Wednesday, December 2, 2015

17 reasons

To B,

17 Reasons Why I Love you (on your 17th bday)

1. You're hysterical.

2. You're sarcastic.

3. You have a beautiful voice. I love listening to you sing and have loved it since you would stand in your crib singing every morning.

4. I love your laugh.

5. I love that you like going on photo shoots with me.

6. You are a dedicated athlete and student.

7. You are compassionate and empathetic.

8. You are wicked smaht!

9. You are a good friend.

10. You always try your hardest, unless it's reading english novels for class.

11. I love that we share a love for ICE-CREAM! (and laughing)

12. You are an excellent snuggler.

13. Your beautiful blue eyes.

14. If you are learning something new or trying something for the first time, you stick with it until you master it.

15. I love our talks.

16. I love that we can share shoes and jewelry.

17. You are an optimist.

You have a busy, exciting year coming up B! I am so looking forward to it! I love you gabillions :)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

"Leavin' On A Jet Plane"

My daughter is one of the many from the class of 2015 that is not going to college right away. At first I was nervous because I thought this would give her an excuse never to go to college. I want her to go to college and experience all the things college has to offer (and no, not just the book smarts). She said she was not ready and compromising on a plan that would make both of us happy, she left for San Diego yesterday. No, she did not want to take an easier route and rent an apartment with friends from town, she wanted to go 3200 miles away to the opposite coast. This was a better solution than going to Costa Rica for 6 weeks which was one of her early ideas. The reason San Diego worked in my mind was because she was going to live with my sister's best friend (who is also my friend) and her family. They were moving out there from New Hampshire to start something new and graciously said that K could join them.

Everything was fine and dandy until my sister, K and I got to the airport. I mean her flight was on time, we checked her in like champs and then we had to say goodbye and watch her walk through security. That's when the following started going through my head:

*Does she know how much I love her?
*Does she know how much her sister is going to miss her?
*Have I taught her enough?
*Will she remember to put her napkin on her lap when she eats out at a restaurant?
*Have I taught her enough about doing laundry?
*Or to put the colors all together?
*Or that a dryer sheet will make your clothes smell good and not have static cling?
*Or that a dryer sheet makes a good duster too?
*Does she understand that she is moving from a quiet hamlet to a large city?
*That she cannot walk around without having her purse zipped or know where her wallet is?
*That she should always use the buddy system and never venture into unknown territory alone?
*That she has a beautiful smile and is a wonderful, caring, smart,  young woman?
*Does she really know how to clean a shower? Or a toilet?
*Does she believe me when I say, "have faith"?
*Does she know how to make a boy realize that No means No?
*Does she know not to fall for the first boy who calls her pretty?

This whole letting go of your "kid" is not easy. I know it is not suppose to be easy, but I was not expecting to feel like my heart was being pulled out of my body watching her turn and wave after going through security. Needless to say, I am so grateful to the Hines family for helping K break free of her safety net of Cape Cod. She will learn how to navigate the city, find a job and at some point make some friends and rent an apartment together. Or she will spend some time out there and find that it is not for her. Either way, I am ok with it because I am proud that she took the step to do something out of her comfort zone. Somehow that baby that we brought home from the hospital without instructions is on her way to becoming a full blown adult.
And I could not be more proud of her!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Happy Birthday K

18 years ago, I was as big as a house with my first baby. She made a point of being fashionably late and came more than a week after her "due date".

I had fun in going out to stores,

"Oh, when are you due?" strangers would ask while staring at my stomach.
"6 days ago." I would answer and smile and walk past them; their mouths hanging open.

I went for plenty of beach walks (scratch that) waddles. I ate all the ice-cream I wanted. I had a handy shelf for my bowl when I sat down. She's lucky she didn't come out with a flat head where the bowl usually sat. I got a great base tan from sitting on my deck during that warm spring.

She finally arrived just after midnight on May 6th which was a smart move on her part. If she was born on Cinco de Mayo, her name would have been Juanita. At least that is what I was telling the doctor and nurses. I was in so much pain, but could still crack a joke.

