A beautiful word or thought that is not accompanied by corresponding acts is like a bright flower that bears no fruit. It would not produce any effect. ~The Buddha

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I was going to rant about the snow, but it's not going to help.  It's snowing whether I like it or not, and by the way, I don't.  We have yet another major storm coming tonight and it's supposed to dump anywhere between 6-10 inches here in southeastern Connecticut.  I don't pay that much attention, but we must be hitting some kind of record here for snowfall.  

Anyway, snow means school cancellations and early dismissal (like today) so I got caught up on the Academy Award nominations for 2011.  I am pleased to announce I've actually seen a couple of the movies.  It helps that an animated motion picture actually made it into the best picture category because I saw "Toy Story 3" and it's nomination gives my movie going in 2010 some credibility.  It was actually a beautiful coming of age story, and I'm sure it struck a chord with any mom who faced their teenager heading off to college last fall  or in the next couple of years.  It definitely pulled at the emotional heart strings.  

I also saw "The Town," a rental, and that was very good but I have an affection for Ben Affleck and Boston, and this flick featured both so liking it was a given.  It did not get the nod for Best Picture but several of the supporting actors were nominated.  "The Kids are All Right" was another rental, and frankly, I didn't get it. I like Annette Benning, but thought the movie was so-so.  The movie was about the kids of a lesbian couple who find their biological father. All things considered, the kids were all right when the movie started and they were still all right when the movie ended, and nothing much changed in the middle.  

It doesn't count, but I have "Inception" and "The Social Network" in a pile of movies I have yet to watch. I've wanted to see "The Fighter," but so far no luck getting someone to see it with me.  Mark Wahlberg/Boston, yes, there's a common thread.   

"The King's Speech" led the field with 12 nominations, and I haven't seen it along with lots of other movies.  Namely last year's winner, "The Hurt Locker."  Actually, I'm doing pretty good this year, because I was just looking at the winners from 2009 and realized I didn't see any of those, but  I have "Slumdog Millionaire," "Milk," "The Reader," and "Frost Nixon" in the pile of movies to be seen too.  Somehow I always think I'm going to while away a cold, snowy winter day catching up on movies I haven't seen, but it doesn't happen, and that pile grows.

One of these days I'll catch up.  In the meantime, I'm looking forward to the Oscars, and the winner is....?  What do you think? 


Friday, January 21, 2011


I have never been obsessed with cosmetic surgery.  Well, let me back track, a long time ago I would have had a nose job, but I've never been eager to get my first face lift.  Believe me, I have at least two friends who are counting on a little nip and tuck when they turn 50.  I often wonder to myself, why that would be?  What's the point of a taught face with a wrinkly neck?  To me, it's a tell tale sign that someone has had 'work' done.  Oh, and I learned to live with my nose.

So over the years my only 'cosmetic' improvement has been my green contact lenses, and my push-up bra, but that's another story.  Considering my natural eye color is hazel, this improvement is not a huge stretch.  

I'm still not considering any drastic measures, but I have noticed the signs of time marching across my face.  As in I have a few more lines, yes wrinkles, on my forehead, and maybe my skin isn't as firm as it used to be so I'm considering my anti-aging product options.  I'm not in a full blown panic, but the situation does require my attention.  Fortunately, I can rule out products for, ahem, 50 and over, so that narrows things down a bit.  But still, the options are overwhelming, and there's a product out there for everything.    

For now, I've settled on a pretty good eye cream, ANEW Reversalist Illuminating Eye System by Avon, and have gone the extra mile for the lines with Clinique Repairwair Laser Focus.  This maybe overkill but when is it to early?  I will let you know whether or not I see any improvements.  In as much as I'm willing to age 'gracefully,' I don't want to look old before my time, whenever that time maybe?  

Thursday, January 20, 2011


I thought I would re-post this piece I wrote last year when I was trying to process the news, a year ago today, that my uncle had died. 

This morning was a typical Thursday morning.  Up with the alarm, make the bed, hop in the shower, and then I noticed the voicemail message.  In my family, there's only one reason why my cousin would be calling me at 6:15am, and it isn't to spread good news.  This is confirmed by my cousin's voice because I can tell straight away she's trying to remain composed, and in her message, she goes on to say that her father has died during the night.  He was married to my mother's 1st cousin,who was more like a sister, and predeceased him almost 10 1/2 years ago, and while that doesn't officially make him my Uncle, we always called them Aunt and Uncle, and they were a big part of my life.  My cousin and I are also close, and I was the first person she called. 

Of course, I immediately called her back to express my heartfelt sympathy and to find out how or why, he died.  At 69, he wasn't old, and he seemed to be in good health, and he was still going to work everyday.  Apparently, he died, peacefully in his sleep.  In my opinion, this is the way to go, but it still comes as a shock.  His live-in girlfriend, significant other, tried to wake him this morning and he was unresponsive so she called the paramedics, and there was nothing they could do.

