Monday, January 31, 2011

Ma Bell No Friend of Mine

GrandsonNana, your phone is ringing.

MeYes, I hear it.

GrandsonAren’t you going to answer it?

MeNope.

GrandsonWhy not?

MeCause if they have something say to me, they can leave me a message.

Grandson I can answer it for you.

Me Nope, that’s okay.

Grandson:  (Looking very troubled that no one was picking up the phone.) But what if they don’t leave a message?

MeWell, I guess it wasn’t important, was it?


This exchange with my grandson reminds me of the old story of the Maine storekeeper who was the last one in town to get one of those newfangled telephones. When a long-time friend and customer heard it ringing, and the storekeeper continued their conversation, the customer finally asked if the storekeeper was going to answer it. The reply: "I put it in for my convenience, not theirs."

Hmmm.  I am so not alone in the world!

It is a well known fact in my family that I won’t answer the phone.   House phone or cell phone, I let them ring their way to voice mail.  I figure, if they have something to tell me, they can leave me a message.  No need for me to interrupt what I’m doing at the moment.  I’ll call back ... eventually.

You might say I have some sort of phone aversion.

When my kids call, I let it go to voice mail.  And unfortunately, sometimes it can take me days to call back.  I forget.  Bad me.

Needless to say, that makes me very unpopular with them.

My friends primarily don’t phone.  They just email.  Or send me postcards.

I really like postcards.

But there is one person whose calls I DO take.  And that is The Professor’s. 

I kind of want to stay in his good graces.

He leaves me little love notes.

He brings me coffee in the morning.

And fixes my grapefruit.

And rubs my feet.

And takes all those calls that I won’t.

So there will be no sending him to voice mail.

Because he may just stop taking MY calls.

And then where would I be?

All alone in the world.

Singing to him like When Harry Met Sally

"Call me, don't be afraid, you can call me,

Maybe it's late but just call me -

Tell me and I'll be around.
"

So not me!

Especially on the phone!  Aack!


missing the mom gene (and missing the phone talking gene)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Confessions and Secrets

It's Friday and time for a little fun and humor.


1. My ex is... which one are we talking about?

2. I should learn to... quit interrupting

3. I love... Sterzing's potato chips

4. People would say that I am... impatient


5. I don't understand... whining

6. Life is... short

7. My past taught me... only depend on myself

8. I get annoyed... with clutter

9. Parties are... overrated

10. I wish... I could eat anything I wanted

11. Dogs and cats... all need love

12. My childhood pets... did not die from old age. Sad.

13. Tomorrow is... another great day

14. I have a low tolerance for... crowds

15. If I won a million dollars... I'd keep doing what I'm doing

16. I'm terrified of... zip lines

17. I've come to realize... nothing lasts forever

18. I talk... rarely on the phone

19. My best friend(s)... do not judge me

20. My first kiss... was with my cousin. Yuck!

21. I am thankful for... Ben & Jerry's

22. Marriage is... best when of equal mind

23. Some where, someone is... sailing without me

24. I'll always be... wanting the next new Mac

25. The last time I really cried was...when The Professor pretended to be dead in the pool on his 60th birthday and wasn't. Then I wanted to kill him!

26. My cell phone is... for my convenience, not others

27. Before I go to bed... I write, read RSS feeds, do email.  Bad me.

28. Right now, I am thinking... why am I doing this

29. Yesterday I... watched a sunset on the beach

30. Tomorrow I will be.. writing the next day’s blog

31. I really want to... find that little house by the sea and write and sail every day

32. My most treasured possession is... my mind

33. Someday I want to travel to... Bora Bora

34. I’m amazed... by nature

35. I need... a nap after this. My brain hurts.


Have a great weekend,
missing the mom gene

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I Beg Your Pardon, I Never Promised You ... Life Was Fair



Last evening I was semi-watching an old Law & Order episode with Carol Burnett while multitasking between Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and emails, when Burnett turns to her doctor after learning that she's dying and says,  "No one ever said that life was fair, only that it was eventful."

One more time. 

No one ever said life was fair, only that it was eventful.

Whoa!  Beam me up Scottie!

When I was a kid, my parent’s often-used phrase “Life’s not fair” was tossed back at my brother and I whenever we whined about some unjustness,  “But that’s not fair!  Why did she ..?  What about me...?”