Now in 2 days she will be 18. The age where most teenagers "think" they are an adult. They can think it, the law can tell them it, but are they really? How can she be when every time I look at her....

I still see her when I first changed her diaper,

I see her sliding down the backyard slide with her cousin at 1 years old,

I see her on the beach as a toddler holding her doll, Chubby, by the hair,

I see her coming home from her first day of Kindergarten and adopting the stuffed animal lamb that my mom had sent me so I would not miss K so much while she was at school all day,

I see her with no front teeth,

I see her struggling to learn how to read when all her peers could,

I see her dancing and looking at herself whenever there was a reflection or a video camera around,

I hear her singing (lots),

I see her picking berries and making "paint" on the bathroom floor in middle school,

I see her getting all dressed up for her 8th grade dance,

and I see the joy and determination when she jumped her horse Clint in competitions.

It's hard to picture her as an adult when I still see her under the age of 12. It's not that I am ignoring her now as a teen, it is more that I like to nurture her and be her mom. Teenagers like to do things by themselves. They choose to be with their friends more than their mom. I get that. It's hard when that looming age of 18 comes up; they think that they are instantly an adult and that they do not need you.

What they should realize is that they shouldn't rush so quickly to be an adult. Adults have to pay bills, do laundry, make sure the house is clean, make sure everyone gets to where they need to be and be super responsible. It does not suck to be an adult, heck, we can have ice-cream for breakfast if we want to. However, it does give you gray hairs and heart burn (yes, I am sure of that).

Somehow we have to come to an agreement of sorts where she can grow up and be on her own, but not forget her roots. Not forget her safety net. Not forget that there is someone on Cape Cod ready to catch her if she falls or beat the crap out of some boy that hurts her. It's hard letting go, but I have to trust that I have raised her to the best of my ability and taught her that love and gratitude go a long way in life.

Happy Birthday K

Saturday, April 25, 2015

My Gal Sal

Happy Birthday to my favorite gal,
My favorite gal is my mom, Sal. 
She's my best friend and partner in most things,
She loves to laugh, but not often sings.

She's the life of a party,
She is quite hardy.
She loves her family most of all,
If we could, we'd throw her a ball.
The princess kind, not the sports type,
She's not into socks with a stripe.

She always has solutions for us,
"You're stressed, you're tired, don't make a fuss."
"Use some old aloe, take some Advil,"
"Who cares if it came from a landfill?"

She's been through more ups than downs,
Therefore, smiles more than frowns.
She loves the beach and the salt air,
She's always up for going to a craft fair.

She's my rock and is always there for me,
No matter the day, she fills me with glee.
I am truly lucky she lives down the street,
Sal's my gal and that, my friends, is sweet!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Stonewall Kitchen For the Win

Birthday celebrations are abundant at the end of March, beginning of April in our world. Bobby had a milestone Birthday last week so I reserved a day at Stonewall Kitchen's Cooking School for us. Bobby loves to cook, so needless to say, he was very happy. Plus, Stonewall Kitchen is in Maine. We puffy heart Maine. 

We started the day with a quick drive around York. Still some snow on the ground!!

Our cooking theme was April in Paris. I had been to Stonewall's Cooking School with a blog event a few years ago. A "classroom" watches a chef cook, while the "classroom" gets to eat the delicacies the chef is making. Win win! No one cuts their fingers off and everyone eats!!

So we had the pleasure of enjoying Carrot Ginger Bisque, Brie Stuffed Chicken Breast with a Caper Sauce, Smashed New Potatoes, Champagne Glazed Carrots and Chocolate Mousse.

We both highly recommend taking a class there. Friendly people, a class organization and the shop afterward!!

I was not asked to write this. I wrote this because we had such a great day and it's an easy activity to do from anywhere in Eastern Mass. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter Recap

Easter weekend was fun and busy. My sister's best friend of 30 years came down with her husband and 2 of their teenagers. Although it was chilly, we hit the beach and spent as much time outside as we could. Decorating Easter eggs, 2 egg hunts, 4 year old antics and laughs, plenty of laughs.

