ago?
              Didn't I just say I was motivated?  But . . .

  •    I have only gone 3 times, and do I see that changing in the near future?
  •    In the meantime, I am spending money that I should probably be saving.  
  •    If I do quit, I need to come up with another plan for exercise.
  •    If I decide to quit, I need to give myself permission to do so.  

Goals -
  •  Make appointments for eyes, teeth, and girl parts.  
  • Mail birthday cards to my daughter and my niece.
  • Dog stinks and needs a haircut.     
  • Organize office area :  Sort through paperwork, get rid of clutter, make area a more creative space for writing.  

 Other thoughts - 

I wonder who has more fun running and chasing in the backyard - the dog or the squirrel?
Of course, the dog can jump on trees . . .
Ha, ha! I mean, the SQUIRREL can jump on trees.
Hmmmm.
Sudden idea for a children's story?

Possibly . . .

     possibly . . . . . . .



Monday, October 22, 2012

The Shape of a Heart


She could not speak a word of English.

Speaking, instead, with her hands,
     and those dark, expressive eyes.

I felt a "tap, tap" on my shoulder, and looked up to find her holding
      a ball of play-doh in one hand,
 a heart-shaped cookie cutter, in the other.

And, I immediately understood.

     "Do you want me to help you?" I asked.

Her eyes and her smile told me "yes".

I placed the ball of play-doh on the table, and showed her how to roll it out with the rolling pin.   

     "First, this way," I said.  "And, now, this way."

We rolled it together until it was big enough for the cookie cutter to fit.

She placed the heart on top of the dough, and together, we pressed down firmly.

      "Now, lift it up!"  I said.

And, she did.

Her face lit up, as she stared at the perfectly shaped figure,
     and traced it with her perfectly shaped finger. 

I showed her how to pull up the dough around it, leaving ONLY the heart.   

Her smile was even brighter.       

Carefully, she peeled the heart off the table,
     and held it in her hands . . .  like a treasure.

She walked around the classroom with this heart in her hands,
      just staring and smiling.    

But, soon . . . "tap, tap" on my shoulder again.

She lifted her heart up for me to see.  

She had taken her heart shaped "cookie" over to the texture table (which was filled with oats),
     and sprinkled it with oats.    

I smiled at her and thought, what a clever girl.

     "This is the most beautiful heart I have ever seen," I told her.

And, it was. 
 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Change Is Not Easy



My son, Sam, had been playing soccer with the same coach and
     some of the same kids since he was old enough to kick a soccer ball.  

That is why, at thirteen, making the decision to leave his team was such a difficult one.

He had progressed as much as he could, and in order for him to continue developing
     as a player, it was time for him to move on.   

So, on to a new group of boys, new coaches - a new philosophy.  


The practices are more frequent, for longer durations, farther away, and later at night.

At the end of the third practice, a roster is announced and, after all of that hard work,
     my son's name may or may not be on it.

So far, it has been a test of skill, hard work, and dedication.

But, so far (for my son),
                     . . .  a test of patience and heart.      

Change is not easy.  

Change can be hard.     


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


 Recently, my partner and I went to one of our favorite restaurants,
     with our favorite ambiance, favorite wait staff . . . favorite food. 

It was a beautiful summer's eve - perfect for having a meal on their outdoor patio.

But, the patio was full.

That's okay, we thought,
     we love sitting in their quaint little "beer room",
where their awesome collection of Belgian beers are stored.


     "The beer room is closed," said the hostess (whom we did not know).
                     "We only open it when we have a full house."

     "Oh."    

So, we sat in the other room, with a waiter (whom we did not know).

And, to him, we were just strangers, sitting down for a meal. 

My partner and I make friends easily, but it just wasn't the same.

All new faces and personalities. 
     
Before, everything just clicked.

Now, it was more . . . work.  


Our waiter did not know our names, or what kind of beer to recommend.

When I ordered a beer, it was not cold,
     our appetizer was not very hot, and my meal was too salty.    


     "Business has been doing great!" said one of the owners.    

And, my partner and I couldn't be more happy for them.   

But, for us, it may never be the same.  

     Change is not easy.

     Change can be hard.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


 A friend of mine recently mentioned,
      "Sometimes, you just can't go home again" (thank you, Jill).   


And, I guess that's what it's really about.



Because, home is where we feel safe.

Home is where we feel special.

And, home is where we can usually count on things NOT changing.

Until, one day, it does.  

    
 
  


     











Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sticky Notes and Chicken Sandwiches

Shopping for school supplies was rather painless this year.

The only item that tripped me up was the 2 x 2" sticky notes.

I don't think they exist.