I hated it when my parents said, “Life’s not fair.”  Of course, when I  grew older, I understood.  Life sometimes is unfair.  And like my parents, when my own children echoed those same words to me, I simply replied with the standard, “Sorry, but life’s not fair.”

But somewhere there has been a shift in our society.  It seems wherever I turn, there is a concern about fairness.   Equal opportunity seems old fashioned.  Nowadays, people want equal outcome.

And why wouldn’t they?  Think about it.  Little League tournaments?  Everyone gets a trophy.  Spelling Bee contests?  Everyone wins a prize for participating.  Birthday parties?  Gifts for all attendees. 

Wow!  Imagine when you were a kid, all you had to do was show up, and you would win a trophy, receive an award or be handed a present. 

But what would have been the incentive to work harder, to strive for more, to desire success, if one was awarded a prize that was equal to everyone else?

I’m intrigued when I observe parents trying to make everything fair for their children, creating within them a sense of entitlement.   I’m afraid we are doing them a disservice.

Because simply, there is no fairness in life.

You work 14 hour days and the guy who takes 3 hour lunches gets the promotion.

You never smoked a day in your life, but you discover you have lung cancer.

Your husband, who you have supported and cared for during his illness, leaves you for a colleague after 30 years of marriage.

Good things will not necessarily happen to good people. 

Hard work doesn’t always bring success, but pride in a job well-done is priceless.

Healthy habits don’t guarantee good health, but feeling good about your choices builds self-esteem.

And giving your love away doesn’t guarantee it will be returned, but nothing is as joyous as moments of selfless love.

Life isn't fair.   We can not make it equal for all, and it’s not clear that we should.  Compassion, yes.  Equal opportunity, absolutely.  Equal outcomes?  Sorry.  To teach otherwise is, well....... Unfair.

And now, thank you Carol Burnett, I have a new phrase whenever someone tells me “Life is unfair.”

Yes, it is!

But it sure is eventful!

And it is what we make of those events that count.  Not the things we have nor the things we obtain.

Really now, isn’t that the beauty of it all?

Eventfully yours,
missing the mom gene

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday Whimpsy: Showdown in O.K. Canal

It's Wednesday.

It's cold.

In Philly.

But I'm not in Philly.

I'm in Florida.

Having a showdown with this feathered friend who has an eye on my wine.

Hey Mr. Dude Bird, I have a Kitty bigger than you. Don't mess with us!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Forever Changed

Memories come to us sometimes, not in full sentences, but in images or groups of words that hold more meaning than any other narrative.

These words today reflect a memory of when I was four and struck by a car.  I was crossing the blacktop road that sat in front of our small Iowa farmhouse.  My mother, who was only 15 when she married, was on the other side, gazing down the road as my father steered his tractor to a nearby pasture for spring plowing.

Me at age 4 in Cairo, Iowa

When I Reached for Your Hand

I should  have known
you could not be there

when I reached
for your hand

you had already left

freeing yourself
of me
dreaming of another place
and time

I wonder

did you ache 
for what you left behind

or yearn for what
may never come

when I reached for your hand
and it was gone

left alone
I was not afraid

to cross over
to you

on that bright warm
early spring day
with the damp dark earth

beckoning to be split open

from the cold metal
that would carve through
its soft underbelly

not afraid
to reach for you
to call to you

but you would not hear
my cry

you had already left
and went away
to another place
that I was not allowed
to follow

you with your lost
innocence and wonder
and dreams

never to be realized

unaware
of what was left behind

me

who was reaching out
for you to take my hand

me

who was taking
that step
closer
to you

to bring you back
from that place that
stole you
and
left me behind

I reached for your hand
but it was gone

I was unafraid

to cross over
to you

and my life was
forever changed.


missing the mom gene

Monday, January 24, 2011

Stormy Winter Responds

As you know, I wrote a breakup letter to Stormy Winter the other day.  Today, I received Stormy Winter's response.  Mmmmmm...... I'm suspicious that The Professor, a close friend of Stormy Winter, had some involvement in this letter writing. 


