Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ode to Joy - NOT...



I set a goal for myself this weekend and I worked my ass butt off to accomplish it.  This has not been an easy time as of late here at the Pleasure Dome in the Emerald City.  We have 2 boys playing baseball in different levels, a daughter who skates 2-4 hours a week over 30 miles away, 2 kids participating in the community theater production of The Wizard of Oz, 2 of us running 3 businesses and the school system has the NERVE to close for 2 months.  (What ARE they thinking????)  Worst of all, my beloved father-in-law is very, very ill and has been hospitalized for almost 5 weeks at a hospital 25 miles from our home.

Anyway - back to my goal.  We live in a very nice home on a pretty piece of property set out in the country.  Unfortunately, we have no garage and no attic.  Therefore, storage is at a premium and trying to keep the property de-cluttered feels impossible.  Winter particularly presents a problem because for some reason, our screened in back porch - while clean and beautiful in the summer - becomes our junk room in the winter.  So every spring, I find myself spending at least a day cleaning, running to the dump with load after load of crap and vowing to NOT let this porch become the landfill for the Pleasure Dome next winter.

This winter was a particularly bad one because not only did we have at least 3 feet of snow on the ground almost the whole winter, but apparently where the "wild things" were, WERE squatting on our back porch.  And I mean literally - if you catch my drift.  In addition, our hateful lovable 2 cats - who are not allowed outside due to the proximity of death row the main road that runs through the Emerald City - begged to spend time out there every day this winter as their compromise for not going outside.

When I started ripping apart the porch on Saturday, I found major destruction.  I begged my little brother to come with his truck and help me haul off a nightmare of CRAP to our lovely dump transfer station.  A love seat was shredded (thank you wild things) and was loaded on the truck, along with an organ (that I have hated ever since it arrived several years ago from a sweet, generous uncle) that finally left for it's new home at the DUMP.  2 loads later, I finally had my work cut out for me.

What I didn't know at the time was how much more destruction I would find as I cleaned, scrubbed, and vacuumed my way through the porch.  Long story short, I literally loaded at least 5, 50 gallon drum garbage bags full of destroyed cushions, dirt, ruined throw pillows, unrecoverable blankets - it was so depressing.  And my brother had already been gone 8 hours ago as I filled the last garbage bag.  And there they were like soldiers, all lined up outside the porch looking at the beautiful in-ground pool that was STILL not cleaned and opened because my husband has been completely preoccupied with his father and running back and forth to the hospital.  Did I tell you it is a 50 mile round trip?  Are you sensing the JOY yet??

AND, AND - the DUMP was not open again until Tuesday.

But - I made the best of it.  I hauled 8 plastic tubs filled with 10 years of files from 3 businesses - out of the porch and down to our lower landfill basement.  (Apparently, the porch is where they landed when we cleaned the office/den back in November.  Sigh.)  I then went to bed and went back at it the next day.  Finally - Sunday night, my summer porch was pretty much "back".  And perhaps my neighbors will elevate us from the ranks of white trash to...


BUT - I still had all those soldiers waiting to go to the dump as well as another couch I discovered to be unusable during my porch cleaning adventure.  So Tuesday finally rolls around and little brother is working and unable to help me.  So I make the dreaded call to my father to borrow his truck.  (I just LOVE living in the country...)  Now, depending on my father's mood, I may or may not get to borrow that truck.  Luckily, it was a good "Fred" day.  SO little ole me, once again, hauled that couch and all those soldiers and any other thing I could find on my property that could be construed as garbage onto that little truck and off to the dump I went.  Then I came home and did it AGAIN!  This was truly an embarassing, living nightmare.

And THEN -  it was over.  EVERYTHING was in order inside and out at the Pleasure Dome.  4th of July weekend was a comin' and I had accomplished my goal.  JOY, JOY, JOY for about 20 seconds...

I'm standing in my kitchen, reveling in my joy of order and de-clutter, and what do my wondering ears should I hear?  CRASH!   %#$@*&^@(#&#&*

Can you say "Dennis the Menace"?


Friday, June 17, 2011


From a very young age, one of the disappointments about myself is that I am difficult to surprise.  I'm not sure if it has to do with my nosy curious nature or if I just have always operated on high alert.  Not much gets by me.  Today - that changed.  I have not been this surprised since my husband asked me to marry him.  That was 26 years ago!  (A great surprise - mind you...)  For me, today was such a thrill, that I can't even begin to describe it.  But of course - I will...

