Monday, June 22, 2009


Last weekend, while hosting the bride to be and two other maids...we finished our dress duties early and headed into the big city. The maids had never been and as was typical they spent much of their time looking up. It really is amazing how much vertical storage of people, places and things exist in NYC.

And it always amazes me that although the city is a little more than an hour away by train (and less if I decide to play kamikaze driver with the taxis) we never go in unless we're playing tourist with friends and family.

Even on a dreary rainy day, the city never disappoints.

On your mark, get set (first one to hit a pedestrian scores 20 pts)

Great backdrop/view from the M+M store in Time Square.

I like the new pedestrian way in Time Square, but
what is UP with all the people in the lawn chairs?

Plus none of them were talking -
it was like a statue display in a strange museum.

You gotta do the street vendor thing.

That guy is saying, "Look, it's a bird, it's a plane...."

We didn't go to the top - but we at least made it to the ground floor.

What else? The Empire State.

Event a standpipe can do in a pinch when your feet are sore from walking.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dear Dad

Dear Dad:

It's another of those days - those days that remind me you are no longer here. You'd be disappointed to hear that I worked today, as did Hubby, because our jobs are completely out of control right now. You'd be more disappointed to know that we cancelled celebrating with my other Dad - Hubby's Dad - because of work.

But I remember that you also understood. I remember you getting up in the middle of the night to answer the call from your job. I remember you working hard and rarely complaining. I remember you and Mom always being sure that we were safe, warm, fed, clothed, and happy.

I believe that you and Mom gave me the best life possible. And I know, because of this, I'm a happier person today. I guess life wasn't perfect. I guess we were like most families - a functioning dysfunction of a sort. But I can honestly say I don't remember any unhappiness as a child. My only regret is that my half-siblings, your kids, couldn't have known the stability and love that you and Mom were able to give me. I know that was a regret you had to live with too.

I hope you felt you lived a good life. I hope you felt loved not only on Father's Day, but every day. Because you were. For all the imperfections you had, for all the imperfections I had, I knew you loved me and I hope you knew I loved you too.

It's been six years since you left us Dad, but you are in my thoughts always. And every decision I make always involves a consideration of what you and Mom taught me and the values you instilled in me. Because of this, I believe I've always? well...often...taken the right turn.

Thank you Dad.
Love you.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Night Out with a Friend

After many late nights of work - and many weekend days at work - I made time tonight (since Hubby is working even crazier hours than me right now) to meet up with a friend for a girls night out. Nothing big - we went to the Paramus Park mall (known as Mecca by many a local girl) looking for some summer duds for a wedding on Block Island that my friend is attending. Rather than a time consuming or pricey meal - we ate at the food court (and survived it).

It was a fabulous night.

I have been addicted to the series and more recently the movie, "Sex and the City", but everytime I watch I get a little sad that while I have many wonderful friends - we are all so busy with our individual lives that we don't have a routine to gather regularly and just do those girl things we need to do.

Like tonight. Tonight we shopped for bras. And I found it was a much better activity to do with a friend than my usual solitary run.

I had told my friend of the lovely bridesmaid gown we selected but then sent her into gales of laughter about how every dress I tried on had the darts in the wrong place. "And then suddenly I realized...trying on a bridesmaid dress at 42, of course the darts are NOT in the wrong place - it's my breasts that are in the wrong place." Ah the joys of gravity. It was obvious that my $21.00 bras are no longer cutting it. I need some serious engineering here.

So my friend took me by the hand and introduced me to the $60.00 bra. Yes - that is 6-0! My thrifty (cheap) self was horrified. And then, she increased my dismay by increasing my cup size. Now I definitely feel like a MATRON of honor. With my D-cups and FOUR hooks in back. But I have to admit - my ladies were definitely looking better when we were done. And? my good friend charged my new goodies (do the math - I bought 5 of them) on her Macy's card so I could get the special discount...I think she was trying to make up for the D-cup revelation.

We laughed and laughed and laughed tonight - about what? I don't know - silly things, embarrassing things, over the shoulder boulder holder things.

What a joy to have a night out with a friend. Thanks my friend.

Women's Colony Got Me Thinking

Over at the Women's Colony, Mrs. G wrote about some stuff that got me thinking.