Dear missing the mom gene,

Your recent letter desiring to end our relationship has taken me by surprise.   I can’t BELIEVE that you have cheated on me with Sunny Florida while I have remained steady and ever so faithful to you.   I know I can be sullen and dark and leave you bone chilled with my presence.  And, yes, we have had some stormy times lately, but those dark days will soon pass.

Please don’t forget the many days of magic we have shared.  The wonder of the falling snowflake,  the majesty of snow covered mountains.  Snow angels.  Sledding.  Santa Claus.  New Year’s celebrations.  And the wonderful world of skiing (although you have resisted my encouragement to explore my Black Diamond slopes.)

What would your summers be without my winters?  Your Sunny Florida cannot give you our Tender Spring and its first Robin’s call. Your Sunny Florida does not celebrate the beauty and wonder of each passing season that I share with you.  Seasons that are as much a part of you as night is to day. 
 

I defy you to show me one bit of Sunny Florida you would call majestic!  The ocean – sure, it’s pretty but not majestic.  Not like in Maine or Oregon – and there you can have me too!

Do not be fooled by Sunny Florida.  He has a dark side that you have not yet seen.   Alligators, swamps, mosquitoes, and hurricanes will show themselves once Sunny Florida believes he has won you over.

When you come to your senses, I’ll be here, waiting.  For God's sake, your were born in Iowa!  We were meant to be TOGETHER!


Love always,
Stormy Winter

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Breakup

Dear Stormy Winter,

I can no longer continue our relationship.  The chill that has settled between us has grown too deep.

Please remove all evidence of your existence from my home as soon as possible.

I’m sorry.
missing the mom gene

PS. Besides, I have cheated on you twice with Sunny Florida since you moved in.  He makes me happy.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friend or Stranger Danger

Yesterday afternoon I thought I would hang out at Panera with the other laptop geeks, have some Orange Spice tea, grab a table in a dim lit corner with an outlet, and write.


Good plan.

Until.

The table next to me became occupied.

Like, Dude, there are 20 other open tables!

I knew she was trouble the moment she sat down and looked my way, pulling out her laptop.  I didn't catch watch she said.  I just smiled.  Sort of the way you do on a plane when the person takes the seat next to you and tries to start up a conversation.  You do a lot of nodding, smiling, returning to the book you have already placed in your lap, while remembering the most important rule.  No eye contact.

Dude, do you see that I do not want to chat.  I have very important work to do here.

The no eye contact rule did not work. 

Not

at

all.

She was one very determined lady.

And thus she began ....

Lives on the Jersey shore.  Can’t stand NYC any longer after 25 years.  Works in the medical field.  A consultant, a systems-something-or-other who would like to find full-time employment in something-or-other.  Grew up in the area.  Mother lives nearby.  Sister also.  Where do I live?  Is it nearby ?  Do I work?  What do I write?  Been published?  Why do I come here and work?  Panera is better than Starbucks.  Starbucks is too noisy. Do I like my iPad. Do I think it can replace my laptop?

Arrrrrghhhhhhh!

You get the idea.

By then my brain was screaming

Escape. Escape.

But there would be none.

There would be no escape.

Anxiety crept up into my chest, tightened around my throat, threatening to turn me into Cruella de Vil.

And thus the struggle.  What I really wanted to do was ignore her and be rude.  Because what if she was some sort of psycho-stalking-kind-of-crazy?

Or maybe.

She was just a nice person that if I gave her a chance, could be quite interesting.

I remember my sophomore year in college, a fellow female classmate began striking up conversations with me after English Lit.  For a long time, I tried to avoid her, racing out of class ahead of her, making excuses that I had to get to my lab.  There was nothing wrong with her.  I was just leery as to why she sought me out.  We had nothing in common.  No similar friends or activities. 

After several months of her continued pursuit, I started having coffee with her.  We started to hang out together and our relationship slowly developed into a close friendship that lasted for 20 years.

So while the Jersey lady continued to engage my reluctant self in her volley of chatter, I thought of my college friend.

But suddenly, she started to put her laptop away and stood up.  She was late picking someone up. 

I felt relieved. 

But I also wondered, did I miss a chance of making a new friend?  Or did I just avoid a Jersey Shore Snooki.

I wonder.

missing the mom gene (and sometimes the friend gene)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kitty Love

Kitty Kitty!  I’m home!  I’m home, Kitty!


