Saturday, December 29, 2018

The Party's Over

I pulled a piece of candy cane off of the dog’s leg yesterday and My Guy and I both have roaring colds.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Caution - Dairy Ahead!

While everyone else is featuring holly and puppies on their blogs, I should probably jump into the spirit of things.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Nothing Anal Here

      When you combine one person (me) with no knowledge of the workings of our household’s machinery, but who also is all about getting organized and another person (My Guy) with that knowledge, who also knows PowerPoint, you have an unstoppable combination.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Before and After

    Remember Christmas shopping? No, not that fancy-pants sitting down, mouse in hand and awakening the beast of Amazon.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Boomer Quest

Like most every other Baby Boomer on the planet, I’m constantly shocked, shocked I tell you, at my age.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Great Reveal

A trip to your primary care doctor for your annual physical pretty much just means a shower and checking to see if you have a hole in your sock.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Sunday was a mercy mission. My Guy and I drove to Providence, RI to dandle twin grandbabies.
Their mom needed to drive to Boston to pick up two free high chairs (yay!) from a college friend who’d been thoughtful enough to deliver twins herself, a convenient few years earlier so now our DIL and son can score on no-longer-neededs.
Son needed to work on the carriage house in back of their property so they can all move into a larger venue with a proper nursery and better real estate for the soon-to-be ambulatory. Curiously, bachelor pads get much smaller with the advent of twins.
The day went well. The girls only had one or two meltdowns, soon solved by a bottle, waltzing, and then a nap or playtime. Parents returned, refreshed from experiencing the outside world, and we grandparents headed off for the 1 ½ hour drive home.
Just as we turned off the highway, with visions dancing in our heads of perhaps a quiet glass of wine on the couch, we received a call from our son. Had we seen DIL’s phone? They’d looked everywhere. I explored the bowels of my purse. Yep. There was her phone, nestled companionably next to mine.
A working mother of twins needs her phone, so we hustled over to Staples. Yes, they did do overnight UPS shipping, but pickup wasn’t until the next day at 4 pm. It being Sunday, every other possibility was closed.
What to do.  
So, at 8:45 am Monday morning I must have looked like an insomniac drug dealer as I sat in my car on Providence’s Washington Street, doing business with people through my car window. Fortuitously, both son and DIL had just been arriving into the city for work. We did the hand off, they set off to their jobs, and I was back on the highway, home by 10 am with room to spare for Mamie’s 11 am vet appointment.
I think I’ve learned my lesson and before leaving anywhere, will now verify that I have one, and one only, phone in my purse.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

A Cuppa

          We went out for breakfast this morning in the next town over.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Alarming Situation

When Mamie and I went for a ride yesterday, I had to first back the car out of the garage, close the garage door, and then walk her to it from the front door. Why? you ask.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Strange New World

We’re home from a delightful visit to our daughter’s for Thanksgiving, where she produced a spectacular meal. Yes, food always tastes better when someone else cooks it, but it really was beautifully done.

Thursday, November 15, 2018


          Wednesday night dinner conversation in our house:

“So how was the Art League turnout when you went?”

“Not as many as usual”

“Huh. Well it’s been cold and this is the weekend after all . . .”

“Today’s Tuesday.”

“Oh, right. . .”

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Company's Coming - Dim the Lights!


      There you are standing in the middle of the tracks. A single headlight is bearing relentlessly down on you. It’s the Holiday Train, filled with eager visitors who will soon be pouring into your home, burrowing into your nut bowl and couch, and bellying up to your Pinterest-decorated table.
          This is the season for hiding, stuffing (not just the edible kind), and sleight of hand.
          A few suggestions -
          The eclectic pile festering for weeks on the kitchen counter - three rubber feet for that metal chair, the dog’s medicine, the battery you need to replace, and the CVS coupon – into the junk drawer.
          The pile of shoes by the back door – your sneakers, his sneakers, old slippers for getting the paper, and those of your centipede children – distribute to owners or consign to the garage.
          The eight-inch stack of magazines that – you’re going to get to, save for so-and-so, or have that recipe you’re sure you’ll try – recycle. Look at you, saving the environment.
          The kitchen towel with the stain, the scorched oven mitts, that serving dish you love with the chip – back of the cupboard. There’s a reason why things are described as being “for everyday.”
          Windows – It’s dark by 4 p.m. now, not an issue.
          Carpet – Fill the room with people. More feet = more carpet covered.

