Category Archives: Midlife Mischief

My Easter Confession

My Easter Confession

 

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Bless me Father for I have sinned.  It has been so long that I can’t even remember when I last went to confession and these are my sins.

Or at least the latest ones.

Or the ones I can remember.  BTW are we responsible for the ones we can’t remember?

Oh Lordy.  Well here goes.

I did not attend any Easter services this season.  Not Holy Thursday.  Not Good Friday.  Not Easter Vigil.

Zero, zip, nada.

I did this intentionally so now you know why I’m here today.

Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault.

Instead..

I cleaned my house and did my Target, TJMaxx and Trader Joes shopping. I worked in my garden, fertilized all of my succulents and marveled at the first spring flowers on my Cecile Brunner Rose. I cooked a bit and squeezed lemons to freeze for future Lebanese delicacies.  I went to dinner and a movie with a good friend. I finished a novel and started a new one.  Took a morning hike and photographed several cows with their calves.

For the grand finale, Easter, I shared a meal with my wonderful family, chased toddlers around the house and played with my little grandson.

For these and all my sins I am sorry.

Now, Father, I’m sure you want to know why this cradle Catholic defied all of the rules.

My reasoning?  I wanted to see what it was like to live in a secular world without the sacred.  I wanted to see what it’s like to not believe, to not have my Catholic community, to not sing and pray for my loved ones and the world at large.  I wanted to see if God in nature was enough for me.

All in all it was a very spiritual experience.  But here is what I discovered.

I realized that I missed the incense, the chanting, the candles and the ancient scripture.  I missed the washing of the feet and the opportunity to meditate on service and being a woman for others. I missed the veneration of the cross and the church bells and the bowed heads. I missed the experience of humility that comes from believing in something that is beyond myself and out of my control.  I missed the celebration and the lilies filling the sanctuary.  I missed the Alleluia and the joy that comes after the sacrifices of Lent.

I missed the good old fashioned Catholic aerobics… standing for a half hour gospel and then springing up and down and up and down to the rhythm of the rituals and the liturgy.

I missed it all.  And now I feel an indescribable void.

So, Father, I guess you can take the girl out of the Catholic but you can’t take the Catholic out of the girl.  I’m sure you have an appropriate penance for me?  10 Hail Marys and a Glory Be?  100 continuous genuflections?  A Novena with my head covered?

You missed it, my dear.  Penance done.  Amen.  Hallelujah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you believe in New Year’s Resolutions?

Do you believe in New Year’s Resolutions?

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One wouldn’t get in a sailboat without a compass or embark on a grueling scenic hike without a map.

Or would they?

Myself? I have a tendency to get lost.  Lost on a trail.  Lost on the freeway.  Lost in my thoughts.  A good plan keeps me focused and on task.  Goals help me to breakthrough inertia.  A map helps me to reach my destination.

So I plan.  And I plan.  And I journal.  And I plan some more.  And I re-read my old journals to see if life has deposited me somewhere close to where X marks the spot.

How about you?  Do you know where you want to go in 2017?  Do you have a hankering for something different?  Are you ready to change things up and see what sticks?  Or are you plodding along the same path.  Waking up to the same job.  Shopping at Target and getting take out from the Chinese restaurant on the corner.

Benjamin Franklin once said “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”.  Winston Churchill said this- “Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it”.

In either case, some self reflection seems to be in order as we embark on a new year.

Your thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

The Church of Soul Cycle

The Church of Soul Cycle

We mount our bikes and get ready for a hardy workout.  The room is dim but the stage is elevated and illuminated to spotlight the empty bike from where our instructor, Ian, will be leading our 45 minute session of blood, sweat, tears and redemption. We are warming up, adjusting our seats, and preparing our souls in anticipation.

Enter Ian left stage.  He is ripped and torn and fit as a fiddle with a dashing smile and a charismatic personality.

“Who has not been to Soul Cycle before?”

“Who has not been to MY class?”

He makes a mental note of who might need some extra attention in the room.  He is like a prophet bringing the good news to the flock who long for health and fitness.

