Friday, April 25, 2008


I am celebrating my birthday and I invite you to celebrate with me by living each day to the fullest.

Give hugs and kisses to loved ones.
Call an old friend and reconnect.
Turn up the music and sing ~ loudly, then start dancing, wildly.
Be mindful of the moment.
Take a risk ~ try something new, push yourself.
Perform a random act of kindness.
Be kind to yourself. Smile.
Be happy. Be silly. Laugh freely.
Eat dessert first ~ once in a while.

And please remember that the best gift you can give any person is the gift of your time. Spend time NOW with family and friends - don't wait because you never know...

Repeat the above on a daily basis -it will help you have a happier birthday and a more fulfilling life. Celebrate !

I also invite you to watch the following little video. It put a smile on my face - probably because I could relate so well. If you are a 'youngster', this video hints at what you have to look forward to ~ Enjoy.,0,1036393.blurb

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bambi knows no boundaries

It had been a long winter so this past weekend was a true gift. The sun was shining, the air was warm and all of the last few remnants of snow were melting. People were out walking, jogging and moods were definitely lighter. A weekend of raking dog poop and dead leaves was in store for me. I looked forward to shedding the heavy sweaters and soaking up the sun.

I raked, I rested, and I poked around in my garden to see what had survived the winter. I do not have much of a green thumb and I work hard for each blossom. I was happy to see that the daffodils were ready to bloom and leaves on many of the other plants were popping through the soil. I remembered that the other day I had noticed the leaves of my 'pig squeak' plant were turning a deep red color. I had bought the plant two summers ago because I loved the name. Pig Squeak has a pretty pink blossom which I had yet to see so I had been optimistic that this year would be 'the' year. Odd. I looked at the location of 'Pig Squeak' and saw some stubby plant sitting in its place. Where did my 'Pig Squeak' go? I walked closer and my knees creaked as I bent down to see what this stubby, no-leaved plant was doing in my garden.

I looked closer since I didn't have my glasses on. I shook my head. I sat down in total disbelief and shock. This stub was 'Pig Squeak'. Something had chewed the poor thing right down to the ground. I could almost see the teeth marks. I felt like someone had taken a bite out of me. What type of critter would do such a thing?

I sucked it up and kept working. I tried not to glance in the direction of my poor 'Pig Squeak'. I wasn't sure what to do for him. As a mom, I always gave my kids a bag of frozen peas when they had a bump or bruise to help ease the pain but I didn't think it was appropriate to put a frozen pea on 'Pig Squeak'. I am hoping that with time he will heal.

I continued raking in the backyard. I noticed that the piles of dog poop were much less out in the back which was a positive. But then I noticed the black marbles - piles and piles of them - everywhere. My yard was full of landmines in the form of deer poop! We have lived in this house for almost eight years and this was a first. We see deer walk through the far backyard on a regular basis but they never have ventured this close to our house. Wouldn't Bambi be encouraged to stay on the other side of the stonewall once he heard my dog barking and howling?

So I began raking up the deer poop. It was fresh and squishy. My mood was turning foul. I now knew who decided 'Pig Squeak' would make a great salad. Bambi. I have always been a huge Bambi fan. My youngest son loved the story of Bambi and I read that book at many a bedtime. As I worked to remove the smushed up deer poop from my rake tines I wasn't feeling as if Bambi and I were on very good terms.

I tried to shake off my grumpiness and focus on all of the good things in life. My mind wandered to the trip I would soon be making to go visit mom and dad in Florida. I thought about how much dad used to love to garden and of the little garden he had planted at my home five years ago. It is on a tiny plot right up against the foundation. Peonies, irises and tulips love it there. It reminds me of a time when my dad was in better health and could work in the soil with his hands.

Actually, the tulips should be close to blooming soon. I took a break from raking deer poop to go visit dad's garden. I love the way the red and yellow tulips sway in the breeze. I turned the corner and stopped dead in my tracks. There was not one tulip to be found. I crouched down and found that my tulips were the victims of the same violence as 'Pig Squeak.' Chewed right down to the soil - little stubs left for me to enjoy.