What's the next holiday? Shall we plan on Memorial Day?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pushing Spring

The calendar says that it is spring, but the air and surroundings say, "maybe not". Either way, we took a drive today to Provincetown (Ptown to locals). The sun was shining. It was probably in the 40's, but the snow and ice were melting. It felt really good to be outside without a hat and mittens. We walked out on a jetty that probably went for a mile. I would guess that we went more than half way. I had never been on this jetty before. It was really low tide so there were people digging for quahogs on the mudflats on either side of the jetty. 

The seagulls had their tables on the flat rocks. The seagulls take a quahog or clam and drop it on the flat rocks so the shells break. Pretty ingenious and we wondered if it was a trial and error thing or if it was inbred to drop them on the flat rocks.

Doesn't that bottom right picture look like a butterfly?

The pier is another fun place to walk. At the end you can see the building with the Portuguese Fisherwomen pictures on it. All the little huts that take reservations for fishing or whaling trips or sell trinkets were still closed.

We were not really sure why this house was anchored out in the harbor. I don't think it is suppose to be there, but I am not sure where it drifted from if that were the case. 

All in all, a stellar day with hopes that summer Sundays in Ptown are not too far off!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

It's A Wrap!

A part of my high school senior's life was a wrap last night. She was in her last high school musical. If she didn't feel badly about it, I sure did. It's been quite a run and to watch her grow in her acting and singing has been a gift.

She has had the honor to be in How To Succeed In Business, Rent and South Pacific.

This year, she was Rizzo in Grease. To say she fit the part would be an understatement. I don't say that because I think she is like Rizzo, I say that because she did an amazing job portraying Rizzo.

The whole crew did a fantastic job! The best thing was that it was the first production in a brand new auditorium. The stage was huge, the props were great and the audience could HEAR!! At the end of the show last night, the seniors got hugs and roses from the Director and Musical Director. Truly a bittersweet moment.

I hope K looks back on this time as a special one. I know that I will.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Bergs, Not Just for Alaska Anymore

Perhaps you have seen some pictures of Cape Cod on the news in the past week. We have been on the news because of large ice chunks on the beaches of Eastham and Wellfleet. It's something that has not happened in about 80 years and it is very (VERY!!) cool!

Bobby and I went and checked out First Encounter Beach in Eastham today in the rain. We wanted to see it for ourselves!

It was awesome!!

The first group of pictures gives you an overview. We had to walk across a lot of snowy ice to get to the actual sandy beach.

Of course there were iceberg selfies.

Because I wore rain boots, I could walk farther out through the puddles. I climbed one of the 'bergs and took this panoramic. There were icebergs as far as I could see. Many of them were shoulder height and some were about 6 feet tall.

This is me on top of my iceberg.

Professional wakeboarder, Brian Grubb, visited Wellfleet this week and shot some pretty neat video.

Maybe winter wakeboarding will be the next tourist attraction on Cape Cod?

Friday, March 6, 2015

ABC Jeep Tour

I had been to Aruba before and remembered the beauty and complete difference of the North/East side from the West side of the island. Melissa was going to be content floating, but I could not let the trip go by without a little jeep ride. Our hosts, Alicia and Joal from ABC Tours Aruba led us on a 2+hour adventure. When we first meet up with them, we were handed red bandannas. I thought they were like headbands as in, "this is our posse, don't mess with us". Obviously I had been hanging out with teenagers for too long. I guess they were for keeping the sand/dust out of our mouths, but we wore them on our heads anyway.

First stop, California Lighthouse. Don't we look bad ass?

We stopped by my favorite and cutest church. It is a Catholic church and there are services held here every weekend. Because the church is so small, there are benches outside for the parishioners. Joal thought it would be HYSTERICAL to put his friend's pet snake in our jeep while we were inside the church. Oh, it was hysterical because that's what Melissa and I were!!!

