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Monday, April 20, 2015
  • Last week, my daughter and I, along with one of her friends, went to Ireland for spring break. Every Dubliner who learned we chose Ireland over sunshine and beaches thought we were crazy.

    "Why of all the places in the world, did ya' choose Ireland?"

    "Ireland is gray and rainy, love. You should have gone to Florida."

    "Did ya' lose a bet, did ye?"

    Clearly, the Irish don't fully appreciate the draw of their country. Spring break trips are not the norm for our family unless hubby happens to be working in a location where the kids can join him. But because I have not spent a lot of one-on-one time with this daughter, and she will be moving to Australia for college in the fall, I wanted to do something very special with her.

    Having accumulated enough airline miles that it would cost hardly anything to fly, I asked where she would like to go more than anywhere in the world. It seems impossible that the Irish do not understand why their country is a dream destination.

  • Top o' the mornin' to ya! I'm writing to you today from Ireland, the land of saints and scholars. Can't say I've seen either of those yet, but within the first twenty-four hours I did see many other stereotypical sights.

    I'm on an Irish scavenger hunt, and I have already marked several things off the list:

    Pot of Gold


    Rainbow over castle-check

    Guinness Beer-check

    Pot of Gold

    Green grass-check

    Moss covered stones-check

    Irish Whiskey-check


    Misty weather-check


  • One month ago today, I finally did something I've always wanted to do. I hired a personal trainer. I have worked out sporadically over the years, but have a really hard time staying motivated. Out of the 16 years I have carried a membership, I have probably only spent a total of 36 hours at the gym. This includes dropping kids off in the childcare center, socializing with other moms, and spending extra time in the locker room so I could have a few minutes of peace before picking the kids up again.

    But now, I am ready to kick butt. At the age of 45, I have developed a now or never attitude, and nothing is going to stop me. I told the trainer I want to sweat, and cry, and beg for mercy. I don't want him to go easy on me. If I'm going to do it, I want to do it right.

  • Last week, I took the little ones on a short trip to visit hubby during a training seminar he was attending. The decision was made on the spur of the moment. When I woke the kids at 7 a.m. and told them I had just bought tickets to Boston, and we had to pack and be at the airport in three hours, I was surprised at their enthusiasm.

    "Can we go on the ships where they threw tea overboard?" asked my seven-year-old son.

    "I bet there is a museum about the Boston Tea Party!" exclaimed eight-year-old daughter.

    "And a gift shop!" they declared in unison.

    Due to hubby's work, the kids are well-traveled. They have learned that no matter what the attraction, or how ancient, historical, or impressive a sight is, there will be a gift shop at the end. From the grand cathedrals and castles of Europe, to Noah's Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey, to the crab shack on the beach in Florida, there is always going to be an opportunity to buy post cards, magnets, and personalized keychains.

    Boston did not disappoint.

  • Occasionally, I will see someone whose height catches my eye. It doesn't happen very often though, because I live with tall people. So, if someone appears tall to me, that means they are extraordinarily giant like.

    At 6'4", hubby is a full foot taller than I am. For years, he was the tallest in the family until our son bypassed him, topping out at 6'6". Our daughter tried to catch up, but stopped growing at just over six foot. None of them play basketball, but thank you for asking.

    There are advantages and disadvantages to living with tall people. When we remodeled the bathroom, the shower head was placed nearly two feet above my head so hubby no longer has to duck under the water. This means that by the time the water gets to me, a good portion of the pressure has diminished and trickles down like a light rain.

    On the other hand, he can easily see the cobwebs that appear in the corners of the bathroom ceiling, and only has to swipe them with a towel to make them disappear. Cleaning cobwebs takes up the better part of a morning when I do it on my own; dragging a ladder from room to room, climbing up and down.

  • In early November, my Aunt Nona underwent a routine hernia repair surgery. Sadly, something went horribly awry, and a few days later I got one of those late night phone calls. The kind of call that you know is bad news before you even pick up the phone.

    When you are on the verge of losing someone that you love so deeply, your brain is suddenly overwhelmed with images of days gone by. Long forgotten memories resurface and you are catapulted through time, back to those very moments. 
  • As I sit here eating my way through my second bag of Conversation Hearts, trying to ignore the fact that there are 60 calories per serving, and 34 servings in a bag, I reflect back on what made this Valentine's Day so "special." What exactly brought me to this lowly state of sugar binging?

    Hubby and I don't have a great Valentine's history. Out of 26 (or is it 27 now?), years since he became my Valentine, we have had probably three good ones. Actually, make that two. I forgot about that year there was a rat in our dinner. 
  • On Sunday, I had the privilege of attending a High Tea with cosmetic's magnate Estee Lauder.

    Technically, it was an actress portraying Lauder, but it was a fascinating presentation. Five courses were served with the tea and I got to wear my Sunday best. The six hour, round-trip drive was spent chatting non-stop with a dear friend. It was a perfectly lovely way to spend the day.

    The event was put on by Greater Midwest Foodways, an organization dedicated to celebrating, exploring and preserving unique food traditions and their cultural in contexts in the American Midwest. There were several baked goods up for auction, each one with an interesting back story. It got me to thinking about all of the recipes that have been handed down through the generations in my own family. 
  • During these cold winter months, I often find myself singing along to songs about warm weather destinations; Blue Hawaii, Carolina in the Morning, and of course the entire Beach Boys' collection. I love the Beach Boys, and know most of their songs by heart, but occasionally I get sidetracked pondering the shallow lyrics.

    I'd say "California Girls" ranks up there with Elvis' "Big Hunk O' Love," and anything by the Brady Bunch kids, as one of the top three, most shallow songs ever written. The Beach Boys are boasting that they've traveled the world, lusting after every type of girl. And even though they enjoy doing ungodly things with these girls, they can't wait to get back to the states, back to the cutest girls in the world.

    As a matter of fact, they wish we all could be California girls. Why? Do they really think we'd want them if we were? I've seen pictures of those boys in their black shoes, white socks, and high-water pants. I'm guessing only a California girl would put up with a freaky wardrobe like that. 
  • Thanks to my in-laws' kind willingness to babysit for a week, I was able to visit hubby in Berlin sans kids. I had never been apart from them for more than three days, so leaving was a bit of a struggle. They cried, I cried, and we counted the number of bedtimes until I would be home again.

    But once I got on the plane, it was like, "Kids? What kids?"

    Three days into the trip, hubby asked, "How are the children doing?"

    "Um, I assume they're doing okay."

    "Haven't you talked to them?"

    "No. I kind of forgot to call."

    Truth is, I was busy enjoying all the things that I can't enjoy with children; museums, cafes, romantic dinners in candlelit restaurants. Kids? What kids?


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