Now I became truly irritated. I call my gardening friend and told her my plight. I was informed that Bambi loves tulips. I was still confused. For all these years, the deer had never touched my tulips or any other plant. Why now? Initially I couldn't even be rationale and I didn't care to be at that moment. I went to the stonewall which separates our 'manicured' lawn from the vast acreage beyond. Our land eventually connects to a 10,000 acre state park. I climbed on top of a weathered boulder and lifted my rake to the sky. I denounced Bambi and warned him to stay on his side of the wall. Do not cross the wall. My brain raced as I tried to think of various ways to keep Bambi on his side of the yard. I remembered back to when I shared a room with my sister and the imaginary line we would make in our room to keep our halves divided so she wouldn't touch my stuff. It never worked well. Maybe I could hang some type of noise maker along the entire wall. Maybe I could get a dog that barks and howls at the slightest noise or shadow - oh, right, I already have a dog that does exactly that.

I climbed down from my boulder and put my rake away. Not wanting to find any more damage done by Bambi I went inside feeling much less positive than I had a few hours earlier. Enough of the great outdoors for one day.

As the evening wore on I became more rational. It had been a rough winter with record amounts of snowfall and the deer had to work hard to find food. Housing development hasn't helped their cause either. Bambi can't walk into the local market to purchase the makings for a salad. I tried to put a positive spin on it but it was difficult. I kept thinking about my little 'Pig Squeak.'

My gardener friend tells me that daffodils are a better bet - the deer hate them. So Bambi, maybe next year I will have a field of daffodils with an occasional tulip thrown in just for you ~ just stay away from my 'Pig Squeak'.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

My Life in T-Shirts !

It is time to pack away the heavy warm sweaters and pull out the shorts and t-shirts. I am optimistic that all of our snow will be gone by May 1st! This task of organizing my clothes took me much longer than it should have because each t-shirt reminds me of an event or time in my life. I decided to take a few pictures and write a post about these reflections.

My oldest t-shirt is 33 years old.
The Beach Boys and Chicago performed in a concert together in 1975. I never went to the concert - even though I begged my parents to let me go. I ordered the t-shirt from a magazine and wore it with pride. Maybe I'll wear it to a Chicago concert this summer!

I convinced a bar owner to let me buy this shirt - the bouncers in his bar wore it. He finally agreed when I told him I was a teacher and I thought it would be perfect to wear as a behavior management tool. His mom had been a teacher so he sold me the shirt.

This shirt reminds me of the joy I received from reading to my children. 'Frog and Toad' books taught us wonderful lessons about friendship.

I used to wear this to our local school district meeting when it was time to vote on our school budget.

And the award for the BEST concert I have ever been to goes to... MICHAEL BUBLE ! I think I will sign up to be the president of his fan club. Who cares if I am old enough to be his mother? Incredible band, powerful stage presence, a voice which is powerful yet smooth, appreciative of his fans, a fun sense of humor and easy on the eyes - all in one package!

The newest addition to the collection. I love the saying and it pretty much sums up how I feel about life. Check out their site at
This is a good reminder that each day IS a gift. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Stairway back in time

I spent a good part of the day on Saturday shopping for a gown to wear to my daughter's wedding. I knew exactly what I wanted so I just had to find the perfect dress. How hard could this be?

I realized the error of my ways the instant I entered the bridal gown shop. First, here I was shopping on a Saturday which I usually try to avoid and secondly, it is prom season. The store was jam packed with teenage girls and their moms who were tagging behind, checkbooks ready. Many of the girls had magazines clutched in their hands, chasing after salesgirls, trying to get their attention. "I want this dress right here - see, the one Paris Hilton is wearing when she got out of jail. My boyfriend loves that dress. Do you have it in a size negative 3?" I stood in the middle of it all, surrounded by blurry eyed moms and their starry eyed daughters, who were trying on gown after gown. I wanted to sit down in the midst of it all, and tell them a story about a prom from long ago.

It is May, 1974 and the whole school is talking about 'the' prom. I was on the prom committee and right in the middle of all the excitement and controversy. Yes, controversy over... the prom theme. Our prom committee which consisted of five of my friends and myself, had decided that the theme of the prom and prom 'song' would be 'Time in a Bottle' by Jim Croce. We were all in agreement and the majority of the girls in our class supported our decision. Somehow we didn't think to ask any of the guys what they thought and that is when the controversy developed. The boys actually had an opinion and they wanted to be heard. We really didn't want to listen to them but our class advisor told us we had to hear them out. fast...we're all ears.

