Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sentimental Restoration

As a young child, one of my favorite things about visiting my Nana and Gampy was Susabella. In my little girl memory, Susabella was the most beautiful baby doll, with her curly auburn hair and glacier blue eyes that opened & closed. Her lace trimmed dress was several shades lighter than her eyes, but the same icy blue hue. When we (the 3 grand-daughters) would visit my grandparents, Nana would "hide" Susabella...usually in one of the same 4 places :-) The search for the treasured baby doll was almost as exciting as being the first to find her.

My cousins and I were in our late teens/ early twenties when our Nana passed away and Susabella was the one heirloom that nearly caused an irreparable family feud. Because I was the eldest grandchild, it was decided that the coveted baby doll would be mine.

For years I kept Susabella perched on the needlepoint cushion of a chair my Nana made. As she (and I) aged, Susabella's auburn locks grew brittle. Some of her eyelashes loosened. Her "skin" became a bit grimy and her dress began to disintegrate. Still, I saw her as the precious doll of my youth. It wasn't until I had my own children that Susabella's age became evident to me. I finally put her in a closet, wrapped in a blanket my Nana had knit, when the sight of her (literally) gave my son nightmares.

Last week Susabella fell off my closet shelf, while I was searching for a handbag, and I decided it was time for a make-over. I had originally intended to research companies that did professional restoration of dolls, but happened upon a plethora of websites that sell doll making supplies. I ordered a wig and a pair of new eyelashes, figuring that was as good a place to start as any. The package arrived this afternoon. I washed Susabella as best I could with "Goo Gone" and popped her new do on, with minimal difficulty. The eyelashes were quite another story...don't know HOW Dolly Parton et al mess with those things on a regular basis! I dug through a bin of my favorite baby clothes of my daughter's and found an ensemble that does Susabella proud.

Of all of the refinishing projects I have undertaken, this has been FAR and away my favorite. Although I think of my Nana frequently, today she was working alongside me as we restored Susabella to her original beauty! The fact that her eyelashes are crooked and there are remnants of ballpoint pen on her chin is apropos. It was Nana, after all, who presented a lovely gift-wrapped present held together with black, electrical tape!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A little late for Halloween...

Seems the holiday season brings out the shutter-bug in me. I took some pictures of my pup's cat....Yes, the cat belongs to the dog. They adopted each other a few weeks after we got the puppy. A year later, it would appear that both are here to stay. I digress. I, personally, thought this picture of Abigail is adorable, but have been told it's "beyond" spooky.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Wonderland

I'm having a bit of difficulty with the placement of pictures in the entries, but wanted to add a few I took today, after my daughter & the pup got tired of posing. I especially like the picture of the gold star in the boxwoods. That was quite accidental. Evidently, the star fell off of the garage door during the storm and my landlord kindly propped it in the bush while he was plowing.

Did Someone Say "Snow"???

Not that it's unusual to have a snowy December in New England, but it would appear that Mother Nature decided to dump a whole winter's worth in 3 days! The children were, naturally, thrilled to wake up Friday morning to a day off from school. I was equally pleased, when it continued all day, to not have to go to work. Saturday was clear, so my vacation was short-lived. I was pleasantly surprised to find that things weren't TOO crazy, at work, after the loss of one precious shopping day. We woke up to more snow this morning and it continued through most of the afternoon. The kids and I are all teetering on the brink of cabin fever. I don't dare check the weather channel, for fear tomorrow may be another school cancellation and I NEED the day for last minute bustling about. I sure hope Mother Nature is listening and will take pity on those of us who aren't quite as organized as we'd like to be.

My little one braved the elements, with an (initially) reluctant 13 pound fuzz-ball, in tow. They had a fabulous time and I thoroughly enjoyed capturing their snowy smiles on "film".

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Crafts

I must admit: I think my parental growing pains are adversely impacting my typical pre-holiday glee.

The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is, normally, my favorite time of year...second to whenever the first, viable signs of spring appear. Fortunately, my kids noticed my lack of Christmas cheer and prodded me sufficiently to warm the embers of my yuletide fire.

