Friday, September 30, 2011

thank you

thank you for a month of reading while i mused.

thank you for your comments, and for taking the time to reconnect with me. i wish i had found the time to respond to all of you who stopped by!! i will find time to keep making connections with you.

thank you for your suggestions as i tried to capture thirty days of me. thank you for putting up with my lists. thank you for reading between the lines.

the past few years have found me struggling to keep up with amuse-bouche. i might have lost my own muse for awhile. in fact, just a month ago, i might have thought that blogging every day of September was an overwhelming challenge. but it was a challenge i was evidently ready for, because here we are, thirty consecutive posts later.

truth be told, i've been having fun blogging again! it's crazy! ridiculous, even!!

or, a-hem, riDQulous

yes, i might have been incented to complete this little challenge. but if suffering through a DQ blizzard is the price i have to pay for falling in love with my blog again, then i'll take one for the team!!

in fact, Blizzards all around!!

THANK YOU!! keep coming back. i'll be here waiting for you.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

L'Shana Tova

For some, it is the New Year today. and although it is not holiday that i celebrate as part of the religion i identify with, i am drawn to the idea of celebrating the New Year. right now. i'm not waiting until January.

so when i was thinking of what i might like to set as a goal for this New Year that i'm adopting, i had to go back and read what i'd set as my goals ten months ago when 2011 rolled around.

2011 rushed past me in a heartbeat as a read those words. i can't say i've made the decisions i needed to make, nor do i have some of the answers i was looking for. i can say that i have created and shared, and yes, even loved.

and i have met people. people who have impacted my life significantly.

after i blinked back a few tears, remembering (and even mourning) the past few months a bit, i went back to look at that post. "dear 2011" was the blog post i wrote and published on January first. but there was something more, i realized. sitting quietly in my drafts folder was another post; a chiaroscuro that has colored my year, lights and shadows, changing... yet still.

the words i wasn't ready to publish.

What you saw as falling apart was actually things falling into place. You're now set for the future you are meant to have.

a quote? a fortune? i can't be sure. but there it was, waiting for me to come back to it tonight, as i sit here embracing the though of another New Year.

things are falling into place.

to a sweet New Year.
l'shana tova.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

new beginnings. but first...

today's suggested blog topic is "new beginnings." i'm not entirely sure where this is going to go. i'm pretty certain, though, that in order to talk about new beginnings, i need to give you a little history first.

the time: twelve years ago
the place: atlanta, ga

i had just returned to the ATL from a week long vacation along the southeastern coast of north carolina. it was actually a week long plus a day and a half, because we were having so much fun, we didn't want to go home. it was july 5, 1999.

i was, at the time, halfway through an eighteen month engagement. most of my time was preoccupied with working, traveling (for work), planning a wedding and trying to decide what the heck to do after the Big Day. living in atlanta had been ten years of fun, but honestly, i was over the rat race. i was over the singles scene. i was over the traffic. i knew that one of our first major "married" decisions would be deciding where to live. even though we were still ten months away from the Big Day, i think we both had atlanta squarely in our rear view mirror by then.

the opportunity presented itself to us to join my family for a week long vacation at the beach. my most recently married sister and her husband had moved to southport shortly after their wedding in october '98. eight months later, they were eager to welcome us to their little corner of heaven. southport is the home of The North Carlina 4th of July Festival, and we had scheduled our visit to coincide with the week long activities.

and active we were! there was swimming and beach combing. we went to concerts laden with Sousa marches. we hit up the carnival for cotton candy and cheap thrills. we ate ice cream under street lights draped with red, white and blue bunting. we rode bikes to the local breakfast joint. by the middle of that week, some of the locals were even calling us by name.

needless to say, we fell in love with this little corner of heaven. we spent the seven hour drive home making the sorts of plans that about-to-be-married couples make: how soon could we move? what would our first house look like? we would spend our days working, but we swore we would always find time to laze about in the rolling ocean waters. sure, some of our plans were fanciful (we will open a bed & breakfast with a small restaurant on the grounds!), but the plans were falling into place: within the span of one year, we would be married, and residents of southport.

it's important to keep in mind that, at this point, it was 1999. we did not have cell phones. we did not have email. we couldn't google. when we left our apartment to drive to north carolina, we essentially put our lives on hold for the week. no one could track us down. no one needed to track us down. we were, quite literally, unplugged. needless to say, one of the very first things i did after returning from our star spangled vacation, was to check my voicemail. (i almost said "answering machine." i'm pretty sure that by then, we had at least upgraded to automatic voicemail on our home phone line.)

there was a message from a mentor of mine, a man who had taught me the restaurant business with such care and with such passion that i knew i was meant to spend my career in the service/hospitality industry. his path had taken him to a corporate gig, where he was a recruiter for a large restaurant chain. there was a training position available, and he thought of me. he encouraged me to apply, set up a phone interview for me and did a really good job of promoting the company.and he very cautiously told me that the job would require relocation.

to apple valley.

and, you guys? that wasn't the deal breaker you might think it would have been. the thought of living in the frozen tundra did not scare me as much as i expected! i was more hesitant about moving so far away from my family. fourteen HUNDRED miles away from my family, to be exact.

but there was southport. there was this little corner of heaven that had welcomed us with apple pie and homemade ice cream, with flags waving, with parades and band concerts. there was the seven hour drive home in which we had penciled out the first years of our marriage as they would play out along the Cape Fear River.

there was the fact that i didn't get the voicemail about minnesota until after i had spent a week swimming in the Atlantic Ocean.

i filled out the application. i snuck home on a lunch break to sit cross-legged on my bed for the phone interview. i used the internet at work to learn what i could about this restaurant chain and it's headquarters in apple valley.

but my heart was already in north carolina...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

spt 9.27.2011

a little bit of a fashonista portrait today.

