Monday, May 30, 2011

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Monkey's Fist to the Max! Last summer, we made our usual beach trek on one of the glorious uninhabited islands off of the cape. As we always do, once the boat is anchored, we walk the beach and climb rocks, step over stones, hunt and gather random treasures washed ashore by some storms.

Hunting List:
Sea glass

Gathering List:

1. Buoys
2. Beach balls
3. Boat line
4. Flags
5. Occasional tire
6. sneaker or single flip flop
7. tennis ball
8. Fishing lures
9. Fishing line
10. Pail
11. Shovel
12. Beach chair
13. Cooler
14. Tattered tacky beach towel
15. Boat ladder
16. Frisbee
17. Goodyear tire
18. Tugboat dock lines
19. 14k Gold and sterling silver bracelet
20. Cell phone

** #18...huge hunk of big clunky tugboat line stuck in the rocks...most intriguing ...especially to the kids. To repurpose? Huh? Ta-da! It's been hauled from boat to dock to beach to little red wagon to...home, made into a Mega Monkey's Fist like sailors made for their ships long ago. How will this be used? We're not quite sure...but we painted it anyway!

**#19...a shimmer of gold caught my eye one day...pushed away some sand with my toes and voila! simple abundance! A treasure that I treasure...for it's reminder of the abundance in our world.

Buoys Will Be Buoys

When The Paints Go Marching In

Well not quite. The paint crews arrived on the cape Saturday. Paint brushes. Check. Paint. Check. Enthusiasm. Check. Experience? Some. Many hands make light work is a saying Grace and T.J. know well around our house.

Somehow, out of state, on Cape Cod, at a beach house, with friends like family, Memorial Day weekend, with music, laughter and catching up....many hands make light work turns out to be much more fun....lightening the load than home sweet home.

And what fun we had today! 4 parents, 4 kids, 2 grandparents and one stereo...painting the porch, prepping the house, stopping for lunch and a quick jaunt to the beach, coffee, clean up.

What a gift! All of it. Even the paint on my toes. Life's better barefoot! With family and friends! With music! With enthusiasm to welcome summer!

Fitzy Again?

NO! Are you as surprised as we were when we got home from the movies? Remember, we're on the unless Fitz followed us....I don't think she got to the pizza. Daisy? Never! But Quigley?

Yes! He seemed to be running wild while we were out...was it a party? We think he was worried he was left behind. Ooh! Did he look guilty when we got home! Guilty and full!

Guilty As Charged!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"Losing Isaiah" Our Saturday Night Movie At Home

What a movie. Beautifully done. Powerful. So many questions. Who are we to judge? Which situation is best? or better?

A very good movie home..on Netflix. Biff and I both really enjoyed the acting.

Beachy Keen

The boat is at the beach! T.J. took it out today for the season's maiden voyage...beautiful afternoonf or beach, picnics and sailing....and friends!

Beauty And The Beach

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fudge, Fudge, Call The Judge!

Mama's got a newborn bayyy-by...... well, I guess I forgot to sing some of our old jump rope songs while jumping rope yesterday. Maybe it wasn't so much "forget" as it was "couldn't sing AND jump at the same time".... Nope...not a blonde joke! For real.

Even Biff said I looked so serious that my face seemed to be frozen with fear...well, maybe that's just my determined face? was concentration!

There were some technical can jumping rope have technical difficulties?

1. The rope was too long
2. I seemed to have lost my rythym...maybe that's what all of the songs were for!
3. Biff was counting for me...I felt jump rope performance anxiety!

Initially, I could barely get to ten. After adjusting the rope, I felt my six year old spirit fly.... twenty...twenty five....thirty....and I got it back! Biff walked the dogs along side while I skipped down the hill and circled back up the hill.

It sounds like a cute little hop, skip and a jump doesn't it? I was sweating...not like a soft and dry commercial but like a marathon runner south of the border. I was panting, desperate for water. My hair was as poofed out as it could be. My legs were shaking...maybe up the hill was pushing it. But really? I'm not over the hill yet...or am I and I just didn't get the memo!

