October 31, 2012

it killed the cat

When we lived up in NY there was a girl who was friends with one of our daughters. She came with us everywhere; she truly was a part of our family. And the reverse was true our daughter was just as comfortable and welcome at her house and with her family. But our families eventually moved to different neighborhoods and the girls took to writing letters with each other about what ever teen girls do when they're teen girls. I should also say that we had a comfortable friendship with her parents they were nice people and I believe they thought the same of us.

The girls had been friends for seven or eight years and were fifteen when one day ....

The mom called me one in a rage telling me how I needed to discipline my child for being disrespectful towards her. I was taken back by her anger and I have to be honest like most I don't much like anyone telling me what to do especially when it comes to my children; but I took a deep breath and asked her what was going on.

She went on to tell me that my daughter called her a bitch in a letter she had written to her daughter.

"How do you know?" I asked.

As a parent we all want to believe the best of our children and I confess I'm no different. But my daughter had been corresponding with her daughter for months. I asked myself what possibly could  have been the reason for her calling this woman that I know she adored a bitch?  I wasn't naive teenagers are capable of pretty dumb things even cruel behavior and at the very least I wanted to understand why she did what she did.

"You saw this letter with your own two eyes?"

"I read the letter myself." she responded curtly.

Oh I thought to myself my daughter was gonna be puuuunished!

"May I ask how you came to read this letter?"

"No. I just read the letter; now will she be punished or not?"

"Can I infer from that answer that you didn't have permission to read this letter?"

The silence was deafening and long enough for me to put two and two together and figure out she read the letter during the act of  snooping curiosity!!

For my own piece of mind however I wanted to be clear of a few things.

"Were the girls doing something that pushed you to read the letters?" If there was I think you owe it to me to tell me. "Was it drinking, drugs, boys and sex, cheating in school, shoplifting something that you thought might put our daughters in danger that the letters might reveal?"

"My actions are not your concern or your business" she told me." "The only reason I'm calling is to insist you punish your daughter."

I have to mention dear readers I don't much care for snooping I prefer talking to my children and have them talk to me back. I do realize every parent has the right to their own parenting style her style was not my style. I find snooping to be incredibly distasteful and disrespectful. I thought it was sad and unfortunate that in order to find out what her daughter 'was up to' she had to snoop. But what really upset me was that she was reading my daughters letter in the process.

What I do know is we instilled in our children that our home and family is always a safe place and that they could be assured of their privacy. It is something that we consider sacred in our house- privacy. That being said my daughter messed up and I assured her I would talk to my daughter and she would be punished.  Our phone call was over and I had a sneaking suspicion that our friendship was too.

My daughter told me through torrents of tears that she was very ashamed that she called the mom a nosy bitch.  The missing piece of course was why. She said she was actually responding/agreeing with her friend calling her mother a bitch when she found her snooping thru the things in her room. Doesn't get my daughter off the hook she is fully responsible for her own actions but explains why what happened happened.

My kids are fairly sensitive kids and my daughter was more upset at our disappointment in her than in the one month punishment she received.  We also suggested that she call the girls mom to apologize and talk it over with her. A letter of apology wouldn't go over well for obvious reasons.

The next evening our daughter dialed the phone and the father answered,  my daughter said "hi may I please speak to your wife I'd like to apologize." He called my 15 year old daughter a fuckin bitch and hung up on her.

Big sigh...

We've always been blessed with good friends. We as individuals and as a family have always been able to navigate the ups and downs of our relationships with this one exception.

Sometimes situations just seem to take on a life of their own and there's nothing to do but let it go.

October 28, 2012

you're welcome, jerk!

Trying to do the right thing doesn't always turn out as we expect. You know how it turned out for me if you read my post  'when you're the accused'  if you haven't read it click here. Today I've written about an experience I had when I was an adult again trying to do the right thing. 

Read on and see what happens!

The snow was piled knee high outside but that wasn't keeping my daughter from wanting to go on her sleep over. A snow storm the day before had almost caused the girls to cancel their plans but since it was only a three block drive we decided not to cancel.