The North/East side of the island reminds me a lot of the Maine coast. It is  very rocky and rough. It is also breathtakingly beautiful. The little rock sculptures people had made actually have a very cool back story. They are called fisherman stones and before a fisherman goes out on a trip some of his family members come make a little stone column and say a prayer. Some were very elaborate!

Joal, our driver, was like a little kid with a dirt bike although he was an adult with a jeep. We took so many off road paths! We shrieked and screamed and laughed through the whole trip.

We wound down from our excursion on the patio of the Ritz with some cocktails. They were so pretty, I had to take a picture. And yes, we were wearing our cool headbands. You never know where I might show up wearing mine!!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

My Friend Melissa

Melissa and I met in 1st grade in Acton, MA. We had Mrs. Popolizio as our First Grade teacher. She was great. I remember having a kiddie pool in the classroom with pond life in it.

Anyway, I don't remember much else about First Grade, but Melissa and I were tight until she moved away in 4th grade. I remember crying hysterically in the shower when I learned she was moving to Maine. Thanks to our parents, we were able to switch vacation weeks (February at Melissa's, April at mine and vice versa). Our families skied together when we could. I would go visit her at Sebago Lake where she had a summer house. In high school, she came and lived with my family in Ogunquit, Maine during the summer. We became "sisters". We talked, we argued, we loved. She went to Wheaton in MA, I went to Bates in Maine (irony). She moved out to Chicago after college while I moved to the Cape. Through it all, we stayed friends.

We were in each other's weddings and our kids are all friends. We still try to go to Sebago Lake to visit in the summer. Once we got out to Indianapolis and sometimes she comes to Cape Cod. When she asked me a few weeks ago if I wanted to go to Aruba with her, I couldn't get "YES" out of my mouth fast enough. So we went, 4 nights and 5 blissful days in the sunshine. A well needed break from the worst winter I can remember in a long time. I didn't tell many people about it because I actually felt guilty getting a little sun in the winter of snow and more snow (and yes, a little more snow). We were able to talk without being interrupted, we were able to plan our day without planning meals and taking kids too and fro and we were able to float in the ocean for a 1/2 hour at a time without anyone saying, "I'm bored". It was a true gift.

We told some people while we were there that we were celebrating 42 years of friendship. We stunned people speechless. I think we made a few people jealous and maybe we pushed a few people to call an old friend. There was nothing weird about being together. We were not tired of each other and at every meal, we found something to talk about. I am honored to have Melissa as my oldest/dearest friend.

I am also very, very lucky.

Me and Melissa at 10 years old....

Me and Melissa in Aruba....

No difference, right?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A short story...

When my oldest/dearest friend, Melissa, and I were younger, we loved making up stories of things and people. She just treated me to the trip of a lifetime in Aruba last week. This picture is a picture of the cabana next to ours that I secretly took. The following is the story that I feel goes with the picture....

Jimmy Valero had lived on the south side of Philly for all of his 46 years. he knew the neighborhoods, the people, the way things worked. Actually; he was in charge of how things worked in the underground. Jimmy liked the finer things in life: Cuban cigars, fast cars and hot Brazilians. As he got older, he put more of the day to day workings of his business on his nephews' shoulders. He told people that he dabbled in real estate, but that was the front for the drug running business he had. Sure he had sold a few houses in his day, but that didn't make nearly the money of drug running. He loved to run the drugs, but he had never taken any himself. He had watched too many addicts die while waiting for their next high to want to get involved.

His favorite place to blow off some steam was Aruba. He went twice a month and bought a time share at 2 different hotels. The cigars were cheap and so were the women. Jimmy oozed sex appeal with his greased back hair, gold charms and chest hair. He walked and talked like he had money and was happy to flaunt it. At the roulette table one recent night, he met 2 Brazilian strippers who were sisters. They barely spoke English, but with the size of the breasts and asses, Jimmy could have cared less. They spent the night all together at Jimmy's time share at PlayaLinda. Sleeping was not much for the activity in which they were involved. The next day Jimmy invited them to his beach cabana.