And, the other shoppers in that aisle agree with me,
     which made me feel better.

I needed their approval when I made the decision to purchase the
     3 x 3"sticky notes, instead. 

Afterward, my son wanted to have lunch at Chick-fil-A,
     which is across the road.

The place was PACKED.

Traffic - spilling out onto the main road, people honking,
     the drive-thru line - wrapped all the way around the building . . .

     "I don't get it," I said to my son.

     "There is a McDonalds right up the street.
            In my opinion, they sell equally good chicken sandwiches,
               and their fries are better."
 
Personally, I don't care for fries in the shape of a waffle.

     "Is it the Christian thing?"  I asked.

     "Is it the milkshakes?"  I asked.

I wonder . . . 

     "They DO have pretty good milkshakes," said my son.  


We picked up our order (and, I have to admit, they were extremely efficient),
     however, they gave me a sandwich, instead of nuggets,
did not put ketchup on my son's sandwich,
     my sandwich was TOO salty,
and my fries were not salty enough.

I don't allow myself to eat fast food very often and, when I do,
      I want it to be worth every FAT FILLED calorie.  

Oh well.

Live and Learn.

And, as it turns out,
    "2 x 2" sticky notes DO exist.

I just bing(ed) it.

Oh well, again.   

Sometimes, life can get . . .
      STICKY. 

  



  










Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Familiar Surprise

I was not expecting my 18 year old daughter to come home from her summer job
     (as a camp counselor) with a new friend.
At first glance, he resembles a monkey, however, he roars like a lion, and his name is Fish.
And, apparently, he has THREE hearts.

Yes.

Brought to life at Build-A-Bear, he is part monkey, part lion, part sea animal, and,
     apparently, part super hero. 

Why should this surprise me?

It shouldn't.

It doesn't.  

This is my Haley.

My daughter, whom I have known since the very first day she was born.


My daughter, who marches to her own beat and stays true to who she is.

My daughter, who, at one time, had not one, but TWO imaginary friends,
     Thumbelina and Dumbelina,
and, she would get quite cross with me if I confused them. 

Well, last week, I dropped my daughter and Fish off at college.

I hope Fish takes good care of her.

But, then, there is so much of Haley in him.

So . . . . . .

     I think they are going to be okay.  

 




Friday, July 27, 2012

Blueberry Cobbler and Jazz on a Hot, Summer Night

Last night, my son, my partner, and I decided to go for one of those spontaneous
      "because it is summertime" drives.   
We landed in one of my favorite neighborhoods, Del Ray, where we paid a visit to
     The Dairy Godmother for some chocolate frozen custard, a sour cherry sundae,
and blueberry cobbler, a la mode.

DG was hopping.

We took our treats outside, enjoying them one spoonful at a time,
   as we walked along the sidewalk that borders the town shops, restaurants, and houses.
We passed by our favorite Mexican eatery,
   where they serve the BEST DAMN MARGARITAS;
we passed by the music store, where the last two employees were packing it up for the night,
and, from atop a set of stairs leading to a grand, covered front porch,
a neighborhood dog barked a friendly "hello".

Making our way back to the car, I heard the sound of music -
     some old-time jazz coming from the nearby coffee shop, St. Elmo's.
As I peaked through the window, sure enough, there was a group of old-timers jamming up a storm,
and a room full of young and old . . . dancing, and swinging. and swaying.
   
Standing there, with my old-fashioned blueberry cobbler,
     I felt as if I had stepped back in time.


 http://stelmoscoffeepub.com/
 http://www.nsmjq.org/
  
  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Swimming Pool . . . Open???


The following is a series of e-mails received, over the course of a few days,
     giving updates about the local swimming pool schedule (and various incidents).



-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Saturday, June 30, 2012, 4:01 p.m. 

The pool will close at 4 p.m. on Monday, July 2, because of a swim meet.  


In the meantime, a severe storm knocked out the electricity in the area, 
closing the pool on Saturday and Sunday. . . 


Sunday, July 1, 2012, 1:48 p.m.

The pool is currently closed, but NV Pools is working hard to open sometime after 6 p.m. today.  


Sunday, July 1, 2012, 5:28 p.m. 


The pool will open today at 5:30 until 8p.m.  
Tomorrow, the pool should be back to full operation.
Just a reminder that the pool will close at 4p.m. because of a swim meet.  


Monday, July 2, 2012, 9:33 a.m.

The pool will operate regular hours today.  
The swim meet scheduled for this evening has been canceled.  

Monday, July 2, 2012, 3:45 p.m.

Unfortunately, the pool will be closed immediately until 5:30 p.m.
      because someone was sick in the pool.