And off we go.  The music is pounding.  My daughter in law inserts her ear plugs.  Ah, those thirty something kids! They can’t handle loud music?  Me, on the other hand, after raising three sons with a drum set and other accouterments of a noisy household- including broken windows and baseballs thrown through doors- can find peace at any decibel.

“I know you didn’t come here to just exercise!  You came here to push your limits!  To see what you can do!  To be all that you can!”

Yes, I want what he’s selling! But I glance briefly at my 25 week pregnant daughter in law and say quietly to her not to push yet!  She can’t hear me above the din of the rock music and of course the ear plugs.

“Get rid of any negativity.  People tell you it can’t be done!  You might fail!  They fill you with doubt and cloud your dreams!  Well, I have three words for you!  THREE WORDS!”

I’m thinking “get behind me Satan?”  No, that’s four words…

“STAND YOUR GROUND!  Don’t let people tell you who you are and what you can do!  STAND YOUR GROUND!”

We’re out of the saddles now climbing the imaginary hill of our challenges and struggles.  The room is moving in synchronicity.  Bodies up and down and up and down on cue.  I am pretty sure that if Ian told us to do a flip over our handlebars we would all cooperate.  We are mesmerized by his words and his commands.

“What are you holding on to today?  Let me hold it for you!  Let it go and BE FREE.”

I’m beginning to wonder if there will be a crucifixion at the end of class..

“Look around you.  You don’t know what burdens people have in their lives.  You have no idea what the person next to you is going through today.  Perhaps the biggest challenge of their life!”

I move my sweaty hand and gently touch Breezy’s hand.  I’ve been so cavalier about her being pregnant and having a baby.  Women do it all the time.  But this is her biggest challenge right now!  Pregnancy, nutrition, getting enough rest, knowing when to stop working and start nesting, moving into a new place- maybe even being married to my son, Peter!   Did I raise him to be a good enough husband and father?

We are heading for the climax of the class.  We are sweating and panting and letting it all go and feeling free.

“I want you to leave here with an open heart!  A heart ready to love!”

I’m thinking about how fortunate I am to have this wonderful relationship with my daughter in law.  There is an intimacy that continues to grow between us.  I couldn’t be more delighted with the woman she is and the mother she will soon be.  And I love her as if she were my own daughter.

Cooling down now and stretching.  The lights go on and I realize we are at a spin class- not a revival.

There have been so many changes in my life this past year.  A new home.  A grandson to look forward to.  My new role as a Sittie.  I have considered going back into weekly therapy with my 80 year old guru, Lucia.  But now I’m kind of thinking that all I really need is this quality time with my beautiful daughter in law, Breezy, a positive attitude and an open heart from which to love, and perhaps a weekly visit to the Church of Soul Cycle.

Do I hear an AMEN?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patty to the Rescue!

Patty to the Rescue!

Patty and Rosemarie at Peter's wedding

This is me and my bestie at my son Peter’s wedding.  The day would not have been complete had she not been there to share this special life event with me and my family.

Patty and I have been friends since we were 14 years old.  We were two Catholic girls from large traditional families thrown into the local public high school.  Somehow we found each other amidst the 700 kids in the class of ’74. Our friendship solidified and took on a more spiritual dimension when we attended late night Catechism classes on Mondays at St. Boniface Parish in Anaheim.

We cleaned up real well for this picture, but you should have seen us this weekend. Crazy hair, workout clothes, minimal makeup.

Patty drove up from Southern California, sensing that I was somewhat disoriented due to moving in to my new place while simultaneously holding down my full time job.  She came to my rescue- arriving on Friday night around midnight and staying until Wednesday morning.

When her feet hit the ground Saturday morning, the dust mop was blazing a trail on my new hardwood floor and pictures were being sorted and transported to appropriate rooms.  Patty made lists of what we needed  from Bed, Bath and Beyond, Walmart, and (our personal favorite) TJMaxx. While out shopping, she scanned shelves for her favorite dish towels.  “You have to have more dish towels and I just LOVE this brand!”  She took it upon herself to interrogate a salesperson at Cosco concerning the pros and cons of a set of pots and pans I was lusting after.

