Monday, April 30, 2007

Break out the blender and martini glasses!

This is the best news I've heard all month. You'll see I did a little eding on the last paragraph. Because really? Who needs to be reminded of that?

Are fruity cocktails a healthy drink?

By Stephen Daniells

4/20/2007- Strawberries with alcohol may lead to an increase in antioxidant capacity, says new research from Thailand and the US that suggests daiquiris could be classed as a health drink.

Writing on the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, lead author Korakot Chanjirakul reports that treating blackberries and strawberries with volatile compounds such as ethanol (alcohol), methyl jasmonate, and tea-tree oil significantly boosted their antioxidant activity.

The potential health benefits of berries, linked to the antioxidant polyphenol content including anthocyanins, flavonols, flavanols, ellagitannins, galltannins, proanthocyanidins, and phenolic acids, has filtered through to the consumers and resulted in an increase in demand.

Indeed, sales of blueberries, for example, are reported to have rocketed by 130 per cent, raspberry sales are said to have grown by 62 per cent in the last two years, a strawberry sales in the UK are reported to have increased by 34 per cent during the last two years.

The researchers, from Kasetsart University in Thailand and the US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), report that treating the berries with naturally volatile compounds such as ethanol (alcohol), methyl jasmonate, and tea-tree oil boosted antioxidant activity, as measured by oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) assay and the DPPH (1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl) radical assay.

The discovery came about while Chanjirakul and co-workers were exploring ways to help keep strawberries fresh during storage.

Commenting independently on the research, Dr Frankie Phillips of the British Dietetic Association said: "This is an interesting piece of research and illustrates that the antioxidant capacity of berries can be enhanced by combining them with volatile substances such as alcohol. It's well known that some preparation of fruit and veg can enhance the availability of nutrients and other plant chemicals including antioxidants. Whilst this study suggests that consuming strawberries with alcohol increases the antioxidant capacity, there are clearly detrimental effects of consuming alcohol in terms of cell damage.

"So any potential antioxidant benefits may be cancelled out by the potential liver damage caused by too much alcohol," she said.

Source: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Published on-line ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/jsfa.2841
"Natural volatile treatments increase free-radical scavenging capacity of strawberries and blackberries"
Authors: K. Chanjirakul, S.Y. Wang, C.Y. Wang, J. Shiriphanich


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Well, duh Mom!

So my little Peanut is a smart, smart girl (and I say that with the total objective, unbiased assessment that only a Mom has - HA!)

No, but seriously, she is a clever one, especially when it comes to words and verbal skills. She's always been a bit ahead in this area and at three-and-a-half has a more impressive vocabulary than some adults I know.

Her latest trick is memorizing her books. And I don't mean picture books here. I mean stories with multiple characters, full-blown plots and several lines of dialogue on each page. If she connects with a new book, she'll have it memorized after having it read to her only a few times. And I mean memorized: Every. Single. Word.

This skill always impresses me, because even after reading some of these books dozens of times, I'm not sure I could recite them word-for-word.

So last week, I brought home about a dozen new books purchased through the Scholastic program at her school. Some she liked right away, some we haven't had a chance to read yet. There is one book, Five Little Monkeys With Nothing to Do, that we just discovered a few days ago. I read it to her twice and then the next morning as we were leaving for the gym, she grabbed it to take in the truck with her.

And she recited it. Word-for-word, page by page. I sat in the front seat listening and when she reached the final page I exclaimed happily, "Peanut! You have that whole book memorized! You are so smart!"

Her response?

Of course.

Which is funny enough on its own, but the inflection is what killed me. Because it was all about, "Well, DUH, Mom. What do you expect?" It was a simple statement punctuated by an audible eyeroll and dripping with attitude.

I'm so screwed in about 10 years when she's a teenager with real attitude. Lord help me.

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Monday, April 23, 2007


Two years ago today at 12:13 p.m. my sweet baby Loaf arrived in this world. Weighing in at 6 pounds, 8 ounces, she was a screaming, red-faced bundle with my face but her father’s temperament.


Stubborn but smart. Snuggly but independent. Sweet but tough.

Holding her against me in the hospital, I was amazed by her tiny hands, rosebud lips and teeny head covered with the finest peach fuzz hair.

I was instantly smitten.


The last two years have been remarkable—watching Loaf develop into an incredible little person with a mega-watt smile, boundless energy, never-ending curiosity, and a giggle that resonates from her toes.