Monday, July 2, 2012, 4:39 p.m.


In the course of cleaning the pool after the incident today, the lifeguard found, well, poop.
     We hope to open at 7:30 p.m.  

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


In Summary:

A bad storm blew through on Friday night, causing a power outage.
Therefore, the pool was closed until 5:30, Sunday evening.

The previously scheduled swim meet on Monday was canceled, due to unknown reasons,
     so, whereas the pool was scheduled to close early for the meet ( 4:00 ),
it would now remain open, operating at regular business hours.

Until . . . 

someone puked in the pool.

SO, the pool closed immediately, and would reopen around 5:30 p.m.

Until . . . 

they found poop in the pool, too.    

In which case, the pool will now NOT be open until 7:30.  

As usual, always check your e-mail before coming to the pool,
     in case there are any other natural disasters, er . . . uh, I mean "changes".  

















Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Is that YOU, Nora Ephron?

Today, I shall write. 
There have been too many signs pointing me in that direction, lately, 
and I would be a FOOL to ignore them.
                                                   
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


This morning, something woke me at a very early hour.

It sounded like some sort of animal on top of the roof, just above my bed.

A bird or a squirrel, maybe . . . hopping around.

But, then, it sounded like someone was repeatedly smacking the palm of her hand
     against the aluminum siding, just outside my window.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It was not the woodpecker.

The woodpecker has woken me many times before 
     with that very fast banging sound against the downspout:

Da, da, da, da;  da, da, da, da;  da da, da, da, da.  

The woodpecker used to visit frequently when the kids were little, and, 
     like a mad woman (with no sleep), I  would leap out of my bed to try to scare him away 
before he woke them.     

And, yes, I did say HIM.  

After all, only a male creature would wake a sleeping mother.     

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 "Only teenagers to wake in this house!" I said to the noise.

Not that waking THEM is any less troublesome than waking a baby.     

The noise went away, and the house was quiet.

     But, I could not get back to sleep.

My mind started to wander, and suddenly, a story . . . maybe a possible screenplay . . .
      began to unravel in my mind.  


I reached over for my laptop.

Before I began to type, I checked my e-mail and my Facebook.   

I have to get that out of the way before I can let my creative juices flow,
     and sometimes, something said or seen on Facebook can inspire me.


That's when I was reminded of the news that I had heard, late last night -
              the very last thing that I remember, before I fell asleep:

Author and screenwriter Nora Ephron had died.  

I was very saddened by this news, as I have always admired her, 
     as a person, and for her work, 
and truly feel that she is irreplaceable.  

It makes me sad to realize there will be no more Nora Ephron movies.   

And then, a crazy thought came to my head.

Maybe that was Nora Ephron . . . banging on my house, 
              telling me to "get off my ass, and get back to writing"!

Okay . . . . . . that gave me goosebumps. 

Then, just as I began typing, my battery went out.  

The electrical cord was downstairs.

Is the Universe challenging me???

It was still early - before 6:30, and I could have easily given up, and tried to go back to sleep.

But, I went downstairs to get the cord, brought it back upstairs, and began to write.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A week ago, I saw the movie, "Love, Peace & Misunderstanding".  
There is a scene where Jane Fonda's character says to her inspiring poet granddaughter, 
     "You need a muse." 

And, in that moment, I said to myself, "I need a muse". 

A few days ago, I posted on Facebook about all of the weird dreams that I had been having.

"Friends" told me to write about them.   

While I felt the dreams were too creepy to write about, 
     the message "to write" rang loud and clear. 

My inner voice said, "It has been too long. Get back to what you love."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Do I really believe that was Nora Ephron banging on my house?

Who knows?

A very cool thought, one must admit.
 
A friend of mine recently wrote on Facebook,

    "That's why you are a writer. Insight is the by product of lingering upon ideas".

(Thank you, Rick!)

So, whether it was Nora Ephron, my inner goddess, or something else . . . 
      the important thing is that, for whatever reason, I rose out of bed early this morning, 
and got back to something that I love to do - 

to write.  



Nora Ephron, you will be missed.  









 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Something Small

Sometimes,
     my days and nights pass
without being able to write a single word.

I breathe in,
     I breathe out,

But . . .

I can't write.

Until,
     one day,
I just write about . . . something.

Something meaningless,
     something small.  

A few words
     on a few lines,
taking up space
     on a small page.

And,
     a funny thing happens.

A bottle of salsa turns into a story.

A small story, but a STORY.   

     Giving it breath,
giving it life,
     giving it wings . . .

And,
     even the smallest of wings

                                           can fly.      

