Friday, December 31, 2010

Pump Boys and Dinettes ... or the global travels of one pair of Brooks Brothers patent leather formal pumps with grosgrain bows

Lesson learned. UPS is better, faster, more reliable (hands down) than its closest competitor who coined the generic overnight delivery term. But noooooooooo. Not this time. Took nearly a week for the white package with the blue and red logo to wend its way from our nation's capitol through Newark to southern Maine. Boo hoo on them. Yay, UPS!!

But the shoes. Charlie's precious shoes. The ones ordered from Brooks Brothers in November made it in time. The nick of time, I might add. But in time. Thanks in part to the diligence of his lovely chestnut haired Mama (c'est moi) and the ubiquitous brown trucks and planes that fly through her hometown in the deep blue grass and whoosh ... across the earth. Made a special compensatory nod to Charlie's dilemma, and delivered them with hours to spare. Around the world in a nano-second. So he could dance, Fred Astair had nothing on my boy, into 2011.

Santa's route, indeed.

The jolly bearded man in the red suit belted with a wide black cinch belt and spiffy high top black well polished boots looking oh so courant could make the trip around the circumference of the globe in the twinkle of his eye and a twitch of his pug nose.

But not the FedEx-express. Nope. It's UPS all the way from here on out. No choice. Not unless requested specifically by the recipient.

I should be so lucky. To travel from the east coast of the United States, through the rolling hills of Kentucky, pop up to Alaska, over the Pole and then wend my way to southern China and the new Hong Kong home of my darling son.

But ... ah ... I am. Fortunate. I, too, will be following that route through Newark, over the pole (hey there Santa, pooped ol' man) and into the booming island metropolis where my sweet Charlie has taken up residence.

In February! In celebration of my 60th. Wahoo!

Cheers to safe travels ... to me ... dancing shoes ... and the new year!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Knocking the Doors Down

Curled up and leaning on the trapunto stitched blue and white toile headboard on a lazy Friday night, my darling Grandma Alice, for whom I was named, would rub my back and tell me that all good things were in store for me.

We spoke of boundaryless travel and thousand-count boudoir linens and entertaining at home ... and of course, romance.

She was a restless romantic.

I inherited that from her.

We wear our hearts on our sleeves and turn a blind eye to faults and warning bells and red flags. And, flames. Wow, have the Alices been burned. But rub on the salve, cover the wound with cotton gauze and with a flip of the head race in for more.

I'd listen intently, soaking up her glamour. Her femininity. Her siren songs. Lost in the Rodeo Drive and I. Magnin wonderment of what was to come my way. The gold cigarette holders dangling gracefully from a turned hand while men in Packards sped me to a candlelight supper where the Los Angeles (that's a hard 'g') lights twinkled through the windows onto her dreamy world.

Ooops. Did I say me? I wanted, with every fibre of my being, her word would portend my future. That my darling Grandma Alice was a soothsayer about my future love life. The deep, dark and alluring matinee-idol eyes which would peer into my hazel green eyes glistening with wonderment ... and who would wine and dine me and line up down the block waiting to take me ... oui moi ... out on the town.


Not on ... nor jdate ... nor Sadly, not in the Harvard personals or an exotic airport lounge halfway around the globe ... nor the boardrooms of Manhattan ... a friend's dinner party. Nope. No line of eligible, drama-free, emotionally healthy males waiting for little ol' me. Much less clamoring and teetering to get past the butler through the portal to my lair.

But I know in my heart. I truly do. Every time it flutters with hope and knowledge. That my guy is out there. The one who will make my spirit sing and my soul giggle. Who gets me in a way that is natural. Who lets me be me. And, I him.

That we will connect inspires me. Motivates me. Ignites the fuel that will connect the two of us in some unimaginable way.

Cheers to my lover ... I am getting better with age ... and so is he!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lost All My Baby Fat ...

... it has been over 22 years. And I finally did it. Yep. Shed those unwanted pounds that accumulated when I gave birth to my 9 pound 10 ounce bouncing baby boy.

Wahoo! It took more than two decades, but I have arrived back at my fighting weight.

And surprisingly I feel great. Am not a major biatch. In fact not one at all. Haven't wanted to chew off my leg or arm. Amazing.

Again ... loudly and proudly WAHOO!

So wanted to slide into my sixties with elegance and grace and slender. My old self. Physically and mentally. Shed the excess ... be free. Really free to move forward.

And I have done it. Lost the last five pounds. Doubled. Just to dare myself to be myself again. Lighten the load.

All would be well 'ceptin' my Mama ... in her most honest phase ... did mention that I look fabulous but might need to do something with my neck. So you know what? For the first time ever I am not going to pay her any heed. Sorry Mom! Love you dearly. But this girl's gotta do what this girl's gotta do!

Cheers to shopping in my belt drawer ... and all that jazz!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Somehow I backed into organic food.


Imbiber of eight TaBs a day. User of dozens of those pink Sweet 'n Low packets on everything from grapefruit to oatmeal to vinaigrette to hot drinks and cold ones, too.

Oooh, I love fake sugar. In fact I adore sugar. Am a processed food lover extraordinaire.


Ersatz low fat or better yet non-fat cheeses, sour creams, half and half. Kind of defies the laws of nature.

So how did I back into this reader of labels and purchaser of foods sans chemicals?

Well, the simple truth. A diet recommended by my good friend Gayla.

I have been wanting to detox. Nope. Not from martinis ... I drink them rarely. Not from Newport Lights ... I stopped puffing my two packs a day almost thirty years ago ... not from a lusty Cab or a sexy, smoky Malbec. No overindulgence there. I never sip alone. So that leaves me sober as a granite stone.

Then what? you are asking.

So if you really care to know. Drumroll ...

Chocolate chip cookies. Baking almost every night to be able to eat the batter (I know, I know salmonella lurks between the blades of the beaters). Brownies. Blueberry crumble. Banana bread. I swear I only buy fruit to see what I can bake it in with a streusel topping. Oh yes and candy. Most kinds. But M&Ms ... peanut ones ... by the bagful are my fave. Or coconut patties handdipped in dark bittersweet chocolate. The ones from Florida in the rectangular box. And, yep, that ubiquitous saccharin sweetener that I sprinkle on or stir in everything.

You'd think I wouldn't be able to fit through a door. But I manage. Although there have been times when I bump into the refridgerator bacause my sonar is off and I underestimated my hip girth. I am the lightest I have been in over two decades.

Ah, but I digress.

So now I find myself marching up the aisle at the supermarket looking for almond butter, forsaking Skippy's reduced sugar highly processed creamy that has forever been a staple in my larder forever. Or, looking for virgin pressed coconut oil. Arteries be damned. Stevia in green packets replace the Pepto Bismal pink ones that litter the bottom of every purse from every season.

I read labels. Pass by all things white. Rice, bread, flour sugar, potatoes, pasta. Gheesh. Forego anything that ends in -ite ... or -ose ... or is difficult to pronounce and makes me feel as if Mrs. Wimp, our 11th grade chem teacher, is spraying her words re marble chips and Hcl as petry dishes bubble steamy.

What's a girl to do? Gotta slide into my seventh (OMG) decade in style. Svelte. Healthy. Glowing skin. And speaking of skin ... in black skinny jeans and ballerina flats.

Cheers to getting through the holidays with nary a sugar plum fairy hovering over my sweet chestnut mane whispering naughty things in my ears. Ever the temptress.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Feng Shui and the Far Corners of My Home

Yesterday afternoon my new friend Jessica came over for tea. At 4 o'clock. A rather proper tea I might add. Unusual for this dyed in the wool New England village.

Nonetheless, I dusted off (rinsed out really) my underused blue on grey porcelain Royal Copenhagen Tranguebar tea and coffee service schlepped by my parents on the plane from their wintertime visit to Denmark in 1969. Gifts for each of their three girls. Not sure what Willy received, but I am confident it wasn't a tea service.

