Sunday, January 31, 2010

I Need A Little Summertime

I can't really complain, the winter here actually hasn't been too bad; however, the last couple of days have been bitter, bitter cold. When the wind blows, it feels as if it blows right through to your soul and that you will never be warm again. Honestly, I would rather have a foot of snow than that kind of wind.

I started to write yesterday but was on such a downer that I was even depressing myself. Decided to scrap that entry and move on. Today I want to focus on feeling warm, memories of summers past and hopes for the spring and summer ahead.

In just a few days, the groundhog will look to see if he can see his shadow. The groundhog better give me good news!!! Seriously though, usually here in CT, just when I think that winter is over, Jack Frost gives us one more thorough snow! Last year it was 17 inches in the beginning of March. I don't know, maybe old Jack wanted to celebrate St. Patty's early.

Summertime brings to mind so many things - the feel of the sun on my face, the sand between my toes, the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, and the gulls crying. Although I don't enjoy being too hot, I do love the summertime here in CT, especially on the beach. Summer also bring s back memories of young love, kisses on a hot, summer night, promises shared, the feeling of doing anything to be with that person just one more time. I still feel those things, but sometimes, in the dead of winter it's easy to forget the feel of the sun.

My husband and I started our relationship in July. Just before the 4th. I can remember being at the beach with Meatloaf playing on the radio, sharing our first kiss to the strains of..." You took the words right out of my mouth, it must have been while you were kissing me..." I love Meatloaf.

I remember nights on the beach with my Robbie - holding hands and whispering words of love while we made grand plans for a future we weren't even sure was going to happen. Love certainly is a leap of faith, isn't it?

I can remember waking up early and walking to the beach together. I remember making love in the waves and how glorious it felt to greet the sun.

Sometimes I miss that desperate feeling of I have to be with you right now... life has become comfortable and in many ways that is a good thing. Still, when I think about summer, I remember those times when we were young and desperate - shining our love into the dark of the night and wondering what, if anything, would ever come of it.

Here we are nearly 14 years later. Wow, that's a long time. I still remember like it was yesterday. When I look in my husband's eyes, I still see the guy who made me solar systems in the sand.

Sometime ago a friend asked me if I visited other places in my past when times were troubled. I wasn't sure of my answer then, but I am now. I think of those summers and those memories. My Robbie will always be my summertime....

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Memorable Afternoon

Yesterday I went to visit Kitty. She is one of my hostesses for February and I wanted to touch base with her before her party. Kitty is an amazing woman, I was amazed at how quickly my afternoon passed there in her cozy apartment.
Kitty is 72 years old with diabetes, but she is spry and lively. She has an infectious smile and a warm embrace. Stepping into her quaint little apartment is like stepping into a flat over in England. She has lots of florals and glittering spheres, which she has collected for the last 40 years.
Kitty has lead an amazing life. She has six children, all by her husband of 17 years. They had 17 amazing years together, and then he passed. Cancer, what else? She raised their children alone, doing so many things that I don't think I could ever be brave enough to do if I didn't have my Robbie there beside me.
The first thing you notice about Kitty's apartment besides the cozy decor and glittering spheres hanging everywhere is Jabez. Jabez is her pet Dove and he is given free flight over the entire apartment. He is a beautiful tawny pink color with a very sweet demenour. Kitty says that he is shy, but he took to me right away! How do I know? Well, he landed on my head and then plopped down to my shoulder where he quietly began singing in my ear. What an experience to be this close with an otherwise wild creature. Kitty got Jabez from a rescue shelter when she learned that she couldn't afford a dog.
Kitty loves to craft and I discovered that she and I share a passion for beading and that she is also learning how to scrapbook. As we whiled away the afternoon, I learned that she is hoping to make a scrapbook for a wedding present for her youngest son, but that she seemed somewhat lost by the process. I quickly found myself offering my help.
I sat there with Kitty thinking that it had been a long time since I had so much fun talking to anyone. She had such amazing stories. My father always told me that I had a real affinity with older people, and I believe that is right. I respect and admire them. I love to hear their stories about a life and world long past. I look forward to more afternoons with Kitty and it is my fervent hope that our friendship will continue long after her party is past.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Margaret Isobel Myles Thomson