I carefully drove over the snowy and icy streets and pulled into her friends driveway just as the snow started again. Darn, more snow was the last thing we needed! With her safely deposited in her friends house I got in my car and prepared for my drive home.

Seeing a field of white through my rear view mirror I backed out of the driveway and BANG. Damn! I jumped from my car and what appeared to be a snow drift behind me had a car under it. I brushed away the snow and there was damage, double damn.

I parked and knocked on three doors on that side of the street before I got the right house. The lady told me the car belonged to her tenant in the down stairs apartment. I jotted a note with my number left it and went home to tell Bill what I had done.

It was several hours before he called.

"What the hell's wrong with you?" He yelled at me through the phone.

"Don't you know how to drive?" It took me a few seconds to get over the shock of his meanness before I found my voice enough to say to him.

"You're welcome you jerk, you know I could have just drove away but I froze my ass off trying to find out whose car that was."

"When you get some damn manners you can call me back and we'll talk about arranging to get your car repaired."

Lets just say my husband took care of this one when he did call back.

My brother and his friends all worked at a local body shop so his car was fixed and returned to him within a week without either of our insurance being involved.

 I didn't speak to him again. I doubt anyone would blame me, jerk!

October 27, 2012

when you're the accused

My walk from school wasn't more than five or six blocks and if I cut through the empty field it was less.

With my decision made I carefully navigated my way through the lumpy grass and dirt field. It was then that I first saw the hair brush laying in the grass but didn't think much of it and continued my walk home.

It didn't walk much further when I then saw a comb and then a pencil case.

Curious I kept in the direction of the opening in the fence when I spied the key ring and a small leather wallet.  The i.d said it belonged to Laura Smith (not her real name). Next to it was a pink address book half opened  and a few bottles of nail polish and some make-up.

Then it all came together in my mind;  I recalled a rumor I had hear earlier in the day of a purse being stolen in the second floor girls bathroom. I looked around for anything else that might have been discarded in the field gathering them up as I found them and headed back to school.

I knew Laura only to say hello to but could only imagine how upset she was that her things had been stolen. Getting at least some of them back would be some relief I thought to myself as I traced my footsteps back to school.

I entered the principles office feeling a bit of pride in choosing to do the right thing. I know others would have just walked by and not gotten involved but that wasn't me. Mr Ryan (changed name) seemed pleased and called over the intercom to have her report to the office a.s.a.p. to identify and claim her items.

Laura entered the principles office and it was apparent she had been crying. I could see that moment of recognition flicker in her eyes when she saw her things on the principles desk.

She looked at me standing there looked at her stuff and apparently made the leap not that I had returned her stolen items but that I had stolen them and immediately started screaming at me!

My heart sank and I felt sick to my stomach! A deep feeling of regret came over me like in a big wave. Had I really done the right thing?  She was accusing me!

I looked at the Mr Ryan, he was a bit shocked. He quickly sprung into action explaining the facts. It took a few tissues and more than a few minutes but eventually he did get it sorted out.

She then apologized and thanked me.

I was understanding but I will never forget the experience.

It was the most horrible feeling hearing that accusation flung at me.

I was a teenager when this happened but as an adult I remember how very painful it was.

Have you ever been accused of something you didn't do? 

October 24, 2012

wordy wednesday

This tea set has been passed from my grandmother to my mother's older sister Winifred and then to me. Like most with family treasures I was curious to know its origins. I had after all coveted it since first spying it in my Nana's curio as a young child.

Mom told me the local theaters back in the 1940's for the price of a movie ticket would  give you a chance to win pieces of china and that's how we got our set. She lived in NYC.

When I asked her the name of the theater...

She said,  "it was the Scratch House - the Scratchy Theater.

"That's the name of the theater?" I asked.

"Oh that's not the real name that I don't remember" she said.

"You called it that because?" I asked curios as ever.