Inspired, also, by HGTV's holiday decorating shows, I collected some goodies from the woods behind my house and set to crafting. One of the HGTV episodes featured a project in which you spray paint branches silver or white and hand them from the side of your house, using fishing line...voila: non-melting icicles! Because I am so possessive of my creations, I decided to use mine inside and varied the icicle idea on one project. My 7 year old helped make the "Partridge in a Pear (twig) Tree". Technically, it's doves in a pear tree, as she so readily informed me. Such a stickler for details, that little one is.

Friday, December 5, 2008

My Daughter's Message

I'm suffering some growing pains, as a parent. I have been blessed with two, wonderfully unique, kind-hearted children (do you feel the "but" coming), but they are both facing challenges that makes my job, as a single mom, more difficult than usual. The three of us are a team, though, and we'll get through this together...we always do.

I sat down at my computer, after being reminded that I was slacking with my entries, ready to journal about the woes/ joys of pre-holiday chaos. I glanced at the picture of the "I Love You" pennies and my heart shifted, so my writing will follow suit. It must have been close to a year ago: I was fairly newly separated and trying to make a home for my children, in the house we are renting. I don't recall the details, but my stress level was, in general, through the roof and I had lost patience with my daughter over something...most likely, it was something insignificant. She went into her brother's room and was, to my relief, entertaining herself quietly for a few minutes. I do recall feeling mildly put-off when she came into the living room and asked me to come see something she had made. We went through the whole "cover your eyes, Mommy...take my hand...I won't let you bump into anything" routine as she led me into her brother's room. She had spread a blanket on the floor and lovingly created the penny message for me. Sweet? Yes! Given the fact that it was in response to my impatience, however, I'd say it went way beyond that.

Years ago, when my son was very young, I saw an interview with John Travolta, on one of the morning news shows. He was talking about his very un-Hollywood, loving, "normal" childhood. He told the interviewer something, about his upbringing, that I will never forget:

"My parents", he said, "celebrated every breath that I took". He added proudly, "There was not a single day of my life when I wasn't absolutely certain of my parents' unconditional love for me."

The key to good parenting:
that's it! From the moment I heard that, I realized it was that simple. Easy? No! Simple? Absolutely!

My daughter's beautiful penny message made me recognize that, in spite of my short-comings as a mom, she
knows she is loved unconditionally...and she is learning to give that kind of love back!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

"The Shack"

I just closed the last page on this book and knew I had to write a blog entry before the memory of how it has impacted me begins to fade. Oh, that is already underestimating the powerful effect this story has had on me.
Mom, if you're reading can stop right now. I'm about to get into the "God thing".
My best (guy) friend, Glenn, let me borrow this book and told me: "This is right up your alley". He also emailed me an article, which briefly outlined the story and highlighted the controversy this book is causing in "the church". That was enough incentive, being the irreverent child I am, to up the intrigue ante.
From the first paragraph of the Foreward, this book had me tight in its grip. It took me several weeks to finish, however, because I didn't want to get to the final sentence. As the story unfolded, both my mind and my heart were filled with hopes/ ideas of how it would/ should further unravel...and how it would end. I believe I was 1/2 way through when I, subconsciously, turned my preconceived notions over to the story...and let God tell it the way I was meant to hear it.
The theological debates over the biblical validity of "The Shack" are of absolutely no importance to me, whatsoever. I heed no warning to the churches' admonishings that this story is "dangerous". If I have to declare my faith, in a conventional manner, I am a Christian. There is, in my humble opinion, nothing in this book that challenges my belief system. It is all about God: at least, the God I know and love.
Regardless of what your spiritual beliefs are...or are not...this book is amazing. It is as far from a bible-thumping, convert-to-one-way-of-thinking-or-spend-eternity-in-damnation story as you will find. What it is.... too big for me to put into words. That, alone, should tell you something!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Latest Business Endevour

Given the frequency that I...and many other grabbing a baseball cap for a quick trip to the grocery store, hauling the kids to sports practice or simply to camouflage a bad hair day, I started brainstorming about how to add a bit of flair to the standard cap. My love for all things romantic, vintage & whimsical was the inspiration for my new creations. I started with plain, baseball caps (assorted colors) and added vintage jewelry, lace, ribbons & beads. The "flavor" of each hat is unique, depending on my mood and the personality of the cap, as I create.

