Sooo Many Cords In Our Lives!

The ones plugged in on the kitchen counter get splashed with spaghetti sauce, the ones plugged into the floor socket get tripped over, and the ones stretched over the sofa to the outlet behind it, get sat on. Those are the ones that also work their way in between the sofa cushions not to be found until I hear “Has anyone seen my charger?” bellowing out.

And I can barely tell one from another.

My cell phone charger and Tablet charger look exactly the same to me. I’m always grabbing the wrong one. I’ve learned how very bad it is to force a cord into the wrong thingy.

Yes, thingy.

When we travel I now have a whole compartment in my suitcase just for cords. I can’t believe they let me through the TSA check points. How can that not look like a bomb?

When we vacation with the kids they bring their own array of cords. They, however, can somehow tell them apart, and think it’s ridiculous that I can’t. Within an hour there are cords plugged into every outlet in the lake house.

I try to keep a close eye on all of them so when everyone’s packing up at the end of the week, I can stand in the middle of the room and shout, “Whose is this?”, “How about this one?”, which they can all answer from 10 feet away.

Even the one that’s been stuck in the sofa.

When I plug my cup warmer cord into the extension cord that I plug my computer charger into with my mouse cord, it’s a big tangled mess when I go to get up. I barely move as I sit and type, yet it somehow turns into a bondage situation. My attempts to free myself is scary dream material.

When I buy a new chargeable gadget, basically every gadget, I try to memorize its cord before it enters “the drawer”. You know “the drawer”, right? Once it joins the collection of cords in that drawer it completely loses its identity.

Sometimes I fear we’re all too dependent on the corded thingys in our lives. They’re our biggest source of information, how we communicate, where we order next day deliveries when we forget things, which is all the time.

Are we resourceful enough if we had to function without them? What if we lose a cord?!

Sometimes I wish we could go back to AA batteries. Ah, AA batteries, boy, do I miss them. They’re still in the back of “the drawer”.

No cords with good ol’ AAs!

Just A Girl Who Loves Football

Oh, there’s many of us.

Although, when you’re born and bred In Pittsburgh, where they prop you up in front of Steeler games every Sunday from the day you are born, it’s even more than love. It’s in the fibers of your being. When you come of age, three, you’re gifted your first Terrible Towel (pronounced Tile) to twirl wildly in the air for every play of the game.

I grew up thinking it was normal for life to stop on Sunday afternoon for “the game”. I never thought anything about the town turning black and gold, and everyone eating Isaly’s chipped ham barbecue sandwiches with an Iron City beer on game day.

Other football cities have the same kind of eat, sleep and breathe team mentality. People’s blood runs their team’s colors, and everyone thinks their city is the best at it, myself included.

So you can imagine the challenge of being a diehard Steeler fan and living my entire adult life in New England. So much red, white and blue! Geeze, Pats fans!

That I’ve learned to ignore. What I struggle with is the onside kick. I mean what is that all about? I think most people are foggy on it. No one has ever given me a clear description of how it works? It’s always a long, convoluted exposition that I nod my head to so the person will stop talking and I can get back to watching the game.

I hate distractions during a game. “Put your chips in a bowl and stop crinkling that bag.” “Is that slurping really necessary?” During the last game my son called “Hi honey, oh you feel sick? Well, the Steeler game is on so I will call you back. Of course I know there’s a global pandemic!”

I feel bad about that one.

Being a football fan and being superstitious go hand in hand. I accidentally flung my Terrible Towel behind the couch at the same moment they scored, resulting in a win. I did not dare pick that towel up. The next week they won again sending them to the playoffs. Towel’s still there. Why would I chance it?!

Especially this year when it’s Big Ben’s final romp. We form a personal attachment to our quarterbacks. Whether they thrill us or exasperate us, it’s unconditional love in the end. Even after throwing things at the TV for a botched pass, if anyone tries to rap on our quarterback we stand at their defense.

Thank you Ben!

Like all football fans, I’m sad when the season ends. At least this year we have the Olympics to look forward to.

That’s almost as good.

Juggling Holiday Meals-You Don’t Eat What?!

