Archive for May, 2010

Gone Home

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

A 50th high school reunion beckoned me home to NJ.

100 + class members attended. Some came with spouses others without. Many still lived and worked throughout the state. Others traveled from NY, CA, SC, FL, OH, VA, MA, VT, and CO to join in the festivities.

What surprised me most was the instant connection we made with one another. Seemed like yesterdayÖOh sure, a few years may have passed, gray hairs sprouted and an extra pound or two found its way to intrude, but still present was the same zest for life. One success story after another brought a sense of pride for these old friends who so aptly represented East Side High School out in the world.

Good food, lots of fun and rekindling of friendships...fantastic. DJ played "our" kind of musicÖRock ën Roll of the fifties. Lots of chatter, laughing, singing and dancing! We let the good times roll!

Next day after the reunion breakfast I was on the move.
I drove all over NJ to visit with several high school friends who couldnít make reunion, college friends and family. I scouted old jaunts, rode by homes we lived in, WALKED, really walked, the boardwalk in several beach townsóSeaside Heights, Point Pleasant Beach, and Belmar. Oh the memories generated in these places!

Sand dunes, salty air, ocean waves caressing the sandy beach, sun bathers tanning on colorful towels and blankets and small boats cruising the shoreline were a welcomed sight. Amusement rides for adults and kids, including the carousel and its magical calliope music, drew children of all ages who, with ticket in hand, waited their turn. Hawkers at the game stands challenged the vacationers to take a chance at winning a prize. Carnival type food, pizza at Tomato Joeyís, salt water taffy from Jenkinsonís Beach teased and pleased my taste buds. Miniature golf, fun houses, souvenir shops and the fun filled arcades still lured the crowds. Aside from a few upgrades, the boardwalk hadnít changed much. And how could I not mention the spicy, Lobster Diablo dinner I savored while sitting at a window table watching the boats come and go along Shark River? Nothing like melt-in-your-mouth fresh seafood to top off a wonderful trip.

So happy I went because Helen Pepsin (maiden name) rose to the occasion and uncovered/rediscovered her old self, the one from a lifetime ago...LOL. She was and still is lots of fun. I wonder how she got lost in being Mrs. Eddie and Jimmyís mother, Andyís mother, Matthewís mother and Amyís mother.

Gone homeÖyou bet I did. What a trip! A true blast from the past.


Monday, May 24th, 2010

††††††††††††††† I travel all over the world and the one thing Iíve learned for sure is that it really doesnít matter how fat one is.† What matters is how long one can go without peeing.†

††††††††††† Nothing is worse in Europe than the excruciating pain of an overfull bladder and no toilet in sight. Even if you stumble on a toilet, if you donít have a coinÖyou are screwed.† The way it works is that you are supposed to find a coffee shop and buy a coffee as payment to use the facilities.† This makes no sense as the coffee goes directly to oneís bladder and the cycle simply repeats itself.

On my trip to Europe this past April, I was searching frantically for a toilet on the streets of Barcelona and was unable to find one.† Desperate, I ran into a museum that was twenty minutes from closing and threw 6 Euro at the ticket taker just so I could use the toilet.† I bought a 6 Euro cup of coffee so I could pee in Santorini, Greece and a 6 Euro glass of bad wine to pee in Dubrovnik, Croatia in a camping potty behind a curtain on the edge of a cliff. †Each time, it was money well-spent.

Some days Iíd travel to some far off destination on a fancy motor coach with a toilet on board, BUT, the toilets are always locked, mocking you as you curse that one teeny sip of coffee that mostly you only smelled but didnít drink for breakfast.† I guess if management unlocked the toilet and let the passengers actually use them, then they would have to clean them which would increase their overhead!† On a train ride to Rome, I needed to pee so desperately that I used the toilet at the end of the car.† Unfortunately, the toilet locks itself at the train station when it is standing still and unlocks itself as it is hurling 80 kilometers an hour down the track.† No wonder the walls and floors are sticky!!!

When I was lucky enough to find a toilet on my travels, the line reached to Jamaica!† But only if you are a woman.† The men never waited, something to do with the ease of not undoing a belt and the freedom of peeing standing up at a urinal.† My husband was in and out in a flash and I spent most of my vacation in a cue at the ìladies room. So ladies, this is the new rule.† UNDO ALL YOUR CLOTHING FASTENINGS WHILE YOU ARE STANDING IN LINE.† GO INSIDE THE STALL AND PEE.† IMMEDIATELY EXIT THE STALL AND DEAL WITH YOU FASTENINGS OUTSIDE THE STALL. Iíve done the math.† The fastenings add two minutes to each person in line.†

And remember, really smart people make it a policy to never drink any liquids when traveling, no exceptions.

