Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I want to ride my bicycle I want to ride my bike

When Sean and I lived in Medford, we had bikes
In the summer, after work, we went for bike rides almost every day after work
It was awesome

I called her Schwin Dixie
I had a bell and a horn and tassels

I loved my bike

We moved to Woburn and had no where to store our bikes
We had to get rid of our bikes

I was so sad

For Christmas this year, Sean got me a folding bicycle
That's right, it folds up into its own bag for storage

It is awesome

Here it is





Sure, its a little kooky looking

And yes, picturing a 42 year old woman riding around the neighborhood on it will make you giggle

But it is awesome

The first day I rode my bike, I was a bit wobbly

And ended up kinda sorta falling

I was rounding the bend of Kendal drive a bit too fast and my seat was a bit too low and I hit a patch of sand and started going down

I'm falling I yelled out as I dinged my bell

I was going down and there was nothing I could do

So I just dinged my bell and fell

There was a guy cleaning his yard and he yells out

Kid, hey kid, are you all right

He sort of trotted over to me as I struggled to right myself

You're not a kid he says in disgust

Nope I say with a grin, just getting the feel of my new bike I say enthusiastically

He started muttering and shaking  his head while he walks away from me

I shook the sand out of my pants and continued on my way

I had a blast
Sure, my legs hurt
And yeah, I fell a couple more times...well, not so much fell as I sort of wobbled from side to side before laying my bike down before I all out fell
And yes I was huffing and puffing as I realized how much I had let myself go through the winter

But I had a blast

This past weekend, I went out riding again
This time, I had the seat right where it should be and I was not as wobbly as I was the week before

I biked around our circles for a bit to make sure I had the feel of her

Then I biked back to Kendal Drive to show it who was boss
I lapped it twice before heading home

I went back to our neighborhood  and rode around the two circles for a few minutes

It was at this time I remarked to my husband that I looked like Eliot from ET as I was wearing my red hoodie

It was windy and every so often, the hood would blow up onto my head

All I needed was a milk crate mounted to the front of my handle bars and an alien passenger

Then I decided to hit the open road
I turned right out of our development and headed down Webster
At the end of Webster, I went right
No turning back - there are no safe circles or neighborhoods to bike through when you turn right onto Pearl Street

As I was rounding the bend, getting ready to cross the town line, I heard the familiar rumble of motorcycles

I looked up and saw no less then 10 Harleys headed toward me

Weird place to see a bunch of bikes I thought
But here I am on my bike
There they are on their bikes

I'm doing it I thought.....................

And that's when I did it you guys..........

Yes I did...............................................................

I threw out a left handed low motorcycle wave

And they waved back

I'm totally getting a leather jacket and a nickname

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A blog post inspired by the word born and a letter from Granny and Grandpa


Prompt 2. Write a blog post inspired by the word born………and a letter from Granny and Grandpa to Lucy:

My in laws live in England, the original Halifax as my husband says

When Lucy was 18 months old, we took her to meet them for the first time
She really does not remember the trip but when we show her pictures or talk about it, she latches onto those memories and can retell them just as easily as we can

The second time we went, Lucy was three and a half
She remembers that trip much better
She remembers having tea and cake at the Watergate
She remembers feeding the ducks and going to visit Nanny Claire
Lucy can describe Granny and Grandpa’s house
And she remembers that Granny has a tin she keeps biscuits (cookies) in for tea time
And that Grandpa was building a boat in the garage

We have not been back to England as a family since
Which is sad for us and for Granny and Grandpa
We miss them as they miss us

We talk about family and friends in England in an attempt to expose Lucy to my husband’s side of the family
We want her to know their names and relations to her as well as she knows my family

Granny and Grandpa decided not too long ago they would start writing to Lucy
They too felt as if they were missing out on a relationship with their third granddaughter
They want Lucy to know them in their own words as much as we do

Yesterday, Lucy received her first Letter from Granny and Grandpa

Now it is not uncommon for Lucy to get mail (she actually gets more real mail than we do) but she never tires of it
Now when I get mail, I rip it open while standing at the mailbox

Not Lucy

She clutched the letter from the mailbox to the house
As we walked into the house, I excitedly asked her who she thinks the letter is from
I don’t know Mumma, I haven’t opened it
Ok well, let’s open it I say practically shoving her to the couch and waiting for her to rip it open