Then I remembered I had to be at an event in 25 minutes...the fun and games were over...literally! I had just showered hours before after walking the dogs to the beach...and being wagged on! Back to shower again.

I went to the event and hours later I collapsed into bed. When I woke up this morning it wasn't clear, at first, why evvverrryyyy-singggg-lllleee bone in my body felt stiff. Did I have whiplash? Fitzy doesn't pull that hard at the beach. Wow! How hard did I whip those sticks out in the water for Daisy? Lifting a few groceries?

As I plunked my body down the stairs, one step at a time, it came to me. Jump rope. Something as innocent as jump rope? Really?

I treated myself to a pedicure today! After pounding on those piggies, they needed a little lovin'. After all, it's Memorial Day weekend....beach season is official! Uh oh....better get out that jump rope again....or maybe hop scotch will do...hide and seek? or stick with low impact catching lightning bugs.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Are you tired or listless? Do you poop out at parties? A semi-quote from.the I Love Lucy TV show. Is little Boo depressed? He's been jumping up at this commercial. Then again, if we all listen carefully to this commercial we'll all be depressed. Just listening to the advertisement is depressing! It's like they want us to be depressed...

On A Clear Day

Not! We've gone from spring to summer in 24 hours. Hazy, hot and humid...sweaty, sweatier and sweatiest. I win the prize. The dogs had a swim...smelly, smellier and smelliest. They win. I hope! What of it's me? Oh don't worry, the kids will be home soon...they'll tell me. One thing about teenagers, they tell it like it is!

just a few...
"mom! the dogs smell"
"what are you cooking? it smells gross!"
"mom, dad, please don't embarrass us"
"dad...I hate to tell you but your jokes aren't funny. So stop. Really"
"mom, what is that lipstick color? it's just wrong."
"Dad...please don't come to my game after mountain biking. You're a mess."

That's just the tip of the iceberg! Funny how each one is all about them! Except for the lipstick...and Grace was right. It wasn't my color!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lights Out!

Do You See What I See?

To Do

I know. I know. A place for everything and everything in it's place, as mom used to say. The lawn was just mowed. the lawn. I went outside with the dogs tonight ...we have a light out in the backyard... it's in needs a new bulb. It's been out for awhile now.

Life gets busy. When we enter the house in daylight, we don't think of replacing the light. When we come home in the dark, it's not a good time to replace the bulb. I suppose other people might write it on a to do list. By the time I get inside I'm on to the next, kitties,dogs, groceries, dinner.

Tonight, I took the dogs out ...very dark...tripped over the lawn mower...walked into the front... fell over the flat motor in the front and kept going until i hit the push handle with my forehead and landed on the pushing handle...with the motor tipped up in the air behind feet up in the air and out of my clogs .

It happened so hurt so surprised was late...i was alone. Then I realized Daisy and Fitzy were standing by me...more confused than me! I told them what happened, my frustration, my hurts....they listened. I felt better.

Head Over Heels For The Lawnmower

Sun, Sun, Sun, Here We Come

Wow! Waking up to sunshine is a delight. I feel a bounce in my step again! I feel blessed to have the energy to take on any little thing that comes my way. Most days. I especially appreciate this since my "hypothyroid" slowed me down...before I was aware of this common 40 something occurrence in my body. Slow was not a speed I was too familiar with.

Slow. Sleepy. Lethargic. Like swimming through seaweed. Was it depression? Certainly there were many life illnesses... big life changes that could have made that a consideration. How could that have been a possibility when l was given so many blessings for which I was most grateful. Depression isn't a flaw. It's not about grateful vs. ungrateful after all. It's chemistry.

So many things to consider when a body isn't performing at top speed! As a mom, we don't always take the time to stop and listen to our body and it's signals. Its not convenient. We have so many others to look out for.

My body finally called out. I was even becoming clumsy. That was what stopped me in my tracks....quite literally. I fell off Biff's bike(too tall) and hit my a blood test showed low thyroid which explained so much!

The change was incredible once I began taking my thyroid supplement. My energy level slowly returned. I felt like me again!

