A recent guest said my eyes look just like a cow’s. Not sure how I feel about it.

Now when I blog I’m watched.  Six dark eyes absorb my every move.  The eyes belong to three big cows I painted. I pat them on their noses, ask them questions, and admit, “Yes, girls….I am strange.”  Please don’t tell them, but I like Daisy the best. She’s the one on the left. She was the biggest stinker to birth.  Her face is my favorite.  For more on Daisy’s difficult birth please see my April 5th post, “Bovine Belly Aching.”

We had guests on Saturday night.  Friend JR, and his lovely date, Melinda, along with Melinda’s sister.  Marilyn said Daisy, my painted cow, looks like me.  Huh….really?  I look like a brown/white/pink-nosed cow?  Marilyn said it was something about the eyes.  I admit I was wearing individual false eyelashes.  Maybe the thick lashes appeared bovine?

Putting on individual false eyelashes is a ridiculous vanity at my age.  I know, I know…so silly.  Eva Longoria told me, via some random internet wander, to put a blob of lash adhesive on a surface about five minutes before applying the lashes.   What surface?  Where?  I use a should-have-been-tossed-out-years-ago eyeshadow case.

I squirt the adhesive on the plastic lid, then go through the motions of manifesting my face, one clump of lashes at a tweezered time.

The “Girls” don’t watch this business. They live in the kitchen. My face gets manifested in the master bathroom.

But when I am up and prowling up at o’ dark hundred, ruminating about manifesting my future through the power of positive thinking, these “Girls” are watching me.  Daisy, Bossy, and Maisie gaze over our kitchen.  As they eyeball me they don’t seem to care if I’m with or without “war-paint.”  I like that they accept me as I am.  Which, when you think about it, they should.  Without me, they wouldn’t exist!

20170502_150511 copyDaisy is the little lady entering stage left.  She’s simply hoping to be part of the family.  Fat Maisie has shoved herself as close to center as possible.  Mother, Bossy, plays mediator between the kids.

Looking at Daisy’s eyes I don’t see any resemblance to the woman in my bathroom mirror.  Do you?

I need to crawl back to the feathers, but my head is filled with so many new insights.  Is it true our future reality already exists?  Will all I dream of come true simply because I believe it will? The girls bear witness to my reflections.  My most recent reflection, “Do I truly resemble a cow?”

 

Learning to drive at thirteen was a good thing!

When I was thirteen my father decided I should learn to drive. We had a 1959 Renault he had named “Fifi”.  She was adorable. Three speed. She had a bit of trouble on an incline, but who cares.

One weekend Daddy drove me to the empty DuPont Louviers parking lot.
He had me take the driver’s seat and calmly explained how to manage the manual transmission.  I lurched and stalled all over the lot.

But eventually, I got it.  That’s when I became dangerous. Mother and Daddy would go to a party, I’d steal Fifi and go joy riding.  Good news, that. It made stalking Carl Jacobson even easier.

I loved that car! By the time I had a legal license I drove her to school daily. Best friend Nora always knew when Fifi and I were half a block from picking her up. Fifi was marvelously loud.

I cut school in Fifi. Went to Washington, D.C. with my High School boyfriend, Greg. He was a terrible first boyfriend. (There won’t be more about him on this blog since my blog is all about channeling positive energy. Negative energy Greg blocked from my brain.)

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Once, while riding down the Main Street with Gina Jackson, we actually traded seats at the speed of 25 miles an hour! Gina climbed over me from passenger side to drivers while I crawled under her. Happily, we didn’t crash.  Gina’s car was a NEW blue opal. Her Dad worked for a car company so she got new cars all the time. Gina later got a bright orange brand new Vega.

My daddy believed in used cars, stating  “They depreciate by a third the minute you drive them off the lot.”

Upon college graduation, my parents offered to buy my first car.  Daddy and I shopped. He stated, “They are all yours until you buy one”.  While professing to let me pick it out myself he was obviously pushing me toward a canary yellow Karmann Ghia.

Instead, I chose Gina’s now used orange Vega. What a dope I was..hard to come up with a “….but that’s good because” about an orange Vega.

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Karmann Ghia. Cute huh? Even cuter in canary yellow.

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Orange Vega, not so much.

