If I Were an Animal

cute dog on table

cute dog on table (Photo credit: epSos.de)

Pedigrees Need Not Apply

Without a doubt I’d be a dog, but not just anyone’s dog, but my dog. A dog in my family is loved beyond reason, is treated with kisses and hugs and table treats and secret snacks. She is adored, deeply, fully; we go on walks, we play games in the back yard; I warm my feet underneath her body when she lies on the bed with me. We have a pretty albeit small home, we feel safe here together. My dog, Callie, gives back every ounce of love she gets and more. Every time one of us walks in the front door she is so happy to see us that she gives kisses and hugs and licks; there’s always a celebration at our house. A celebration of love and yes, she gets a small birthday party every single year that my daughter and I throw along with our neighbors. My husband and son are no longer even INVITED.

Besides, the dog and I have a secret promise together, something only we know. I promised never to leave her, ever, but also, not to let her suffer terribly in pain down the road. We will make decisions together, she and I, and that I will be with her, looking into her beautiful velvet eyes, as the last person she sees, the person who loved her the most.

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A Change I Should Make IF I COULD

“YOU’VE GOT TO BE IN IT TO WIN IT”

money

If I could WIN THE LOTTERY.

I know the money doesn’t BUY happiness but if you are happy already, it sure would ease the pain of all the bills. I could take my family on vacation and treat them to first class (what am I saying???) I could buy a small plane!!! The food would be EXCELLENT which is the most important part and there would be beds for each of us. I could go to a sandy beach when I wanted….I could take my daughter shopping and not just on the sale rack; I would give my son money for something “techy” and my husband can have whatever he wants.

More importantly, I would give myself purpose; I would start a foundation and give the rest of the money away to children and people and pets (ASPCA) who need it. I would feel fulfilled and proud and richer in many more ways that money can ever provide. Since it’s not likely I’m going to win, I am going to look for volunteer opportunities and I know, that I need to find the right match and the love in my heart will be bigger and better than just writing a check.

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On Valentine's Day

Do You Celebrate Valentine’s Day or Not?

Mini-rose

I remember answering this prompt last year and I wrote about the true love that my husband and I know we had for each other. We didn’t need gifts or mushy cards or expensive dinners (I still agree with the expensive dinners-I hate that restaurants jack up the prices like on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day too) and I was pretty blase about the “holiday.” We would always say “Happy Engagement Anniversary” because we did get engaged (in Hawaii) on Valentine’s Day 25 (wow, really??!!) years ago.

For a few years we did nothing, no cards, no presents, just an agreement not to buy each other anything. When my husband got me the same card, two years in a row, we took a break from cards too; we didn’t need them and it didn’t matter. Or so I thought.

To be truthful, I think we stopped caring a little and that’s not good. It was too comfortable, too much like an old friendship that we stopped noticing each other as the love of our lives and not the parents of our children.

We went through a lot these past few years. Two years of unemployment, our house fell apart (literally) we were forced to move to a hotel room for three and a half months with our high school senior daughter and our nine-year old dog. To add to this my husband broke his Achilles Tendon in the city while running to catch a train to come home the day before we moved to the hotel. It was also the day that we were supposed to drive our son to college. I ended up driving our son to college alone. At first a little nervous, I was proud and thrilled that I did it and did it well! Other people were so sweet to offer, but I WANTED to go and while it wasn’t easy, it was okay. Life isn’t always easy, we know.

Now, we are back in our house and my husband has a job where he has to commute to different places for work so we have no real schedule together. This year, I wanted him to be my special Valentine, all over again, and I wanted to be his Valentine. We stepped it up a notch. We did exchange gifts and cards and kisses and hugs. We remembered what it felt like to have a partner for life and not just a friend or a companion.He is the love of my life.

Sometimes life gets too easy or too hard; you have to work on marriage as you do everything else; sometimes we get complacent. Happy Valentine’s Day to my one and only, true love. I love you honey. More.

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How Often I (DON'T) Travel

Just Who Made Up This Plinky Prompt (and were they younger than 25?)

Private Yacht

Dear Plinky,

Does this prompt really ask "How often do you get the chance to leave town for a trip?" All I can respond with is: Are you tripping?" Leave town……trip, really not words used in a the same sentence for a mom whose husband works full- time,(for less pay) mostly in another state? Have you read about the economy? I guess I could say something ridiculous like: Skip and I (you can call me Vanessa) take our private jet to Bermuda or The Hamtons several times every month, whenever we feel like it……we then board the yacht we have docked there"but that annoys even me.