She sat with me and “Allison” from 3-day Blinds while I got a bid for shutters for the entire house. After Allison left, Patty was on the phone calling “her people” to compare price points and swiftly made the determination that the bid was much too high!  Off we went roaming my new neighborhood, looking at peoples’ windows to see who had shutters.  “Those are nice!  Let’s go and ask where they got them!” An hour later we were leaving Annie’s house with full knowledge of the guy who did shutters in her last three homes.  Not only did we get a great window treatment lead, but we made a new friend as well.

Patty promptly scheduled “Ed” to come and measure my windows and give me a bid for shutters while I was at work on Monday with my homemade lunch that she made for me.  When I came home, she presented all the figures and announced that this was the best deal!  She had also made plans for a coffee table that I ordered on line to be returned after measuring my space and seeing that there would be no room for knees and other extremities.  There were detailed notes on who she spoke with, their phone numbers, item numbers and instructions on who to call if the return didn’t appear on my bank statement in a week.

We sorted through all the items in my china cabinet and the sideboard, giving everything a new home and a feeling of stability.  Being that I am the woman with the most tablecloths in the world, I was surprised that my sideboard drawers were only half full. Where were my table cloths?  And where were my sons’ senior pictures that were on the sideboard?  A light bulb went off- I had packed a lot of things in the old black Amelia Earhart chest that hadn’t made it into the house yet.  Off we went to the garage.  “Get something for us to sit on while we go through this trunk!” she instructed.

There we sat for the next hour or so, going through my parents’ old trunk, unearthing not only my tablecloths and sons’ pictures, but also old newspaper clippings of my dad’s race for Mayor of Compton and my mom’s engagement announcement from an Atlanta newspaper.  Pictures of my brothers and I at all stages of growth.  Baby clothes and wedding dresses- mine and my mother’s. We talked about our fears of getting older and needing so much to be supported and loved in our lives.  We cried and laughed and then cried some more.

We agreed that we are both very independent and unusual women.   And that neither of us is likely to go down without a fight.  We both cling to items that bring meaning into our lives.  We both take pride in our homes and do our best to create a haven for those we love.  We both had as our major career path getting married and having a family.

When Patty left on Wednesday morning, I had instructions for the rest of the week and a handful of notes detailing every transaction she had maneuvered in the last five days- along with another homemade lunch she made for me to take to work.

My life has been so dominated by male energy.  My very influential father, five brothers, and three sons.  I’ve had many blessings in my life- and I am grateful.  And this friendship is a gift I find quite profound.

God must have known, when he scripted the story of my life, that I would need a Patty.

 

 

 

Midlife Mischief…

Midlife Mischief…

The day began innocently enough.  Five friends from high school met in San Francisco for fun and sightseeing.  Two of us are currently from the bay area and the other three are visiting from the OC where we all grew up.  We’re a classy bunch.  At one time in our lives we used to elicit looks and howls from handsome men on the street but now we just kind of blend in with the masses of humanity enjoying the beautiful day and weather.  Our best qualities now internalized.  Just when did that happen?

Nonetheless, we think we are pretty hot babes.  (Or at least Perry thought we were.. more about that later…)

After a go around in the Ferry Building and a satisfying lunch (no calorie counting today!) we forge our way up the Embarcadero towards whatever suits our fancies, stopping to have our picture taken and do a little people watching and shopping.  With happy hour fast approaching, we set out to find a friendly bar.   Feeling very urban sophisticated, I suggest we call an UBER and promptly press my handy app.  A Toyota Corolla was on its way and would arrive in 2 minutes.

WAIT!  There’s five of us!  No way.  I quickly cancel and we squeeze into to a nearby cab that’s just barely big enough for the five of us and head to a groovy street for shopping and bars- “Chestnut in the Marina”.  The driver says “oh, that’s only about four blocks away..”   Twenty minutes later, we arrive.  Really?  Four blocks?   Not even.  Sandy would have liked to walk it with her Fit Bit.  The rest of us were content to be driven.