The sun is out today after weeks of very gray days! Those gray days had me it me? Why do I feel so slow and tired? Guess what? I think the weather was taking a toll on many of us. Today is a new day with brightness and the energy all over seems better. Phew! I'm. off for a good long walk with the usual, but with sunshine! And T.J. Oh. Did I forget to mention he was feeling under the weather today? He stayed home from school. I'm getting him out in the sunshine too, sore throat or not. The sunshine is healing....for everyone!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Snack Time!

Oh wait! Grace and T.J. are teenagers. Then why are all of the kitchen cabinets still open? They can certainly reach them these days. How about the dishes in the sink? How is it possible to fill a sink so quickly? Hey! The garbage isn't full...that's good news. Oh...not quite. Everything's all over the counters. There's more on the kitchen table. Follow the the kids in the family room. T.V. is on. IPhone in use. Computer has music playing. The blackberry is beeping. The white noise of family.

Nevermind. I'm grateful they're home. I'm grateful that their crumbs are in our floor. I'm grateful they're sitting and talking with me. I'm grateful they're laughing together and having fun. It's all good.

It's a good thing I'm not perfect....I can lower my expectations!

No! It Was Clean YESTERDAY!

Here We Go Again

Cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. I potted the Geraniums for the deck...Impatiens in the blue ceramic pots on the front steps and Coleus for the window boxes in the back.

Inside.. so clean UNTIL the kids take over the kitchen for after school snacks. Outside...dirt...dirty...dirtier...dirtiest...all of the gloves...really dirty ...oops. Inside with sneakers...white floor...not so much anymore!

Back to the drawing board!

Monday, May 23, 2011

We Are Family

Cousins. These days it's not so easy to get everyone' We do our best.

Sometimes we think like Nike,"Just Do It!" rather than wait. Sometimes we wait....trying to get everyone at the same time, in the same place, with the same people. That's quite the challenge.

Thanks to Facebook, we were able to coordinate a wonderful day with cousins...from Biff's side...although since we've been married, Biff and I have no "sides"....we have "our" family. It's such fun to get together at home ...share the dogs,cats, kids and tbe beach, laugh, tell stories, see things and family from a different perspective, learn little bits of family history...and have the time to really know each, as adults, on our own terms.

Biff, the kids, the cousins and I had a blast! And they brought cake and cookies from one of my favorite bakeries! Coffee and bagels, beach, dinner, home for dessert and and a funny movie. A vacation in a bottle day!

Best of all, they're coming back soon. Think of what we might have missed if we waited until....until...until. We just did it and we're so glad we did. Simple fun.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cat Scratch Fever

Daisy and Fitzy averting their eyes ... inside they're thinking, c'mon already. You're a cat!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Just Hanging Around

Boo suddenly jumped, flew through the air and clung to the screen of the window....latched himself onto the screen. Hanging there, he seemed to be trying to prove to me that he meant to do that. Yup. Uh huh. Here I am attached to the living room window screen. Weee! Lookk at me Daisy, Fitzy, T.J. and mom! Now I'm really having fun. You bet! I'm loving it!

I sometimes feel embarrassed for Boo when he gets himself into this kind of predicament. Really. It's awkward! For all of us. HmmmmMmmmm...we' not paying attention Boo. It's. not like we feel your

He jumps up at the windows and doors when he sees a fly, a moth or a leaf. Sadly, he jumps up on the glass and goes plummeting down...bump. Oh sure, like he meant to do that. I wasn't born yesterday. Doesn't he have any dignity?

Frankly, I don't like to offer help in these situations. I mean, Boo is a may leave him feeling less than feline. It may diminish his confidence as a cat. Maybe we won't have to let the cat out of the bag....ssshhhhhh.

To Market, To Market

Here in Connecticut, spring is officially here when the farmer's markets fill the town greens. Each market has it's own energy. Staying at the local market or visiting out of town, it's a taste of the simpler life and natural goodness.

With folk music, flowers, herbs, fish, soaps, meats and cheeses. Folks of all ages bring lawn chairs, picnic blankets scattered all over green grass, toddlers dancing and spinning, babies in backpacks, grandparents with grandchildren, tourists and teenagers

Imagine how it was long ago...the town green...the meeting ...activities place to be. Now, some find it kitchy. Ironic. Everything old is new again.