          And if you stop by my house, just remember, thoughtful guests do NOT lift the sofa cushions.

Friday, November 9, 2018

One Down. . . .

So as of this Thursday, I’m down one more notch on the wisdom scale.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Going Home

We’re home and still shaking off the effects of two delightful 12 hour days in the car, preceded by the treat of being on the road by 4:30 the first day and 3:30 the second. (Insert emoji of Edvard Munch’s The Scream here.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Update From Paradise

      Our time here is winding down. We’ll be heading back up north for the next couple of months. And why wouldn’t we?

Monday, October 29, 2018

Marathon Men - an Ode to the Umps

Our team won, in no small part thanks to our efforts, and the Red Sox are now the World Series champs.

Saturday, October 27, 2018


      Yesterday we drove over to St. Armand’s Circle, which sits between Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Condo People

          So I ran into Linda last night while taking Mamie for her evening spin around the complex. She was walking her dog Ginger, and pushing (yes, pushing) her other dog, whose name I’ve forgotten. Ginger is a black and white terrier mix, and no-name dog is also black and white, a geriatric – and fat – Chihuahua who rides in her own red doggie carriage. They’re all usually color coordinated, Linda with her black hair and black and white outfits, and the girls with their black and white markings, but often sporting red accents – a leash here (dog), a hat there (human).

          Then there’s the gentleman who I see night and day walking alone, around and around the complex, always with his cell phone on speaker. I wonder if he’s talking to a distant wife who’s checking in to see if he’s getting his exercise.

          Fran is a sweet, slim lady who may be dealing with the after-effects of a stroke with her somewhat halted and hesitant speech. Her husband is a big friendly brash ex-cop, but it’s their dog I can’t stand. It’s a miniature Schnauzer who barks and snarls like an animal from the gates of hell every time it sees you.

          There’s one couple only seen on weekends, since they drive up to their condo here at the end of the work week.
          From Fort Myers.     Only an hour away.

          Lauren and Bill toodle by at least once a day on their tandem bike, in my opinion a true test of marital harmony. (There’s a reason why, years ago, we ditched the canoe and got ourselves each a kayak.)

          Bob is a wiry widower with a George Hamilton tan, game for any fun that may crop up, particularly if it involves a bar stool.

          And I just spotted the skinny, skinny guy from the next building on my ride back from the YMCA this morning, almost 4 miles from our complex. He was out walking in the 88 degree sun and was about a block from the Y, which meant he had another 4 miles to get back. I haven’t seen his wife yet this year, but let’s just say they truly are a Jack Sprat couple.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Word of advice - carry cash

        Life here in Florida for the month of October has been pretty idyllic.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Saturday, October 20, 2018

No Man is a Hero to His Valet

The Florida Mega Millions lottery is now at the unbelievable sum of 1.6 billion dollars since there was no winner last night.
Winning numbers:
15,23,53,65,70 and the Mega Ball number was 7
Our ticket?
07,22,25,47,53 (Whahoo!!) with a Mega Ball number of 04
          And yes, apparently matching only one number is worth bupkis.

