Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Pensive thoughts today...

Yesterday I received a very interesting phone really affected me.
It was from an old friend; one that I haven't spoken to in about 8 years.
Remember my post from a few weeks back about friends, and the categories in life within which they fall?

This used to be an "A" friend.
Who I don't think can ever work her way back up...

The conversation kept me up last night...I couldn't stop thinking about it.
What can you do, when you know you can't help someone, because they have to help themselves.....

Monday, November 28, 2005

Its beginning to look alot like Christmas...

Tonight, we did our traditional decorating of the tree. Hot chocolate, holiday music, snacks...lots of "oohs and ahhhs" as my son saw ornaments that he did not remember from last year - as of course, he's only 4. My daughter unfortunately was not with us when we finished - she was in bed, but of course - every night is an official "lighting", so I can't wait to capture her expression tomorrow when we turn on the lights. And while the tree was up when she went to bed, she's going to love all the colors and "fluffy" ornaments that are on there now. There's nothing better than living vicariously through your children....

Photographs don't do a tree any justice when it's lit...but I thought I'd share the finished product anyway! From older ornaments made by my mom when I was a child (including my teddy bear angel topper, which I hadn't straightened out prior to taking this picture...oops!), to new Victorian and "fou fou" ornaments, to ornaments given to us over the years from close friends, to ornaments made by our son - our tree is a reflection of who we are. To me, it says "home".

Tomorrow - the caterpillar will become a butterfly because the house will not only be completely decorated inside - but the outside will be lit as well.

And aching back can relax!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The metamorphosis has begun....

The transition from autumn to winter began at our house today. Down came the harvest decorations, and in their place went all of the winter accessories. I don't do holiday decor outside, because I keep everything up until spring; so I keep it all holiday netural. But the indoor decor says "Christmas".

I say the transition "began" because we haven't completed the passing of the torch on seasons until the tree has been decorated, and every Santa Claus from around the world has been strategically positioned. From the holly berry garland on the mantle, to the single candle in each all has "it's place". We're going to do our tree-trimming tradition late Monday afternoon, into the evening. As this is my daughter's first Christmas outside of being an infant, it's important that we have the tree decorated prior to the rest of the house. We need to capture that moment of wonder when we turn on the tree for years to come.

I'm already planning my holiday menu...and I'm just torn on what to do for the main course. This is the one holiday that I do a formal meal; even when I host other holidays, while it's sit down - it's not to the extent of Christmas. This is the one dinner I like to go all out... everything is extra pretty and fancy - and I like the meal to match in it's elegance.

Lots of ideas floating around in my head, but need to find something....decadent.

I'm off to go make ornaments with my son...I got this fun stained glass ornament kit. He's all excited, and this is the first year we'll have his homemade ornaments on the tree. This is the stuff memories are made of....

Friday, November 25, 2005

"Don't you just love a bargain"...

No, I did not attempt the Christmas Tree Shop today. Although I could be a walking informercial for them and every other store that I love. When I like something, I can't hide my enjoyment. And I have to touch everything... From ornaments to clothing, I'm all about the look and the feel. I'm alot of fun to shop with - at least my aunt thinks so! She came with me today, and we got quite a bit accomplished. We have my nephews birthday party on Sunday, so of course - we had to get him presents. And she bought Christmas gifts for my daughter and my niece. I didn't buy any holiday gifts for anyone yet. That's a one-day extravaganza, and I just can't bring myself to do it yet. That's a fun, "playing hookie from work" kind of day. Coming soon....

I did, however - go to Michael's Crafts. Where I got these 4ft pre-lit entranceway trees! I can't wait to put them on my front porch - I've always wanted them, and they're normally $69.99. Can you say $29.99? I was giddy walking out of the store. There are few things in life that can me me feel "high". Getting a score of a bargain - that is one of them.

I love, love, love this time of year....
May all your days be merry and bright!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

For a limited time only...

Are you as full as I am at the moment?
Must be all the tryptophan in the turkey....
Or maybe it's just that I ate alot. Naaaaah. I'll blame it on the turkey.

I wanted to share a quick peek of the kids with you.
Not the greatest picture of my daughter, but it's really difficult to get a 16 month old to sit still.
Actually, that's the beginning of another post I have coming regarding traditional photography over digital.

But I digress...

So here they are, for a limited time I will be pulling this post relatively quickly as you parents out there can surely understand.


My son & my daughter...they make it all worth while!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Tag, I'm it!

