Creepy

This past summer I was driving to my friend’s home in Rhode Island with my two daughters. It’s a lovely area near the beaches. Tree lined roads winding by horses grazing, babbling brooks and placid ponds. Gorgeous old, clapboard homes on green acres dot the landscape.

My eldest, who is twenty five, says, “This area is so beautiful. Not like the usual creepy New England towns.”

I exclaim, “What?? Creepy like how? A van with no windows is creepy. But not New England!”

Later on, while we are soaking up the sun on a fabulous beach, same daughter proceeds to tell my friend that ever since she was a little kid I’ve told her probably every single ghost story or mystery that took place in our part of New England.

Okay, when you put it like that. I sound like a monster.

It’s true. I might have pointed out a haunted house or two.

The Westport house where folks claimed a ghost resided.  One of the occupants fell asleep in a rocking chair and woke up with a haircut.

I probably mentioned the ghost of the red-headed hitchhiker on Interstate 195.

Most likely gave the background of the childhood rhyme about Lizzie Borden. I did take my youngest (seventeen at the time) to Lizzie’s house last year where the gruesome crimes took place.

I may have pointed out the lovely house that sits at the bottom of Metacomet golf course in my home town. Shared that murders were never a thing while I was growing up but a few years before I was born an elderly widow had been murdered in that very home during a robbery.

Could have mentioned the still unsolved mystery of the “New Bedford Highway Killer.” Eleven prostitutes went missing. Nine were found strangled and dumped in the woods. And that it was very possible a local attorney was the killer and actually indicted at one time. He moved to Florida in 1988 and there were no more murders on that stretch of highway since then.

Yes, I might have shared a story or two.

Dear Norah,

I’m very sorry and hope that you realize it’s not New England that’s creepy. Stuff happens everywhere.

It’s just your Mom who is creepy.

Hope I didn’t do too much damage. I’m just thankful that I spent a lot of quality, non-creepy time with you when you were young.

I absolutely loved cuddling up with you at bedtime every evening while reading you many, many wonderful fairy tales. As you peacefully drifted off to sleep.

Like Snow White and her killer stepmother. The orphaned Bambi who yearns for his murdered mother. Three little pigs trying to protect themselves from the wolf who wants to destroy their home. Hansel and Gretel’s great escape from the witch who attempted to burn them alive in an oven. And so many others.

I pray that, in some small way, it makes up for the ghost stories.

Love,

Mom

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Butcher Shop

I have a little more than a week in India under my belt. Yay!

No friends yet but I’m really okay with that for the moment.

Totally chilling after a very busy and sometimes trying year.

The other day I planned to make lamb chops for my husband.

Are you sick of the same old “blah” lamb chop/pork chop dishes? This one is so easy and so delicious. Here it is. I’ve used it for pork and lamb.

http://www.grandbaby-cakes.com/2015/06/balsamic-brown-sugar-lamb-chops/

Anyway, I went to a nice grocery and the meat department didn’t have the cut I wanted.

So, I was taken to a very local butcher by the driver. Place was totally real.

Before you get all, “Oooh, Mary has a driver. She must think she’s something else! Isn’t she a lucky duck!” please remember that this is India and a lot of companies do not allow their employees or families to drive here. So transportation is usually provided. You’d only need to be in Delhi for five minutes before realizing this is a very safe and sound decision on the employers’ part.

Back to the local butcher shop down a Delhi side street.

I walk in and ask for lamb chops. Try not to look around too much because I don’t want to see too much by way of a butcher shop. Like blood or extras if you know what I mean.

The butcher, who is sitting, understands and has his assistant grab the meat from behind a counter. Young guy hands it to the head honcho who then asks me how much I want. I tell him.

He has his butcher’s knife firmly planted between his feet. Yes, that is correct. Knife between his two feet.

Then he takes the meat with his hands and brings it down toward the feet clamped knife and slices the lamb chops for me.

Okay, that’s not something you see every day.

I pay him and am soon on my way back home.

There is no way I am telling my husband the butcher feet story. He’d never eat the meal.

I clean the meat and make my lamb chops.

My husband keeps saying how good it is. Happily chewing away. And it was really good. If I do say so myself.

All of a sudden, he’s got a funny look on his face and is taking something out of his mouth. It looked like a bit of bone.

Oh my gosh. What bit is it? I knew this butcher thing probably wasn’t a good idea.

It ends up being his temporary partial bridge! Poor guy! Must have been the slightly sticky (although yummy) brown sugar sauce.

Ingredient related. Age related. But not butcher related. Whew!

Just the same, I think I’ll hold off on any future butcher shop visits.

At least, for a while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disasters

When I lived in Southern California I attended Mass in my community. It was always led by Fr. Fred.

Loved his sermons. I would, more often than not, leave with a message that would cause me to reflect for the week.

Fred would also write a little blurb in the weekly bulletin.

I just moved to India and was unpacking some things in our new home. A purple piece of paper fluttered in the drawer. It was one of Fr. Fred’s reflections that I had cut out of the church bulletin about seven years ago.

It is as relevant today as it was then. Nature wreaking havoc (always) and the “blamers” coming out of the woodwork (always) to tag these disasters as God’s dissatisfaction with us.

“God is punishing us because…..!”

“God is punishing them because…..!

Ummm, no.

blame

It sort of struck me as interesting that I should find this-with the U.S. coming off the heels of Harvey and Irma and some folks wanting to place the blame on the sins of the people.

