Holey Underwear Batman!

I’m pretty sure the idea of planning & packing for an oversea adventure is supposed to be fun & exciting all by itself. In a perfect world I would be freaking ecstatic by now. Unfortunately, I like to use things to the point of falling apart before I replace them…which is the condition some of my needed essentials are in right now. The trip itself is pricey enough without having to fork over cash for it before I even leave the country. And yet…

Shoes~comfortable ones are necessary for all the walking we will be doing. A LOT of walking! I’ve let mine go past the point of comfort (by about a year); the squishy comfortableness of them is long gone. With how misty Ireland tends to be (not to mention the daily rain), two pair are essential for the frolicking we’ll be doing in the dewy meadows…Ch-ching $$

Hooded Rainjacket~I don’t own one. I use an umbrella and if I don’t want to get wet I have a quirky habit of staying indoors. Ireland is too windy for umbrella’s; the wind eats them for lunch. We plan on being outside during the day, rain or shine, and I’d kind of like to stay moderately dry…Ch-ching $

Clothes~somehow, over winter, my summer clothes have all shrunk. WTH?! I am in a quandary about how this happened. I’ve been getting by with just basic pieces of clothing but of course what I essentially need is packed away in the “Maybe Next Year” bag. So I went outside my comfort zone and bought a BRAND NEW (Ch-ching $$$) shirt & two pair of pants that are lightweight & will dry fast (I plan on banging our laundry on rocks in the streams along the countryside…or maybe just use a sink). One pair unzips into shorts (which are usually not worn there unless you’re visiting during the years’ four days of unusually warm weather…we’ll see). Then I paid a visit to Goodwill. I now have enough appropriately sized clothes to get me through Ireland and beyond…Ch-ching $$$$$

Cold Hard Cash~I was aware that our dollar isn’t as strong as the euro (if a meal is 10 euros in that quaint jovial pub in Ireland, we will actually be paying $13; typical meals are 12+ eu) but it was a rude awakening when we got the visual. We handed over a large sum of cash at the local bank and they handed us back a very small, very thin stack of euros…a mere pittance of what we presented to them. Very saddening! Hostels, camping in the car & bringing 5 jars of peanut butter are starting to look doable…and affordable! I’m saving my euros for the pubs.

Underwear and Bras~I seem to have iron-clad underwear. If it weren’t for the holes that our quirky washing machine feels necessary to slash randomly in them they wouldn’t be all that bad (only does it to my dainties & t-shirts). But if I soil my underwear in an accident over there, I want them to at least start out looking nice. The first thing I want to hear from the emergency personnel is, “Cute underwear…did you know you shit in them?” (they talk in that sexy Irish accent and make it sound like it’s something everyone wants to do).
My bras on the other hand were treacherous when two weeks apart from each other, they broke their underwire. That’s dangerous; you could take out a lung if you bent the wrong way! Besides, if we do pay to get our laundry done, I don’t want the Irish washerwoman looking at me with pity when I come to pick up the finished laundry, (imagine her speaking with that cool brogue of theirs) “That poor, sad American. Look at her dingy bras. She can’t get her whites truly white.” I’m sorry but I have a patriotic image to uphold…Ch-ching $$

Andre Rieu and John Sheahan (The Dubliners) play Irish Washerwoman

You can bet I got the best possible deal on everything I bought. Some were virtually cheap inexpensive. At least this trip has forced me to replace things I’ve been procrastinating about. So I’ve finally got my packing list fine-tuned and my extra purchases made. My new mantra regarding luggage is that less is more…Pack Light…Pack Light…Pack Light…!

Funerals and other parties

I want my funeral to be a big party. After all, I’ll be 103 and I’m pretty sure people will have an easier time with that whole letting go process. My 50 year old blind lover will probably take it the hardest but he’s still young and quite fit so I don’t doubt he’ll find someone else in time. Hmmm, my daughters will be around 70 and their kids will be probably in their 40’s; he could go either direction. That’s kinda gross and a little twisted. Oh well, I’ll be dead, I won’t care.

A bunch of years ago I started planning my funeral party in my head. Just for fun. It revolved around music, food & laughter…and my body over there in the corner for viewing and making snarky comments. Even though I know I will be at my funeral party and probably affect some sort of shenanigans, it made me a little sad that it would just be my spirit. And family & friends that are older than me and a bunch that are younger will already have died.

Sidenote: I’ve had conversations with the funeral director in town and he said it’s never too early to start planning your funeral so if anyone thinks I’m weird for thinking about this, well, I’m not. I’m normal, dammit!