          We shouldn’t be too surprised we didn’t win – the chance of matching all six numbers and taking home the grand prize was one in 302.5 million. We’re still new to this whole thing, being more the impulse $1 scratch ticket sort of gambler, but potential winnings in the millions are pretty alluring.
          But then my bar of Neutrogena facial soap reminded me last night that I’m probably not cut out to be a millionaire anyway.
          A few years ago after surgery laid me up, we employed a woman to deal with light housekeeping every two weeks. This had been a life-long dream of mine, so when I went back to work we continued having her come. It was great at first, but then the idea of having another pair of eyes in the house (even if it was only twice a month) got to me.
          Was she judging my own interim cleaning skills? When she tidied the bathroom counter, did she notice that the same bar of facial soap was still there, barely diminishing? (A tell-tale sign that my skin care is often a bit hit-or-miss, depending on how tired I am.)
          As the final blow, when I realized that the “light” housekeeping she did was just that, and I’d seen that her idea of scrubbing the kitchen floor was to stand there with a spray bottle and a Swiffer with a rag around it, I was happy to call an end to the whole thing.
          The cherry on top came when we moved to a condo and now have a lot less footage to dirty up, and are no longer shoveling mulch, digging in the dirt, and dragging the outside in.   

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Tropical Cabin Fever

It may be October in Florida, but I’m experiencing deep New England winter.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Making Landfall


Last week I knew we were officially in Florida when I saw this sign in Baldwin while waiting for a train to go by.  
Spelling phonetically isn’t always the best idea.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Turning It Up

From Foxtrot by Bill Amend

Anyone over the age of 60 is technology-phobic. It’s common knowledge.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Monday, September 10, 2018

Time and Geography

I’ve decided there may be a time and a place for everything, but place has a distinct effect on time, and access to the place of a memory only makes it stronger.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Some things never go out of style

Our grandson just cruised into age 9, complete with a party of thirteen other 9 year-olds in the backyard (God bless his brave mother and father), all in a Harry Potter theme.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Insides Out

I finally made it to the gastro doctor. I’ve actually been treated by him before, but wouldn’t have been able to pick him out of a lineup if my life depended on it.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Minimal News

It's been a bit of a dry spell for the blog. I’ve been trying to make headway in book #3, so I must have used up all my cleverness there.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Midnight Raiders

          The previous owners of our condo were an older Italian couple.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Bath and Bed

As I sit and type this, the sweet aroma of dog shampoo is wafting up from my tee shirt, which is drenched.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Critical Information for Your Saturday

          So, while wandering around the internet when I should have been weeding the garden and prepping the upstairs for Tuesday’s incoming company, I visited Time Goes By.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Monday, August 13, 2018


As you age, all sorts of wonderful things are supposed to occur – increased wisdom, compassion, patience. I can’t claim much improvement in those areas, but I’m definitely becoming less vain, or at least I spend less time in front of a mirror.  

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Size and Fear

We’re approaching the two-year anniversary of our adoption of Mamie and we're still learning about her. At face value she’s a pretty straightforward little dog, even-tempered and undemanding.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Oven Evolution

It's good to be home even if it does mean a return to the delights of housekeeping. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

"Resting Comfortably"

(My last mention of the subject, I hope swear.)

          First (last Tuesday) the hour in the ER waiting room, being called in for triage and trying to explain symptoms while doubled over, and then being sent BACK to the waiting room.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Blandly Bonding

          While I was in the hospital, Mamie stuck close to My Guy’s side and ate practically nothing.

Monday, July 30, 2018

(Reality) Check, Please!

No one could say that useful trait of denial ever dodged my family. I remember my sister’s starry-eyed rendition of “I Enjoy Being a Girl” for her 7th grade talent show – in spite of her very modest vocal skills.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sunday Nostalgia

We unearthed a forgotten box of photographs the other day and I lost myself for a good hour going through them.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Big League

You know how in movies about a boxing match or maybe a horse race, after all the bets are in, they bring out the competitor that no one had planned on and all expectations go out the window?

          That’s called a ringer.

          After playing in this new golf league on 5 dates, I had acquired enough scores for the organizers to determine my handicap.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Tortes and Whales

Yesterday evening we made the fatal error of watching last week’s episode of The Great British Baking Show. . .tortes.

Friday, July 13, 2018

I am who I am - Really

I have no idea why I thought retirement would provide a force shield against bureaucracy, but there was a definite rupture today.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Quiet Epidemic

Today’s return to my water aerobics BFFs connected in a small way to Tuesday’s exercise class at a neighboring Senior Center. 