The baseball caps have gotten such positive responses, when I wear one, but I have not yet gathered the courage to "go public". This feels like a safe place to test the waters. Any/ all constructive criticism would be greatly appreciated!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


This is kind of fun!



I'm sitting at my computer, attempting to navigate through/ around all of the blogging bells & whistles and up pops an email from my mom: subject..."BLOG". Oh Noooooooo.......Oh, YES! She found me!

To paraphrase the body of her email: I may not know how to leave a comment on a blog, but I DO know how to read them. Fortunately, she added a grinning smiley at the end, so my concerns were
somewhat alleviated. That is, until I remembered my posting about "The Parking Lot Groper"! Simultaneously, I'm grabbing the phone to call my sister (thinking she had thrown me under the bus) and scrambling to re-read my postings. The parking lot incident wasn't depicted as graphically as it could have been. Meanwhile, I was semi-relieved to learn that my big sis hadn't "outed" me purposely. Seems Mom is more adept at navigating the internet than I'd given her credit for. Since the link to my blog is on my sister's blog, doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how Mom crept in here unnoticed. After much giggling, with my sister, about that "parents are coming home early, better make sure you've found any wayward beer caps" (high school) feeling, I decided I'd better call Mom and face the music. Fortunately, I also underestimated her sense of humor and...well....I'm not grounded!

However, now that the cat's out of the bag I must be ever mindful that "Big Mama's Watching"!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Miracle Rose Bush

Since I added a picture of the rose bush, to my blog, the least it deserves is the accompanying story behind it. One of my best friends gave me a small, potted rose bush on a particularly difficult birthday. She instructed me to plant it outside, after I had enjoyed it during the summer months. I did as I was told...a rare occurrence...and thought no more of my pretty little plant. For reasons that are of no significance today, my friend and I had a major falling out, which resulted in nearly a year of isolation from each other. Suddenly, I became acutely aware (during the fall & winter months) of that rose bush, which was planted right outside of my condo. Barren & gray, it seemed to snarl at me each time we crossed paths. "Nasty, ugly, dead thing" I thought as I, ridiculously, tried to avoid making eye/ thorn contact: "I should just dig you up and toss you in the dumpster". I didn't. The fact is, I couldn't.

Fall turned to winter and winter turned to spring. As the crocus popped through the still-cold soil and the other obediently perennials followed suit, there sat that stupid rose bush: gnarled and unsightly, with an air of bitter defiance. One morning, in early May I noticed a bit of life emanating from the bush. There was nothing botanically definable: it just looked....I don't know how else to say it...hopeful. Over the course of the next few weeks, the plant continued its slow, but consistent awakening. The stems turned from gray to an ashen green and the tips of a few, tiny leaves poked through. I'm not certain exactly how long after that, the "accidental email" went out, but I do recall forwarding something to a mass of people and...much to my chagrin...included my ex-friend, on the list. I was furious with myself for such a slip of the finger, as I had
vowed to never grace her with my presence again. Within minutes, she replied with a very timid, innocuous "Thank you" email. That was all it took for me to remember all the things that glued our hearts together. I'm afraid I might lose my less-sentimental reader(s), if I continue with this Hallmark card description. Suffice it to say, we re-connected, resolved the issues that had caused the rift and our friendship still stands the tests of time and discord.

"What about the bush?", you might be asking.

The rose bush went...overnight...into
full bloom. The day after the reconciliation, that silly, stubborn plant was covered in perfect, red roses. True story? 100%, absolutely no embellishing, exaggerating necessary!

Toe Confusion

My mom would have my head if she knew I was blogging about her doctor's appointment, but 1.) I doubt she even knows what a "blog" is, 2.) she's in Florida and I'm in Connecticut and 3.) I'm too big to spank/ ground/ lock in my room. Let's keep this on the "QT" anyway, though, shall we?

Mom just sent out an email, with the following...cracked me up!

