Thursday, October 22, 2009

Recession Nation

I have an essay included in this collection.
It's called "Where There's Hope"
Have a look!
The Recession Nation Project

Memory Issues

No, not my computer - although I do have some major issues with the speed and ram of my "new" computer...
No, I'm talking about me and my aging brain. Like the ABC Wednesday thing I was so obediently posting to - until last May it seems. I guess I let that go by the wayside.
So, now I am going to use this blog for the reason I intended it for in the first place- to promote my work. Flip-flops After Fifty is the title to the collection of essays I am hoping to be publishing soon. To be honest - work on it has stalled since last June, but I'm up the the challenge of getting it ready to go. If you'd like to read an essay or two, head right over here dear reader and have a blast. And tell me what you think. Feedback is (almost) always good!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

ABC Wednesday - S is for Spectacular!

I'm out of town again - it's so hard to keep up when one is not in one's usual routine! It's another picture from where I am - Niagara Falls, Ontario. This is the view from our window.
Our third window, by the way. My husband, Goldilocks, wasn't happy until we were given a room on the 18th floor! Perseverance pays off....spectacular views were the reward. I haven't been here in years and years and it's amazing to see the power of water.
Horseshoe Falls - Canadian side

American Falls - States side

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

ABC Wednesday - R is for Resplendent

I am away this week at a conference, and I didn't think I'd get a chance to post an entry for this week, but I couldn't resist... There is a peacock strolling around the grounds of the conference center where I am staying and he is delighting most (and irritating some) of us with his shrieks and calls - throughout the night! These are the best pictures I could get at this time. (I didn't know they roosted in trees!)

I caught him through my window this morning...

I haven't seen him show off his tailfeathers yet, but I'll keep my camera ready - just in case.

UPDATE: I got him! He came back to the courtyard and fussed and ruffled and finally gave us all a peek at his full regalia! (Oh, I could have used that word today!)

He twirled and twirled for us...and then closed up his feathers and walked away.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

ABC Wednesday - Q is for Queen for a Day!

This is a birthday card I received this year and this is the post I wrote to go along with it.

I felt much the same this past Sunday on Mother's Day, with my (grown up) kids around me and a glass of rose champagne in my hand. It's good to be the Queen.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

ABC Wednesday - P is for Plastic

I have my "green" hat on today. Right in the middle of my ruminations about what to post for the letter P I came across an interesting YouTube video called "Plastic Plague". From National Geographic it is a short report on the damaging effects of plastic on our oceans and wildlife.
I know we all know this, but after viewing it, I suddenly wondered what I should do about this...

I could try my hand at "artificial" flowers...but I'm thinking that I would not be so good at it...

Any other ideas? If I can recycle my plastic bags and keep that part of my impact on the earth to a minimum maybe I can come up with some others, too. I've been carrying my own shopping bags for awhile now, so once this supply is gone - then my work will be done - for plastic bags anyway....
Happy Earth Day - every day.

Look for more interesting ideas and photos here at ABC Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ABC Wednesday - O is for Olive Oil

And olives outdoors on the porch on one of the first beautiful days of Spring! We had other things, too...prosciutto and sundried tomatoes....

Bread from a heavenly bakery up the road, Bantam Bread. We chose a French baguette and Olive bread for the occasion. And of course -

A bottle of our new favorite wine - an Argentinian Malbec. This one was an Agua de Piedra Malbec Reserva - delicious! We're looking forward to many more meals al fresco as the weather warms up and the light lingers longer.
Buon appetito!

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

ABC Wednesday - N is for New York City

I love New York! Fortunately for me, my daughter lives there so I can go visit anytime I want to! It's not the shopping or the restaurants that I love. I love the people, the energy and the enormous-ness of it all.

Annie lives in Chelsea and that allows us to go East side, West side, all around the town with relative ease. And there's always something interesting to do and see...

I can't wait til the next time...

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

ABC Wednesday - M is for Maia

This is Maia, our mostly new cat. I've written about her before because she's just so darn fun to have around. We suspect that she is part Maine Coon Cat and not because we adopted her from a shelter in Maine, but because she has many of that breed's characteristics. Except for being huge - she's not big at all.
We named her for the patron saint of my husband's town in Italy, Muro Lucano. The patron saint is St. Gerard and his feast day is October 16th - and that's the day we spent an hour and a half in the shelter trying to find the perfect match in a cat for us. We did. She's been the best cat ever - except when she pulls the stunt above: sleeping in the flower box hanging over the railing two stories up from the ground!