(bwahahahaha!! do i really identify myself as someone who has a sense of wardrobe style? really?)

belt buckle

(that's right, i said belt buckle.)
(you can stop laughing now.)

(really... stop laughing.)

so, how did i do? casual, yet professional, right? confident general manager who is not afraid to kick a little ass when necessary?


will you take a self-portrait today? leave me a comment and let me know!

Monday, September 26, 2011

behold, the power of...

so, my dear friend, carlo, wants to know:
What are your fave blogging/social media things that have happened since you started?

i love this topic!! and, i'll start right off by saying that carlo is absolutely one of my fave blogging things!! but, more on that later...

here are just some of the wonderful, amazing things that i've experienced since hopping online five years ago:

one of my all-time favorite, and one of the first, blogging activities that really got me excited about being on-line was self-portrait tuesday. now i realize that there are lots of versions of self-portrait blogs out there now, some include memes, some include linkies, some don't even happen on tuesdays. but the particular version that happened right here on amuse-bouche every week was an amazing connection between women (and some men), all over the world! while i haven't been able to dedicate the time i once did to sending out self-portrait challenges, i have really tried to remain true to the tuesday self-portrait. in fact, some months, that's all i manage to blog!!

soup swap is another one of my favorite things, and one that i would not have known about if i hadn't been blogging in 2007. you can read about my first ever swap right here. although i missed last year, the making and the swapping of the soups continues to be one of my favorite social activities (and it sure helps break up the monotony of the winter doldrums here in tiny town!)

i have had the great pleasure of meeting some of my on-line friends, and it is oh, so refreshing and fun to spend time with people who previously lived only in my computer! the first time i got to meet some fellow bloggers, i was headed to New Orleans for a Hampton Inn conference. in what turned out to be THE BEST weekend of my life, i flew to Louisiana with the promise of a place to stay and a picture of my hostess. you should read about my adventures with natasha and carlo and hoop! from that first tentative greeting at the airport, to the tear-felt farewall after tea, it was hands down, the best weekend of my adult life! here's to you, my fellow green waves!!

a year later, i was able to spend a weekend with a friend from high school when i went off to dallas. if it weren't for the power of Facebook, kristi and i would have NEVER reconnected. she has single-handedly brought me back into the red, white and blue fold of Wootton High School alumns, and i am eternally happy about that.

i've had some pretty incredible experiences via Twitter, as well. in the fast paced world of 140 character limits and ever morphing Time Lines, i have been wowed by one-on-one "conversations" with Jillian Michals, Jim Cantore and Keith Olbermann. i've also gotten to see Michael Franti in concert: once in Myrtle Beach (thanks, Kris and Chris!) and once in Melbourne, Australia(thanks, Rob!)

i also landed on the front page of the Life section of USA Today because of a request that went out over Twitter for people who "still" use handwritten journals in this day and age of digital memory making. (yes, in addition to the blogging and facebooking and the tweeting, i still write in my bedside journal every single day!)

i even stumbled upon tony hawk in the middle of the woods, not fifteen miles from my own home!

exploring the world of social media has brought the world to my doorstep, quite literally. i have sent and received Good Mail. i have enlisted on-line friends to go on a scavenger hunt, of sorts, as they tracked down the neighborhood Santa Claus of my childhood (thanks, teri!) i have gotten fit and lost weight, because i've held myself accountable to all of those of you who are getting fit and losing weight on your own journeys (#workthatass2011!!) i have tried countless new recipes and crafted amazing things.

most importantly, and the thing for which i am eternally grateful, is that i have met the most incredible people!! you inspire me. you encourage me. you bring me to tears and you get me to laugh out loud. you make me want to be the best writer i can be. the best friend i can be. when you reach out to me with your blog comments, your pokes and your Pins, your DMs and your phone calls, i am the happiest girl in this corner of the internet.

thank you!! all of you!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

it's in the bag

day 25, and i am soliciting topics for this last week of every day blogging. tonight, i am so excited to show you the contents of my purse:

1) four sets of keys (car, hotel, random key ring that has all of my shopping cards on in, and one key ring with various family members keys on it
2) my little blue pill case, which i keep stocked with Advil liqui-gels
3) about eight almost empty tubes of lip gloss
4) plastic baggie with one of jack's teeth in it (don't ask)
5) compact mirror (often used for checking for poppy seeds or green smoothie remnants)
6) wallet that has my checkbook (yes, i still write checks sometimes!)
7) receipt for the tire i had to buy on friday (@#%^!)
8) packing list for my trip to Orlando next week
9) my "real wallet"
10) jack's iPod shuffle. wonder when he'll miss it?

not too bad, if i do say so myself. i carry a really small bag, so it's hard to get carried away with too much junk truth be told, i hate carrying a purse. it's usually just the thing that holds my phone.

what do you think? am i missing anything important?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

still blogging after 23 days

24 straight days of blogging is a lot!! i find myself searching for things to write about that will be interesting to read about. (i have also, apparently, given up on the rule that you can't end a sentence with a preposition.)

anyway... i'm bound and determined to get a post blogged for today, yet i'm lacking the inspiration needed to get it started. we all know what happens now... oh, yes! it's a list!!

without further ado, to celebrate 24 straight days of blogging, here are 24 things you may (or may not) know about me (in no particular order):

