Friday, July 31, 2009

Travel Tales

At this time in America one doesn’t have to be a frequent flier to know the rules. In fact, I would say one pretty much needs to live under a rock not to know that liquid toiletries must be no more than 3 ounces, and all such items must be packed in no more than one one-quart plastic bag that can be easily removed from carry on items for x-ray by TSA.

I, of course, was behind two such amateurs/rock dwellers on my way out of Hartford on Tuesday. And, since I was somehow in the family friendly aisle, those people happened to be behind two families traveling with infants, strollers, and car seats that needed to be inspected. But because I understand that going through security can be a hassle these days, I had given myself plenty of time, so I didn’t panic. I kept my cool, took deep breaths, and waited my turn. I got through security without incident, then found the cocktail lounge closest to my gate and had a drink.

My first flight left on time and arrived early in Chicago. I had lunch, a couple of glasses of wine, and ended up waiting at the gate for my delayed flight to Seattle. Once on the plane, I waited a bit longer, because—as the pilot informed us—they were waiting for a bag to be brought up from the cargo hold. Apparently there was a passenger who simply could not be separated from his or her bag. Why s/he had allowed her or himself to be separated from it in the first place is not something the pilot shared with us. But I kept reminding myself you’re on vacation, it’s okay. No hurry.

Despite the TSA hassle in Hartford, and the delay in Chicago, I had—as we would say on a report card—a cooperative, positive attitude on that second flight. On more than one occasion I asked the two people seated to my right (I had the aisle seat) if they wanted to get up and stretch. With about an hour and a half left to go, we all got up and went to the bathroom and I waited for the others to get back to our row so we could file in without stepping over each other. I even offered everyone gum on descent.

I got here safe and sound--with stories to tell about the amateurs in Hartford, and the first class passenger’s bag in Chicago. In the end that’s all that matters. The getting here, that is. Well maybe both.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


My first trip to the Pacific Northwest was in 1992 (91?) for Tamara's first wedding, which I will never mention again. We had lots of things to do and lots of fun, and I met some great people, but didn't do anything very touristy, really. Honestly, it could have been a trip to Cleveland as much as it was a trip to Portland, Oregon. (No offense, Tam.)

Since then I have lost count of the number of times I have been to the Pacific Northwest, to Portland and to Seattle (where Tamara now lives), sometimes both cities in one trip. In my life before teaching, I took several business trips to those cities, and always extended my visits if I could to spend time with Tamara, her son Matthew, and eventually her second (and much better) husband John and second son Jack. I have explored some things with her and her sons, like Mt. Rainier, and some things on my own, like Mt. Hood, the Columbia River Gorge, and the Oregon desert during what I call the Summer of Tevas, when at 35 I needed to prove to myself and anyone else who doubted that I could go on a vacation that wasn't all about drinking, eating, and shopping. And I did it. I even went white water rafting. By myself. (Well, on a tour.)(And, no, I didn't go overboard.)

I love the PNW, as they like to call it. I love Pike Place Market in Seattle, home of the original Starbucks and the original Sur La Table. I can't wait to walk through the spectacular fresh flowers and then create my own Verbena lotion at The Soap Box just around the corner. I love Portland and its Saturday Market with the scent of patchouli wafting through the stalls overflowing with pottery. And as much as I love the Brookline Booksmith, there is something completely unique and lovable about Powell's, the coolest bookstore ever really (and on steroids), where new and used books are shelved together. I couldn't be more thankful that Tamara is going to try to get me there this visit, although it means a 2.5 hour/140 mile drive to indulge my inner bookworm (and so that I can replace a couple of first printing hardcovers of Elinor Lipman books that I was kind enough to lend, but never got back!).

I haven't been in 6 years, which is way too long by any standard, especially for a woman who loves the PNW, loves to travel, and has a dear friend there. I leave today, and know I will have a very good time, a vacation like the one I had with Jill back in April in San Diego. Which is to say the day trips to fave places are icing on the cake. The real treat will be sitting, chatting face to face, not finagling phone calls between time zones, sipping coffee in the morning and wine or cocktails in the evening, laughing so hard that my cheeks will hurt.