 Ahhh .... you’re so cute.  I’ve missed you! 




Did you miss me?

Aww, Kitty.  Please don’t turn away.  I’m sorry I was gone so long. 


It’s just sometimes I must travel to places that you cannot go.


You say you don’t understand?

You say I am unforgiven.

Oh, but I love you Kitty Kitty!


Don’t take your love away.

(Quick!  Name that Song: “Ruby, don’t take your love to town!”)

Oh Kitty.

Remember our love?

Remember the joy of having your soft furry belly brushed?

Or the lift I give you up the stairs when your arthritis pains you?

Or when I spoon up your fave yogurt?

How about the nights you curl on my bed and dream with me?


See? There was nothing to worry about.  I’m home.

I still love you.
  Come a little closer.

No need to be aloof.


I just want to rub your furry neck.

And tickle your ever so pinky nose. 

Oops.


Sorry.

I forgot the nose is off limits.

(I just forget sometimes.)

But I never forget you. Even when my travels take me away.


You are still with me.

Because you are my King Kitty Kramer.

My one and only.

Always here with love, Kitty Kitty,
missing the mom gene

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday Whimsy: I Wonder


I Wonder ....

why women can’t put on mascara with their mouth closed

why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour

why people darken their car windows

where do all the missing socks go

how does a thermos know whether to keep the drinks cold or warm

why does the Easter bunny carry eggs

why do we say "heads up" when we actually mean duck

why wrong numbers are never busy

why stores with double doors only let you use one of them

why is it that when you're driving and looking for an address, you turn the radio volume down

why is it no one is listening until you make a mistake

if children who act in rated 'R' movies are allowed to see them

if you can cry under water

if in libraries, do they put the bible in the fiction or non-fiction section

why is Grape Nuts cereal called that, when it contains neither grapes, nor nuts

can blind people see their dreams

why I even wonder about these things

Happy Wednesday,
missing the mom gene

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Excuses

This morning I was having this debate with "self" on whether to exercise or not. I always feel so much better when I start my day with some stretching and yoga.  But this morning I felt I didn't have time.  I was running behind on stuff I wanted to get done for the day and figured I'd just workout later. 

But who was I kidding.  I KNEW I wouldn't do it later.  But my ole' companion, 'Excuse', took over: I don't have enough time.

ex•cuse
n. ik-skyoos
An explanation offered as a reason for being excused; a plea offered in extenuation of a fault or for release from an obligation, promise, etc.

Some of these sound familiar?
 
I don’t have enough money.
It’s too hard.
I don’t have enough time.
I don’t have the talent.
I started too late.
I don’t have a place to work.
I’m tired.
Nobody will work with me.

But Really?

Leo Tolstoy wrote War and Peace while living in a small house with his wife and 13 children.

Greta Garbo held steady through seven months of hardball silence after negotiating a new (fair) contract with Louis B. Mayer. Mayer eventually caved and she got her price. 

Walt Disney was a failed, bankrupt, small-time ad man before that whole mouse thing happened. 

J.K. Rowling was on the dole. Her first Harry Potter book was rejected by twelve publishers. It was eventually purchased by the relatively small Bloomsbury in London, and that only because the CEO’s daughter begged him to print it. 

Mark Twain sunk $300,000 of his own money (and much of his wife’s) into a typesetting machine that was eventually, brutally, made obsolete. 

e.e. cumming’s first book of poetry was rejected by fifteen publishers. He self-published it, dedicated it to the fifteen rejectors, and became one of America’s greatest poets. 

Crippled by depression, self-doubt, and living in a cruelly sexist era, Mary Anne Evans changed her identity to George Eliot and became one of the most beloved English novelists of all time. 

Abraham Lincoln lost multiple jobs, went bankrupt, and failed in numerous bids for public office before being sworn in as the 16th President of the United States

Georges Simenon completed each of his legendary Maigret detective novels in an undisturbed, 11-day sprint. 

Isaac Asimov wrote or edited more than 500 books in his lifetime. Oh, and that’s in addition to being a professor of biochemistry at Boston University


After I read these this morning, I decided to do my workout.  



How about you?  What excuses hold you back from being the best that you can be?