 


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bottle of Salsa



Pork and lettuce; 
                            sour cream.

Red and yellow peppers; 
                                   one green lime.  

Tortillas, shredded cheese; 
                                       cilantro, red wine.  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


     "Carnitas for dinner?"asked the cashier.

     "You bet!" was my response.  

     "I'm betting you already have salsa," she said.   

     I smiled and replied, "You read my mind.

           My bottle of salsa is waiting at home."     

She smiled, and said, 

"Sounds perfect."  

    And, it was. 





  
 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

London in my Pocket

With the unseasonably warm temperatures we had been experiencing in the month of March,
     I had not been accustomed to wearing a coat. 
It was my "go-to" coat - the perfect weight and style for most occasions.  
Plus, it did not require dry cleaning.
I could throw it in the washer and dryer a million times ( which, I have),
     and it would come out unscathed.

It was quite chilly when we left the restaurant,
     and when I put my hands in my coat pockets, I felt it there.
Almost three weeks after my return from Europe, a little reminder was left behind.
Like a favorite wallet, the edges were slightly bent and worn, from the amount of use.  
It molded in my hand, as I squeezed it, and I could feel the coolness of the plastic, outer sleeve.

Before I pulled it from my pocket, I knew what it was, and I smiled.
My backstage pass, my golden ticket, my ride on a "magical mystery tour" . . .
      it was the Oyster.
The Oyster Card is an affordable way to travel around London,
     and can be used for most forms of public transportation. 
We used ours primarily for the buses and the Tube ( underground Metro ),
     and we did not step foot on the streets of London without it.    
Mine was always kept safely inside my right-hand pocket of my "go-to" jacket -
     the one that does not require dry cleaning. 

And, there it was . . . . . . still. 

When I pulled it out of my pocket,
     I read the words on the front of the sleeve for the very first time:  
 
London in your pocket : Priceless
 
I couldn't agree more, I told myself.
And, with a smile, I put it safely back inside my right-hand pocket, 
     where it belonged.  




Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Flow

I left all of my electronics behind.   
I did not bring my laptop or my cell phone,
     and since I do not own an ipad (or iphone or ipod ),
that pretty much covers it. 


I DID bring a hair straightener, but I will leave that for another story.

I figured, if a story came along,
     I would jot down a few words in a notebook.


Which, I did. 

It looked something like this:

Trying to get to our seats on the airplane (French foreign exchange students) - 
 "go that way, go this way, go around, go over".
Sponge Bog Square Toilet
Speaking of toilet . . .  "To Let"
Voice in the elevator . . . my Rosetta Stone for learning a British accent - 
"Going Down" , "Floor Four" . 
Man at the pub who "let a loud one loose".
etc., etc., etc.

I wrote two full pages of this. 

The problem was, I missed my laptop.

I was . . . I AM accustomed to writing my stories almost immediately 
      after they come to me.  
The inspiration hits, and like a bad case of the runs, 
     I RUSH to my laptop before it's too late.   
The only difference is, if I wait too long, there is nothing there . . . nothing left.  
The opposite of ( pardon my English ) "shitting one's pants".    

Sometimes, if I sit long enough (at my computer), 
     I can bring some of the thoughts and words back.

But, it is not the same.   

It is not as good . . . not as real . . . not as RAW.  

Not only that, but there is a "flow" between my brain and my fingers, 
     as they tap the letters on the keyboard -
a flow that allows me to type my thoughts
               just as quickly as they fly into my brain.  

And, though I enjoy writing by hand - the "art" of a pen or pencil, as it etches across the page, 
     it slows down my thoughts, impeding my progress.    

So . . . 

     on my next trip, 
          I will definitely be bringing my laptop, 
so that I can type up my stories, as they happen.   

So that I won't miss 
     a single thing. 

 








Monday, March 12, 2012

No Yappy Dogs In London



There are no yappy dogs in London.

There are short dogs, and long dogs;
     scruffy and smooth dogs.

Low dogs, and tall dogs;
     lean dogs, and stout dogs.

Black dogs, and white dogs,
     and brown dogs, and gray dogs,
and work dogs, and play dogs,
and "dogs at high tea" dogs,

     BUT,

there are no YAPPY dogs . . .

      in London.   




Sunday, March 11, 2012

Stiff Upper Lip

Sitting in a cozy little restaurant by the bar,
     where the bartender measures each drink before pouring it into a glass,

I suggested we play a game. 

     "Find ONE person that will make eye contact with you," I told my partner.  

Since we had arrived in London, I witnessed, first hand, the expression "stiff upper lip".  

