Tuesday, February 26, 2013


2013 is MY YEAR!!  Oh, YES, it SO IS!!  Good things have been happening to me right and left already and my newest thrill is from, of all places, the fashion industry!  Being in style never happens to me.  Never.  Not ever.  Neverrrrrr....

I have this vivid memory from sixth-grade when my friend asked me an uncomfortable question which still haunts me to this day: "Would you rather be stylish or comfortable?" 

What?!?  Thanks a lot Bev.  That question ended my childhood innocence, BAM!  Until that moment, I hadn't realized that dressing was an "either/or" proposition.  I couldn't take the pressure.  I didn't even answer her.  Over the years though, as I 'passed' on miniskirts, stilettos, noodle straps and even Spanx, I fell solidly into the "comfort camp" by default.  (Decades of horrifying photos featuring questionable wardrobe choices verify this decision.  In my defense though, I'm rarely cold.)

Stylin' in my vintage skimmers
Back to my little kiss from the fashion gods.  This year they decreed, and I quote "The ankle skimmer is the key trouser length to try this season."  That's RIGHT, people.  Just when I thought things couldn't get any better, the new IN length in pants in 2013 just grazes the ankle!! I AM IN STYLE!!  Nobody who knows me would have ever guessed that THIS day would come!!  Hallelujah!

To think that I was SECONDS away from DONATING my high-water pants (the target audience of my largess being chubby third-graders) when I happened upon that advertisement in the Sunday paper!  Now my jeans have morphed into SKIMMERS, "the trouser length to try this season."  As an added plus, I don't even have to go shopping for any.  My closet is full of pants that I shrank in the dryer.  I am GOOD to GO!!!

Just for this one season, I CAN have comfort and style!!  How about THAT, Bev?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Toddler Fun

Two-year-olds are fun to be around and I swear this current crop is more savvy than kids used to be.  Here are some examples of the two-year-old mind in action:

Michelle to her son Lucas: "What do you want for breakfast?"
Lucas:  "Talk to me about options."

My whole family had iPhones but I was holding out;  I thought there was nothing wrong with  my old phone.  Brody felt differently.  He picked it up, fiddled with it and when it didn't connect to the internet, he brought it to me and said, "Broken." 

Rhona's granddaughter Lillian came to visit her, picked up a framed photo from off the shelf and moved her little finger horizontally across the bottom of it, trying to see the next picture.

When I Facetime my daughter I must keep the conversation fast paced and interesting - otherwise Brody will hang up on me.  He's very diplomatic though.  He always blows a kiss as he reaches for the Off Button.

Brody downloading his favorite apps onto Grampy's iPad


Thursday, February 14, 2013

On Valentine's Day, With Love

You only have to spend a few minutes with Pamela and Jay to realize that they are crazy about animals.  They share their lives with a cat, two dogs and four chickens.  Whereas I'm certain that the cat and the chickens would be excellent blog subjects, this post focuses on the canines:  The Service Dog and the Pampered Pooch.

Caleb in a bow and Zoe in a Christmas gown
There's something special about Caleb.  At first glance you realize he's different. A beautiful animal with a white coat that looks like he just stepped out of a high-end salon, he is clearly a rare breed.  His Jindo lineage is considered a Korean National Treasure and it's more difficult for them to sneak out of their country than it is for Cubans to get to America.  And yet he found Pamela. 

Caleb is a service dog.  He is always on duty.  As much as you'd like to touch his beautiful fur, he won't let you.  He's working.  The stuff this dog does for his master is beyond amazing.  It's like he's a GPS system with ESP.  He could be the subject of a Hallmark Hall of Fame special, he's that amazing.  He actually will rouse himself from sleep to alert his Pamela that a medical crisis is imminent.  He senses this before she knows herself.  Once he even alerted Pamela that her friend was about to have an episode. This is one highly intelligent animal. 

Every male enjoys a little eye candy and that's where Zoe comes in.  Zoe is a Bichon Poodle with a fabulous sense of style.  She likes to be dressed up and after Pamela changes her outfit, she won't budge (not even for steak) until you take a series of pictures of her.  She has to see the camera flash three times.  She has three specific poses:  Standing, sitting, and coquettishly looking over her shoulder. 

While Zoe actually has a dog wardrobe full of clothes, including - but not limited to - rain wear, swimming suit and formal wear, Caleb is embarrassed to be seen in a bandanna.  Zoe, on the other hand (and I am not making this up,) will refuse to leave the house in her pajamas.

For more Zoe pics visit: Caleb Plus Zoe Nastase on Facebook
Today, let's celebrate love (and fashion sense) wherever we find it. 

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy Birthday to ME!!

It's my fortieth birthday.  The house is a mess.  Kate has come down with the chicken pox.  I'm homeschooling Jessica while trying to comfort my sick child. Josh comes home from school in a foul mood.  Happy birthday to ME.