1. i've been blogging for almost five years, yet most of you don't know my real name
2. i blogged a lot more before i stumbled upon facebook and twitter
3. i am the oldest of four girls. it's not always easiest to be oldest
4. i was born and raised in new york, and i now live in north carolina
5. i will never consider myself "southern," although i don't think i'm a "new yorker," either
6. i don't want to live in north carolina anymore. well, at least in tiny town
7. Fall is my favorite time of year
8. i always light a pumpkin spice candle on september first
9. even if it's 90 degrees outside
10. i have met my best and closest friends on the internet
11. i don't have any tattoos, but i plan to get one soon
12. i've recently lost 51 lbs and need a new wardrobe
13. i would love to find the perfect pair of brown boots
14. i manage a hotel, yet find it hard to relax on vacation in a hotel
15. i'm finding it challenging to write a post that is longer than 140 characters
16. it is hard for me to be friends with other women. i'm usually "one of the guys"
17. this summer, i did cartwheels on the beach at sunset. just because.
18. last week, i ran 20 miles
19. i drink my coffee black. in the Fall (only) i will drink flavored coffees
20. i want to go to Australia
21. or minnesota
22. i have become a big fan of SkinnyGirl margaritas
23. and green smoothies
24. i have to leave you now for Alec Baldwin on SNL

good night!

Friday, September 23, 2011

five minute friday

lately, i feel like i've been holding it together with kite strings and sealing wax. there are nights when i crash from trying so hard all day long.
trying to smile, trying to laugh
trying to lead, trying to motivate, trying to make good decisions
trying to listen, trying to share
trying to be a friend
trying to be


it's raining today, and i don't have the strength to try.
i sat in my morning meeting and said nothing.
i looked at this empty page and wrote nothing.
i listened to the words you said and i said


i'm not just being quiet
i'm avoiding saying what needs to be said.

and if i say the words that you need to hear,
i fear that they will only be washed away by the


Thursday, September 22, 2011

throwback thursday

when i was in the fourth grade, i was in a gang. we were very exclusive. we were very protective of our turf. we had secrets and a special handshake. (wait, did we?) the other fourth grade girls cowered in the front of the bus when we wore our Colors...


okay, so fine. i wasn't in a gang. i was in a club.

but we were really cool! and we wore these:

our turf was the back row of the bus. remember when school buses had backward facing seats? well, we towered above the other elementary school students when we wore our matching shirts on Fridays, lined up across the back of the bus, facing forward, knees pressed against the seats to keep us upright. man, we were rebels!!

we sat together at lunch. we had sleepovers at each others' houses. we went to Patio Pizza and talked to boys!! we hung out at the roller skating rink and looked intimidating. we performed in all of the school talent shows.

so you think YOU can dance? you should have seen The Firebirds!

i can still smell the iron-on press at the Shirt Shack, where we went to have our tee shirts made. i can still feel the amazing warmth of inclusion that i felt when i stepped onto the bus, knowing that my place was held for me in the back. i can still dance... i still enjoy a good talent show.

yes, i still have the shirt. and i love the fact that jack's godmother is a Firebird! i may not ride the back of the bus anymore, but i'm so thankful for my friends who faithfully saved my seat there.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

spt 09.20.2011

i spent the morning at the dentist office. not for me, but for jack. he goes to a really great pediatric dentist. the office itself is fun and colorful, and i have never, EVER, in 41 years, witnessed such caring and attentive staff members in a medical office. despite the ever present (and overly loud) Disney Channel, i often wish it was my dentist! but, i digress...

we were at the dentist this morning because someone needed to get cavities filled. not me, but jack. four cavities. my mouth hurts just thinking about it.

i don't know how i have failed as a teeth brushing mom. i had braces twice. i had visited the oral surgeon three times before the seventh grade. but i never got a cavity until i was 35 years old. and i haven't had one since.

maybe i'm lucky. i brush twice a day. i always use Crest. i floss when i remember. i don't drink soda. i still think i'm lucky.

jack? not so much. at the tender age of ten, we've had extractions and fillings, all due to cavities. every time we leave the dentist, i feel compelled to deliver my motherly speech about the importance of good brushing. i keep thinking the pain and/or embarrassment of having to get scolded by the nicest dentist in the world will encourage him to take better care of his teeth. i worry that i haven't helped him develop better habits, and that, at ten, it might be too late.

he knew this morning that he was going to get "drilled." when the very amazing hygenist came out to get him and take him back, she said, "we are going to try to get to all four today, but we might only be able to do two. we'll see how he's feeling."


i saw it - the brief moment of panic/dread/disbelief as the words sunk in. he stood up, caught up in the amazing hygenists whirlwind of energy. he was walking towards the back, and i could *feel* what he was thinking:

holy crap
it's going to hurt
i don't want to go
somebody tell me i don't have to
how much is it going to hurt?

and there they were, real tears. but not in his eyes. they were stinging in my eyes. the door closed behind them, and the amazing hygenist and my son with the mouth full of holes were whisked into the Universal Studios of dentist's offices. and i was left, feeling the anxiety and the fear and the slighly queasy stomach for him. in that moment, i would have given anything to take his place, to ease his uneasiness.

he is fine. halfway through, the amazing hygenist came out and said that it was jack's decision to go ahead and complete all four fillings today (smart kid!) afterwards, we laughed about his "duck lips" and he practiced saying words that ended in S and F all the way back to school. and he only half-heartedly attempted to talk me into letting him stay out all day.

i'm still feeling a bit anxious. i still want to protect him, even though he is quite obviously fine. well, as fine as you can be with FOUR NEW FILLINGS!!

i'm glad to say i am fine, too. i was able to hold back those tears. at least until i had to get out my checkbook...

will you take a self-portrait today? leave me a comment and let me know!

