Sunday, November 8, 2009


Today is momentous -- it is my little Kylie's third birthday. It is amazing how this extaordinary tot has morphed into the diva of all princesses almost over night. She met us (and anyone who happened to drive down their street at any time yesterday) at the door in her royal attire which included a tutu, crown and magic wand. She was so excited and verbal although I still am not fluent in Kylie-ese but "presents" rang loudly and clearly throughout her kingdom. Forget princess, this child was definitely queen for a day and all those around her were priveleged to serve her and to follow her orders.

She was awed by the many glittery princess-themed items she received, particularly a pair of high heeled sandals which she insisted on wearing and mastered a comical but effective walk that rivaled anyone on the red carpet at the Oscars. Her ensemble of ornate jewelry with long, dangling earrings, very short tutu and the high heels gave me very scary images of what she may consider high fashion in her teens. I'll be very surprised if she shows no interest in drama.

We enjoyed a beautiful purple princess cake that she had specified be chocolate and it was very good. But the first thing she said was, "I wanted yellow cake." That didn't stop her from scoffing down a big piece and I'm glad her mom didn't choke on hers.

Birthdays are meant to be celebrations of life and I am so grateful that I can celebrate Kylie's and Logan's presence in our lives and we'll soon celebrate their little brother or sister's arrival. We all will be delighted with either Colton or Sophie but think it's Sophie. Of course, most of us have been wrong both other times so no money should be placed as bets just yet.

Let the holidays begin since we're already in party mode.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Time for Change

Time for another learning experience -- motherly euphanism for "Oh, my God, what are we in for now?"! Anyone who has ever had kids probably knows to expect the unexpected and my daughter Keri will probably be re-teaching me that lesson for the next 30 years, should I survive that long.

Having departed a teaching job at a rough middle school in Dekalb County, we were delighted when she secured a position teaching fourth grade at a nearby school in August. My sighs of relief were replaced by stomach-clenching nerves recently as I witnessed her anxiety and despair over the stress and pressures of the educational system. Not one to wallow in misery for very long, Keri is in the throes of pursuing volunteer work in a foreign country. She isn't one to allow lack of income to deter her. At least it is with a missionary group that I'm familiar with since they are headquartered in New Rochelle, NY, where I'm from, and located across the street from where my dad worked for many years. "Danger" never flusters my daring daughter, while I can't even watch "24" by msyelf because I get scared to death.

The good thing about all of this frustration is that both Keri and I are feeling at peace now and are experiencing some "meant to be" moments. Of course, there are many details to be worked out, such as acceptance, and money to be earned in order to fly to training sessions in California and the actual mission site which could be Bolivia or one of various points in South America and Africa.

A couple of days ago, I read a quote from a prayer by St. Therese about not worrying, because "You won't abandon me." Amen.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Autumn is here!

Wow, September flew by before I truly appreciated it, but October is beautiful. What bad things can you say about a month that starts out with the feast day of St. Therese, the Little Flower, on the first and of the Guardian Angels on the second? My Catholic school roots are showing as much as my gray ones!

My son Eric loves October because it's synonymous with UGA football and every other team, college or pro, that ever crossed a field. Keri, now a fourth grade teacher in Snellville, is excited that the first quarter is almost done and can't wait for the Beer Festival in Decatur. October makes me remember various foods: apple cider, pumpkin pie, the turnips (frozen) my mom used to mash with potatoes, and the best apple pie I've ever eaten that we'd get at Wallabee Farms in Pennsylvania when we lived there. We even gladly endured the smell of cow manure as we trudged to the barn/shop where they sold wonderful, home-made ice cream as well as the pies. My dad was just telling me last week that he loved going to my brother's youth football games on Saturday mornings and now goes to watch his grandson play.

October is a time for memories, pretty flowers and yummy foods - not too bad a reputation for a month.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Wedding Drama -- A True Reality Show

Well, my short trip to the Jersey Shore is history but it was a good trip. It's always fun to get together with my crazy sisters, especially when we're celebrating and are away from our own homes. The girls had rented three houses, with many bodies of adults and children packed in on beds, air matresses, couches and floors.