Sunday, July 8, 2018


Halleluiah, the weather has broken. Mamie’s out from under the bed – most of the time – and our porch no longer resembles the punishment box in Cool Hand Luke.

Friday, July 6, 2018

13 Pound Power Struggle

     It’s been in the upper 90s for the past six or seven days and Mamie’s had it.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Knowing Your Place

          After a wacky air-head hitch in which I went an hour early to pick up my friend R for our Tuesday exercise class, and then had to return one hour later, we finally got to the neighboring town’s Senior Center as people were setting up chairs. The class involves a lot of aerobic step work but uses chairs for some of the weight lifting portion.

          Everyone had arranged their chairs in a big circle, but one woman had pulled hers farther out. R asked her if we were in her way but she said no, she liked to be in the outer portion for more room.
          “Everyone has their favorite spot, don’t they?” commented R.
          We discussed classes we’d taken or seminars we’d attended and how you needed to think long and hard about where you chose to sit on that first day. There might as well be brass plates attached to them the way everyone always gravitates to the same spot on succeeding days.
          As we spoke, I had an immediate flash of sitting in my particular spot at my parents’ dining table in Virginia, my sister always across from me.
Then I was teleported to the dining room in Tulsa, my grandfather at the head, Granny to his left, my sister next to her, and my mother and me on the other side.
My own kids always had their particular side of the dining table across from each other, perfectly positioned for tormenting the other or making him/her crack up and spew milk midway through the meal.
Maybe now this whole concept is probably hopelessly outdated. I wonder how many families really sit down at home and have an actual meal at a table together.

Monday, July 2, 2018


        I grew up in Virginia and Oklahoma and I thought I knew hot. 
        I remember my non-airconditioned childhood of sleeping in the snow-angel position: spreadeagled on the bed so no body part touches another body part.
        I remember my arm sticking to my worksheet as we waited for the last day of school.
        I remember my grandparents’ sleeping porch, the source of any possible breeze on an August Oklahoma night.

          Our current porch here in Massachusetts looks cool and welcoming, doesn’t it?
   Look again. 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Hearing Voices

Whenever I see an avocado pit balanced on toothpicks over a jar of water I think of my mother. She always seemed to have one sprouting, with its slim green stalk. I think of her just about every time I cut an avocado around its circumference, pull the two halves away, and whack the pit with my butcher knife to twist it out.
          It’s those simple moments that bring long-gone people back into my everyday.

          At least thirty years have passed since I’ve left my toaster plugged in. Back in my television production days at the cable company, my boss Brian’s wife departed for work with her toaster still engaged and somehow burned down their kitchen. Now, after the English muffins are done, as I’m yanking the plug from the wall I think of him.
          My mother may have been a champ with avocados, but she was a bit casual about housework. It wasn’t my mother but my neighbor Nancy, who had obviously been raised better than I had, who pointed out to me the benefits of washing the sink before you did the dishes.
          And just about every time I peel one of those annoying stickers from a piece of fruit I think of Linda. It was lunchtime in the faculty room and I was grousing about the sticker on my apple. When she said that she always removed hers when she washed her fruit, my apple suddenly felt like it had a neon light on it shouting, “UNWASHED! UNWASHED!”

Friday, June 29, 2018

Evening Vegetables

     Maybe we spend too much time thinking about our dog’s day. With the goal of changing it up for her a little, the other evening we said the magic word – Car! – and took off for our town’s community garden.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Moving Ahead

A friend and I have become exercise groupies.