"Well every time we'd go there we'd scratch ourselves, it always felt as if there were bugs in there!"

My mother is too funny!

I told Mom we could always Google the name of the theater.

In the end we decided to scratch that idea :)

October 21, 2012

a pill for everything...

Most of you who read this blog may know that my Mom wasn't feeling well last week. What you may not know is that her condition took a turn for the worse and she went into respiratory distress so we had to put her into the hospital last Sunday. It was really a lesson for Bill and I how very fragile the elderly are; really like babies if I might compare. She went from a sinus headache Friday to a cough on Saturday to barely being able to breathe on Sunday evening. Very scary stuff since she's never had a problem with her lungs in her life; all 84 years of it.

When we finally got her settled the room she would be calling her own for the next six days the nurse commented on the fact that my mother (Mary) took very little medication for a person of her advanced age. She and I then went on to speak about how hard it must be for many elderly to manage and or afford their medications. She went on to say that many elderly get confused as do their family members just for the sheer numbers of medications the doctors are putting their loved ones on. And she wondered aloud if they really were all necessary. Little did I know I'd be asking myself that very question later that week.

When Mom was in Emergency they said she had bronchitis, they upgraded or should the term be downgraded her illness to pneumonia the next day. She's home now and doing well I'm happy to report. I'm staying with her at her house (which is located across the lawn from my house-the perks of country life) to keep an eye on her and to make sure she doesn't fall while getting up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night (steroids give her the jitters)

Those medications!! I hate to even count them but there's three inhalers and countless other pills for her lungs, antibiotics, anti nausea, anti stomach acid, congestion & cough  not to mention her regular medication. They gave the woman a pill for everything! So many pills that she (and my mother is as sharp as a tack) couldn't manage them without help. I had the pharmacist jot me down a cheat sheet of what they were all for so I knew what the heck I was doing!! I wonder if they have a pill to help me understand all these pills :)

It's all good though, being roommates with my Mom is kinda fun. I get to give back a little bit of what I got my whole life; caring. I just wish I could win at a game of cards. Oh my goodness she's good at cards!!

October 19, 2012

when words are like a hug

Bill and I visited with our neighbor yesterday who just lost her husband after some 60 years of marriage. It was really sad that death separated this couple who were really wonderful together. Sadly however illness had taken its toll on our friend and we had come to accept that his time had come. He was 83.

While we were sitting at the kitchen table with the family it was remarkable how the stories about him just flowed, stories of his capacity to love his sense of humor and his generosity present in each and every story. Our friend was a kind man.

As I watched the reactions of the family it was clear to me that they were grateful to hear each and every word for indeed they were hanging on every word. remember when. When you're visiting someone who has lost a loved one it's so important to take time to share your remembrance's with the family.

To those who are grieving those stories are like a hug.

“They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it. 
Death cannot kill what never dies.” ~
 William Penn

October 16, 2012

traveling the wrong way..

On our way home from NY last Tuesday on the plane there was this woman coughing. I swear she didn't stop for the entire hour we were in flight! Because I'm a bit of a wise ass dubbed her hacking woman. Hacking woman might have given her fellow plane mates the courtesy of putting on a mask but I guess some people just don't think. I tried not to think about which one of us was going to get sick breathing in all that dry recirculating air filled with her grems but it really is hard to think with all that coughing going on in your ear.

Don't you think that the airlines should give masks to people who fly sick? 

Like clockwork, on Friday morning Mom called me ( she lives next door) saying her sinus were bothering her. Saturday she started coughing, by Sunday night she was in distress and having trouble breathing. It is remarkable and rather surprising how quickly an elderly person can progress into illness. The three of us headed off to the hospital so Mom could some medical treatment. Mom was admitted with an infection and fluid in her lungs, complicated by the fragility usual health problems of an 84 year old person. Needless to say emergency rooms haven't changed and they take forever and a day which in Mom's case was six hours. They finally got her into her room at 2:30 a.m. deciding on breathing treatments and 02 to help he breathe, meds to help remove the fluid from her lung, anti-biotics for the infection. When we were satisfied she was in good hands and comfortable as anyone can be when sick and tired  (both literally and figuratively)  we headed home.