TTFN. I'll post from there.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Nothing says sexy like a peeling scalp. And the sunburn that precedes it feels fantastic.

Add that to my list of 40-something woes: thinning hair with increased exposure at my part line.

PS Oh, and wish me luck that I don't get cankles on my flight to Seattle tomorrow.

Hair Salons

In my twenties I vowed never to patronize a hair salon whose name was a hair-related pun for no other reason that I find them hokey, corny, and unoriginal. Hair to Eternity. A Cut Above. [Insert image of me sticking a finger down my throat.] And, lucky me, I lived in a town near an airport, which provides fodder for a whole sub-genre of names, like--yes--Hairport. Runway Styles. Feel free to let your imagination go wild here.

Conveniently, at the time I disavowed said salons, I lived in Boston and had my hair done at Michael Salon in Coolidge Corner. There. Perfect, I thought. Call it a salon and people will know what your business is. Attach your name to it and we can tell you are serious about it. You are putting your reputation at stake. Who cuts your hair? Michael. Not some gum-snapping parody of herself that I would expect to find in the pun-named salons. Even though I know that’s not really fair. It’s just my thing. Or not my thing.

I don’t like fake sugar. I will drink diet colas but I do not like white diet sodas (lemon lime or ginger ales, for example) and I don’t like diet desserts. (Really, what’s the point? I’d rather have fruit than fat free, sugar free something or other. Gross.) Hearing someone say anywayS sends a chill up my spine, Jell-O makes me gag (I force myself if there’s vodka in it), I find tongue piercing vile, and I don’t like salons with pun names. And now I am a hypocrite.

The truth will set you free. I go to Headliners Salon and Day Spa, in Tolland. A few years ago, when I was the Yearbook Advisor, my staff chipped in for a gift certificate for me. This is a salon they were aware of, close to the town in which I teach and they live, closer still to the UConn Storrs campus where so many of our students go to college. It’s not particularly convenient for me, unless it’s an after school appointment, but it was a generous gift certificate, and I was between salons—moving haplessly and dissatisfied from one salon to the next, when I found myself happy with my haircut and foil and the stylist who had an appointment available. I have been patronizing the salon ever since.

Which is not to say I’m over the pet peeve necessarily. I just drive there on autopilot now and try to ignore the name. When I’m asked where I have my hair done I say softly, Headliners, and with more volume (no pun intended) SALON and DAY SPA.

So don’t think for a minute you’ll find me toasting to a Happy New YearS with a glass of White Zinfandel. Ever.

PS Thanks, Jill, who reminded me today, after reading my homage to her, of something about which I had not yet ranted...

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Jill asked me to follow "Relative Craziness" with a funny post. She said it would haunt her too... But obviously I've been at a loss for a humorous topic; I haven't written in two days, and I was on a bit of a roll. It's not that I don't want to oblige. Jill has been supportive of my writing for as long as I can remember. I figured it was the least I could do. So, why, after I left her feeling sad can I not think of anything to make fun of about myself, a pet peeve to rant about, a silly memory to share?...Now that I think of it, she asked me to write about my April vacation week with her in San Diego, and here I am about to fly off to Seattle in the middle of my summer vacation, and I haven't done that yet either.


I don't think it's any Jill-specific defiance. As I said, she checks my blog often, compliments often, and tells me to keep writing, much the way I supported her as a musician and vocalist. I would go to her gigs when she was still living in Connecticut (where was American Idol 20 years ago? Hello?!?! She definitely would have won!) and never tired of her beautiful voice and telling her she was just great, she nailed the Aretha tune, she brought tears to my eyes.

There may, however, be a touch of Psych 101 defiance that lingers in these occasionally achy bones, some rebelliousness that does what I'm told not to, and procrastinates when I should just get it done. I'm thinking the writing was on the wall when in sixth grade I coordinated a walk-out to demonstrate our dissatisfaction with what we saw as unfair discipline. (If we were noisy in the cafeteria during lunch, the lunch ladies would rat us out to the gym teacher, who worked us to the max--with cockroaches and other military calisthenics. When someone passed out and he couldn't do that anymore, he made us sit on the gym floor, completely silent and unmoving. Hence the walk out.)