I’m not remembering my high school friends rides….One, Susan, drove a 1950’s Mercedes-Benz. The back seat was loose. Every time she hit the brakes all of us in the would be slammed face-first into the rear side of the front seat.
Her parents had added a big odd air-conditioning unit between passenger and driver. No other friend I knew had automobile a/c. Very plush.

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My sister Marilyn’s first car after college was a 1965 navy blue Chevy, Malibu.  I wrecked it while singing along to “Gitarzan” and fooling around with a car full of kids. Daddy replaced Marilyn’s Malibu with a 1969 Cutlass 442.

Daddy was such a muscle car cowboy.  His favorite big engine activity was pulling to the side of the road and standing on the accelerator.  He counted down how fast his buggy got from zero to sixty. When he leaned on the 442’s gas the whole front of the car lifted into the air.

I was forbidden from driving it. I suppose wrecking my sister’s first car played a large part in that. So I was back to tooling around in Fifi.

classic lady motors  If you’re into vintage cars, check out this link!

Remember the song “Gitarzan?” Lyrics follow–climb into your vintage car and sing your lungs out!! You’re welcome.

Gitarzan
Ray Stevens
He’s free as the breeze
He’s always at ease
He lives in the jungle and hangs by his knees
As he swings through the trees
With a trapeze in his B.V.D.s
He’s got a union card and he’s practicing hard
To play, the guitar, gonna be a big star
Yeah, he’s gonna go far
And carry moonbeams home in a jar
He ordered Chet’s guitar course C.O.D.
Like A and E and he’s working on be
Big W&W and R&B and even the chimpanzees agree
That someday soon he’ll be a celebrity
Get it, get it, get it.
Gitarzan, he’s a gitar man
He’s all you can stand
Give him a hand, gitarzan
He’s got a girl named Jane
With no last name
Kinda homely and plain
But he loves her just the same
Cause she kindles the flame
And it drives him insane
When he hears her say
She really does her thing
It’s her claim to fame
Come on sing one Jane
Baby, baby, oh baby
Baby, oh baby
(How about that folks)
They’ve got a pet monkey who likes
To get drunk and sing boogie woogie
And it sounds real funky
Come on your turn boy
Sing one monkey
Let’s hear it for the monkey
On Saturday night they need some excitement
Jane gets right and the monkey gets tight
And their voices unite
In the pale moonlight
And it sounds all right
Yeah, it’s dynamite, it’s out of sight
Let’s hear it right now
Baby, baby oh baby
Yeah, shut up baby, I’m trying to sing
Get it, get it, get it
Repeat Chorus

Breathe and Believe

Every positive thinking tome I read assures me the New Reality I want, already exists.  My New Reality is to be a published author, making enough money to donate to a cause that has recently become dear to my heart.  I am to state my New Reality as if it is here, now, in the present tense.

I just finished meditating.  My recent mantra is, “Breathe and Believe.”  Upon opening my eyes I realized how many things in my life existed long before I realized they did.  The house I now live in, built in 1980’s, has been sitting here on its little patch of coarse Floridian grass since my children were in kindergarten.  My sweet husband existed, walking around on the planet, hurtling toward my life long before I was aware of him.

My New Reality, published author earning lots of cold hard cash, is out there–floating in my future, real, concrete, as solid as the walls of this house.  I simply have to breathe it, believe it, and take the steps necessary to attract it.

My current read, Laura Dey’s The Circle, includes a workbook.  Today’s exercise was to become aware of patterns in my life that do not serve me in my New Reality.  Each day I am to pick one pattern and replace it with a thought or action I consciously choose that supports my New Reality,  Everything I do is conscious and empowering.

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A habit I need to change:  I waste too much time looking at internet grack.  Checking if Kate Middleton is pregnant doesn’t support my New Reality.  Further, I don’t need to see Stephen Colbert’s monologue every morning or make myself nuts looking at the daily political bombshells.

In writing, I pledged not to play around on the internet until after 5 p.m.  I am, of course, allowed to write blog posts.  Those support my New Reality. As I wrote these things in my Circle workbook, I found myself on the edge of a panic attack.  I was mentally taken back to the day I finally quit smoking.

I was twenty-two years old.  I had been smoking since I was sixteen.  I smoked like I was being paid to do it.  Chain smoking, over three packs a day.  If I ran out of cigarettes I plundered the full ashtrays, finding butts that could be coaxed back to life for a moment or two.

I smoked while I put on my make-up.  I smoked while driving.  I smoked during meals.  I simply could not imagine how to function in the world without a burning stick of tobacco between my lips.