Have you ever seen someone driving so recklessly that you called the police?

We live a good half hour's drive on the interstate from the hospital. We were about half way home when Bill said to me,"do you see that car ahead of us?" It was 3:00 a.m so there was only a few of us on the long two lane road which is unlit. A small dark colored compact car was weaving from one lane to the shoulder to the other shoulder to the lane and back again. Truly it was hard to miss!  A large tanker truck attempted to pass it on the left and the car almost crashed into it, gosh it was a close one!! After watching this driver for a number of miles weave in the most dangerous manner it was clear he or she was either going to kill themselves or someone else. I have never! I dialed  the State Police and they said they'd get a car out to look for the car answering to the description I gave. But they instructed us not to get close enough to get the plate number since that would be endangering ourselves and we just weren't going to do that. At this point  the car's driver decided to pull off into a rest area and we followed. The driver who was a woman put her head down on the steering wheel to rest and we were able to get the tag numbers and call the State Police back with that info. Maybe she was drunk or maybe she was having a medical emergency whatever the case she was a danger to herself and other needed taken off the road.

Is there is lesson to be learned here? 

Drink on a plane not in a car, seriously!  And if you're sick get your ass in the car go get treatment, don't get in a plane.
Just sayin!

October 14, 2012

eating in real life

If you read my last post no I haven't really then I am happy to say I can cross # 10 off my list of haven't done's!
        10. I have never met any of my blog friends person yet!  But I'm hopeful :)

I received an e-mail from my friend Jenn over at the blog so this is love on Friday night. She was wondering how close I lived to Richmond and if I want to get together with her and her husband Casey Sunday morning for breakfast.  If you're familiar with Jenn and Casey they've been traveling around the country on a month long vacation together with Jenn's Mom and their dog Skeeter. I was so glad to hear they were around my area and we quickly made arrangements to meet.

Anyhoo, this morning was their final stop on a months long journey thru the country and we (my hubby and I) got to share a meal with them. We arrived a bit early at the restaurant to make sure we'd get a table being Sunday morning and all. Have I mentioned there aren't any real diners around here? A fact that my husband has grumbled about many times over the years.

My husband cracks me up sometimes, he wanted to know how I was going to know who they were if I'd never met them. Umm! Do you kinda get the idea he never reads blogs? That would be mine included so I don't really think he gets the whole friendship- pictures- flow of information that goes on between us bloggers. Anyway he may not read my blog but he must listen when I talk (there is hope ladies) because I didn't even get my bottom in the seat and he said "Jen there's a woman with a Maine sweat shirt walking thru the parking lot," and it was Jenn with Casey at her side.

Jenn & Jen

Did you ever just meet a couple and on the spot know that you liked them? I did today. Jenn and Casey are genuinely nice people. Did I mention we had breakfast together? he he! We talked over breakfast about their travels, our travels chit chatted about our lives. But what's truly interesting is our common life paths as northerners who have made the move south. And although their southern journey is new and ours began long ago, you know what? I think that their life is going to be great down here.

I really do ya'll..

October 11, 2012

No I haven't, really!!

Did you like to play tag when you were a child? I'll let you in on a little secret, I loved playing tag a lot! So when my sweet friend Anne over at Is Anyone There tagged me to write a post about 10 things I've never done, so I'm game.. 