First off - before any fun - I just want to wish you all a happy, healthy and safe Thankgsiving. Enjoy, celebrate and cherish the time spent with your family and friends...

It's been some time since I've been tagged! And I'm always happy to share...Thanks Jerry!

Rules are as follows :
Remove the blog at #1 from the following list and bump everyone up one place; then add your blog to the #5 spot.
Breazy 2. Blither 3. Lily4. Jerry 5. Rebecca
Next select 5 friends:
1. Clew 2. Glitter 3. Dale 4. Big White Hat 5. The TaTas Girl

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Ten years ago, I was in a relationship that was destined to fail; getting myself emotionally/psychologically ready to leave...and contemplating moving to Los Angeles.

What were you doing 1 year ago ?
Last year I was getting ready to have Thanksgiving at my house! My mom came in from Florida, and we had all of my side of the family over for dinner, as well as an open house for dessert. It was my daughter's first Thanksgiving.... and our first year with a fake tree. The first year our little family of 4 was complete and together.

5 snacks you enjoy :
Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Cool Ranch Doritos, Peanut Butter Pretzels, Potato Chips, Jalapeno & Cheddar dip

5 songs to which you know all the lyrics :

Aaaah. So many, what to choose. Buffalo Stance, You Give Love a Bad Name, More than Words, Bomwiddabom, Innocent Man

5 things you would do if you were a millionare :
Take care of our extended family; hire a financial advisor; donate to charity; buy Red Sox season tickets behind home plate; move (not necessarily in this exact order, by the way...)

5 bad habits :
Cracking my gum (I annoy myself sometimes), wicked lazy about laundry (you know it's bad when I use "wicked"), I'm an aggressive driver, I'm overly sarcastic at times, I tend to talk too loudly when I'm on the phone

5 things you like doing : (Mom hat is not on here!)
Eating cheap chinese food with a glass of wine; going to concerts; working out; driving in my car and singing; cooking

5 things you would never wear again :
Hmmm. I don't really have any of these...

5 favorite toys :
My computer and that's about it. I don't have any toys, although someday....I'd like for us to have a Harley. And a boat.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

How Appropo...

You Are Pumpkin Pie

You're the perfect combo of uniqueness and quality
Those who like you are looking

for something (someone!) special

As I was browsing blogthings looking for something cute, I took this - and since I ended up being THE ultimate Thanksgiving dessert - I figured I'd post it!
My Thanksgiving this year is going to be at my Mother in Laws. I was supposed to be bringing candied sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie - but I got a call yesterday saying that one of my sister in law's is planning on doing all the baking, so not to bring the pie. But I really wanted to make one! Well, that's okay. One less thing for me to have to do I suppose. See, there's a silver lining in every cloud. (God, I love my rose colored glasses! Feel free to borrow them at any time!)
So much to be thankful for this year, as every doesn't matter where you spend the day, who cooks what; the most important thing is that you cherish those around you who matter.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Before I was a "mom"...

I was talking with my son Saturday night as I was tucking him into bed, and we had a serious talk. We do alot of serious talking at bedtime; it seems that's when we both tend to get pensive and have these intimate "Mother & Son" conversations. It started this time, because when I hugged him I said "you know, I love you and your sister so much - words can't describe it. It's like my heart is outside of my chest and it's sooooo big that I can't even see the sides of it to wrap my arms around it. That's how much I love you. Does that make sense?" And he says "yes, it means it's the biggest love in the world". Then he said, "When I have kids, I don't want you to be their Grandma, I want you to only be my Mom." And I laughed, and said "well, I have to be their Grandma, wouldn't I be a great Grandma?" to which he replied, "yes, but if you're their Grandma, that would mean that you would be old...and that means you'll be gone someday. I don't want you to ever be gone - and I want you to always be young like this and just be my Mom". I didn't even know what to say....My son is what most would say is an "old soul". He's kind, sensitive and exceptionally in tune with those around him. I'm so very much looking forward to seeing how my daughter is, because she reminds me alot of how he was as a baby. Maybe she won't be similar....maybe she will be. But I'm truly looking forward to finding out, and cherishing her thoughts and special "Mommy & Me" moments as I do with my son.

This is something I received over email last night, and thought it was fitting for today's post. Especially at the end.
You may have already seen it.....Enjoy.

Before I was a Mom, I made and ate hot meals.
I had unstained clothing. I had quiet conversations on the phone.