Stiff Upper Lip:  Remain resolute and unemotional in the face of adversity, 
or even tragedy.

But, what's so tragic about walking down the street, or into a pub?  

One, after the other, after the other . . . people walked past, looking straight ahead -
             no awareness or concern for others around them,
and no interest, whatsoever, in making a . . . CONNECTION.     


     "Kind of cool, actually, " I said.  "I feel like I am invisible. 
                                                              Like some sort of super hero."

I had this overwhelming feeling to stand up and perform some strange display of behavior.

But, I didn't.   

Being the only American in the bar, I did not want to end up on YouTube.   









 






Friday, March 9, 2012

Unchartered Places - Part II of "The Chocolate Croissant"

So, a funny thing about my elliptical.

I have had it for YEARS, and ( probably because of my lack of patience with electronic devices )
     I have still not explored all of its potential.

Not even close, actually.  

In fact, the only program that I have used is the one that says "Quick Start".

Just get on it, and go. 

No thought required.  

But, today, since there actually IS no program labeled "Burn Off Chocolate Croissant",
     I thought I would search for something that came close,
and noticed a button labeled "Workouts Plus".

THAT sounds like a "Chocolate Croissant" burning workout, I thought  -
          the "regular" workout PLUS the extra 320 calories I need to burn off. 
 
I pressed the button to look at my options, and stumbled upon . . .  

                    "Around the World".  

Fresh off my visit to Europe, this one sounded PERFECT.  

I entered all of the necessary information ( age, weight, exercise level, length of workout ),
     and pressed "start". 

And, wouldn't you know, the first stop was . . . . . . EUROPE!

Then Africa, then Asia, then South America . . . 

The only problem was, no pictures.

My only visual was the little red dots on the screen -
     less dots for flatter ground, and more dots for hills and mountains.

So, I had to use my imagination.

Maybe that's where the "PLUS" comes into play.  

I wonder how many calories a good imagination can burn? 

I am going to imagine . . . . . .

A   LOT.  


( Imagine Picture Here)













Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Chocolate Croissant

My daughter asked me to pick her up some Trader Joe's frozen chocolate croissants.

So, I did.   

The next morning, I walked downstairs to find a small hunk of dough sitting on a pan,
     and the oven on pre-heat.
I thought I'd help her out, so I took the croissant box out of the freezer,
and read the directions.


               Step 1:  Place frozen pastries, seam side down . . . 
                           on a very lightly buttered or paper lined baking sheet.  

DONE.  

               Step 2:  Allow uncovered croissants 
                            TO SIT AT ROOM TEMPERATURE FOR 9 HOURS
 ( OVERNIGHT ).  

HUH.

     "Ha-ley!" I hollered up the stairs.
      "You were supposed to allow the croissant to sit out overnight!" 
   
My daughter came downstairs looking very disappointed.  
She looked at the box and said, in a very determined voice,
     "I'm going to try it, anyways."   


               Step 3:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

               Step 4:  optional egg wash ( not necessary ) . 

               Step 5:  Bake 20 - 25 minutes

               Step 6:  Cool about 10 minutes 
 
HUH.  

I looked at the clock, and noticed that she did not have enough time to cook the croissant, 
     even if it wasn't . . . . . . frozen.   

     "That's why I put the temperature a lot higher," she remarked. 

With a raise of the eyebrow (unlike the dough),
      and a smirk on my face ( I probably would have done the same thing ), 
I said,  
     
     "It will be an experiment!"  

Ten minutes later, the lump of dough ( though, slightly golden) did not look much different.   

"Don't think it's going to happen," I said,
                as she took it out of the oven, looking defeated.   
"You can try again tomorrow.  Remember to take it out of the freezer tonight."

She left the croissant sitting on the tray, on top of the stove, and left for school.

Several hours later, I was passing through the kitchen (on my way to exercise), 
     and thought, I'd better do something with that croissant. 
And, as I contemplated whether to save or dispose of it, I decided to try a bite.      

     "How bad can it be, really?" I said to myself.  

I put it in my mouth, and . . . . . . wowwww.

SOOOOOOOOO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .good.

I mean, REALLY good.

I took another bite, and another.  

I peeled away the layers and the gooey chocolate and ate bite after bite after bite.    

It was SO good that I simply could not stop eating it, until it was gone.  

I pulled the box out of the freezer (again), and looked at the calorie count. 

320 calories per croissant.  

"Okay, then!" I said, 
     as I walked downstairs, where my elliptical was waiting for me, 
and searched for the workout program that read, 
  
"Burn Off Chocolate Croissant".   

It was worth every bite.  