So anyway, when Gary and my 25th wedding anniversary was looming on the horizon my brain also became aware that I would be turning 50 that year (Yay for the Golden Year; break out the bottle of Goldschlager!). If these aren’t two huge reasons not to have a party, I don’t know what is! You may already be dead if you don’t agree. It was at that moment that a huge 3000 watt light bulb went on over my head. My world became crystal clear…I WAS going to be at my funeral party…in the flesh. It would be the perfect trial run (only with a live person, not a dead one…and probably a lot cheaper). We were going to celebrate with family & friends, right now, while we’re all alive!

The party took place and it was wicked good fun! It revolved around music, food & laughter and just like any big party you obsess about and take over a year to plan, it was over in the blink of an eye. The first half of the party celebrated our 25 years of marriage with a loosely-based ceremony & food. The music & dancing was all about me; my birthday gift to myself with family & friends. The funeral party trial run was a grand success and I haven’t done any funeral planning for myself since. I’m glad I was able to party with the people I love…in the flesh. I danced all night until I could barely walk. Good Times! I appreciate all the people who came to my ‘funeral party.’ Thank you!

Our daughters walked us up the ‘aisle’

Our ceremony was way more fun and a lot less serious this time. My sweet eldest sister officiated (she’s ordained on the Internet…how fun is that?!) and we had a ceremony for our girls and gave each of them a Tree of Life pendant

Happy 25th to us!

We started off the dance with an anniversary dance

And then…it was all about me!

Have passport…time to rock & roll!

With the prospect of 3 of my kids leaving the country for study abroad this summer in Mexico, Ireland, Germany & Spain; it became somewhat necessary that I ought to get a passport for myself. While at city hall last Fall, with #3 to apply for her passport, the elderly lady taking care of us highly recommended, “…at least one parent should also have a passport because, well, on the off chance you need to leave quickly to the country your child is in.” Mrs. Elderly Lady was trying to be discreet in her implication but we both knew what she was saying. “Lalalalalalalalalalalalala…I’ve been trying NOT to think about that scenario, thank you very much! How about rephrasing that into something a little more positive, like, “Hey! Now the 10-year passport clock is ticking for you to get your keester to Ireland!” My ancestors have been patiently calling to me since before I can remember, wondering when I’m coming back to the motherland.
So a month before #1 headed off to Mexico I finally applied for my passport; my initial baby step to Ireland.

The day after my Dad’s funeral I received my passport in the mail. How very appropriate, Dad. After all, I did tell him I was going to bring him to Ireland. But by the time he died my heart was numb and my life had changed in a weird discombobulated way. I had already formulated a list of why I wouldn’t be able to go. It was the customary list of ridiculousness that most people have in these scenarios. Enter…my guardian angels; they got the ball rolling again in my head. A couple close goddess friends of mine exchanged all the excuses I had created with reasons of why I had to make the trip. And then my niece entered the picture…

My niece sat across from me by the side of my Dad’s hospital bed when I announced my intentions on taking him to Ireland. The seed was planted and three weeks later she became the catalyst that propelled us to take the leap. She turned into a rabid lioness who stalked me day & night via e-mails, texts & phone calls with plans for going to Ireland. Meanwhile, my SweetPea was paying attention quietly in the background to the drama unfolding. Unbeknownst to him, he was an important key player in my final decision. We don’t tell each other what to do or not to do and that has worked out pretty slick in our many years of marriage. But if he had not been on board with all of this or had not been happy for me…it would’ve been a deal breaker. He’s still able to surprise me with how immeasurable his love is for me.


I’m trying to contain myself by directing my energy on the every day stuff and the rites of passage my kids are making. I’m focused on #1 leaving for Mexico and returning safely home as #4 leaves for her own adventures in Ireland. The excitement of seeing her online pictures makes me a wee bit giddy of what’s to come. In three more weeks #3 heads to Spain and #4 will be in Germany; then the countdown begins for my trip of a lifetime. Not to be outdone, #2 will also be accompanying my niece and me to Ireland. It doesn’t seem real yet. So, along with the wait for my Dad’s death to finally hit home, I will be waiting for the excitement of Ireland to take hold. Somehow it feels like the two will be going hand in hand. And I smile inside at the bittersweet appropriateness of it all.