This was one morning when I wished I lived closer, my cousin lives in NJ, along with the great majority of my extended family, and I'm here in CT.  I would have called work and headed over to be with her and help in someway.  Instead, I'm struggling through the work day.  Obviously, I'm not actually working, because here I am composing this post, but I thought it would help me process, and then maybe I could get some work done.  

I have a lot of good memories of my Uncle.  I remember the Tic/Tac's (orange) he would bring home from his 2nd job at Shea Stadium when my cousin and I were kids.  It's funny how the mind works, because I hadn't thought of that in years.  However, I still have an affection for Tic/Tac's.  I also have a memory of us sitting in the car with him, waiting in line for gas (remember the 70's?), and him telling goofy jokes to help the time pass.  He also asked us which rock band had a name that you could spell forwards and backwards, and it was still the same?  Abba, of course!  

Our families were on vacation together in Nag's Head, NC, when he took some of his first photos.  He captured an eagle one morning while walking on the beach at sunrise.  Photography would become one of his great passions, and I have a picture of a sunflower he captured and gave me last year hanging on my wall.  Sunflowers are a personal favorite, and this one is beautiful.  I also asked him to be at my daughter's 1st Holy Communion last year and capture the memories like only he could.  The pictures came out beautiful and afterward, I can only hope I expressed my gratitude sufficiently in my thank you note.

I remember how wonderful he was in the aftermath of my aunt dying when he carried on with my cousin's baby shower exactly as she would have wanted, and fortunately sought my guidance when it came to giving my cousin the gift for her unborn baby from her mother.  It was the last gift opened and there wasn't a dry eye in the room.  

In the last ten years, my uncle was a devoted 'pop pop' to his grandson, my cousin's son.  They had a very close bond and I can only imagine how difficult it will be for him to say good-bye.  They have shared a passion for sports, and a silly sense of humor.  Every picture I have of my godson was taken by his grandfather, and they are perfect.

Of course, there were not so good times too.  I was one of the first to realize he was dating again very soon after his wife died, and 'she' was another first cousin of my mother and my aunt.  At the time, I couldn't understand why he would be so blatant about it, but I think he was trusting me because it was all going over my cousins head.  She was just home with her baby and in la la land, and it wasn't time to share the news with her.  In time, she would need to deal with it and I was there for her.  Initially, it caused a little family strife but it's been 10 years, and they were happy (maybe).

We were supposed to see him a couple of weeks ago at my cousins house for a post Christmas, Christmas celebration, and snow canceled our plans.  Snow.  Last time I saw him we were celebrating a christening in Long Island.  I always enjoyed seeing him at our family celebrations over the years.  Inevitably, I would wind up sitting with him, and we always had a great time, and shared lots of laughs.  The next family gathering will be for his wake on Sunday, and the funeral service on Monday.  I did not see that coming. 

Well, I didn't get a lot of work done today, but I do feel better.  Thanks for letting me share. 



Thursday, January 13, 2011


Snow is everywhere.  Lots of snow.  And I mean lots.  While that isn't a big deal for many areas in the country,  in Southeastern Connecticut it's not that common.  I have always touted the mild winters here. So the fact that we got 14" of the white flakes yesterday, is surprising.  The second notable issue about the storm is that the weather people got it right.  We have been warned countless times before about an impending storm that somehow manages to fall apart the minute school is canceled.   

But yesterday, everything fell into place, and we got the snow.  Officially, I've had enough.  While my winter mantra has always been, "everyday is a day closer to spring," this is one year when I really mean it.  

Of course, there are some nice parts, like the stillness after a good old fashioned snow storm.  I stood outside yesterday, just enjoying the quiet.  Until after a few minutes, there was the familiar sound of a plow not too far away.  Momentarily, that was nice.  And yes, the snow is pretty to look at  in the trees, and the way it glistened in the sunshine today did make for a gorgeous picture.  I even noticed that people seemed upbeat today.  They were probably happy to be out from under all the snow, to have power or just to be out of the house.  

Then I fell, and there it is, the downside.  I was heading to my car, and I didn't notice the ice under the packed down snow in the parking lot, and I went down hard.  My lower back and right shoulder will be feeling this fall for days despite the Aleve.  The upside is my Starbucks coffee was not lost in the fall, because somehow I managed to keep it balanced and upright.  That must have been quite a sight. 

So there you have it, there's a lot of winter still to come, and I've officially had enough.       

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lounge Wear

I am not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the lines I've developed an unhealthy obsession with lounge wear.