Before I was a Mom I slept as late as I wanted And never worried about how late I got into bed. I brushed my hair and my teeth everyday. Before I was a Mom, I cleaned my house each day. I never tripped over toys or forgot words to lullabies.

Before I was a Mom, I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom,I had never been pooped on... Spit up on...Chewed on...
Peed on... Or pinched by tiny fingers.

Before I was a Mom,I had complete control of myself:
my thoughts, my body, and my mind.

Before I was a Mom, I never held down a screaming child so that doctors could do tests or give shots. I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom,I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put it down. I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt. I never knew something so small could affect my life so much.I never knew that I could love someone so much.

I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a Mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important.

Before I was a Mom,I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every ten minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth... The joy... The love...
The heartache...The wonderfulment...
Or the satisfaction of being a Mom.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Great Olympia...

Last night, I watched the Mr. Olympia competition. I've never been attracted to big muscle head kind of guys; that look just doesn't do it for me. And while I can appreciate some of the amazing physiques that some people are genetically blessed with, I never was drawn towards that type of crowd. Similar to LA, Boston has always had a big body building community, and many girls - especially on the north shore - loved being associated with them. Not this girl. I think it's a very vain, narcissistic "sport", and on top of that - the damage that it does to their bodies, in my opinion - far outweighs the goal that very few of them ever achieve. Even the elite Mr Olympia only wins $25,000; he probably spends almost double that just on "product" to look that way. (My husband used to bodybuild. I'm always thankful that he stopped before I met him. He's a boxer, so he's in great shape anyway, and he trains hard; but he's not a "musclehead".) You can always tell the ones who use growth hormones...their chins look oddly long. Think Jay Leno. I often wonder if it hurts them to have their jaw bones grow at this older age in life. Most of these guys who compete in these competitions look far older than their age, are often balding...and just look so weak despite their mass because they deplete so much water to rip up for the competition. I can't imagine what they look like when they're in their down time mode.

But, there are some who are as I said - genetically blessed with a certain build that they don't need growth hormones; while they use other products to bulk up. they look relatively "normal" despite their size. There is one such person who I really, really like. Not only did he look relatively normal during the competition - I've seen pictures of him when he's not in this Olympia mode - and he looks great. Handsome. Beautiful even. His wedding photo of he & his wife is stunning ( I mean, they're both stunning!). He is by far, the most gorgeous body builder, narcissistic muscle head I've ever seen. (Have I eaten enough of my words here???) His body, I could do without...but that face.....

Meet Mr. Olympia's 4th place contestant, Gunter Schlierkamp. To me - just seeing him alone was worth watching the competition.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

My "Other Half"...

I met my husband the summer of 1996, on my sister's 21st birthday. We went on our first date two weeks later; he moved in 2 weeks after that. We were serious from the start...but I knew he was "the one" shortly after we started seeing each other. He always called me "honey", and I never - ever - called anyone that before. It just wasn't me - I never felt like I could be that way. With my just came naturally. We married in 1999.

My husband and I are complete opposites in many ways. That is a great thing, because we balance each other out in different areas. I'm very even keeled and laid back - which helps him out, as he' s a worrier. I'm not very good with budgeting - he's amazingly meticulous with bills, tracking interest - and just math in general. We're a great team, because we're the other half of a whole. Because of this, we've been able to buy and sell real estate and work towards hopefully securing our future. With our store, I handle the "business" aspect of things: acquisition, financing, lawyers, PR, advertising. He handles the other "business": the ordering, the bill paying, selection of inventory, the personnel. We're both the business, as a whole.

My husband came from a less than
ideal upbringing. It was a very hard one - it makes me feel very sad to think of how it was for him when he was young. He never let it hold him didn't define him. He's one of the most generous, kindhearted people I've ever met - sometimes to a fault. And I think he uses the disadvantages he had as a child work as an advantage to him as an adult. There's nothing that makes me happier than seeing him with our children. Sitting on the recliner with them....or reading our son a bed time story. Those things, above all - make me fall in love with him over again. It isn't the gifts he might give me, or anything like that. Those are nice and I love them....but - there's nothing like seeing a man be a "Dad". That, is sexy.

I love that he calls me "Dolly". I love that he doesn't complain about my idiosyncrasies. I love that he still thinks I'm a "hottie". I love that he works so very hard so that we can have a good life and so that our children will hopefully have all of the things in life that he didn't have. I love his wit, his shyness, his sharp judge of character.

I just love him.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Imperfection is fun!