My husband hates it when I use quotes, but since this is my blog, I'm going to use one anyway, even though this entry is about his grandmother. Henry Drummond once said that to "love abundantly is to live abundantly and that to love forever is to live forever." I can think of no greater way to epitomize Isobel's life than by that quote. I never met a woman who loved or lived more abundantly than she did.
Isobel, as she preferred to be called, is my husband's Grandmother. She passed on into the next life this last Sunday. It's something that we had been expecting for some time, she was after all 92 and no one, not even one as vivacious as she was, can live forever.
I will never forget the first time I truly met her. It was a car ride that changed my life. Robert and I had been seeing each other for a while. I knew that I loved him with all my heart but I didn't know if we had a future. His grandmother showed up at his house one day, unexpectedly and needed a ride home. She asked him if I would drive her. I was so horribly nervous because I knew what a very important person that Isobel was in Robbie's life and I wanted to make a good impression.
She was lively and charming with a smile that was absolutely infectious. She had such a way about her, but underneath it all, even in her tiny frame, you could sense the steel underneath. Anyone that had lived through all she had must be tough.
At any rate, I can remember she asked me whether a bedroom suite was a suit of furniture or a suite. I knew that much of my future rested on getting the answer right. I explained that like herself, my grandmother had been very proper and while it is spelled suite, a set of furniture is actually a suit. She smiled delightedly and from that moment, we got along famously. I will never forget the privilege of basking in the smile and realizing something I had done had somehow elicited something so miraculous.
Yes, Isobel's smile was miraculous, like basking in the warmth of the sun. She loved like that too. She was a very passionate person and she loved completely, whole heartedly and forever. There was no halfway with her. The love she shared with her husband of 44 years continues to be an inspiration to all who knew them. Whenever I find myself questioning whether true love exists or not, I think of Isobel and Addison and my answer is always yes.
When Robert and I had a child of our own, Kaylee and I would spend Wednesday afternoons having tea with Addison and Isobel. These are times that I will treasure forever. She liked her tea just so, and he was usually watching Hogan's Heroes reruns. I remember all the stories that they told me, his about the war and hers about her experiences growing up in Scotland, coming to America, working in London during the war - even meeting Errol Flynn. They are all engraved on my heart and in my mind. Isobel was one of the most intriguing and truly beautiful people that I have ever met.
I feel so blessed that Isobel was part of my life - even if for a short time- and I feel honored to call her family. I will forever be grateful for all that she did in creating the man that I love. I see much of her in him. Her generosity, her charm, that miraculous smile ( when he chooses to use it) all of that comes from her. His love of music and piano - again a gift from his Grandmother. The way he questions authority and looks for the answer... there is so much of her in him and I hope he always knows that.
So today, for all who will miss not seeing Isobel's smile, I remind you ( and myself) that those we love never truly die, and that only love lives forever.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

An Eye Opening Trip to the Grocery Store...

So, one of my environmental goals for the new year is being a more conscientious consumer. It's amazing what you find when you look at the labels. Do you know how much junk we put on and in our bodies on a daily basis? Here are just a few COMMONLY found in your everyday beauty and cleaning products. Considered yourself forewarned though, you are about to be grossed out!
1. Triclosan - this is a chemical that is found in almost all antibacterial products. Triclosan is often contaminated with dioxins which are highly carcinogenic and can weaken your immune system. Kind of ironic in an antibacterial product huh?
2.Parabens (methyl - ethyl - propyl[ butyl-isobutyl) These are commonly found in moisturizes and lotions. They are chemical preservatives that have been identified as disruptive of normal hormone function.
3. Talc - as in baby powder - Talc contains a chemical that is similar to asbestos and can increase the risk of certain ovarian cancers.
4. Isopropyl ( SD-40) is a drying agent that strips off the outer layer of your skin, exposing your skin to bacteria and accelerates aging and brown spots. Yucky!

And these are just the tip of the iceberg - a conglomeration of ingredients that you probably have - RIGHT NOW - in your bathroom and your kitchen. Do yourself a favor and research what you put IN and ON your body!

Which brings me back to my trip to the grocery store. I have been a avid food label reader for over a year now, and now I am becoming a more compassionate consumer too, but it is amazing how many go blindly into the grocery store. I saw a woman the other day who was over 300 pounds, with an equally obese toddler buying... guess what? A 5 pound container of cheese curls!!! Yuck! DO you know how much fat and calories are in that???
Looking at the carts it is amazing to see so much that is preprocessed food. Does anyone cook anymore?Not to mention all the packaging and don't get me started on the use of plastic or paper bags at the store! Do us ALL a favor and invest in some reusable bags, they are so much easier than either the paper or plastic - that you will be glad you did!
On your next trip to the grocery, look around. Trust me, you will be amazed what you see. Start reading your labels. One way to stop the advance of cancer is to get serious about fighting it. It's like the old adage says - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Healthy shopping!