In reality…1 day = 4 days…and that’s basic fact

Monday~I’m applying for a job that requires a resume; a requirement that is sooo incredibly outside my comfort zone. I put on my big girl panties…and it’s still difficult…and nerve wracking. I would’ve liked to hire this out to someone else but Tebazilena is convinced we can get through this with our sanity intact. Oh yeah, I also want it done by today. I want to get the jump on all the other applicants. I’m planning on me being the only applicant but sometimes my wants and reality don’t jive as expected. Betsy decided, years decades ago, we would only work at a place that DID NOT require a resume. That would be all fine and dandy if it were rational but we really want this job.
Tuesday~Sending my resume out to different people for feedback. So much for getting it done in one day but I want it to look professional.
Wednesday~Okay, I’m done with the resume and now I need a cover letter. Arrrgh! I can’t just whip these things out like I’m sure some people can. I have to research, which I think may be driving #3 daughter a little crazy. She thinks I should not be so anal about it and mellow out. LOL, it’s almost like she doesn’t know me after all these years. It’s been quite a few decades since the days I needed a resume. The rules have changed…probably a couple times. Words that got you the job 10+ years ago are now curse words that send your application to the shredder. I think the organization I’m going to work for is more people friendly and less cut-throat but I’m not taking any chances.
Thursday~Okay, now it’s another day later and the organization will have my cover letter and resume today. I’d like to get all nervous about the upcoming interview but I’m going to try doing the opposite. Just be me, let the Universe handle the rest and let go. On second thought, maybe I’ll just do a little research on a few things and save all that other cosmic stuff for the actual interview. I’m already imagining BEING in this job. I already know which mug I’m bringing for my coffee, having a supply of my own coffee in the fridge, which driving route I’m taking, walking to Music in the Park during lunch this summer, being so awesome that my part-time status becomes full time w/benefits before the end of the year. Ahhh, it’s fun living in my brain when we’re all in agreement!

Laughter is the best medicine…especially when the therapist is as crazy as you are!

I hung out today with one of my therapists, Lady Susan. She’s royalty, much like I am. I think she also has a tiara but I can’t remember if I’ve ever seen her wear it. If she hadn’t decided to go with me I would’ve gone by myself. I like being all by myself sometimes but having Lady Susan along is like going to an amusement park instead of just sitting on a park bench with the squirrels. First we went to an indoor Farmer’s Market for veggies, seeds, patchouli & honey. I was pretty excited that the sprouts guy was there again; it’s a fun snack in the dead of winter.
Next stop was a museum to see the animated holiday window displays salvaged from a local department store from our childhood. I am sooo glad I didn’t bring the kids. They would’ve laughed at the lameness of my magical childhood. Back in the 60’s, seeing anything that moved was a pretty big deal; especially when you’re a little kid. As we went from one display to the next, Lady Susan & I would remark, “I don’t really remember this one either.” We were both hoping one of the windows would trigger a memory. Near the end we see the kitchen baking scene. How ironic…the food scene is the one I vaguely remember. Maybe it was just the child in me that really wanted to see & feel what I did back in my youth.
I really can’t remember what scenes I saw back then. What I do remember are the feelings; the excitement of my parents bringing all of us kids to the big city to walk the sidewalk outside the department store & look at the magic of technology with its moving figures. I’m sure I looked at the whole scene at each window but my main focus was on the stuff that moved. I have memories of being fascinated by that. Then we went inside & walked through the ‘enchanted forest’ to see Santa Claus. It was one of the highlights of Christmas. All in all I’m glad I finally went to see the displays. It was nice to see the windows again through my adult eyes but with the memories & feelings of my childhood still intact inside me.

We would’ve left then but the entrance to a cave caught my eye and I felt compelled to explore. We continued walking and looking at displays until I realized that it felt like we were in the middle of a maze & I was getting a little bit claustrophobic because there didn’t seem to be a way out. I’m pretty sure we could’ve found our way out faster if they had wedges of cheese waiting for us at the end.
Before heading home we stopped for some shots of wheatgrass & ginger. We’re rebels that way. It was spicy hot, sweet & delicious…just like we are! The whole day we laughed, bantering back & forth with comedic timing. We’re a funny pair, sweet Sue & me. Funny lookin’ & just plain funny! I’m fortunate to have a lot of funny therapists & I love them all. They keep me healthy. We’d all make for a kick-ass TV talk show!

Twas the night AFTER Christmas…

I was hoping to post stuff throughout the excitement of our holiday adventure but there weren’t any quiet times. It was a continual blur of activity. All four girls & their guys along with our 5th pretend adopted daughter were here by 3 PM on Christmas Eve and started pitching in to help finish getting the house & the food ready & ornaments on the tree. Two of the kids had never seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation so that was a priority on my list. Of course the kids are still sort of kids (if you compare them to an 80 yr-old) so they wanted to open gifts and do Yankee Swap first.