Yours truly,
missing the mom gene

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Lovin'


I love Sundays

Sundays are filled with



omeletes

pancakes

bagels

coffee

family

laughter

music

reading

writing

and

most importantly



napping

Every day for Kitty Kitty is a Sunday.

I think I was meant to be a Kitty Kitty.


Sunday lovin',
missing the mom gene



Friday, January 14, 2011

Delurking Day

Today is Delurking Day!

Woohoo!

What is Delurking Day, you ask?

It’s a day when all you folks who stop by without ever commenting get a chance to comment so I know who you are!

And it will make me smile.

Because a comment just feels like a lot of love.

Drum roll, please!

There's nothing you can know that isn't known
Nothing you can see that isn't shown
There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be
It's easy
Love, love, love.  
All you need is love.

Where am I going with this?

If you are daring enough, or have time enough… I invite you to delurk.

Leave a comment.

If you don’t know what to say, but are up for the delurking challenge… just write BEACHES.

Where I would like to be right now.

On a beach

gathering sea shells

sipping a pina colada

reading a good book

taking a nap

P.S. Holy Camole .... I’m exhausted.


Yours truly while waiting,
missing the mom gene

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tiger Mama

If you haven’t been following the news this week, you may have missed the insults being slung at us Western parents.

You say what?

Yep!

You heard me right.  You and me, we are slouches when it comes to parenting.

Of course, I had already figured that out for myself.  Years of therapy. 

Along with my kids who take pleasure in reminding me of my slacker days.

They are so sadistic.

But back on point.

According to Amy Chua, a Yale Law School Professor, Chinese mothers are superior. 

And she must be right.  She’s from Yale for God’s sake!

She released her book this week, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,”  claiming that the way she has raised her two daughters is far superior to the way you and I are doing the job.

How so, you say?

The secret?

“Extreme, rigid, authoritarian approach.” so say some media outlets.

According to these media outlets who are summarizing Chua’s book, us Western parents are wuusies ... we give in too quickly to our kids’ whining ways, turning them over to computer games, television and whatever their little whining hearts desire.

Whereas, Chinese children are “rigorously drilled by their stronger, more determined mothers until they get every subject right.”

So there you have it.  Chinese mothers are simply more DETERMINED than us.  So the media tells us.  Who knew?

All I would have had to do was never have allowed my kids to:
  • attend a sleepover
  • have a playdate
  • be in a school play
  • complain about not being in a school play
  • watch TV or play computer games
  • choose their own extracurricular activities
  • get any grade less than an A
  • not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama
  • play any instrument other than the piano or violin
  • not play the piano or violin

It’s that simple.  Follow these rules and you too can have math whizzes and music prodigies.

If only I had had this book years ago, I could have been a Tiger Mama!

Oh, how I have failed!  Can you ever forgive me, dear children?  If I had been a Tiger Mama, who knows what heights you may have soared.

Cough cough, sputter sputter, snort snort.

If you dig a little deeper in all the media hype, Chua’s book really isn’t about good old-fashioned Asian values vs. American values. 

It’s about one mother’s journey of raising her children.  A memoir.  Not a how-to manual to raise little prodigies. 

Because how would you explain other successful children who overcame bad, neglectful or unsupported childhoods.  Madonna, Sinead O’Conner, Oprah Winfrey, Eminem, Richard Prior, Beethoven, Michael Jordan, and even Einstein.

Some kids rise above unbelievable odds to pursue passions that only they can see, feel and act upon.  The fire and desire must burn within them and no amount of parenting can CREATE that.

But with that said, if being a Tiger Mama means placing a lot of emphasis on goals, achievements and academics, I'm all for being a Tiger Mama.

Growl.  Hear my roar?

With my child rearing days behind me, this Tiger Mama believes she raised some pretty responsible, respectful, and happy Tiger Cubs. 

(Well, they may not have been HAPPY all the time, but who is really?  I say we all need a little bit of yin and yang in life for it to be fulfilling.)


Chua’s book is just another parent’s interesting approach to the hundreds of other books out there on how to raise bright, successful children, whether it’s the Chinese way or the American way.

But the right way is to be engaged, be aware and be alert because if we find ourselves lazy and indifferent to our gaming-addicted kids, then we are serving them an injustice. 