Monday, September 19, 2011


i need a vacation!!

i need to get the heck out of dodge, to go somewhere that definitely does NOT include staying in a hampton inn. anywhere! it could be the tropics. it could be the mountains. it could be in the heart of Dixie, or in the Great White North. the destination isn't the most important part.

what would make the perfect vacation for me right now is to spend an afternoon in a coffee shop with a blogging friend. or to have dinner with an old classmate with whom i've reconnected on facebook. perhaps i could catch a Broadway show with someone i've gotten to know via twitter.

do you see where i'm going with this? i want to put down my laptop and my iPhone and get out there and meet the people who have become my closest friends over the past few years. it could be you! i want to hear your laugh. i want to meet your family. i want to taste incredible wine with you. i want to run a race with you, and wear our matching tee shirts all over town.

so, let's go! pack your bag and meet me at the station! i'm looking for the vacation of a lifetime. i'd love for you to come!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

long may she wave

since january, i've run, oh... a couple thousand miles. (that sounds unbelievable, really.) i'm still liking it, so i guess that means i'm looking forward to the next couple thousand.

i've run all of them outside, and almost without exception, in my own neighborhood. that means i run on public roads. a lot. we don't have sidewalks, so i run on the shoulder, facing oncoming traffic, head up and alert.

and as i run (bounce, shuffle) along, i throw up my hand and wave at everyone i pass.

sometimes my wave just means, "Hi!"
sometimes it means, "I see you coming, don't worry."
sometimes it means, "I don't have a lot of room here, so please move over."

and sometimes it just means, "What? My face is supposed to be this red!! Don't worry about me! I promise I'm not going to pass out in front of you!!"

now, i've run these roads for eight and a half months now. one day i might pass three cars the entire time, and other days i might pass thirty. every once in while, i'll encounter someone watering their lawn, or walking their dog. and every so often, i'll come upon another runner. i wave at them all (mostly, you know, so i don't scare them with my beet faced huffing puffing shuffle). and i gotta tell ya: nobody's waving back!

it's okay, really. i don't take it personally. i take that back. i did take it personally when that one guy not only didn't wave, but also seemed to grip the steering wheel a little tighter in an effort to avoid giving me any more space on the road.

but it would be nice to get a little recognition from time to time. hey! we're all out here together. let's look out for each other! i'm not asking you to talk to me or anything. (in fact, please don't talk to me. i need to save every precious breath!)

but maybe just a little wave; lift your fingers off the steering wheel a little bit. a nod of the head? something? heck, if i can muster the energy to throw up my hand after five or six miles, the least you can do is reciprocate. at least i'll know you see me and won't be running me off the road.

do you wave back? would you wave at me? i promise i won't pass out in front of you!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

how sweet it is

it is ten o'clock on Saturday night and i'm crashed on the sofa watching yet another marathon of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. (side note: could someone please slip a few new phrases into Guy Fieri's rotation? there's just got to be a better way to describe food than "off the hook!") i can't even count how many Saturday night's I've spent hanging out watching the Triple D's. it's kinda my Saturday night thing. even though Guy agitates me with his talking-with-food-in-his-mouth, there's something actually a little comforting about my sad Saturday night routine.

anyway, this day is done, and despite it's undertones of blah, i consider it pretty much a success. i set out to have a laid back day, and i accomplished it. as Guy would say, "winner, winner, chicken dinner."

dinner was a few hours ago, and i've even had tea and cookies since then (have you had the new Newton's Fruit Thins? yum!). the kitchen is clean, despite the fact that a certain 10 year old keeps wandering in and out of there. there's no reason to go back in there.


i know there is an open bag of mini Reese's pieces in the cupboard.

i don't really crave sweets. chocolate is not a food group that i consider to be a temptation. i can take it or leave it. but throughout this year of obsessive calorie counting, some well-timed chocolate consumption has been a God send.

i'll settle for the Reese's, although truth be told, i prefer dark chocolate. i especially prefer dark chocolate with sea salt. in fact, now that i think about it, i would dearly love a square of dark chocolate with sea salt right now. as Guy would say, that square of dark chocolate with sea salt "could just hang out in my mouth for a little bit."

i'm undecided about the Reese's, but just knowing it is there agitates me and comforts me at the same time. kinda like Guy.

me and chocolate. our nightly ritual. you could say, "this is not my first time at this rodeo."

i know Guy would.

Friday, September 16, 2011

five minute friday

i've got to tell you something. i hope it's not too startling.

i don't have a bucket list.

nope. no checklist of things i need to accomplish. no tick marks next to things i've done. no master plan for fitting it all in (no idea, really, what "it" really is).

surprising? i am a pretty steadfast maker of lists: shopping lists, to-do lists, review lists, packing lists... i'm sort of addicted to them, truth be told. but the quintessential bucket list has eluded me thus far.

i'm seeing "bucket lists" everywhere these days. it's back to school time: here are 10 MUST TAKE PHOTO-OPS for your child! it's Autumn: here are 15 Fall activities you don't want to miss! traveling: here are 5 destination you must see! you just had a baby: here are 10 pictures you MUST take on baby's first day!

really? REALLY??