It started slowly some years ago when I figured out pajama bottoms were comfortable, and started referring to them as 'happy pants.'  By that I mean they are that pair of pants you want to slip on after over-indulging on holiday food.  Which morphed into the pair of pants you want to change into before sitting down on the couch to watch a movie.  Which further evolved into the pair of pants you want to change into after work and maybe even slouch around in all day on Saturday.
Then I discovered lounge wear which is not just your average pair of 'sweats.'   Remember the housedress from years ago? A simple, washable frock, suitable for housework?  Think about what June Cleaver was likely wearing before she dressed to welcome her family home from their day...the skirt, and the pearls.  Well, lounge wear has become the new housedress, and somewhere along the lines my idea of 'happy pants' became fashionable, and they are not just for sitting on the couch anymore.  Brilliant.  I never really saw the  sense of house clothes other than pajamas.  They come in various styles like capri's, low-rise, and yoga pants, and fabrics such as fleece, velour, and heavy cotton.  

To avoid the mall, I do most shopping online, and apparently the retailers have caught on too, because I've noticed lounge wear is it's own category between active wear and sleepwear.  It's one of the first places I look, hence my obsession.  Lounge wear is not too youthful, and it doesn't have to be frumpy, in fact, in some cases, it might even be considered sexy.  I think a woman's personal style evolves overtime, and mine is comfortable. 

Friday, January 7, 2011


I was going to write on a completely different topic today and then I opened my email.  

One of the blogs I read everyday is written by Therese Borchard, called Beyond Blue, which is primarily about her spiritual journey through mental health.  Now and again, she quotes an author, and today it was from the book, "We:  Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love"  by Robert A. Johnson, and how he distinguishes human love, or what I will take one step further, and call "mature" love.  He describes it as the precious, committed love that is with us every day, the "stirring-the-oatmeal" love.  Johnson writes:

"Stirring oatmeal is a humble act--not exciting or thrilling. But it symbolizes a relatedness that brings love down to earth. It represents a willingness to share ordinary human life, to find meaning in the simple, unromantic tasks: earning a living, living within a budget, putting out the garbage, feeding the baby in the middle of the night. To "stir the oatmeal" means to find the relatedness, the value, even the beauty, in simple and ordinary things, not to eternally demand a cosmic drama, an entertainment, or an extraordinary intensity in everything."

Sprinkle the oatmeal with respect, and trust, and there's a relationship for the long haul.  I know it's far too early to be borrowing from the work of other people, but I couldn't have said this better.  Sure, the rush of romantic love or a new relationship is a thrill, but in order to go the distance, you've got to be able to stir the oatmeal, and that suits me perfectly.  

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Have you noticed that merging has gone by the wayside?  There's certain rules to doing it the 'right' way like not coming to a complete stop at the end of the on ramp in hopes of fitting into traffic cruising by at speeds of 65 or greater.  How is that smart?  Or just moving into traffic without looking to see the tractor trailer barreling down the highway.  The list goes on and on.  And this doesn't just go for coming onto the highway, the drivers already on the interstate have a certain responsibility too like slowing down to let someone in or moving over to the barren left lane.  Simple courtesy or so it seems.  Then there are the side roads, when two lanes are going to become one, isn't better to find a space in the left lane to slide into rather than picking up speed in a desperate attempt to get to the head of the traffic in the left lane.  Where have the rules of the road gone?  

The same thing goes for the morning.  I like to ease into the day.  I don't check messages, any of them, until I've taken a shower.  I'm not in a race to the front of the line.  I like to merge into the day, enjoy the cup of coffee, listen to the radio, glance at the headlines before I head into the steady stream of the day. Call me 'old' school, but just because we have more ways of communicating with each other available to us, doesn't necessarily mean we can't give each other a little space to merge.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy 2011

This isn't going to be about new year's resolutions because frankly, I don't commit to them.  I make up things that I want to do better as I go along.  That's why I'm writing on the 3rd and not the 1st.  

At some point in the summer of 2010, I cut back on coffee and then a little later, sugar, and I'll keep going in 2011.  Although, let me just say, that in trying to cut back on sugar, the most significant change I've made is switching to greek yogurt.  I keep telling myself I'll get used to it, but it's been awhile now, and I eat it but it doesn't get easier!  I also strive to be a better person all of the time...kinder, more patient, etc., and most of the time I manage to pull it off, but some days could still use a little work.  So I'll tweek that some more in the coming year.  

I could say, "I'll join a gym" but I won't.  In the past, the only reason I went to the gym was to participate in the exercise classes, but at that time, I didn't have anyone I needed to get ready for school or help with homework, and classes at our local gym are in the morning or early evening so that's out.  I thought about these new 'anytime' gyms that have been cropping up.  We have two near me, one is Anytime Fitness and the other is Snap Fitness, but I don't see the point of working out at a bigger facility by myself, at let's say 10pm, when I could just as easily do that at home.  But I did buy a workout program on DVD called Physique 57, and I'm going to do my best to incorporate this routine into my exercise regimen.  I may even write a review after I give it some time to make a difference.

So here's my point, at this stage of the game, we're older and wiser so keep doing what's working, purge what's not, and have a positively healthy and happy 2011.