My children watch Noggin, and there are a variety of musical songs that play throughout their programming. I hear them and they often stick with me. For days at a time. They're really quite good actually -and they're positive and self esteem type building songs - which I love. One of the songs is called "I'm not Perfect".

"I'm not I'm not. I'm not perfect, but I've got what I've got. I do my very best, I do my very best, I do my very best each day...but I'm not perfect. And I know you love me that way..."

As I was laying in bed last night, hearing the song in my inspired me to list some of my own quirks. We all have them - those idiosyncrasies that make us each who we are. So, sit back and enjoy as I list some of my hangups and habits that can only be described quirky, bizzare, anal - and sometimes just downright annoying.

No - I don't have OCD, or anything like that. hahhaa. I just am particular about things.
And there are far more than I've listed here...but this is enough for today.
Hey - if you can't laugh at yourself - who can you laugh at?

1. I chew ice cubes for fun. They're delicious. (As you're cringing, I have to tell you - I have no cavities, so this isn't an issue for me!)
2. I eat my food on my plate in order. I usually start with the starch, move to the vegetables and then finish with the beef/chicken/fish. I don't mush it all together, and I can't take "a little of this and a little of that" on my fork at once. I try, but I like to really enjoy each thing I'm eating individually.
3. I'm nuts about windexing my kitchen table. Truly.
4. You must drink wine out of a wine glass at my house. No mugs allowed!!!! Mugs are for coffee and hot cocoa. (MOM!)
5. My radio stations are programmed by genre. I can't have my music all mish mashed. That's just wrong!
6. Speaking of which, my cd's are organized by genre, and then alphabetically. Oh - and of course, by genre alphabetically overall.
7. I can't wear a shirt tucked in. Ever. That's like nails across a chalkboard for me.
8. I can not sleep barefoot. My feet get cold and I wake up. I always sleep with socks.
9. I hate being barefoot in general. I need to have a shoe or something on my foot. I never understood how people can walk barefoot on hot pavement.
10. I whistle. Alot. I don't even when I do it. I'll get a song stuck in my head - and I'll be whistling it all day long. It's weird because it gives the impression of being very happy. People will always say something witty like "wow, you're really happy huh?", or "Whistle while you work...". Not that I'm not very happy because I am. But, I just don't think about being happy while I do it -nor is it why I'm whistling. I'm whistling because I've been cursed with a song that's been stuck in my head, like "I'm not Perfect".

See how it all comes full circle? :)
Think about your little idiosyncrasies today, and have a good laugh - on you!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Life is just too short...

Over the past week I learned about a feud that has recently erupted in my family - between my father, my aunt (his sister), and my grandmother (his mother). My parents live in western Florida, my aunt in Central - my grandma in Southern. My Grandma's condo was at Ground Zero basically for Hurricane Wilma, and so she stayed at her brother's house in a safer location; still Southern Florida, but not quite so in the mix of it all. Once things calmed down a bit and it was safe for my Grandma to go back home - my Dad offered to drive to help her get re-situated.

My dad's side of the family is very strongminded and emotionally strong in general. The women tend to be very much the ones to control the situations. However, my dad has that trait as well. (As does his daughter!) So sometimes, when a group of very strong personality types get together you'll have conflict, right? Well, needless to say this is true in my family. But..... (and there's always a "but", and in this case - there are many!)

Altercations don't happen often within the extended family. My Dad's side of the family moved away from Boston when I was 10. We were no longer involved in their "day to day" lives - nor them in ours. We only saw my dad's side of the family every 3-5 years, and so when you see your immediate family so infrequently, it's like a holiday celebration when you do fnally get together; and so any grievances that you may have with them don't get mentioned - because who wants to waste time on that? You want to enjoy the time you have, so you let it go. One would think that there wouldn't be things to even be upset over, but believe me - it happens.

My Papa passed away just under three years ago now; my Grandma was with him for I think 57 years or something to that effect. She handled it exceptionally well...maybe too well, some might say. Her brother is dying as we speak -and he's the closest person to her aside from my Papa. So she's sort of reliving my Papa's passing again. My Aunt's husband literally dropped dead less than a year ago, entirely unexpectedly - after 40 years of them being together. And on top of all this - my Grandma is coming home to a water damaged apartment where all that she has left of her life with my Papa has been damaged. Not ruined fortunately...but damaged. She has got to be feeling a little overwhelmed, right?