Either that or maybe I have simply been enjoying myself by the pool, where I refuse to bring my laptop, catching up on reading novels, making friends with other pool regulars, relaxing and refueling, waiting for the next idea to take hold.

Eventually I'll think of something funny. Promise.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Relative Craziness

My family is far from perfect. We have our own garden variety dysfunctions—communication issues; some lingering, outdated ideas in some members of the elder generation that frustrate some of us in the younger; a predilection for sending members off on guilt trips—but those issues have settled in and become part of our big family. That is, I think we are all pretty aware that it is exactly how we function. We gingerly maneuver over and through these obstacles that litter open and honest love. And we do love each other. Relatively peacefully. With lots of laughter and fond memories, respect for and appreciation of the multigenerational extended family that gathers still for every holiday, we are a big happy family.

I was reminded of how fortunate I am to have this relatively peaceful family when I was at the pool the other day and a young woman, a guest of someone in my complex, came into the pool area with her two boys—one around 12, one 3 (not yet potty trained). For the entire time she was at the pool, she accosted someone on her cell phone. It didn’t qualify as a conversation because it was a whole lot of screaming and excessive dropping of F-bombs. Tell that f*cking wh*re he’s my f*cking husband and she needs to get the f*ck out of my f*cking house! Even I, Queen of Expletives, was offended. But mostly, how my heart broke for those boys, especially the older one who was old enough to understand, who was left to take care of his little brother (half brother, it appeared) while his mother went on like a lunatic and pretend everything was okay…when, really, it was hideous. Eventually, she grabbed the younger boy who had stepped out of the water when she barked at him to, and told the older one she was taking his brother to feed him some lunch.

“Will you make me a sandwich too?” he asked.

“We’ll have to get take out or something later,” she snapped back and hurried off. In other words, no.

It haunted me, haunts me still. I wonder if the older boy ate lunch that day. I wonder if every day is like this for them. I wonder if those boys will ever know love without chaos.

The craziness in my life is sane, I realized. I am fortunate that I have never had to live with this kind of chaos. So much so that I will happily pack my own bags for my next guilt trip.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I love handbags. I have loved them since I was a little girl, I remember, when they were called pocketbooks. A pocketbook had a short handle and a metal frame and made a snapping noise when you closed it. A pocketbook is what my grandmother used to carry to church, with little more inside than a handkerchief, her rosary beads, and a piece of rye bread in a plastic bag that she'd tear apart and share with us on the way home from mass to make sure we didn't have any Eucharist stuck to the roofs of our mouths. Now I call them handbags and purses, totes and bags. And I still love them, as much I do shoes, and not just because they always fit.

Of course that is true to some extent, as there are no fitting room incidents that are a prelude to a purchase, although I am one who will stand in front of a mirror at the store and take a look at how the bag looks hanging on my shoulder if that is how it is meant to be carried, or how it looks while draped at my elbow. And I can outgrow a bag. Well, my mood can. I have former favorite bags, in perfectly good condition, sitting in the bottom of my closet in Sterilite boxes.

My handbags come in many varieties--to match those many moods --but most are black and fit more than a woman should carry. I never leave home without a cosmetic bag full of pharmaceutical panaceas, and lipstick in two shades with matching lip liners. I carry a wallet as big as some people’s purses, and a Filofax I cannot yet upgrade for technology. I usually carry at least one small journal, a variety of writing implements, and sometimes a novel. I have my sunglasses, and my regular glasses, and random papers and coupons.

Eventually I downsize from a black tote that can fit all the aforementioned (as well as a small freshman or two), to give my shoulder and back a break, and begin to use a purse more as an accessory. I’ll use smaller bags in different colors, and will change my bags to match my outfits. My resolve to stop shopping for bags dissolves around then, and I again look for that bag that will give the perfect pop of color or be just the right size and ergonomically correct, and my bag collection grows again. As it did the other day when this tote spoke to me from where it sat on a high shelf. But really, how could I not want this bag? This structured half tote-half handbag that matches my toenail color , gives pop to my black and white summer outfits AND has patent leather handles and trim? Exactly!

