Knowing where to go.

photo credit http://www.sxc.hu/profile/tijmen

It makes me sad that the art of map reading is dying.

You see a GPS in almost every car and I don’t know anyone with a smartphone who doesn’t have a navigation app.

I have three.

My dad made sure that my brother, sister, and I were pros. We played Left-Right-Left-Right (as I’ve mentioned before) and along the way, we learned the art of navigation.

I love maps. And I can’t throw them away. It may be sacrilegious, but I saved all those old maps (and I have a lot of them) and use them as wrapping paper. At least they’re getting used, right? I know, it’s wrong. It’s wrong, right?

But that’s not the point of this post.

The point of this post is finding your way. Finding.

Tonight starts Yom Kippur.

It’s a time of reflection. A time to think about where I’ve been and where I’m going. What I’ve done well and what I can do better.

What can I do better?

I can turn off my technology and turn more attention to my family. I can be more direct. I can apologize less. And be more in tune with what my friends and family need from me. Without being told.

I can be a better, more supportive mother. (I’m pretty darn supportive, but there’s always room for improvement, no?)

I can complain less. I can try new things (metal work????) and learn things that I don’t NEED to learn. I can do more for myself to make me a happier, full-hearted person who can share more with others.

I can be a better, more engaged wife. (Woo hoo – 25 days to Jamaica with the hub!)

I can be happy more and critical less.

I can. And I will.

I’ve been blessed with a wonderful life. A little spit and polish and it’ll be even better.

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True Confessions.

photo credit Ayla87

I have quite a few pairs of jeans. Joe’s, Lucky, Seven for all Mankind, a great pair of skinnies from Urban Outfitters.

And I have a pair of stretchy mom jeans. Yes, they are highrise. Well, not highrise like I wore in junior high, but the waistband hits about an inch below my navel. They are comfortable. Very, very comfortable. They don’t ride up. I don’t worry about muffin top issues. My shirts always hit safely below the line with no stomach showing.

I wear them often. Now, mind you, I rarely wear them out of the house. But.

Today, I did.

And that’s not the worst of it. The legs were rolled up even though the width of the pants legs aren’t ideal for rolling, if you know what I mean. And I was wearing ‘crunchy’ sandals. And a faded, long, pink V-neck t-shirt. And no make-up. And way less than ideal hair.

It wasn’t a good look. And you know what? I didn’t care.

So that’s why I’m writing this.

For years and years and years, I’d see women at the store or at the veterinarian (like I was today) or wherever and I’d think to myself, “Can you imagine going out looking like that?”

And today? I can.

I have few regrets.

photo credit to katagaci

Do you have regrets? I have so few. Really, so few.

I have definitely made some missteps in my life. But I prefer to think of them as detours that led me to my current situation.

And that situation? A husband that adores me and who I think isn’t half bad either 🙂 and 3 amazing sons. Toss in some friends that I couldn’t live without and an extended family that supports my every move.

Sounds perfect, no?

Well, you know how it is. We all have our challenges. But I have to say that my overall sitch? Pretty phenomenal.

And I still have options. I’m looking at new classes. New hobbies. New educational ops.

But there are a few things that are no longer on the table. Things that I sorta wish I’d tried.

Like roller derby.

I know, right?

I always loved skating. Though I wasn’t that great. I loved to go to Skateland and go round and round and round. I could hold my own. I’d have made a great Whippin’ Whirlin’ Wendy.

But I never tried.

And now, sadly, it truly is too late.

Cheers!


What a nice night out in Boston. Dinner at Nico. We had lots of advice. Lots. And as much as we wished we could eat at all the restaurants that our family and friends suggested, we had only one night. I know. What a challenge.

So after a long day and a food tour of the South End, we jumped in a cab to the North End.

I’d like to mention that a family of five has a tough time getting a cab around here. Trust me. Have two kids. MUCH easier. Not that I’d ever give up Max. He’s totally worth scrounging for a cab driver willing to break the rules. And besides, he’s the best cuddler. But I digress.

The pasta was perfect. And trust me, we’re critics.