The girls had bikinis that were more akin to thong underwear showcased at Victoria Secret. As a matter of fact one of the girls had angel wings tattooed on her back and a devil on her right cheek. While the girls traded off laying next to Jimmy on the chaise, they would chat with their cabana neighbors. Jimmy loved telling people about his backyard in Philly. He had transformed it into his own mini Aruba. He had spent years searching online for items that would fit perfectly in his special space. he even had fake palm trees that looked so real people wondered how he grew them in city soil.

The girls decided to go swimming to cool off from the high temps in the cabana. Their asses shook as they playfully blew Jimmy kisses as they walked toward the water. An hour later they returned completely dry, giggling and rocked out of their minds.

Jimmy and his girls went back to the hotel for an afternoon "siesta". They never came back. Jimmy was found the next day tied to his bed in his time share with no money in his wallet and no pulse. Jimmy had had a heart attack while being pleasured by his Brazilian call girls. they took all his winnings from the night before and fled as quick as they could. Instead of a burial in South Philly, Jimmy had wished to be thrown off the North side of the island.

Jimmy Valero got his wish.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Valerie Who?

I promised myself I would write at least 15 minutes a day for the next 2 months. Not necessarily a blog post, but just writing.

It's hard.

Send the whine-bulance, seriously. Or wine-bulance, take your pick.

There are so many things that are so much more important, but I guess it is surprising me how hard it is to think up something to write every day.

Maybe it is just hard to be clever every day. I guess everything doesn't have to be clever, but I like to make people laugh, think, be amused.

Currently, I am sitting in a room with 3 teenagers watching a food channel program with kids and baking and Duff and Valerie Bertinelli.

The teens know Valerie by being on Jenny Craig commercials and Hot in Cleveland. 

I was like, "excuse me, she was married to Eddie VanHalen".

Teens: Blank stares.

"Seriously, who doesn't know who Eddie VanHalen and VanHalen are? And she named their kid "Wolfgang"."

Teens: Crickets.

"She was also on One Day At A Time."

Teens: More crickets....

Teens; they really do have so much to learn....

Friday, February 20, 2015

Oh February...

Back in January, we had no snow,
We joked how winter was a big no,
We wore cute shoes and didn't slip,
We could go out to dinner and not trip.

Then February came. Ouch, what a slap,
Our driveways became an icy trap,
Many snowbanks are now above the first floor,
We may never again use the front door.

We've missed multiple days of school,
Decreasing our summer time in a pool.
We've shoveled so much, our biceps are strong,
Who needs the gym, free workouts aren't wrong.

The bitter chill has settled over the Cape,
We brush snow and our windshields we scrape.
Our feet have not seen anything but heavy boots,
We only eat chocolate things, definitely not fruit.

On Facebook, snow pictures have turned to throwback pics,
Beach scenes, bathing suits, summer sunsets in the mix.
Elsa is seen on Post Office walls as "most wanted"
Kids wearing "Frozen" shirts are now taunted.

Snowbanks have taken on a life of their own,
Town snow budgets have been blown,
When will the last of it disappear?
Hopefully soon, but as of now it's unclear.

The good news is the clocks move ahead in 2 weeks,
The extra sun will feel good on our cheeks.
The arctic cold will hopefully dissipate,
This is something we can anticipate.

Our thoughts will turn to hamburgers and grills,
Painted toes, flip flops, summertime thrills,
Beach towels, swimming, castles in the sand,
Bikinis, sundresses on bodies that are tanned.

Not much longer now Cape Cod,
We will be thawed.
Enjoy the longer sunny days that soon will be,
Holding on to a positive attitude is the key!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Mental Toughness

As many of you know, I was a ski racer when I was younger. I loved it: being outside, skiing, competing, being with my friends. It was also a family thing in my house; 4 of us skied all day and my mom was always in the lodge waiting with lunch and warm hands to warm up our toes. I learned so much from ski racing. I learned time management, how to deal with disappointment, how hard work pays off, sacrifice, and mental toughness among other things.