Monday, March 5, 2012

House Number 13

Alarm goes off at 6:15 a.m.

Kids off to school, and I am full of energy, which is not like me AT ALL.

Especially, at this time of day, but it is 11:15 in London - almost lunch time.  

While I was away, Charlie spent time at "Hotel Little River" ,
     where he became accustomed to four walks a day. 

Before my trip, I was becoming a bit neglectful of his leash time,  
     and vowed to make more of an effort, upon my return. 

Charlie is so happy when I put on his leash,
     that he is literally pushing himself off the wall, doing flips.

Leash!  Leash!  I LOVE my leash!  
Walk!  Walk!  I LOVE my walks! 

As we walk through the neighborhood, however 
     (Charlie trying to make his mark on every mailbox,
light pole, and street sign), 
      I find myself quite bored and uninspired by my surroundings,
and imagine my mornings in London.

  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

After showering in the teeny tiny shower,
     and dressing without bumping into the walls,
my partner and I would take the two person elevator
down from "floor four" ( said in a British accent ),
into the cozy little lobby, where we would hand the friendly desk clerk our key.

What a great concept, by the way - drop the key off at the desk when you leave, 
     and pick it back up, upon return.      
 Not to mention, the key is attached to a twelve inch long 
Indian braided tassel - 
one that looks as if it was attached to the end of a grand scaled piece of drapery, 
     which makes it very easy to locate, 
and equally easy to not mistakenly walk out the door with  
(or, as they say in London - "take away").  

Open the doors to outside, and we are immediately placed amongst the living,
     where people are strolling to and fro, and up and down
the semi-quiet side street of London, just a block off the main drag,
where we walk in search of breakfast.

The hotel serves breakfast between 7 and 9 a.m., 
but we were only able to make it once, 
     as our East Coast minds told us that time of the morning was just 
TOO DAMN EARLY.   
  

My partner's parents live in a flat just a few blocks from the hotel,
     and after picking something up at a local market or restaurant
( fresh baguettes, smoked salmon, prosciutto and cheese,
                               fresh squeezed orange juice ),
we would walk towards house number 13, where we would share our food
     in return for French pressed coffee and good company.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

So, as Charlie and I walk through our neighborhood in Fairfax,
     I imagine all of this.

We return to house number 4339, where there is nobody waiting.  

I cook myself some eggs,
     and drink my "pure & natural, never from concentrate" orange juice.

I do have a French press with which to make my coffee.

And, as I pour myself a cup, this brings me comfort and makes me happy,
     as do the memories of my trip,
which,
     like our morning fresh-squeezed orange juice and crusty baguettes,

are still fresh (in my mind).      
    







Friday, March 2, 2012

A Room With a View




I love the bathroom in my hotel. 
It is small, with a shower barely big enough
     to bend my elbows to wash my hair,
and shaving my legs is a challenge.
The walls angle downward towards the loo,
     and if you are too tall or not paying close enough attention,
you are liable to do damage to your head.  
But, there is a window with a view of the rooftop that cranks open,
     allowing in the fresh air and the sounds of the streets of London. 
I love the bathroom in my hotel.  





Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Streets of London

For the last eight days, I have been in a different place.
Lots of places, really.
     London, Holland, Belgium, France . . . . . . and places in between.
My first visit to Europe EVER.
Only took me 43 years.
With three children at home, I feel slightly guilty taking this trip so far away and for so many days,
     but it was they who ultimately encouraged me to go "spread my wings".
And, I am ever so grateful to my wonderful children for doing so.      

Right now, I sit in a charming little, cozy little Lebanese restaurant in London.
We stumbled upon it this morning for breakfast,
     and when I had the urge to sit comfortably somewhere to spend time with my writing,
the atmosphere and perfectly sized plush leather chairs called us back for a visit.  
Unbeknownst to us, there is a private room in the back, just big enough to seat five -
     a rustic, dark wood table, with bench seating, all around,
covered in rich colored tapestries of burgundy, gold, and black.
It sounds very dark, but the large, roof top window just above, allows in the sunshine
and a view of the soft blue sky.
Spanish music is playing in the background, and if I close my eyes, I am not sure where I am.
London, Lebanon, Spain . . .
      and my head still in the clouds from a trip to Holland and Belgium - where am I ?
It doesn't matter.

Victor, the young restaurant keeper with warm eyes and a generous smile
    (who has family in Chicago, but no time to visit),
pops his head around the corner, just often enough to see to our needs.      
A nice strong coffee and a freshly squeezed orange juice sit on the table, to my right.  
And, all is good in the world. 
Day after day of doing and walking and and looking and driving . . . and this is exactly what I need.
So much to take in, and now a time to sit and reflect in this quiet little alcove,
     while the streets of London bustle on by.   


