Saturday, March 30, 2013


I have one key on my key ring.  It's a car key and the remote to open the car.

House keys?  Don't have any.  The house is kept locked up.  I just enter through the garage.  In the car or there is a remote pad, if I'm not in my car.  There is a hide a key in case the remote isn't working.  Although, I've never had to use the hide a key.  Not sure I still know where it is hidden.

Office keys?  Nope.  I work from home.  Or a hotel room.  Or someone else's house.  No keys to anything but my car.

Two years ago, when we were getting ready for our first visit to Hawaii, I pulled out the house keys (that were in the kitchen drawer) for the people staying at our house.  Maybe they would like to actually use the front door.  The boys response, "We have keys to the house?".  They enter from the garage too.

The company I owned - I had keys then.  I had an office.  It was a warehouse building.  I sold the company six years ago.  For the last six years, I've just one key.

That all changed on Friday.  My "part-time" job - we are moving into a warehouse.  I found the warehouse.  It's been remodeled.  I have three keys - one to my office.  One to the warehouse.  One to the owners office.   My key ring now has four keys on it.  My key ring "jingles". 

I asked the owner if this was "getting serious" - he smiled.  You are giving me a key - that's asking a lot of a girl.  Sounds like a commitment to me.

The jingle actually makes me smile.  And I just finished a book called "The Peach Keeper" - I finished it yesterday too.  There is a quote from it "You know that old superstition, don't you, the one that says when you hear a bell ring, good fortune is pouring down?  It means you should cup your hands out and catch it".

In my mind, my keys count as a "ring".  My hands are out.

Monday, March 25, 2013

How are you?

Good.  You?

Good.  Thanks for asking.

When really what you want to say:

How are you?

"Not good.

Barely holding it all together.  My grandfather died two months ago.  My best friends mom has not been given long to live.  I was told good-bye from a wonderful person.  While it was sweet.  Heartfelt.  Wonderful.  It sucks. It was one of the best moments of my life.  Yet, so sad.  We are lucky when we have the opportunity to say all the things we need to say to the person we need to say them too.

People drive me crazy!  They don't do what they say they will.  They don't really want to hurt any one's feelings.  They say things to make everyone feel better.

There is no food in my house.  Money is tight.  I don't have time to go to the store.  Can someone just do that for me?

I'm in love with a guy whom will never be strong enough to follow me, but I have his heart.  Just not him in my life - and it stinks.

And everyday, I feel like I'm barely holding it together.  But truly, I know I'm the luckiest person in the world.  It will be better tomorrow/"

"Thanks for asking."

But today, I will tell you, "I'm fine."  Because, really, I am.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Newspaper

Remember the thing that was delivered to your front door every morning your entire life?

Here's a riddle for you:

What's black, white and red all over?

The newspaper.

Of course, it's "read" all over, but when you tell the riddle, you don't know that.

I don't ever remember not reading the newspaper.  I was fascinated.  Every inch of the paper.  My favorite section:  The Op/Ed.  Opinion/Editorial.  This is the section of the paper that is supposed to be biased.  Supposedly, the rest of the paper is there to deliver facts.  Second?  The business section.  Then Social/Living.  (Dear Abby).  Comics.

A certain order to reading my paper.  Although, Op/Ed is the best.  I save it for last.  I start with the funnies.  Then the business section. Then Living.  Everything else in between.  The Op/Ed last.

Every single column.  Reading in their entirety.  Completely fascinated by the way people think.  Proud we live in a country where we can say what we want - and not be killed for thinking the way we think.  I might not agree with you.  What I support is that you are free to say you DON'T support something.  There are LOTS of angry people out there.  

Maybe I'm a bit more of a romantic than I confess.  The newspaper and the post office.  A woman from a different time.

I'm evolving though.  Two years ago, when we switched houses for the first time - the people there subscribed to the newspaper.  So, did I.  We were both so excited we all still received the paper delivered.

Day One, I read the newspaper.  Day Three? I remembered it was at the end of the drive and I went to get it.  Day 5,  I received an e-mail from the people living in my house.  "We put the paper on hold until you get back".  Funny, I'm doing that today too.

I put their newspaper on hold.  I never renewed my subscription.  A habit was broken just like that.  Yes, we missed it.  For a bit.  The boys used to argue over the sports section.  Once we got home, we did receive it for a bit.  It didn't last long.  We never renewed our subscription.

