A Budding Blog…

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Well, it is with a fair amount of fear and trepidation that I’d like to make an announcement.
Before your mind starts to wander too far, I am not pregnant. That would cause mind-boggling fear and trepidation, and would, in fact, be a miracle.
This is “Not That Big a Deal” which is also the name of my new blog. Yes, friends I have “bitten the bullet, jumped in with both feet, leaped into the breach” and it scares the crumbs out of me. But, I enjoy making people smile and laugh and forget, even if just for a little while, their troubles. I think it’s something we all need now and then. I really do believe that “a good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.” So, here I go…
My blog link will be posted on facebook and twitter tomorrow and, hopefully, every Friday after that. I hope it does its job. I hope it makes you smile. 

 

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The Fellowship of Women

When our oldest daughter, Rachel was born my roommate and I had a great time together.  The ladies in the maternity wing shared a room back then. I think it was much less boring than lying in a room all day by yourself, but that’s just me. Her name was Julie, her new baby was named Susanna, and her four-year-old daughter was Juliette. She was very friendly and informed me that she was a self-proclaimed “Jewish American Princess.” In other words, she refused to eat hospital food and had her husband bring her food in every day. I didn’t mind because she would order her hospital meals and graciously give them to me.  I have never been overly particular about food, especially not after giving birth.  The ability to eat six meals a day at that time was nothing short of post-partum heaven!

There are other things I remember about Julie, in fact there are two of them. Julie had the biggest bosoms I’d ever seen in my life. I am not exaggerating when I tell you she could nurse hands free, sitting straight up, reading a magazine, with her baby lying comfortably in her lap. It’s not that I was staring or anything. Even at the age of 24 I knew hospital room etiquette enough to know to avert my eyes when my roommate was feeding her baby. It was she that pointed them out to me when she said, “Look at these things! I could feed Mother Russia.” I felt it was my duty to provide affirmation for her, because I was pretty sure she was right.

Overall, the thing that was most impressive to me, aside from the gargantuan parts of her anatomy, was a quilt.  She had made it for her new baby. I had never seen a handmade quilt before. I had never even thought about them. The design was called Grandmother’s Fan and she’d used the fabric from the dresses that her older daughter had outgrown. She wrapped her new baby in this thing of beauty and I knew I was hooked. This was something I had to learn. And so, 35 years ago with the birth of our oldest daughter and at the hands of one of my oldest friends, Kathy Buckingham, I became a quilter.

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My friend Kathy was and I’m sure still is, though she lives many miles away, an amazing woman. She was a gatherer and an organizer. She was one of us, a young mother with three small children. But, she made time for us. She would gather some of the young mothers of our church fellowship together once a week or so and she would teach us, sometimes without even realizing. It was she and her sweet mother-in-law Ellen, who she affectionately referred to as “Ma”, that taught a group of us ladies how to quilt. The teaching was a gift, but it quickly became the fellowship of women that most impressed me. We shared our lives. We prayed for one another. We had tea and muffins together. We walked through the season of new motherhood together. It was unforgettable. It bonded us and molded us. This is what I think of when I quilt. The memories, the gathering, the sweet fellowship of women. I’ve heard it said that quilting is a lost art, maybe the lost art is not the quilting, maybe it’s the gathering, the fellowship, and the sharing of our lives. Maybe it’s a big deal…

Posted in Children, Christian Parenting, Christians, Church, Faith, Fellowship, Friends, Home, Humor, Jewish American Princess, Life, Maternity wards, Memories, Moms, Nursing Babies, Quilting, Teaching, Uncategorized, Women | 3 Comments

Grateful for Jesus at the “Happiest Place”

When I think about it, I have a lot of “happy places”.  I’m happy sitting on the beach. I’m happy at home. I’m happy when I’m teaching. I guess you could say that I’m a happy person. Because, for the most part, I can be “happy” almost anywhere. But, one of the places I am most “happy” is the “Happiest Place on Earth”, otherwise known as Disney World.