Recently Hubby was faced with some difficulties at work. If you are a manager of staff, you will be able to relate that you get paid more, because managing people, sucks. Even if they are really good at their jobs and you really like working with them...there's just sucky stuff that you have to deal with. His difficulties came from some issues of what I immediately labeled sexual harrassment. But because the harrassment was of men by women, no one in HR would pay attention to it. And we're talking blatent stuff here folks. Not to mention some women who should most definitely be spending some time in a mental health facility.

As a woman, I was outraged that behavior that we have been fighting against while we ask for equality was now being ignored by women in HR roles. I truly believe that if the genders had been reversed more than one person would have been summarily dismissed and that would be the end of it. I also truly believe that if those men wanted to pursue it, lawsuits would be viable.

I just hope that pursuit of equality is not granting us the right to act like the very worst of the opposite sex. If that is the result of equality, I'll give back my "equal" pay, un-burn my bra, and give up the vote.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Disconnect

This morning my CEO - who has been unavailable to work with me on his project all week - called me and said, "Here's all my stuff, I'm hoping that you can get through this today and NOT have to work this weekend."


Clueless, but sweet.

15 books

Erin Alberty said to do this...and I did.

Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you’ve read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes.

Side note: I wish, as an English Major, I could say this is a list of classic literature. I've read my share. Truth be told though - the books that "stick with me" are those that touch my heart more than my mind.

  1. Where the Red Fern Grows. I totally stole this from Erin's list but I have the beaten up copy on my shelf to prove that I have read and re-read this boy and his dogs tale many many times.
  2. Pillars of the Earth. I was sadly disappointed by the long awaited sequel to this Ken Follett novel, but the first one is exquisite.
  3. The Scarlet Pimpernel. I think this book by Baroness Orczy was a favorite because, well, it was written by a Baroness and what teenage girl doesn't fantasize about the regency periods of Europe - even the bloody beheading ones. But truly, I fell in love with Anthony Edwards in the tv miniseries and that made the book a way to recapture his performance. (Sink me! there is quite a list of these stories here!)
  4. I Know This Much Is True. I think Wally Lamb is genius.
  5. She's Come Undone. Did I mention Wally Lamb is genius?
  6. The Long Walk. This was read to me in elementary school and I've always wanted to seek it out and re-read it...the impression is very strong that this was a life-changing experience.
  7. The Diary of Anne Frank. This book proved to me that mature expression can come from any age given the right (or wrong) circumstances.
  8. Eric. Oh this book. Box of Kleenex required. The true story of one young man's fight with leukemia. Written by his mother. Oh this book.
  9. Catch Me If You Can. I read this book when I was in my teens. I never imagined that 20 years later Leo would be playing the part in a movie. Rambunctious, irreverant, page-turning true tales of adventure and misadventure. Loved it.
  10. Little House on the Prairie series. Loved this as a young girl. Much better than the tv series.
  11. The Autobiography of King Henry VIII. A novel, not a true autobiography (obviously), but really stunning way to learn about history. Margaret George has done a whole list of 1,000 page tomes on various historical figures - Cleopatra, Mary Queen of Scots, etc. But this one is the best.
  12. The Outlander Series. Can't help it. Loved the mixture of sci-fi and history with the romantic crazy scotsman Jamie in the lead...fell in love and had to read every book in the series.
  13. The Dogs of Babel. A favorite. Something about the use of language. I thought it was lyrical and a good story to boot. This is the only book I've ever copied a page out of and kept it so I could read and re-read it over and over again.
  14. Harry Potter Series. I know. I know. But I cannot get cynical about ANYTHING that gets kids to read like they did when this series was brand new (pre-movies). Plus, it's nice to bury yourself in a world of pure imagination.
  15. The Prince of Tides. Again - pre-movie reading. While Pat Conroy tells the same tale in a variety of ways he has a poetic quality to his writing and if you're up for tales of the troubled family - he hits it on the head every time.

Like I said, not an impressive list of classics. But nothing I'm truly ashamed of here either. Sorry james joyce - you didn't make the cut - although Ulysses will live in my nightmares forever as the most agonizing required reading of my life.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Make it stop

10-Day Forecast for
Suffern, NY (10901)

Jun 18

Jun 19

Jun 20

Jun 21

Jun 22

Jun 23
Scattered Showers

Jun 24
Scattered T-Storms

Jun 25
Isolated T-Storms

Jun 26
Scattered T-Storms

Jun 27
Scattered T-Storms

Last Updated Jun 18, 12:18 PM ET

Is our best hope really a "cloudy" or "scattered T-storms" day? Ugh.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Pipes, the Pipes are Calling...