In and out of shops we go, all the while looking for a bar appropriate for our age category and level of sophistication.  The Tipsy Pig looks like fun with its’ 20 and 30 something beautiful people falling out of the windows and doors!  Oh yeah…  we aren’t 20/30 anymore.  Not a bad thing we all agree!!

We settle on the Ristobar with equally beautiful people more in our age category and somewhat more enlightened.  Sitting at the bar, we flirt with our bartenders like old times.  Why not?  We are classy babes from the OC!   I text my son Peter to let him know we are in his neighborhood.  He’s across town with his friend Nathan.

Darn.. the girls really wanted to meet him.

He says “have fun mom and don’t get into trouble!”  He has no idea what trouble his mother can get into with her hot girlfriends…

Now we are hungry for dinner and a little tipsy to boot.    I asked the lady next to me at the bar (who BTW was from Seattle) how to hail an UBER big enough to accommodate the five of us.   I selected UBER XL (or I thought I did) and my phone announced a white Honda Accord was on its way to wisk us off to the Fog City Diner

Boy that was fast.  As soon as we hit the street there it was.  Our white Honda Accord chariot.  We opened all the doors and began to pile in asking the driver if he was sure he could take all five of us!!   Not only was English his second language but I’m guessing the sight of five gorgeous babes climbing into his car was too much to believe!

He was rendered speechless..

Just then.. my phone rang.  The voice on the other end of the phone asked “where are you?  I’m here on the corner of Chestnut and Scott!”

We realized we were in the wrong Honda just as the man tried to explain in his broken English that he was waiting to pick up his wife!  Now stunned and embarrassed, we quickly evacuated white Honda Accord #1 and proceeded to jump into white Honda Accord #2, all the while laughing and gasping for breath.  Of course our UBER driver got to hear the entire story.  He was somewhat entertained.

Still greatly amused at ourselves, we arrive at the Fog City Diner where we are promptly seated.  The mood of our group was quickly picked up by our intuitive waiter, Perry, who asked “Are you ladies ready for an adventure?” at which we dissolved into uncontrollable laughter once again. Perry volunteered to order the entire feast for us including the wine.  We accepted the offer and the unsolicited flirtation.

Obviously he recognizes our inner hotness.

As a part of his fantasy, he renamed us all.   Dawn was Penelope.  Linda was Gwen.  Sandy was Maria.  Lisa was Susan.  I was Betty Ford.

Ok enough!  I ONLY had one Lemon Drop at the Ristobar!  My girlfriends had my back and begged for a more exotic name for me.  Sensing a potential post-menopausal riot, Perry renamed me Annalise.

The parade of food began..  Grilled Local Calamari, Hand Cut Furikake Fries, Lacopi Farm Brussel Sprouts, Caeser Salad, McFarland Springs Trout, Wagyu Flank Steak Fries, Short Rib Kim Chi Tacos, and two bottles of very expensive wine, after which we had two desserts (by then we didn’t care what we were eating..).  I asked for some table bread half way through the parade but Perry said NO it will ruin your appetite.  ( I don’t think he liked me..)

As the feast drew to a close, we asked Perry what his story was.  What’s a handsome middle aged man doing in the city waiting tables?  We heard his entire life story. Wife accused him of being abusive.  Turned his three beautiful daughters against him.  Yadadada…

Well, with age comes wisdom and these babes recognize a shmoozer when they see one!  Nonetheless, we leave a significant tip commensurite with the entertainment and attention he provided and then cozied up with Perry for one last photo.

Hoofing it back to the Bart station, we recapped the day’s mischief, feeling quite proud of ourselves for throwing caution to the wind.. just like old times!  Five hot babes from the OC doing the City!

BTW, this might have been one of those “you had to be there” stories. So if you’d like to leave a comment on this blog with your email we will invite you next time pending an UBER big enough and a driver brave enough.  Until then, let’s raise a glass to midlife mischief!

 

 

New Year, New Intentions

New Year, New Intentions

Many years ago, I attended a funeral with my then husband, for one of his co-workers.  The gregarious and well respected engineer died relatively young leaving a wife and two small children.  I don’t remember how he died but I do recall how sad the service was and how irritated I was as the priest continued to encourage the congregation to “Let Go and Let God”!