My little haven in London - talking with my girlfriend on the phone. 
  





 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Objects In the Mirror



A continuation of my frustrating search to find jeans that fit me, I, once again,
     subjected myself to heart-ache and torture
by stepping foot inside one of those claustrophobic "chambers"
with the four walls and talking mirrors.
 
Much like the warnings on side view mirrors of cars, there ought to be a message above the
dressing room door that reads:

Objects in the mirror appear larger than they really are. 

I remember the first time I experienced a "talking" mirror.

It was the first time I experienced getting a facial.

The Esthetician made me hold up this horribly thick piece of magnified glass
     that showed me all of the wrinkles and sun damage and pimples
and black heads and white heads ( and red heads and bed heads and dead heads )  . . .


     I never went back there again.

And, the place ended up going out of business,
so maybe I was not the only one who ran away
     HORRIFIED.    

I just think there are certain things that should be left unseen.

No one should have to look at themselves THAT CLOSELY. 

Unfortunately, until I find the right jeans,
I am going to have to continue to re-visit the horrible fitting room chamber with the talking mirrors.   

I just have to prepare myself, as I always do -

     close my eyes, hold my breath, hope for the best . . .  

And, when I open my eyes, if I don't like what I see,
     I remember a phrase from childhood :

         Sticks and stones can break my bones,
                         but words ( from talking mirrors ) can never hurt me.

And, then I go home and order yet another pair of jeans online.  











Saturday, February 18, 2012

Bullhead

Late in the afternoon, I received a text from a girlfriend that read "bullhead".

That's all it said.

Just . . . . . . "bullhead".

I stared at the word, and couldn't make sense of it.

          Is she calling me stubborn?

          Did she text the wrong person?

          Is it part of a joke that I am not comprehending?  

          Is there a conversation that she and I had, and I can't remember?

DING, DING, DING  ! ! !  

AND, the light bulb turns on.

 Earlier that day, I had sent her a text that read:

          "What was the name of those jeans you said you liked?"

Her answer:

     "Bullhead".  
 


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Exercise Class

Today, I co-taught Music & Movement to a class full of 4-year olds.

While they were sitting in a circle, waiting for instructions, 
     one little boy spontaneously pushed up on his hands and feet,
pushing his bottom into the air, and announced,

      " I know how to do a table!"  

And, without further ado,
     several other children joined him in the "table pose",
announcing that they, too, could do it.    

     "That looks like yoga," I said.  "Where did you learn that?"  

     "I don't know, " said the little boy.  "We just know it!"  

     "Do you like doing yoga?" I asked the class. 

     "YES!" said the class, unanimously.  

Then, my co-teacher said, 

     "Maybe we could do a yoga class in here, one day soon."  

     "YAYYYY!" they all cheered.    

And, one little girl added,

     "And, after that, we should do . . . . . . 

ZUMBA!" 
                                 

Who needs to join a gym, when you can teach preschool ? ! ! 


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"Valentine Appreciation Month"

Yesterday afternoon, I stopped by the store to pick up a few items for dinner.

Why is it so crowded?

Then, I noticed.

I noticed the beautiful and enticing display of long stem strawberries.
I noticed the fancy, chocolate filled boxes, tied up with strings.
I noticed a large crowd, frantically hovered around the greeting card aisle.
I noticed a suspicious number of dazed and confused looking men. Carrying flowers.  

I have nothing against Valentine's Day.

I think it's GREAT for preschoolers.

I think it's GREAT for teenagers who have a crush,
     or are experiencing their first "love".

I think it's GREAT for couples who enjoy going out to dinner
     on a night when the restaurants are over-crowded and over-priced.

Personally, however, I resent feeling pressured into
     showing my affections on a specific day.

That being said, I AM a romantic, and I don't want to be a complete HUMBUG.
   
So (I thought),

How do we make Valentine's Day more pleasurable?

Then, it came to me.

Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days.

Mardi Gras lasts (depending on who you ask) between 3 days to several weeks.

Why not EXTEND Valentine's Day?

Make the entire month of February . . .
                
                     VALENTINE APPRECIATION MONTH.   

One could have the entire month to 
     buy a card, 
purchase flowers, 
     make dinner reservations,
find someone to BE your Valentine,
and it would be a "win-win" situation for everyone -
                 the merchants, the restaurant owners, and the proprietors.

The down side would be an entire month of Hallmark and Kay Jewelers commercials.

Hope you are well stocked on tissues.    














Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

Preschool is a GREAT place to be on Valentine's Day. 