Mom disembarked into the International Terminal at JFK in New York wearing a most gorgeous pin seal coat from Berger Christianson ... (which incidentally hangs four decades later in my closet lengthened six inches from its original style when dresses and skirts were Mary Quant short-short never to be worn again for fear of someone throwing red paint in my direction protesting the murder of innocent endangered Scandinavian sea mammals). Not sure what Dad's souvenir was ... although I do remember some Aquavit on the bar when I was home that Christmas.

Jessica is my cohort at the cavernous 12,000 square foot antiques shop where I dally on a very very limited part-time basis ... and she works regularly.

Jessica, the self-proclaimed Obama Mama hales from a Nordic line herself and has the lemon white locks and azure eyes to prove it. She is an interior designer who needn't rely on workrooms because she can slipcover and make curtains like no one's business. A bona fide pizza oven is nested into the wall of her study next to the fireplace where her organic flatbread creations utilize only those ingredients grown in her five-acre yard replete with pond and cat-tails in the country. The whole wheat flour ground by her own hand from select crops across our country. She is most talented. Knowing Jessica is like having a jack-of-all homemaking trades at my disposal.

But one of the most fascinating parts of Jessica's not-so-hidden allure is her ability to commune with nature spirits and, using herbs and tinctures grown around the pond in her lush vast gardens, make concoctions that heal what ails you. No. Not the psychedelics. But real remedies like the Native Americans or early pioneers.

So when she appeared at my front door she first regaled in my home. Its lovely accessorized and wallpapered rooms, an eclectic mix of antiques and hand-me-downs from my grandmothers with a pink flamingo lamp or a contemporary brass sculpture tossed in casually. She loved my home. And that made me smile.

But then she wanted to know which door (I have five leading to the outdoors. Imagine five in an 1800 square foot home!) I use to enter and exit the house.

We share an eclectic spirit, adventuresome sensibilities (read: wanderlust) an insane Dolphin energy.

Cheers to my new friend and local cohort!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sweet Dreams, My Darling

It's the two month mark.

And we are doing great.

Both of us.

Redefining our paradigm. Our mother-son relationship. Our devoted family of two now spanning the globe.

The 8,000 miles that separate us. His night; my day. Has brought us closer together. Amazing.

This position is a perfect fit for Charlie. Perfect. It is as if he was hired solely on the basis of a few things:

1) He was a member of Hasty Pudding.
Although I am confident they think it was the theatrical wing. Costumed events. Rat races through Central. Singing skits. A sedan race in a team dressed as Rocky Balboa ... tailor-made black satin hooded boxing robes emblazoned with a gold dragon over silk trunks ... wow six men to a team carrying a tiny woman perched atop her ancient Asian chariot.

2) He's a jolly good sport.
And can be called upon at a moment's notice to play cricket, in a tourney no less, when he has never held a bat in his hands. Or to start for the firm's soccer team when his last foray into shin guards and slimy shorts (as he called them then) was when he was in kindergarten and he stayed on the team only long enough to get his baseball-type card for posterity. In fact, all the rules and strategy that he knows about the game came from years of Sony PlayStation soccer matches with his Norweigan college friend!

3) His senior honors thesis advisor is a highly celebrated global rock star who looks like Tony Blair, is a Brit and dazzles the press with his nonformist, contrarian views. An economist unparalleled.

That Charlie is a scholar whose post-colonial studies over the final six years of his education, depth of compassion, utmost sense of fairness, poise and passion ... or that he is fluent in Mandarin. Merely footnotes. I am guessing.

In ways he feels as if this firm, this storied colonial firm whose two Scottish founders colonized Hong Kong for Great Britain leveraging China trade to the Western world by their foothold at the gateway to Asia was tailored for him. A perfect fit. Whether five years, several decades or until retirement.

That opium was a primary export is immaterial. That the Opium Wars raged virulent in the early 1800s spiced up the landscape and adds to Jardine's backstory.

That trade with America was opening up in a very big way from ports in Canton (now Guangzhou) and Peking (now Beijing) propelled their business across multiple industries spanning the maps of the New World.

That the sea faring tall ships embarking across the globes waters from Boston and Nantucket were built in Maine and that the remnants of these shipbuilding landings still dot the shores of the Kennebunk River bring this home most poignantly over two centuries later.

The circle gets smaller. Aided by technology. But mostly by brave intrepid souls like my precious son. The new explorers. Pioneering in a new world order shedding the temptations of easy street in the familiar turf of New York or London to cast his net far and wide.

Sweet dreams, my Charlie. I am so proud of your spirit and ability to imagine the possibilities!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Missed Calls

Is that my mobile phone vibrating in the back pocket of my jeans signalling a call?

Or my untoned ass jiggling as I stroll through town on my daily walk, Bailey tugging not so gently on her leash?

Yep. Missed call. Good lord. Another one.

With the colder weather ... the need for gloves to warm my fingers against the frosty morning air ... and the zippered fleece substituting for a warm weather lining under my quilted Barbour barn jacket ... I miss calls. Many of them. And that is too bad.

I only receive calls from a few of my dearest friends, my sisters and of course, the lovely Bobbie (my gorgeous mother who checks in daily if I don't first).

Talking on the phone accelerates my outings. Time zips by. Before I can say "holy shit, is that my phone buzzing or an errant nerve ending?" I am back at my front door.

The only problem presented is how to gracefully bend over to scoop up the remnants of Bailey's breakfast, balance my ever present water bottle while keeping the phone delicately in place between my shoulder and ear so as not to interrupt the conversation.

Dropping it on the cement sidewalk. Now that would be a disaster of the first order. Missing that infamous call from Dialing for Dollars. Unfortunate.

This is my lifeline. My rolodex. No one knows (nor do I want them to) the number of my landline.

I am too mobile. Me and the phone. We are well suited. We fit.

Maybe I should set the phone to Vibe and Ring. Place it in the pocket of my coat. Or leave it at home.

Hmmm. Decisions.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

Finally after nearly six and a half years I am calling this home. Finally.

Not parenthetically for the time being.

One of my feet or t'other has been ready to bolt periodically since I moved here.

I have teetered on the threshold one step out the door.

That's not right. Not fair. To me. To my family. To my friends.

I live close to my darling, precious Mama. Have the dearest friends and most lovely neighbors. Am active in town and other civic affairs. Am vested in my quaint community village near the sandy Maine coast.

But most importantly ... my home, that I treasure and adore, is my nest.

So without further ado I am going to figure out what it takes to integrate my physical self and emotional being into this one place. To subdue the wanderlust rearing its perky head for the moment. To roll up my shirtsleeves anew and enmesh myself in the fabric of my hometown.

I know that I will continue to travel the world adventuring and connecting with the diverse cultures across the planet.

I know that I will find my life love who together will cherish and protect me and love me quirks and all. As I will him. Together we will share in the bounty of our families and the riches of unexplored experiences. Who will co-imagine the possibilities even if they are slightly askew. And who might balance our lives partly in my antique village home and then his abode ... wherever.

I know that the proximity to my darling Mama was paramount to my relocation to this corner of the world. And I am oh so appreciative to have the ability to frequently share an outing, a read on her porch overlooking the harbor, by the crackling fire watching a DVD and sharing giggles past midnight on one of our beds. She is my bestest bud. My confidant. My precious mother.

Just as I know that moving here would allow Charlie the opprotunity to board at school and begin the rest of his life was critical ... fueling his personal journey.

I am blessed.

And furthermore ... to hell with loneliness ... the one thing that doesn't reside here anymore!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ballet Shoes

My Mom took my pudgy hand in hers, our fingers laced, as she walked me down the wooden stairs of the stone church in St. Matthews to a large studio awhirl with cotton candy swirls. Mirrors framed the room's perimeter creating silvery-taupe reflections of the polished wooden floor.