I didn’t think for one minute that this man’s wife and family were ready to swallow that message.  Their grief was palpable and there would be difficult days and nights to get through before they could possibly “let go” and find peace with their loved one’s death.  I cried the entire way home from that funeral feeling that life was so unfair and random and unpredictable.  Vestiges of my own personal losses came up out of nowhere.  Letting go was the last thing I wanted to do.

I found this card in a box with other momentoes that I have saved through the years.  It was given to me after the death of my father more than 20 years ago with a heartfelt message from two dear friends from church, Mark and Margaret.   So timely that the message should find its way into my hands, asking to be reconsidered.

When the student is ready the teacher will appear.  I’m ready to hear this message.    This is my intention for 2015.

I am a saver of old cards, of my parents things, of photographs, of memories.  I have trouble opening my hands and letting things sift through, only keeping what is most important.  I cling to old ideas and patterns and struggle with transition and change.  But some old ways do not serve me anymore.  I am choosing to change the energy in my life and counting on God to help me take the leap to the new and unexpected.

Last night I had a dream about seeing our old next door neighbors from our first home in Whittier. (Previous neighbors!   Kenn and Lynda- you guys aren’t old yet!)  I felt that tinge of sadness and nostalgia that one feels when they revisit the past and remember good times and feel a sense of loss.

I am girding myself for said emotions.

Here’s to a new year.  A year of exciting discovery and potential nostalgia and sadness.

The student is ready.

 

 

 

 

Sleepless in Morgan Hill

Sleepless in Morgan Hill

You name it, I’ve tried it.

I cannot seem to get a good night’s sleep.

This isn’t anything new.  I’ve always been somewhat of an insomniac.  It runs in my family.

At work yesterday one of my colleagues suggested a sleep mask.  That in combination with the “Best Rest Formula” from my chiropractor got me to sleep at 8:30 pm but after the stroke of 11:30 pm, I was up practically every hour.

I’m somewhat tired (no pun intended) of everyone’s advice.  Of course I have solicited it so I shouldn’t complain.

Yesterday at The Dailey Method in Morgan Hill, where I’ve developed quite a few forty and fifty something friends in the same sleep deprived state, I got some interesting data.  (The names have been changed to protect the innocent.)  Janet takes Trazodone but only on the weekends because it makes her too groggy during the work week.  Annie takes Ambien but only on Tuesdays and Thursdays  so as not to get addicted.   I tried Ambien for a few weeks.  My niece was living with me at the time and one evening I was making dinner and found her peanut butter in the freezer.

“Sarah, why is your peanut butter in the freezer?”  One look of disbelief from her and it all came back to me.  It had been my midnight snack.

“Are you worried about something?”  People ask.   Actually, I am currently in a good space.  But who doesn’t worry about something?

Am I going to get Ebola?  What is going to happen when we get rid of all our books and paper and “the enemy” absconds with our internet?  Why are girls at school melting down and having panic attacks in my office?  Am I going to get to work on time with all this traffic?  Will the Giants win the World Series?  :)

Yesterday, at a stop light, I looked to my right and to my left at the people in the cars waiting for the light to change.  They all looked pretty stressed out.  The man to my right was running his hand through his hair like he’d had the day from hell.  The lady on my left had a car full of unruly kids.

WE ARE ALL STRESSED OUT!  But most people sleep anyway.  Not me.

I save things for myself to do in the middle of the night.  Empty the dishwasher.  Fold clothes. Look through junk mail.

Sometimes I go into my closet and choose three things for the “to go” bag.  I finally got rid of this really slinky red dress that I was sure I was going to wear again someday.  No worries. I’ll see it again on a Morgan Hill Goodwill shopper.

Sometimes I go on Facebook but other insomniacs try to message me.  I’m awake, I say, but not in the mood for a conversation.  Some guy I dated in college likes to chat after his full day as an airplane pilot for Southwest Airlines.  He’s lonely somewhere in a hotel.  There are lonely insomniacs everywhere.  The middle of the night is a lonely place.