Eventually I will get sick of changing bags or will no longer have enough time to do so and I will switch back to a big black tote and wish I could manage with just my grandmother’s pocketbook.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sinking our Teeth In

I was out the other night when I had the misfortune of seeing two women share a crab cake. That's it. ONE crab cake. They each had one complimentary roll and precisely one half of a crab cake. At a respectable, high-end restaurant. At dinner time. Not as an appetizer, but as dinner.


I am certainly not against sharing, which can provide an opportunity to sample, to not have to commit to a single entree or appetizer. But of course sampling requires at least two dishes be ordered, which--coincidentally--my boyfriend and I did that night. We ordered a Caesar salad with grilled chicken and an order of sliders--3 3 oz. mini burgers, as explained by the bartender, the same amount of meat as in a regular burger, but easier to eat and easier to share. I started with the salad and he started with the sliders. When I had enough of the creamy, garlicky goodness and warm, juicy chicken, I passed on my plate to him, and we swapped. He finished the salad and I ate a slider and we switched plates again so he could eat the last slider and finish the fries. I sample like this with other people as well, people who enjoy actually eating when we eat out, ordering more than one menu item, as the Crab Cake Ladies did not.

Haven't they ever seen a single Hollywood heart throb talk about how attractive they find it to meet a woman who eats? Don't they have male friends who can coach them in these matters? Men think it's sexy when a woman bites into a burger. Beyond the potential licking of fingers that results from a good grease drip or the dribble of mayonnaise just below the lip, men--REAL men, anyway--like women who have a passion for life, for food, and enough self-confidence or self-abandon to actually eat.

But don't do it on any man's account, ladies. Do it for yourselves. When you go out, allow yourself a whole crab cake. It won't make you fat. But if you really feel your calorie counting doesn't allow such an indulgence, cut back elsewhere. Maybe reconsider that second high-calorie bluetini or other high priced, primary color cocktail. If it's a financial thing, 4 piece McDonald's McNuggets are on the $1 value menu and they're only one Weight Watchers point per nugget! But I suppose that, too, is against the point.

I want to live in a world where women don't ask for dressing on the side so they can dip the tines of their forks in and then stab a forkful of lettuce. I want to go to an annual faculty pizza lunch and not find one or two female faculty members forgoing a slice of pizza for a Lean Cuisine or a yogurt and a slice of deli turkey. I want for the Crab Cake Ladies to each order their own, or follow with dessert.

Come on, women! Waifs are so yesterday. Let's sink our teeth into... life.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Hair Clips

My life is infinitely easier in warm weather, especially in summertime, due in large part to the hair clip. Not the 1980s banana clip (which I am proud to say I NEVER owned, although I did have quite a collection of barrettes and hair bows) that creates a Mohawk-like mane down the back of the head, but a basic claw clip that holds your hair back and up—peacock ends optional. When I can put my hair up, wet or dry, in a clip and go without my hair freezing or my ears risking frost bite (which is not to say I don’t wear ponytails in winter), I can get places on time. Of course it helps when I don't have to decide whether or not to wear tights and which gloves and scarf to wear with which coat and leave enough time to defrost my windows or clear off my car. Still, I like to credit the hair clip.

It makes having long hair in summertime low maintenance, and my blow dryer obsolete. I can go from pool to party in a half-hour or less. I can more easily heed hair care advice and not wash it every day. I can skip hair cuts in the summer because I rarely wear it down. It’s one less thing to worry about.

Sure, I suppose I could cut my hair short, but I wore it short for the first half of my life. When girls in high school, the ones with all the boyfriends, wore Farrah Fawcett hair (Rest in Peace), I had short hair that combed back to a D.A. I cut my hair off in third grade—why did my mother allow me to cut off those thick blond braids?—and wore it short through college. So after wearing my hair short (and sometimes permed—ew!) the first twenty or so years of my life, I have worn my hair in long (straight) styles for the last twenty—including the broadcaster’s bob and the Rachel shag. (In fact, not to brag, but I was the first client my former stylist in Boston coiffed ala Rachel.)

I will continue to wear my hair long because I like it. Because I have nice hair. Because it’s easy.

Oh, how I heart hair clips.