This one doesn’t eat that, that one doesn’t eat this, my head’s spinning accommodating it all. Every time I check with my millennial offsprings there’s a new forbidden food on their list.

These are the same kids that would do anything for a Happy Meal growing up, devoured bowl after bowl of boxed Mac & Cheese, and begged for seconds on hot dog night.

Somehow, when they reached their thirties their bodies transformed. So now when I shop I check labels with the same intensity of an FDA Inspector.

The reasons for their consumption concerns vary and, yes, seem legitimate. I mean do I want to be responsible for my grandchild’s explosive diaper due to my spiking the baked beans with a soy based ingredient?

Meanwhile, their dad and I haven’t changed our diet in 67 years. Wonder what that means for us.

Regardless, I stand at my mixer and make two different mashed potato recipes, and bake up two kinds of ziti. I’m so nervous that I use separate mixing spoons to prevent cross contamination. Does Betty Crocker do that?

Most importantly I attach color coded notes onto every dish as I place it on the table. There will be no accidental ingestion due to mislabeling on my clock.

That day I greet everyone at the door with instructions. Orange labels are dairy free, yellow is dairy and soy free, green label is almond free but has hazelnuts, purple has hazelnuts but no almonds, the ham is organic, the beans are gluten free, labeled blue.

But, do I trust that’s good enough? No.

So at mealtime I police the buffet. Standing by the plates and silverware table, I review the distribution of ingredients with everyone as they fill their plates.

Then, and not a moment sooner, I eat.

Understandably, people are possessive about their special foods. I tried a gluten-free brownie once at a family picnic. Announcing “this is the best brownie I ever had”, I felt fiery stares from the real gluten-free people there. Realizing the gravity of my strike, I immediately retreated to the blue labeled pan, and there I stayed.

But it really was the best brownie I ever had!

Anyway, even though my Italian ancestors roll over in their graves every time I exchange applesauce with butter in my biscottis, I’ll continue to do what ever it takes to get our family round the table. I suppose, eventually, one day, I’ll even find a way to embrace chicken sausage.

As for now…where can I find another one of those gluten-free brownies??

Happy New Year My Friends!!

Sorry, No Prizes For Early Risers

And why should there be?

Those of you who get up at the crack of dawn would surely disagree. I know you consider your early rise from a night of slumber a badge of honor, worthy of great praise.

Those of us that get up later, not late, just later take notice when we’re greeted with Wellll, gooood mornnnning” in a sing-songy, can’t believe you’re finally up, kind of way?

Then there’s the recap of everything we missed. Like the deer grazing in the backyard, or the first news story of the day, or your perfectly toasted English muffin.

All done with the zeal of someone that went to bed at 9:30 thus, has been up long enough to down three cups of coffee.

How can I convince you that there’s no shame in getting up later, not late, just later? How can I sway you to experience the peace and serenity of those glorious late night hours?

Well, maybe this will help…

The crickets for instance with their chirping at night, will calm frazzled nerves of any day’s plight.

The neighborhood is quiet kids are no longer up, Oh to finally think straight and sip tea from a cup.

There is much that gets done in those late hours you snore, online shopping, baking, writing, sometimes even a chore.

So forget the alarm and bag hitting the snooze, just try waking up whenever you choose.

Who cares what goes on in the world before dawn, why not wait to get up without turning lights on.

If you hear the birds singing just turn on your side, why rush the task to pry eyes open wide.

If you give your day’s entrance more grandeur and grace, you’ll gently come to grips with a new day to face.

Besides early risers it’s not such a big feat, in the end we get exactly the same amount of sleep!

Hiking – Darn My Short Legs!

I’m always the one struggling to get my short legs to move faster to keep up.

With our recent vacation in the Smoky Mountains, every hike to a lookout was a push to get there without being passed. Fall foliage? What fall foliage? Spectacular views? Oh, I didn’t notice. Keeping up is all I could focus on.

I’ve tried everything to help my stride be more efficient. Leg strengthening exercises, stretches, even lunges…my version of lunges. I’m no Jillian Michaels, but I certainly should be okay to handle a decent hike.