Here's my list:

  1. I have never gone scuba diving, I wouldn't be able to breath, believe me the experience would just be one big underwater panic attack!!( breathing only thru my mouth while my nose is covered makes me claustrophobic)
  2. Although many of my neighbors swear they are all delicious I have never eaten dear, rabbit, squirrels and wild turkey. I still prefer my meat from the market and firmly wrapped with cellophane.
  3. I have never belonged to any church other than the church I was born into, Catholic. That being said I do really enjoy visiting church's of other denominations when invited by friends and neighbors.
  4. I have never been to the opera or seen a ballet. I have been to the theater and to many many concerts but that's the extent of my live on stage experiences.
  5. I have never been to the top of the Empire State Building; pretty sad for a New Yorker right? All I can say is the line was always too long and I didn't want to wait!! 
  6. I have never gotten a tattoo although I like them on others especially if they're simply designed. Matthew (my son) has one on his upper arm it's the Asian symbols for older sister and younger brother- very nice simple and understated tribute to his sister and brother. 
  7. I have never been on snow skiing. I did go on a trip where there was supposed to be skiing, never did make it to the slopes though! Might have been a party involved. What kind of party, you might ask?  My room-mate and old high school girl friend woke up the next morning and her mattress was missing from our hotel room and she had been sleeping on it!!
  8. I've never been divorced! 
  9. There are 39 states in the US that I have never visited.
  10.  I have never met any of my blog friends person yet!  But I'm hopeful :)
Now I'd like to tag some of my friends and give them the option to play along if they'd like.

Gina at does anyone care what i write, Kathleen at my dark cove pantry, Ms. A at sarcastic granny, Betty (the corgi) at a bench with a view, J.T at in search of a title, Jennifer at another jennifer, Sonya at it's a bee's life & Kenya at here's the thing

October 4, 2012

2,285 days since you've been gone

I am so fascinated by the moon, the stars, the clouds and the sky
 that I find myself constantly looking up. The heavens take on a whole new meaning 
when your kids are there; in heaven. 

I  know I don't write about the kids 
all that much on this blog. But don't let that 
fool ya, parents never stop grieving 
the loss of their children 

And although our family has moved forward with 
living our lives the best we know how,
we take moments to 

Today we remember Eric's 28th
 birthday but there will be no celebrating. 

He and his sister Gretchen 
 died in an accident 
  July 3, 2006.

October 2, 2012

brewing up some fun

As I mentioned in my last post we went away last weekend to attend a concert in the mountains with our cousins at a Pisgah Beer Brewery.

OMG! Did we have fun!! And did I mention there was beer?

More than a bit worried that we drove five hours in the rain and would end up being rained out but we ended up being very lucky. When we arrived at Black Mountain NC and it was clear and dry and surprisingly warm for the end so September.  My cousin Colleen her friend Jim, our cousin Hans and his wife Amy met Bill Matthew and I at a local cafe for a quick bite to eat before checking in to our hotel.  Shortly after that we all headed out to the brewery..

Where is that brewery???
I have an idea! Pull out your smart phones, lets see who can find it first!!

my cousins, jim and matthew 

And the winner is Matthew in the red hoodie!!

As I mentioned the concert was at a brewery so there was beer, lots of beer. The event was called Shamboozle. There were vendors with food and local crafts, artist  besides the music. People of all ages showed up to enjoy the three bands who were playing on the outdoor stage. There was an indoor stage as well but that was for the after show and we didn't go to that.

local artist was showing some of his very colorful art by some concert goers

The first band which was playing when we arrived was called The Kidney Stones and although I've never heard of them I enjoyed them very much. What a great sound, I would categorize it has happy music. We didn't get there at the beginning of the set but we heard four or five songs one just as good as the other. Very enjoyable sound.

The second band was called Carbon Leaf which is actually a Richmond band which was a group my son was very familiar with.There sound is very influenced by Irish music, anyone just listening to them could tell.  Matthew had several of their albums on his I-pod. Carbon Leaf is an alternative country Celtic folk infused if you understand what that means.

You parents of little ones might be familiar with this band since they did a bunch of songs for Curious George ll (life less ordinary, the friendship song, heart of the day,let your troubles roll by,walk in the sun &California sun.)  I have to tell you because of my Irish roots Celtic music just makes my toes tap and my blood race a bit faster. And the bagpipes! They have to be my favorite instrument in the entire world. Their sound can be so achingly sad when played at a funeral but when played like tonight with such joy and in an outside space is a beautiful thing.