Living in the Orlando area makes this easy and having a husband who is also “happy” in the “Happiest Place on Earth,” makes it even easier. Of course, being with my husband in the “Happiest Place on Earth” is what makes it “happiest” for me. And there I will stop with the “happy” rant. I don’t want to run the risk of being “slap-happy”. And so it begins, our latest Disney World adventure…

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Cliff and I have Weekday Only Seasonal Disney passes; partly because it’s supposedly less crowded on weekdays and mostly because it’s the cheapest pass you can get. Friday is our Disney day. A day for just us. Between the two of us, Cliff is the planner. This  makes things even more enjoyable for me, since my only job is to get in the car. I can do that. Last Friday the plan was for Animal Kingdom.

Though Cliff plans our day, I have a few little things that I like to do. For instance, I like to drink a lot of water on our 40 minute ride there, because then I don’t need to drink a lot of water while I’m in the park. (I don’t like to carry things including water bottles. I don’t like the warm water in the fountains in the park. And I don’t like to pay $3.00 for a bottle of water.) As you can imagine, this also means that by the time we get to the park my molars are beginning to ‘float’. I like to walk from the parking lot into the park. This is my version of a good workout and is very doable for most of the parks. And finally, when we’re almost there, I like to tell Cliff that before we do anything else I need a “potty stop,” he already knows, but I like to tell him anyway. Usually, this all works for me, last week it almost did not.

I told Cliff part way through the parking lot trek that walking in may not have been a good idea. Pretty much too late, but I thought he should know. Then I got the giggles. I had to stop walking a few times to engage my sphincter muscles. It was a close call, but I finally made it to the ladies room at the entrance of the park intact.

It was a very busy day at Animal Kingdom and we didn’t have a lot of Fast Passes. Our Safari Fast Pass wasn’t until much later, so we walked towards the Safari to see if we could get on in the Stand By line. The Safari is my favorite. The line was over an hour long, so we headed toward the Lion King show. As I was about to sit down, I had the horrific realization that I’d left my phone in the ladies room stall on top of the toilet paper dispenser at the entrance to the park. We did not watch the Lion King show at this time. We walked, quickly, back to the ladies room. I didn’t have the giggles this time. This time I had a sense of panic as I thought about all of the family pictures, all of the information, all of the everything that is in my phone and the thought that someone might have taken it. So, I did what I do when I panic, I prayed. “Lord, please help me find my phone.”

When we got to the bathroom, it was not in the stall. I went to the Guest Relations line, which was almost as long as the line for the Safari. Cliff went to the facilitator standing outside the Guest Relations area. I am married to a very smart man. He told him what happened, described my phone, and the guy went into the Guest Relations building and found it. Turns out while I was praying to Jesus, Cliff was talking to Jesus, because that was the facilitator’s name. Cliff called me out of the line and brought me to Jesus. And there, safe in Jesus’ hands was my phone. I said, “Thank you, Jesus!” and really meant it. All was well, and in the end it really was not that big a deal.

 

 

 

Posted in America, Americans, Animal Kingdom, Animals, Christians, Disney World, Faithfulness, Florida, Humor, Life, Love, Marriage, Prayer, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hi-Ho The Derry-O, A Junking We Will Go!

All of my life, or at least for the portion that I was able to walk, I have been a garbage picker. In my mind a garbage picker is kind of like the American Pickers, only less “picky”, not as wealthy, and nobody wants to watch us on TV.

My first “pick” was a very large pink stuffed animal. I think it was a poodle. I found it in someone’s garbage can when I was five and brought it home to show my Mom. She was not impressed and more than a little bit upset that it was full of ants. There were consequences to my picking at such a young age and I nonchalantly accepted them. Whenever my Mom would call me in from playing and  yelled, “Roxanne!” the response from the neighborhood kids would be, “She’s in the garbage can!”. We “pickers” put up with a lot.

Be that as it may, I have found amazing things at that hallowed ground called the curb. Things like a big beautiful silk ficus tree in a clay pot, a bathroom shelf, a book shelf, a couple of dressers, and an area rug. (It belonged to my neighbor. I did unroll the area rug to make sure it wasn’t smelly or gross.  I do have my standards.) I’ve also found a children’s basketball net, which I carried home slung over my shoulder while walking my dog. I admit, while carrying this I could hear my Grandma Moon’s voice yelling at me from a portal of heaven, “Shanty Irish, Roxanne, Shanty Irish!”.