So my Dad is there helping her, and tensions are already running high obviously. It seems that my Grandma had a "meltdown", and unloaded 20 some-odd years worth of anger, frustrations, dissapointments right onto my Dad. Being cut from the same cloth as her - he gave it right back. Was it stuff that was silly, some of it? Sure. Did some of it have valididty? Absolutely. But unfortunately, when you don't interact with your family on a daily basis for that period of time, you don't have the luxury of addressing small things at the moment - and so it builds and builds...and then WHAM. And the recipient is standing there thinking "where the heck did this come from?". My aunt - jumped on the bandwagon with my Grandmother and agreed with her on certain issues. So, my Dad, absolutely livid about it all - drove home in the middle of the night. Which, I don't begrudge him for. He obviously was angry and hurt. He did attempt to talk with her a few days later and it was civil - but my Grandma, while very warm to me - I guess isn't that warm as a "mom" type, and I guess my Dad was less than satisfied with her reaction. AND......He feels that he's been verbally abused and doesn't need to put up with it. So he's all set with her...he's not talking with her anymore. While my Grandma may not be a warm person, I do know that she is a very proper person; I hardly doubt he was "abused". That is being rather extreme. My Dad isn't always the warmest person either...he tries, but struggles with it. All the more reason for him to maybe try and understand her reactions?

My advice to my Dad is this: Take one for the team. Both women have been through dramatic changes and devastating losses. Maybe, this was Grandma's way of dealing with everything, and unfortunately - he was in the line of fire. It happens. And besides - if you can't unload on your family, who can you unload on? Chalk it up to a bad day - she's your mom, and elderly - give her a pass and let it go. Understand the motivation of what caused her to feel like unloading, and respect that. Stop thinking "poor me, my feelings are hurt", because truly - it probably wasn't truly about you in the big scheme of things. It was a release in general. You were just the closest target.

My dad insists no - he's done with her. (Hmmmm. Stubborn. Bullheaded. Strong willed. He can't see the parallel here?!??!)

So if you're reading this Dad: Life is just too short to waste your time on stupid things like hurt feelings when it comes to a silly arguement once in 20 years, and when it's your mother. Sometimes, you just got to let it go. And it's not as if no one has never lashed out irrationally before. We all have. So cut Grandma some slack. Besides - you moved away from your family too. And you know what - you just never know - you might find youself having a similar conversation with one of your daughters some day. Life can be funny like that......

Monday, November 14, 2005

"Monday, good to me"

It's an absolutely beautiful day here today. It's almost 70 degrees, and I'm thinking it's waaaaay too nice to be at work today! But....I'm here.

The weekend was relaxing, and yet - I still didn't manage to accomplish the reorganizing of my closet! But that's okay - it will get done; I started it - just haven't finished. I managed to watch "Saving Private Ryan" one and a half times this weekend. Half way on Friday -- fully on Saturday. I love that movie. I had an uncle that was there in France; we were never, ever, ever allowed to ask him about his military experience. It was a taboo topic. He passed away prior to that movie coming out, but after seeing it - I got a small taste as to why he was not at all open to talking about his history.

And while I've got some ideas on things I want to post throughout the week, I don't really have much to say for today, other than I'm very happy the holiday season is upon us. Thanksgiving is a week away! This is my favorite time of the year - and I'm so very thankful that my core little family of 4 is happy, healthy and together. No matter the size of family is- whether it's 2, or 25 - so long as you're happy and healthy, it's all good.

Have a wonderful day.........

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Quiet,'s Saturday

Our store is a generally busy one, but we definitively have a busy season. It usually picks up a bit in October - but gets very busy from Thanksgiving through New Years. This year, it seems that it picked up in September, which is a great thing for business...but means my husband has to work long hours and 6 days a week. He works 7 days a week anyway - but I mean he has to be there physically for 6. Some days during the week, say a Monday - he might be able to leave early; but that's about it. It's not all that terrible - I mean, it's a short time to have to sacrifice, but the kids and I miss being able to hang out with him. We get a little spoiled because the summer is such a slow time, he can come and go as he pleases.

Today, the kiddies and I went to the mall and walked around for a bit - had some Chinese food which is my son's absolute favorite. I had planned to browse Christmas Tree Shop, but....since I picked him up a game he really wanted at the mall, his motivation was to go home. Not such a bad thing - I got to clean the house and relax. Yes, I do find cleaning the house relaxing. Almost therapeutic. My aunt came over and visited with us for a while...I got the kiddies dinner, a bath - and shortly it will be bedtime.