Occasionally, I buy the Sunday paper.  Love the leisurely reading.  Love looking through it.  Enjoying the paper.  Clipping coupons.  The paper.  Love it all.

This week, for the first time in bit, I bought a Sunday paper.  Read still in my same order.

The coupons and the Op/Ed set aside to saviour the moment - read at the end of the day.  To wrap up a Sunday evening with relaxation and provoking thought.  On Tuesday, I threw the coupons and Op/Ed away.  Without opening.  For the first time ever.

Guess I won't be buying the paper again.   

Sunday, March 17, 2013


There are different levels of goodness. Good deeds.  Random acts of Kindness.  Saying thank you.  Sending out happy thoughts. 

There are different levels of badness.  Lying. Murder.  Stealing.  Cheating.

Are there different degrees within each?  Maybe it's just a "little white lie".  A lie to spare someone's feelings.  A thank you that you don't really mean, but you say it anyway. 

The boys and I got into this discussion about cheating and lying.  We all know both are wrong.  It's brutally honest around here.  Almost to a fault.  The truth is spoken in this house.  This could be a conversation:   "Will you tell her, you just want some time with your boys, without anyone else around?".  "No".  "You tell her, you don't want her to go".  The truth will also set you free.

BUT, what about the little cheats?
  • The letting your son whom won't finish his drivers' ed class, drive around the neighborhood with you in the car.
  • Being late to school, well, cause sometimes you just need to be late.  Do we always need a reason?  Can't we just say, "I needed a few extra minutes to myself this morning?"  Yet your mom will tell the school you had an appointment. - I guess that goes in the lie department.
  • Someone giving you the wrong change back, but you buy someone else a surprise with the extra money?
  • Pretending you really didn't eat that extra handful of chips.
  • Seeing an old friend for lunch.  Knowing that his wife wouldn't approve, but it's just lunch.  Is that cheating?
 They are lines in the sand.  There is also a lot of grey.  Maybe.

What really started this conversation?

I have a heated "protection pad" on my bed in the winter.  I "turn the bed on" while I'm getting ready for bed.  They bed is nice and toasty when I get in.  I sleep with the window open year round, but like lots of covers and warmth when I get into bed.  It's turned off when I get in - otherwise, I would get too hot.  The boys tell me, I'm cheating!!  You are supposed to get in a cold bed.  It will warm up, I just have to wait a couple of moments.  Of course, in the winter, we all have down comforters, plus regular comforters on the beds (I tend to keep the house a little cool).  Am I cheating, or just making my self a little more comfortable before I deserve it?

In my brightly colored world, there isn't much grey.  It's more like light blue.....

Friday, March 15, 2013


We are now on Daylight Savings Time.  While the mornings have been a little rough this weekend, we have converted to the evenings easily.

A conversation at my house this week:

Me:  Nolan, please unload the dishwasher.

Him:  The sun is still out, can I do it when it is dark?  After the sun goes down?

Me:  Of course.

Him:  I have to go be outside.  The sun is out.

Me: The dishwasher still has to be unloaded before we go to hockey.

Him:  Of course.  When the sun goes down, I'll come inside.

Him:  Just remember, I'm your son....

How can a mom argue with that?????

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Love isn't always romance.  You love your relatives, friends, pets.  You love doing things.  Love also means romance.

Sometimes love though doesn't sound like love, but it's love even more.

Our neighbor in Hawaii has sold his house.  (The house we stayed in last summer).  He's moving back to the mainland.  Sedona for now.  We will see where he ends up.  He keeps saying Florida.  This move has caused quite the panic in Duncan.  My romantic, dreamer child.  "What about the white pineapple I planted?"  "Can he move it next door?"

What about our boogie boards?
What about the snorkel equipment?
We won't have a dog to take to the beach!
What will I do without Joe to give me a hard time!
Now that he will be in the mainland, will he come visit us?

I call Joe.  He doesn't answer, so I leave a rambling message asking all the questions.  Now remember, Joe is ornery, and that is how he shows his love.  He loves us in a way words can't explain.  His actions can explain it.  I mean, how many people give you their house in Hawaii for a summer?

His return phone call answers:

You will have to ask the Quinns (the Hawaii house owners) if they mind if the boogie boards are there.  (In the meantime, he has already dropped them off for the boys for the summer).
The snorkel equipment was trashed, I threw it away.
Oh, and they only allow residents to be in the Lifeguard training, so I went and blackballed Duncan so he can't compete this summer.  That is my parting gift to Duncan.
I can't remember the last question, but the answer is NO.  Well, maybe, tell me which airport is closest to fly my plane.....

