Category Archives: Memories

The Making of a Blanket. Or How Knit To.

When I was a young girl, my mother taught me how to knit. Or she tried to. There’s only so much you can do when your daughter is a lefty and can’t do so much as wipe her own face with her right hand.

We got as far as the knit stitch. My mom had to cast on and off for every project I did. That is, if you want to call my fifteen 7″ x 1″ Barbie scarves a “project.”

I will say this though: My Barbies had the warmest necks this side of the Hudson.

But as quickly as my new hobby started, it stopped. That was it. Done by the tender age of ten.

Until I saw something on the inter-webs last October and decided it was time to revisit that old forty-year dead hobby of mine. Except I didn’t remember how. And even if I did, I would only be able to do the knit stitch.

I had a friend who I knew would be able to get me started. Also, I know you can learn how to do anything from building a car engine to how to clean your toilet with Coca-Cola on YouTube.

Long Live YouTube.

I called my mom who immediately packed up all her knitting accoutrements, from needles to patterns, and put them in the mail to me. I could almost hear her say, “Sucker!” Because what I was really doing was helping her clean out her junk room.

I’m on to you, mom.

Anyway, I was going to be THE knitting phenom. I was going to have this untapped talent. I would be able to make everything from blankets to sweaters with those little sheep patterns on them.

I’m not quite sure what gave me this impression. Maybe because I’m really good at coloring inside the lines. Or it could be because art class was one of the classes I didn’t cut in high school.

Who knows? But I was pretty sure I was going to be good. Even though I hadn’t held a pair of knitting needles in my hands since 1977.

It turns out I wasn’t a knitting phenom. It wasn’t a God-given talent. If that’s even a thing. But more on that in a minute.

So, what exactly gave me the inspiration, after nearly forty years, to pick up my (mom’s) knitting needles again?

It would be this:

My Inspiration

Evil, horrible liar.

It all started with an accidental peek at a chunky blanket I spied on Pinterest. Or Etsy. Okay, I’m not sure where I saw it. It just saw it. Somewhere. And “they” said it would only take 4-5 hours to make.

A piece of cake.

Like I said, I had an epiphany and was 110% sure I could do this and do this well.

Me. The girl who uses the side view mirror of her car to pick off random mailboxes. The girl who has more squirrels running around in her brain than all of the Connecticut backwoods combined.

Anyway, I just HAD to knit one for my daughter for Christmas, who happens to be away at college.

I thought she could snuggle and think of her dear mommy every time she used it.

Because that is precisely what eighteen year olds do. Right? Right?

That friend of mine cast on for me and taught me how to do the purl stitch. We started with thirty-two stitches. After three days, I managed to increase it to forty-one.

I don’t know so don’t ask.

After approximately seven rows in, I decided to rip it all out. Because chances are I would have increased in stitches even more and my blanket would resemble a trapezoid something or other (thank you, Google) then, well, a blanket.

Holier than thou

Hole-ier than thou

Also, I kept forgetting if I was supposed to be purling or knitting. So in addition to it being asymmetrical, it would be bumpy too. You know, kind of like my middle aged body.

Two words: not pretty.

Now of course I could only rip it out to the cast-on row, that first row, because I didn’t know how to cast on (yeah, I know..YouTube. Well, I forgot to look. Squirrel).

Then I decided to completely change the pattern. By accident, of course. The actual only decision-making was the act of choosing to take this project on. The rest just had a mind of its own.

My attempt to be organized. Those red splotches is spilled wine. Wine and knitting. Maybe that's where I went wrong.

My attempt to be organized. Those red splotches is spilled wine. Wine and knitting. Maybe that’s where I went wrong.

Somewhere in there, I realized I didn’t like the knitting needles I was using so I hit Amazon and got myself new ones. And then didn’t like them, so I went back to the originals.

So far I have increased stitches, ripped, changed the pattern by accident, and switched needles. Twice.

A blanket pattern that claimed it would only take a half day of daylight hours to knit was now my life’s job. And it took almost my whole life to make the thing. Okay, so two months.

Christmas was fast approaching and my anxiety level was increasing. Not to mention the tension in my shoulders and back. Where is it said knitting is therapeutic? Sure. If you like to be tortured. I know a bed made of nails that is more relaxing.