One of my best picks was a beautiful lowboy dresser that I painted and refinished. It now proudly sits in my entryway and receives frequent compliments. So what, if it still contained some of the previous owner’s socks and underwear when I brought it home? Though my children were grossed out, those items were easily tossed and by the time I was finished with it, both of my girls wanted it.

Recently, I have found another outlet for my proclivity towards other people’s debris. It’s called “junking”.  I have also discovered somewhat of a junking kindred spirit in my daughter-in-law, Kylene.  A few months ago, she and I visited a wonderful antique/junk place not far from us. Then, we found out they have an antique/junk extravaganza! We packed our lunch, and a very sweet, very patient friend named Cheryl, and off we went! If not for Cheryl, we would have been lost. There were over 800 vendors! It was amazing! Since Cheryl had been to a couple of these before, she became our Senior Navigator. She and Ky worked together to make this the experience of a lifetime for me. I will be forever grateful.

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I found it in one of the first vendor’s tents we went to. I had no idea what it was, but it called me. It was very heavy and not particularly attractive and I couldn’t tell if it was some sort of a brass vase or an urn, but there was something about it. And then I found the tag.

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If you don’t know by now, I love history. I particularly love military history. (I don’t know why.) The Civil War and World War II are particular favorites, though I am learning to appreciate WWI more and more.

I was more than a little excited when I talked to the vendor to find out where and how they found it. Of course we started chatting, of course I told her I am a history teacher, of course she could tell I was slightly passionate, and of course, I couldn’t afford it. I thanked her for the information and placed it back on the table.

She quickly came over and told me that her brother was a history teacher and she had a special place in her heart for them. She’d sell it to me for $40. She didn’t take credit cards and I didn’t have enough cash. I told her I’d wait and see. Cheryl told me if it was still there at the end, and if I still wanted it, we’d pool our monies for it. As I said, Cheryl is a good friend.

We walked the entire place and saw nothing else like it. I decided I still wanted it, so we went back. Just as I was walking up to the tent, I saw a woman holding “my” vase and talking about it to two men. They looked serious. I stood there, staring at them and silently praying that they would leave. They didn’t leave, but they put it down and started looking at other things. I wasn’t sure if I should grab it or not, but quickly decided, “You snooze, you lose!” I grabbed it. I did apologize to one of the men that was still standing nearby. I’m passionate, but I still try to be nice.

As you can tell, I brought it home. Proving that one man’s junk is truly another man’s treasure; but in the end, like everything, it’s really not that big a deal!

 

 

 

Posted in Antiques, Children, Family, Friends, Garbage Picking, History, Humor, Irish Roots, Junking, Shanty Irish, Teaching, Trench Art, Uncategorized, Women, World War II | Leave a comment

Florassic Park

 

Though I would never classify myself as a “Birder”, I do love to see and watch birds. In NJ we had a plethora of different birds, blue jays, starlings, robins, wrens, sparrows, nuthatches, goldfinches, cardinals, and the occasional hawk. The birds in NJ were bird-size. They were small. I remember seeing a Great Blue Heron twice in NJ. I saw a few more hawks, but still, if not for Sesame Street seeing a big bird was rare.

But, the birds in the North can’t even compare in size to the birds in Florida. The birds down here are HUGE, hence my title, and they are abundant. Aside from the wonder of seeing Bald Eagles soaring the skies on a regular basis, I have way more than doubled my sightings of Great Blue Herons. In fact, I get to see them every day!  As great as they are, they’re not even the biggest.  When we first moved here, I honestly thought I was seeing pterodactyls. They looked enormous even from the ground and they made a weird prehistoric honking sound, especially when they were flying. They’re called Sandhill Cranes. These birds stand as tall as I do. Maybe not a great accomplishment for a human, but for a bird? They’re very social creatures always in groups of 2 or 3. A friend of mine calls them “Martian Birds”. I think that’s a good description. They definitely sound and look somewhat ‘other-worldly’.