Sometimes purring, most times roaring,
but always,

missing the mom gene

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chop Chop

I hate going to the hair salon. 

Finding a hairdresser is like ...
well, like gambling ...
spinning a roulette wheel 
betting at the race track
buying a lottery ticket

Rarely do I win, most times I loose.

Just too many bad bad memories as a child.

I have this sort of thick wavy curly hair that seems to have never been in style.

Except maybe when I was 3.


As far back as I can remember, we have constantly fought

My hair and I

Way too much trauma

and drama

when for picture day

in fourth grade

this was as good as it was going to get.



So sad.

Wish me luck today!

As Always,
Hairdresser Hater

missing the mom gene

Wednesday Whimsy: A Day in the Life of a Writer

wake up
    slow
        slow
today show

pee
    pee
   
eye drops
    wash face
        brush teeth
kiss kiss

meow
    scratch scratch
        feed kitty kitty
exercise
    moan
        moan

undress
    weigh self
        shower

mirror
    uggghhhh
        dress

newspaper
    coffee
        breakfast
more coffee

office
    10 feet
        away
            sweet

iphone
    calendar
        texts
macbook
    news
        email
            facebook
                rss feeds
                    twitter
more coffee

internet
    search
        troll
            search
                troll
idea

write
    soda
        write
            snack
                write
                    write
pee

email
    surf
        tea
lunch
    write
        write
   
meow
    oh kitty kitty
        scratch
            scratch
                scratch
write
    stretch
        walk
            walk
                walk
surf
    surf
        surf
write

email
    email
        email
coffee
    snack

IDEA
    REWRITE
        REWRITE
            REWRITE
sweet
    sweet
        words
pee

itunes
    soda
        stretch
dinner
    news
        cleanup
meow
    oh kitty kitty
        scratch scratch
            feed
email
    evening news
        facebook
            rss feeds
                twitter
tv   
fireplace
        macbook
            read read
                surf surf
eye drops
    wash face
        brush
            floss floss
                waterpik
pee   

undress
    mirror
        uggghhhh
jams           

bed
    iphone off
        daily show
            letterman
macbook off
    kiss kiss
        sweet sweet           
snore
snore
snore


sweet
     dreams,
missing the mom gene

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Beauty of Cinque Terre

A big snow storm is headed our way I am told.

I have barely recovered from the last one.  In fact, snow still covers my yard.

I have NOT had time to recover!  Are you listening Al Roker?

But I do have a remedy.  Something that helps ease me through these cold, wintry days.

And that's my Mac SCREENSAVER!

WARNING!  I am not responsible for any spousal fights due to impulsive Expedia reservations.

Manarola

This beautiful view from my screensaver is of Manarola, one of the five villages that form the five miles of rocky coast of Cinque Terre on the Italian Riveria.



The Professor and I spent three breathtaking days in Manarola several years ago.

This was our evening view.


Remember, you were warned!

The area is well known for its miles and miles of breathtaking trails for hikers.  No museums, just sun, sea, wine and pleasure.

And not necessarily in that order!

Each town has been carved into the steep terraced-vineyard coastline and is connected by a seven-mile path of sometimes rugged terrain with room enough for only one to pass.  But the hike between towns is still long remembered as we wound our way along sheer cliffs overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.



We knew that the vigorous hike through all the towns could be done in a day.  But why?

We're not that ambitious.  We're the kind of couple that looks forward to the reward that comes after such a strenuous day of sightseeing.  

Like WINE!

HELLO!  We are in Italy after all.

So on our first day, we went over to the nearby town of Riomaggiore.  It was a simple flat stroll from Manarola.

On the way, we stopped to watch these crazy kids leaping off the cliffs.  I'm pretty sure none of the guidebooks recommended this extreme sport activity.


After becoming bored and realizing no one was going to get hurt, we moved on.

Riomaggiore was breathtaking.   The view I captured below is a very popular one taken by better photographers than this gal.  Even as an amateur, I couldn't do much damage to the scene.
Riomaggiore
The next day, we took a boat to Monterosso to spend our day hiking back to Manarola.  Monterosso is the sandiest and most resort-like of all the towns with its colorful street shops and bustling activity. 