An upright piano stood solitary along the back wall. A woman with grey-blue hair tied delicately in a bun tinkled the ivories while little girls in black leotards and pink tights giggled as they twirled and slid gleefully.

My steps were careful. One pink Capezio slipper in front of the other. My tummy filled with butterflies and magic. My first ballet lesson was about to begin. I was three.

Rooted deep within my being is an adoration of all shoes ballet. Not the toe shoes with pink ribbons encircling the turn of an ankle tied in a bow at the curve of a calf. From a prior life perhaps, when pirouetting en pointe was part of my daily regimen in the gaiety of 19th century Parisian courtier.

I simply adore the graceful turn of a skimmer flat. The way it sits on the foot framing its shape, toe cleavage peaking shyly at the curvature of the last.

Through the decades I have always worn some variety of the delicate flat in a multitude of colors. Textures. Embellishments. Accoutrements.

Black patent Capezio (but of course) skimmer flats with mother of pearl buttons accessorized my frilly, hand-smocked 1950s birthday party dresses fanning tutu-like over ruffled crinoline slips.

As a French student abroad in the mid to late 1960s, I purchased a half dozen assortment for 21 francs au Printemps in Paris. $4.20 a pair.

In college I paired the ballet flat with my black velvet bell bottom pants sliding effortlessly across whatever dance floor, or not, I found myself on.

Today, some fifty plus years later, my closet is filled with ballet flats. Mostly all are black: suede, patent, leather, velvet, silk, metallic, lizard. Some adorned with a small bow or a gold doo-dad. Most naked.

I wear them everywhere. Even my bedroom slippers are pink kid Capezio ballet dance shoes sans elastic strap. Replaced, mais bien sûr, when tattered.

Audrey Hepburn chic. Skinny capris and a cigarette holder held limp in an arched wrist. I so enjoy the balance they bring to my gait. A stroll. A glide. Charm. Grace.

I will never apologize for my love of ballet flats. Jamais.

All of life should be so harmonious. Cheers!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Laughing Faces

What is up with the universe? No I mean it. What gives?

As soon as ... and I mean as soon as ... I drove away from his apartment complex he had rejoined (or maybe he never resigned) one of those online dating services.

So you are asking: How do I know? And, what was I doing perusing the catalog of eligible sixty-somethings in a part of the northeast some 200 plus miles away?


First, I am not a paying member. Nope. Not for me. Five years ago, well that was another story. Yep, back then I went out with ... count 'em ... two and a half dozen unattached guys everywhere from here to Buenos Aires. And to be honest, only a handful were what I'd call datable. One is still a dear friend. But the others? I can honestly say that there are around 24 women scattered over the country that are waking up every morning with a huge smile on their faces and screaming: THANK GOD HE'S NOT SLEEPING IN MY BED ANYMORE!

So why the look-see?


My darling friend, and fellow BSer, recently parted ways with her online dating partner after two years. They had grown apart. And if I do say so myself, weren't really headed in the same direction anyway. But that is not for me to judge. Anyhoo, she checked the site absentmindedly and drumroll ... amidst the sadness and crocodile tears that were streaming down the man's cheeks was his picture as big as day: Active within 24 hours.

So I said to myself: Hmmmm. Weren't those emails from the dating site in his gmail inbox when I last visited? You know right under the letter from his daughter that he asked me to read? No. He wouldn't be searching while he was professing that I was the love of his life. That he couldn't believe his good fortune that we reconnected again after 17 years. That I was: Easy to love and that he'd never let me go.

So he must have done an about face. Or was searching all along. Just in cases. But no. In one of his final communications he emphasized that it might take another few months to appreciate me and we should just be friends. Appreciate me? He has had, off and on, 39 years to figure me out. But I digress.

He wrote that he is a simple man and wants to focus on two things: his thirty year old daughter and managing his shrinking retirement funds which were downsized by the shift in the markets a few years ago. Out with his love life.

But I looked anyway. And lo and behold his gorgeous eyes were staring back at me from among the lineup of eligibles in his neck of the woods. ACTIVE WITHIN 24 HOURS. Whoa ...

In a nutshell, I was saved by his tantrum in the car a few weeks ago. Big time. His head in his hands.

So who is smiling now? Me!

Not because I am happy with this turn of events. I am not. I truly thought this was our forever. But because it is early. Any later and I would be devastated.

To my tomorrows ...

Friday, October 1, 2010

In a Flash

I am cyber-challenged.

Not that I cannot wend my way through the world wide web. I can.

But I am all thumbs and no brain when it comes to getting a new device up and running. Like my new Sony Cyber-Shot camera. Or, the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge I am picking up from Best Buy tomorrow. Fear pervades my every pore. Swirls through the vacuous dimensions of space.

Fear that I will lose my entire Outlook Contact List. Or, my email trails for Charlie, Mom and all my bestest friends. What happens then? Gheesh. Or, my blog posts in Word format. And the tax return backups for the past umpteen years.


With Charlie 8,000 miles from home how can I be assured that all this will transfer? Seamlessly. Like before. The mishy-gosh that is currently connecting my Dell Latitude laptop to my wireless router. Will this all be lost, too?

Can I trust the geek who, in under 30 minutes, sets it all up. He is about 14 years old. And this is not his laptop. His photos. His files. His life on my C drive. I don't think so.

With trepidation I will back everything I can up to my stick drives. Yep, two of them. Fingers crossed that I can connect to Charlie via Skype. Connect to BU's online paralegal course which starts in a few short weeks.

This is why I rub the letters off the keys before I agree to upgrade. Next time I'll be Medicare eligible. Now that is worth the wait.

In the meantime, wish me luck!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dancing with Fits and Starts

Greetings from yet another fork in the road!

Okay. By now you are wondering. I am wondering. Where is this going? Where has it been? Why all this jumping around?

Well to be truthful this has been one hell of a wierd and wacky few months. One in. Then out. Another in. Charlie woking in NYC. Then home. Then over the pole. The other out.

Zig-zags. Ups-downs. Those crazy, hazy days of summer a big fucking blur.

So I am trying to get it all back in sync. To follow the journey. Dodge the bullets. Hop over the rocks coming Indiana Jones-style down the hill.

I'm all over the place trying to fill it all in. The open but not yet finished nor published posts. My hopscotch to the big 6-0.

Not so gracefully, but ahead none-the-less. One foot in front of the other ... a hop ... a pas de deux ... puis en solo encore. Déplacement par mon individu. You get the picture.

Thanks for indulging me this diversion. This foray into the what could have been and what is in reality. My loves. Unblemished recounts of the unconventional dance to which I am learning the steps.

Maks, Derek, Corky ... where are you now that I need to become in tune with the melody that is enriching my story?

I, too, want to dance with the stars. I'm dancing as fast as I can ... so don't drop me now!


[Image from]

Sliding into home plate. A race against the whizzing ball. Dirt flies. My calf gets hit. A yellow-purple bruise the size of a peach erupts on the underside of my leading leg. The right one. I hit the canvas bag. Hard. Tears sting my eyes. I look up at the blur of the cheering crowd. I am safe. Once again. Home.

Monday, September 27, 2010

55 ... and Floating

Happy birthday, sweet William.

Today would have been your 55th.

A celebration marked not by joyful toasts and the tinkling of ice cubes, but whispers to the universe.

You are close by always, tucked safely into that velvet pocket in my heart. We speak often. Of jazz, of entrepreneurial insights, of raising sons.

I miss you, darling brother. Cheers!

Friday, September 24, 2010

My 2 Gs

What would I do without my best girlfriends? My 2 Gs in a 4 G world?

One lives on the edge of the prairie, where the dust devils swirl when the wind blows wild and woolly across the plains. The other lives in the foothills of my beloved Rockies where wolves and elk roam her neighborhood and snow drifts ten feet high in January.