I just got back from an app't with an Orthopedic Dr. My big toe has been so painful all week that I could barely walk. After examining me and discussing symptoms, he eliminated gout and broken bone and figured it must have been somehow injured. That, after much back and forth. On the way out of the examining room I looked at the slip of paper he'd given me for the receptionist, and said
"Can you really use "toe confusion" as a diagnosis?" He laughed and said "It says toe CONTUSION!" We howled all the way down the hall!! toe barely hurts anymore:-)

Trying to figure out how to share my experiences with internet dating, without offending anyone (and risking possible internet stalking) proves to be more challenging than I'd anticipated. I've decided the wisest and kindest approach is that which Carly Simon took is writing "You're So Vain". To paraphrase: You probably think this entry is about you. You're so vain.

Hold on tight, folks...this IS a bumpy ride. While I am changing the names and other possibly identifying details, to protect the not-so-innocent, the events are 100% factual. As I have recounted my dating stories to close friends/ family, their responses have been laced with a touch of disbelief. Trust me when I say: I couldn't make this stuff up. I'm not
that imaginative!

The whole concept of selling oneself (figuratively) to the masses of singles is disconcerting at best. By the time you've finished selecting the right pictures and describing yourself and your "ideal mate", you feel a bit like
Bubba's prize heifer at the Topeka Grange Fair! Once you put it "out there", the waiting begins. Fortunately, the wait isn't long, as there are, apparently, people anticipating the arrival of the new kid on the block, with baited breath.

The first email response I received, admittedly, caused a stir of excitement. Enter
Cheech, from the Bronx whose favorite way to spend a Saturday morning is to be served WARM beer and COLD pizza in bed. Nuff! Perhaps I should have thrown in my Match towel then and there, but I am both: an eternal optimist and a glutton for punishment.

There was an almost immediate onslaught of emails & "winks", most of which weren't much more promising than that I received from my first contact. I was advised, by friends who had been down this path, to hang in I did. Finally, I got an email from a man who looked great, on paper,
but with whom I was casually acquainted via an organization we are affiliated with (dangling participle? Sorry, Mr. 10th grade English teacher). I hesitate to mix "business" with pleasure, but accepted his invitation to dinner, after some persuasion on his end.

Dinner was lovely, conversation was stimulating...."this might be the beginning of something good", thought I. The awkward moments of saying "thank you for a most enjoyable evening....let's get together soon....I'll call you tomorrow...when are you free again?" were tolerable enough. The grand finale, however, left me standing like a deer in the headlights. Without so much as a kiss goodnight and
before I could move to block, this articulate, well-educated, successful "gentleman" has swooped the down the front of my shirt and has my....ummm...."top half privacies" (my 7 year old's term) firmly cupped in his hands. Have I given any indication that this kind of romantic overture was welcomed, warranted or appreciated? Absolutely not! So, there we are: me standing with my arms straight at my sides, his hands...well, I've already covered where his hands are positioned; my perplexed gaze travelling from his hands, to the hopeful expression on his face, back to his hands, etc. For lack of a more eloquent manner, in which to express my confusion/ disgust, I calmly requested that, if he was done, would he please release my boobs! His response: "I guess that means you don't want to come back to my place". By the grace of God...and the fact that he out-sized me by a significant amount, this Bozo escaped unscathed, albeit with an over-inflated ego that had been, momentarily, put in check.

Determined to NOT have this be my one and only Match experience, I went home, thinking the next guy
has to be an improvement on the Parking Lot Groper. It was and date #2 brought, to my life, the closest (male) friend I have ever had. I could write a novel on the story of our friendship, but that doesn't fit anywhere amongst my horror stories. Suffice it to say (and to give him appropriate airtime): he is the force that keeps me grounded, the voice of reason when I am perched on the precipitice of foolish decision making & the person who walks alongside me when I'm at my most irreverent!

Date #3...well,
that tops the cake and should be the final chapter in the story. Alas, this will have to be continued. Have faith that the "Starbuck's Ankle Licker" segment is worth waiting for!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Google 411

I was especially excited to come across this as I was not a happy camper when I opened my latest Verizon bill and found that I was being charged $.90 for every directory assistance call I made.

Check it out!