My birthday is coming up and my running/biking girlfriends, Laurel and Robin wanted to get together.  We were originally heading to Elizabeth Park in Hartford and then going out to lunch.  I was really looking forward to the park adventure because I have never been to Elizabeth Park during the rose blooming season of June and the show is supposed to be spectacular.  In fact - I have wanted to go since I was a little girl because my parents had their wedding pictures taken there and I had heard about that my whole life.  (And, I have seen their 1947 wedding video in that park as well, so needless to say, I was excited about going.)

Well - like my parents wedding day (June 14th), I woke up to pouring rain.  But I refused to let the weather dampen my spirits (pun intended!).  It had been a rough week, to say the least and once I was done in the gym this morning, I had a whole girls day ahead of me and I planned to enjoy it.

So we had a wonderful, girly chatty lunch and it was soooo good to be back with my running brethren.  If there's one thing to be said for 10 mile training runs with your chicas, you never run out of things to blab about!  We hadn't been together since the half marathon in Virginia in March so you can well imagine the chatter!

So lunch ends with really great coffee and while Robin and Laurel split a piece of the most amazing coconut cake with coconut frosting, Miss Catch Joy had a whole piece to her piggy "voluptuous" self.  (Voluptuous?  Sounds so much better than...well never mind.)  Just as my piece arrives with the token candle burning, the two goofballs breakout into a whispered rendition of Happy Birthday complete with chachachas or whatever it is between stanzas.  Then Laurel whips out a breath takingly beautiful package.

I didn't even want to open it because it was so pretty.  I just wanted to look at it!  So those two are looking at me like 2 cheshire cats and making mention of finally being able to give me this present.

So I carefully unwrap it, (saving the beautiful paper, of course) and when I open the box -- I am SPEECHLESS!!!!!  There was a huge intake of breath and then a big "Ohhhhh" came from my mouth as I held it to my chest.  Laurel immediately said, "Read the label!  Read the label!"  READ THE LABEL?  I did NOT need to read the label.  I KNEW immediately what I had in my possession.

When we were away together wayyyy back in March, we were in a gift shop in the Norfolk Botanical Gardens.  Now - I'm not much of a shopper but this was one of those gift shops that had such unique and whimsical gifts that I roamed around for a very long time.

I was tempted by so many things, but what I coveted - was this.  What the heck is it, you ask?

It's a tablecloth.  Not just ANY tablecloth.  Just THE most beautiful tablecloth - in my most favorite colors of blues and teals.  And - you know how much I LOVE color - especially that family of colors!

I wanted it so bad.  And I almost ALWAYS get what I want.  But it was so pricey!  And so frivolous and self indulgent.  I stood in front of it forever.  I walked away and came back to it.  I picked it up and put it in my shopping basket and then put it back.  I was so crazed with desire that I finally had to just walk out of the store.  APPARENTLY, that's when Santa's elves got to work!

I recall now that Laurel had disappeared right before we were leaving the Botanical Gardens and Robin and I could not find her for the LONGEST time!  Today, when they recounted what was really going on during that half hour, I was absolutely hooting!  From Robin's acting job, to Laurel's clandestine hiding of the "goods" - I was peeing my pants hysterical.

So I totally had "Surprise" JOY today when I opened the box!  Told you I always get what I want!  Then I ran home and caught JOY again when I did this!!
And AGAIN when I took this.  Recurring JOY, perhaps?  

So thank you Laurel and Robin!  For a great afternoon of fun, food, laughs and one of the BEST surprises of my young life!  You totally pulled this one off.  AM I losing my touch???  It makes no matter.  There is ALWAYS joy when we are together!  And THAT my friends is afterall - what it's all about...

Postscript JOY - You know what else was really cool about today?  I absolutely know that Laurel and Robin caught HUGE joy too.  They found a gift that they knew the recipient would ADORE, they waited soooo long to give it to me and - they pulled it off and got to tell me the story of it while enJOYing my surprise and all the joy their gift gave me.  How cool is that???  

Love you guys! ♥♥♥ 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Wake Up and Smell...

When I was a little girl, next to December (obviously because of Christmas), June was my most favorite month of the year.  Now that I am NOT a little girl anymore, next to December, June is my most favorite month of the year.  So nothings changed right?