Gale and I were study group partners at b-school over thirty years ago in that academic mecca called Boston. We bonded and together with Judy racked up As to the utter dispair and frustration of the uber-competitive all male teams. Crazy smart. Our sensibilities, intellects and sense of selves aligned. We rocked their boats and emerged successfully into the world of biz.

Fifteen years ago, Gayla and I befriended each other in the carpool line at our sons' grade school. Third grade boys who were ... and are ... the apple of our eyes. She and I walked and talked and got to know each other through middle school years of dances and football games. Our similar upbringings as one of three sisters and the mothers of the most precious boys this side of the Mississippi forged our forever friendship.

We stay in touch ... my soul sistahs and me ... over the miles, through the years via phone, email and irregular visits. I love them both. Dearly. Each is from a most special part of my life. But neither knows the other. Sadly. They'd like each other.

Cheers to Gale and Gayla ... love ya, darlins, like sisters! LYLAS!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Today officially ends the summer of wackos.

Capped. Cemented shut. Gushing no more. The Deep Horizon well. And, me.

Yep. Since spring of this year. BPs loom large. Wreaking havoc with innocence. Casting a pall. Shrouding the light. Science, technology and chemistry run amuk.

BP (British Petroleum): The gulf oil spill gunking up the waters, the shores, sea life for decades to come. Polluting the environment and the economy in catastrophic proportions.

BP (bipolar): Men mucking up my sense of stability. My good natured self. Wreaking havoc with my soul. Their tortured demons spilling into the calm of my sea. My compassionate self swept into their respective storms. One right after the other. Boom. A one-two jab. Sucker punched. Jerked back and fro by my own gullible doing. Their episodes rocking the boat. Capsizing my confidence. My sense of self. My dreams. Another crack in the lens of my once-rosy view.

The well that spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico is finally dead. So is the craziness of the summer. The ups. The downs. The all-arounds. Revived dreams. A make-good. Bringing my best self. Real. Honest. Compassionate. Giving. Loving. Trusting.

So today marks the end. Officially.

A permanent cement plug sealed BP's well nearly 2.5 miles below the sea floor, five agonizing months after an explosion sank a drilling rig and led to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

A tourettes-like rant out of nowhere, unsolicited, uncalled for, undeserved, devalued my values, intellect and belief system plugged my romantic heart, three hope filled months after being reawakened after seventeen years. Get out of the fucking country. What?! OMG. Jolted into reality. Exactly why it all fell apart twice before. [A girl can hope, can't she? Or, be stupidly blinded. Guilty as charged.]

Dead. Both the deep water oil well and the recent resurfacing of my so-called life love.

I dodged a bullet. Again.

The light filters in. Oddly I still feel that there is something great just around the corner. I just know it. Bring it on. This time leave the BPs out of the equation.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Back to the Future

To say that I am crushed is an understatement. I am overwhelmed that this man, my first real love, could disappoint me for the third time. It is over. Fini. Final.

Once again his inner turmoil, his pent up not-too-far-below-the-surface anger bubbled up. One insult after another. Rage. Battering my intelligence. My values. My belief system.

We are not meant to be. I’ll leave it at that. But this rejection. This pushing away. It manifested in less than a week. A shock to my senses.

Not that he hasn't behaved exactly the same. He has. In exactly the same manner.

But the words he professed. How easy it is to love me. His earnest desire to provide a safe haven. Emotionally. To never hurt me again.

The changes he swore he internalized over the decades. The declarations of love. Of honoring my spirit and protecting my soul. Of caring deeply, profoundly for the woman I became from the girl he knew. He betrayed that confidence. Not only with me. But my darling mother. And, my precious son. He vowed to the three of us that he was back in our lives forever and a day. To honor and cherish our deep bonds that span four decades.

Now he wants me to be just friends. To satiate his codependency. But that I cannot do. I am extraordinarily independent. And, more importantly, I do not trust him. Not as a friend. Nor an equal. I would have to carefully measure each of my words so as not to throw him into a tailspin. So that I am not shut down. Pushed aside. Ignored. It is not meant to be. In any capacity.

I am the fool. I believed. Deeply and utterly. And ... I must let it go. Learn from the experience the richness of what I offer. My boundless generosity. My patience. My serene nature. My exquisite love.

Solo I journey onward with grace. Stronger. Wiser. More loving than before.

To my resilience and inner strength ... cheers!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Grand Central Station

The first time I arrived alone on a train at Grand Central Terminal I was eighteen. Not that that was my first visit to the city. I was a frequent guest for most of my life.

It is familiar. In that part of my genetic makeup way. Not sure why. But it is.

My memories of that bejeweled grand dame -- the storied train depot -- began, however, in my formative years.

Under six, I believe. Not sure how old.

Visiting my aunt, uncle and cousins in leafy Summit, New Jersey. A trip into "the city" to see the first of many Broadway musicals. Peter Pan. Starring Mary Martin. A very special treat. Dressed to the nines in a smocked cotton dress, Capezio Mary Janes and white cotton gloves we boarded the train to the Emerald City ... ah, New York.

Little did I know that (1) the filming of this classic play would be a television holiday broadcast every year of my childhood, or (2) that I would be disembarking on a platform leading to this majestical station hundreds of times.

I just remember that it was magical. In that sparkly Oz kind of way. Mesmerizing. Alluring.

Her cavernous domed ceilings etched with gilded arches and pediments. So very different from our train station on Broadway in Louisville where the L&N whisked me to Lexington stays with Ma and Baba, my maternal grandparents who would later be known as plain ol' Grandmother and Grandfather.

The city sparkled glittery. Pulsating with an electric current that coursed through my veins the moment the train submerged into the darkened underground rails of the city. I arrived flushed at dinnertime. In awe.

Thousands of businessmen ... uniformly attired in tailored flannel suits, their felt hats placed just so on their carefully groomed heads ... streamed by grey-brown neon. Their leather briefcases deftly swerving to avoid unnecessary impact. Beautifully choreographed.

Women in silk dresses, delicate high-heeled pumps and nylon stockings raced this way and that. Some with fox collars; others on their way from the glass and steel office buildings lining the streets of Manhattan carrying brown bags and bulky purses.

Evisceral. Stimulating. I knew then I wanted to be part of this world.

And over the years, I was.

College nearby brought me into The City all the time. Dressed in style to fit the day: bell bottom Landlubber jeans when weekend hippies. Sophisticated little black mini dresses and pearls when partying at The Dakotas or Pen and Pencil. Lovely wool dresses trimmed to match Papagallo shoes, our coats when meeting a friend's parents for tea. We could play the part. Any part. And did.

My early penchant for government and the American legislative process introduced me to political campaigns. Handing out leaflets for cousin Dick Ottinger's senate race. Telephone polling for support of Lindsey's mayoral re-election. Accompanying Andrew Stein in his inaugural bif for the City Council to the decaying streets of Bed-Sty to meet and greet the edgy constituents.

Earth Day. Autumn peace rallies at the NYC Library serenaded by Joan Baez and Peter, Paul and Mary with speeches from Bella Abzug and Ralph Nader.

So many times I whirled through the now familiar portal, flowed up the escalators through the Pan Am building exiting through the arched hallways onto Park Avenue aglitter with holiday twinkle lights or fields of yellow tulips. Often just heading out the lower doors to hail a cab or catch the subway at 42nd street to the Village.

Theatre of the street, the absurd or legit. At the Fillmore East seeing rock's legends before they were known, on the stage, Hair (eight times) in one season backstage, in the house seats of the compliments of the producer's niece, my dear Jorie, Cafe La Mama, concerts on Central Park's Great Lawn, the Village Vanguard and Blue Note, hip Bleeker Street, seedy Times Square. 25 cents and breakfast. Ah, the memories.

Shopping sprees at my four Bs ... porting enough shiny black boxes and elegant striped bags to make Holly Golightly's spree pale in comparison.