I know it's hard to really see how funny his reply is because we know, how much love there really is, this is just how he shows it.  

While in California a few weeks ago I was with a dear friend.  We've been friends for over 20 years now.  I was so crazy for him many years ago.   So glad we have the friendship we do.  Duncan ADORES him - in that man-crush kind of way.  He loves my boys too.   He's the crazy Uncle that everyone needs.

We were sitting on the couch, in between the eight hockey games we attended that weekend watching a movie.  All of a sudden, I jerked around really fast.  He says, "what's wrong".  I said, "I was about to sneeze and I was going to sneeze all over you.".  He replied, "Oh, you could have sneezed on me - I clean up."  I laughed and replied, "Now, that's true love".  "Yes" he replied, "it is".

Not an ounce of romance in these two stories. Just lots of love......

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Maiden Voyage

There are tons of thoughts for the "first time" or "have never done" you do something:

Maiden Voyage

They all sound "hopeful".  Full of excitement

What's a phrase for the "LAST TIME"?



Nothing about ending sounds, in any way shape or form, like anything positive. 

I thought and thought and thought.  Researched and asked.  I couldn't come up with a phrase I like about "The Last Time".  "Odyssey" came close - it's the final trip for a ship.  "The ship is on it's Odyssey".  Guess I'm not the only one whom doesn't like the "last time".

I'm getting better at throwing things away - I tend to hang on to things too long.  Two years ago I went skiing on Memorial Day weekend.  Yes, Memorial (M is for May) Day.  It was a fun day.  I needed new skis.  The only way I was going to buy new skis is if I got rid of my old ones.  They were old.  Way over due for new skis.  We go to leave at the end of the day.  I went to leave my skis on the deck.  The girlfriend I was with talked me into taking them.  "You will want them for 'rock' skiing in the fall".  I tried to explain I wouldn't.  I tried to explain I'm not good with endings.  We took them.  They are still in my garage.  I haven't skied since.  I knew.  I didn't need new ones.  I just didn't want the old ones. It would be better to leave them.

The beginning - we are all excited.  We don't know what is yet to come.  The END.  The finale.  We tend to view "the end" as looking back.  Over.  The past

My favorite sweatshirt?  It was a grey hoodie, zipper up the front.  (Irony here - I don't think grown-up's should wear hoodies).  It was worn around the cuffs - the armpits had holes under them.  It could no longer be worn outside the house.  It was ratty, stained, yet still couldn't be thrown away.

Sometimes when you run a race, you are cold when you start.  It's early.  Once you get warmed up - you are still chilled only knowing soon you need different things to keep you warm, safe, secure later in the race.  Those things you keep - you trained.  Your music.  The stuff that got you there.  Sometimes you have to leave stuff  behind.

I left the sweatshirt at the start line of my marathon in Greece.  The only way I knew I could leave it behind.  At the start of another journey.  I have to admit, I did turn and look back after I dropped it.  Maybe I was expecting a wave good-bye?

Recently sojourning home from chasing a sunset with a suitcase that had helped deliver me there.  It's time to let go again.  This time - it's a bright, royal blue suitcase that helped deliver me there.  Santa brought it to the boys years ago along with tickets to Disneyland.  The boys and I went on our "first journey" together into unknown territory.  Now the suitcase:  It's torn.  Worn out.  Beat up.  Full of memories.  It's made it's last journey.  I'm having trouble throwing it away. 

But it's not the suitcase that holds the memories.  It's me.  It's also not a sad moment.  It's happy.  "My oh my, the stories this suitcase could tell".

Maybe this time, it's being brave.  Bold.  Standing strong.  Realizing being sad about the good-bye does not prevent the parting, it just prolongs the good-bye.

The suitcase is unpacked.  I'm not leaving the suitcase - maybe this time, I can set something free.  Set it on the corner with a sign stating "FREE TO GOOD HOME".  My trash is another person's journey.  I'm not leaving.  I'm not telling anything they have to go. I'm being brave.  For me.  I'm walking to the curb.....Setting this Royal Blue suitcase free.

With all good-byes, there are new beginnings.  Voyages.  Journeys.  Firsts.

Sometimes there is beauty in the "last".  You don't have to go back.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Ants are mocking us

We have ants.  The little sugar ant kind.  Not the fire ants.  Not the mean ones.