i am all for living, and creating traditions, and recording memories. but at what point does the bucket list become less a "list" and more of a "script?" i'll tell you when. right about the time i start to hyperventilate because there are no apple orchards around here for me to schedule a mid-Autumn photo shoot.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

more than words

i've been haunted by a song recently. you know when that happens... you catch an older song on the radio, and you think, "ahhhhh, i remember that song," or, "i remember when that was popular," or, "that reminds me of Mark Campbell.*"

*names changed to protect the innocent

and then, you hear that song three or four more times in a fairly short time frame, and all of a sudden it's annoying and you remember why you forgot about that song long ago!!

yeah... that.

so, this week, the song has been "More than Words," (Extreme) and it's taking me back to Senior Week. of college. 1991.

go ahead. do the math. i'll wait...

you with me now? TWENTY YEARS!!! it's been twenty years since i graduated from college!!!

twenty years is a really long time. it actually justifies (in MY mind) the fact that i don't remember more about my four years of college. they were good years. they were not the best years. but i have an overall fond recollection of learning and growing during that time.

my college FAQ:
Ithaca College, class of '91
B.A. Sociology
Dining Hall employee, two years
Collegetown Bagels employee, two years
Three years residence on campus
One year in an apartment on Ithaca Commons
Roommate of girls who used lots of Paul Mitchell hair products
Wearer of oversize Champion sweatshirts
Lover of Division III basketball
Connoisseur of many $5 Long Island Iced Teas

kind of unremarkable, actually. but i'm okay with that, given that i now know that my time to SHINE would come well after graduation. (it's still happening. trust me on this..)

while i still get a pang of remembrance every year around move in weekend, i'm steadfastly ignoring the urgent emails to attend this year's TWENTIETH reunion. my sketchy memories are quite suffcient for me. looking back, my time at IC was a blip in my lifeline. my experience was a springboard for what would come next, but it definitely did not define what would happen.

instead of going to the Finger Lakes and reminiscing about the four years spent there, i'm going to stay home and embrace the twenty years since.

twenty years gone by. a lifetime really.
more than words.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


one thing that i'm really enjoying about this blogging every day bit (you've noticed, right? that i'm blogging every day?), is the fact that i've started reading blogs every day as well. mostly in a selfish attempt to light a creative spark when i feel like i don't have anything to blog about, but hey! i'm getting back out there.

so, my friend john asked the question, "What do you love about yourself right now?" seems like a perfect thing to muse about today.

I love that I have been able to find a balance between being a working mom and being an engaged, creative mom - that i thrive at planning social events at the hotel, and also at planning meals for my little family. I love that I can go from a revenue meeting in the morning to a recreational evening at the soccer field.

I love that I have found myself again this year, and, despite a few years of frustration and denial, the good in me is intact. I love that I am stronger and leaner and more focused than I was twelve months ago.

I love that I find time to serve my community through Rotary and Communities in Schools. And I love that my son will grow up knowing the importance of these commitments.

I love that I am a runner. I love that!!

I love that my confidence is coming back, and that this has allowed me to open up to new friendships.

I love that I've finally begun to love myself.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

spt 09.13.2011

what in the hell?? why does my bathroom counter stay so cluttered? i'm only going to show you part of it, because, wow...

i really should do something about that.

did you ever play that memory game when you were younger? we played it at all of my birthday parties growing up. my mom would place items on one of her trays and let us look at them for one minute. then she would cover them up with a tea towel while we tried to write down as many things as we remembered. the items tended to be a bit haphazard, with not much rhyme nor reason to their presence in the game. i think that made it more difficult.

hmmmm, what can i remember from this morning:
contact lens case, saline, deoderant, an empty metal diet coke bottle (why? it wasn't even my diet coke), toothbrush, makeup, cotton balls, lavendar essential oils, band-aids (NOT used), plumbing parts (?!?), digital watch, hand towel, various and sundry pieces of jewelry, a button, men's cologne (Chrome), hairspray, bronzer, water cup, small fan, iPhone...

i'm sure there was more, but i'm choosing not to remember them!! what's the state of your bathroom vanity this morning? care to share?

will you take a self-portrait today? leave me a comment and let me know!

Monday, September 12, 2011

not much to say

i don't have much to say tonight.

i am overly agitated, and i really can't put my finger on "why." could be that it's Monday and i had to work with numbers today. could be that i seriously need to order new contacts and i now have a dull headache. could be that my son has used up almost every syllable in the English language tonight, and i am craving silence. could be that i didn't drink enough water today. could be the full moon.

could be that, sometimes, i'm just done. done with the day. done with thinking about work. done with wondering how much money is in the bank account. done with obsessing over those last 120 calories that i probably shouldn't have eaten. done with that pile of stuff over there that has been begging me to sort through it.

done with caring. caring about every hotel guest and how their experience will affect my next day. caring about what the neighbors will think when we raise our voices (which invariably happens every night at 7 pm). caring about what i'm going to wear tomorrow. caring about the fact that we cannot rid the dog of these godforsaken fleas.

caring about where i am and what i'm doing.

maybe i'm done with trying to second guess the grander plan.

could be the full moon.

i don't have much to say tonight.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

september eleventh

i wrote the following stream of words on a day in september 2001. i was a working mother with a six month old baby. there was no facebook. no blogger. no twitter. i didn't have cable. i was a long way from my native New York. so i worked, and like you, i tried to make sense of what was going on.

to our children:
when you were born, the world was golden with promise, over-full with opportunities for an innocent child (prize of young parents, joy of generations).