The time my friends, Chris, Sue, Jill and I missed the last train back to Westchester and slept on the floor as close to the Information Booth as humanly possible. The Commodore and Biltmore Hotels atop Grand Central unwilling to allow us a room for the night. Thinking we were god knows what. Four preppy girls in Gucci shoes and Pucci panties. But how would they know that?

Once, when traveling back to college alone after having met my parents for drinks When I fainted and nearly collapsed amid a sea of swirling people rushing past. The time we didn't have enough cash to purchase our ticket and borrowed from a man who looked like Dad (and whom I later repaid in full).

I came of age here. Me and Holden Caufield. Grand Central the portal to newly shaped values, passions and delights.

So it saddens me to be seated on the circular bench this gorgeous September afternoon in the recently spruced up waiting area outside the track that will once again transport me to Westchester with an uneasy feeling in my gut from an unknown source.

Things just don't feel the way they should.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Shut It Down

Well it happened.

I was shut down. Again. In less than a week.

He really has no interest in what makes me, me.

Just that I jive with his rigid logic and fearful ways.

An adult, an attorney, I expected more. At least the courtesy of being heard. Then the debate, if necessary. A spirited discussion. Listening to the other. Not being swayed, just presenting the case. Debate in the true sense of the word. No animosity. Intelligent parlaying of ideas.

But that is not the way it is to be. If he doesn't want to hear it, doesn't believe in it, has no idea where I am coming from then ... poof ... don't say another word 'cause I am not listening.

Rude. Immature. Uncaring.

And this is someone who loves me? Swears up and down that I am the love of his life. Sa raison d'être. No way, José.

So I close my eyes. Roll to the far edge of the bed heart pounding loudly within my chest try to fall asleep. Not to brood. Dissipate his anger. His not-so-hidden rage.

Without an explanation, a decent one, this is the final blow. Perhaps the morning sun will shed some light on his tone. Maybe not. But I will quietly and calmly speak my peace ... then move.

Yikes. Shutting me out redux. No more. I want to be heard. Not agreed with. Just listened to.

Is this asking too much?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

La Mama, A Wedding Cake House and A Fellow Lexingtonian

My beautiful mother gracefully slowly swung her long still-coltish legs to step out of the car. I was there to balance her step into the gravel shoulder on Summer Street.

Her deep brown liquid eyes scanned the historic homes and manicured landscape taking in every minute detail. Her face glows. Her smile, her signature smile, spread across her face beaming.

It is a gorgeous September day. One of those clear bright ones where the sky is so blue that the vibrancy of each autumn leaf pops with definite edges. The palette is breathtaking. Vivid reds, rusty orange, lemony yellow.

Quintessential New England brilliantly color-coordinated by Mother Nature herself. The other decorator extraordinaire.

Mom has impeccable taste.

Always has.

Whether it is the warmth of a gracious life reflected in her interior design.

Her bountiful gardens laden with budding bougainvillea vines leafing over trellised porticoes. Or the clematis and wisteria snaking up and over twin pergolas framing her screened veranda overlooking the harbor.

Or, the elegant style of her clothes ... whether jeans or dressy slacks or evening attire. Accessorized perfectly from her over-abundant collections. Scarves tossed casually, perfectly accenting her outfit. Whether Maine

Mom's got it in a way I can only hope to imitate.

Her soft Kentucky drawl breaks my rambling thoughts. She wants to bottle today. Protect and save its ephemeral beauty with her treasures. Those collected over a lifetime. Her eighty-plus years.

A warmth envelopes my being. She is elegant, my Mom. Simply stunning. These days, too, are fleeting. We turn to each other and nod knowingly.

On to our business. Touring the rarely opened Wedding Cake House. Hosted by its eccentric octogenarian owner, Jimmy Barker. A fellow Lexingtonian. A Southern gentleman art dealer of the first order. A character in his own right with homes here on the coast of Maine, in the rolling bluegrass of Kentucky and in swanky Palm Beach.

We purchase the tickets which will benefit local food pantries and stroll the immaculate grounds. Birds sing. A few leaves swirl and fall to the ground. The gentle breeze flutters flower petals in the English urns on either side of the front door. We take a seat on a lovely painted Chinese Chippendale outdoors bench. And wait for the small group to assemble.

Inside the Wedding Cake House we are treated to its fabled historied past. The furnishings are period some. Others fine pieces giving the home an eclectic spirit. Old and new. Like us. Our style. I escort her from one room to the next. Up the narrow winding 18th century staircase built by out of work ship carpenters. Like in my home.

Jimmy Barker himself is there. Cooking for his dinner guests. The lovely walnut trestle table set in a riot of colors. He spins around looking spry for his eighty-something years. He and Mom connect. Stories from earlier times in their old Kentucky home roll excitedly off their tongues. Memories of people long forgotten stream back.

I stand aside and take it all in. Happily. Mom is enraptured. There accents so thick a knife might not cut through. It has been a fun afternoon reminiscing. Visiting old friends in an out-of-context surroundings.

Cheers, darling Mama, with all my love and deep devotion ... and then some! May you live forever.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mercury in Retrograde

It seems like it always happens.

The bubble bursts.

This time it took less than two months.

Unconditional love. Yeah sure.

Love of his life. Blah blah blah.

It took one reference. One. To a belief system he had no interest in. No knowledge of. No desire to understand. To shut me down.

This is the first time in this iteration.

There will be others.

A casual reference to that zany, unpredictable, sign-no-contracts phase of the stars. No alignment. Things out of whack. Askew.

One paltry mention. In passing.

If this were the 1600s and we were in Salem no doubt he'd have me burned at the stake ... or dunked in the pond. No ifs, ands or buts. But this is 2010. And hey, he's (by his own admission) a changed man. The father of a daughter. So he knows now how to be sensitive. Compassionate to his woman folk.

But no. He is curious as to what this is all about. My rigid, tied-up-in-knots friend. Wants total acceptance. But seems unwilling to turn the tables. Allow others freedom to think and be.

This is just the beginning. Or, with luck an anomaly. Fingers crossed that it is not history repeating itself.

If so, I am the dupe.

Mercury retrograde comes three times annually. It provides us the unique opportunity to adjust our thoughts, attitudes and decisions about issues and bend in a new direction as we move through 2010.

But this is numero tre. Our third foray. The last time. The charm. Right?

Mercury, the divine messenger, must really be in retrograde.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Legal Eagle or No More (R)egret

I know. I know. We are not supposed to have regrets.

But I do. Two of 'em.

Harbored over the years since my twenties. Both related.

I can do nothing about one of them. Nada. But my son did it for me. So I can live vicariously.

The other? That is another story.

I am about to turn that one on its head. Kablooey. Out of here. Erase that one for all of eternity.

Well kind of.

I have been contemplating the second regret every few years for most of my adult life. Whether employed as a banker, a venture capitalist or entrepreneur ... or not.

Deal doing and contracts are my forte. From the deal side. The business side. I have often imagined how proficient I might have become at negotiating had I accomplished this one thing that I had set out to do in the mid 1970s.

But with rampant inflation (remember President Fords WIN?), high unemployment (double digits ... sound familiar) ... high energy costs strangling the market (compliments of the 1974-OPEC oil embargo) taking the entire Northeast and much of the country into one of the deepest recessions since the Stock Market Crash in '20. Depression economics redux.

I changed direction in media res. Right as I was ready to matriculate with hordes of other recent college graduate Baby Boomers in Bean Town.

Charted a new direction for my undefined career path. Just like that. Blammo!

What, you are wondering (if you are still with me here), is this Steel Magnolia referring to?

I promise you it is not earth shattering. Not in the least. But it did alter the direction of my theretofore strategic dreams. The natural follow-up to a career as a legislator of the highest order leveraging my American Government/Economics degree.

But I couldn't get my arms around it. Nor my head.

The country had been brought to its knees by an unpopular war (sound familiar) birthing the horrid, polarizing derision of public opinion that has entrapped our media, our voices and our citizens today.