That’s the feeling I have at the prospect of limiting my internet addiction.  But this dependency doesn’t support my New Reality.   I vow to replace the internet habit with a new ritual.  Each time I’m tempted to click on Facebook, I will imagine a fresh idea for my blog.  Or say a gratitude prayer.  Or focus on the editor who is actually alive somewhere in this real world today. She is a living breathing reality.  Sitting at a desk, doing whatever editors do all day.  She is my friend.  (yes, I’m to state these things as if they are here and now.)

(Eeeek!  I just considered checking out youtube.  No Alice.  That is no longer your ritual. You can do this, Alice.  Just breathe and believe.)

The Circle

 

Walking a Marathon. A painful, enlightening experience. If you can endure a marathon, you can endure anything.

In the early 90’s three friends and I signed up to walk the Chicago Marathon. The only walkers permitted were required to fundraise for juvenile leukemia research.  I have referenced bits of this experience in my blog post of April, 04. Click here if interested.

Preparing for the marathon meant grueling months of walking mile after painful mile.  Three of us, Gray, Mo and I, would rise before the sun to begin trudging through our neighborhood.  The fourth walker, Carol, usually trained alone.  I asked her how she kept boredom at bay.   She said she recited the prayers repeated when praying the rosary.  I’m not Catholic, so I just looked up what is repeated doing rosary beads.  It seems there are enough entreaties to fill several marathon walks.

When we were training for the Marathon, I was suffering from anemia caused by undiagnosed celiac sprue.  Chronically exhausted, I wasn’t fit to walk a marathon.  Gray, one of the most forthright women I’ve ever known, stated firmly, “Alice if you aren’t able to keep up, do not to expect the rest of us to slow down and assist you.”

The night prior to the Marathon we stayed in the city.  We rose before dawn to begin walking. We marched the first few miles in the dark. Finally, the sun rose over Lake Michigan, gloriously painting the sky crimson, pink and orange.

Shortly thereafter a herd of gazelle-like runners thundered past us.  They had long, lean, muscled legs, minuscule butts, and rippling abs.  I turned to Gray and asked, “If we run, instead of walking, will we look like them?”  She laughed and replied, “Those are the elite runners.  Those athletes run in marathons all over the world.”

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Next passed a group of good runners.  They weren’t as sleek as gazelles, but they were strong, toned, comfortable with their pace.

We were overtaken by many levels of racers that day.  The good were followed by the mediocre.  Eventually, we were confronted with hopefuls vomiting into the gutters.  Taking on a marathon isn’t for sissies.

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The most inspiring runners weren’t runners at all.  They were the wheelchair division.  Men and women with withered legs, propelling themselves ever forward by the strength of their good arms.

We saw them on slight inclines.  The temptation was to help.  But helping would be to diminish them.  They needed to succeed on their own terms, with their own hearts, pushing through the misery, accomplishing it alone.

I so clearly remember one particular wheelchair “runner.”  He had two useless legs, one dwindled arm.  Yet he soldiered on.  He was the picture of courage, determined to push himself over the finish line.

I too needed to cross that finish line without assistance.  Nearing the last mile I remembered Gray’s words,  “Alice if you are unable to keep up, do not to expect the rest of us to slow down for you.” And suddenly I grew astonishing resolve.  I gathered my soul together and willed myself to cross the finish line inches before Gray.

I, like all Marathon finishers crossing the finish line, was wrapped in a sheet of mylar.  A medal was hung around my neck.

In agony, I hobbled to the curb.  There, on the same Chicago corner, draped with mylar, was the man with no legs and only one arm.   He had reached the finish line before I did.  I can picture his slumped shoulders, heaving with sobs.  He accomplished the impossible. With merely one withered arm and a heart full of belief, he crossed the Chicago Marathon finish line.

That withered man didn’t, on the surface, have the skill set to prevail. Yet he did. He did because he believed he could.  Anything can be accomplished if we have faith.

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Circling the Sun

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I’ve just completed my Book Club read,  Paula McLain’s Circling the Sun.  The novel is based on Beryl Markham’s early years in Kenya.  Born in 1902, Beryl has become a feminist icon. Her mother abandoned the family when Beryl was quite small, her father was loving but distant.  Beryl grew up largely on her own.  She played and hunted with the natives, became a racehorse trainer and was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west.