Monday, January 4, 2010


It's amazing what social networking sites can bring into your lives. In the last year, I finally left "that company" that I was working for and no longer visit their social networking site. Happily though, I was able to find all my friends from aforementioned site on Facebook. ( I hate myspace and only had an account there for my last job). At any rate, I love Facebook, it's a great way to keep up with my friends who are so far away.
In the past year, Facebook has brought back to very important men in my life. The first is my cousin Johnny. He was the closet thing that I ever had to a brother. We both lived in FLA and when I was a teenager we spent a lot of time together. Life and circumstances tore us apart and I am ashamed to say that I lost track of him for a long time. I am so happy to have him back in my life! He has a little girl the same age as my youngest and we are making plans to hopefully get together in FL sometime this year. I would really like that, even though it means getting on an airplane. yuck. Whatever it takes though, I am so glad to have Johnny back and I'm not going to lose him again. He is some of the last family I have on my mother's side.
The other is a longer story..... We met when I was 13, on the cusp of 14. (Gosh that was a big year) We were moving to Florida from Pennsylvania and there was so much changing in my life. On the horrendous drive to Florida, we stopped along the way in South Carolina, to stay with my parents best friends from highschool. Oddly enough, they had a son, just a little older than me. Mike.
You know how you meet some one and you just connect with them instantaneously? It was like that; the stars and planets aligned and it felt like we had been friends forever. For three days we were inseparable. I watched Jaws for the first time with him, we played cards and just had fun together. When my parents first told me we were going there, I didn't want to go. A few days later, I didn't want to leave... But leave we did.
Mike was a constant fixture in my life after that. He was an awesome pen pal for a boy and I looked forward to every letter - rushing to the mailbox every day to see if there was something new. I loved hearing about his life and exploits. I even have pictures that he sent me - still.
Mike and I went to Prom together - his. The only Prom I went to - couldn't be bothered with my own - I despised highschool and just about everyone I went to high school with. It's sort of a shame now, but I'm glad that I was able to go to Mike's prom, he's really the only person I would have wanted to go with anyway. We were quite the couple. I found some old pictures of us that I promised to put on Facebook for him for a laugh.
For years I carried a torch for him, but I was in FL and he was in SC and when you're a teenager, that's a very long way. Life sort of got in the way. I got invovled with bad boys, and couldn't see how wonderful nice boys were.
Years later, we hooked up again. He was a bad boy this time. I think we were so caught up in being what the other person wanted, that neither one of us was ourselves. There was a history for him that I sort of interrupted. Or thought I did. Things didn't end well and ...well, he gave up too easily. I guess we were just star crossed and couldn't get it right.
Now life has brought him back. It's weird. I searched him on Facebook and just a few days later - there was a friend invite from him in my inbox. It's like the secret - you know, what you put out in the universe comes back to you. I'm glad to have him back in my life. I look forward to hearing from him, just like I did as a young girl and just like then, I feel like I can talk about anything and everything. I've missed having him in my life. Sometimes I wonder where the road would have taken us if things had worked out differently. Not that I'm anything but happy where I am - I'm pretty sure I made that clear in an earlier blog entry - but being curious, one wonders. Still, this is where the road has led us and I'm so glad that we are still friends. I love you Mike.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year's Promise Kept

My best friend challenged all of her friends to make 2010 a healthier year - for themselves and especially for the planet we all share. The goal was to come up with ten things each of us are going to do in the new year to make the world a better and healthier place.

So,here are my goals. I'm striving for 10, lets see how I do...
1.) I believe that in order to make the world a better place, I have to make myself a better person. Constantly improving ourselves and the world around us should be the goal of all. That said, I am going to do yoga more and complain less. Thank God for my blessings and exorcise the negativity from my life - in myself and in others. Like the old song says, you have to accentuate the positive and for people like me, that's everyday, because it is easy to fall into old habits.
2.Consume Less. Practice the do I NEED that philosophy. (This is easy to do now that have my snowblower. LOL.) I think that in general, our society consumes too much, buys too much. I am an impulse consumer. No more. My goal is to wait, ask myself do I NEED that and if the answer is no - pass.
3.Gift giving is going to be more thought and homemade orientated this year. Bronwyn and I are learning to knit so socks and scarves are in order for all, using organic cotton and other materials of course. I truly believe that handmade gifts are often the best. My oldest daughter gave me a scarf she made this year. It was, by far, the best present I got.
4. I purchase a Nook. A Nook is an electronic book, that allows you to download new books AND share books with friends who also have a Nook. This may seem like a small thing, and contrary to other goals listed above but if any of you could see how many books I have, you would understand. I my books. I love trees more.
5. Further along that end, both my book clubs are going to start a book swap to encourage less consumerism and more reading. :) All books I have finished and swapped will go to good will and the local senior center. The library here and I do NOT get along!
6.I am an avid label reader when it comes to my food, but I am going to read ALL labels making sure to make environmentally and ANIMAL safe products. I will make my dollars be a voice for those that have none.
If anyone did the things to my dog that dogs routinely undergo in the name of beauty, I would kill them.
7.When going to the movies I will bring my own, metal water bottle. I will not contribute to the landfills by purchasing bottled water.
8. I am going to plant a garden. Since we bought this house, I knew just where my garden would go, but every year found some excuse not to plant. Not this year. This year, my lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and more are going to hopefully come from my own garden. Maybe someone I know will help me?
9.Reduce and Reuse more. It's amazing how much trash my family of four, plus one dog, can generate. We are going to reduce our trash production from two cans to one - every week.
10.Today, I bought a tree in honor of my father at I can think of no better way to honor him and start the new year right!