From the front, she looked like a normal Christmas tree.

From the front, she looked like a normal Christmas tree.

Anytime Christmas tree lights are added...it becomes magical, especially at night with Christmas music playing!

Anytime Christmas tree lights are added…it becomes magical, especially at night with Christmas music playing!

Dressed up in all her sparkling finery, it's almost like she's taking a bow to her admirers.

Dressed up in all her sparkling finery, it’s almost like she’s taking a bow to her admirers.

Our tree's empty space is being 'filled' by a talking Santa & a large star I received as a gift. We envisioned a large disco ball there but, surprisingly, we don't own one! Our living room screams for a disco ball.

Our tree’s empty space is being ‘filled’ by a talking Santa & a large star I received as a gift. We envisioned a large disco ball there but, surprisingly, we don’t own one! Our living room screams for a disco ball.

Gary & the kids got the cool stuff they asked for but more importantly, let’s talk about what I got! I got my winter boots & Cuddleduds but can you believe Santa forgot to bring me snow pants?! I’ve wanted them since last winter and I cannot believe, with all his magic, that he forgot them. I guess he was too busy concentrating on the boots & long underwear. I also got a Tree of Friendship glass ball, a bunch of warm cuddly socks, lots & lots of headbands (I shouldn’t run out for…forever!), a huge bag of pecans, a jar of raw honey, a magnifying glass & along with some DVD’s from the family pile…Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure! (to go along with the classic Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special that we already own) Gifts from the kids include a big kickass LED TV from daughter #1 (now the lights won’t dim like they did when we turned on the big old ginormous one!), a gift certificate from the delicious Teavana store & a wine accessory kit secretly hidden from burglars inside a pretend wine bottle from #2 & her PoohBear, a Charoite stone & a gift certificate from a goddessey new-age store I adore from #3 & her OsoBear, #4 & her new sweetpea gave me a DVD & a 10 pk outdoor solar light set for when we get around to making the far-far back yard look pretty this summer (*crossing my fingers*). On Christmas day everyone slept in except me because I was determined to make breakfast recipes off my Pinterest boards; Apple Cider Pancakes & Bacon in the shape of hearts (don’t bake them crispy because they break REALLY easy!). They were obviously delicious! Our final adventure before all of the kids were gone for work or significant others’ family celebrations was sledding down the town’s snow hill. (This is where those snow pants would have come in handy) Elizabeth wasn’t too keen on going but Betsy & Tebazilena were already bundling into snow gear so she didn’t have a choice.
Snow Tube 'Island' Adventure! The trick is to make sure you hang on tight to another tube (as well as your own). We try putting the youngest in the back so they have a better survival rate in case there is a tubing mishap.

Snow Tube ‘Island’ Adventure! The trick is to make sure you hang on tight to another tube (as well as your own). We try putting the youngest in the back so they have a better survival rate in case there is a tubing mishap.

It was GREAT FUN!!! We assembled all the tubes into a mass island, hung on to each other’s handles & inched our way to the top of the hill and…….adults just need to do that at least ONCE in their lifetime. It really brings out the kid in you!
Sometimes the 'island' becomes a 'peninsula!' At least we're all in the same general area. Looks like someone lost their mitten in the adventure!

Sometimes the ‘island’ becomes a ‘peninsula!’ At least we’re all in the same general area. Looks like someone lost their mitten in the adventure!

It was a great Christmas! We should be relaxing now but #2 & #4 informed us that we need to have a New Year’s Eve party here. Why? Because THEY don’t have anything planned to celebrate. I guess we need to enjoy having the kids spend time back home while we’re all young.