Paula McLain is a gifted scribe.  Through her words, the reader endures the simmering African sun, experiences the fear of a cold dark night spent in the bush, feels the horror of being attacked by a lion.

I peruse with a yellow highlighter in hand, underlining the many imaginative phrases and rich metaphors.  Before beginning this blog I galloped through novels, eager to race to the finish line, sometimes even reading the last page first.  Now I find myself considering how an author crafts her sentences.  Which delicious adjectives are strung together to paint the crystal clear images in my mind?

McLain also wrote The Paris Wife, about Ernest Hemingway’s relationship with his first wife. I’ve read The Paris Wife.  I now plan to re-visit it, putting my yellow marker to work.  What better way to study the art of writing than to read excellent books?

Learning about Beryl Markham has sparked an interest to delve more deeply into her life.  She wrote memoir West with the Night, about which Hemingway stated, in a letter to his publisher,                                                                                                                               “Did you read Beryl Markham’s book, West With The Night? …She has written so well, and marvelously well, that I was completely ashamed of myself as a writer. I felt that I was simply a carpenter with words, picking up whatever was furnished on the job and nailing them together and sometimes making an okay pig pen. But this girl, who is to my knowledge very unpleasant and we might even say a high-grade bitch, can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers … it really is a bloody wonderful book.”

I just ordered it on Amazon.  I will savor it slowly, highlighting the passages Markham uses to breathe life into her story.  Maybe, sentence by sentence, passage by passage, I too will outgrow pounding together “okay pig pens”.  ( I should be so lucky as to create a Heminwayesqe hog stall!)

Shoes, Glorious,​ Shoes!

My neighbor, Lynda, asked me, “Won’t you ever run out of things to write about?”  I answered, “Not a chance.”

I’ve lived sixty-five years.  I don’t remember the first three.  I don’t consciously remember every second of the following sixty-two either.  But I’m finding, as I write,  more and more of my lifetime experiences are bubbling into my gray matter. One memory unearths another, long-buried, which subsequently dredges up something else.

Today, while meditating, I suddenly found my mind centered on shoes. Shoes?  Yes, shoes. Shoes I have loved.  Shoes I have hated.   Shoes I wore to prom, for my weddings, the red shoes I got in first grade.

20170523_113233.jpgI was so proud of those red shoes.  The first day of school I hung my feet in the aisle between rows of desks, hoping all the kids were admiring them.  Finally, I tucked my red-shoe-clad tootsies under my desk.  When I glanced down to marvel at them I noticed a puddle of wet rolling toward my beloved red shoes.  The girl in front of me had peed her pants.  In the knick of time, I was able to lift my feet before beautiful crimson footwear got urine soaked.

A Facebook friend, Linda,  commented on this post.  “Pilnick’s, right?”  Yes!  That was the Newark, Delaware shoe store where we all shopped.  Pilnicks had a shoe fitting Fluoroscope. An x-ray machine for the feet.  It was jazzy and I loved standing on it.

I also had red rain boots.  A friend, Jackie, had white ones.  I remember the two of us tramping through rain drenched gutters, making enormous splashes.  Our red and white rubber-clad feet never got a bit wet.

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For dress up, we wore black Mary Jane’s.  Mine were always handed down from older sister Marilyn.

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In High School, Bass Weejuns were the popular choice of the day.  They came in several styles.  Tassel Weejuns.  Penny loafer Weejuns.  Fringe Weejuns.  I had all at one point or another.  The tricky thing with Weejuns was breaking them in.  New ones would leave the wearer hobbling for weeks.  But the pain was inconsequential compared to the need to fit in.  I also had a pair of saddle shoes.  All shoes were worn with knee socks.  Preferred brands: John Meyer of Norwich and Villager.  Plus we wore A-line skirts or kilts with large pins, rolled at the waist to be impossibly short.

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In the late sixties, Scholl’s exercise sandals were invented.  Supposedly one could get beautifully toned legs simply by hiking around wearing them.  I loathed exercise but wanted toned legs. I bought blue Scholls. Groovy.

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In 1969, when I started college, styles changed radically.  Gone were the loafers and saddle shoes.  Forget Villager and John Meyer.  I began to wear bell bottoms, later coupled with Kalso Earth Shoes.  The company claimed many people reported Earth Shoes eased chronic foot and body problems. On April 1st, 1970 — coinciding with the first Earth Day — the first “Kalsø Earth Shoes” store opened in the United States.  The Earth Shoes had a weird sole, with the thickest part being under the ball of the foot.  It then sloped down to a slimmer heel.  They felt funny to walk in.  But I wore them anyway.  Again, fitting in trumped comfort.