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

ABC Wednesday - L is for Launch

My sister Susan ( I call her Susie) had her book launch on Sunday April 6th. She is a poet and her inaugural book is a slim volume of poems called Down by the Riverside Ways. A small gathering of friends and family listened as she read some of her "old favorites" and she performed, as always, with humor and panache. Her voice has always been best expressed through her poetry and it was wonderful and amazing to see her in the spotlight.

The launch was held at The Buttonwood Tree, the arts center that grew out of Susie's first business venture - Ibis Books. For twenty years Susie and her husband Stephan have fiercely fought for and supported the arts in Middletown, Conn. Sunday's launch was a dollop of icing on the cake for her work, an acknowledgment of not only her advocacy but her own supreme talent.

And afterwards, as always - because the term "starving artist" isn't just a dramatic bohemian pose - there was food. Brie and wine, pretzels and juice boxes, chips and beer. The only thing more abundant than the food was praise for Susie's work. It was a proud day for our whole family. This is the place to find out more about Susie's work.

And here is the place to find more ABC Wednesday posts!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

ABC Wednesday - K is for Knowing

This is a picture of the shells on the beach at Venice, Florida's Nokomis Beach in January. If everyone takes a pocketfull of shells when they visit the beach, will all the shells disappear? I don't know that they will, but just in case, I took a picture, instead. If you "know better" how does that impact the rest of your decisions? Usually I just post a picture and a little description - and it's usually about my home or my family! - but this week's post is actually a link to my other web site Writing Out Loud and my current essay on "Knowing". There are always a lot of sites to visit on ABC Wednesday, but I hope you get a chance to read it. And then, let me know what you think!

Find more ABC Wednesday posts here!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

ABC Wednesday - J is for John, Justine, Justin, (Annie, Christopher & Victoria)

And the family/home references continue!

This is a picture of all my kids - my daughter, my son, my stepdaughter, my nephews and my niece. Since half of them are "J"s I thought it was a fitting entry for this week. This picture was taken at a family birthday party last November. It was one of the few times we had them all together because they are as far away as Florida and Arizona. They are in college - just starting or all the way to grad school or they are working - trying to make their way. We are as proud as punch of all of them and that day, realized how grateful we all are to have such beautiful, talented children. (Why do I still call them children? One, because they always will be our children and Two because it still takes over ten shots to get one good picture!)

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

ABC Wednesday - I is for Inbox

The Internet is great, isn't it? Access to the world - as evidenced by this very activity, ABC Wednesday. Possibly one of the reasons that I am so late in posting this week is due to the Internet and one of its insidious time-sappers - the email Inbox. Over 4,000 emails are in my Inbox and they date back over 2 years. Really? Is there some reason that I have to keep emails over 2 years? I think not - but because my Inbox fills up daily, I have yet to spend the day or so required to clean the darn thing out.
So here I sit...under the ABC Wednesday wire...trying to go online while being beckoned by my Inbox siren's call to just check in. And maybe answer one or two...

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

ABC Wednesday H is for Homebody

Main Entry: home·body
Pronunciation: \hōm-bä-dē\
Function: noun
Date: 1821
: one whose life centers on home

I am a homebody. I could stay home all the time, all day, all night. I love my home and everything and everyone in it.

I am finding that, since starting the ABC Wednesday blog, I seem to be drifting to topics that have to do with home and hearth. When trying to think of topics to post, I am inevitably drawn to those things that are close to my heart. I tried - really - to think of something artsy or clever or profound, but there you go. I am a homebody and that's what I am writing about.

This is my porch. If I'm not in my home, I'm on my porch. It's not just me, either. Everyone who comes to visit loves to sit on my porch, too. It's not huge, but it's big enough for whoever is out there. It's like the Room of Requirements at Hogwarts. (Oh - I could have done Harry Potter!).