Our sweet little old 1930's cottage has been experiencing some plumbing issues lately. Nothing major, no need to call in the professionals, but just enough trouble to send hubby on repeated trips to the hardware store and to cast many many MANY 4-letter words into the air waves.

Amazingly enough we actually broke off the little doo-hickey (my word of course) that makes the sink drain plug go up and down. So right now, it just goes down and stays down. Obviously not an ideal situation, so I pulled it out and now it sits harmlessly on the side of the sink. A good interim solution right? Well yeah, until the stupid cat starts depositing anything she can think of into the hole - like the top to the toothpaste, a screw, and maybe a bug or two. So now, we need to unplug the pipe as well as replace the broken doo-hickey. And needless to say - finding quality parts to fit our old house pipes is a tricky thing. Hubby has brought home supplies twice only to find he would have to buy additional parts just to make the connections all fit together right.

Then after briefly giving up on that home repair, we realized a constant hissing noise coming from the toilet in our 2nd bathroom. Hubby made jokes about plumbing issues but quickly lost his good mood when he tweaked the toilet doo-hickey (not the same thing as the sink, but another unnamed part) that helps to flow the water into the tank and more importantly helps to STOP the water from OVERFLOWING the tank and it fell off right in his hands! The water started gushing into the tank quickly heading toward the top. Luckily I was close enough to dive under the toilet and twist the shut-off valve while Hubby smartly hit the flusher to empty the bowl and the tank. Hubby gently replaced the part (which still hisses noisily) but at least it functions to maintain the tank water level.

So...the plumbing woes shall continue until Hubby can get the time, and the right parts, to make them all better. I'm thinking September.

Monday, June 15, 2009


So...once again I'm a bridesmaid...or actually the Matron of Honor (M.O.H.). I don't think I thought at the age of 42 I would ever again have this duty, but thanks to my favorite cousin's upcoming nuptials, here I am.

This weekend was the dress shopping and I have to say, one advantage of age AND a bride's 2nd wedding, is we ladies definitely have a better idea of what we want, and more importantly what we DON'T want. We no longer fool ourselves into believing the dress, no matter how lovely, will really be worn again. So we are going for nice, but low -key, and low-cost. Enter David's Bridal. The Bride knew she wanted brown dresses (or truffle as they call it) so essentially they brought is nearly every dress they had that came in brown. Trying them on was a treat, since in order to hit your size you were often in sunflower yellow, hot pink, baby poop green, or other such unflattering colors.

Amazingly, we all agreed upon one dress. A simple Audrey-Hepburn inspired classic short dress. Because of my height (I tower apprioximately 10 inches above the shortest bridesmaid and a good 8 inches over the bride AND her groom, the dress looked notably shorter on me. So they have sold me on the additional purchases of a peek-a-boo slip and a matching ribbon sash...because..."as the MOH you want to stand out!" Um...not really, but I don't want to look like the dress doesn't fit me right either.

Voila ... the dress...

...actually this one MIGHT be wearable again.
Now...onto the shower, bachelorette, the toast, and other M.O.H. duties. Sigh.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Open Doors

As I walked through my house on Sunday, I noticed the strange phenomenum that Hubby claims is proof of ghosts. Open doors, open closets, open cupboards everywhere.

Here's a little pictorial evidence and a sweet poem I found that ties to it.

The Door

By Miroslav Holub

Go and open the door.
Maybe outside there's
A tree, or a wood,
A garden,
Or a magic city.

Go and open the door.
Maybe a dog's rummaging.
Maybe you'll see a face,
Or an eye,
Or the picture
Of a picture.

Go and open the door.
If there's a fog
It will clear.

Go and open the door.
even if there's only
the darkness ticking,
even if there's only
the hollow wind,
even if
is there,
go and open the door.

At least
there'll be
a draft.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Picture's Worth

...the 1,000 words of the last post...enjoy.
A new open view to neighbors - hopefully yielding
some additional sun and reducing berries in the pool!
Cheerful geraniums in bright red pots.

A scattering of colorful perennials.

A well trimmed and charming cobblestone path.

Some sweet orange flowers brighten hardy potted evergreens.