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I had a college friend, Tina, whose parents threw frequent, fancy cocktail parties.  Tina’s mother, Eleanor, was elegant and enormously creative.  She thought it would be a clever touch to have Tina and I serve appetizers, clad in tight little hot pants, and white vinyl go-go boots.

We did.  The old men loved it.  Come to think of it those “old” men were probably younger than I am today.

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Here is a favorite poem:

Choosing Shoes

by Frida Wolfe

New shoes, new shoes,
Red and pink and blue shoes.
Tell me, what would you choose,
If they’d let us buy?

Buckle shoes, bow shoes,
Pretty pointy-toe shoes,
Strappy, cappy low shoes;
Let’s have some to try.

Bright shoes, white shoes,
Dandy-dance-by-night shoes,
Perhaps-a-little-tight shoes,
Like some? So would I.

BUT
Flat shoes, fat shoes,
Stump-along-like-that shoes,
Wipe-them-on-the-mat shoes,
That’s the sort they’ll buy.

This poem must be read aloud, using a sing-song joyful voice for the first three stanzas.  The last stanza the reader should adopt a loud, angry, woe-is-me tone.  Go forth and memorize this.  Recite it the next time you go shoe shopping.

Ed O’Bradovich, Dan Hampton and a roll of Duct Tape

Years ago former Chicago Bears legend, Ed O’Bradovich, approached me with a request I paint a portrait of football player Dan Hampton.  Ed wanted to present the painting to Dan upon the occasion of Dan’s induction into the football hall of fame.

I had met O’Bradovich years earlier when he hired me to paint a mural in his Palatine, IL home.  Ed had seen my work at Burning Ambitions, a cigar bar owned by his good friend. (I just took a moment to google Burning Ambitions and found the following quote, lifted from a  1997 newspaper. This is the first time I learned my name had made the papers twenty years ago!)

“Burning Ambitions features plenty of deep mahogany-stained oak wood as its dominant theme, encasing the bookshelves in the library, the wine racks and the wainscoting on the bar, Meanwhile, the chairs are richly appointed in a jewel-toned upholstery and original cigar-related murals, painted by Barrington artist Alice Tate, add a whimsical touch above the doors and windows.”* see footnote

In the late 90’s I came home from a day spent coloring on someone’s walls.  My husband announced, with excitement, “Ed O’Bradovich called you!”  Me, “…huh?  Who is that?”  If Susan Lucci had called, I’d have known the name.  But a Bears football player?  Not so much.

Ed asked me to come to his home, meet his wife Nancy and discuss some artwork for a  hallway.  She thought she’d like two faux topiary trees, planted in concrete urns, with twisted knobby trunks.  Easy enough!  Then Ed got involved with the plans.

“Please include a horse, a monkey, and a mouse in the paintings. Those are my kids’ nicknames.”  Huh?  Would the monkey be swinging from the tree limbs, the horse galloping under the branches? I put on my thinking cap.  Ultimately I incorporated the horse head and monkey faces as “rosettes” carved into the urns.  The mouse was a small fellow on the floor, peeking around the base of one pot.

Years later, when Ed requested the portrait I was reluctant. I’m not a portrait painter.  Under different circumstances, I’d have turned him down.  But this happened the summer after I’d chosen to leave my marriage.  A settlement agreement had not yet been reached and I needed the money.  With trepidation, I accepted the commission.

Ed wanted a big canvas.  I sorted out my composition and set to work.  My art studio was in a back storage room of friend Louise’s gift shop.  Louise can’t paint, but she has a  great eye.  She frequently stood over my shoulder, making valuable suggestions.

Ed was pleased with the final version.  (I have photos of it someplace, but I can’t find them.  If I do I’ll drop them in later.)  Ed invited me to come along to the swanky party the night of Dan’s celebration.

With barely any money, I turned to TJ Maxx, found a low cut little black dress and a pair of high FMP’s. I wasn’t going to waste extra scheckles on a push-up bra,  so I squeezed my girls together and jacked them up with duct tape.  Yay!  Cleavage.  Duct tape is wonderful stuff.  It saved Apollo 13.  I had a friend who, prior to a facelift, would pull her jowls to the back of her neck and hold them there with duct tape.