What Fred’s saying is that natural disasters are just that. We sometimes happen to be in the path because of where we live. It’s not a judgement or punishment. It is what it is.

Many folks are faced with personal disasters that have nothing to do with Mother Nature’s force and it’s hard to understand. It might be illness, an accident, death of a loved one, job loss, etc.

We are not being punished although it can feel like we are. It might not be anyone’s fault but still we are rendered feeling helpless. I suppose the only choice, in these instances, is how we try and move forward.

Other times we can get trapped in our very own disasters which are caused by the choices we make. Not anyone else.

This is when we need to be looking within and not blaming outside sources. And really ask ourselves if we are owning our choices.

We are not being punished.

It’s all about choices.

 

 

Genius

I was at a party yesterday. My best friend’s daughter graduated with an engineering degree. So proud of her!

So there was lots to celebrate.

And then there was this.

halffull2halffull

Wine glass markers.

My friend Jenny said she tried something similar at her son’s party but it didn’t work so well with younger folks. And when my niece and nephew are visiting my mom’s house I always see their names printed with a black sharpie on the plastic cups.

But I never thought about it on wine glasses. Not sure why.

Pure genius.

This from the mouth of a woman who once thought wine charms were so very clever.

It was a new age. No longer did we have to compare shades of lipstick on the rim of the glass to figure out which glass was ours.

But the reality is that people forget which wine charm they had. That could have something to do with wine consumption but I would also add age as a factor. Most of the women I share wine with are “of a certain age.”

It goes something like this.

Grab a glass and pick out a cutesy charm. Usually it’s a theme. Like fruits. Or USA symbols. Or flowers.

Drink. Set glass down. Chat. Go to bathroom. Have a snack.

And then try and remember which charm is yours.

“Hey, am I the Statue of Liberty?”

Or “Am I the American flag?”

“Who’s the Liberty Bell?”

By the end of the evening it’s, “Oh, who cares? I think I’m the Liberty Bell.”

Share and share alike.

You just hope that all goes well and that no one has mono.

But these wine markers?

Pure genius.

 

Enjoy

I was on one of my visits to New York City. This was a couple of years ago. Totally enjoyed it.

Happened to be outside the hotel one evening and a fellow strikes up a conversation. He was from England. First time in the States. Said that his fourteen year old daughter had wanted to see the 9/11 Memorial.

This guy had nothing good to say about his visit.

He talked plenty about his little garden in Leicestershire (or one of the ‘shires) and how peaceful it is. Also mentioned his work hours (an hour and a half for lunch and home by 4:30pm!)

Bemoaned the long lines (queues) and the expense of New York. He wondered how Donald Trump could have all that money when there are homeless folks in the city.

He said more than once, “How do people live here? How do they do it? It’s not for me.” And he apologized, “I’m sorry. This is just not for me.”

I told him there was no need to apologize to me.

He continued chatting. Said he did a lot of charity back home. His mother was giving and charitable. Had Diwali and Christmas celebrations where everyone was welcome.

He said, “But I guess we can’t change the world.”

I was quick to advise him that we can only do our part. That’s all you can do.

But I sort of felt bad for him. It did sound like he had a nice simple life (and schedule) back home. But he was on a holiday. No one was wanting him to give up his life in the garden or time at his Mom’s house. Cast it all away for a life in the Big Apple.

I kept trying to counter every negative (because there were so many) with a positive. “Well, did you see this? Did you go there? What about the food?”

No positive responses.

He was leaving at 6:00am the next morning.

Finally, I asked, “Did your daughter enjoy it?”

And he said, “Yes.”

So I said, “Well, alright then. There’s something.”

Hoping that everyone, as summer comes to a close, truly finds something to enjoy. It really is what you make of it.

 

 

 

Ask Him Something

My husband and I celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary in November. So, of course, I get to thinking about “that day” so many years ago.

It was a very small wedding. Maybe sixty guests. If that.

Many are no longer with us. My next door neighbors, Dot and Eddie and Mr. and Mrs. Thomson. My Auntie Elaine, my Uncle Pat, family friends Danny and Phyllis O’Hara, Frank P., my aunt’s in-laws Jargu and Gram, my beloved Nana, and my best friend’s parents Mr. and Mrs. Amerantes.

All gone.

And my Dad.

I posted this photo on my husband’s Facebook page with the caption, “Papa. Probably thinking, She’s all yours now. Good luck!”

wedding

So after I posted this photo one of my daughters asked me, “Do you still miss Papa?”

I said, “Yes, every day. Today I just wanted to ask him something.”

She asked, “What did you want to ask him?”

I replied, “Something about the family history. He loved that and always had time for me.”

But there are so, so many times when I just want to ask him something.

 

 

 

Right

I was at a friend’s party today.

Someone was asking me about my older daughter and I said that she was in her first year of law school at Berkeley.

The person said something about Berkeley but then followed up with, “Great school.”

I said, “Yes, it is.”

Then, of course, there was talk about Left and Right.

I laughingly said, “I’m right.”

Friend’s husband said, “Ummm, no.”

I said, “Okay, no, I lean to the Left but I mean that I’m right.”

He said, “Lean??????” LOL

I said, “Okay, I’m totally Left but I’m totally right!”

And yes, this was the best conversation about politics because it was filled with laughter. Nothing more. Welcome change.