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

ABC Wednesday - G is for Grandparents

Grand parents, that's what they are. All my childhood memories are warm, sweet, magical moments of being loved and fed by the most amazing and curious people I'd ever known. For my own children, my parents became these wonderful beings as they guided them, cherished them and acted as role models while I was busy trying to figure out single-parenting. God bless Grandparents.
This is all three of my grandparents, but we'll get to Nana in a second. Oscar (middle) and Agnes (right) Eastman were my dad's parents. I don't think I ever saw Grandma without her arms wrapped tightly to her waist. She was probably holding in laughter at her grandkids because we always seemed to confound her. But that didn't stop her from making sure we all had something good to eat and a clean bed to sleep in. Papa was always in the background, but not so much that we didn't know that he couldn't fix anything that popped a spring or lost a wheel. He was a Fuller Brush man and even though we didn't have a clue what that was, we knew he was part of some legendary team who brought people essential potions for daily living. Half of them were in their bathroom closet.
Here's Nana - Helen Russell, in an early studio photo. She was something - the world's first single mom. At least that's what I always thought of her. She lived in an apartment with a French poodle named Gigi, rumored to be the sister of the dog belonging to the Queen of Romania. I never once doubted it. Nana used to make us colored milk when we went to visit - she was an artist, you know. That's how artists drink their milk - blue, pink, orange. Everyone knows that. When we used to go visit her in New York, we thought we were the coolest kids ever, "my grandmother lives in an apartment in New York City. Where did you say your grandmother lived?" She let us have every single version of her life that we imagined without spoiling it with the reality that she was really just a commercial artist who worked in a small office with a view of the Empire State Building. How cool is that?
These hip folks are my kids grandparents - Warren and Pattie - aka Grandma and Papa. They live in Florida part-time and Maine part-time and drive back and forth in between. I'm lucky that they still come and spend a week or so with us at each end of the trip. They are as interested and involved in my kids lives as they always were, and, even if my kids don't know it yet, were an integral part in their growing up. But they'll realize it one day. Maybe they'll even write a blog about it.

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Monday, March 2, 2009

The "Short Hair" picture

In the essay below, I write about my "new" short hair - and how that makes me a grown up. A couple of days later came a comment about how I had neglected to show my new hair, as my profile picture clearly shows that it is quite long. That's because, in an effort to get this blog up and running, I chose an essay that I wrote a couple of years ago. Could I have written a brand, spanking new one - about - say - long hair? Yes, I could have. Did I? No.

In the interest of truth in publishing, here now is a picture of when I cut my hair short. It took some time to find a picture that I would post, because it wasn't the most flattering look for me. Here with me is the provocateur, the author of the comment, the reason I am doing this - my brother. This was taken - a few years ago - at the Lake Shrine in Los Angeles. A beautiful place where we spent part of a picture-perfect California day. Thanks for the opportunity to remember that day, Rich! (That's funny - you don't look anything like this anymore either!)

Friday, February 27, 2009

F is for Freedom

I just can't get "ABC Wednesday" out of my head! Today I have the freedom to head over to my sister's house and do some work there. This is because I quit my job in August. No - not "retired" - quit. I thought I'd have oh-so much time on my hands but I've been busier than a mother of 14 - without the family and welfare. Susie and I decided we needed to stay in better touch with each other since we only live 25 miles away and this is one of those days. It's not snowing, we are both working on books, and well - it's fun! (Oh, look another F!'s supposed to be in the fifties today!! Somebody stop me before I flip!!)
OK, I'll stop now....
Have a good weekend! (You know...'cause it's Friday...)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

ABC Wednesday - Frye Island

Frye Island, Maine is a little piece of heaven nestled near the eastern shore of Sebago Lake. It has been a haven for my family for the last 23 years. Only available for about six months of the year and only accessible by ferry, it is the sweetest and most peaceful place I've ever been.
(F is also for FIRST - as in this is my FIRST ABC Wednesday post!)