Today I am off to Home Depot to investigate black-out shades for my bedroom.  I’ve downloaded a white noise app for my phone and have purchased a bottle of lavender lotion for aromatherapy benefits.  I’ll try this trifecta tonight and let you know how it goes.

If you have any ideas, feel free to amuse me.

And if this blog seems a bit rambling and random, forgive me.

I am sleepless in Morgan Hill.

 

 

 

 

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

It’s hot.  I mean really hot.  So glad I brought my sunscreen and my souvenir hat from the last game.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am here to have the garlic fries and beer and to do some serious people watching.  I’ve already had my first cold one and a bag of peanuts. The shells are under my seat and under the seat of the person sitting to my right who hasn’t arrived yet.  Here she comes with her huge husband.  Oh, I hope she sits next to me rather than him.
I get lucky.
But before she sits down she swiftly sweeps my peanut shells from under her seat back at me with a couple hostile swipes of one tennis shoe covered foot.  I guess we won’t be engaging in any small talk today.
Two empty seats flag the lady directly in front of me.  The game has started and we are well into the second inning. She is plugged into her radio and oblivious to anyone around her.  I figure she bought all three seats in a gesture of “Leave me the hell alone. I’m watching the game!”  (I know lots of people just like her!)
By inning number three, lady-sweep-my-peanut-shells on my right and her huge husband are indulging in a very healthy lunch of homemade whole wheat sandwiches with lettuce, cheese and avocado.  She also brought her own water, pistachio nuts, and fresh apricots.  The healthy sort I’m guessing.  Although not very smart.
She’s got some short shorts on and her white mid-western farmer legs are taking on a scarlet hue.
If she’d just been a little nicer to me when she first sat down I would have shared my sunscreen with her.
Her kind husband loans her his cloth handkerchief to shield her now crispy legs.  A day late and a dollar short.  (Who says that anymore?)
Lady leave-me-the-hell-alone has got some color going on at the tops of her shoulders.   I could just reach over and apply my 50 SPF but she’d most likely call security.
The guy behind us won’t stop talking!  Honestly, he knows everything about everything!
Even I know that too much small talk during “the game” is a no-no.  Use your voice for the important things like “atta boy!”, “batter up”, “bad call Ref!” and “goo die!”
I think it’s time for some garlic fries.  My purse has become a receptacle for everyone’s Hello Kitty souvenirs, my sunscreen, Dale’s wallet, his car keys, etc.  When Dale kindly volunteers to make the trek over the 10 sets of legs in our Section 311, Row B Seat 12, I am more than happy to let him.  There he goes.  It looks like “the wave” from my angle as people rise and sit to let him pass.  A minute or two later I go to find a tissue in said purse, only to discover Dale’s wallet.
Oh Lordy.  I’m clearly not going to make any new friends today.
Off I go to find him, leaving my purse behind with Dale’s daughter and her boyfriend and my ticket that has my Section, Row and Seat number on it.  (Anyone who knows me also knows that I can get lost in a paper bag.)  I suppose if I cannot find Dale at least I’ve got the cash for the garlic fries and maybe one of those Ghiradelli sundaes.
Up and down like a wave they go, 10 hot sweaty spectators, while I dance by them holding up the wallet saying “He forgot his wallet, LOL!”
I find Dale and we head back to our seats with the edibles.  It’s still hot and my appetite is gone.  Dale devours the hot dog and most of the garlic fries and hands me the rest.  I get one kind of stuck in my throat and while coughing I accidentally push the fries off my lap and into the tennis shoe of the lady on my right.  She has conveniently changed into a pair of flip flops and she and her husband are off to the restrooms I’m guessing. (They couldn’t possibly be getting more food.  They brought the entire harvest!)
I decide to leave the french fries in her shoe.
Oh boy, it’s now my favorite time of the game!  The seventh inning stretch!  I casually mention to Dale that I can tap dance to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”  (There are so many things he doesn’t know about me.)  He doesn’t appear impressed.  With limited space for dancing, I sing it with gusto because not only do I love this song but it also means that the end of the game is approaching.
Five hours in the sun.  And no beach or mai tai in sight… sigh.
The Giants win and the crowd roars with excitement.  (With the exception of the lady on my right who while changing back into her tennis shoes has discovered several random french fries.)  We swiftly exit left with thousands of other fans through the food court and onto a cement enclosed switchback that takes us down several levels.  I pray for no earthquakes.
Breathing fresh air now, I feel quite accomplished.  I think I behaved myself and fit in nicely and no one is the wiser.  We tarry to our car and discuss our dinner plans.
It’s been a great day at the ballpark!  I hope someone will take me out to the ballgame again soon!  :)