The woman who leads our YMCA Monday and Wednesday water aerobics group also teaches Boomer Bootcamp, a more active on-land class of aerobics, weights, and balance exercises. Our usual Friday water group has been taken over by water Zumba  - exercise and music in the pool, which in past experience was us in the pool doing precious little while an instructor pranced and posed by the side of the pool, very full of her own wonderfulness.
          Instead we tried the Friday Bootcamp offered at the same time. We liked it so much that yesterday we followed our Friday instructor to a neighboring town’s senior center where she teaches the same class.
          This was a smaller, frailer looking group. To be fair, since this was a senior center, not a Y, the other participants may not have had exercise as their first priority, unlike a member of the Y.
          The class was mostly in Capri’s and neatly pressed Ts, as though they’d just stopped off from the grocery store; one woman wandered off midway through, presumably to rejoin the beading class next door. Two other women chatted continuously, only occasionally lifting a weight or doing a half-hearted lunge.
          I did find R, a friend from the past, someone who had worked in the same high school I had. She was the exception to the rest of the class, matching the teacher leg lift for leg lift, marching in place at top speed, and swinging 8 pound weights around as though they weighed the same as my puny 3’s. 
          We got caught up on what our families had been up to in the 25+ years since I’d last seen her. Her second husband had died, but her four children were doing well. I told her about our new granddaughters, and that they’d brought my grandparent bragging rights up to 5.
          “You must have scads of your own,” I said.
          “Not scads really – I have 12.”
          I’d forgotten her skill at one-upsmanship.

          During the water break, I was sweating and gulping at my water bottle while R was dabbing lightly at her barely misty brow.
I commented on how little she’d changed since we’d last seen each other.
As we turned to pick up our weights again, she said, “You know, I’m 93.”

Saturday, June 16, 2018

We'll See. . . .

Mamie’s off for an overnight. This is a test case at the dog sitter’s, with an eye to future travel. I just couldn’t face parking my girl in a big, bad kennel.
          She’s either uninterested or uneasy around other dogs, much preferring the company of humans and a facility with chain link fence and concrete was more than I could bear.
          I handed over leash, walking harness, bowls for meals, contact information, dog bed, a sweatshirt I’ve worn recently, baggies marked with “breakfast” and “dinner” and pee pads in case she turns up her nose at their big back yard.
          It was easier sending my kids to a slumber party.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Traveling Through Time

So on the way back from Providence yesterday I whiled away a bit of the hour and a half ride by musing on some of the changes we’ve seen on the road over recent years.

          Here in Massachusetts, all the toll booths – and their nepotistic (today’s word for the day) toll takers – have disappeared. Literally. The actual little brick buildings were torn apart, the lanes paved over, and all you’ll see now is an extension of the off-ramp. Big metal gantries have sprouted over sections of the turnpike to read the transponders in the cars. Yes, there are scads and scads of out-of-staters who aren’t outfitted with transponders and who theoretically are being billed after their license plates are photographed. In reality, a lot slip through the system but I’ll bet the state has rationalized that the loss in revenue is still much less than paying $80,000 for that cousin of the water commissioner or state rep to extend an arm out a window to take our ticket.

          And thank God. I have many memories of mercy missions bringing a spare dresser or care packages to and from Boston while our daughter was at Northeastern. It was usually after I’d left work, which meant a return in the dark and therefore fumbling at 65 miles an hour for that tiny ticket, then the spare change to pay it.

      What about radar detectors? They were all the rage not that long ago and yet they seem to have faded into the ether. As a technical sort of thing, I would have expected someone by now to have perfected better and better versions, ones that were undetectable themselves.

          Also, I wonder if anyone remembers the fine art of passing someone on a two-lane road. It’s a good thing most highways are now at least four lanes wide. With today’s impatient drivers, can you imagine someone waiting behind an overloaded pickup until he’s past the curve or over the hill, and the line in the road is on the correct side?