For more fun F entries visit ABC Wednesday, click here!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Real Grown-up

When I was 12 years old, I got my haircut. I don’t remember if it was for a party, for example or school pictures or some other important event. But I have in my head a picture of my round little face smiling out at the camera with my once long hair stopping abruptly at my shoulders. It’s always been a pretty color – mostly blondish with golden highlights. The sun lightened it in the summer and it became a darker caramel blonde in the winter but it always fit loosely into the “Blonde” category. So the color was nice, and the length age appropriate. But I have always been on the, hmmm, how shall I put this? The “pleasingly plump” side and I ended up looking like a thick chunk of a girl in a neighborhood of skinny little sorts who ran barefoot in short shorts and tank tops. I hated that haircut. I needed something on my body to be long and thin and that was my hair. When it finally started growing out, it never touched my shoulders again. Well, there was that one time around the mid 70’s when I got that Farrah-cut. You know…the Gypsy shag, which thankfully there are no pictures of. But when you are pleasingly plump (my Swedish grandmother’s description, God bless her) you don’t want too much else to be short and chunky hanging around your body, so I kept growing it longer and longer.

So on I went through high school, college and into adulthood with my short chunky body and my long, thin hair. Still mostly blonde, sometimes with bangs – ugh, I never learned the bangs lesson. My role model was my grandmother on my mother’s side. She was the worlds’ first single parent, I think. She was an artist in New York City in the early 40’s and 50’s. Not the Bohemian, absinthe sipping hang out with DeKooning kind, but the family portraits on the side while drawing for Montgomery Ward catalog kind. As the world’s first single parent, she had my mother to raise, so she had responsibilities. But she also had long hair which she wound simply into a bun and wrapped with a black velvet ribbon. As a child I never saw it hanging down around her shoulders, but I imagined it did. Then, the unthinkable happened. She cut it all off. Right after she turned 65. I remember the photograph she had taken when she cut her hair. The shocking thing wasn’t the way she looked, because since she always had it up in that black velvet ribbon, it looked short anyway, but that she had done it. Wow. She must be a grown up now. Which was wonderful news for me, because I knew I had years to go before I needed to think about cutting my hair. Although I thought about it occasionally, I didn’t really have to consider it because I had more than 40 years to go before that terrifying event!

So, what did I do yesterday, well before the 65 year mark for hair cutting and growing up? I cut my damn hair. Not a trim or even a bold “take 3 inches off!” for me. I gave my hairstylist complete authorization to cut it all off. She said, “Do you want to cut it to your shoulders?” Sudden images of female East German athletes bounded in front of my eyes. “NO!” I think I screamed a little. “I walked in here brave – you might as well take advantage of it”, I replied. “Do you want to try bangs?”, she asked. “Don’t ask me any more questions – just do it!” I shrieked. Clearly in my apprehension I had again forgotten the bangs lesson. Then I closed my eyes, she turned the chair away from the mirror and started cutting.

Now, an important codicil here…my body is NOT any less short or chunky. This is where the crazy part comes. I am not taller or thinner. So what in God’s name was I thinking? I suspect it was the growing up part. I keep trying to make my hair look decent as it lays in lengths below my shoulders, but I just can’t shake the idea that 40-somethings should have a “hairstyle”. Plus there is that graying thing happening too. Gray hair is definitively not long or thin. It is short and annoying. It pokes up from my scalp like so many broken bed springs and the whole effect is just ridiculous. Then of course there is that bad evil influence…the Internet! I found a website called Makeover-O-Matic. Sounds bad, right? Evil? Temptation incarnate. One can upload a picture of themselves and straight away being the makeover. I tried short hair, curly hair, even Beyoncé hair. (I did a little blush, eye shadow and lipstick too, but that’s a whole other dilemma.) With the false confidence of a virtual Before/After shot, I called and made the appointment. And the rest, as they say, is history.

So, now my hair is short. Really short. And not the short that it was when I left the salon yesterday, because we all know that they have some scary magic there that only allows your hair to look that way once. No, I have the short hair of today. The one side goes this way and the other side goes that way short. No amount of headbands, barrettes or black velvet ribbons will help me. I made my choice and now I have to live with it. If that isn’t growing up, I don’t know what is.

When you're 50... start doing all sorts of strange things you might not have done at - say - 49. It's wonderfully liberating. For instance - I'm going to publish a book. Yep. That's right. A book.

There will be a few of the selections from my web site that I am including in my first collection of essays to be published…oh, I don’t know - as soon as I find someone who will do it! Meanwhile, please enjoy the following. Then go back and read some more!

And let me know what you think....