I also splurged on a good pair of hiking shoes with a contoured foot bed, and specialized traction soles described very much like the snow tires I bought last year. The box had a person walking on air and a picture of Mt. Everest in the background. Seemed promising. l didn’t even mind that they looked like something I should wear to muck the stalls.

I bought a high performance jacket with a moisture management system to keep me warm, or cool, or what ever I want. That had a picture of a woman gazing into the sky with a look of euphoria on it’s tag. Again, promising.

I found the perfect outdoor pants that also senses my temperature preference, with a fabric so light I sometimes look down to make sure they’re still on. My backpack is smaller than what most kindergartners carry, but still holds my cleverly designed, lightweight water bottle whose tag description had words I never heard of, nor can pronounce. Regardless, I have very little extra weight to lug around.

Even after all that, I still can’t seem to go any faster. It’s the legs!

Adding to this demoralizing situation are the people that feel the need to console me along the way. They make comments like, “Hang in there, you’re almost there!” or “Doing great, it’s not far now!”. They mean well, but to me it sounds like “We’re holding our breath for you”.

And when I hear, “Don’t worry, it gets easier, really it does!”, that’s a flashback of my eight year old ballet class that I quit because I couldn’t roll on my stomach.

But, here’s the thing…

I’m a maniac on the way down, I’m talking beastly. See, this is where my short stature helps. Picture a Mountain goat navigating the slope of a hill, effortlessly dodging tree roots, rocks and making sure-footed turns. That’s me! People watching must wonder, “Was she raised by wolves?”.

I still don’t notice scenery as I trot my way downhill, but the feeling of joy is amazing. I now understand that euphoric woman on the tag of my jacket. Sometimes, and not at all in a vengeful way, I find myself yelling back to those I pass, “It’s okay, don’t give up, you’ll get there!”.


When Life Swallows You Up…

Hence, why I didn’t post last week. Knee deep, head spinning, hands full, up to my elbows are terms used for this. They always involve body parts.

Simply said, life can get very busy. Regardless of what stage you’re in, crazy busy.

Mostly because life is a rascal and has a mind of it’s own. It shows up without warning destroying to-do lists, or plans to to do nothing at all. A rascal I tell you.

You might say it’s just a matter of being organized…pish! Life laughs in the face of organization. It can take a perfectly planned party and have someone show up with a watermelon that hasn’t been cut, or an appetizer that needs cooked.

It relishes on having a child who usually naps for two hours, only nap for 20 minutes, for no good reason whatsoever.

It can take your phone call, put you on hold, cut you off, make you call back, listen to jazz, get a person, more music, another person, music, person, with still no answer to your question.

Then there’s stuff like…

  • Spilling your coffee down the front of you on your way out the door. Not part of the plan, but that’s life!
  • Remembering you need milk the minute you’re back home from grocery shopping. Frustrating as all get out, but that’s life!
  • Writing your brother’s birthday on the wrong day, and writing your dentist appointment on your brother’s birthday in the wrong month. Now you’re in trouble, but that’s life!
  • Losing the receipt for a return but finding every single, solitary other receipt from the month including one for a coffee and pumpkin donut. Enough to drive you crazy, but that’s LIFE!!!

Nice things play their part in swallowing us up, too.

  • Planning a wedding consumes you from the second the engagement ring hits the finger till the very last dance.
  • Vacation research buries our tables with tour books and pamphlets of excursions to chose, causing us to eat on TV tables for months.
  • Holiday prep takes countless hours, much of which is barely noticed, but there’s no talking us out of doing it.
  • Even a fun night out with friends involves trying on most of our wardrobe, that gets thrown all over our bed, that we’re too tired to put away when we get home, so we sleep under them.

BUT that is life!

And that’s all I have time for this week because, I’m up to my eyeballs.

Life’s a rascal I tell you….

Did My Ultrasound Tech Just Squint?

Have you ever had one? An ultrasound, that is.

The test itself is a cinch, but interpreting gestures of the ultrasound technician who’s doing the test is another story…

She’s leaning in. Why is she leaning in? Does she see something unusual? That can’t be good. Did she just raise her brow? Her brow definitely raised. She’s pausing. A pause can’t be good. Now she’s squinting. Squinting and brow raising. Are you kidding me? What does this mean?!