          And lastly, when was the last time you were on the road and saw a romantic couple in the car in front of you, his arm on the seat in back of her, his other hand on the wheel while her head lay on his shoulder? The demise of bench seats and the arrival of buckets put an end to that.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Color Me Frustrated

          When we moved here last summer, we were thrilled with how new the place felt.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Finite Mind

In a span of 36 hours we’ve gone from fanning ourselves on the porch like Scarlett O’Hara to huddling in front of the gas fireplace. And why not? It’s June in Massachusetts, after all.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Care Package

Formula                            -        Check
Diapers                             -        Check
Rolls for lunch                   -        Check

Chicken salad for lunch     -        Check
Curried chicken with                              
    olives and artichokes    -        Check
    for dinner
Packaged couscous for      -        Check
    chicken dish
Rhubarb/Peach tart          -        Check

for dessert
Pesto pasta salad for         -        Check
     next day
Blueberry bread for          -        Check
Single serving Prosecco     -        Check
   for daughter-in-law’s
   mental health

I don’t usually write about my efforts in the kitchen, but it’s a good thing I enjoy it. I’ve been cooking for two days. Tomorrow I’m on my weekly mercy mission in a very small attempt to lighten a little of the load for the new parents in our family with some supplies and food they can just grab. My son’s back to work and my intrepid DIL will be squaring her shoulders and dealing with our two brand new twin grandgirls on her own.

          One person helpfully advised them that what they needed to do was, “get those babies on the same schedule.” Uh huh. That’s what’s needed – two tiny people hungry at the exact same time, needing their after-meal cuddling at the same time, having their diapers changed at the same time.
          Since that’s patently impractical, the other option is non-stop feeding, burping, cuddling, and changing. I’ve seen it in action and it really is non-stop.
So I’m packing the car and heading to Baby Central for the day. With any luck, this a hired day-time mother’s helper will soon be installed for the rest of the week.
Those years of my own are so far away, and I’m freshly impressed every time I go at how well son and DIL are managing. 
God, it’s good to be old.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Blue Velvet

A recent post by Fran, at Being Me, hit a familiar note for me. She writes of her hall carpet and the demands it makes on her time.

          I too thought a dark blue carpet would be a great idea. How could something the shade of indigo show dirt? And I was right. In all the years that I had it, it appeared grime free. For all we knew, there was enough soil lurking deep in our rug’s lush roots to re-sod the entire Oklahoma dust bowl.

          What I hadn’t factored in was my orange cat, or the fact the woman of the house (who shall remain nameless) also has shedding tendencies. There was also the day-to-day traffic back and forth through the house and to the upstairs, trailing string, threads, and whatever else failed to fall off in the kitchen on the way.

Then there’s the fact that the carpet was the path to the laundry area in the basement, the household lint headquarters. On banner days, a forgotten tissue would transform in the wash into flakes of confetti that would drift down merrily behind us as we carried our baskets upstairs.

On the plus side, one year when I was painting the front door the same shade, I spilled the entire can and no one was the wiser. ( When home projects bring on the blues )

The rug’s superhuman Magneto-like grip on the flotsam and jetsam of our lives drove me at first to kneel on the floor and scrub with the small hand attachment on my vacuum. That lost its charm pretty quickly and next came a massive – and expensive - upright vac so powerful that for safety I put the cats outside when I used it.

After 15 or so years of dealing with either constant vacuuming or living with a floor crosshatched with lint, fibers, and string, the final irony was that when we moved this year, we pulled the whole thing up to lure buyers with the pristine hardwood floors beneath.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Trails, tinkles, and tarts

We began our Memorial Day weekend at a nearby reservoir, which has a very manageable bike/walking path that runs through the woods and beside the water in spots.

          I like it much better than more popular trails – unlike in Northampton and Amherst, I’m not dodging skateboarders and herds of families with kids that wander across the path or come teetering toward you. Having only learned to ride a bike as an adult, I’m not all that confident myself and appreciate an empty lane for my own teetering.

        There were a few patches of fisherpeople.

          Banks of ferns.

          And reminders that if I fell, to go for the asphalt instead of these three-leaved dangers.

          My afternoon was more mundane, with a trip to the garden/pet supply place where fortunately, no one spotted Mamie shamelessly peeing on the floor. 
(No photos - I was busy quickly shuffling us off to some other part of the store)
          But the evening proved that you never quite know how life is going to work out. 
Who would have ever thought that this new care-free condo life would also come with my own rhubarb patch (thank you, previous owners) that I could harvest for a tasty rustic tart.