My husband will make it home just in time to read our son a story for bed....I've got steak marinating in the fridge with some salad and roasted potatoes. And - I'm nursing a headache. I am so looking forward to just hanging out with him, having dinner - a glass of wine - and watching a little television.

I think we both can use a little quiet time tonight.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Ask not what your country can do for you...

Growing up, Veteran's Day was a holiday. A full blown one, which meant everything was shopping, not even most gas stations were open. There were parades, memorials and tributes made to those who have fought - and continue to fight - to keep the stars and stripes forever.

Today it seems to be nothing more than a shopping day...or a day off from work. And even that trend seems to be disappearing, as most people I know are at work today. I was one of the shoppers - food shopping with my daughter. I did not see one parade, nor did I see many people at the cemetaries I drove by - something that in years previous would hold up traffic; there would be a line to get in and place flowers or flags at the graves of our soldiers who have passed. What a sad statement that is...and I'm not exactly sure why.

No matter where you stand politically, and regardless of how your views may be towards our current administration - today is a day where we should remember and say "thank you" to those who risk their lives every day as their job. Our military is a free one - people join by choice. And we should honor and respect that choice, as well as be thankful that there are people like them around who fight these wars and risk their own that we don't have to.

Other countries aren't so lucky to have a volunteer military...Other countries aren't so lucky about alot of things. And while we're quick to cast stones and talk about how "embarrasing it is to be American at this time", we should probably take a step back and remember that fact. It wasn't so long ago that we had a draft. People argue over who "dodged" and who didn't still today. Be proud and supportive of your troops, especially in today's world. Respect their choices. Because they are fighting in honor of the very principle that allows you to voice discontent and unhappiness within our own government. Our freedom is something that we take for granted.

`Freedom has a taste to those who fight and die for it that the protected will never know' written by an American soldier on a Hanoi wall.

If nothing else, just pay a moment of tribute.
This is what you can do for your country.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

My wishlist....

Long before I started blogging - I created a list of "things to do before I die". I think most of us have done this at one time or another. I found the list not too long ago, and realized that I'm quite fortunate - I've accomplished a great deal of them. Some of them were relatively simple, such as having a family...or going apple picking. (Yes, prior to two years ago, I'd never been apple picking. Isn't that a sin?!?!?!) Some of them were more grand, such as owning my own business, or pampering myself in some luxurious way. I initally had 70 things listed - I'm now down to 21. Keep in mind, I wrote this wishlist initially in 1998; so I've had some time to work on it!

This is going to sound very self centered, as it's all my personal wants and desires. There are many things that could fit on this list that I as a "Mom" would like to accomplish, but I'm keeping this list as my own indulgence. Most of the things on here, I may never achieve....some I may. But the good thing is, this is a living and breathing will always change, it will always grow. Just as we as people should never remain stagnant - nor should our wishes and dreams.

Maybe some of these are things you can add to your own lists.....maybe you've already done some of them. But feel free to share some of your wishes too!

1. I'd really like to Skydive/Freefall
2. Drive in a Demolition Derby - I can so do that.
3. I really want to drive a stock car
4. Can you believe I own a wine shop and have never been to Wine Country? I'd like to tour it soon.
5. Ride in a jet, pulling 9G's (and since I work on base, I'm thinking someday.....)
6. Go on a culinary tour of New Orleans (once it's rebuilt!)
7. Visit the French Countryside
8. See the Louvre
9. Visit the Italian Countryside
10. Attend King Richard's Faire
11. See John Edward in person
12. Go on an African Safari
13. Participate in the breast cancer three day walk
14. See U2 in the "inner circle" (I'm sort of a concert snob, if my seats aren't right up front, I don't enjoy the show as much.)
15. Take a class in specialized cuisine, e.g. French, Mexican, German
16. Learn how to decorate a cake
17. Take a class on how to handpaint wine glasses so they look pretty
18. I'd love to start a catering or event planning business.
19. Own a Donna Karan suit
20. Go to the Symphony
21. Sit behind homeplate at Fenway

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

South African Soiree - and tasting notes!

Well, the tasting went wonderful....I had so much fun! I always have a great time at these wine parties, since I'm so not shy! I love encouraging people to sample and educate them on what they're tasting in a fun way. And - I was concerned that my South African knowledge may not be as strong as it should be, so it was quite comforting when the Consul was there, and he complimented me on my "excellent grasp" on the nuances on the wines and the reasonings behind them (e.g. climate, American culture, grape blends) etc. Whew......