Monday, July 13, 2009


So the other day I carried on about the Instant Gratification Generation, teens with cell phones and computers and instant access to everything and anyone, while I had to write letters when I was in college. Well, wouldn’t you know…

On Saturday I was by the pool (of course I was, the sun was shining) and decided to tan my back a little. Putting a towel on the concrete and getting in a prone position is not an option, so I usually stand in the pool, waist high in water, while resting my book on a towel on the edge of the pool. I stand there and read and let the sun kiss my back. Sometimes I bring my cell phone with me. Yes, I admit, even I have stood in the pool and talked on the phone.

Well, John Lennon sang in my ear again, when instant karma came and got me as I picked up my towel, forgetting that my technology treasure trove was tucked inside and it decided to go for a swim. SH*T!!!! My reflexes were good; I went under water for it as quickly as I would for a drowning infant, and caught it before it hit bottom. Did I save it?

I took the battery out and let it dry in the sun, while gathering tips from fellow pool goers. Put it on the fridge. Put it in the oven overnight on low. Put it in a bowl of dry rice. It’ll come back in a few hours. It’ll take a day. I listened. I went on line and Googled the topic (oops, technology dependence again!). I was not extremely optimistic. I thought [insert favorite expletive!,] how I am going to live without it? What do I do?!

Alas, my reflexes were no match for chlorine and water. All the advice was for naught.

For forty-eight hours I prayed for my phone to dry out and work again. In that time I visited the Verizon store twice, where on my first trip found out I am not eligible for an upgrade until December 10. (That would be too easy!) After my second visit to the Verizon store today, I left with a new battery for my old phone.

It’s not my favorite phone. But it works. At least I can text and talk. I feel whole again. [shhh]

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Spa Lunch

at my favorite resort...


A generation of us grew up hearing stories about our parents who walked uphill both ways to school, with cardboard tucked into their shoes that had holes in the soles. The uphill both ways part was obviously fable, but there was truth to the stories too. At least I know my parents didn’t exaggerate about much in their stories from the old country, which of course I am more interested in hearing now that I am an adult. When I was a teenager, getting ready to hop in a Jill's green Gran Torino instead of stand in the cold at the bus stop, I wasn’t as interested in hearing them. They made me feel bad. Regardless, I wondered, when they told their stories, what our stories would be for the next generation.

Though not for the first time, I began crafting my I-remember-when story yesterday as I passed an eighteen year old on the highway who was texting. Yes. In the right lane. Text messaging as she drove. On the highway yesterday I feared for my safety. In the classroom, I get annoyed. Texts are no longer hardcover books. Rather, they are messages students send while I am teaching because they think I won’t notice their heads dropped while their hands disappear under their desks--because they can’t wait another 42 minutes to talk to their friends during hall passing time, perhaps just another 5 or 10 minutes if the friends are in the same class. The Instant Gratification Generation, I call them.

This is my story from us--who had to wait more than an instant for everything--to them, who grew up in the high tech communication age.

When I was in high school, even in college, we didn’t have cell phones. In college, many of us shared a phone that hung on a wall with a cord attached because paying a monthly phone bill was out of our budget range. We’d wait for people to call us. Those of us who did choose to have a phone in our rooms shared the bill with a roommate and, because we paid by the minute to talk long distance, we had to exercise some restraint. Many of us scheduled weekly check-ins. I spoke to my parents on Sundays.

We also didn’t have email. So you couldn’t text, you couldn’t call without watching the clock, and you couldn’t email either! We wrote letters. With paper and pens. And envelopes and stamps. I remember when I was a senior in high school being excited about getting letters from my sister Liz and a couple of neighborhood friends (Paula and Sue) who were freshman in college. One Friday afternoon in particular, early in September, I remember hearing from one of them for the first time since they left, reading the letter as Jill drove us around town in said Gran Torino. When I got to college the following year, getting letters was even more exciting. I always loved writing letters as much as I loved finding them in my mailbox.