Wake up and smell the coffee, Plinky. If you are talking about a vacation, at the most once every few years. If our house hasn't been destroyed (this year) or my husband hadn't been unemployed (2 years before.) and we didn't have to pay off a loan, maybe we could think about it.

Maybe you Plinky Prompters are very young, like 22 years old or even as old as 25 and your life is fun and happy but here's a tip for the future: Everyone gets older, and some day you will too. So enjoy it now, because later on you won't be able to leave town whenever you want. It's called being a grown-up and living in the real world. Enjoy your youth, be happy, take chances now, while you still can. Peace and blessings. Laurie

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Carry On Tuesday -“Spend all your time waiting for that second chance”

Linney sat on the reclining chair and abruptly slammed down the phone, in tears. For f***s sake, she thought, didn’t anyone understand? She shook her head from side to side and the tears that were streaming down her face went flying but she paid no attention to that. “Whas the madda Mama?” asked a sweet voiced little girl, her daughter, Amelia, age 5 who had been drawing at the table. “Oh honey, I’m sorry, Mama just got a little upset about the phone call but I’m fine now” she said. “Why” asked Amelia,  “why you uspet?” Linney  picked her up and held her close and started dancing to a song that Amelia loved by Colby Collait, the title she thought was “Bubbly.” They sang the song together and danced around the room until Amelia got distracted and Linney was relieved that she didn’t have to answer any more questions about the damn phone call again.

The woman on the other end of the phone was the doctor in a fertility clinic where she and her husband Greg had been trying for over three years now to conceive another child.They desperately wanted another child, well she certainly did.  Some of the things people said, when she told them about Amelia, were just horrifying. Things like: “You are lucky to have one child, why feel you want another when some of us have NO children?” or “You have one child, what’s your problem?” The PROBLEM, she wanted to scream to them is that she needed, she longed for Amelia to have a sibling and that she, desperately wanted another baby, boy or girl. She felt incomplete with just one child and could think of nothing else but getting pregnant again. She had miscarried twice  and each time the doctor just shrugged his shoulders and said “it happens” or “it wasn’t meant to be.” After that, she went to a specialist who didn’t just have pat answers and started Linney on different medications. The phone call that she had just answered was the result of another negative pregnancy test. She had failed. Again. She wasn’t pregnant.

Of course she appreciated Amelia, she adored her and she and Greg were grateful for her every day. Why didn’t anyone understand that her wanting another child didn’t mean she didn’t appreciate having Amelia? It just felt that her left arm, secure and wrapped in a warm, soft red velvet shirt was complete and beautiful but that she was missing her right arm completely. Her other half was missing and she knew she wouldn’t feel complete until they had another baby. Greg said she was getting obsessed; Linney felt he was turning on her too. Even her girlfriends didn’t seem as sensitive as they used to be, her mom and sister, the same. She didn’t care, she would continue. She would have this baby, no matter what.

A year and a half passed and there was no luck, she had not gotten pregnant again. The doctors were not coming up with any reasons and that was the most frustrating thing of all. The doctors said there was nothing further they could do, even her newest doctor told her the same thing. She grieved for a long time, Amelia asked why she was always crying. Linney was depressed and stayed home, in bed, talked as little as possible.  Finally, after being on antidepressants for six months she felt better, she gave up and decided to try and forget that dream. She folded the onesies that she bought long ago for the new baby, in neutral colors. She folded the crib sheets that Amelia had grown out of and she gave them to her friend who was pregnant and due any week.

Linney went back to work full-time while Amelia was in school and Linney threw herself back into her Public Relations job that she had before she was even pregnant with Amelia. She had worked free-lance for them once in a while when she had free time, when Amelia went to nursery school or on long play dates with her new best girl friend, Maude. Amelia would beg to sleep over at her friends’ houses as often as her parents would let her; but she never invited the girls to sleep over at her house. Of course, it was always more fun at her friend’s house, even Linney remembered that.