Anyway,  after hours and many weeks, this is the finished product. I, at least owe you a good laugh:

finished blanket

Not really sure what that line is, but this blanket is one of a kind. I like to call it Couture.

So, have I hung up my knitting needles? No. Because practice makes perfect, right?

We’ll see because I’m making all my nieces and nephews who are having babies, a baby blanket. Whether they like it or not. I apologize in advance, but you know, I’m an expert.

The Getaway Part III – The Conclusion

If you need to catch up, click here for Part I, and click here for Part II.

Ready?

Needless to say, we didn’t go to Fire Island. The idea of us walking in the dark in a place we’ve never been to didn’t really appeal to either of us. Lord knows I love food, but I didn’t need to work that hard for it. Ocean or not.

DH remembered a restaurant someone recommended…an over-priced italian place right on the sound. We decided that sounded like a nice place to celebrate our anniversary dinner, so he called to make a reservation.

Unfortunately, the only open spot was at eight, but at that point we were pretty happy with anything so we took it.

Since we had so much time to kill, we decided to go into town to see if we could find a cute place where we could have a cocktail on the sidewalk. Well, not ON the sidewalk exactly. That would be weird and probably illegal or something.

We quickly settled on a trendy little spot (with some tables outside) with THE BEST margarita with muddled cucumber. Don’t knock it ’till you try it. I raved so much about it, the server actually got the bartender to write down the recipe for me.

But I totally digressed there.

When the maitre de showed us our street-side table, I noticed a woman leaning over the fence/wall, right where we were going to sit. I maneuvered myself around her bobbing and weaving body and sat pretty much right under her. I didn’t ask her to move because I don’t like confrontation. I was fine with her hair hanging down into my plate. Really, I was.

At first I thought she had an impairment. A disability of some sort. But then the stench of alcohol permeating from her pores was so intense I almost didn’t have to order a drink because I was beginning to catch a buzz off her breath.

After about five minutes, the man she was with was able to finally pry her off the wall/fence and into a waiting car. Just in time too. My blood alcohol level had most likely reached .08%. And that was before I ordered a drink.

We slowly drank our cocktails, but somehow we still had some time to kill. We stopped into a liquor store and picked up a bottle of wine to share for a nightcap later on our private balcony, then ducked into a dollar store to purchase a couple of wine glasses, and headed off to dinner.

img_0556It was dark when we pulled into the parking lot, but the restaurant was lit up like a Christmas tree. It was beautiful. There was a wedding going on and the atmosphere was lively. The way I like it.

DH spoke to the hostess and explained it was our anniversary and asked for a table out on the back deck. We were led outside to a table “on the rail” except the rail was a solid concrete seawall that came to my neck.img_0544

I know there was salt water on the other side because we were told so. I just couldn’t see it. Unless I stood on tippy toe. Even then it was so dark out, I would not even have known there was water out there save for the working lighthouse a mile or two out.

DH ordered a beer, I the house wine. My wine tasted like swill. I had barium better than that. Somehow I was mistakenly under the impression that the house wine in a fancy italian restaurant would be good.

Not sure where I got that idea from.

For dinner, I had the clams as an appetizer and the spaghetti and meatballs as an entree. Simple, sure. But I wanted something comforting for some reason. Besides, we were in an italian restaurant. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to order?

Needless to say, half the clams wound up in my napkin. They were so chewy, if I didn’t actually take them from the shell myself, I would have thought I ordered cow balls.

And the meatballs? My Irish grandmother made better. I made better and I don’t even make meatballs. As for the sauce, I was pretty sure it was taken right out of Chef Boyardee’s kitchen.

Sorry, Chef B.

We had a nice time though. It’s about the company, not the meal. We laughed it off. Anyway, it seemed to be par for the course that weekend.

After we got back to the hotel, we uncorked our bottle and sat on our plastic adirondack chairs on our private terrace, and sipped wine out of our dollar store glasses while overlooking our little piece of water.

But it doesn’t end there.

On the other side of the shore, there was a building. We didn’t know what it was because it was dark, but we did see a couple of cars pull into the parking lot and turn off the headlights while their vehicles were still in motion.

We immediately went into Magnum PI mode. Trying to crack a crime that may or may not have been happening. A couple of dark figures got out of their cars and walked into the shadows. Was it a drug bust? Disposing of a body? A heist?