There was a glut of students grabbing at anything post graduate to make a living. Young associates were taking showers (I imagine they still do) at work in the glass and steel skyscrapers dotting the horizon on our country's major metropolises.
The practice was so far off that my imagination and creativity and ability to see the forest for the trees might be radically impaired beyond recognition. And that, dear reader, was the deal point. Would have been my Waterloo, so to speak

So I switched gears. At the last moment. Whew!

Okay. Okay. What is this regret that has haunted me for the past thirty-five years?

I cancelled my matriculation at law school. Right before the final drop dead date. At the time, double programs granting professional degrees in both the law and business (the JD/MBA combo ... killer I might add, if you pleased) were not readily offered.

Yes. I have regretted that decision ever since.

In six weeks I matriculate at the same Boston institution of higher learning where I withdrew my place in 1976. Online. A paralegal course leading to certification. Add another arrow to my quiver. And just possibly, a jump-start and new direction to my capabilities and ability to attract new business.

Cheers to my agility and the timeliness of this 'do over' ... and imagining the possibilities.

Monday, September 6, 2010

House H(a)unting

It's a hoot and a tickle just to surf over to to peruse the offerings. To gaze at available properties. To get a feel of the market. Test the waters. See what's out there. A real estate voyeur.

It doesn't matter where the homes are located. Not really. But it is the way I familiarize myself with a new area. Just for kicks and giggles. Always have. Always will.

New York City. Connecticut. Oklahoma City. Tulsa. Boston and environs. Palm Beach. You get the picture. I don't even have to have taken up domicile. Just have a few spare hours and a tank full of gas ... or an idle computer. I have even checked the real estate market in the Seattle-Tacoma and Boulder areas.

This is a pastime. Idle folly. No harm. No dollars down. Pure entertainment. And creative if I do say so myself.

Never contact the agent. Nope. Just take down the addresses and swing by if I am in the vicinity. Check out the neighborhoods. The landscaping. The house styles. The lay of the land. Nearby shopping. Cultural landmarks. Whatever.

Socialize. Criticize. Fantasize.

It's fun. An activity. Merely a way to become familiar with new turf. Mapquest on steroids. See up close and personal where one street leads and what is behind the stone walls and over the berm.

And ... aside from the money for gasoline and Coke Zero ... it's free.

So imagine my surprise when he felt I was directing him to sell his condo so he could shell out the high six figures to purchase one of these make-believe abodes. No matter how hard I tried to convince him I have no desire or inclination to sell my home in Maine, much less relocate on a whim it fell on deaf ears. Especially after he indicated this is fun ... keep 'em coming.

Go figure.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Skype and the Needle


Me on Skype is no pretty picture.

Deep wrinkles. Shadowed crevices. Furrowed brow.

And I am not even smiling. Nope. No laugh lines or crows feet etched. A straight face. Relaxed.

Scary. Very.

Even Charlie looked amazed. I could see his jet-lagged expression of repulsion when my video snapped into view. Unsure as to whether it was his initial reaction to his pint-sized bedroom overlooking Quarry Bay. Or, a knee jerk expression to the sight of his beloved Mama on camera.

No Meredith Viera here. Imagine an extra ten pounds and the wrinkles of a SharPei. No thank you very much. A big resounding no to my dream of becoming a television celeb. Not too sure how that was going to occur, but it is scratched off my bucket list in permanent Magic Marker.

So this is how I sit now. I have practiced. My facial expression. Position of my hands. The degree of closeup. The angles. The lighting.

Posing and finetuning my position.

Elbows firmly resting on my desk. Fingers not so gently pulling back the sagging skin taut around my eyes, my jowls. The heels of my hands holding up the double chin.

Better. Much.

Pause for thought.

Am I now ready to contemplate the needle? Inject botulism into my facial muscles? A syringe of Botox here? A shot of Juvaderm there?


A woman must have her secrets.

But this one is too broke and a bit intimidated of poison flowing so close to her brain cells ... the ones that survived the college acid trips and way too loud rock music at wigged out concerts, the anti-mosquito pesticides sprayed from the back of trucks rolling throughout our Highlands neighborhood every summer and the effects of nearly six decades of grey matter on overdrive.

But hey ... it is a most definite strategic option for serious consideration. When my ship comes in!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Over the Pole

So much for the magic of technology. Last night was one of horrors.

I walked away from my desk, from watching the arc of the flight route across the Hudson Bay toward the North Pole, my sweet precious love of my life, my Charlie being transported to his new life across the world, when it happened. Three and a half hours after departure from New York's Kennedy airport.

The smooth white and green dotted line careened to a halt. A solid white line veering in a 45 degree angle due south-west. To a point in the Cascade Mountains near Spokane. And stopped. Zero MPH. Zero foot altitude.

Refresh page. Nothing changed. Again. Nada. Same white line. Same ending point. Same stats.

My heart jolted to a screeching halt. A buzzing filled my head. My ears rang dull.

Frantic calls to Cathay Pacific went unanswered. After hours in the U.S. A deep thud in my gut. My boy. My precious heart.

As the sound came back into my racing mind I methodically Googled the FAA equivalent in Hong Kong. The airport there. They would know. Simultaneously I opened the website for CNN and the Seattle Times for news that would at once rock my world and silence my being. Nothing. Not yet. Too soon perhaps.

Phone calls across the globe yielded nothing. No information. No one in a position to know anything. "That is not on our screens. Call so-and-so at such-and-such. Have a nice day."

A software error? Computer malfunction? Out of range? Or, worse?

Panic oozed sour in my mouth. Paralysis gripped my muscles. My head buzzed with a palpable fear. One apprehensive minute after another dripped by slowly. Achingly. For eleven hours in the black of the night.

Ringggggggggggggggg. Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. A pre-requested text message arrives on my Motorola RazR. Flight 481 has arrived on time in Hong Kong.

The correct trajectory. The planned flight path followed. An errant glitch in a faraway computer wreaking havoc with me, my sister and brother-in-law. Caused perhaps by a stealth surveillance of another transoceanic flight to Europe with alleged terrorists aboard.

Modern technology be damned. No more following flights moment-by-moment. Never again. Ever.

Monday, August 30, 2010

China Trade Route Hopping (and Hoping)

Hello, my love … and welcome to your new home in the Far East!

In reality you are a mere 16% of the way there. I am tracking the flight on a map (had to get it from another website) and you are 1,100 miles from NYC with 7,000 to go to touch down.

Bailey is looking over my shoulder and is pleased you are above her native Labrador. She asked me to inquire whether you can see black labs frolicking on the snow covered terrain, since she knows as a fact that all Labs love freezing weather, but I reminded her that you are in the middle section and most likely the shades are drawn so you and your fellow passengers can view movies and play backgammon with themselves en route.

It is suppertime here and I have thrown together a big salad Niçoise (sans potatoes and haricot verts but you get the picture). Bailey is staring at her bowl in the corner of the crate and trying to psychically alter the state of the kibble in hopes that it will magically convert to hamburger bits before her eyes. Bored, she steps back out onto the Kilim pillow and sighs. She has ventured up to your room in vain. Didn’t even take a rest on the calico patch floor cushion she knows is hers. We are both trying to adapt to your absence in our own ways.

I, on the other hand, have been busy Googling hotels and flights to Hong Kong, train schedules to Guangzhou (around US$60 RT for the 90 minute ride on the iron rooster with commuting Chinese proletariat no more), and my desired destination of Hanoi near the lake and as close to the Opera and all things French Vietnamese as possible. My armchair sojourn has been quite exhilarating. I feel that I am getting the lay of the land (your new land) from the comfort (for the time being) of the French rattan bistro chair in front of my aging Dell Latitude.

This is so much more efficient than waiting several months for sea-sodden letters describing the gateway to the East. Marco Polo has little on you, my intrepid son. We (that's the collective 'we') miss you. But, my darling (and this I mean with all my heart) you are off on the adventure of your lifetime. A modern-day post-colonialist with the very best of intentions, compassion, passion and an unimaginable zest for the new and unknown.