I have given in to technology and now enjoy the convenience of cell phones. I even text message. But I saved many of the letters and cards and postcards I received and every once in a while I will go through a memory box and read a few. Holding them in my hands, without hitting any buttons or clicking any keys, brings me back in time…

To when I walked uphill to school. Both ways.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Slow and Steady Decline

I have had prescription glasses for distance and an astigmatism (note it is not a stigmatism; it's an astigmatism) (ugh. I am so irascible! How do I even have any friends?) since 3rd grade. My vision has never been that bad though, so my glasses have sometimes been more about accessorizing than seeing perfectly. Accordingly, I can still see well enough without glasses, which comes in handy when vanity gets the best of me and they don't match my outfit--even though my current prescription is for...[wait for it] bifocals. Yes. I became firmly ensconced in my 40s when at 42 my arm was no longer long enough to read nutrition labels and fine print.

Hence, added to my list of rites of passage and hallmark life events--which includes first diet, first menstrual period, driver's license, high school graduation, college graduation, and masters degree (in that order) (and maybe another one or two, not in order)--is failing vision, taking me right from my twenties and thirties (which in my case does not include marriage and childbirth) into middle age.

Following right behind failing vision are stiff joints when I sit for longer than a half hour, the occasional unexpected rumble of thunder while walking (better thunder than hail), waking in the middle of the night to pee, eating Tums like candy, and getting cankles when I fly. I've never seen anything like it. It was frightening, really. I had to sleep with my feet elevated on pillows and take a steady dose of Advil for days after I got back from San Diego!

But it's all good. As I mentioned, better thunder than hail, and what a gift that I still wake before peeing! And maybe most I thank God that I can laugh at this, and for having people in my life who will laugh too...not just at my self-deprecation but because they know what I'm talking about--or someday will.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


My feet are not pretty by any stretch. My third, fourth, and fifth toes on both feet are misshapen structures that belie the fact that there are bones inside them. On my right foot, my second toe is larger than my big toe; on my left they’re about equal. Asymmetrical and gnarly. Lucky me!

After carefree summers as a child spent in flip flops and barefoot, stubbing toes daily, like countless other kids, I grew into a self-conscious teenager. And I made efforts to hide my feet, as I did other parts of me that aren’t, weren’t and never will be magazine ready. Even during summer. I’d wear closed-toe sling backs to work or for dress and I'd spend leisure time in Keds, taking them off when I got to the beach and could bury my toes in the sand or be reasonably sure it wasn’t my feet that would be garnering second glances.

Eventually two things happened that made me change my attitude about my feet permanently. (Maybe three, if I want to throw my pre-surgical, former chronic foot pain in the mix.) The first was my discovery of the pedicure, that half-hour spent in an elevated chair with moving and pulsating parts hidden in the Naugahyde that starts with a good soak and takes miles off the tootsies. How cleverly and easily a pedicure—conditioned cuticles and shiny, bright pink toenail polish at the tips of my toes—distracted from the anatomy of my phalanges. Hmmm…

Then, when I started teaching, I noticed all the students (like my friend Joanne) wore sandals in warm weather—girls and boys—like it was the most natural thing to do. I also noticed that some of them had toes even gnarlier than mine. Yet they wore sandals. Teenagers had more confidence than I did! I, who had been walking around this earth on my feet for decades longer than they had and who therefore had more reason to have ugly feet (flawed logic, I know), kept mine hidden. Kids cared less what people thought of their feet and wore shoes that felt comfortable and cool. And I was supposed to be one of their role models?

And so, with my friend Joanne’s help and support, I went to Parade of Shoes with her to try on sandals and experiment with different types to begin The Great Reveal. It took a few years to get all the way there, but eventually I embraced Joanne’s philosophy that sometimes letting them all hang out (rather than get all caught up on toe lines and what’s most flattering) is the best. “Just let them all be out there,” she said. Thus I was finally liberated and began wearing—along with strappies and sandals of all types—thongs, too. (Sandals, that is.) No more partial hiding of toes. These are my feet. They get me from point A to point B. Deal with it.

On second thought, they are kind of cute, aren't they?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

My Own Resort

thoughts I wrote by the pool today (in my journal...that matches my pool accoutrement), transcribed at 5:30 pm, when I finally knew enough to come in lest I end up looking like my favorite handbag by summer's end...