Most likely just a couple of kids sharing a joint, but it was fun to imagine something sinister.

Fast forward to the next morning (because you don’t need to know the in-between…wink wink). That long-awaited spa-like shower I was looking forward to taking was not to be.

The faucet was broken. The water temperature couldn’t be regulated nor would it turn off once it was turned on. The water was hot and getting hotter by the minute.

Well, there was always breakfast.

After we got dressed, we made our way down to the 5×6 foot lobby to eat.

img_0561On our way down, we saw a lady come out of the front door with a package of Pop Tarts. I turned and made a joke to DH about it.

When we entered and made our way to the “buffet,” we saw that our choices were stale bagels, three types of cereal, and frozen Leggo My Eggo waffles.

I was desperately searching for the Pop Tarts that suddenly didn’t seem so bad, but the early bird catches the worm, and I lost out.

I settled on the bagel and cranberry juice when what I really wanted was a diner and a stack of pancakes. DH had the same but with a cup of coffee.

We took our Top Shelf breakfast back up to our balcony. Across the way, where the night before the Crime of the Century was going down, we saw was actually a fire training center.img_0564

Yes, a building on “mock” fire with firemen trying to put it out with big hoses, and all the works. It was cool, but just the topper to the end of our weekend.

As we were leaving, DH told me how much he enjoyed our little room. Anyone who knows him, knows he is not a traveller and especially abhors hotels. His comment was worthy of a heart attack, but made me happy nonetheless.

Long of the short, but long story…I discovered that Long Island does not mean The Hamptons. After all that it was a great anniversary celebration, Hamptons or not.

img_0559

Cheers from our Dollar Store wine glasses!

The Getaway Part I

When DH and I got married twenty-four years ago, we didn’t have a formal honeymoon. We couldn’t afford one because four months earlier we decided to spend the money we saved for our wedding as a down payment on a house.

Good idea? I think so. A house lasts way more than a five hour wedding and is the smartest thing a young couple can do, but I digress. (FYI – we were lucky because our parents helped foot the bill for the reception, which was awesome by the way)

In other words, we were house poor.

After the last guest left our wedding reception, DH looked over at me and said, “wanna go to Cape Cod for a few days? We can use some of our wedding money to pay for it.”

Of course, who am I to turn down a spontaneous vacation? I am not a planner by nature so this fit my personality to a “T.”

We didn’t have the internet to help us, so we basically got up the next day, threw a packed suitcase in the trunk of our car, and with map in hand, drove the three hours or so it took to get to the Cape. We hoped there would be hotels with vacancies. If not, there was always the car.

The first night we chose a sketchy looking “hotel” that was right off the main road on the Cape. It was one of those one-level motor inns. I’m sure our little stay didn’t cost more than $50.

The floor was uneven (when I say “uneven” I mean there should have been a railing installed on the wall to hold on to so guests wouldn’t run the risk of falling and injuring themselves), the bedding…umm, let’s just say the Red Light District has seen better linens. And I believe I saw a cockroach scurry across the bathroom floor.

We got better at choosing places to stay each evening during the week, with ants replacing cockroaches. And polyester blend replacing plain, old polyester.

We laughed it off and filed the experience away in our memory banks under “Shit Not To Do.”

This past weekend was our anniversary. DH wanted to look at a motorcycle that was for sale on Long Island so we decided to turn it into an impromptu weekend getaway. This time we had about forty-eight hours to (somewhat) plan it out.

Unfortunately, everyone else had the same idea. We couldn’t find a single hotel room anywhere.

Except one. And we soon understood why. Suddenly the memory of that first night on our honeymoon came rushing back (what good is a memory bank when you only deposit but never withdrawal).

img_0557

The best part…this sign.

When we pulled into the parking lot, we noticed the sign right away. It was a throw-back from another era.

Inside the tiny lobby, there were model cars of Thunderbirds and Corvettes. The furniture had a bit of an old, retro feel to it as well, and the clerk was dressed in a costume from the 1950s.

I looked at the girl and said, “oh, so this place is supposed to make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time on purpose.”

Yes.

Except we suspected that perhaps it was just an excuse to not do any kind of renovation at all. You know, since 1956.

After we checked in, she informed us that breakfast was from 7-10am. Awesome. We asked where it would be served.