Mumma I have to do my stuff first

Then she took off her shoes, hung up her coat, emptied her back pack and politely asked for some milk and a cheese all the while never releasing her hold on The Letter

When she finally settled down at the table, and had taken a few sips of milk and eaten her cheese stick, she inspected The Letter

Funny stamp she observed
Doesn’t say who it’s from on the outside
Guess I’ll have to open it

Then she hopped down off the chair and headed to her desk

What are you doing I asked because now, the suspense is killing me

I have to do my homework she replied, we have to come up with words that start with O and I just thought of one – over

You’re killing me Luce….

I just have to write it down Mumma, be patient

When she finished her paper, she perched herself back on the chair and finally opened The Letter

She pulled out two folded sheets of paper
The first was a series of photos
Each marked with the subject of the photo
The second was The Letter

She laid both out on the table, side by side, and studied them for a few minutes before making some observations:

That’s Granny and Grandpa
It is I said
Who is that baby
That’s you, when we went to England the first time
Huh, I was small
Yes you were
And that’s Cousin Lauren
It is
And that’s Granny and Grandpa’s house and their car
Yes
I like their car….can you read me the letter Mumma

So I read her the letter……twice
The first time, she had no reaction
She just listened
When I got to the end, she asked me to read it again

The second time, she studied the pictures as I read and every once in a while, she’d interrupt me to ask a question or make a statement

Grandpa looks like Daddy
Yes, they do look alike Luce
How old did Grandpa say he is
76
And how old is Granny
69
Think Granny knows Grandpa is telling everyone how old she is
Probably
Think Granny told him to stop
I chuckled, maybe

They must know I like kitties, they used paper with kitties around it
Yes, they know you like kitties
Granny likes kitties too
Yes she does
And Grandpa used to have a dog that rode in the car with him, Daddy told me
That’s right

Granny and Grandpa live in England where the Queen with the white hair is from
Yes, yes they do
That’s a country like the United States
Yes it is

Are Granny and Grandpa English like Daddy
They are
But I’m American
Well, you were born in America
So I’m American
Yes
But Daddy is English
Yes
And you’re American
Yes
And even though Daddy lives here he is still English
Yes, because he was born in England
So no matter where I live I will always be American
Yes

So even though Granny and Grandpa used to live in Africa they were still English while they were there
That’s right
Can I be both American and English
Well, Daddy is English because he was born in England and you and I are American because we were born here in America
Oh…so I never get to be English…..
Well, you never get to be from England but you have English in you
So I can be English when I want to

It was at this point I realized I was in way deeper than I wanted to be and there was almost no way out…

Not exactly…see, there’s something called nationality which is what country you are from, where you were born…..and then there is something called ethnicity which is what race your family is from – what cultures and countries…
I thought I was part of the human race

You are….but Mummy’s families, which are Noni and Papa’s families, came from Italy and Ireland, so part of you is Irish and Italian like Mummy
And Daddy’s families from Granny and Grandpa are from all over the place….so you are also English, Irish, I think Italian and a hint of Scottish and Welsh though Grandpa and Daddy might deny that
So all our families are from all those places
Yes, at some point someone from all your families lived in all kinds of different countries

But I’m also American
Yes
And I’ll always be American
Yes
Because I was born here
That’s right
What if was born in Africa
What
Like what if you were on a trip and I was born while you were on the trip – what are people from Africa called
Africans
So if I had been born in Africa, I would have been African
Uhh…..no, you would still be American

But you said where you are born is what you are…
Right but…you know what, how about a piece of cake
Mumma, I haven’t even had supper yet
Oh ok well, how about you watch something
Can you read my letter again

So I read it again

Mumma, how come they didn’t tell the story of how they used to live in Africa with hippos, like Daddy told me
Well, you could write back and ask them to tell you about it
How come they don’t live in Africa anymore, I mean don’t they know I dreamed my whole life of going there and they should still live there so I have someplace to stay

Well, they moved a long time ago, before you were even born
Oh yeah, I forget you guys did stuff before I was born
I laughed, yeah, we did Luce