Welcome to your new home. May you flourish despite the tropical clime and sow seeds that will reap a bounty over your lifetime. I love you, Charlie.

Devotedly (and admittedly pea green with envy), your Mama sitting on the edge of the sea in an olden New England seafaring town yearning to join your adventure (if even from afar).

Cheers, my love, safe travels and Godspeed xoxo

Guest Blogger: Flyin' Over the Pole

My email this afternoon updating family re the flight path of Charlie's flight to Hong Kong from the northeast United States declares unabashedly: "The plane is now entering Canada near the VT/NH border as it wends its way over the North Pole. He’s off!”

With respect and giggles from the Doodle Brothers Momma (AKA Charlie's musically talented auntie and fellow Harvard alum) comes this modern today rendition of a 1960s tune by Arlo. Apologies Mr. Guthrie ... but this land is your land, this land is my land ... and so is this song!

Coming in from BOSTON
From over the pole
Flying in a big airliner
Wi-Fi playing everywhere around the plane
Could we ever feel much finer?


Coming into Asia’s Jardines
Bringing in a can of sardines
Don't touch my chips or my beans
Mister Customs Man

There's a guy with a ticket to Hong Kong Bay
No, he couldn't look much stranger
Biking through the hall with his red rickshaw
Smiling, said he was a Mao Ranger


What a trip. I’m right there with him, along with “Major John to flight control . . . “I want it!!!!! I want it!!!!! I want it!!!!! I want it!!!!!”

Cheers ... and not even a little whiff of the poppies, Dorothy!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Animal Totem Redux: For Charlie on the Eve of His Journey

Cross-legged I sit on my downy white comforter, nightgown drawn above my knees in a comfortable Indian-style position. It is Charlie’s last night home. The final page of this chapter. The one of childhood fancies, teenage antics and campfire stories in the shimmering moon glow in the Colorado Rockies, boarding school studies, and college garden parties amid friends dressed to the nines. He is embarking on his life path. A journey that will take him 8000 miles from his roots to chart his future. Distancing him from his youth, but not his heart.

I place the fanned cards in front of him on the bed. A casino croupier asking him to cut the deck. Choose four. One at a time. East. South. West. North. Plus one for the middle. The sacred mountain card. We carefully place each face down, yellow lightening bolt jagged across the cobalt back. The zig-zags of life sparkling against the snowy ground, concealing his aura. A circle. Four coordinates of the compass not unlike the scratched lens of his well-worn spyglass resting on the chest of drawers in his emptying room. South toward the sea, north to Canada.

As it happened, and nothing is a coincidence, the cards Charlie selected are propitious, indeed. The more that I do these readings (with the assistance of interpretations and seasoned insights gleaned from those whose roots lie in Native American wisdom), the more connected I feel with the other beings cohabitating our planet.

So without further ado … tom-tom beating to the cadence of the earth’s rhythms, dream webs capturing the essence of our goodness filtering our negative energies to be channeled for better use … here’s what the great sky gods revealed for my Charlie.

The Medicine Wheel Spread divines those life forces and spiritual strengths shaping his spirit from four randomly selected cards. Each is placed according to the location on a compass. The fifth and final card is placed in the middle representing the present.

EAST card reveals spiritual strength. An auspicious revelation of the the major challenge blocking your path. To circumnavigate it gracefully will allow you to seek, and obtain, clarity in your present position.

East = Buffalo

This is the most sacred. The appearance of a white buffalo is a sign that prayers are heard. It shows a time of abundance and plenty, of prophecy been fulfilled. Buffalo signifies gratitude and praise, give praise for the richness of life.

SOUTH card describes how animal medicine is teaching the child within your adult self. It is what you need to trust in yourself and what you need to nurture in your growing self.

South = Turkey

Giving away is the deep abiding recognition of sacrifices of both self and others. You act and react on behalf of others. The acknowledgement that what you do for others, you do for yourself. You are being given a gift. The gift may be large or small but never insignificant. A windfall. A beautiful sunset. Or just the spirit of giving.

WEST card gives internal solutions to your present life challenge it indicates where your goals need challenge.

West = Bat

Bat is the symbol of rebirth showing death to the old way of life, breaking down all the former notions of self. It signifies ritualistic death that prepares you for rebirth. The universe is asking you in every way to grow and become your future. Acknowledge your destiny. Leverage your talents, your abilities fully. Use the agility of your mind, your steadfast courage and tensile strength to encourage and assure an easier labor.

NORTH card teaches you how you may spiritually apply and interrogate the lessons of the other directions. The animal medicine of this card is the key to walking in wisdom knowing the teacher within and connecting to the higher self.

North = Armadillo

Your boundaries of safety are part of the total being. It is a gift to set boundaries so that so that harmful words and intentions just roll off. Your lesson is in setting your own boundaries. Set up your boundaries that allow only experiences that you want to be a part of. This boundary becomes a shield and ward off things which are undesirable to you.

The SACRED MOUNTAIN card represents the present melding physical with spiritual realities in the here and now.

Sacred Mountain = Moose

The moose enjoys a job well done; and, sharing his joy. He has the innate ability to know just when to use the gentleness of a deer and when to activate the stampede of the herd. He possesses the balance of leadership with the willingness to do things himself. A leader with compassion and a strong sense of fairness. Caveat: Be mindful that ego, when unchecked, can ruin one's self of accomplishment. By growing calm for awhile, the strength and wisdom of silence fills the heart Quieting the arrogance. Stilling the buzz.

So my son, my darling Charlie, is a compassionate leader with the sensitivity, balance and sense of fairness to give to those in need. And by doing so, reaps a greater bounty. He gives of himself easily but sets reasonable boundaries for self-preservation. The world is his oyster. We already know that. And he is not only comfortable in his own skin, but intuits the needs of his fellow man. My gentle giant, a great and passionate spirit, resides in a boundaryless world. The future is his to mold. But he must take care to do so responsibly.

To the great white buffalo that resides within his soul and empowers his spirit ... cheers!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Aberdeen Haircut

What is it with Charlie and his haircuts? Especially when they are short. Buzz cuts, almost.

November 2003. Aberdeen, Scotland. College tour. Walking through the shadows of granite buildings, blustery winds blow off the North Sea. This is the Houston of the UK. Oil rigs float offshore, dotting the horizon.

Charlie's hair flops in the breeze. Beatle-style. He needs a haircut. *Poof* We pass a barber. A stylist actually. £3.5 $6 roughly. Such a deal.

We walk in. The bell on the door tinkles. The barber waves us in. I sit in an armchair by the picture window and pull postcards and a pen out of my overstuffed LV bag. Settling in comfy I compose one missive after another to friends at home. Charlie takes his seat on the leather chair facing the mirror. I drift off waiting. It took some time. Longer than usual. But it had been awhile since I sat waiting for him to get a haircut.

When he came over to me thirty minutes later I looked up with a giggle. Charlie definitely got his money's worth. Perched on the top of his gorgeous head was one of those classic Scottish schoolboy clips. Short everywhere except the bangs. He was furious with me. Me?!

Me because I wasn't paying attention to his haircut. Even though with his back to me across the room I had no view of the mirror he was peering into. Oh Charlie. He stressed about it all the way through dinner that evening. He still reminds me of it seven years later.

August 2010. Salon 96. Maine Summer is drawing to a close. Earlier in the day we played backgammon on Parson's Beach, ate turkey wraps while drinking lemonade and walked along the shore. Sailboats floated in the stiff wind. In a few short days Charlie will board the jet that will whisk him across the globe to his new life, his new job.

His hair flops in the breeze. We head to Cheryl who keeps my tresses tame and shiny. Up the stairs into her studio. Charlie perched on the chair in front of the mirror. I settle into the black leather chair by the window immersing myself in People.