“Oh, here. In the lobby,” she replied.

DH and I looked behind us. “Umm, here?” Yes, here. There probably was enough room for approximately 4.5 people to stand comfortably in the lobby but whatever works.

img_0539After we made our way up the “rustic” (aka RUSTY) set of stairs that led to the upper balcony, we located the door to our room and opened it with a real key.

The room was a bit old all right but no “retro” furniture to be found. Our suspicions were starting to prove correct.

img_6479Aside from the peeling paint on the wall and broken lampshades hanging above the bed, the sink in the bathroom was clogged and water stood to the rim.

DH called the nice 1950’s lady and she apologized and ran a new key up to us for the room two doors down.

Room #2 wasn’t perfect either, but surprisingly it smelled clean. And it was a place to lay our head for the night. This time around we were too old to have the option of sleeping in the car. So, it would have to do.

I walked over to the window to check out the view of the parking lot, and noticed two tiny ants crawling around on the sill. I gave them a little smack and decided I would keep that little tidbit under my hat. No need to upset the mister.

“What did you just hit?” he asked.

“Oh, nothing really. Just a little ant.”

That little ant turned into about 300 within five nanoseconds. Apparently I disturbed the nest when I tried to kill their brother.

Without giving it a second thought, we picked up our bags and headed for the lobby. When the 1950s girl saw us, she took a deep breath and said, “oh no, what’s the matter now?”

Stayed tuned for Part II — “The Upgrade.”

A Letter To My Daughter’s Dance Teachers

Dear P&T;

While I try to wrap my head around the news of your retirement, while I let it sit and I become used to the notion, I think of how much you have impacted my child’s life these past 12 years.

I know I’m not a hardcore dance mom. I can’t tell you the difference between a horn pipe and a slip jig (just kidding…one is heavy shoe and one is light, umm, right?). I couldn’t name many of the judges and didn’t even know there was an online irish dance forum until 2013 (that’s an exaggeration…it was 2011). But I do know what I know, and that is you have had a tremendous effect on our child’s life.

You were such a huge part of her childhood. You helped raise her. She is the person she is because of you. You have taught her so much in the years she has been under your wing. I can’t thank you enough for giving such a huge part of your life to make such a difference in her life.

We chose you, not only because you are amazing teachers, but amazing men. You are strong in character and superb role models. The manner in which you have conducted yourselves the past few years, most especially this past year, speaks volumes of who you are. I couldn’t be more proud to call you my child’s dance teachers. You have taught her to rise above, to always be kind, while others were less than so.

So, here we are, just days after your announcement and I wanted you to know what you have done for our child.

You have given her confidence and courage. Taught her about teamwork and commitment. You have introduced her to lifelong friends. Taught her about disappointment and how to pick herself up and dust herself off.

You have given her the gift of true sportsmanship and compassion. You have taught her how to take care of herself, be passionate and disciplined. You have shown her respect and how to respect. She has learned how to push herself to her limit, to persevere, and not give up.

All of these things, and more, are skills she will take with her throughout her lifetime. The memories you helped to create will be told time and time again to her own children (Future Irish Dancers of America?).

I cannot begin to make you understand how much we will miss having you so close within our lives. I will think of you often when she competes, dances across the kitchen floor and ties up her ghillies. You will always have a special place in all of our hearts.

Please enjoy the next phase of your lives, and always remember the lives you have touched during your long, wonderful career. You should be very proud. We love you.

Gratefully yours,

Maureen

 

I Am Suffering From a Big A.S.S. Problem

Note: This is not a book review

couch

I just finished reading a book. It’s not a book that was on my list. It’s not even a book that I ever wanted to read. It’s a book that The Kid has been trying to get me to read for months. She swore it would be the “best book ever.” It’s called “The Fault In Our Stars.”

So I read it. Mostly because she wouldn’t get off my back. Just so you know, she’s just about right. It’s not the best book I’ve ever read, but it was pretty damn good.

Anyway, for those of you who are unaware, this book is about a young girl who is dying of cancer. She is an only child.

I came to a sentence in the book where the dying child overhears her mother say to her father, “I won’t be a mom anymore.” Those 6 little words sucked the air right out of me.

I came across that line while waiting for The Kid to finish her physical therapy session. Physical therapy that she has to do twice a week until she gets the strength back in her left leg. One of only a couple of traces left from her accident.