Will they ever go live in Africa again
No honey, they live in England now, that’s where they’ll stay
Think they miss the animals from Africa
They might I said
I mean all England has are sheep and cows….sheep and cows get boring after awhile
I suppose they do I said
Do they know Noni and Papa have deers and turkeys at their house in Maine
I’m not sure Lucy
I can tell them about that in my letter – and I’ll tell them about Ziggy, but I just may do it in pictures, pictures are easier for me than all that writing because I am still just learning words
Ok Luce
I’m gonna watch my show now
Sure Luce

She hopped down and took the letter

Hey Mumma
Yeah Luce
Next time I’m born, can you do it in Africa so I can be from Africa ‘cause I love all the animals in Africa
Sure Luce, I’ll see what I can do

Hey Mumma
Yeah Luce
Do Granny and Grandpa know the Queen
No honey, not very many people actually know the Queen

Oh…hey Mumma
Yeah Luce
How come we don’t have a Queen
What
How come we don’t have a Queen in America
Well, because…
Because why
Because…..
‘cause Mumma the Pilgrims came from England
Yes they did
So if the Pilgrims came from England and the Queen is from England, how come we don’t have a Queen…didn’t they bring a Queen
No honey, they came on their own

Mrs Dionne said they came here for a better life
They did
And a better life was without a Queen she asked
Well, back then it was actually a King
So the Pilgrims came to America with no Queen and no King
That’s right
Because they did not want to have a King or Queen
Well, because they wanted to be free to make their own decisions, to live their life as they wanted to live

And they were born in England so they were not American but they came here to live
Well, no one was an American at that point
Except the Indians who were born here and helped the Pilgrims
Well no…see America was not the United States when the Pilgrims came
What was it

Well, it was.....
see first it was......
Well, see the continents used to be connected and there was this thing called the Bering Strait….….hey Lucy, wanna know where babies come from

I already do Mumma, the Dad puts the baby in the Mom’s tummy and she grows it for a few whiles and then it gets born when the Mom pushes it out her jay-jay or the doctor cuts open her belly and pulls the baby out like what happened to me

Honey
Yeah Mumma
Why don’t you watch something before dinner
Ok….Mumma why are you rubbing you face, do you have a headache
A little bit Luce

Mumma is Ziggy American
Honey Ziggy is a cat
Yeah but he was born in America so he’s American right
Sure honey
I’m glad he was born Mumma
Me too Lucy

Hey Mumma
Are you glad I was born
You have no idea honey

Mumma, if you were never born would I never have been born….and what if you were born but Daddy wasn't would I still be born.....Mumma why are you laying your head on the table, are you tired……

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lucky Duck

**Disclaimer: The first time I posted this blog entry, which is supposed to be titled Lucky Duck, I wrote Lucy Duck....and Lucy is so not a duck...though she is pretty lucky to have me as a Mum....a hot mess of a Mum......

Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop 


I’m guessing when Mama Kat put this prompt out there, she was not trolling for stories about the time(s) I got lucky (said in my best Andrew Dice Clay voice in my head you know whatta I mean right?)

I think instead, she would like to hear about a time lady luck was on my side

Like maybe I won a 50/50 raffle or better yet, hit the mega millions jackpot

Or maybe one time I got bumped up to first class for a trans-Atlantic flight

Or maybe I struck up a conversation with a guy in line at the bank and he found me witty and charming
and gave me my dream job

Or that time I met an heiress and she let me use her house on her private island for a month for absolutely nothing in exchange  

Or the time a publishing house stumbled across my blog, realized I was a comedic genius, declared me to be the next Erma Bombeck, and offered me a book deal

I think that is the luck she would like to hear about

Me too

None of that has happened

Not even close

Although one time, when I was traveling, someone offered to switch seats with me so I could have the aisle seat – he knew I had less than 40 minutes to make my connection and he wanted me to be able to get off the plane quickly

And though I did get off the plane quickly, I tripped and fell as I was running to the other gate
I hit my head and my knee so hard I laid on the ground for ten minutes writhing in pain and trying to get my wits about me
Then, I made it to my gate with three minutes to spare to find out that the gate had been changed
And it was two down from the gate I had come in on as opposed to an entirely different terminal