On days like today I feel like I live at a resort. My pool is nothing fancy, mind you; it doesn't even have chairs and tables with umbrellas. Rather, it's a bare bones, bring-your-own-chair variety of pool deck. It's just that on a day like today, which just screams VACATION, I don't want to be anywhere else but outside. As a result, I end up spending an inordinate amount of time here--outside--as one normally would if on a high-priced resort vacation. Does that make sense? Like, who in their right mind would go inside after an hour or two on a day like today in the islands? No one, or no one who shouldn't be admonished. So, that's how I approach these rare days. Act like it's your last day away, or like it could rain for the rest of the week.

I reapplied sunscreen after 2 hours, and went in after 4 to refresh my beverage, grab some ice and another iced water, and ate leftovers quickly while standing at the stove. (Which generally is so not like me.) But now I am back outside. I've almost had enough sun, so in a few minutes I'll probably don my sheer white (reflective of rays/matches with everything) cover-up and turn my chair so that my back is toward the sun, but I will stay a while longer by the pool, reading my new book, sipping my spritzer, enjoying what I consider a banner/top 10 (Thank you, God!)/San Diego kind of day. And I'd do it again tomorrow. In fact I will. Weather permitting and God willing I will take advantage of every ray of sunshine this summer.

Now I just need a name for my resort of a sort...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sick Day--No Lesson Plans Required

I know this is pathetic, but it's almost 2 in the afternoon and I'm still in my pajamas. Well, they are not pajamas technically, but I would never leave the house in this 1999 Dave Matthews concert t-shirt, now full of holes, and a pair of J.Jill sweats that have never --despite their price--been worthy of wearing in public. But I'm tired and my throat hurts (as it has since Sunday) and I really haven't stopped since I started vacation. Seriously. (As my niece Meredith would say, appropriately anticipating shock or, more commonly, disbelief at hyperbole). Oh, and it's crappy out.

I don't want to sound whiny or histrionic but I haven't felt well since Sunday when I sprouted two lovely cold sores and woke with a sore throat that is now settling into a chest cold. And honestly, I don’t need to make excuses. I could feel like running a marathon (okay, scratch that, maybe that's a little overboard). I could feel like doing my exercise DVD twice in a row and cleaning a closet and I think I would still opt to do nothing today. ( I just honestly don’t happen to feel very well.) Because I can.

So after two cups of coffee and twice as many hours of coverage about Michael Jackson (Rest in Peace) I decided to make my third coffee iced, with a few add-ins. (God Bless Jen Lancaster who took the words out of my mouth in Bitter is the New Black when she wrote, “I adore White Russians because they dare to combine my favorite ingredients: sugar, fat, caffeine, and alcohol. I do so love empty carbohydrates.”)

And now I am on my second, watching Wimbledon, wondering why I ever stopped playing tennis, hoping (but not really) the sun will come out, waiting for a demi-baguette to thaw, happy to have leftovers in the refrigerator from Deanna’s visit, even happier that I didn’t have to leave lesson plans today to take care of me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Progress Report

One week of vacation down...

After a rainy first day of vacation that I spent running errands, I enjoyed a delightful day at the beach with my niece and nephew followed by a late evening al fresco dinner with my sister, brother-in-law and a friend that finally made me feel like I was on vacation.

The next day I prepared for an overdue visit with my friend Deanna, who just flew back to Baltimore this afternoon. While she was here, although not perfect, the weather cooperated enough for us to sit by the pool a little every day--relaxing, chatting, reading, flipping through magazines. Yesterday we actually spent most of the afternoon there--Deanna under the cover of shade while I basked in the sun. We shopped a little, encouraging each other to purchase things we really don't need (see paisley handbag)(isn't that what girlfriends do?) and ate well--here at home where I played hostess, and out. We tried a couple of new restaurants and a visited a couple of places I frequent and ended her visit at my parents' house, where my mother prepared for us a Polish lunch--I mean feast--that Deanna looks forward to every visit. (Unfortunately, post 9/11, she can't take care packages of sauerkraut home with her anymore.) As always our vacation together was great--the perfect mix of things girlfriends do while in subtle denial that we've been doing it as long as we have. Knowing college friends for 25 years seems impossible but true. And a true gift.

She'll spend the remainder of her vacation week (she gets others, just not back to back) and the holiday weekend with her husband at a favorite getaway in West Virginia.

Lucky me? I still have 7 more weeks to get into trouble.

Stay tuned.
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