I picked up my head to watch my only child across the room working diligently so she can go back to doing what she loves the most — irish dancing.

And I thought about that little sentence that held such power. With everything I went through the night of the accident, that never occurred to me. If we weren’t so lucky…I can’t make myself say it, so I won’t.

But we were so lucky. So incredibly lucky. I sit in disbelief some days at how lucky we were. How lucky we are.

I have been struggling with my daughter’s accident. This struggle goes against who I am. I am the type of person who gets over things easily and adjusts to change quickly. I forgive, I forget, I move on. I get over crap. I just do.

I watched in horror as my brother almost drowned when I was four. I moved with my family 12 times in as many years because my father was in the service. I was bullied and threatened when I was a young girl. I experienced the tragic loss of friends. I witnessed my child have a febrile seizure when she was 2 years old.

But this? This is a tough one. The first week was the worst. Of course. Then I seemed to be fine. I was. I was fine. And then I wasn’t…fine. Some friends told me, when it first happened, that I need to watch out for PTSD. And that I may want to see a therapist if I suspect that I am suffering from it.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? That’s ridiculous. Isn’t PTSD only for people who actually experienced something bad? I mean, I wasn’t the one hit by the car. And I didn’t actually see the accident. I wasn’t right there. So I can’t visualize it.

Except I can. I “see” it. All the time. I remember the voice of her friend who called me. The terror on the girls’ faces. I remember how frightened my child was. The blood. The ambulance. ICU. My dead cell phone. The adrenaline. I remember the details. All the little details.

I keep going over and over the “what ifs.” What if she was turned a little to the left, or a little to the right? What if she took bigger steps? Or smaller steps? What if the car hit her in a different place on her body? What if the vehicle was going faster? What if she landed differently?

Then I remember her guardian angels. That she was saved and protected. She had to have been. The car that struck her was doing 40 miles an hour. Forty. Why did she walk away from this accident with just a small head injury and minimal damage to a limb?

Was it for a reason? I believe it was. I’m sure the reason will reveal itself in time. That’s a big question that deserves an even bigger answer.

But for now, I struggle. I can’t forgive the city. I need to forgive the city. Because I love the city. I have always loved the city. And I would like to go there without that fear.

I am angry at Lorde. Even though it’s not her fault. We are the ones who purchased the tickets.  We are the ones who let them walk to meet us. I’m sorry Lorde, for this displaced anger. You are really cool. You are an awesome role model. My daughter adores you. I support her adoration for you. I even like your music.

I can’t forget that feeling of dread I had. That feeling, I fear, will never go away.

The guilt. Why wasn’t I there at that moment? If I was there, I would have stopped her from crossing the street. I would have protected her as I have for the past 16 years.

Some of my thoughts are illogical. I know this. But some of these thoughts seem to be beyond my control.

I saw a therapist last week. Because even though I really don’t think I’m suffering from PTSD, I’m suffering from something. I want to learn how to shut it out, how to deal with it in a more manageable way. To quiet my mind. To move on.

I shared with her all of my fears, my anger, the weird decisions I made, my thought processes, my guilt.

Guess what? It’s normal. All of it is normal. It’s what the professionals call Acute Stress Syndrome or Acute Stress Disorder.

I will get over it. I will stop seeing the accident when I look at my daughter. I will stop hearing her friend’s voice in my head when I close my eyes at night. I will stop worrying that every siren I hear is for her. This feeling of dread will go away. I will enjoy the city again. I will be able to hear a Lorde song without thinking of that night.

Umm, well actually. That last one may not be true. I mean, that was the reason we were in the city in the first place. So, yeah. That may take some time.

September of 2014 is a chapter in my life that will always be there. But I have turned the page and am now in the chapter of healing myself. And since my therapy session, because I was given the tools to move on, I am feeling better. I just take it one step, one day at a time.

Yellow Back Seats

keep-calm-and-pee-your-pants-4I want to apologize for not really being around. Besides my little Jeter post the other day, I’ve been out of commission. I’m not sure most of you know what happened. I talked about it on my Facebook page but I know not all of you follow me there.

The Kid was struck by a car a couple of weeks ago. She’s okay now. We had a scary night in ICU where I lost 20 years off my life, but she is a miracle really and is doing really, really great. So, now it’s back to normal. It’s good to be back.