Monterosso

I was ready to hit the trail after exploring its busy streets and head for quiet Vernazza.  Monterosso to Vernazza would be the toughest part of the day's hike and I was ready to get it behind me.

Vernazza is considered the jewel of Cinque Terre.

Vernazza

Everything from its historical attractions, manageable size and street markets every Tuesday make this port the most charming of the five towns.

Vernazza plaza

We lunched in this sweet and peaceful setting in Vernazza after the 2 hour hike.  Once my thighs quit screaming, we set out for Corniglia.



Corniglia
Corniglia, was the smallest and most remote of the five villages.  While it did not sit on the water, its windy overlook still impressed us.

My reward in reaching Corniglia was an ice cream cone.  I was certain I had burned off enough calories to have three!  I was ready to bask in the wind and sun and take in this beautiful view for a while.  But The Professor insisted we push on.

Something about wine and dinner back in Manarola.

Manarola
The walk to Manarola was not as hard but it seemed to take forever.  When we finally came around the corner after hiking for almost 6 hours, never was I so glad to see our base town.  Although my eyes could continue to take in the beauty, my calves were screaming "Uncle"!  I had had enough for one day.

Just goes to prove I'm not a REAL hiker.

But there was a glass of wine (or two) to be consumed to celebrate what I had just accomplished.

Cinque Terre Coastline
It continues to take my breath away.


Even with a wintry storm heading my way.

Missing Italy, but still,
missing the mom gene

All a Twitter

Several days ago I dived, maybe more appropriately, belly-flopped, into Twitter!


I was feeling a bit ancient.

But no longer!

I’m a-twittering now.  Sort of.  Maybe more accurately, I’m a-tweaking.

But I’m a quick learner.

It’s not that I just heard about Twitter.  You would have to be in a coma or archiving your 33 1/3 rpms for the past few years not to know about Twitter.  I got all a-Twitter with the elections in 2008 and began following George Stephanopoulos.  For me, he was the George Clooney of political journalists.


And then the election was over and I broke up with Twitter and George.   Occasionally, I would get a notice that someone had started following me.  Why?  I had no idea. 

And then one of my RSS feeds had a review of TweetDeck.  Always lurking around for some new app for my Android, it sounded interesting, so I downloaded it and took it for a drive.

Va va va voom!  Was I surprised.  During my test drive, I discovered that TweetDeck lets you arrange your Twitter streams in a row of columns for specific people, searches, hashtags, or lists.

You say what?  Hashtags?  Me too.  I had no idea what “hashtags” were but soon discovered they were sort of like web tags, allowing me to follow specific topics of interest. 
See, I told you I was feeling ancient.

Those hashtags grabbed my attention just like George did during the election!  I quickly discovered other Tweeters who were writing or blogging or struggling with their own fiction like me.

The real power of Twitter, as I’m learning, is that it serves as a new form of search to build myself a community of writers and bloggers that I can share, learn, and continue to grow with.


And the good news!

You can listen, or NOT, to anyone you want on Twitter.

And you can talk.  And others will decide to listen to YOU, or NOT.

Sort of like marriage.

Did I just say that?

Let’s not tell The Professor.  I sort of want to keep him around.

Anyway, check out TweetDeck.  Take it for a drive.  Cruise around, kick the tires, honk your horn. 

Honk loud!  Cause I'll come running and hop in to cruise along with you!


Happy Monday,
missing the mom gene

Saturday, January 8, 2011

When I Dreamed of Being a Horse

"Do not die before becoming the person you are meant to be. "

I found this in my notes and can’t attribute it to any one source.  But it made me pause.


When I was young, I wanted to be a horse. 

I played horses with my cousins probably from the age of 4 until I was around 8.

I know.

Pathetic.

But it was Iowa, before Star Wars, Darth Vader, Spiderman, and Ninja Turtles.

Summer evenings, my cousins and I would pretend to be horses, trotting, galloping and whinnying around the yard.  A herd of wild stallions. (But I was a GIRL stallion.)  One unlucky cousin would have to play the rancher, trying to catch us and lead us into an imaginary pen.

During cold Iowa winters, I would gallop through the house on my hands and knees with some little cousin running after to hop on my back and ride ‘em cowboy.

I would buck them off, too wild to be tamed and tackled.