The night of the event Ed and his friend, Paul, picked me up in a long, glossy stretch limo.  We headed to Ditka’s Restaurant in Chicago.  As we walked through the front door, I turned to Ed and said, “Don’t feel you have to babysit me,  by all means, work the room.”   Paul smiled and stated, “Ed doesn’t go to the room, the room comes to him.”   And it did.

I was the only woman in a banquet hall teeming with football players.  I had not a clue who most were.  I did recognize Mike Ditka.  And Dan Hampton, of course.

I’m here to tell you, it was painful to witness those professional ball players trying to stand up from a chair.  Years of being pummeled take its toll.   In fact, when I painted in Ed and Nancy’s  home, Ed had a massage every other day.  I’d hear him crying out in pain as the masseuse broke up his knotted muscles.

I’m glad my job doesn’t involve being trampled regularly.  The pay isn’t great, but sitting on my broad backside suits me perfectly!

*I just remembered, I did do a portrait at Burning Ambitions.  Bill Clinton smoking a cigar.  The cigar band read “Lewinsky.”  

Lots of other fun memories of Ed are rolling through my brain.  His sweet wife, Nancy, had maiden name Francie.  She always called me by my entire name–“Alice Jay Tate.”  I always called her “Nancy Francie.”  Both Ed and Nancy were so kind to me.  I just looked up his snail mail address.  Will send him a note this morning thanking him for the astonishing portrait opportunity.  

In the above photo, you’ll notice Ed is wearing the ring he received when the Bears won the NFL championship.  While working in his home I slid that ring on my finger.  It would have made a better bracelet than a ring.  So big!

Hip Hip Hooray, Sandy came to stay!

My excellent friend, Sandy, came to visit!  She and I were neighbors when we were married to our first husbands.  Sandy moved on shortly before I did.

We each bought small Sears Bungalow homes in the Village of Barrington.  We would meet early every morning and walk for hours, covering mile after mile.  Following our rambles, we’d go to the local Starbucks, sit outside with coffee, and watch the commuters heading to the train.

We often bumped into a former neighbor, Ned.  Ned was reputed to be connected with the Mafia.  He always sat in a corner with his back to the wall.  I have no idea if the Mob rumors were true.  Sandy and I liked to imagine they were.  It made Ned seem mysterious and vaguely dangerous.  We envisioned long-lensed cameras trained on us as we sat chatting with him and his brother, the head of the local Teamsters union.

In spite of Mafia speculation, both guys were friendly, made us laugh, and paid for our coffee. ( Tony Soprano was often fun and funny too.  Until he wasn’t.)

Clearly, the law thought Ned had done something nefarious. He ended up doing a stint in the men’s penitentiary.  Each holiday Sandy and I would sit at Starbucks, write him letters, and clue him in on who was swilling coffee that day.  He always wrote back.  Following his release, he told us how much he appreciated those wacky notes. (*see note at end of this post)

My first Thanksgiving as a single person was spent with Sandy.  We’d both been invited to share the day with different large families, but we chose to put on our walking shoes and hoof around town.  I remember kicking dried autumn leaves and smelling the scent of roasting turkey wafting on the chilly breeze.   Unconventional, we planned to cook a Thanksgiving meal of steaks, baked potatoes, and asparagus.  Instead, we ended up swilling apple martini’s and too schnockered to turn on the grill.  Fortunately, my daughter Mo turned up and did the food prep.  The parts of the evening I remember were lots of fun.

Ultimately Sandy made the decision to move to Colorado.  She loaded two bikes on the back of her car, set out alone to parts unknown.  Now she’s as happy as a clam (where does that saying come from?  How does anyone know if clams are happy?), spending her life teaching Pilates, mountain biking and taking long rocky hikes.

I have a million happy Sandy stories.  She’s delightfully childlike.  But also really deep and into metaphysical reading.  I will give her Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  Maybe she’ll get it.  I sure didn’t.

Here is a curious Sandy fact–In the early ’80s she and I lived within two miles of each other in Buck’s County, Pa.  We both happened to shop at a tiny independent grocery store.  Mo threw up there several times.  (I blogged about Mo’s constant car sickness and was going to reference the blog date here….Can’t ferret it out. ) Trust me, Mo tossed her cookies frequently for the better part of her first four years.  I clearly recall being in the produce aisle at that independent grocery when Mo was puking.  I noticed a petite young mother with a cart full of tiny girls.  Three blonds and a red-head.