Location, Location, Location

Monday, May 17th, 2010

If realtors are correct saying that location is the most important aspect of where you choose to live, then Iíve got it made. At first glance, you might not think living on the edge of downtown would be ideal.

But I love it.

Within mere blocks of my house I can find restaurants, shops, a museum, the post office and the library. Not to mention some of our cityís world-renowned sculptures. During the summer, I can even hear the Thursday night outdoor concerts from my own backyard.

But my favorite thing about where I live is the proximity to the recreation trail where I take my daily walks. Not far from my house are several county enclaves where I can hear roosters and turkeys greeting the new day. Goats contentedly munch green grass and new calves bask in the sunshine. A little further down, next to the river Iíve seen elk, great blue herons, raccoons, and muskrats. This time of year, I eagerly await the hatching of the seasonís first mallard ducklings. Watching them grow entertains me all summer.

Whatís the best thing about where you live?


Monday, May 10th, 2010


††††††††††† This year Motherís day was wonderful and continues to be my favorite day of the year.† My son who lives in Alaska chatted with me on the phone for an hour and informed me that he and his girlfriend bought a microwave oven on Craigís list in order to make homemade soy candles as a Motherís Day gift.†

††††††††††† My 29 year old daughter spent the day with me and during the morning we were out and about and ran into many people I know.† The reoccurring comment was ìYour daughter looks just like you.î† I donít really know how I feel when I hear that comment.† I remember when Suzanna was ten years old hiking up the hill to catch the bus to school.† My neighbor who watched her said, ìYour young daughter looks just like you, in fact, she even walks like you!î† At the time, I remember thinking, ìPoor Suzanna.î In my heart, I was hoping for more for her.†

††††††††††† Yesterday, I phoned my mother who lives in a nursing home in New Mexico.† When my daughter talked with her, I overheard the following ñ ìMom and I went to the nursery this morning and looked at plants and it was so much fun.† When I was a little girl, my Mom made me help her in the garden and I hated it. Now, I love gardening, it is so meditative!î

††††††††††† Unlike the comment that we look alike, which is the luck of genetic draw, I knew exactly how I felt about her turning out just like me in the gardening area.† I was very pleased.† I had exposed her to the beauty of digging in the earth and it had imprinted on her.† In this regard, my daughter is just like me and it is all I hoped for.

The Obstacle is the Path--Zen saying

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

This always reminds me of that old camp song. The lyrics go--so high can't go over it, so low can't go thru it, so wide can't go over it...gotta go thru it.

This is life, an no matter how confused I am or discouraged, I have to go thru stuff to get to the other side.

How many times in my life have I wanted an easier and softer way? And† how many times have I valued the lesson once it is finally learned?

Lately my path seems filled with thorns and brambles. I have to trust that somewhere in all of this turmoil is the path. Because, life is unfolding as it should and now is all I really have.

From Good to Rags

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

My father told me he knew I was a clothes hound when he and my mother took me to my grandmotherís house, and I, as a three year old, kicked out my leg to show off my new shoes.

"You loved your new shoes. That was a real treat for you," my mother said when repeating the story.

In high school, my mother gave me a budget for my back-to-school clothes, and I would try dozens of outfits on, then make a final decision, dragging my mother along in crisscross patterns through the mall.

In college and after, I retained my love of clothing, but could not spend, spend, spend. Though I could shop and select out a few pieces, I was not of the Saks income, more like that of coupons, bargains and sales, which I use to my full advantage to select out a few pieces to add to my wardrobe each year.

But the recession has made shopping dreary. Why? The clothes I used to buy from department stores and small retailers, all mid-grade, are of a lesser quality. They last a season. They shrink or they stretch. They lose their shape. They fall apart. And some of them get those little nubbies that should be the domain of sweaters only.

This reduction in quality is a way for stores to cut back on their costs, but it is putting a damper on my love of shopping. Now, Iím wary. I check if the material has spandex. I look for small, even stitching and tight, straight seams. I look at the thickness of material. I look for the bias and cut.

In the past, I did not have to be so careful. Now, Iím a wary consumer in a depressed economy who wants the shopping to be an experience and pleasure, not another chore to replace the clothes that fell apart the last season.