Master of the Urban Universe

Master of the Urban Universe

“It’s called Technology” says my youngest son, Peter, as he walks me through downloading the app for UBER and showing me how it works.  We are at some groovy cafe in the Marina District of San Francisco having “detox” salads sans the chicken.  “It’s Good Friday” I remark to which my cradle Catholic son snarls “So what?”

I am feeling old.

He thinks I’m out of touch with technology (although I can create a mean excel spreadsheet and share a google doc with the best of them) and my religion is regarded as dated and useless.

As I attempt to keep up with my 6’2″ son forging the steep hill towards his home, Peter gives me last minute instructions on the goldens, Lua and Willow.  “Make sure they know who is boss?  Don’t let them walk you!  Be in charge!”  I listen carefully and nod appropriately like a good student.

When we get home, Peter shows me on line how to get to the Spa International where he and Brianna have so generously made a reservation for me to have a 90 minute massage.  As we discuss different routes and terrain I begin to make a rustic map with pen and paper.  “Mom!  It’s easy!  Fillmore runs parallel to Pierce and is intersected by Green which runs parallel to Union and Chestnut where we just had lunch!”  When he turns his back to rummage through a drawer in the dining room sideboard looking for a parking pass so that I am not towed from the three hour parking two blocks away, I give him a swift but gentle kick in the teezy (that’s butt in Arabic) and tell him “Hey!  I raised three boys!  Don’t ever underestimate the power of your 5 foot 4, 130 pound mother!”

I think he gets the message.  Nonetheless, as he kisses me sweetly goodbye, I set an intention to prove to Peter that THIS suburban, durable, and low maintenance 50 something year old woman can master the urban universe!  Armed with my UBER app, a double dog leash and poop bags, my homemade map and some good walking shoes, I launch.

First matter of affairs is a walk with the girls.  I gather sunglasses, reading glasses, keys to the house, ID, a credit card and kleenex into a little Nicaraguan purse and hook up Lua and Willow on the front porch.  I, of course, inform them that I am the boss.  They listen about as well as I do..

Around the block we go as I recite to myself “Ok we took a left turn and then another left so we’ll take another left and left again on Green and we should be home.”  Easy breezy.  But of course I get distracted wondering what’s down THAT street.  Suddenly I find my self turned around.  Oh Lordy.

Thank goodness the girls know their way home.  At every corner they nudge directions.  I figure we are either heading towards home or to one of their other favorite destinations miles from nowhere.  Fortunately it was the former.

After a quick snack, one for each of us, I anticipate the arrival of my friend, Jennifer, and her daughter Margot, the opportunity ripe for a visit being that they live right around the corner from Peter and Brianna.  Sharing a bottle of fine Italian wine the afternoon slipped by and soon it was time for me to leave for my spa treatment.  One more round the block with the girls and I’m off on foot up and down hills and through the maze of Friday night shoppers and happy hour partiers along Fillmore.

The massage was spectacular!

In a relaxed stupor, I manage to hail the UBER by a simple touch of an app and two minutes later Saba arrives in her Toyota Corolla chariot to whisk me home..  Feeling quite smug that I remembered to write down Peter and Breezy’s address on a post it, disaster is averted.  However, not entirely.

As I was greeted at the front door by my excited granddogs I regaled in my technological success.  I reached for my phone to text Peter that the spa and UBER activity went down without a hitch I clearly realized that my phone was nowhere to be found.  Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Now what?