Fast forward to the Chicago suburbs.  I met the petite young mother and her four little chicks!  She and I put it together she had lived in Yardley, Pa. when my family was in nearby Washington Crossing.  Clearly destined to be friends, eh?

Yesterday Sandy and I spent the entire day in silly and serious conversation, reminiscing, and putting Ina Garten’s cookbooks in the order we figured they’d been published.  Ina has gotten chunkier with each volume.  We examined Ina’s book jacket photos, peering at her freckled, round face.  Sandy devised a competition.  Who could line up the books in chronological order based on the fullness of Ina’s face?  Sandy won.

I served only Ina recipes during Sandy’s stay.  I’ve gotten chubby on Ina’s good food.  Ina’s gotten chubby on Ina’s good food.  But Sandy didn’t get one ounce fatter!  How does she do that? Furthermore, she gobbled darn near an entire bag of Dove dark chocolates.  Not fair.

Friday Sandy went to the fancy schmancy Don Cesar Hotel on St. Pete Beach, where she attended a wedding.  I loaned her Gracie, my designed-to-impress Honda mini-van.  I know the well-heeled guests were awed when they got a gander of Gracie’s Dollar Tree steering wheel cover.

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Only the best for my Gracie girl.  Yes, I’m a hillbilly at heart.

Jim and I took Sandy to the Tampa airport on Saturday.  When we got home we read what she had written in our guest book.

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Jason is Jim’s son.  Jason has scads of entries in the guestbook.   We are delighted Sandy has chosen to compete with him.  Go forth and depose Jason as king of the guest book.  I’ll  start stocking up on Dove dark chocolates.

Yay  Sandy!  We are thrilled to know you will be back again in July,  September, November (bring my birthday gift. cash is king)….and so forth.  Love you, sweet friend.

*Sandy read this and reminded me we got one letter back, “return to sender.”  We’d glued bits and bobs of random stuff to the card.  Seems glue is penitentiary prohibited.  So, gentle readers, keep that in mind when next you write to felons.

 

A blogger well worth reading

I only post personal items Monday-Friday.  I read other writers posts nearly every day.  Yesterday I stumbled across a wonderful, well-written, insightful blog.  You may want to explore her posts.    www.extradrymartini.com

Click here!

 

Another reason being sixty-five is great

Being old is terrific because I no longer care what anyone thinks. Sometimes I go entire days...(drum-roll please) WITHOUT WEARING MAKEUP!  

Red heads have no natural color. Well….I guess we do. White on white. No color in our eyebrows.  No color in our lashes.  Our only visible hues are freckles and the hair on our heads.  If we didn’t have freckles and hair we wouldn’t be visible in a snowstorm.

I started wearing make-up in 10th grade.  I carried my cosmetics in a small, square, white case. It had a handle on top and a mirror in the lid.  I would sit at the kitchen table, morning light streaming in the back windows, and apply my eyes.  When I finished Mother would often say, “Now you should sign your chin.”

My high school boyfriend once asked, “Why bother wearing makeup?  You don’t need it at all”  The following date I met him at the door, bare-faced and smiling.  He took one long look and stated, “I was wrong.  You need make-up.” (have I mentioned he was a terrible first boyfriend?)

My sweet husband tells me all the time I’m pretty without it.  He’s lying and I love him for it.  I am sixty-five.  Even on my best day, wearing professionally applied war-paint, I’m passable at best.  At sixty-five passable is just fine.

Now that I’m old I sometimes skip putting on a face! That saves 10 minutes of my life for other stuff….like sitting on my ass and reading. Or coloring. Coloring is a delicious pastime.

If I added up all the time spent smearing on a face I’d have decades. I’d likely also have no husband.
Guys tend to like women with visible faces. However, once they are nabbed one can let themselves go!  Yay for being old.

Hey you people, start reading my blog. I know you’re out there.

As a reward for “following” me, perhaps I’ll post a photo of me without makeup! (NOT!)

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This is my drawer full of war paint.
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The oceans of brushes I have for applying war paint.  I probably only use about three, but they are old friends.  I give them a shampoo bath about once a month and they repay the favor by manifesting a face on my head (almost) every day.