But the piece de resistance, our waiter brought Limoncello for all of us at the end of the meal. All of us. Including the kids. I thought it was very European of him.

Okay, the boys thought it was gross. That’s fine. Maybe even good.

But it was almost like being in Italy.

And now? We’re back in our hotel. Our incredibly comfortable, fabulous hotel with a pillow bar.

And we’re eating our cannoli from Mike’s.

Vacation is almost over. Sad. But such a great ending.

Don’t believe everything you read.


So, are we food snobs? Yes, probably a lot of people would say so.

Are we spoiled? Yes, Andrew is a kick-ass cook and we eat like nobody’s business.

It’s tough. We’re critical. So shoot us.

But tonight? We’re seriously bummming. Seriously.

I went to opentable. I read all the reviews. FABULOUS.

But I wasn’t confident yet. So I went to yelp. Fabulous review. FABULOUS.

So I made the reservation. Even though we’d considered a cheap beach meal.

Arrived. So cute. High hopes.

We were seated by the kitchen door. Oops. That’s okay. Until we realized that people needed to “excuse me” to push past to the rest room. Yikes. We asked to move. Sure, that’s fine. Weird look from the waitress. I asked (half kidding) “did you want us to move our dishes and napkins and glasses” and she said (in a tone) “yes, please.”

Bad start.

We’d read that caesar salad at the table was fab.

I love caesar salad!

We all ordered. Three of us got the table-side salad.

The show began.

Oh wait, the drinks for the boys – virgin mojitos hadn’t come yet. That’s okay. Soon, I’m sure.

Okay, the salad.

Garlic. Yum. Olive oil. Yes. Mustard?

WTF? Mustard? WHO THE HECK PUTS MUSTARD IN CAESAR SALAD DRESSING? I hate mustard. You must know that.

I grit my teeth. And asked the question.

Yes, she said. Her boss/the chef adds mustard to caesar dressing. And would we like anchovies?

Sure, fine. Whatevs.

Then egg yolks.

Then lettuce. Croutons.

I couldn’t get my mind off the mustard.

There should be a fucking disclaimer. “This caesar salad made non-traditionally and includes mustard of all things. I know. But that’s how it is. Deal.”

So, 1 glass of wine already in me, I tried it.

I’ve had worse things in my mouth.

Truth be told, it wasn’t that bad. But I could definitely taste the mustard.

All of you who’ve told me that I wouldn’t taste the mustard in whatever (crab imperial, Mom?), you’re wrong. i do.

But okay. Fine.

Time for the appetizer. The olive bruschetta. That has so much balsamic vinegar that I swear I couldn’t taste olive. And you know how hard it is to drown out that olive flavor.

Andrew ordered halibut stuffed with crab. When I saw it put down in front of him, I was baffled; what was that scum on top. EWWWWW.

Two boys got a chorizo risotto. Looked great. Another got chicken. Again, fine.

I ordered a ribeye with an onion/mushroom ragout. Sounds great, right? Medium rare. I could hardly wait.

Medium well with a couple onions and ‘shrooms on top. And the saddest gray veggies I’ve ever seen.

While I recognize I’m not a restaurant reviewer and all that jazz, I have to say that this was horrendously disappointing for…

wait for it….

$181.00 before tip.

Oh, and the virgin mojitos DID come before dessert.

Barely.

Call me nostalgic. I don’t mind.


I don’t know why this makes me sad, but it does. The Forest Diner closed this summer after more than 6 decades. Check out the linked blog post and you’ll see that it was a diner encased in a building. I love that. This diner was hiding for years in side the Forest Diner. When you were inside, you could see the transition. I always thought it was pretty neat.

What’s sad to me is that this landmark is leaving. And a shopping center is taking its place. The old motel behind it has already been taken down leaving only a small part of it as evidence that it was there.

It’s not that I don’t like change. (Well, I don’t actually, but that’s not the point.) It’s that I love old things that last. I love seeing things and going places that have history. I love to imagine what it would have been like back in the day.

Maybe that’s why I like national parks and taking the back road so much. (In that song, my favorite line? Put a little gravel in my travel.)