I was reminded of a story from a very good friend of mine. This friend has been in my life since 1979. Probably the one person, besides my family, who I have known the longest.

As you know, I was supposed to be on the Dr. Oz show. I commented on my Facebook page about how I was going to pee my pants because I was so nervous. This has nothing to do with anything about what I am going to talk about, but since when do I not get off topic at least once during a post?

I never made it to the Dr. Oz show because the accident happened the night before. I know, tough decision. The Kid or Dr. Oz. Hmm. I mean I was in the city anyway. I’m kidding people.

So, getting back to my pee story from my youth. I have several pee stories but this one is particularly funny.

I was about 15 years old. I was hanging out with my oldest friend when her mom offered to take us to the local high school parking lot to let us practice driving. Yes, we were underage and without a permit but I think because of statute of limitations or something, all involved are protected.

My dear, oldest friend was a terrible driver (sorry J, but you did fail your driver’s test, remember? Was it twice? Hmm?). I was in the back seat, J and her mother were in front. Driving with J was like being on one of those bucking bronco guys set on the highest setting. I was being thrown all over the backseat (yes, this was also before seat belts were a big deal. And yes, I’m that old).

I tried so hard to hold it in, but I just couldn’t. I never laughed so hard. Okay, so that’s a lie. I have laughed as hard and peed too. Because I have a problem. And the problem has gotten worse since I bore my child because we all know what children do to our bodies.

Anyway, I let it out. All of it. All over the vinyl seat. But I didn’t worry. I knew it would dry up nice since it was vinyl. No one would notice. Except it was my turn to drive. When I got out and J’s mom climbed into the backseat so me and Jen could be up front, she saw it.

And gave out an, “Oh Mo! Not again!” Yes, again. I had done this before on her dining room chair, in her yard, on the floor. My friend J has this ability to make me laugh hard. Even now I have to strap on a Depends if I’m going to see her. Her laugh alone makes me lose it.

So yes, I have a problem. And I have many, many more stories just like that one. So please. If you are going to plan on being funny and making me laugh, just warn me ahead of time so I’m prepared. I should probably just start carrying around a diaper bag. Should I have it monogramed?

As far as my friend J is concerned? I hope you all have a J in your life. J’s are awesome. Love you girl.

 

Two Spacey

Unknown

I don’t know why, but this makes me so, so sad. And old.

I was taught how to type in the 80s.  You know, when they had special classes just for typing.  And you sat at a desk that had a real, live, actual typewriter.  Not one of those things with the autocorrect built in where if you pushed some button it would go and correct your mistake.  You know, the kind that had the little tiny computer screen above the keyboard.  The typewriter I was taught on was the kind where you used carbon paper to correct your mistakes.  The kind with the big handle at the end of the carriage called the RETURN that you manually, with your hand, pushed over when it dinged to tell you that you were at the end of the line.  THAT kind.

This said class was taught by an old lady (love you Mrs. Darling even though you are dead now — RIP) who would walk around with a ruler and smack the back of your hand if you so much as peeked at your fingers.  Peeked, I tell you.  Just so you know, I never got smacked because I never peeked.  Because I was a damn good typist and was a natural.  I really was.  In the day, 95 WPM was my time.  I said, in the day.

Anyway, I was also taught to double space after a sentence.  You know, make two spaces after a period.  One, two.  Well, it seems that the rule has changed.  Somewhere, somehow, it changed.  The rule now is that it is only necessary to type one space after the end of a sentence.

How do I know?  For starters, The Kid has been yelling at me about it for about 2 years.  For some reason, it drives her bat-shit crazy when she sees me type and I put in a double space after the period.  “It’s not necessary, mom.  Why do you even do that?  It’s so weird.”

Of course, I completely ignore her and tell her she knows nothing and to carry on with her day.  Then last week I was looking to enter a short story I wrote into a writing contest.  Guess what one of the rules was?  You got it.  Single space only after a sentence please.  Hmm.