The UBER website gives me my driver’s phone number but without a phone that’s not helpful.  I run outside hoping to find a friendly house with lights on where I can knock on the front door, explain my situation and make the call.  But no one seems to be willing to open their door at 9pm on a Saturday night.  I flag down a sweet high school girl running home from her Lacrosse practice and she is delighted to help me out.  Mission accomplished.  I make contact with Saba and she is on her way back to Green Street with my phone.

It is now 9:30pm and my relaxing 90 minute massage has gone south.  At 10:15pm I am still standing in the middle of the street wondering if I will ever see Saba or my cell phone again.  Then she arrives.

Now exhausted, the girls and I sit down to watch some TV and finish the bottle of wine.  (I finish the bottle of wine.)

So all is well and as far as Peter knows everything went as planned this weekend.  He’ll be home late this evening and by then I will be on the road back to suburbia.  Do you like the picture of the girls and me in this post?  Well, that was snapped by a nice German man right before a little leashless mutt walked by and caused my pups to take quick and dirty flight. Yes, I went down for the count.  But that’s another blog…

Tonight I am going to hobble into the Easter Vigil Mass at the Mission Santa Clara.  I am a little sore but happy.

I mastered the urban universe Rosemarie-style.

Oh.. BTW.  Don’t tell Peter what REALLY happened.

Mums the word.  :)

 

 

The Plight of the Green Thumb

The Plight of the Green Thumb

Last Sunday as I opened the window over my kitchen sink to let in the warm spring air I turned around and noticed this beautiful healthy poinsettia sitting quite proudly on the island,  definitely out of place. Who keeps a $7 poinsettia alive not only through the Christmas season but way into March??  Ah.. the challenges of having a green thumb.

My home is beginning to look like a nursery.  Give me a plant?  You can bet it will be twice the size next time you come over.  My indoor plants take all the love and attention I can muster.  I often give them baths in my bathtub or kitchen sink so that they can luxuriate in a cocktail of plentiful filtered water and the morning’s left over coffee.  I swear they are smiling as they absorb the nutrients and attention!  (Maybe it’s the cocktail I’m drinking.. ?)

Most people worry about having boomerang children in midlife.  I’m happy to say that my three sons are living on their own and thriving.  No, rather, I have boomerang houseplants.  Let me explain…

My two oldest sons lived together during and after college for several years.  When Patrick left for Denver to attend graduate school, he divided his house plants between Rob and me for safe keeping.  I was happy to house and nurture almost 10 plants for Patrick during the three years he was gone.  In the meantime, Rob moved home for a short time, bringing all of his plants plus Patrick’s. I worked overtime to absorb the extra greenery.  Eight months later, Rob moved out, taking only his favorite plant- a remnant of a long lost lover- and leaving the rest with me.

Do the math!  My plants plus Patrick’s plants plus Robert’s plants and Patrick’s plants minus one plant.  Yikes!  My photosynthesis runneth over!

Low and behold, Patrick finished graduate school and moved back to San Jose.  When I asked him about reclaiming his plants, he said “Don’t worry Mom! I’ll just buy some new ones!”  Oh Lordy!  However, once settled in his new digs, he came over to collect his bounty.  Among them the beautiful Japanese Maple I gave him for his college graduation, a prolific rose colored geranium, and, to my dismay, a delicate fern that I had repotted in a lovely french blue pot that went perfectly with the decor in my guest room.  ( …most likely payback for me letting his homegrown-from-a-pit avocado tree freeze to death in my back yard winter of 2013.)

However, Patrick was generous enough to leave me a cactus that had grown arms, boobs and hair since he left  (“she clearly loves it here, Mom!”) and a stately coffee tree that adorns the landing of my staircase.  I am also housing a fugitive ficus tree stolen in a drunken dare by both sons and their friends off a porch in Berkeley a la college years.  Believe me, if I knew whose it was I would return it!  But until then it will grace the corner of my living room reaching almost to the ceiling.

I repotted several plants last weekend, among them a Bleeding Heart that I actually purchased myself several years ago.

That’s me.. a bleeding heart.  A hostel for a feral cat and closets full of men’s suits and baseball cards.  My home is a revolving door to children, friends, and homeless plants.  I am honored.

Be green, dear thumb.  Be green.