I’m thinking because of the gentle climate we also have quite a few emus and ostriches down here. They don’t actually run loose, but they are kept. Our vet keeps some emus at his home/office and Disney’s Animal Kingdom has a few ugly ostriches. If you’ve ever done the Safari you’ve probably seen the display of three never-hatching, but always intact, ostrich eggs. I have now committed to memory the fact that “they weigh up to 3lbs. each and a grown man can stand on one without breaking it.” If Disney says it, it must be true.

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Once, while selling real estate, I was chased by an emu. Really. It was during a time when I had quite a few clients that were college students. One particular student/client had had his fill of  looking at condos and decided he wanted to live in a tree house. Amazingly, I found one. It was a little off the beaten path, but it was there. We went to the address and there in the front yard was an emu.

I had called the owners in advance telling them when we would be arriving. They didn’t tell me about the bird, but I assumed it was harmless since it was loose.

As we pulled up, I have to admit the tree house was, in a word, in-tree-guing (Get it?). An elevated home with a large tree growing up through the middle, the home was built haphazardly around it; not like anything on Treehouse Masters, but still. I was as excited as my client to see how it looked inside.

My client was a little reluctant to get out of the car because of the emu. As I said before, I assumed it was harmless and so, I got out. As I walked toward the house, the emu looked at me. I talked nicely to it, trying to make friends. It seemed to listen, but then it began to slowly move towards me. I stopped, waiting to see what its intentions were. I knew soon enough, turned and ran. I’ve never yanked a car door open so fast in my life and was ever so grateful that I hadn’t pressed the door lock button.

Then I opened the sunroof of my car and I and my client, who was wearing his pajamas, popped our heads through the top. He wanted to look at the emu, I wanted to talk to the owner, who had heard the commotion and come out the front door. The owner told us that the emu was harmless, so we tried again because my college student client thought it would be “cool”. He got out first. I warned him that I was not responsible if he became emu fodder. But, he was a kid and insisted all would be fine. And it was…for him. Seeing that the emu was kindly towards him, I decided to give it another try. I confidently opened the car door hoping to appear unafraid. I know you can’t show fear to dogs, and decided maybe emus are the same. I closed my car door and proceeded to follow my client avoiding eye contact with the bird, but very aware of its location. That stinkin’ emu waited until I was far enough away from my car and then, ignoring my pajama clad client, ran after me.  In a pinch, I can move very quickly and jumped into my car again. This time the bird didn’t just chase me to my car, it was pecking at my window. It really didn’t like me.

The owners were old hippies and very perplexed by the bird’s behavior. They discussed this with my client for quite some time. Please keep in mind that I was still trapped in my car with an emu trying to attack me through the glass window, but no matter. They came to the very astute decision that the bird must not like red hair. Well, of course, what else could it possibly be? They finally corralled the emu and locked it up in the backyard.

My pajama clad client thought the inside of the tree house was “cool” (his favorite word) in spite of the fact that the roof wasn’t sealed around the tree and it leaked when it rained. His father refused to pay for a leaky tree house. He ended up living in the dorm. Much safer, no emus. I didn’t get a sale, but I did have an adventure and something new  to add to my list of “Weird Redhead Anomalies”. After all, how many people can say they were chased by an emu while trying to sell a leaky tree house to a pajama clad client? I may be the only one, but it’s really not that big a deal.

Posted in Animals, Birds, College life, Emus, Humor, Life, Memories, New Jersey, Real Estate Agents, Red heads, Students, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Oops…

It infiltrates. It permeates. It saturates. And, at times, it really stinks. I’m not talking about politics…I’m talking about change.

“Things” have changed…again. The older I get, the more I see change worm its way into every area of our lives. The older I get the more I realize, I’m not overly fond of change. I need to listen to my own advice and have a good attitude about it, clearly. But, lately I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

Our household has changed. We bring these beautiful little people into the world and every aspect of our lives changes. They become our “kids”. Our kids live with us. Our kids grow up. Our kids move out. Our kids move back in…with their families. We are all squished. The house is loud and just when we get used to it…the kids move back out again. And then, it’s lonely. It’s too quiet. The dogs are confused. When suddenly one day we wake up with the amazing realization that, we can actually hear ourselves think! The quiet becomes a good thing, an enjoyable thing. Of course, now that we’re used to the quiet, I’m sure someone else will move in and things will change again.