As if that wasn’t terrifying enough, she then leaves the room. I’ll be right back, she said, suspiciously, if you ask me. It began to feel like I was in cardiology having a stress test. I was certain she went to get a radiologist to look at whatever horrible thing she found, along with arranging for my admission.

The screen was actually in full view so I took a look. Wait, is that shadow suppose to be there? That doesn’t look right. How about the jagged thing over there? I can’t imagine a jagged anything is normal.

She returns with the explanation of I had to refill the goop container. Sure, sure, nice cover-up. Oh, if you never had this test, they squirt goop on your skin to do an ultrasound. Anyway, she continued with deep breath, hooold it, breathe. Deep breath, hooold it, breathe.

In between a “hooold it and breathe” I asked how it’s going. My tech said, it’s against policy to tell you anything, the doctor will get in touch. What! She was looking right at the jagged thing and couldn’t even tell me if I needed emergency surgery?

More, click, click stare, click, squint, click, click brow crinkle and now a sigh. SIGH! No, no, no, there should be no sighing. Ultrasound Techs should never, ever, EVER sigh!

Finishing up she instructed me to get dressed, and exit out the door on the right. I was dumbfounded they were actually sending me home. Unbelievable in my condition. Does that mean it’s beyond hope? Do they need time to call in a specialist to review the results?

That began the wait for the doctor to “get in touch”. After a two year wait (ok, two day) he called.

With pen and paper in hand ready to write down every detail of his findings, it turned out I only wrote two words…everything’s normal. Gazing at the paper in disbelief, the realization that I’m actually fine slowly permeated my brain. After all the leaning, and squinting, brow raising and especially the sigh…I WAS FINE!


AND, I now see how this works. KEEP EYES CLOSED during ultrasounds. Got it!

Do You “Ugly Cry”??

You know, when your face crinkles up like an accordion, your lips quiver, your upper teeth protrude over your lower lip, which has simultaneously rolled over your lower teeth, and your body makes uncontrollable hick sounds. That’s the “Ugly Cry”, right?

Some people cry pretty, or handsome, now that men are finally allowed to cry. On the contrary, “Pretty Criers” have an ever so gentle stream of tears that trickle from the corner of their eyes, with a discrete downward turn of their mouth. A slight whimper followed by a deep sigh, and that’s it. The muscles of their face hardly move, and no matter how long they cry it never escalates to anything more.

I’m envious!

I come from a long line of Ugly Criers. It can be quite a scene at times. The thing is, people have no control over whether they Ugly Cry or Pretty Cry, none whatsoever. It’s part of their genetic makeup. Luckily, I don’t cry a lot…mostly for sad movies, and clear the shelters commercials.

Of course, who can deny there are times a good ol’ Ugly Cry can actually work for you?

For instance, think of all the traffic tickets that have been forgiven after a spectacular, display of Ugly Crying, broken things often become meaningless, spills matter less, and that vacation you’ve been desperate for, well, it gets booked. Also, anytime you want to get your way with a Pretty Crier it helps, because they’re terrified of the Ugly Cry.

In the instance of getting hurt and requiring medical attention, however, one should try very hard not to Ugly Cry. Really, you need to squash it. Otherwise, you end up with unnecessary x-rays and very strong pain meds.

I’ve always thought in my next life I’d like to come back as a “Pretty Crier”, but after thinking about it probably not.

I’m good!

Beach Vacation Bonding??? (book excerpt)

This Blog brings me full circle.

An excerpt from the chapter in my book about vacationing when our kids were little that now, ironically, relates to the vacation we just had with our son, daughter-in-law and their young family.


Beach vacations are always suggested by propaganda advertisements as a great choice for a family, bonding vacation. I’m referring to the ads in all the parenting magazines we read when our kids are little. The ones that made us feel so guilty.

What those ads don’t tell you is the enormous amount of stuff needed in order to pull off the family beach experience. To get everything from the car to the beach takes everyone carrying as much as they possibly can, along with strangers picking up things you drop. Even the two year old gets a few things draped over them.