I missed my flight

Another time, my ticket number did get called at the 50/50 raffle
But when I got up there to claim the prize money of almost $5,000(!) the guy was all like oh shit, sorry, we reversed two of the numbers, you are not the winner

And in line at the bank I was one time offered a job…..for the night……if you know whatta I mean

But I’m lucky in other ways

Like I think I’m lucky when I am not first in line at the red light

When you are first in line, there’s all this pressure to go as soon as that light turns green
And by as soon as that light turns green, I mean a nano second before it turns green because in Massachusetts, we don’t care if our light is green, we’re watching your light
We’re craning our heads to see if your light has turned red and as soon as we see that light flick, we step on it

So when I’m first in line at the red light, I actually get really stressed out because I know if I don’t move when that light changes, horns will start blaring, arms will be flailing, people will be yelling and I’ll get flipped off by at least five people including two pedestrians who are watching the whole thing is going down

My palms sweat, my insides start churning and next thing I know, I’m revving my engine like I’m at the start line of the Indy 500
I’m leaning forward on my steering wheel gripping it with all my might just waiting all aflutter for that light to change color
And then I get so worked up I accidentally jump the light only to realize halfway through my turn that I should so not be moving
So then I slam on my brakes which means the guy behind me has to slam on his because don’t think he was watching the light – oh no – he was watching me and a soon as I went, he went and now it’s anarchy

So I think I am very lucky when I am second in line at the red light

I also consider myself lucky when I get Pete the bagger at Market Basket
He is the only one who can efficiently pack my groceries in the reusable bags without squishing any produce, breaking open a yogurt container or somehow managing to get the one loaf of bread I bought into the bag with all the canned goods

It doesn’t happen very often but getting Pete as my bagger is like getting a Republican controlled Congress

I also think I’m lucky when I get to the grocery store and they’ve just put out the freshly baked bread You know the long French bread that’s nice and crusty on the outside but soft on the inside (not the baguette, the big loaf)

It is still warm when I pick it up and smells heavenly

I toss it in the cart and tear through the last three aisles as the aroma is teasing me to the brink of insanity
Sometimes I make it through the last few aisle without breaking a piece off, sometimes I don’t

But man, am I lucky I got that fresh bread because I wallowed in that aroma for ten whole minutes before it cooled off and was just another loaf of cold crusty bread

I also think I am a pretty lucky duck when I make it through a social event without doing something to embarrass myself, my husband, the person sitting next to me or the person I’m talking to

And by that I mean I make it through an event without insulting anyone, spilling anything down my front, or someone else’s front, calling someone by the wrong name, or calling them a name

I mean really, that is a good night out for me

I think I am lucky when I walk into the laundry room just as the washing machine sings me that little song to tell me it is done washing, rinsing and spinning and I can now flip that load on over to the dryer and start the next load without having to come back downstairs

Lucky because chances are, I’ll forget to come back downstairs and the laundry will sit in the washer for two days when I finally remember it and then I have to wash it again because man does it stink

I think lady luck loves me when I walk into Dunkin Donuts and they have Chocolate Butter crunch donuts because that is like my favorite donut in the whole wide world and they are nearly impossible to find

And I don’t even really like donuts

But for that donut, for that donut I would walk……..I was going to say across hot coals but if I were to do that, with  my luck, my skirt would catch on fire

So I would cross a busy street for that donut

But only if there is a cross walk because if I were not at the cross walk, it would be the one day a cop with a quota to meet would be standing there and I’d get ticketed for jaywalking

Then I’d go to court and fight it only to get a little too antagonistic with the judge and then I’d be held in contempt

Then I’d get thrown into a holding cell and next thing I know, orange is my new black

See why I don’t like donuts

I think I am lucky when I go somewhere and discover that I don’t have to parallel park or back into the parking sport

I’d rather park and walk a mile then be forced to parallel park or back into a parking spot
And I have one of those camera things in my car

But with my luck, it would cut to commercial just as I was lining myself up to park

But I still think I’m lucky
Do you know how many times I have seen Neil Diamond in concert
I mean even once makes me pretty darn lucky but I have seen him a grand total of 9 times
Nine times
Wow
I mean that is like, wow, Neil Diamond nine times in concert…..unbelievable