Google 411

Out of the Mouths of Babes

It's amazing to me, how our children can, with so little effort, deflate whatever perception of "cool" we might might have thought we've developed over the years. Maybe other moms/ dads will appreciate my latest experience with ego-deflation, at the hands of my 13 year old. Or, maybe, this is a memory I can share with my son, in the future, when his child sticks a pin in his ego! Either way, it's my blog and I can share what I choose to :-)

My 7 year old daughter was watching cartoons this morning and called her brother in, as a catchy commercial came on. Evidently, this was an "inside" thing because they both knew all the words to the jingle and had choreographed several moves to accompany the ad. Not being one to miss out on some early morning fun (and the opportunity to share a lighthearted moment in my children's world), I joined in...well, I did my best to emulate. The Pavlovian response, from my two darlings: a perfectly timed, in unison "
Mommmmmmm, STOP!". So much for my spontaneous attempt to add to the levity. With a mild case of bruised pride, I reminded my kids what a cool/ fun mom I am. My son's response and the audible "Pfffffft" of my sense of cool/ fun speak for themselves: "Mom, if I planned a whole day of wouldn't be anywhere in it!" That sassy bugger laughed himself silly as he headed out the door.

I'm beginning to understand why my mother derives such great joy from her grandchildren....payback time!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


While I certainly don't need another thing to keep me glued to the computer, MANY heartfelt thanks to my sister for introducing me to the wonderful world of blogging (not to be confused with the wild world of internet dating).

Check out her store, which specializes in epicurean delights and pamper yourself pretty products that are indigenous to Savannah!

Savannah Gourmet

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Helpful Household Tip

This is a brilliant idea I came across, on the HGTV website, recently...

After you have washed & folded set of sheets, use one pillow case to store the entire set, in your linen closet. Helps keep the linen closet in order and you just grab the appropriate "package" when it's time to change the sheets!

Dating at MY age!

My 7 year old daughter wisely informed me that the idea of me being someones "girlfriend" is "ridiculous". Humbly and with a modicum of nostalgia, I'd have to agree. Of course, in order to have the honor of the donning the title "girlfriend", one would have to first traverse the treacherous path of dating, with some degree of success. Where does a reasonably intelligent, highly amusing (albeit, a tad sarcastic), hopeful romantic...GULP...middle-age woman begin her quest for Prince Charming? Over-the-Hill singles night at Teddy's nightclub? Perusing the self-help section at Border's: carefully avoiding the "Parents without Partners" section and the complete Season 2, boxed set of "Desperate Housewives" DVDs, the gym: where one can try to compete with the thong-clad, 20 year olds who DON'T fall off the elliptical machine??? "Accidentally" bumping into the cute guy in aisle 7 of Stop & Shop...only to have his irate, significant other come at you from behind the Q-Tip display? Been there and (sadly enough) done that.

So, that leaves us (as I choose to believe there are more than one of us) with one, seemingly logical, viable solution:

Regretfully, I must break here with a promissory "to be contd." as I need to take some time to figure out how to preserve the anonymity of the the gentlemen I have encountered amongst my travels in through the wild world of internet dating. For the record: those giggly, moony-eyed couples on the commercials.....sheer rubbish & poppycock.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jumping in...

I am oddly and unusually self-conscious as I sit at my computer, trying to find a clever, attention-grabbing way to begin this daunting undertaking. As I am not 100% certain what, exactly, "blogging" is, it is particularly challenging trying to figure out how to do it "right". Already, I am critiquing my writing style and the content of this entry. What is lost, in cyberspace, are the 57 sentences I have already written, re-written & deleted. I think there was a line in the movie "You've Got Mail" in which Meg Ryan writes (paraphrasing): "I like to begin each email as if we're already old friends, instead of total strangers who happened to meet...". I'm going to go with that approach and pick up, on my own thoughts, mid-conversation. Care to join me?

As a 42 year old, single mother of 2, I find myself at a crossroads of sorts. Certain aspects of my life are vastly different than my "vision" of where I would be...had I thought of such things 10, 15, 20 years ago. Regardless, I believe I am on the right path toward figuring out who/ what I want to be when I grow a woman, a mother, a sister, a daughter and as a friend. The last 2 years, in particular, have been riddled with growing pains. Perhaps sharing will clarify some of the lessons I have learned. Perhaps some of my experiences will resonate with a patient reader. We shall see...