Then, the other day, another blogger shared a post that yet another blogger published.  This dude talked about the sin of the double space after a sentence and how it should absolutely, positively NOT be done.  In fact, he went on to say that people who use them “are everywhere, their ugly error crossing every social boundary of class, education, and taste.”  Ouch.  That’s a bit rough, wouldn’t you say?  Geez, man.  I only put in an extra space after a sentence.  I didn’t walk down 5th Avenue in cut-off, white-washed denim shorts, spitting chew on the sidewalk while hacking a loogie.  Dang.  Can you even spit out chew and hack a loogie at the same time?  I wonder…

So, who says this?  Apparently, Typographers do.  A typographer?  Holy cow, what is a Typographer exactly?  I never even knew such a profession existed.  I suppose there is something for everything.  (If you are just absolutely dying to see this guy’s post, you may do so here.)

I’m not going without kicking and screaming though.  Do you see how many spaces I’ve been including after each sentence in this post?  That’s because I have been doing this for 30 years.  How the hell am I supposed to just suddenly stop my thumbs from hitting the space bar twice after that’s all I’ve ever known.  It’s like chewing with my butt.  Impossible.

Oh well, I guess I’m classless and lack education.  Whatever.  I’ve been called worse.  space space.  You know?

Boxed Wine Equals One Bad Ass

I love wine.  I love wine so much that I drink at least a glass a day.  Did you know that if you drink it in moderation, it’s good for your health?  That’s why I really like it but it also makes me feel relaxed after a long day.  There is nothing like that warm, calm feeling I get after that first sip.  You know, kind of like that feeling you get during a massage but almost better.  I said almost.

Wine can get expensive and I am cheap.  If I could, I would buy my wine in a box all the time.  I would sit that baby up on my countertop with its little spigot and just go and drink from the fountain whenever my heart desired.  It’s there, it’s ready, it’s fully loaded with lots of liquid yummy-ness.

But I can’t.  I’m about to say something that will make you say, “hey Mo, this is waaaay too much information” but that’s okay.  Because we all know that I am all about sharing TMI, putting it all out there.  When do I ever hold back?  Anyway, I discovered that I was sensitive to the amazingly awesome invention of the boxed wine during my engagement party circa 1991.

Here’s how it went down:  I drank a couple of glasses of it, I was having a great time.  The future DH and I were at the front of the room opening our ten thousand gifts when the first “rumble, grumble, pop” hit me faster than a run-away freight train going down the Himalayas.  I excused myself and ran — not walked — to the nearest restroom.  What came out of me was obscene.  And it didn’t stop.  For a very long time.  I had a horseshoe printed on my bottom from sitting for so long.  I’m surprised it wasn’t followed up by a hemorrhoid.  What was especially sad about this story is that when I finally exited the lavatory, most everyone had gone home.  You could hear crickets.  Seriously.

toiletimodium

Yes, that is a pic of me on the left sitting on the toilet.  My wonderful mother snuck her camera up over the stall.  You know, just in case I forgot the turmoil of what was supposed to be a happy day.  The future DH is feeding me some alcohol in the form of Imodium AD.  Does Imodium even contain alcohol?

Was it a coincidence?  Possibly, but I’m not 100% completely certain.  So to test it, I had some boxed wine at Thanksgiving that year.  Just half a glass.  All I can say is that thank God none of the 20+ people in attendance were using the toilets in the house at that moment because it came on strong, hard and sudden.  Although the planter in the hall would have worked just fine as a second choice.  And I would not have had a problem using it.  Not that I really would have had much of a choice.

As if there weren’t enough proof, I actually tried boxed wine one other time after that.  I don’t remember the details exactly but I do remember the same effect.  I’m guessing that there is some kind of preservative they put into boxed wine to make it last longer.  I’m also going to take another guess and say that I don’t get along well with this preservative.  Who knows.  All I do know is that I can’t drink it.  Not even a sip.

So, if I am coming to your house, please don’t serve me wine in a box.  Unless you want to see a show.  Or hear a show.  Or have a sudden septic problem.  Seriously.  Don’t mess with me.  It will backfire.  Pardon the pun.

Advice My Mother Gave Me

What she should have told me was, "bad things can happen if you eat too many carbs."

What she should have told me was, “bad things can happen if you eat too many carbs.”

People will talk periodically about some knowledge that a parent bestowed upon them.  You especially see these little snippets of wisdom come out of an actor’s mouth as he is accepting his Oscar.  And I immediately wonder if I bestow enough wisdom on my own child.  What would my daughter say she learned from me?  “Don’t buy anything that isn’t on sale?”  Probably.