One of the most important things I learned was to try all the way to the end. A race course can be anywhere from 25 seconds long to 2 minutes long (approximately). The courses are never the same although they have the same elements in them. The mountains are all different that we raced on, the coaches setting the course all had their own ideas, but the one thing in common was that there was always a little space between the last gate and the finish line. We were taught not to stop trying on that last gate, but to think of the finish line as the last gate. If we thought the race was over at the last gate, we just might relax enough to fall, stand up straight or just not push through to the finish line. Since everything is on a timer, gliding through the finish line could cost valuable tenths of seconds and be the factor between 1st place and 4th place.

This is an important factor to remember in any sport. My daughter, B, swims competitively. I try to get in her head and explain to her that sports are 90% mental, 10% physical. The girl is a power house, but sometimes she lets the girl swimming next to her psych her out. Yesterday, she said she glided into the wall at the end of a race instead of pushing. She is in high school and is just beginning to realize little things that could make her faster. She has made great strides this season and it is beginning to dawn on her that mental toughness and fighting for the wall at the end of a race is crucial.

Last night's Super Bowl was a perfect example of not giving up in the final seconds. The Patriots were looking at losing another Super Bowl. Did the defense give up? They could have. But mental toughness prevailed and they kept fighting. Malcom Butler made one of the most fantastic plays of the game. The winning play of the game.

Mental toughness is not something only for sports. It's for believing in yourself and all that you are capable of. I think it's time to take some of my own advice....

Saturday, January 31, 2015

10 Things Learned From Juno

It's been a bit snowy here this week. Ok, well 18-24 inches of snow with 4-5 foot drifts, it snowed a lot here this week. Cape Cod kids are lucky to get a day off of school never mind 3-4 days off in a row!! 

Some things I learned this week?

1. Here is the perp from "deflate-gate". Very suspicious finding a deflated football at the beach in the winter.

2. Speaking of balls, I am not sure this glove will be unfrozen until July.

3. My sister is snow crazy!

4. The snow does not fall fairly in our neighborhood. My house was covered, my sister's house, not so much.

5. The sea is not very fair in what it takes during a storm. There was a very picturesque boat house on these pilings before the storm. Now, there are just pilings.

6. The light at the Fish Pier is so nice late in the afternoon. And after a snow storm, it is even nicer.

7. The sea taketh, but also throws up a lot of debris where it is not welcome (aka parking lots).

8. We will not be eating on the outside deck of the Wild Goose Tavern anytime soon unless they transform it into an igloo.

9. Our favorite spot on earth survived the storm. Big sigh of relief.

10. Sunsets on the day after the storm are MAGNIFICENT!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


If you have any interest in football, you know that the Patriots are playing the Seahawks on February 1 in the Superbowl. You probably also know about "deflategate". This has been a hot topic of conversation in our house this week.

"Why would the Patriots be stupid enough to deflate the balls?"
"Can't the officials tell if the balls are deflated?"
"Some teams actually over-inflate their balls."

All this talk about balls has brought us to the maturity level of 13 year old boys. This morning's conversation...

Bobby, "Did you hear that 11 of 12 balls were actually deflated?"
Me, "Yes, I did."
Bobby, "They don't know if they came out of the locker room deflated or someone deflated them on the sideline. Also, the kicker actually has his balls delivered to the field still wrapped."
Me, "The kicker gets his balls wrapped?"
Bobby, "Well, yes."
Me, "Who unwraps his balls? Why does he need new balls every time? Why is he so special that his balls are delivered to him nicely wrapped? Or wait! What if he forgets to bring his balls?"
Bobby, "um....haha"
Me, "Well what happens if his balls are over-inflated? Squishy balls are easier to hold and throw, but are hard balls easier to kick?"

This is a direct effect of living in a house of teenagers.

Also, if you haven't seen this spoof, it's a must watch....

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sporty Weekend

It was a sporty kind of weekend.

There was lots and lots of swimming....

There was skiing on some challenging grassy backyard terrain...

And then, of course, there was football....

And to round it all off, a sunset beach walk....

How would you describe your weekend?