Those ads never mention how beach umbrellas refuse to stay up, or that rafts rarely stay inflated all day. How seagulls dive bomb your head while you eat, and that the ocean breeze blows your sandwich wrappers into the water, triggering complaints from your kids on protecting the environment. The bathrooms are a mile and a half away, and the kids refuse to pee in the ocean, again the environment.

They also leave out “sand issues”. For instance, how sand ends up in everything…really, everything! Drinks, sandwiches, cookies, chip bags, beach bags, along with every fiber of your towel. It buries car keys, cell phones and your six year old’s favorite Tweety sunglasses. By the end of the day it has even worked its way into certain orifices of your body.

The highlight, however, is when you lose sight of one of your kids and run frantically up and down the beach, heart pounding out of your chest, until you find them making a sand castle with another family…that’s right, bonding!

The propaganda ads make it seem un-American if parents don’t have beach experiences with their kids. Equivalent to not voting or flag burning.

On one excursion a woman excitedly asked me, while I was flushing sand out of my eyes at the beach shower, “Don’t you just love the incredible sand here?!” In other words, you’re a real knucklehead if you don’t. Just to be clear, it isn’t that I don’t appreciate the beauty of an ocean and a beach, for me it’s more about being immersed in them.

Due to the pressure of propaganda, as well as, my patriotism, I put my feelings aside, and our kids got their fair share of beach experiences. Although, I mostly remember my jubilance at getting back in the car to the comfort of vinyl seats and rubber floor mats.

God Bless America!

Empty Nesters…Lose the Guilt!

Available at :


Lewis Farms 384 Belleview Ave. Southington, CT (signed copies)


Dragonfly Home and Gifts 1064 Farmington Ave. Berlin, CT (signed copies)

When’s My Day Off From Retirement?

Doing what I want, when I want, has resulted in my doing something all the time. Weekends are like every other day, so I just keep going. I need a day off from being a constantly busy retiree.

But how?

I feel like a kid in a candy store. It’s all there right in front of me, and I have to have it. All the things I love to do; putzing around the house, shopping on weekdays, getting to projects, walking the trail, kayaking, meeting up with friends, and watching the grandkids. Oh, how I love to snuggle the little ones, and try to keep up with the older ones.

I can do it all, anytime I want, now that I’m retired. And I do…

Plus there’s the full dishwasher, the laundry hamper, and that dusty end table over there. How do I walk past them? Is it even possible to have a relaxing, nothing day when my new workplace is now right under my nose?

But not having a scheduled day off can wear you out, even if you’re doing things you love.

So that’s it, I’m planning a day off. Planning, and scheduling.

This Tuesday I’m going to sit on the patio, under the umbrella, and read all day. I will close my eyes to anything else dangling in front of me. The grandkids will be home, and I won’t cook. Definitely, won’t cook.

Awwwww, what an indulgence it will be. A true break in the action, a total recharge.


With cushions arranged just so, a cold brew by my side, and the book I’ve been trying to get through all summer in hand, I begin my day off. A real day off!

Ah, wait a minute, don’t I need my jeans washed for tomorrow’s outlet shopping with the girls? I better throw them in. May as well gather all the darks while I’m at it. One load of laundry, that’s it, then back to the patio.

Two pages read.

Hold on, doesn’t that plant over there look like it’s wilting? Better hit it with some water. Oh geeze, I’ll just water them all. Quickly, then I’ll get back to the patio.

Another page read.

Shoot, I have to pay those two online bills today, or they’ll be late. I have no choice. It will only take a minute. I can refresh my cold brew while I’m inside, then back to the patio.

Geeze, what is that smell in the refrigerator?! Something spoiled. I need to find it before it overtakes the kitchen. I should wipe this spill while I’m in here, and throw out this moldy sour cream. There, now I’ll head back to the patio.

Half a page read.

Is that a text from my son? One of the kids has a rash and needs to see the doctor. Wants me to babysit the little one. I would never say no to that. He said it won’t take long, then I’ll come right back TO THE PATIO.

Okay, all’s good and I’m back. Awwwww, indulgence on the patio at last. WHAT?! It’s 5:00 0’clock!!

Well, that didn’t work…