I’ve seen the Red Sox win the Series not once, not twice but three times
That’s either luck or one of the seven signs

Look, I am so lucky that one time, when I was in the drunk tank, I met this guy who was not only a Red Sox fan but was also a Neil Diamond fan
We ended up hanging out together for like two years
We even went to a Neil Diamond concert together

And then, he got me out of jury duty
I mean how lucky is that

Sure, he got me out of it because the jury was being picked for him and I had to admit to knowing him And yes, I was then questioned about some other things and my whereabouts
And I may or may not have been detained for a day

But, I got out of jury duty

That was pretty lucky

I’ve got my family, my friends, and my health
I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food on my table
I have a job, insurance, a 401k, no criminal record
Sure, maybe I have a bit of a checkered past but it makes for great small talk

I’ve got my five senses and my wits about me
Though a couple senses may be slightly dulled and sometimes my wits are close to the end

But I still wake up every day to see the sun rise and make it to the end of the day to see the sun set and that in and of itself makes me pretty darn lucky



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I am the World's Worst Wedding Date


Write a blog post inspired by the word: Embarrassed

Quite some time back, I wrote this little gem


The highlights include the time I took my skirt off in an elevator, knocked over a display of gravy and tried to blame a kid, and called a guy I was seeing by the wrong name for weeks (he dumped me)

But please, it does not stop there

I have even more in my arsenal:

There was the time I wrote my grandmother’s obituary
When I listed the names of the grandchildren, I used the name of my cousin’s first wife as opposed to his current wife

The time I bought my then boyfriend a suggestive card for his birthday and accidentally gave it to a co-worker for his birthday

Then there was the time I catcalled my husband on the street only to realize it was not him

Another time, I struck up a conversation with someone in line at the grocery store
I was noticeably pregnant and rubbing my belly as only pregnant women do
When she asked me when I was due, I said with a totally straight face
I’m not pregnant
She was mortified 
Her eyes got watery and she gasped covering her mouth with her hands
She dropped her eyes to the ground and and before I could explain I was joking, she just walked (read jogged at a fast pace) away leaving her full cart 

One time, I went to the wrong wedding reception
I was at a wedding with a guy I had been seeing for a few months
It was his cousin’s (the bride) wedding and the first time I was meeting his family
The Church was lovely, the cocktail hour was fantastic fun
By the time we were being seated for dinner, I had won over his parents, his grandparents, his brother and sister-in-law and his older sister (who was in the wedding party) thought I was perfect for her brother
I was a hit
Just before we were to head to our table for dinner to be served, I excused myself to go to the ladies’ room
What table are we sitting at I asked my dashing date (I was convinced by now I would be the next one walking down the aisle)
Table 6 he replied
He kissed my cheek
They love you he excitedly whispered in my ear as he squeezed my hand
I grinned and glided off to the bathroom
When I returned, I floated to Table 6
Only to realize I did not recognize anyone at the table
But no problem!
His immediate family loved me! 
This would be a piece of cake
I introduced myself to everyone at the table
Friends and a couple more cousins of the bride
We chatted, we broke bread, we had our salad
And then someone made a toast
And the names of the bride and groom were not what they were when I left the room
And as I scanned the room, I realized I recognized no one
And as I panned the table, I realized I was the only one without a date
So I excused myself to the rest room
And this time, when I headed back to the reception, I went left instead of right


Another time, I was at a wedding seated at the same table as a woman I went to high school with
I had not seen her in years
But I knew she had gotten married and had two children
So we’re making small talk and I ask to see photos of the kids
Her daughter was the spitting image of her and I said so much out loud  
When I flipped to the picture of her son, I glanced up at the man beside her (who had not been introduced) and commented, how handsome….he looks like Dad I said as I gestured to the man sitting next to her
Oh, no she said, he’s not their Dad….I’m no longer with their Dad….