Things haven’t always gone smoothly. Loaf is a tough customer. She can be highly demanding of attention, fiercely independent, incredibly focused, and to this day sleeps through the night only about 25 percent of the time.

But highly demanding of attention also translates into “the most lovable, snuggly, cuddly two-year-old on the planet.” Several times a day she’ll toddle over to me, sit quietly in my lap and lay her head on my shoulder. Once she’s had her fix, she’ll resume playing on her own.

Fiercely independent can translate into “highly advanced motor skills that make trips to the park a lot less stressful.” For the most part, she keeps up with her big sister—climbing ladders, going down the big slide and jumping off the wall that surrounds the sandbox.

Incredibly focused can translate into “able to keep herself occupied with a cardboard box and wooden spoon for half an hour so mom can make dinner.” She’ll often sit quietly, concentrating hard on how to do something and more times than not she figures it out.

(That not sleeping through the night thing? Yeah, well, I can’t really think of an upside to that, but I love her madly nonetheless.)

While all of these traits drive me crazy right now, they’re going to someday make her a highly productive, successful adult. God help the minions who someday have to work under her when she’s running the show.

The last two years have flown by in a flash that terrifies me. I just know that one day soon I’m going to wake up and she’s going to be a 16-year-old independent, highly demanding teenager. I hope and pray that she’ll still seek me out for a cuddle now and then, but I’m not holding my breath, which is the main reason why I never deny her one now.

These years are so difficult, but so fleeting, and I already find myself mourning over their end.

But for right now Loaf, you’re still my sweet, baby girl and I’m both excited and proud of the person you’re becoming. I can’t wait to watch you grow and experience all life’s wonder with you! Happy birthday, baby!

Here are a few teaser shots from Saturday's party. These are from my mother-in-law, who lives in the year 2007 and thus owns a digital camera. I'll post some of my shots in 2 weeks when Kodak Gallery finally gets around to developing the (UGH)film!





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Friday, April 20, 2007

The 1900s house

I'm always fascinated by those shows on PBS where a whole family agrees to live life like they did back in the 1900s, or on the prairie, or in an English manor, or whatever. Because I? Am totally not into giving up my modern conveniences while at the same time being on display for all the world to see. I would be bitchy and pissed off and messy and have really bad hair and none of those are traits I care to share with the world.

That said, we had our own little "1900s moment" recently. My blog has been devoid of pictures of my cute kids because, as I noted back in February, our digital camera is on the fritz. We think it's still under warranty, and while we have been able to locate the receipt for every toaster and VCR we've ever owned, the receipt and dated extended warranty that we purchased with the camera are (naturally) no where to be found.

And because we are cheap, there is no way in hell we are paying to fix the camera when there is a good possibility that it's covered under warranty.

However, this raised a bit of an issue recently when I suddenly realized we had lots and lots of upcoming events that simply HAD to be captured on film including Easter, Loaf's birthday and a wedding shower for my sister-in-law. What to do? What to do?

Suddenly, I remembered that we had a perfectly good 35mm FILM camera stored in the attic. FILM? Do they even still sell film, I asked Mark, only half joking. After confirming in my local CVS that yes indeed film is still available for purchase, I tromped up into the attic the day before Easter to dust off what is now practically an antique.

And in about 15 seconds, I realized why digital photography has taken over the world and why my 35 mm has remained in the attic collecting dust since the day we arrived home from Best Buy with our new digital camera. Because film photography? Is a huge pain in the ass.

You have to keep your face pressed right up against this little bitty window in order to see what you're shooting and (WTF?) you can't see your picture instantly. Not only that, but every 25 pictures or so, you have to engage in this extremely annoying process known as "changing the film," which is a total photographic buzz kill. "Changing the film" typically seems to come at a particularly inconvenient time, such as when your child just begins smiling and doing all sorts of cute things.

Further, you then must send the film off to be processed, which costs money and takes several days. And lastly, when you eagerly, finally get your film back you will find that at least half of the pictures on the "film" are utterly, totally worthless - shots you would have deleted from your digital camera without a second thought.

So there it is, I am trapped in my own "1900s house hell" with my antiquated 35 mm camera, getting bitchier and more pissed off by the moment. (My hair is still good though because fortunately that other modern convenience known as "the hair dryer" seems to still be working just fine. Phew.)

Despite all this annoying stuff, I did manage to secure a few decent pictures of my girls on and around Easter (nearly 2 weeks ago now - GAH!) Here they are:

I call this shot, "If only I were a few inches taller, you could see my whole head"

Loaf in our hallway looking a bit disheveled

Egg hunt in our living room on Easter morning

That pink basket on the floor is Peanut's and yes, Loaf is taking eggs out of it. Moments after this shot was taken, there was a full-out Easter brawl.