our early days together were a dance-a-thon of waltzes then fox-trots, as i tried to teach you sure-footedness in a world where daybreaks were pink-new and bursting with endless possibilities; where moonglow was the butter soft keeper of dreams.

how clear things looked through the eyes of one who is seeing it all for the first time. how i took solace in every ahh of wonderment, of understanding as the world began to make sense for you, as it has always made sense for me.

how do i tell you that it is now different somehow? that on September 11,2011 at 8:48 am the bad people raged and the earth shook and a great cry went up from a wounded nation.

how do i watercolor your world when the images around us are grey and ash-covered?

these are the things i know that will NEVER change:

a hug,
a smile,
a song

the waves pooling on the shore,
the rain clinging to the screen door,

brownie batter on a wooden spoon,
"Pat the bunny," and "Goodnight, Moon,"

rabbit hops
and belly flops
tadpole tails in brackish creeks,

mommy's kisses on tear-stained cheeks.

the flag from The World Trade Center as it visited Southport on July 4, 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011


i am really enjoying blogging every day again. (you noticed, right? that i was blogging every day?) with under two hours to get this one in, i needed someone to throw me a softball of a topic.

a one word meme:
(wanna play along? copy the 30 questions to your own blog and answer each with one word! leave me a comment if you do!)

1. Where is your cell phone? charging

2. Describe your significant other? asleep

3. Your hair? braided

4. Your mother? supportive

5. Your father? enthusiastic

6. Your favourite item? iPhone

7. Your dream last night? sentimental

8. Your favorite drink? water

9. Your dream car? electric

10. The room you are in? library

11. Your ex? doofus

12. Your fear? failing

13. What do you want to be in 10 years? thriving

14. Who did you hang out with last night? family

15. What you're not? alone

16. The last thing you did? craft

17. What are you wearing? pyjayzees

18. Your favourite book? journal

19. The last thing you ate? chicken

20. Your life? evolving

21. Your mood? subdued

22. Your friends? afar

23. What are you thinking about right now? twitter

24. Your car? Trailblazer

25. What are you doing at the moment? unwinding

26. Your summer? beachtastic

27. What is on your TV? football

28. When is the last time you laughed? earlier

29. Last time you cried? august

30. School? ithaca

Friday, September 09, 2011

five minutes for friday

you think you know me...
but do you?


i try my best to portray the "real me" on my blog and in my other "faceless" social media accounts. i might use a little concealer here and there, or apply an especially glossy lip stick when i feel like i need a little pick me up. but for the most part, what you read is what you get.

in real life...
i like to wake up early and enjoy an hour by myself
i like to stay up late and enjoy an hour by myself
i love to decorate for the holidays, but i hate clutter
i am a fanatic about sweeping my floors, but i hat to vacuum
i never have extra money to spend. ever.
i drink my coffee black, and am never tempted to buy "frilly" coffee shop drinks.
i am generous with hugs for my little man, but not so much with adults.
i like where i am now, but know that this is not where i will live forever.
i want you to think i am thick skinned, but i'm really quite sensitive.
i hate to talk on the phone, but will "chat" with you all hours of the day.
i love receiving compliments, but need to remind myself to give them.
i don't like anything that is artificially banana flavored.
especially strawberry banana yogurt.


hope you have a great weekend!! (you can have my serving of strawberry banana yogurt!)

Thursday, September 08, 2011


it's been a long couple of days.

10+ (sometimes 14 hour!) days, board meetings, reuniting with old friends, project planning meetings, dinners away from home, soccer practice, school that starts 15 minutes earlier than it did last year.

it's been a long couple of days.

and in the meantime, i'm working out, running, keeping track of my calories.

and also doing a little laundry.

i'm signing off on homework assignments and making sure school lunch is packed.

tonight, i am collapsed on the sofa watching football. within an arm's length are about 27 items that could be picked up and put away. but i'm gonna go ahead and let them sit there. because i am the most incredible kind of tired: bone weary, muscle aching, I FEEL REALLY GOOD ABOUT THE WORK I'M DOING tired.

right now i am overdone. but tomorrow morning, i will ready to do it all again!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

a list

today is a doozy!! a fourteen hour doozy!! i literally have about a 20 minute window in which to write a blog post for today. so here it goes:

my friend Patrick gave me the idea to think about the things i'm grateful for. i know sometimes lists aren't the most fun to read, but he reminded me that taking five minutes out of your day to focus on what makes you happy, can truly be a game changer. to me, it is the perfect way to find a calm place in the midst of the frenzy of this day.

i am grateful...

for my health, my family's health

for my job, my husband's job

that i have the flexibility to run out and meet up with two old friends for coffee

for my creative spark that is rekindled every Fall

for phone calls

and tweets

for my body, for the calm that exercise has brought to my life

for strangers who have become friends

for reading time with jack

for dinner around the dining room table, even if it's only a few nights a week

and i'm grateful for you. yes, you.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

spt 09.06.2011

ever have one of those days when you just wany to pull your hair out???

i'm having one of those days!!

will you take a self-portrait today? leave me a comment and let me know!!