One night, after Amelia was asleep and Linney and Greg had dinner and watched the news they cleaned up and dragged themselves upstairs. They changed into their pajamas, brushed their teeth and as usual, went together to kiss Amelia good-night. The bed was lumpy and looked odd, they immediately called her name, uncovered the blanket but she wasn’t there. Linney screamed and Greg called the police, it felt surreal; it is every parent’s worst nightmare. “Where is she?” Linney screamed, “Who took my baby?”  The police came over quickly they were at the house in under four minutes, inspecting, taking down information, Linney sobbed the whole time, she was hysterical and angry. “Why did this happen to them, why did all these bad things have to happen to them?”

Greg talked to the police and they went through the house together. The police noticed there was no forced entry, no window was broken, no lock had been touched. The officer tried to calm Linney down because they needed all the information to try and find Amelia. They wanted favorite places she went to, hiding places, names of her best friends, places she loved to go. All of a sudden Linney remembered Amelia’s best friend Maude and how sometimes she would beg to go over there and stay. “Please, please let me stay at Maudies, I love it over there,” Amelia would cry. They called and Maude’s mom answered the phone sleepily: “Hello? What? No, of course not. She’s didn’t come here. What? I’m sure. Well…..let me check and I will call you right back.”

Maude’s mom had said good-night to her daughter, tucked her in and kissed her good-night, she was in her own bed, she didn’t see anyone else and besides, Amelia was always welcome why would they sneak around?  Sue, Maud’s mom went in and turned on the light in Maud’s room and woke her up. “Maudey, Maudey, Wake up, NOW” As soon as her daughter sat up and Sue looked in her eyes, her heart plummeted to her stomach. Guilty. She saw it in her eyes, on her face and she knew. “Where is Amelia and tell me the truth NOW!”

Maud sighed and whispered “but I promised not to tell.” Her mom told her that Amelia’s mom and the police had called. Maud got really scared and started crying, she showed her mom the hiding place in the attic where Amelia was sleeping. Maud woke up and came down and they all sat in Amelia’s room AFTER Sue called Amelia and said she was fine and that she wanted to talk to the girls but they could pick her up in half an hour.

Sue sat between the two girls on the bed and said “Amelia, honey, you know you are welcome here any time. Why did you have to run away? Amelia started crying, first quietly and then she sobbed and gulped trying to get words out “My mom doesn’t love me. She only wanted to love a new baby, she never loved me, never.” Now she could barely speak but she choked out these last words: “she spent all her time waiting for that second chance of having a new baby and she never paid attention to me, the baby was all she talked about, my little sister or brother.” Sue knew all about Linney’s obsession for another baby, everyone knew but she didn’t know how it had affected poor Amelia. All she could do is hold her and stroke her hair and tell her that her mom, of course, loved her so much.  Amelia was having none of it and asked if she HAD to go home. “Yes, honey, you do, you need to talk to your parents and talk this out, but not tonight. Tomorrow is time enough sweetie.

The bell rang, once, twice, three times. It was Amelia’s parents with a police officer. Amelia clutched on to Sue’s arm as they walked slowly to the door.  Amelia just stared at her mother and when her mother tried to hug her, she pulled away. She hugged her father and wouldn’t say a word to her mom. There were no words spoken, just looks, back and forth; Amelia walked out of Maud’s house with her dad’s arm tightly around her shoulders and her mom, trailing behind her, not knowing for a minute, what had just happened.

Mellow Yellow Monday – PEEPS!

English: Two rows of yellow and pink Easter Pe...

Image via Wikipedia

Wall O' Peeps
Wall O’ Peeps (Photo credit: urtica)

Since childhood I have LOVED Peeps but not any old Peeps, they have to be yellow and chick-shaped. I know you can get Peeps in a rainbow of colors now which is, indeed, fun to look at AND they arrive for all kinds of holidays in different shapes. However, I am true to my bright yellow chick Peeps that I adore. In fact, one of my good, old friends call each other “Peep” which is the ultimate compliment. I get excited this time of year because I KNOW that my little chick peep friends are starting to be set up in stores in cute little piles. Piles of peeps. What could be better than that? They make me happy just to think about them, to look at them smiling sweetly in the store, exploding softly with sugar crystals in my mouth. Oh wait, I’m on a diet. Well, I’m sorry, but I will not miss out on a tradition that has lasted over fifty years. I will have my peep and I will be proud. Happy Peeps!

Sorry, Whitney, I Have No Tears Left

Whitney Houston  Central Park, NYC  September ...