Another time, I was at a wedding as the date of a friend
The friend, who is gay, unbeknownst to me, had not come out to his family and friends
So midway through the cocktail hour, and by cocktail hour I mean the hour between the ceremony and the reception during which time beer in a can was being served after being fished out of a makeshift cooler which I am pretty sure was an old bathtub filled with ice on a dolly, one of his aunts asked how long we had been together
Been together I asked laughingly
If only I declared with great enthusiasm
And so started my monologue 
He would be the perfect boyfriend! He’s handsome, smart, funny, he cooks and cleans and has a knack for accessorizing….but well, who are we kidding, he’d rather I be 5 years younger, 6’3 with washboard abs and a constant 5 o’clock shadow..…and it would help if I looked good in drag….and knew all of Cher’s songs by heart….but I am the one who watches Golden Girls with him all night long and that counts for something right….and he calls me to kill the spiders…so there’s that too…
I trailed off when I realized that everyone had gone quiet and they were all staring at me with mouths agape
One aunt may or may not have been choking on a pig in a blanket
His Dad was beet red 
His two cousins were stifling giggles
His brother's beer was poised in midair halfway to his mouth 
His mother was looking down at the ground shaking her head 
And his grandmother who was a bit hard of hearing says to his sister-in-law she does look like she got dragged, what is she wearing?!?
My “date” was standing behind my audience with his eyes all wide and bugged out
Why are you looking at me like that I asked him, it’s not like they don’t know you’re…….oh……shit
Who wants to shotgun a beer?!?!?!?



Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Dear Sean, not Dear John

An open letter to my husband because sometimes, we just need to give credit where credit is due 
Sean, you are due this and so much more 

Dear Sean 

Thank you 

I know the last few months have not been easy 
I know that I have been emotional, moody, at times downright difficult, irrational and unreasonable
I know that I have been up and down and down and up more times than I should have been 
I know that I have been indecisive, borderline whiny and spent countless hours feeling sorry for myself 

I know that Christmas was a total fiasco
I know that I have been hard on you and Lucy, and harder on myself than I should have been 
I know that I have been impatient, sad and mad for no apparent reasons
I know that I have lashed out at you and hurt you for reasons I can't explain 

But you have been steadfast

You are as patient as you can be given all the circumstances
You have listened while I ranted and raved and cried and yelled and wallowed
You have coddled me when I needed it, left me alone when I needed to be alone 
You assumed all duties while I slept my sadness away  

And then when it was time, you told me to stop crying and wallowing 
You gave hard line tough love just when I needed it most
And you have vowed to stand beside me and support me no matter what or where the next step takes me 
Because above all, you want me to be happy

You have loved me unconditionally 

Through all my moods
Through my tears, my laughter, my bad jokes and sarcasm 
Through pounds gained lost, gained and lost again
Through three hair colors and now just graying hair 
Through two world series wins, two presidential/governor elections (and we know how I get with those) and a Senate election I am still convinced was rigged 

Thank you 

For making me smile
For reminding me I am worth more than I realize 
For giving me credit for being good at my job, good as a mother and good as a wife 
For making Lucy laugh with sheer joy as you play dragon school in the basement or construct elaborate marble runs....you are the best playmate she has....you have no idea how that warms my heart and makes my soul smile 

Thank you 

For fixing everything Lucy and I break
For being tall enough to reset the smoke detector when I set it off 
For having arms long and gangly enough to reach what ever has fallen over in the back of the top shelf in the pantry and/or linen closet 
For setting up the remote control so I only have to use one instead of five.....and for fixing /reprogramming it when I screw it up 

Thank you 

For making the bed every day and for changing the beds every week because I hate making the beds
For vacuuming (and for the new Dyson) 
For emptying the dishwasher and  putting away the Tupperware 
For switching the laundry around and carrying the overfilled baskets up and down two flights of stairs 
For giving me Netflix and Hulu 

Thank you Sean 

Thank you for asking me to be your wife 
Thank you for making me a mother 
Thank you for raising this little Lucy creature with me
Thank you for holding my hand and for loving me as unconditionally as you have 

In a few short weeks, it will be ten years we have been together 

I am not sure I remember ten years without you 

So because I will forget on our actual anniversary in April and because I can't remember our actual wedding date (is it 26th and 2007 or 27th and 2006), Happy Every Anniversary we have together

Happy Every Day we have together

Every day we have together somehow trumps those anniversary dates....because more than anything, I want every day with you 

I will be, forever and always, be beholden to you...and not just because of the whole green card thing
But because I adore you, treasure you, value you and appreciate you 

You have my heart 
You have my love

Maria