Monday, September 05, 2011

so easy lelly could do it

nothing like a holiday to bring on another episode of: so easy lelly could do it. this episode brought to you by the DIY repurposed pallet project that peaked my interest earlier this summer. (click here for link to original project at Young & Crafty)

yup.  i *loved* it.  and, conveniently enough, i soon came across a furniture store giving away pallets.  i sweet talked my assistant into throwing them into the back of his truck, and later that afternoon, i arrived home to a pile of the saddest looking shipping pallets you ever did see. not one to be discouraged, i immediately set my husband upon the task of breaking the pallets apart into salvageable pieces for my project.  (don't fear, he is used to my shenanigans.)

well, i'm here to tell you that busting these things up was no easy task. by and by, we came to have a pile of shabby splinters of wood stacked in the garage.  i eventually stopped asking about his progress. besides, the beach was calling! my project would wait.

until now, of course.  because, now it is Fall.  or almost.  it's Fall-ish, and my crafting/nesting/decorating hormones are raging.  this project needed to get DONE, people, because now i have fourteen other repurposed pallet projects junking up my Pinterest boards!!

sadly, this pallet project was not meant to be.  it came right down to salvaging that wood or salvaging my husband's sanity, and i made the responsible choice.  sigh. 

but, don't worry!  because it didn't take long for the pumpkin spice candle scents wafting through my living room to spark my creativity into high gear.  and just in time for a holiday weekend!! i didn't need a pallet to make a repurposed pallet project!  i just needed something to repurpose.  fortunately, i have loads of that kinda stuff to spare.

below is a photo of my double size headboard from 1994.  i had this vision of a picket fence headboard, and one afternoon, my father and Pop-Pop came around to my little 1994 apartment and built it for me! oh, it was resplendent in it's natural state, with fake sunflowers peeking through the pickets.  1994, i loved you so...

i used that headboard right up until my husband and i got a king size bed in 2005. we have, uh, fond memories of sleeping under that headboard.

looking at that headboard, leaning forlornly against the garage, i thought, maybe, it could be *like* a pallet... you know, since it's made out of wood and all.  so husband was dispatched to take the sides off and give it a good whitewash.  i couldn't decide on what word we would use, so i let him choose.  (see? i don't just delegate the crappy  jobs...) after staring at the blank canvas for about fifteen minutes, i free handed our word onto the pallet-like-piece-of-upside-down-picket-fence.

now, this next part gets tricky.  i didn't have a paint brush.  so, i did what any smart crafter would do and called up my sister with the Bachelor of Fine Arts and asked her if she had a brush i could borrow, which, of course, she did.  that was the best three mile round trip i made all day!

so, what do you think? pretty cool, i say. and i genuinely love that i have been able to repurpose this wonderful gift from my dad and Pop-Pop. (i have a feeling Pop-Pop might be rolling his eyes at me from up there, but i think he approves anyway.)

i tried very hard to get my  husband to hang it for me, but he kept shooing me away with complaints that he didn't have the right kind of hardware.  what the hell?!? couldn't he rig something?? i mean, i would have.  but, oh well...

the two side pieces can now be repurposed into something like this:

and, i'm pretty sure i won't even have to wait until the next holiday weekend.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

a test of wills

i knew the challenge was coming when, at 7 am, his bedroom door opened, and i heard the slow shuffle of bare feet towards the living room.

he's up to something, i thought.  he doesn't want to go to church and he is scheming up an excuse.

a stomachache.  not very original, but fairly well executed.  a cuddle on the sofa, a pitiful look in those baby blue eyes.  a whimper.

he is about to throw down the "i'm not going to church" gauntlet.  it's coming.  i'm just going to continue my morning routine. maybe if i don't bring it up, he won't.

breakfast? breakfast will be good.  a bowl of cheerios.  how about some bacon? yes! i love bacon.  can you make it a little crispier, please?

surely he will forget about his upset tummy after eating. the food disappears in an instant. i disappear to my room to get ready.  still, no one has dared to say the word, "church." i count down the minutes until it is time.  "get dre-essed," i sing out.  i am positive, upbeat as i dab on eyeliner.

but i don't FEEL good!!  stomp, stomp, STOMP down the hallway, measured steps that end with a pathetic slump onto the master bed.  i'm not GOING!  i don't FEEL good!

i choose a necklace, measure my breaths in the mirror.  "but you ate breakfast. i'm sure you're fine."

muffled grunts from the lump on the bed, a defiant head shake or two. "uh-huh.  i'm. not. going."

i snuggle up to him, stroke his hair, will the warmth of my body to ease this rigid form that is planted on the bed.

"get OFF of me!" he turns away.  "leave me ALONE!"

moving on, i get dressed in the closet, hear him pry himself off the bed and make haste back down the hallway. i slip on my shoes, and prepare for what's next. i'm not going to yell.  i'm not going to yell. i'm not going to yell...

i'm staying HERE! i'm going to play video games.  you can't make me go!

you need to be dressed and in the car in 5 minutes. i take the dog out for a quick trip around the backyard.  i eye the back of the house, looking for movement, but feeling only defiant energy. back inside, and he has steeled himself for the fight.  i'm not going to yell. i'm not going to yell. i'm not going yell.

i don't see why i should have to go! i'm not! i don't FEEL WELL!!

i haven't yelled, and he doesn't know quite what to make of it. i apply lip gloss, methodically move my keys and wallet to my black purse, empty the remains of my coffee cup into the sink.  i don't make eye contact with him as i walk by.  "you need to be in the car in 5 minutes."

rage, rage, rage. no!!!!!

at the last moment, i grab up all of the remote controls, pull the door shut behind me, breathe deeply as i make my way to the car.  it would be so easy to give in.  i'm tired, too! we could skip this week.  we don't have to do this.


i call mat.  this isn't the first time i've called mat from the car.  ican'tdothisican'tdothisican'tdothis.  i'm not going to yell.  but he needs to get out here.  he needs to know that he can't just wear me down with his yelling.  he needs to know that one hour out of his day is not going to ruin the rest of it.


i back the car up, positioning for the eventual trip down the driveway.  i can't leave him here.  i won't leave him here. i said be in the car in 5 minutes. he needs to learn that we can't shout ourselves out of things we don't want to do. we need to teach him that.

the back door slams.  it is him.  he is wearing yesterday's clothes.  his hair is not brushed.  but he is here.

we pull out of the driveway, turn towards town.  there is a stony silence, every once in a while, a groan from the passenger seat.  we are heading to church together.

and i did not yell. 