Topsy Turvy SnowWoman ~ Topsy Turvy Apocalypse

Since seeing an upside down snowman on Facebook I’ve wanted one for my very own. It’s very difficult though when the ground is covered in brown frozen grass. So, I did what I do in most situations that seem somewhat futile…I wished! I wished a LOT for a lot of snow. I even talked about it to all the kids I encountered in school last week. First we talked about how to construct an upside down snowman and then on Wednesday I told them I wasn’t coming to school on Thursday because we would be having a snow day so I could make my upside down snowman (They totally believed me this time because the forecasters already predicted a huge dump of snow). And what happened because I believed & wished strongly for it? SNOW DAY! I had to wait until evening for enough snow to accumulate but it was sweet success! A lot of people have stopped to take pictures of her.
SnowBeth & Stella 009
The only problem I was concerned about was The End of the World. It could make my sweet SnowWoman become a puddle of slush. The intensity of the apocalypse prediction was similar to my towering inferno hot flashes.
Since summer, I wanted to have a party to celebrate. The End of the World; Party like there’s no tomorrow! What an awesome reason to have a party! Sadly, there were too many things I had to do and I would’ve lost my mind if I’d added that to the mix. So daughter #3 surprised us with a mini party. She played R.E.M.’s song “It’s the End of the World as we Know it” when I walked in to the decorated dining room with candles lit for ambiance.
Try to imagine that the bag of Red Vines is filled with licorice instead of cinnamon sticks & pretend that I didn’t eat the Almond Joy bar that’s missing from the table.
By midnight Friday, all was calm, all was dark, and it was freaking cold…WTH? No End of the World? No Zombie Apocalypse? I’m a little disappointed after all the hype. Would it have killed the cosmos to throw us a bone of sorts, something nice & uplifting? Like maybe the top 10% of evil overlords are suddenly immune to gravity and float off the earth into space, never to be seen again? Nope, I guess not, so it’s back to ‘normal’ living…for now. (I still think something topsy turvy is in the works out there)

It’s all Fun & Games until the Panic Attack!

I’m not sure if you can avoid stress around the holidays, even when you attempt to downscale. I wanted to be part of OneEarth-OneVoice on the 21st and help put out healing vibes to the world but there isn’t any group doing it in our neck of the woods; seems to be happening online only. So it seemed a good idea to invite the other 3 people in town who seem interested and do it at my place. Then Betsy reminded us that we talked about having an End-of-the-world-as-we-know-it party which is on the same day so we should open it up and have a big party. The 3rd voice, T, has since started panicking (she doesn’t care for parties…we KNOW, we don’t understand either!) because, “1. The House Isn’t Clean By My (or Anyone else’s) Standards!!! 2. We JUST started decorating (which causes its own mess). 3. We would have to provide some sort of hors d’oeuvre & refreshments. 4. We still have to get presents wrapped & food ready for our Thank-God-in-Heaven, First-Time-Alone-As-A-Family Christmas! What the hell are you guys thinking?!” “Jeez T…we just thought it would be fun to have people over and be part of a global happening! Mellow out! I’m sure we can come up with some sort of compromise. We’ve got a week and a half yet, we can finish some of this before that & we’ll downscale from the original plan. But no matter what…R.E.M. is still invited!” Tebazilena knows how quickly things can escalate when B & E are planning for a party. It’s all fun & games until the panic to get ready begins. Cranky anxiety ensues until people start arriving. I’ve gotten better over the past year or two but the moodiness is still in the background when I’m trying to get everything ready. I have to go now and clean…or decorate, otherwise one of us will be doing her darndest to put a wrench in the party plans (for 4…or 40?).

Tattoo Me!

I volunteered 2 nights for The Polar Express Rail Event that a friend was in charge of. I had the pleasure of tattooing children and serving hot chocolate. If I had grandchildren I would probably bring them to this event. It was so cute watching all the wee children (& some grown-ups) dressed in PJ’s & robes with all the excitement that comes with that age group. It was hard not to smile just watching them all. Before I left, a co-worker (from school) & I nabbed a couple tattoos to wear on our cheeks at school. The next day, one cheek was adorned with a blue snowflake and the other spelled out JOY. And this was the conversation with some 3rd graders in the lunchroom. “Are those real tattoos?” “Yes” “Nuh-uh!” “They sure are and they hurt when I got them. There were needles and blood and tears ‘cause I was crying. It was pretty painful!” Silence from the table…they were deciding whether to believe me or not. The first boy, “My mom & dad didn’t cry.” “Oh, they cried all right…they cried inside.” Second boy who knows way too much about tattoos, “It’s gonna hurt a lot more if you get it removed.” I just nodded knowingly and walked away. If you talk fast, think fast on your feet, say some believable words and also emphasize with hand movements; it’s amazing what you can get some of them to believe. It was about 70/30 on believe/not believe. Because let’s face it; if I’m going to get a tattoo it’s going to be a big blue snowflake & the word JOY on my cheeks…NOT! The next day they proved to be sharp as tacks when after 15 minutes they noticed my bare face. All I said was, “You were right! It hurt a LOT worse when I had them removed last night!” Then smiled and walked away.