So, for those of you who would like to know what we tasted, here's a brief "in a nutshell" breakdown/description. Consider it a "virtual sip", if you will.

Graham Beck Railroad Red Reserve Shiraz 2003: This Shiraz is not as big as most Shiraz' tend to be. It's rich in color, but falls short on the big round taste that it's Australian cousin has. This Shiraz leans more towards it's other cousin, Syrah - and this particular Shiraz actually pairs better with lambs, stews and game foods which is more typical of Syrah; whereas an Australian Shiraz pairs great with barbecue and hearty beef. If you like Syrah, this SA Shiraz is your choice.

Wildekrans Pinotage: Pinotage is the signature wine of South Africa. Either one likes Pinotage, or one doesn't - very few fall in the middle. This particular Pinotage is softer than most - it's been blended very well so that it suits American palates moreso than other Pinotages. This style of wine usually has a "twist" - it dances on your tongue (I love Pinotage). However, this particular Pinotage is something you would enjoy if you enjoy Merlot.

David Frost "Gene Sarazen" Cabernet Sauvignon 2000: This is a good tasting Cabernet, however, it is not a big one; so if you are a fan of traditional Cabernet, you may find this falls short. Pleasant tasting, great color - but just not big. It's sweet and jammy, and after being decanted - it opens up some; but truly should be held a little while longer to drink.

Ken Forrester Sauvignon Blanc: Not quite as crisp and acidic as a New Zealand SV, but quite nice. A good fruit flavor when served room temperature; chilled- it's a little thin. Pineapple and Melon on the finish. Decent enough, but if you're a classic NZ SV fan - this you will not love.

Graham Beck"Pinno" Unoaked Chardonnay: (I love unoaked Chard!) South Africa is catching on to the trend of steel casking their Chardonnay as Australia and NZ have done. This tastes more typical of a SV than a Chardonnay because it's so full, and has a nice acidity to it. Chardonnay is up and coming in the South Africa wine making circles - it's always been secondary to the Sauvignon Blanc. Unoaking it - will bring it forward in the drinking trends. Crisp, fruity and round. If you'd like to try a very interesting unoaked Chardonnay -not South African - try Kali Hart. Let me know what you think.

Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc: This wine is one that is not being produced much by South African wine farms because it's quite difficult to produce one that is not too thin. This is a very full bodied Chenin Blanc - and for those who don't normally like white wine - this particular Chenin Blanc is a good one to try. It's tight and dry - but sweet.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this little tour of South Africa....Cheers!


Monday, November 07, 2005

Potpourri of craziness...

Will the chaos never end? I'm so very much looking forward to this weekend. We've got a girls night planned with my potluck " sisters" (aka "the Aunties") which will be a great way to wind down the busy schedule I've had over the past month or so. It's a Shopping Soiree.... should be a ton of fun.

Tomorrow night, my husband and I are hosting a South African wine tasting for a law firm in Boston. The General Consulate for South Africa will be there. It's a little intimidating only because South African wines aren't something I drink on a regular basis. So my studying for this party is predominantly book work, since I won't be tasting 4 of the 6 products until right before we get started. (Of course, we have to sample prior to tasting, to ensure the bottles aren't corked. ) So it's going to be three hours of tasting, talking, sampling, educating and dare I say - selling. We're doing this in a format less traditional than most of my wine parties, so I think there will be better opportunity to acquire some purchases from attendants than usual. We don't go with a pitch to sell, that's not the goal of our parties. But where this is a corporate function as opposed to a private home party, there's always the chance that someone will want to order what they're drinking. So that would be nice....

I do believe I'm actually going to make it back to kickboxing/karate this evening. I hope so - I could use an outlet for some stress, as well as an energetic "pick me up". While I like feeling energized in the a.m. with daylight savings - I despise the weary, tired and sleepy feeling I get around 4:15 pm. By 6:30, it feels like midnight! I couldn't imagine living in Alaska where it's dark 24 hours at a time for a period of weeks.

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Card Carrying Member of the "I hate Brenda" club..

As we were flipping through the channels last night, I got to see the reunion show for one of my all time favorites: Beverly Hills 90210. (Try to suppress your laughter!) I've already seen this reunion, and as poorly done as it was - I had to watch it again. Because I just loved the series while it was on....and yes - I was crushed when it was over. I literally hung onto every second of the series finale because I couldn't believe it was actually going to be over.