Looking back at the pix from our last trip, I’m starting to see a pattern.

Call me nostalgic. I don’t mind.

Checking out my stats.

So as I checked out my blog stats today (not bad considering my irregular posting schedule these days), I saw that July 29, 2008 was a really great day. So what did I write that day that was so well-liked? As I checked, I couldn’t help but laugh at the lack of depth. I admit, I thought that July 28 and July 29 were funny, though. So, I’m sharing.

 

From July 28, 2008

Today, as I was leaving the grocery store, there was woman standing in front of the automatic exit door. She looked frantic. She was waving her arms over her head, off to the side and up again.

Our eyes met. Obviously the door wasn’t working. She couldn’t trip the motion switch. I could see the panic. Stuck in the Giant forever, her eyes said.

I walk beside her, reached out and pushed the door open.

From July 29, 2008

From billpalmer on Twitter (reposted with permission)

why would my car insurance account even have a password? are we afraid some rogue element is going to sneak in and pay my bill for me?

Scams, power & friends.


It sure has been an eventful week. I can’t possibly tell you everything. So I’ll boil it down to the highlights.

Scams.
Some douchebag (I can’t think of a better way to describe the dude) called my parents’ house and told my 80 year old father that his grandson – my son – was in a Haitian prison and needed money to get out. To make it more realistic, he even had some kid cry on the phone. To my 75% deaf father. I’m grateful that my dad called me and I could tell him that it was absolutely untrue and that he shouldn’t worry. But you know what? It made me very, very angry. I hate predators. I hate that some asshole stressed my dad out. Of course he suspected that it wasn’t quite right. But it seemed possible enough that it was worrisome. Enough that he couldn’t quite ignore it and hang up on the bastard.

I called the police. Not helpful, but I felt better.

Power.
If you haven’t heard about the derecho, you haven’t been paying attention.

It was a crazy storm.

We went to sleep on Friday during the storm. Should I have insisted we all sleep in the basement? Probably. But I didn’t. Fortunately, we were fine. No trees through the windows. No house damage at all. Phew. However, we lost power. Us and our 2 million closest friends.

Ehhh. No big deal. We had candles. Flashlights. Games. Saturday, we chopped the trees that were blocking our driveway and headed out for the daytrip that we had planned to the eastern shore. No worries!

And when we got home, all was well. Well, all except that the house was QUITE WARM. Quite. But we set up the boys in the basement where it was cooler and Andrew and I dealt with the warm temps. No worries!

Except the food was all spoiled. Oh well, it’s not as if we just stocked up on everything at Costco. Oh wait, we did. Crap.

Sunday morning. Somehow, it just keep getting hotter. By later that day, we decided we couldn’t sleep here another night. And that leads me to….

Friends.
So the house was hot. Very hot. And while it wasn’t easy for me, I picked up the phone and called our wonderful friends. “Can we crash at your house?” And of course (and no surprise) they said, “yes.” And added, “we’re glad you asked.”

And I think they meant it. Even though their kids are away and they had the house to themselves. (wink, wink) And even though it was the eve of their 17 year anniversary. And even though we were going to create a tremendous amount of laundry including sheets and towels. And by the time we gotten there, they’d set up air mattresses for the boys and turned the guest room into an oasis for Andrew and me.

It was perfect. And then, the next morning we got our computers and our notebooks and we set up shop in the dining room (me) and the office (Andrew). Basically> We took over the house.

And we were so grateful.

When the power at our house came back on Monday late in the day, we transfered all our technology back home. And now, just over 24 hours later, I can barely say how much we appreciate that we could have this continuity. And I can barely describe how grateful we are to our friends. Everyone should have friends this wonderful. We are truly blessed.

Now, our house is back to normal. The well is working, so we can flush the toilet (woo hoo) and take showers. The temperature is perfect. The lights are on. Basically, it’s like it always was but now we appreciate it more.

So that’s my week. How was yours?

Reflecting


Nothing like college visits to make me stop and think about life.

So it’s fitting that we stopped in Millennium Park in Chicago and took this picture.

Life just isn’t that clear. Not looking back or looking forward.