Cheryl and Charlie are deep in conversation as she clips his locks. I drift off into the world of ersatz wannabe celebs. When he touches my arm a scowl is clearly on his face. he is not pleased. His hair looks great. But in his opinion, it is waaaaaaaaaay to short. And he will be embarrassed when he matriculates at his new job in Hong Kong the following week. Again, I should have been watching so I could have curbed her scissors. Another Aberdeen do. And, la Mama's to blame.

But that's okay. The next day he loves his haircut. And I love that I have had a few opportunities to be with him regardless of the activity. it seems like yesterday that I carried him into my salon for his very first haircut. A big boy cut. Where does the time go?

To my cherished memories of those magical moments with my precious son. I will miss our frequent visits ... but anticipate with great pleasure what is to come.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Five Cubic Metres, Five Cubic Centimetres

How will he ever pack his belongs in five cubic metres? The American equivalent of 6.5 cubic yards. Impossible.

The past six years we have overstuffed the rear of whatever Volvo station wagon I am driving. Squeezing pillows and posters and bedding with squash gear and lamps and rugs. Ooooh. I almost forgot. Clothes for every possible event. Several choices, in fact. Into half that space.

This he gets from me.

And my Grandma Alice. She of the grand steamer trunks replete with silk lined drawers and monogrammed leather trim.

You might need this for that event. And of course what about this for the other event? What if so-and-so invites you to meet the Queen? Be on the safe side. Take both. It might rain. Snow. Not. Be flexible. It's yours. it should be with you to remind you of home. Your sense of humor. Camp adventures. Middle school buddies.

The more the suitcases. the more the merrier. Except for our ten day university tour by train through Great Britain and Scotland in early winter. Might need boots? Check. Extra scarves? Right-o. Dressy clothes? It's close to the holidays. Your school books? Midterms are the week after our return.

Four heavy very heavy roller bags later we embarked. Heavy as lead suitcases that we had to hoist from train platform through quickly closing doors and hop in behind. Four different hotels in less than two weeks. And horrors ... we never wore the boots. Nor our festive outfits. In fact, I wore the same pair of black pants nearly every day. Could have done the entire trip with a carryon. But shhhhhhhhhh.

We are crazy. Bonafide, over-packers. You are more than welcome to acknowledge the fact. We are nuts Did we learn from our sore backs and aching shoulders. HELL NO! Our motto - Be prepared for anything!

Schleppers extraordinaire.

Barely able to see over the piles smoonched into the back of the car and filling every gap under our feet, I have pulled out of our driveway or the circle in front of one of his Andover dorms or Grays East in Harvard Yard ... where yes, you can park in Harvard Yard and his single in a five-man suite was formerly inhabited by the then brilliant super geek and now infamous, jailed for life Unabomber) or Lowell House with the lovely bell tower silhouetting the Cambridge sky, a stone's throw from The Fly (finals club of FDR ... and my darling son).

The conundrum? Our latest dilemma?

Transporting piles of need-to-have accouterments, wardrobe and vast library of books across the seas to his new home in the Far East.

Can it be done?

Should it be done?

Will it even fit in his company-provided apartment two blocks from the office?

Our vote ... drum roll please ... is to take three suitcases packed with clothes and a very few mementos of home. Period.

Cheers to enlightened world travelers who may just finally get it.

[Postscript: Charlie's shared apartment is minuscule. His bedroom the size of a sleeper car in economy. A bunk bed loft over the closet with steps doubling as dresser drawers ... and a desk with chair. His entire personal space less than five cubic meters! Lesson learned, I think ;-)]

Fish Tacos, Cold Browns, Chipotle Meatloaf Sandwiches and Curried Chicken Salad ... oh my!

My Charlie loves his food. Our food. The tastes of his childhood. Our family. In fact, he has never met a meal he hasn't liked. It is a pleasure to cook for him.

So it comes as no surprise that in this, the week before his departure to a new life in Hong Kong, that he requests some of his favorite meals. Just for sweet, delicious memories.

Kentucky Cold Browns, fish tacos and maple chipotle meatloaf sandwiches top the list. Recipes follow:


  • On 2 slices of rye toast spread 2 T of thousand island dressing.
  • Top with chilled turkey slices,
  • Sliced tomatoes,
  • A sliced hard boiled egg,
  • 3 strips of crisp bacon, and
  • Several pieces of Kentucky Bibb lettuce.
  • Dress with more thousand island dressing

Serve with potato chips and sweet pickle spears.


  • Bake 1 pound haddock or other firm white fish in taco seasoned marinade until flaky.
  • Assemble tacos from the following: soft flour tacos seasoned with habanero peppers, baked sweet potato chunks, shredded red cabbage, sliced avocados, chopped tomatoes, chopped scallions.

Serve with Cuban black beans and cilantro rice. Add dollop of sour cream, salsa and corn relish, as desired.


  • Mix 2 pounds ground round 90% fat with chopped white onion, craisins, garlic powder, salt, pepper to taste.
  • Add 1/2 bottle Stonewall Kitchen Maple Chipotle Sauce and form into loaf.
  • Cover with remaining sauce and bake at 350 degrees for one hour.
  • Chill overnight (or for 4 hours) and slice.
  • Place on nine grain bread spread with Hellman's mayonnaise and maple chipotle sauce. Top with lettuce leaf and tomato.
Serve with sweet potato chips and cole slaw.


  • Poach three deboned, skinless chicken breasts.
  • Chill then cut into cubes.
  • Place in mixing bowl with 1 cup chopped celery, 1/2 cup sultanas or golden raisins, 1/2 cup sliced almonds.
  • Add chopped granny smith apple (optional).
  • Mix together: 1/2 cup sour cream with 1/2 cup Hellman's mayonnaise.
  • Add curry powder to taste and blend with chicken.

Serve as a salad on soft lettuce leaves. Or, on a whole wheat wrap.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Guest Post by Bailey: The Doodle Brothers

Earlier this week I was the guest of the faboo Doodle Brothers.

You know them. Mes cousines. Part Labrador (like me). Part poodle (oh la la). They don't shed. I do. Profusely. They don't smell. I do. Like a wet dog sometimes. Other times not so bad 'cause my Momma keeps me brushed and clean. Did I tell you I love my Momma? I do.

The salt and pepper of Labradoodles. The Oreo cookie my Momma likes to dunk at the island in Grandbobbie's kitchen.

My most favorite cousins ... except the other Bailey in Santa Cruz whom I know I'd adore if we ever met. But hey, my Momma has not sent me by aeroplane anywhere. And, for the record, I'd be so scared anyway. The car caravan from backwoods Georgia was enough to kill me. But that is another story.

Momma and Charlie took me for a RIDE. The best kind. It was all the way to the Boston suburbs. I knew something was up when she took off my pink buzz collar. She only does that when I go to Uncle Tom's Cabin, my kennel in Lyman, OR to see my favorite cousins, Fillmore and Truman. Having my boy, Charlie, there pushed the points up to nearly 100. Perfection!

You might think they are named for American presidents, but noooooooooo way. Fillmore is the rock palace in San Francisco where my Uncle Kenny's most favorite grateful dead played and played and played for days at a time in the 1960s. Truman is a Jim Carrey film. Not too sure about that one. Both names are hard to remember. But, hey, I don't need to. All I have to do is bow down and yip and it's play play play until this ol' lady tires out.

It was the bestest time. Running and drooling like it is 2004 when I was a pup. Auntie Robin had to put me and the baby, Tru, in the same crate so we'd settle down. This ol' lady still has some fire in her belly. Even though my titties hand to my knees from having too many litters too fast. That scoundrel Shadow was always making me do the nasty. But that was then.

This is now. I love the Doodle Brothers. They love me. Next time they are coming to visit in Maine. If my Momma invites them. I'll start working on her now. A girl has to dream her dreams.