I guess a little bit of that wild horse still lives within me.

Just a little.

Refusing to be tamed and tackled

into other’s ideas of who I should be or could be.

Instead ...

I will continue to grow into the woman I am meant to be.

Whoever that person is ...

because I have not met her yet.

Have you?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Curing my Disorder

It SNOWED sometime in the night so this is what I woke up to this morning ...


But I would have PREFERRED this ...



I keep telling The Professor that I have SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and that I'm sure that a CURE for my malaise would be waking up to this view every morning.


In that hammock...

with my coffee (and laptop, of course).

He's ignoring me. 

Well, not totally. 

He did glance my way and roll his eyes.

yours truly,
missing the mom gene

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Uninvited guests...

There’s nothing like putting your life out there on a blog to stir up long absent cousins ... Doubt and Insecurity.  Those distant relatives of mine seem to have decided to come for a visit and I’m unsure just how long they plan on staying.



ME:  Hello Doubt.  I wasn’t expecting your visit.  Do you have an idea how long you may be staying?

DOUBT: I’m not sure ... you were the one that rang ME up.

ME:  Ha!  I don’t think it was me.  We haven’t seen each other for so long I thought you had passed on.

DOUBT: Nope, you rang me.  I also had to drag Insecurity along with me and you KNOW how I hate traveling with HER.  How ‘bout it, Insecurity?  Speak up, quit hulking around behind me.

INSECURITY:  Uh, uh, uh .... I..I...I.... think you did call me, also.  I...I....I really didn’t want to...to...to...to intrude but Doubt insisted.

ME:  I really don’t know that I have room for you.  I mean, I have a very busy schedule and really won’t have time to visit.

DOUBT:  No problem!  We’ll just hang out.  It’s been a while since we’ve seen you anyway.  I think the last time we visited you were sailing ...

ME:  STOP! STOP! That’s okay. I don’t need to be reminded.  I’m over it.  I got through it.  Just don’t bring it up again.  Arrrggghhhhh!

INSECURITY:  But...but..but The Professor k..k..k..k....keeps asking you when you’ll g...g...g..go sailing again and ....

ME:  I know, I know!  And maybe we will someday and I’m sure you two will tag along.  But for now, I really, really need you to return home and let me get about my business.  I’ve got a blog to write and no time for a visit with you two.  So if you please, run along and we’ll visit some other time.  I promise!


And there you have it.  As you can see, I REALLY don’t like it when those two visit.  They sap so much of my energy that all I want to do is watch Housewives of Beverly Hills.  They make MY life look so much better!

When you started blogging, did you know exactly what you wanted to say? 

Did you ponder days or weeks or maybe months, like me, on just what it was you wanted to achieve with a blog?  What would be its purpose, its theme?  Who would want to read it or even why?

And who gives a flying leap what I have to say anyway?  Thank you Doubt and Insecurity.

As I continue to figure out what my blog will be all about, besides improving my writing, I am faced with oodles of decisions on what to write.  It’s not that I don’t HAVE enough to say.  Oy, do have I stuff to say!  

But, exactly what is it that OTHERS want to hear?  How do I create content that will amuse, entertain, inspire and connect with you, dear reader?  And at the same time, move me further along in my writing.

How do I set myself apart from all the other wonderful content residing out there in the ethernet? 

Some days I feel like a character in Cirque du Soleil, all twisted and contorted in my thoughts that if I place a sentence or paragraph in just the wrong spot, it will all come tumbling down.

By the way, I think Doubt and Insecurity have set up camp in my backyard.

yours truly
missing the mom gene

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wednesday Whimsy

Hope you join in every Wednesday for my Wednesday Whimsy  ...  a collage of thoughts, expressions and wanderings that's on this ole' girl's mind.

Today, I dug out an old poem I wrote to The Professor early in our courtship 12 years ago TODAY as we cautiously yet eagerly began to fall in love.



  I Dream of You

In the darkness of the night
                              I dream of you
And you comfort me.

I turn to you

                 Wanting

                             But what .....

Do I know?

Do I recognize you?

Will you be there when I wake
                    To the fate of our day
                            To the desire of our past

Do not turn away
                  I will catch
                           Your breath
upon mine
                 and I will know you.


--missing the mom gene