I’m going through change in my body. Aside from the change that caused me to contemplate how to get away with murdering someone on an almost daily basis; I can’t eat the things I used to…like sugar, my very favorite food; and anything that turns into sugar in my gut, which is an awful lot of good stuff. Of course I can eat salad, vegetables, fruit, lean meats, even beans…not originally my favorites, but I need to change my favorites. It’s not so bad, but it will take some getting used to.

My handwriting has recently changed, not a good thing when you’re a teacher and need to write notes to your students that they can’t read. We’ve narrowed this change down to a pinched bunch of nerves in my neck. This has been a kind of weird change and has led me to another change. I now go to a chiropractor because, as he has shown me through x-rays, I’m no longer normal. Honestly, I don’t really think I ever was; but they assume I was…so you know what that says about them. But, we’ve decided to believe them since the evidence of neck pain, carpal tunnel, and the handwriting thing prove that something is amok.

Which brings me to my last change and the title of this blog. I was told. I was warned. I was cautioned, but did I listen??? Nope.

For weeks, nay, months now my WordPress blog site has been telling me there was going to be a change. I saw the messages and decided it somehow didn’t pertain to me. I don’t know why I thought that, since I write my blog every week; but, that’s what I thought.

So, imagine my surprise when I finished up my post last week and went through my normal routine of scheduling my post only to find that there was no scheduling option. If I was a cussing woman, I’d have said a mouthful. But, since I try not to cuss out loud, I said, “OHNOOHNOOHNO”! That didn’t really help, but that’s what I said. What I actually thought is not printable. After that I sent out a little “Testing 1,2,3…” title without a blog. You may have seen it. Some of you even liked it. Which makes me think you’re either very kind or you don’t really read more than the title of my blogs.

When all was said and done I did the only thing I could do. I contacted my Fairy Blog Mother. Fortunately, I have two. I have a “Techy Romance” Fairy Blog Mother who is not to be confused with my “Non-Techy Funny” Fairy Blog Mother.  The Techy Romance FBM is the one we two “non-techy’s” run to in times of trouble. She knows us and even better, she loves us anyway…

My Techy Romance FBM told me what I already knew, the format for my blog site had changed. She also told me how to set it back to the old way. I really like ‘the old way’. Still, ‘the old way’ may not be the best way and unless we are static, not like the electricity but just like standing still; we will be in a constant state of change. As I’ve said before, change is here to stay and it’s really not that big a deal.

 

Posted in Aging, Attitude, Bad Words, Children, Chiropractor, Christians, Family, Handwriting, Health, Home, Humor, Life, Teaching, Uncategorized, Women | 2 Comments

The Taming of the Tongue

In an old country churchyard in Hatfield, Massachusetts,  stands a drab, gray slate from 1771. The faint markings read:

Beneath this stone, a lump of clay, lies Arabella Young, who on the twenty-fourth of May, began to hold her tongue.

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Posted in Americans, Attitude, Children, diversity, Embarrassing moments, Ethnicity, Family, Friends, High School Reunions, Humor, Italian Roots, Italians, Life, Marriage, New Jersey, The Human Spirit, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

How Do I Love My Body…

Let me count the ways…

Once you hit 50, I think those ways are hard to think of, let alone count. The tendency, for some or most women anyway, is to look at ourselves and wonder what happened.

I have recently been encouraged by a young friend of ours, Rebecca Rice, who writes a blog called, The Hydrangea Project. She recently had a question posed to her at her writer’s group. “What do I love about my body?”

I think Rebecca is 26 or so and I’m sure the ladies in her writer’s group are just about the same. Still women young or old have hangups about their bodies and I’ll dare to venture and say I think some men do, too.

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Posted in Aging, Attitude, Change, Children, Church, Curly Hair, Getting Old, Life, New Beginnings, Uncategorized, Women | Leave a comment