The next two are from the egg hunt at my mother-in-law's house later that day. Note the clouds. And the coats. Ahh, spring in the Northeast.


Loaf sitting on my mother-in-law's piano on Easter.

Hopefully, someday, we'll be back in the year 2007 in regards to photography. At least when those people go on those PBS shows, they know there is an end in sight to the misery.

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So much to say, so difficult to say it

All week I’ve sat staring at a blank Word document, its flashing cursor mocking my inability to put into words all that it’s in my head.

The tragedy that enveloped the news this week is too horrific, too unimaginable, too heartbreaking to give much thought to. So I’ve sat day after day trying to figure out what I can possibly say that adds any value, anything new, anything comprehensible to such an incomprehensible situation.

And all the while there’ve been other events I could have written about: the hellacious trip to Stride Rite with Peanut to buy new shoes. The lugnut Toys ‘R Us employee who walked away laughing at me when I told him I could lift a 50-pound bag of sand into my car on my own (I can and I did, you big jerk). The funny way Loaf points to the door and commands, “Go Mama!” whenever she wants to do something on her own (as well as when she’s about to do something naughty and she catches on that I’m watching her. Little imp).

But all of it seems so trivial this week in light of so much tragedy and grief. So much potential was wiped off the earth in a matter of minutes, I can’t even begin to really think about it without a tightening in my chest and tears welling up in my eyes.

A tragedy like this is difficult to think about when you don’t have children. When you do, it takes on a whole new element. Something so raw and disturbing, it’s like your whole body turned inside out and all the nerves are on the outside causing every emotion, every sensation to be doubled, even tripled with a force that sometimes leaves you crippled with doubt and fear.

Events like those at VA Tech on Monday bring out that visceral instinct to hold your babies (no matter their age) close, bear your teeth and protect them. But how? How can you ever protect them from someone as blatantly disturbed, which is about the nicest thing I can say about him, as the shooter in this case. (I refuse to even type his name and thus contribute to his twisted immortality).

Like millions of parents across this country, each day I drop my child off at school, give her a peck on the lips and say goodbye, fully expecting to see her again in a couple of hours. Any other thought—even a fleeting—of anything else is unfathomable, too utterly horrific to imagine.

So the thoughts get pushed down—way, way down—into the dark recesses of my soul until something like the VA Tech shootings force them to violently fly back up the top.

I had to turn away from the news this week, because it was starting to keep me up at night, forcing me out of bed to walk down the hall and check each of my precious sleeping girls to make sure they were still there, still safe. Of course they were there in their beds, breathing deeply, completely at peace, which is exactly how it should be.

I know I won’t always be there to protect them and I can only pray that they’ll never cross paths with the likes of Monday’s killer. In the meantime, I’ll just keep pushing down all the bad thoughts and focusing on everything that’s wonderful about life right now, which I’m guessing is what’s going to help all those parents and friends of this week’s victims move forward from this as well.

My thoughts are with all of the victims and survivor’s of Monday’s tragedy. I wish you all peace.



Friday, April 13, 2007

Malicious malevolent mall

Yesterday I went to the mall. With my kids.

I made this journey because I desperately needed a refill on the miracle-working Perricone skin care products that I’ve been using since January and because I also wanted a cute new spring top to wear tomorrow when I get together with some friends.

Simple, right? WRONG!

This trip totally reaffirmed all the truth that lies in this awesome post by Chicky Chicky Baby. My favorite part from this post: “The mall is a 21 year old girl with perfect highlights, high heels and perky boobs. She doesn't have Cheerios stuffed into her jacket pocket or graham cracker crumbs stuck to her sweater. She can try on a pair of pants without worrying if the material will stretch oddly over her saddle bags or if it will create an even larger muffin top. She doesn't cringe when she sees what the harsh lights do to the cellulite on her legs or the bags under her eyes. She doesn't stand in front of the mirror - while her toddler runs around behind her wielding a clothes hanger like a weapon.”

Truer words, my friend.

Have you ever tried to maneuver a Graco double stroller through Sephora? It’s nearly fucking impossible. The aisles are narrow and lined with all sorts of messy, irresistible goodies right at child level. Peanut came out of there looking like a neophyte clown on her first day of “makeup application class.” She’d reach out with her hands and run her fingers through whatever sample happened to be within reach and then smear it on her face regardless of whether it was blush or lip gloss or bright green eye shadow. Good shit.