Whitney Houston Central Park, NYC September 1, 2009 (Photo credit: asterix611)

Sure, I gasped when I read the headlines last night that Whitney Houston, an incredibly talented singer had died. I gasped in shock for the unexpected news but after that, I didn’t cry. I couldn’t, I had nothing to cry about. So, instead of being sad, I felt incredibly MAD. Mad like, is anyone going to LEARN something about drugs and alcohol (allegedly) and using and abusing? How many more people have to die before someone gets it and says “You know, might not be such a smart idea to party all the time.” WHAT DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?

We have lost, NO, we have not lost them, they lost themselves to drugs and alcohol (yeah, yeah, allegedly). Do I really need to name them? Fine, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse. Go back in time: Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, and I am just listing a few examples from hundreds.  Such amazing talent from so many people gone, because they wasted their lives partying. I know addiction is an illness and it’s hard to beat but there are places to go to and programs to attend if you really, really want to stop and change.

Where was her family? Dionne Warwick, wasn’t she her aunt? Did Whitney have a mom named Cissy? I could be wrong. Cousins? Best friends? Old, clean, boyfriends and girlfriends? WHERE THE HELL WERE ALL OF YOU? I know it’s not your fault, it’s Whitney’s. Whitney, you had so many YEARS to try and get sober and clean. Did you once think of your daughter. My G-d, how selfish is that? Does the word “intervention” sound familiar to any of you?

I’m just frustrated with this culture you “stars” live in and I know it is not limited to celebrities. Are we glorifying these singers/actors/stars with our moments of silence and our adoration? Well, now we must buy ” The Best Of…….”They killed themselves, willingly or not, for a long time using drugs and alcohols and pills and whatever else was printed on their personal menus. Enough is enough. They are not heroes to me. They are poor, lost souls who had everything and lost it for fame.

On a more personal note: Lindsey Lohan: I’m still watching YOU.

"Share a memory about the house in which you grew up……"

Kids From Kew Gardens, Queens

apartment building

Not everybody is lucky enough to grow up in a house (Plinky) We grew up in an apartment building and not knowing anything else, for us, it was perfect. Imagine living in a world where you could walk down two flights of stairs where your best friend lived whose mother and grandma baked home-made vanilla crescent cookies and surprise cookies (I still dream about these) that had a Hershey’s chocolate kiss inside. I can still taste the crushed hazelnuts in the batter. Imagine going up a flight of stairs to babysit for someone you considered your pretend baby sister anyway and getting paid for that. This little, lost girl longed for attention and for someone to love and I was her older friend. I bought her candy bars with my money that her mother wouldn’t allow, I sat with her while her mother cooked two chicken legs in the toaster oven or when her mom stayed in her bedroom, under the covers for days. I watched that family from one flight of stairs away, practically living inside their house and I watched them unravel as well. A tragedy. My very first best friend growing up was a boy and he lived three flights down and we spent the first years of our lives together; our moms met in the maternity ward of the local hospital where we were born and yes, I am mere hours older than he is but a whole day. He had a gray, barking schnauzer but to us, he was Lassie. His mom made me my first milkshake, I ate at his house probably as much as I ate in my own. To this day, a mere fifty-fife years later than when we were born I am proud to still call him my friend, my oldest friend; I call him Brian and we both laugh.

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My Cooking

F: is for Family And Food

Meatballs Marinara

The question: Can I cook? Depends on who you ask. I have a limited amount of things that I can cook well but they are not difficult or gourmet by anyone’s standards. The things I do cook or bake are very GOOD. I can make a lovely roast chicken with herbs and lemon, or a brisket (as good as my mom’s,) home-made macaroni and cheese, an old fashioned meatloaf, a fabulous pea soup with tender morsels of carefully chopped up honey ham or Canadian bacon, chicken soup, baked ziti, Nonna’s meatballs, a home-made tomato sauce learned from Ba, and I bake an awesome banana bread with raisins and chocolate chips. Not a chef by any means but a simple, home cooking mom that likes to cook with music playing in the background. Nothing complicated, simple, fresh, and easy. Come on over, we share.

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Haiku Heights – DESIRE

Side glance of our eyes

meeting, catching, holding still

Love has no promise

***************************************************************************************************************************

Hot, sweaty, dripping

cheeks hot, lips parted, ready

Oh! chocolate fondue