The boys wanted our prom theme/song to be 'Stairway to Heaven' by Led Zeppelin. Nope, not happening but thanks for sharing. The boys didn't back off and we were holding our ground. The class advisor decided we would be totally democratic and hold an election. What the heck - didn't our prom committee have any power? We had work to do and let's not forget that not one male signed up to be on the prom committee therefore why should they have any say? We still had to reserve the hall and find a band. There were balloons waiting to be blown up and crepe paper waiting to be made into streamers. Plus I had to find a date.

So we held the election. Remember the recent Florida ballot confusion? Well, the MHS prom theme election was ten times worse. This wasn't a secret ballot - the class advisor didn't trust any of us, I guess. Your name had to be written on the ballot. We only had 100 kids in our class yet we had over 100 ballots turned in. Since when did our class have students named Al Coholic or Herbie Hind?

I found our class advisor at her desk, counting ballots. She was intimidating on a good day and today was clearly a very bad day. It was quite clear that she was at the end of her rope. She gave her ultimatum. We either worked this out, NOW, or the prom would be cancelled. She was serious. Long story, short version - we compromised and agreed to the theme, 'Stairway into Time', and also agreed both songs would be played at the prom. Yea.

Now it was time to get down to business and figure out how one gets a prom date. My friend, Katey, asked a male friend who went to another school. Lucky her. I didn't have any friends, male or female, at another school. Cyndy was going to go with her boyfriend. That's not going to work for me since I have no boyfriend. Karen agreed to go with 'Pumpkin' - no comment. It truly looked as if I would have to go solo if I wanted to go to the prom. I really didn't want to since I wasn't the most confident seventeen year old female. Looking back on the events which occurred I should have just stayed home.

It definitely was a stressful time which was made even more confusing as my mother tried to give me advice and comfort me. My mom had one pat comment for me anytime I was upset or stressed out. "Debra, just remember to be thankful that at least you have two healthy legs that will get you where you're going. " What the heck? Was I supposed to walk to the prom? And on a side note, I hated my legs back then. They were skinny toothpicks hence my nickname, Toothpick or Skinny Smitty throughout high school. What guy wanted to take a toothpick to the prom? Not many I found out.

So the prom was fast approaching and I had just about given up hope of going to the prom which I had organized. Guess I wouldn't see the balloons or streamers. Guess I would be listening to my radio instead of to the band as it played our 'two' prom songs. Oh well, at least I had two healthy legs.

Then it happened. One day while in band practice, the obnoxious, immature trombone player who sat behind me nudged me in the back of my head, hard, with his trombone slide. Joel was a major irritant in my life. I played the clarinet and had the misfortune of sitting in front of Joel. He delighted in hiding my sheet music, pulling the chair out from under me and the truly irritating daily nudge to the back of my head.

I turned around to yell at Joel. He was sitting there with his goofy smile on his face, big space between his front teeth. "You wanna go to the prom with me?" I turned back around in my chair. Great. I finally get asked to the prom and it was a major pest doing the asking. I weighed my options. Go to the prom with Joel or stay home alone - I thought about it for fifteen seconds. I turned around and told Joel that I would go with him. I was going to the prom!

I bought a pink floral print gown and white sandals with a heel. I went to the hairdresser the afternoon of the prom and sat in the chair with tears running down my face as the hairdresser teased my hair into this huge beehive creation. I can still feel the pain from her teasing my hair, yanking my head around. She sprayed a whole can of hairspray at the beehive, insuring that it would take an act of God to destroy her creation. What did she think I was going to be doing - standing on my head while dancing? I can still remember leaving her beauty shop and working to regain my balance as I walked because my head felt so heavy.

I started getting ready early and practiced walking in my heels - I was pretty shaky as I paraded around our house. I remember being concerned that if I was crowned prom queen the tiara wouldn't sit straight on my beehive updo. I decided to worry about that later.

Joel pulled up in our driveway driving a shiny, black, large car. Where was his clunky, rusty truck? Joel presented me with my first corsage and told me his boss had loaned him the car for the evening. I was pleasantly surprised - maybe I had judged Joel incorrectly. My prom date was looking better by the minute.