Once she was cleaned up, it was time to look for a shirt. Despite my best efforts, I left the mall shirtless (well, you know—I had my original shirt on but had no luck finding a new one) and that can only be partly blamed on my kids since Loaf slept in the stroller most of the time we were there and Peanut was, for the most part, very agreeable and well behaved. (Except for the Sephora incident and when she pulled the hand off the mannequin at the Limited, which I promptly picked up and set on the table next to it before any of the size 2, 20-something sales people who were already giving my double stroller the evil eye could notice.)

But that’s not really the point. The point is, why is it so hard to find nice looking, not too over-the-top-trendy, comfortable, affordable clothing? If I needed work clothes, I would have been all set: there seemed to be an abundance of button-down, silky shirts that would look smart with a skirt or dress pants.

And if I needed going-out clothes, again no problem. You can’t swing a dead cat these days in the mall without hitting a funky little spaghetti-strapped tank top.

But I need something in the middle. Something that wear to my kid's school or the local grocery store. Something that I can throw on to look somewhat pulled together, but not overly dressed up when I take my kids to the park. Cute weekend clothes that I can wear when I meet a friend for lunch. Nothing too sexy or too dressy. Nothing that says, “Trying too hard,” or screams, “Look at that 37-year-old woman trying to look like she’s 22.” And on the flip side, nothing so frumpy it makes me look (or feel) 50.

I will admit, my jaunt through the mall was rushed because I knew the moment Loaf woke up the jig was up. So any suggestions on where to find the type of clothing I seek? Because I need a plan to whip that 21-year-old bitch known as The Mall into shape. It’s high time she stopped making the rest of us feel like shit.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I am looking forward to spring because . . .


1. I have washed and "put away" my kids' parkas on four separate occasions now, only to have to unpack them and put them back into rotation a day or two later. I just pulled them out of the dryer AGAIN yesterday and today? Low 40s. Despite that, they were out in spring jackets with a thick sweater underneath. Easter has passed, it's mid-April and the winter coats have got to go!

2. I have a boatload of absolutely adorable sundresses and summer tops that I'm dying to dress my kids in. Also? Peanut just shred her second to last pair of tights and I really don't want to have to buy her more in what I can only hope are the the last dying breaths of winter.

3. My winter clothes are shot. And boring. Today I put a hole in the knee of my favorite LUCKY jeans and I am not buying another pair until fall. Plus, I have three new pair of capri pants, several skirts and a host of sleeveless tops that are calling to me.

4. Last week I ordered a boatload of new plants from White Flower Farm and I am chomping at the bit to get them in the ground.

5. Sandals! Sandals! Sandals!

6. I need a good excuse to get a pedicure (see reason #5).

7. I hate being cold.

8. Our house is ridiculously expensive to heat. I swear it's like a sieve with heat pouring out every crack and crevice. It's also drier than the desert in here with the heat on and I'm sick of waking up with my throat feeling like sandpaper.

9. Spring fun includes: Loaf's birthday, Cinco de Mayo, Mother's Day and Mark's birthday. Good stuff!

10. Sleeping with the windows open! Yay!

Why I love this kid

Well, there are lots and lots of reasons, but today, this one is at the top of the list.

Conversation while playing outside:

Peanut: Mommy, are you and Daddy the same age?
Me: Why yes we are! Do you know how old we are?
Peanut: 27!!
Me: Come and give me a big smooch you sweet, clever girl!

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Sleepless in New Jersey

Saturday night, 10:09 p.m.

Crawl into bed. Exhausted. Up since 5:30 a.m. (thank you, Peanut). Lots to do tomorrow. Have to look for eggs and make a fruit salad and give the girls a bath and iron their dresses and . . . . zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Sunday morning, approximately 1:30 a.m.

Walking through my yard; something’s in the woods. See a herd of giraffes, their heads taller than the trees around them. They start eating the leaves off the trees at an alarming rate. STOP! STOP! Chomp. Chomp. Crying baby. Chomp. STOP! Crying baby.

A baby is crying? In the woods? Louder. In my room. My bed. Giraffes are gone, trees are gone. In bed. Awake. Crying.

Get up. Walk down hall. Small Child* immediately stands up and reaches for me. Lift her up and lay her on my shoulder. Stand rocking with her for a few minutes. Lay her back down. Small Child begins crying again. Pick her back up.

Walk to room. Lay in bed with Small Child on my chest. Doze a bit.

2:14 a.m.