While I was 5 years older then this group, (although I think most of the actors might have actually been older than me!) they were a definite reflection of things that were going on and that people in my generation were facing - even us normal type people -outside of the 90210 zipcode. Overdramatic - sure. Sugarcoated and glossy- absolutely. But it still addressed real topics and kept it dramatic and interesting without being too dramatic for the younger viewing audiences that it had attracted.

I had my crushes. First it was Steve....then it was bad boy Dylan...and then, as I matured - I liked "nice guy" Brandon. I had the girls I loved - and the ones I loved to hate. YES, I hated Brenda. But, at the same time.... when I knew she was going to get her heart stomped on by her best friend and her boyfriend, I couldn't help but cheer her on when she confronted them and wrote them off. How could I not relate to her having her heart broken? I ripped up my "I hate Brenda" membership card and cheered her on. I did end up disliking her again...but I knew her presence was shortlived, and so I moved on as well.

Donna was a doll - and I loved that she ended up marrying David. And Kelly and Dylan after all that time, did belong together. I love a happy ending, and 90210 gave that to me.

I wasn't a GENX'er....But I was the 90210 generation. And I still try to catch every rerun that I can. :)

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Feelin' like Shania...

So, how did my morning start you ask? Well...
I broke a nail. Really, really low. So that it was bleeding.
One of those "Oh my God, are you alright? " kind of breaks...and as much as it hurts, you know it's bad, because your girlfriend is standing there and can't believe what she saw. I'm not a yeller... I just sort of cursed and got real quiet.
Did it hurt you ask? Yes, it absolutely did.

I have a fundraiser that I'm attending on Saturday evening for Angelflight. I don't have a whole lot of available time, so I've already gotten my nails done for this. So, as I was bringing a case of wine to one of the Amy's at work, I grabbed the handle of the cardboard box - and you can imagine what happened next.

My nails are really one of the only high maintenance things about me. I love having them look nice, and especially when I've got this, I'm going to have to creatively figure out a way to get it fixed sans kids - which is no easy task, I assure you. Did I mention that I don't have a dress to wear...............? Everything that I own is either "Academy Award" type formal, or business oriented. Thinking this might be time for some creative improvisation. I'll figure something out.

Well, if this nail break is the way my day started, I can only imagine what lays ahead of me....

"Honey I'm home....."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Cycle of Friendship

I've come up with a theory about friends. It's relatively simple - and I think it helps put perspective upon times when a friend seems to fade out of the picture of your life, and you aren't exactly sure why. See, as a kid - I wasn't able to have a large group of friends like I have today. For some reason, none of my friends liked each other, it was almost a competitive thing; so I had to have very seperate times with my friends. Sherry didn't like Karen; Karen didn't like Sharon. Sharon didn't like Sherry or Karen, but tolerated Michelle. Michelle didn't like any of get the picture. It made doing things together difficult, and made keeping the friendships even more difficult. But I loved them all, as they were all so different - yet so much like me in many ways - it was worth the efforts.

Over the years, I've been fortunate to be able to build a large group of friends. Not all of them are part of one group - but just about all of my friends know each other, and there is none of that competitiveness. Big sigh of relief... At the same time, there's always the friend that was so near and dear - that just disappears. Despite the efforts of calling, writing, sending cards, etc., they just don't seem to have time. We all have a friend like this. It used to bother me. Alot. It doesn't any more.

Here's my theory...and maybe it will help you if you have a similar feeling about your friends. Think of your friends in groups: Group A: Best friends. Closest Friends. Maybe you see/talk to them many times in a week. Group B: Good friends, ones you might talk to frequently but don't necessarily confide in. Could be work friends. Group C: Aquaintances. Or, friends you've lost touch with. Friends you only send Christmas cards to. Not everyone can make it to be an "A" Group friend; but an "A" group friend can sometimes slip into a "C" group. Life cycles - it circles. Maybe you're in a different place than they are. Maybe you need time to yourself. Maybe they need it. Maybe you've grown apart at this point. Maybe you'll grow back together later. The difference between a true "A" friend and a "C" friend is this: No matter how much time has gone by, when you do finally talk - it's like no time has gone by at all. You pick up right where you left off. There's no real need for words or explanations because you just know.

Friends are like fuzzy pajamas or sweaters. They're comfort food - they are your "feel good". And when you have one, you don't let it go.

The ones that do go - well, take a step back and really think about the times you spent together.
Because maybe... they never were truly your friend after all.