"When are you going to clean this place up?" asked Josh.


That answer is not good enough for him.

"It looks pretty bad in here," he announces.

"Yup."  It's my birthday and I am stressed out! I have enough going on.  Cleaning can wait. Besides, I rationalize, Jer and I are going out for dinner and movie with the Chirches and the kids will just trash it while we're gone anyway.

"Susan, my new girlfriend, might be stopping by tonight while I'm babysitting."

"You are not allowed to have friends over when you babysit."

"She'll be with her parents.  They're eating in Milan [nearby town] and might stop on their way back." Josh has always been a master of the quick come-back but even the "parent trump card" doesn't sway me. 

"Your girlfriend.  Her parents.  You want the house clean?  Clean it yourself.  It's my birthday and I'm NOT cleaning."  End of discussion.

I felt pangs of guilt because he was right, the place really did look like the inside of a wastebasket.  It really could wait until tomorrow though.  And doesn't a person deserve to take a day off on a Big Zero birthday? 

After we ate, Jer made some excuse about forgetting our tickets to the show, so we went back home to get them.  Obviously I noticed all the cars parked everywhere on our street, but we lived across from a funeral home, so at first I thought it was a visitation.  When we got close enough to see the parking lot was vacant, I came unglued: "I can't believe that JOSH is having a party when we're NOT HOME!!"  (No kidding, I am that easily fooled.)

When I saw my friend's van, realization dawned.  And then visions of the shape I left the house in flooded my mind.  I was about to experience the most embarrassing moment of my life and most of my favorite people were going to be there to witness it.  Clearly, this was not going to be my finest hour. 

Summoning up all my courage, I went inside and was STUNNED!  The house had never looked this good.  It was SPARKLING CLEAN!  How did this happen? 

After the party was over, I asked my son how he did it.

"Six black garbage bags in the garage." he said.

To this very day, that remains one of my favorite cleaning techniques.

Today's my 60th birthday and Mardi Gras!
I think not...

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Back to Reality

Last week, the Cayman Islands; this week, Atlanta.  Since Jerry had to work and I didn't have any big plans for myself, I decided to take a leisurely shower.  I hopped in, lathered myself all up and was shampooing my hair when suddenly the water stopped. I was sort of stunned as I watched the last few drops trickle out of the faucet. For a hot minute, I just stood there and waited.

Finally I snapped out of my reverie and realized no more water would be coming out.  I grabbed a towel, got out and called the front desk.  The "guest host" put me on hold for what seemed like a long time. I was dripping wet, seriously soapy and getting chilly. Suds were trickling down my the back of my neck.

Finally she came back on the line.  "The maintenance man is on his way up," she said.  As I hung up the phone, I heard a knock at my door.

I really miss the beach.

Last week I swam with the stingrays. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

0 to 60 in Z!

A Week in Paradise,
With Love
Sometimes the stars align just when the angels decide to smile down upon you.  The results?  M A G I C!  This happened to me last week ~ only in my case, in addition to stars and angels, it took six smart, sneaky adults five months of planning.
Saturday morning I was told I was going to Cracker Barrel for breakfast.  Imagine my surprise then to find myself, a mere two-and-a-half hours later, arriving at a beach house in the Cayman Islands!  Surrounded by those I love most in this world, I was [momentarily] speechless with joy.  The recording of my arrival tells a different story - it sounds like a drunken bird squawking...but they tell me it's actually me. 
We swam in the pool.  We swam in the ocean.  We snorkeled.  We saw blue iguanas, wild parrots, begonias with leaves twice as big as my hand and poinsettias the size of bushes.  We played on the beach, petted sting rays, held live starfish and found itsy- bitsy crabs living in teeny-tiny shells.  We ate delicious meals that I neither prepared nor cleaned up.  We even enjoyed cucumber water at the Ritz! (It was ritzy.)

I had the thrill of riding shotgun as  my husband, Mr. Fearless, drove our rental van on the left side of the road.  [On one trip, a lady in the car in front of us pulled off the road and took a picture of a restaurant sign.  It said: "Buy one jerk, get one free."]
Stargazing in the Caymans defies description; the night sky is ablaze with all the glory of the heavens above.  I have never seen so many bright stars.  It turned searching for Orion's Belt into a "Where's Waldo" event. 

One of the highlights of our trip was a night kayaking adventure into a bio-luminescent bay where the water twinkled.  When I ran my fingers across the surface, I left a glowing, glittering trail of fairy dust.

If that isn't magic, what is?

* * *

* Our youngest grandson is just seven months west of zero and I am eight days east of sixty, thus the birthday trip was dubbed "0 to 60 in Z."
Thanks, kids one and all, for the fabulous surprise.  I truly did not suspect a thing.