Small Child’s breath deepens and slows. Stand up. Walk back down hall. Slowly, gently, silently lower Small Child into crib. Back and arm muscles strain to lift her over the crib rail and lower her down without waking her. Her body lightly hits the mattress. Carefully let her go. Stand. Take one step back.

Small Child begins crying. Again.

2:16 a.m.

Walk back to room. Lay back down with Small Child on chest. Lay awake in the dark. Ten minutes should do it. Ten minutes. 2:17 . . . 2:18 . . . 2:19 . . . 2:20. Close eyes – a watched pot never boils. Close eyes. Close eyes. Focus on closing eyes. Surely it’s been 10 minutes by now.



Small Child sighs and sinks into me. Finally 2:27. Slowly stand.

“CLOCK!” Small Child declares.

shit fuck shit

Walk down hall thinking Small Child will surely fall asleep in the 15 steps to her room.

Lay Small Child down; Small Child immediately rolls to a standing position and begins crying. Again.


2:33 a.m.

Drop Small Child into center of bed and lay down facing away from her. Swear silently for several minutes to myself.

Close eyes. Small Child rolls over and around. A lot. Feet in back.

Exhaustion takes over. Doze lightly. Small Child appears to doze also. Think back to her newborn days. Feel nostalgic. Flip over and face her. Drape arm over sleeping child. Nuzzle against her.


3:03 a.m.


What the . . . ?

Dog runs down hall, barking, barking, barking.

Heart in throat. Eyes wide open.

Husband gets up and tromps down hall. Lets dog out. Barking outside house. At deer? Fox? Who knows?

Small Child mimicks dog: WOOF!

Shush Child. Time to sleep.

Woof! Woof! Woof!

Husband returns.


Terrific. Fucking dog.

3:10 a.m.

Mama exhausted. Dada exhausted.

Small child. Awake. Wiiiiidde awake.

“Mwah,” Small Child leans and kisses.


“BadCat!” Small Child notices sleeping cat on pillow.


Feet pressed against my ribs, Small Child bounces.

Please sleep!

Arm pointed at ceiling, Small Child announces cheerfully: UP!

Small Child’s head collides violently with nose.


swear silently for several more minutes

Husband offers to take Small Child for ride.

Discuss. Decide to return her to room instead.

3:38 a.m.

Walk down hall. Switch on light. Sit Small Child in crib.

Walk to kitchen. Pour milk. Offer to Child. Child declines, crying.

Hand Small Child several books. Sit on floor. Child looks at book.

Slide 12 inches toward door. Child looks over suspiciously.

Don’t move. Child returns to book. Slide some more.

Husband gets up. Comes in. Changing of the guard.

3:46 a.m.

Return to bed. Sleep.

4:30 a.m.

Vaguely hear Small Child’s light click off. Husband returns to bed. Sleeps.

6:04 a.m.

Mommy! Did the Easter Bunny come.

Uh? East ….Bun? Wha?

Open eyes. Peanut standing by bed.

Mommy! It’s Easter.


Would it be terrible to eat jelly beans for breakfast? After this night, I’m thinking no.

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Sign up, fight AIDS, end poverty

Did you know there are over one billion people in this world who live on wages of a dollar a day or less? That more than 38 million people in the world (25 million in Africa alone) are infected by HIV/AIDS?

Poverty and AIDS are huge, messy, global problems that seem impossible for one person to solve. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless when thinking about ways to solve them.

But there is something you can do and it literally only takes a few seconds.

Take a moment to sign the One Declaration.

The ONE Campaign derives its name from the belief that allocating an additional one percent of the U.S. budget toward providing basic needs like health, education, clean water and food would transform the futures and hopes of an entire generation in the world's poorest countries. The campaign also calls for debt cancellation, trade reform and anti–corruption measures in a comprehensive package to help Africa and the poorest nations beat AIDS and extreme poverty.

Signing up is free and it’s fast. They don’t want your money and they won’t sell your information to a bunch of telemarketers or spammers. They just want your voice – your pledge, stating that you care about these issues and want to see something done. As of this writing, more than 2.4 million people have signed up and the more people who sign up, the more difficult it’s going to be for our current and future leaders to ignore these problems.

Little by little, everyone can make a difference, but first you have to make your pledge. If only everything were this easy.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Love, family and a plate full of carbs

Lately, I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic for my family back in Massachusetts. This happens every so often, usually around major holidays. Easter is coming, and while my immediate family was never that big into religion, it was a day that everyone got together for dinner and then my cousins and I would spend the afternoon running around my grandmother’s mucky back yard (there was often still remnants of snow at Easter in the Berkshires when I was growing up) in our white patent shoes and fancy dresses and, for the boys, light blue linen pants (hey, it was the 70s – what can I say?)