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Fifth Grade

"The choices we make are ultimately our responsibility..." 
- Eleanor Roosevelt

and so, with a hurricane bearing down on us, we three gathered around the dinner table. we said good bye to summer, and discussed our expectations for the coming school year. 

our theme for School Year 2011-2012 is:
1. the state or position of being responsible;
2. a person or thing for which one is responsible;
3. the ability or authority to act or decide on one's own, without supervision

we feasted on some of jack's favorites, Chicken Corn Chowder, toasted baguette with butter and Key Lime Pie Cake.

We spent over an hour at the table, reading our quotes about responsibility, and discussing how we could each take responsibility in our lives (feeding the dog! doing our homework! staying physically fit!) we also found a collection of conversation starter popsicle sticks i made earlier this year, which added a wonderful additional layer to our time together.

"What do you think is beyond the stars?"
"On a scale of 1-10, how strict am I?"
"What is/was your favorite school subject?"
"What have you done that makes you proud?

after dinner was done, after dishes were put up, after one last check of The Weather Channel for updates on Hurricane Irene, our responsible boy put himself to bed before 9:30, willing 5th grade to start IMMEDIATLEY!

"You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." - Abraham Lincoln

Friday, September 02, 2011

five minute friday

interestingly enough, the prompt for five minute friday at the gypsy mama is "rest." funny that i should be talking about "rest" in a week when the insomnia has been in full force.

i am not a person who needs a lot of sleep to thrive. truly, i think i'm good with about 6 1/2 hours a night. this is something that i have in common with my parents, and their parents. i don't sleep like the dead when i sleep, nor do i toss and turn. it's a good rest, though, and seems to be enough to get me through my days.

as i've become much more physically active this past year, i've been intrigued by the fact that my body hasn't required more rest. i truly am more energized and ready to greet the day, without having to get more sleep to compensate for the energy i'm burning. well, except for this transition back into the school year, but we can talk about that later... anyway, all this is to say that i take my 6 1/2 hours for granted, and i get frustrated when i don't get it.

this past week, my bedtime has been met with tossing and turning, pulling covers on and throwing them off, turning off my son's alarm clock at midnight (what the?!?), and generally not feeling like i can shoot out of bed when the alarm goes off at 5:45. this happens about twice a year, and i could probably look back through my journals to see if there are any correlations to be drawn when it happens. but, for now, it's enough to say that i'm frustrated that i'm not sleeping when my body says it should be sleeping.

i went for a run last night, and my gps wasn't working. i had no clue of my pace or, for that matter, how far i went (when i realized the gps wasn't working, i felt almost free to change up my route a little bit.) i had to let go of my OCD about time and distance, and how this run was going to show on my mileage keeper app. (you should really hear my inner dialogues sometimes...) i met some new people along the way, listened to the tree frogs, and spent some time remembering the fifth grade girl who couldn't even run one lap around the school track. and when it was all said and done, i felt good. i felt... rested.

a friend of mine called it a "soul run." i can't think of a better description. i slept better (could just be that i'm nearing the end of this period of insomnia...) (i HOPE!)

i think the soul run is just as important as the speed run, and the distance run. and i'm looking forward to more of them.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

the summer that was...

i feel like this summer was random and cheerful and forever long. it was filled with family and friends and food and fun, and i have to reach waaaaay back and remember how it all started. this summer has been *that good.* (can't you tell by our faces?!?)

i have so many things that i want to remember, and truth be told, i've been working on this post for about a week now. (that's never a good sign, is it?) so, in an effort to "just blog something, dammit!" i give you a little list of things that i will (or won't) explain in further detail in the future:

1. this was the first summer we went to the beach ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS!! i dare say, we even LOOKED FORWARD TO IT!! there was more than one person who expressed shock and awe when they saw us camped out in the sand more than once.

2. my sister and her family (from Atlanta) were able to spend multiple weeks with us here this summer. we have lots of new memories stored away, but at the top of that list would have to be the afternoon that she and i snuck off for a 9 mile walk. oh, yes... you read that right.

3. jack and i traveled to Charlottesville for a wedding with my parents. it was a most excellent adventure (i live tweeted the entire weekend from the back seat of my parents car!)

4. i ran a lot of miles!! and it was HOT!!

5. i met a twitter/facebook friend and she helped remind me that sometimes it's important to sneak away from work and spend the afternoon drinking sangria on the beach.

6. mat's entire family visited for a week, and i acted like the mature young woman that i have been raised to be. i promise. (they did NOT stay in our house. that definitely helped.)

7. i promised to bring vegetables when a friend invited us over to dinner, and i showed up with mini cupcakes instead. because it was summer! and i am *that* kind of a friend!

8. i finished my year as president of the Rotary Club of Southport!

9. i said good-bye to one of my best girlfriends, as she moved to Rhode Island pursuing a great career move. i'm gonna miss my girls nights out...

10. we spent the night in a beach house, and ran through the dunes to dip our feet in the ocean at midnight, just because we could.

thank you, summer of 2011!!