Carbon Leaf

The headliner band was called Gaelic Storm. My cousins had seen them many times and they were very familiar with their music. The band was a mix of Irish, English and Canadian men and one woman who played the fiddle. The music had a more traditional Irish sound but the music was much more modern and all theirs. They were very funny and interacted with the audience a lot. Clearly many of the audience were fans and followers. They had some pretty funny songs which if you know anything about Irish songs they can be like a soap opera set to music. One particular song that had me just about peeing in my pants (sorry for that visual) The song was about when the head singer  punched Russell Crow (the actor) in the head while working in a bar because Mr Crow refused to put out his cigarette. So he wrote a song about it; hilarious!

In the video he fist explains what happened between him and Russell Crow, then they sing the song! It's long but it's very funny.

October 1, 2012

mish MASH

When I was a kid we didn't watch a lot of TV. My brothers and I were outside kids, playing sports and hanging out with our friends. But after dinner and homework we did fit a show or two in before bed time. And back in the day (I'm dating myself here) there were some shows that in my opinion were real  family shows worth watching.

Oh how I miss the traditional variety show, do you remember them? Many a night we sat in the living room with my Nana and parents and watched Rowan and Martins Laugh In, Sonny and Cher Show, The Flip Wilson Show, The Smothers Brothers and of course the Ed Sullivan Show.

Who can forget Artie Johnson saying "veeery interesting but shtupid " as he poked his head out of the bushes, and Sonny and Cher singing and doing those corny skits. I think Geraldine might have been the first time I ever saw a man look good in a dress but somehow Flip Wilson pulled it off.  And how cute were those Smothers brothers? Do you remember how much they hated Nixon? I do believe it was during that time I had my first crush; it was a rodent and his name was Topogigio. I remember my Nana would be extra happy when and episode of Ed Sullivan had that cute mouse.

So why am I taking this walk down memory lane? Well I'll tell ya,  Bill, Matthew and I went down to the Ashville NC area to meet up with some cousins to attend a concert at a the Pisgah Beer Brewery. The bands were amazing but I'll write about that in another post. We stayed at a really nice place called the Monte Vista Hotel. It was a really laid back restored older building that really had more of a B&B or and Inn vibe, very nice place.

Mike Altman
song writer (lyrics)

When we were checking out Sunday there was a man playing the piano in the lobby which was a warm and cozy area filled with sofa's and art pieces placed in front of huge windows and a huge stone porch. I couldn't help but say aloud "I know that song!" Clearly it was the theme song from one of my all time favorite TV shows when I was growing up, MASH . The piano player looked up and said casually do you know the lyrics? Quickly my cousins and I tried to string together the chores for that familiar tune.

I'm not sure if you're a MASH fan but Robert Altman was the director and he was a very famous director who was nominated seven time for Academy Awards. As it turns out his son Mike Altman was only 14 at the time wrote the lyrics for MASH theme song back in 1970 (Suicide Is Painless). And here he was playing around on the piano in the lobby of our hotel. (he was also a guest ) So I snapped this picture with his permission. Have you ever really listened to the lyrics? Pretty heavy stuff that MASH theme was.

I thought about Mr Altman and MASH during my five hour drive home I came to the conclusion that so much of the stuff on TV today is crap; pardon my French. I can't think of many shows that I really like truth be told. I envy what his experience must have been being connected to such a television icon. I have never met a person who didn't like this show...

Today's shows don't seem to contain the quality of the older shows which seemed to always contain thoughtful life lessons  big and small . And in doing so they were always able to entertain us at the same time. And who can forget those snappy tunes that started our favorite regular shows.  Really folks, there's nothing like those old theme songs, like Hogans Hero's and Andy Griffith Show to name a few other popular tunes like the MASH tune.

As I become older I've become more nostalgic for the memories of my childhood and I can connect happily to some of these shows and music. Do you have favorite TV show when you were a kid growing up?

What show was it and did it have a theme song?