A bottomless clay pot survives placed inside the garden,
filled with bright begonias.

Brief blooming red hot pokers coming to life.

Antique climbing roses add charm to an ordinary fence.

After blooming, the lilac receives a trim and some training.

Looking more like a home for lily pads,
our pool begins its journey toward blue.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Long Time No...

...well, anything but work really. I've been making some tough choices with my time and basically, blogging just didn't make the cut. Plus, as most bloggers know, this is a muscle (like most) that needs exercise to stay functioning.

Catching You Up.
After Bermuda I was fortunate enough to be able to take a week off and enjoy a visit from my Mom. After my father passed away we began a springtime tradition of her joining us for a week around Mother's Day and she helps me, well, do anything and everything. Seems a little unfair that it is supposed to be a time of year to celebrate Mom's and here she is helping me out, but let's face it, I can use the help.

This visit included a lot of shopping for furniture -but no purchases have been made yet - some lunches, some dinners, some gardening, and some just being still. I think we took it a little easier this year - a little slower pace - and it was welcome. Typically I feel that every moment should be filled with some activity - both to entertain and to take advantage of the time away from the office, not to mention the extra set of hands. This year, we still got PLENTY done, but I also felt we had some down time as well. I had offered to take mom in to NYC for a day, but she encouraged me to just take it easy and not worry about working so hard to entertain her. I'm sure we would have (and will in future) enjoy a day there, but again, it was nice to just chill.

The results of our work are evident in the red pots of geraniums, the hanging baskets of purple flowers on the shepherd's hook, the fresh orange trailing flowers from the evergreen pots on front porch, and the freshly weeded cobblestone walk. She also helped me pick out some perennials to add to my gardens in hopes this will reduce my annual outlay of cash and planting time. (pictures to follow tomorrow)

Since Mom returned home, it's been almost nothing but work work work. I'll write more about that later this month - a special project is at hand that has been taking all of my time and energy. But I've found a little time here and there to be out in the yard. I've never enjoyed gardening, but love the results of a good effort. If someone could just find a way to make weeding a one time effort, I might actually become a garden fanatic.

The Secret to Finding Joy in Gardening.
Last weekend I found that my iPod can actually make gardening tolerable. Tip to the gardening iPod user: secure your iPod in a pocket with button or zipper that won't be banged by gardening tools; run your earbud wires under your shirt so when one falls out, it will only dangle harmlessly from a few inches from your shirt collar; be sure you have several episodes of a favorite radio show (my pick is This American Life with Ira Glass or Radio Lab - very entertaining and thought-provoking, perfect for the relatively mindless work of digging in gardens) or albums, a full battery and go to it. I made it through 4 straight hours of garden work without a break in the momentum, and totally enjoyed it.

So far I've been a mulching mad woman and expect that I will have used about 30-40 bags of mulch before I'm through - note to self: next year bulk delivery. I've also been in the destructive gardening mood. We've removed trees (or should I say, had them removed) and old shrubs which was a necessary activity, although it sure has made the neighbors a much more visible part of our life. We're hoping some of the large tree removals may add a benefit of sun-time for the pool which typically hovers at 73-75 degrees in the summer, while friends a mile away see 80s all summer in a pool twice our size.

Crystal Clear and Cooling.
Speaking of the pool, today we finally pulled off the cover. It is always amazing to me that the green mucky mess can become a clean, clear, crystal blue enticing pool in a matter of days. But after the several hours at this, I fondly recall when we used to pay for someone to do this for us. It is messy, stinky, and back breaking work. I particuarly enjoyed taking the decomposing mess of leaves, twigs and larvae I had skimmed off the pool cover and filling three trash bags by hand. Yum.

Hubby took on the difficult mechanical tasks with the pool, while I took on the drudge work. Only fair since the mechanics of the filter, pipes, and chemicals totally confound me. He then proceeded inside for another mechanical effort - installing ceiling fans in our bedrooms...well one got done at least. I really like it and hope to have less A/C running this year because of it. I know all my HGTV designer hosts would cringe, but this is a case of function over design.

Bored yet?
Yeah, this is another reason I haven't been posting. My life has been absorbed by daily routines and work with little else to show for it, and certainly little to blog about. But - I'll keep trying to pull my writing muscle out of atrophy - at least on non-work days, and find something to say again. Stay tuned for garden photos soon.