OHHHH NO!  LOL.  Everything has changed!

When I was a little girl, June was my favorite month because a) my BIRTHDAY is in June!  What kid doesn't love the month their birthday is in!!??  And b) school ended for 2 and half months in June!!!!!!  Ironically, NOW (this is unbelievable) June could be my least favorite month because a)  my BIRTHDAY is in June and b)  school ends for 2 and half months in June!!!!!!

Do ya GET it????  Ummmmm - let's see - little girl, birthday - presents!  Big girl, birthday - a YEAR OLDER.  Yeah - now do you get it?  Let's take it a step further.  Little girl, summer vacation!!!!!!  No school for months!  Big girl, summer vacation???  3 kids home for months????   Weepppppppppp.

Remember I said "could be my least favorite month"?  Actually, yes - those 2 reasons kind of bum me out - (YES, bad mother...go ahead, say it.  Then go talk to most of my "mother" friends!)  But I do love June, despite what I just pointed out to you.  Because there is one thing I love about June that I just can't wait for every year.  I am like a kid at Christmas.  It rivals waiting for the first peepers to start their "It's Spring" song.

Here's my dirty little secret.

Just like in the movie Same Time Next Year, I meet my love every June -  the smell of the wild roses.  My alibi?  Running or biking down the country roads of our little town.  THAT is what I ADORE about June.  I can't quite articulate how much I love that first scent of perfumed air.  I have been running and biking these roads for 47 years.  I know exactly which roads I will encounter my love.  It never fails me.

Last Wednesday was the day.  I jumped on my bike with my friend Robin and headed out in search of my rendezvous.  I casually wheeled through that one section of Roast Meat Hill Road (I know - can you believe that crazy name?) and there -- my love awaited.  I bound through the perfumed barrier, breathing in the scent I love so much.  I've waited so long.  It's so sweet.  It transports me back to somewhere that I cannot identify, just like it does every year.  It is a really good place.  I feel happy and carefree and wildly joyful.  I take that joy with me.  I carry it for hours.  And then I go back for more 2 days later.

I will continue to meet my secret love for the next week or two.  I will continue to catch joy each time we are together.  And then, once again, like every year, I am abandoned...sniff.  But I'll keep it in my heart that we will meet again at the Same Time Next Year.  If nothing else, there will always be that...


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Happy Things

I am a thief.  I stole this pic from someone's blog.  (I hope I don't get in trouble!!!!!!!)  I LOVE this picture.  It makes me happy.  That got me thinking.  What else makes me happy?  Come on in and find out!

- Family holidays (yea really!!!)
- Morning Glories
- Early mornings holding a sleepy child (no matter how old!)
- Long summer days when I don't have to work at night
- Laying in the hammock for hours with a page turner
- No homework nights!
- Summer evenings on my back porch
- Beach (no other explanation necessary)
- Color
- When my garden looks like a garden
- Connecting with friends old and new
- Connecting
- When I catch the bug - running, biking, training, reading, decorating, gardening, cooking...
- My awesome clientele
- Block Island
- Buxton, North Carolina
- Memories of days gone by
- Doing what I love for a living
- Down time (LOTS OF DOWN TIME!)
- my i-phone
- that my daughter loves to figure skate and that she is GOOD
- a good tan (if you can't tone it, tan it - I always say!)
- when my jeans just slip on
- beautiful, soft lingerie
- the energy in my bedroom in the late afternoon when the wall color glows
- Tanqueray & Tonic on a hot summer afternoon
- Summer Sundays
- Going out for breakfast
- Going out for breakfast with my kids
- A really hard workout - when it's done!
- Skiing
- Lobster with lemon and butter
- My Cannondale bike
- A loose flowy dress on a hot humid day
- Flip flops
- Uggs
- Sloggers!  (My new happy shoe!)
- Sunny summer days
- Blizzards
- December
- Long chats at night
- The New York Yankees playing well

Most of all, catching JOY makes me happy.  Because quite honestly, that's what it's all about.

PS  The other evening, a client walked into my gym for a class and brought me this.

It's an ornament her step daughter made recycling wire.  Do you see it?  Do you see it?!!!  JOY hangs in the center from a crystal bead!  I totally caught JOY!  Thank you Linda D!

PPS  I forgot CHEESECAKE!  My cheesecake makes me happy!  Thanks Sharlene for the recipe I'm MAD about that is the only one I will ever use!