We have the hard working.  Never tiring.  Never ending ants.  They are in the kitchen.  They are in the family room.  My guess is they are in the crawl space too. 

Every spring we usually get ants.  The fall, we get spiders.  All very harmless.  All very annoying.

The cat will eat the spiders in the fall.  They are little spiders - they just decided oh mid September, they would rather live inside.  USUALLY, the ants come indoors mid April.  They've been here for about a month now.

Usual remedy:  Spray apple cider vinegar along the baseboards in the kitchen.  Vacuum them up.  Place those little plastic "ant motels" down.  Put the "Seven's dust" outside along the edge of the house - then they are gone in about a week. 

This year?  They are not giving up.  They will not go away.  They will not die. They like cat food. I can put the cat's food bowl in the sink, fill it with water.  Next thing I know, the ants are all over the sink.  Maybe it's like antibiotics for ants - we've just made them stronger. 

Honestly, I'm quite impressed with these ants.  I've found morsels of cat food in a corner UNDER the ant motel.  At least they know where to hide.  Man, truly we should all be ants.  They work hard.  They are on a mission.

For a day or two, they let us think they are gone.  Then we wake up and there they are laughing at us in the kitchen.

We will try again tomorrow.  Ants have determination.  Wonder if they have dreams?

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Chicago Rule

It's the middle of the night.  You are in Chicago. (If you live in Chicago, you have to pick another city across the country).  You can call as many people as you want.  However, all you can say is:

I need you in Chicago at noon tomorrow.  It's an emergency.  Meet me at the Hancock building in the lobby.  I'll explain then.

That's it.  That's all you can say.  Then you have to hang up.  Now, please don't do this if it's not an emergency, but just think about it.

Whom would be there?

If you are LUCKY.  I mean REALLY LUCKY five people would show up.  Probably, truthfully, we all have one or two.  I don't mean those whom would show up in a couple of days.  Or those whom would need to know more.  Those are our "village".  Yes, our village could convene in a week.  Whom would be there TOMORROW.  No questions asked.

I'm talking the people whom would be there tomorrow, at noon.  They would know, if you are saying "Chicago", it's real. 

A few years ago, this was "social" talk so to speak.  A conversation had amongst friends.  This "rule" was asked over and over again.  Many conversations were spoken about this subject.  Knowing how friendships are important.

Truly, we don't know whom will really show.  Different people deal and help with different things in our lives.  Then people we never thought would "come to Chicago", show up in Chicago.  Surprises in life never cease to amaze us.

Years ago I dated a guy.  Yes, the "Peter Pan" in my life.  Well, one of them anyway.  Through it all, people have always asked why I can't let him go.  How we've maintained our friendship over these years.  I don't know.  We are mean to each other.  We ignore each other.  Real world, it would never work.  We could pretend it might work.  We actually even try this "relationship" thing every so often.  Then we go long periods of time without speaking or seeing each other.  If it was supposed to have worked out by now, it would have.   When you get to the core of our friendship.  It's not about romance.  It's about being there for someone.  We love each other.  We always will.  In a different way, the way friends are supposed to love each other.  The thing is, I know.  In my heart of hearts, if I needed him in Chicago tomorrow at noon, well, he would be there.  (No that's not true.  He would be there at one.)  But he would be there.  Not a doubt in my mind.  My kids school play - no, he wouldn't be there.  Me crossing a finish line at a race, no that's not him either.  He's just there.  Friends are there.

Sometimes we confuse actions as romance.  Then we confuse friendship as love - the Hollywood kind.  When actually, they are our friends whom love us - the real kind. The real friend whom will show up in Chicago, no questions asked.  THAT is our friendship. THAT is love. Chicago style.

No, I've never asked him about "Chicago".  He would be there. I've also never asked the three people I know whom would be in Chicago the question.  You just know.  Tomorrow at the hockey game?  No.  They wouldn't be there.  That's where you will find me.

My Chicago friends?  They are out there living their lives.  LIVING.  Breathing.  Creating their lives.  Not waiting.  Knowing.  If they ever need someone to go to Chicago in the middle of the night, well, someone will be there.

We will always LOVE each other.  There are people we all LOVE.  We just aren't supposed to live day in day out.  We are not today.  We are not every day.  We are Chicago.

Go be the friend whom would go to Chicago.

"Being someone's first love is great.  It's being their last love that is priceless....."