Sun, Sun, Sun, Here We Come

Another gray day. Until it/ changes ...for awhile. I change my clothes. Grace and T.J. arrive home after school as the sun begins to shine. Yay! It's Friday. I love the weekends. Always have, always will.

The kids are exhausted by Friday. It's nice to have them laying low after school...relaxed having some "chill time"...for now. Grace has to babysit. T.J. has no plans...til tomorrow. After making some "indoor s'mores" and chatting, I was off to walk Daisy and Fitz.

We walked down to the sunshine. "Walking in Sunshine," as the song goes. Beautiful.

Kayaks are beginning to spot the racks...soon these racks will be full with colors like a pack of Lifesavers candy. The pop of color delights my eyes and reminds me it's time to get our kayaks to the beach...and the sailboat too.

Dogs swim and shake sell Who cares! It's sunny! Sea glass sparkles on the dry sand....heaven. Heavenly. Life is good. I'm grateful for the little things....I go home and change's a bit damp. Here we go again!

Mud Room

Yes, it's true. It's Connecticut after all. Everyone has a "mud room" at the back door. Well, almost everyone. We have the back door. Oh wait...sometimes the front door. There are mud rooms that are as formal as the Oval Office and there are mud rooms as basic as hooks and a bench with everything in between. I'm not sure when the mud room came into existence…it is definitely a New England thing…certainly now that our living is just a bit  more rural than suburban. Now we have dirt, boots, sand, sneakers, dirt, hiking shoes,  sand, sandals and shoes….and paws! Lots of paws…with dogs who could use their own mud room. For the dogs, we have the ever coveted Billy Maes ShamWow as seen on TV! Don't laugh! It works! I'm a real live testimonial!

Growing up in my lovely suburban bedroom community, we didn't have mudrooms...we kept our shoes on. There was a mat to wipe our feet, even in our upscale community...just a mat. Kids just kept their shoes on....unless a mom was the type that didn't want the kids in the living room. The front door was a clue, an unwritten kid code that signaled the type of house we were entering.

As we walked in the door, instantly we could sense the atmosphere. Shoes...on or off. Check. Everything perfectly in place with no sign of life. Check. Volume in the house. Check. Some houses were ultra quiet, uncomfortably quiet. Check. Whoop! Whoop! Playdar! Our playdar went off! This is a show house....this house is fun! The mom has lots of rules. Check. Playdar let us know how to behave. Tiptoe shoes off house or skip shoes on house? By the way, the skipping, shoes on house had better snacks too!

Houses are different. Families are different. Energy kicks in right at the door...or mudroom. Just wondering, is Martha Stewart reponsible for the mudroom? What kind of energy does your home have? Really, all that matters to make everyone welcome.

I try not to send the signal that I'm one of "those" moms. I don't want to be THAT mom, as Grace and T.J. say. Funny but I'm not thinking I stand a chance to be THAT mom. Byt thte way, THAT mom might run right out of our house without a specific place to keep her shoes….and we don't often wear slippers…we're not THAT family either! Don't get me started. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Weather Or Not

Weather. Everyone's talking about it. Rain. Wind. Damp. Windbreaker. Slicker. Polarfleece vest. Pants. Rainboots. Sandals. Shorts. Skirts. Sneakers. Sweater. Tee Shirts. Baseball cap. Socks. Sweatshirts.

All of the clothing worn in the last 2 cold. steamy. damp. sunny Wndy. Blue skies. Thunder. Chilly.

3 clothing changes before 5 p.m.

Do you know what all of this means? It's back to the dungeon with a gigantic pile of laundry! Happy weekend? Don't worry...the weathers report is for partly cloudy wit some rain and maybe some sun...probably damp until it dries which case it may be warm with a breeze it cold with wind unless the sun peeks out and heats things up. Maybe. Sometime. Or not.

What's a Connecticut girl to wear?



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chatty Catty

Every now and then T.J.mentions to me that I'm talking to him in the same tone that I talk to the dogs. Oh! I probably should mention the way I talk to the cats too.