My parents were young parents.  My mom was 25 when she was done birthing her three children.  She seemed to be preoccupied with keeping us all alive.  You know, keeping me from tossing my baby brother off the balcony, remembering to take me in from the snow, figuring out ways to prevent my youngest brother from cracking his head open (long stories).  Truth be told, I don’t remember much in the way of wisdom.

Except this:  “It Builds Character.”  This is what I remember most.  It builds character.  I used to get so frustrated.  “Mom, Danny said I’m flat chested.”  “Well, it builds character.  “Mom, Maria wants to beat me up.”  “It builds character.”  “Mom, I dropped out of high school and want to join the Peace Corps.”  “It builds character.”  (I actually did not do this last one, but you get the picture.)

What the hell did she mean?  “It builds character?”  This is what it meant, to me anyway:  Life is rough at times.  There isn’t going to always be someone there to pick you up.  You really need to figure crap out for yourself.  These difficult experiences toughen you up.  Give you confidence.  Teach you to be strong and forge ahead.

Did it work for me?  I think so.  Well, mostly.  During those moments when I’m fighting the Blue Haired Brigade during Can Can week at Shop Rite, her words come to me.  And I forge ahead.  Every Monday morning, like clockwork.

As for The Kid?  Seriously, don’t buy anything if it’s not on the sale rack.  Saving money builds character.  Or, at the very least, your bank account.

Mama’s Losin’ It
 

School Is Cool. Unless You are Me.

Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop Writing Prompt:  What was your least favorite subject in school?

Mama’s Losin’ It
 

I was not a student.  I’m still not a student.  While I will praise school and push the importance of education until the cows come home on my daughter, I did not continue education for myself.  Because I hated school.

What was my least favorite subject?  Let’s change that question to ask what was my favorite subject.  Actually, let’s change that question again to ask what was the only subject I liked.  You know, in the interest of time.

The only subject I liked was English.  Because it was the only subject I was good at.  And the only subject that interested me.  Being that I’m turning into a quasi-writer, I guess that’s a good thing.  At least I know where the some commas go.  And the difference between their and there.  And too and to.  And I know what a run-on sentence looks like although I always break that rule because in my head a run-on sentence gets my point across better even though everyone probably thinks I’m a dope and knows I’m making a major faux-pas. You should probably not start a sentence with “And” either but I do that because this is my blog and I can.

I did not like Math.  I still don’t know all of my multiplication tables.  Don’t test me because I will fail.  I love and appreciate History now but not so much back in the day.  I could give or take Science.

I absolutely abhorred gym because I was insecure and hated the way my legs looked in shorts.  I was scared to death of Dodge Ball.  (They finally banned that, didn’t they?  See, I knew what I was talking about.)  And I was so happy when I contracted Mono and my doctor said I had to sit out for gym for the remainder of the year.

I didn’t go to college.  I tried.  For 2 semesters.  When I was 20.  The company I worked for was giving me a full ride.  Guess what?  Hated it.  Even free.  Not only that, but I sucked at it.  Big time.  DH and my parents would say that I didn’t try.  But I did.  I just sucked at it.  Or maybe I just sucked at it because I didn’t take any classes that interested me.  I don’t know.

I used to be embarrassed when the inevitable question came up at play group…”what college did you attend?”  I had a speech for this.   I felt the need to explain myself.  Every time.

Now?  The answer is, “I didn’t go to college.”  Period.  End of story.  It’s taken me years to get to this place.  My daughter said to me a few years ago, “You know mom.  You can go back to school.  You aren’t too old.”  It made me realize that I had no interest in going back to school.  And that I shouldn’t be ashamed of my choice.  It’s my choice.  And I have to live with it.

My daughter doesn’t seem to have much of a choice.  It seems that these days you need a degree if you want to be a Professional Ass Wiper (that’s not what she wants to be, I’m just saying that you would need a degree to be one).  But I digress.  Wow.  I just realized that I really digressed.  A lot.  Geez.  Sorry about that.  What was the question?

Oh, right.  So, that’s my answer.  Math, History, Science and Gym.  I didn’t mind Recess.  Oh, that’s not a subject.  Or the answer to the question.  I forgot.  Never mind.