The girls embrace the opportunity to wear their "pretty-in-pink" . . . . . .  or purple, or red.
And, the boys, too, wear their colors, handsome and proud.  

They bring with them valentines, either store bought, or made from home. 
Eyes all aglow with anticipation,
     as they wait for the opportunity to hand out  their paper-made gestures;  
then, carefully placing them into decorated envelopes or bags.

For snack, some sort of sugary sweet,
     shaped like a heart,and dipped in chocolate . . . . . . yum!
Which, we enjoy, as we talk about love and giving,
     caring, and sharing, and friendship.  

That's what Valentine's Day is about.  









Thursday, February 9, 2012

To Swing

I recently saw the movie, Extremely Loud and Uncomfortably Close,
and there is a scene where the main character
     discovers the joy of what it feels like . . . 

to SWING.

Do you remember what it feels like?





That feeling of weightlessness and flying.
No worries or thinking about the time. 
Anything can happen,
     and we can be anyone we want to be.    
Challenging ourselves to swing higher;
     releasing our hands from the chains;
surrendering our bodies into the sky.  
Soaring, soaring, soaring
                                 . . . . . . landing.      

Then, right back up again. 

  
It's been a while.  
Maybe I should go for a swing.   






 







Saturday, January 21, 2012

As They Should Be

And, Charlie ran outside, just like any other morning, 
     only to find himself sliding across the frozen tundra that had become our backyard.
     "What IS this?" he wondered (the way dogs wonder about things).  
He pounced on the white, slick stuff, and went sliding again; 
     his gray-white coat blending in with the wintery landscape.  
     "I'm not sure I like this, " he barked ( and barked, and barked ).
And, ran back inside, where things were as they should be.    

Friday, January 20, 2012

Milk, Bread, and T.P., Too


( To the tune of "It's Raining, It's Pouring" ) 

It’s SNOW-ing, it’s SNOW-ing,

The OLD man is GOing

     TO the store for MILK and bread
     And T.P., too ( to USE the head),
     Slipped ON some ice and BUMPED his head,
     And WENT inside and WENT to bed,
     Woke UP and it was ALL mel-ted,
     But, at LEAST he has his MILK and bread,
     And T.P., too ( to use the head ), 
     Cuz if he DIDN'T then he MIGHT be dead . . . . . .

( BIG BREATH ) 

ALL because it’s SNOW-ing.    




Driving Class

It was a rainy day, and for many a preschooler ( and teacher ),
     this means "indoor recess".

Or, what I now refer to as "Driving Class".  

For, when it is too cold or wet outside,
     we take a trip down the long hallway, trimmed in colorful artwork, 
into a large, open room filled with tricycles and scooters,
     as well as bright orange cones for the children to maneuver around 
until their hearts' content.  

As I stood and watched my little preschoolers drive around in circles,
     I found humor in the realization that watching them handle their tricycles
was much like being out in "real" traffic.

There was "Sunday Driver Suzie":

     She was in absolutely NO hurry, driving slowly and carefully around the cones, 
     taking time to notice EVERYTHING around her, 
     but not letting it distract her from driving in a SLOW straight  line.  
     AND, not allowing ANYONE to make her feel rushed. 

And, "Steady Eddie".

     He was driving at a very consistent speed ( not too slow, not too fast ),
     ALWAYS looking ahead ( not side to side ) and ALWAYS staying in a straight line.  

Also, "Speedy Petey":

     Like a race car driver, he was ZIPPING around the track, weaving in and out of traffic,
     not slowing down for ANYONE or ANYTHING,
     and ACTUALLY doing a pretty darn good job of it.   

And, "He Should Never Have a Cell Phone Sam":

     He noticed EVERYthing around him, pointing his "trike" in the same direction as his attention,
     going on and off the course, running into other tricycles and cones. 

And, of course, "Rule Breaker Bob":

     He was PURPOSELY driving outside of the cones and against the traffic,
     causing all KINDS of trouble, making all of the other drivers mad at him,
     and THOROUGHLY enjoying himself, in the process.    

And, "Traffic Cop Tammy":

     Telling EVERYONE ELSE what they SHOULD be doing or what they AREN'T doing right,
     to the point of parking her tricycle in an INCONVENIENT spot, and standing up in traffic,
     causing a traffic jam.   

And, then there was  "Public Transit Paul":

     He stood safely outside of the cones, and while he considered getting on a tricycle,
     watched everyone else drive around like maniacs, and with a concerned look on his face,
     decided to just . . . watch.    



Hmmmmm.   


Which one are you ? ? ? 





( The names have been changed to protect the innocent. )