It's true. I'm quite aware that I use the tone...we all do it. Biff, Grace and T.J. too. Grace pops in the door after school and squeals, "Feets! ....Dooog! ....Buddhist! .....Blink!" Translation: Fitz, Daisy....Boo..Jinx. And I'm the one being reminded? Hmmm. Kaley, Grace's BFF, told me I was talking to her like I talk to the dogs...I told her she should be flattered! I love our dogs.

Once, when Biff's brother was visiting, in the middle of a conversation, we noticed Grace's new kitty attempting to jump up onto the kitchen counter.......instantly we all sang out,"MEHHH-HEHHH!!!!" Ed burst out laughing and choked out,"I'm afraid to ask!"

So when i get a little reminder from T.J., it's not with the same teenage sarcastic tone or disillusioned look that he might give me when I ask the name of the song on his i-phone. It's not the pained look he gives me when I mention my twitter name to a friend....or that shake of his head when my blog is being discussed. His reminder is merely a cue to catch myself before I ramble on throughout the day speaking animal speak. At least I think that's why he calls it to my attention.

It's not that T.J. doesn't chat in his own "talk to the animals" tone of voice...he understands. It's the other people. I think T.J., like any other teenager we know, is desperately afraid that I'll continue my animal speak at the grocery store or at a school event. Really.

After all, the sole job of our teenagers is to monitor us or do damage control for every situation they have to be seen in public with us, the parents. That's quite a full time job! I wonder how Grace and T.J. can go to school with the responsibilty of reeling us in. Oh well, we manage to get by...until we're out with them in public again.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again

Wet Dog Days

Yes it's the day, scrubbing, mopping, washing, wiping, steaming. Today...wet dogs! Wet dogs smell. They shake. Paw prints on the white tile floor. Life. Life goes on...and on and on. I love our family, including dogs and cats and muddy prints, way more than the white tile floor...most of the time...just kidding...kind of. It's just more challenging the day after the mean clean.

Ooh, Ooh, Ooh, Looking Out My Back Door!

Ashlaen Farm Coffee, Old Lyme, Ct

Here in Connecticut it's a treasure to have a family run farm reinvented by roasting coffee, serving it fresh in the small coffee bar right there at the farm. What a step back in time..a real niche for locals to meet and swap stories, coo at new babies, keep up on local news and events.

Always greeted with smiles, a warm hello and immediate attention to the business at hand....putting a cup of steaming hot coffee in my hand.

It's the people, the place and the atmosphere...horses and random farm animals outside add to the peaceful, natural beauty while the interesting and friendly people that make it all a pleasure. I stop in for just a moment to get a morning jolt and ironically stopping at the farm gives is a little treasure....slowing down! For a mom, that's a good thing!

Do you have a favorite place that slows you down or gives you peace?

Cuddle Kitten

It's been a busy day. Finally I mademo it home between the raindrops and downpours....I took a moment to flop on the plumped up couch while reading my emails....suddenly Boo appeared and as if calling to me with a trill so I was aware he was ready to pounce, get some cozy time while nestling into my arm, settling in, purring and falling asleep. He was so sweet, stretching across my arm, I took those minutes to enjoy the quiet and his warmth on such a damp day.

Grace and T.J. arrived home from school just as my arm began falling asleep....funny because they don't think I do anything while they're at school. Now they have proof. Bon Bon mom!

Monday, May 16, 2011

More Laundry

just when I thought I was safe.after 7,658 loads of laundry between taking out 214 bags of trash for the garbage collector, scrubbing bathrooms and attempting to look like a glamorous, put together stylin' wife/mom and dog walker (glamormama)....I heard footsteps coming downstairs long after our Good night and God Bless You's were through...maybe 10:30p.m.? It was T.J. He called, mid-staircase, "Mom, did my khakis get washed? I have to wear them tomorrow."

O.k. Practically the only thing unwashed? The khakis. I probably didn't need to tell you that...if you're a mom!

A Yogi Berra ain't over til it's over and it's not over yet! I'm going to bed. It's after midnight. I put the khakis in tbe wash. First, I moved the load in the washer to the dryer. I poured in my Tide with bleach and closed the lid. I pushed the power button and went on my way.