Then I read this article in Sunday’s New York Times about how some families are returning to the traditional family “Sunday Dinner” and I found myself feeling even more homesick than usual.

Sunday Dinner at Grandma W.’s was a weekly ritual when I was growing up. The menu rarely varied; I remember spaghetti and meatballs being a staple, along with salad, bread and some type of dessert (usually a Sara Lee cake, but also sometimes pudding or cookies).

Grandma W. had a small house with a living room, a tiny combination kitchen/dining room, one bathroom and three bedrooms, yet every Sunday we’d squeeze in anywhere from four to nine adults and three to six kids and we’d manage to sit down and enjoy a meal together.

After dinner, the kids would run off and play. If it was nice, we’d go outside. For as small as Grandma’s house was, her yard was enormous and we’d run endlessly around it playing everything from tag to elaborate imaginative role-playing games like Dracula or “Mythical Beasts” where we’d all pick a part and play it out to the hilt. We were nothing but traditional. The boys would opt to be dragons or sea creatures, while the girls chose to be unicorns or maybe mermaids and we’d all work together to defeat the evil du jour.

If the weather wasn’t conducive to going outside, we’d play indoor games like Battleship or we’d sit on my Grandmother’s bed and pretend it was a car or a boat or a castle, while the adults chatted in the living room and kitchen. When we got older, we'd go in one of the back bedrooms to listen to albums by the Bee Gees and play "disco." Looking back, it was so quaint it seems almost as imaginary as the unicorns in our game. It represents a time past when multiple generations of families lived within a few miles of each other and no one worried about eating too many carbs.

I’m not sure exactly when this grand tradition came to a halt. Maybe it was around the time my cousins and I entered high school and decided we’d rather hang out with our friends on Sunday than our family. Or maybe it was because my Grandmother began her long, slow battle with lung cancer and couldn’t handle the work involved with feeding a small army every week. I’m not sure, but I know that when it stopped I barely noticed and I haven’t thought much about those Sunday afternoons until reading that article.

For the most part, I like where I live. I like that New York City, the mountains and the ocean are all within a two-hour drive. I’m only about three-and-a-half hours from “home,” but it’s kind of sad that our girls won’t grow up with the close-knit, extended family that I had. Our closest family members live more than an hour away. My girls see their grandmothers a fair amount, but I saw both of mine every week, along with a slew of aunts, uncles and cousins.

It was a great way to grow up. I felt endlessly loved and connected. I belonged there. My family was the center of my world and we kids were the center of theirs.

Don’t get me wrong, my childhood wasn't perfect. But if there’s one piece of it I wish I could recapture for my kids, it’s that feeling of constant belonging and love that comes from a room full of family and a huge plate of spaghetti.


Monday, April 02, 2007

Finer with age

Mark and I had a group of our college friends over to our house on Saturday. We haven’t seen some of these people in four to five years and yet we all managed to pick right up where we left off—laughing at the stupid, wild and ridiculous (but very fun) things we did in college, talking about the crazy (but fun) people we work and socialize with now, and watching the kids run around the yard and make crowns out of foam board and feathers.

One observation several of us made is that we’re all aging pretty well (you know, because we are definitely the most objective group to make that assessment). No but seriously, we really are. No one has any really serious wrinkle issues and while some of us cough, cough confess to smothering our grays with a good hair dye, that’s the only sign of aging we have at this point.

Sitting around our dining room table, sipping wine from crystal goblets and noshing on cheesecake, we laughed about how this scene would have seemed so foreign to us all when we were in school. Back then fine dining was $1 spaghetti night at Cavallo's (and in case you didn’t notice, approximately 16 years of inflation has raised that price to a whopping $1.50.) A high-end alcoholic beverage probably meant Sam Adams from a bottle vs. Miller Lite in a keg.

I wish we could all get together more often, but we all know how that goes . . . life just gets going. In fact, this is a gathering I’ve been thinking about for at least a year, maybe two, but I never did anything about until now. And I’m so glad I did. It’s so important to reconnect with people in your life who you enjoy spending time with, even if it’s only once in a while.

I think my friend Linda said it best. “I might not be the best at e-mailing or keeping in touch, but I smile and think of you all often and always wish everyone the best.”

Right back at you – all of you.