We got in the car and headed on our way. I can remember that uncomfortable quietness that filled the car. Up to this point I had only ever yelled at Joel to stop hitting my head, to give me back my music and stop touching my chair - none of those comments were appropriate now.

All of a sudden I realized that my seat was going up. I asked Joel what was going on. Straight-faced he looked at me and asked me what the issue was. My beehive was now being squished into the roof of the car. I realized that Joel could control the height of my seat and he was totally enjoying this little game. I decided to ignore the fact that my updo was being squished and said a quiet thank you prayer for the can of hairspray that was holding my hair together.

We finally arrived at the hall. I took a deep breath as I got out of the car. My evening could only get better. I saw my friends standing over in a corner. They all looked beautiful in their pastel colored gowns. They helped me spruce up my hair and then it was time for pictures. Joel and I smiled and headed down the long flight of stairs to the main hall where I could potentially be crowned Prom Queen. I was about halfway down the stairs in my new heels and WHOOSH, I tumbled down the rest of the stairs. I laid in a pile at the bottom of the stairs, my gown tangled around my body. I was disoriented as I laid there trying to figure out what had just happened to me. I discovered that my heel had broken off of my new shoe. A crowd of people were gathering around me, asking if I was alright.

I slowly started to sit up when all of a sudden I was being lifted up roughly by my beehive. It was Joel, who told me to get up because I was embarrassing him. I was embarrassing him? Interesting. It was at this point that I decided proms suck.

I can't tell you anything else about my prom because I remember nothing else. I don't think we danced. I know I wasn't crowned prom queen. I do remember that the photographer helped me out by nailing my heel back onto my shoe. Unfortunately the nail was too long and it dug into my heel. It hurt so I went barefoot for the rest of the evening. I do know it was a very quiet ride home after the prom - and Joel didn't move my seat up or down once.

There was an after prom party at our high school. Joel told me he was too tired to attend and that he just wanted to go home and go to bed. Fine with me. He dropped me off at my house. I think I forgot to say goodnight, thank you or screw you. I ran into my house, stripped out of my gown, put on my jeans and jumped into my 1967 Plymouth Fury III and headed to the after prom party. Maybe I could still save this evening.

I walked into the gym, letting my eyes adjust to the dark. Kids were standing around talking, laughing and dancing to the music of a local band. At first I didn't see anyone I recognized and then...could it be? I walked over to a couple who was sitting on the bleachers, talking. I stopped when I was standing directly in front of Joel and his 'old' girlfriend. I so wish I had a camera because the look on Joel's face was priceless. I would like to end my story by telling you that I gave Joel the finger and it felt so good. I would then like to tell you that I turned on my sore heel, grabbed the first boy I saw and danced as I had never danced before. But I didn't give him the finger. I didn't shout or cry and I didn't dance. I don't remember feeling anything. I remember going home alone.

The next morning my phone rang. It was Joel. He wanted to know if I would like to go to the beach with him and Quasimodo, a mutual friend.

I said yes.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Woman Should...

This poem was recently emailed to me with the title 'Best Poem Ever' and it stated that the poet was Maya Angelou. I loved this poem and decided to buy a poster size copy of it. I did an online search and was surprised to find out that this poem was not written by Maya Angelou. According to my research it was written in 1997 by Pamela Satran for Glamour Magazine. Pamela, I love this poem and decided to share it with all.


enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own, even if she never wants to or needs to...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... something perfect to wear if the employer, or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... a youth she's content to leave behind...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to retelling it in her old age...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... one friend who always makes her laugh... and one who lets her cry...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal, that will make her guests feel honored...

A WOMAN SHOULD HAVE ... a feeling of control over her destiny...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... how to fall in love without losing herself...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... how to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without ruining the friendship...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... when to try harder... and WHEN TO WALK AWAY...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... that she can't change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... that her childhood may not have been perfect...but it's over...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... what she would and wouldn't do for love or more...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... how to live alone... even if she doesn't like it...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... whom she can trust, whom she can't, and why she shouldn't take it personally...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... where to go... be it to her best friend's kitchen table or a charming inn in the woods when her soul needs soothing...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW... what she can and can't accomplish in a day... a month...and a year...
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