About an hour later, I went to switch the laundry to the dryer.......Horror! Ahhh thr agony! Apparently, in my enthusiastic attempt to do yet another load of laundry, I must have skipped off after pushing "power" but not the "start" button. The khakisare on spin cycle and I'm on pillow, that is. I'll have to switch the khakis to the dryer in the morning....when I wake up...if I wake time to put the pants in the dryer..and remember to push the start button..or maybe I should just do the switch now???

What's a mother to do?


Me. Now. Tonight. Or Is It Tomorrow Already?

"Mom? My khakis?"......the first words I'll hear in the morning. Yawn. Zzzzzzz.

Forgot The List

As I skipped throughout the aisles at the grocery store, hunting and gathering dinner, I made it throught the fruits and veggies before it hit me. The list! I forgot the list. Again.

There I was smack in the middle of the meat department with no idea what to make for dinner The meat department is not usually my kind of place to linger but I have been working on my Becky Home Becky cooking. It's not that I can't's just that I've been boiling water and tossing in a different pasta every night....for years! Dinnertime is challenging...although pasta works with many dishes.

Grace is 16...her meal of choice is still pasta...white pasta. Peas or frozen Lima beans. Thankfully, T.J. has branched out in his Epicurean delights...although he doesn't eat peas...or frozen lima beans....or oatmeal, another staple in Grace's culinary repertoire.

Try not to judge...we all have to pick our own battles. Yours may not be food may be school...or hair....or clothing...or friends...or homework....the battles go on and on. I didn't eat lasagna until college because I didn't like the name...the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. By the way, Grace and T.J. both like apples.

Yes, we are an odd bunch. Speaking of bunches, bananas were one of Grace's favorite fruits...until they weren't. T.J. still likes banana. Both kids liked meatloaf...until one day at age 4 when Grace stopped liking meatloaf...and every meat. T.J. likes a variety of meats. Grace doesn't eat sandwiches. Or jelly. Yes for peanut butter on Ritz crackers. T.J. likes sandwiches. They both like waffles. Grace loves scrambled eggs...You guessed it....T.J. not so much. They both like cereal...Cracklin' Oat Bran yes...Grace doesn't care for Cheerios...T.J. does. They both like clementines, oranges, grapes, melons and strawberries. Raisins for.T.J, not for Grace.

Funny, I guess I should have made a fruit salad for dinner. Don't say're thinking we're a bunch of fruits. Yup...maybe even mixed up. It makes life interesting.

Cleaning Lady

Mondays are like that. Why is the house even more upside down when we have a whole weekend to get it right side up? I guess I know the answer. Considering my mom taught me there's a place for everything and everything on it's place, you'd think I'd have caught on by now.

She's also the one who taught me to make the bed first thing in the morning so if all else fails, at least your bed looks pretty and it pulls the room together. At least I caught on to that tid bit of wisdom...or really, now I think it might have been the working mom's attempt to get it all done!

Oh! One other thing she taught me...if your house is perfectly spotless, then you're not having any fun. I guess I've been having too much fun....until today.


Monday Morning Mellow

Gray day. Damp. Drizzly. Oh to cuddle up under the comforters again.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bookstore Date

We've been going on bookstore dates from the very beginning. Biff and I love books. Today was a lazy, rainy day at home until early afternoon. We took some time to get out on our own. Sometimes we just need our own's still a treat. It's not about where or's just time for us to be alone...together. So we spent some time, side by side, in the bookstore. Reading. Sharing. Talking. Just a couple of sweet.

We called the kids and told them to get ready....we all went out for dinner for some family fun together.

Ladies And Gentlemen

Oops! He forgot to open the car door! His parent's jumped! How could you forget. We reminded you of that's earlier. You're supposed to be a gentleman! We all laughed. Awkward moments. Grace glided over to her car as usual.

Pre- Prom Moments

How can it be possible? Our little girl is all dressed up to go to prom. It may not be her prom...her day will be soon enough! The boy invited her about a month ago. He arrived with yellow roses the day he came to ask Grace to the prom....sweet? Yes. Kodak commercial? Yes! Our little girl was asked to the a boy she knows from the winter ski bus.

It's prom day. It's time.