My niece Kelly offered to host the rehearsal party since the groom's family didn't want to. Kelly's father-in-law, John, is a wonderful caterer who happens to live nearby at the beach. The night of the party, the caterers arrived and put the food into the oven. Apparently, the former tenants had had done some cooking and smoke billowed through the house, setting off all the smoke alarms. It was very hot inside and was raining, with lots of lightning thrown in just to add to the fun. One of the rooms was flooded; they said it was from condensation but I think some sprinklers must have gone off. John had left his team to take care of everything and had gone to visit his dying sister who was in hospice. After the caterers finished serving all the food, they took their equipment and left. A mess remained. Kelly, who is a bit of a drama queen, started shrieking at her sisters to help her and lovely spats resulted and two of her three little kids were crying.

The wedding day was beautiful with clear skies and attitudes were a little sunnier too. The groom and his men arrived by boat at the yacht club where Megan and Kyle were married on the dock. The reception was a lot of fun and yes, we all boogied to We Are Family and lots of other stuff. Megan was the calmest bride I've ever seen. Of course, that may be because she and Kyle were already married. The Archdiocese of New Jersey states that couples have to be wed in a church, so they, along with only their parents went up to Newark where her uncle is a priest and were married at his church a month earlier. Fr. John graciously came down to the shore to do it again without telling anyone that they were watching a repeat performance!

I loved being with all of them but I was happy to come back to my calm life in Lilburn. At least I thought it was calm until I heard about all the drama going on in the library system. The excitement never ends.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Family Wedding -- It Must Be Summer!

The symbol of summer for our family has once again arrived at our house -- a wedding invitation. Over the last several years, my son and five of my many nieces and nephews have said "I do" in assorted locations: Arizona, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, and the Bahamas. A couple were in late spring but most were held during the summer. Megan, my sister Patty's daughter, will be getting married on the Jersey Shore in August. Other families schedule reunions; we usually just do weddings.

These are not simple affairs that last a few hours, but celebrations that continue over a weekend and often longer. The ceremonies are always inspiring and the beautiful receptions seem right out of a Martha Stewart book (and they might be!). My sisters appear elegant, chic and gracious. Until they get to the dance floor. Then, you'd better watch out or they'll mow you down as they work it out to "Jump" and "Celebration" and break the sound barrier with their theme song, "We Are Family." One sister changed her clothes and blew dry her hair three times at her daughter's festivities. It's tough to have fun like a teenager when you're going through menapause.

Megan's big day will be here before we know it. I sense a need to go shopping for some new dancing shoes.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Max-imum Joy

Say what you will about two-year-olds, they know how to enjoy themselves. Kylie and her little brother Logan visited the library last Saturday so that Kylie could meet her idol, Max of Max and Ruby storybook fame. She sat quietly with me (usually asks "Where's Mama" and "Where's Daddy?" over and over) and listened to the story. She then stood on line with me forever since we seemed to keep ending up at the end of the queue no matter what and was so calm and patient, unlike her grandma who wanted to smack the charming little brat who screamed, "You cutted in, you cutted in" at the top of her lungs. As we got close to Max, she beamed with joy and her little arms shook in excitement. She then let her hero hug her and posed for a picture. If I could figure out how to attach a photo to this I'd do it.

My home computer is dead as a doornail so I use the one at work while I'm on the help line in between calls. One of our callers recently asked me "How much is a circumcision"? And people think my job must be boring!

The excitement didn't end with Max since we all went to eat at Bambinelli's. Thank goodness it was a pretty slow time! Kylie danced around the table (had her first ballet class that morning) twirling spaghetti as if it was streamers. Her mom ordered her ice cream for dessert after her "bites" and it arrived in a wine glass -- idiot wait staff. Her brother, who is the closest thing to a football player any 10-month old could possibly be, wasted no time scooping the ice cream out of the glass until it finally broke. His aunt Keri plopped him onto her lap and he immediately knocked her full glass of water onto her lap and he didn't have one drop on himself. Of course, she was going directly to see her boyfriend too so no chance to change. Luckily, it was very warm out and she dried before she knew it.

My replacements are here so I'll keep you posted on the exhausting -- I mean wonderful -- tales of grandmahood again soon. Toodles for now.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Bit of Celtic Charm

Is there anyone who hasn't seen and heard the Scottish lady, Susan Boyle, who knocked the socks off the judges and audience of "Britain's Got Talent," England's equivalent of American Idol? Just to see the look of shock on Simon Cowell's face and to watch the smug spectators' snide expressions turn to "gobsmacked" looks of awe and admiration was priceless. I rarely buy CD's but I'm definitely purchasing hers when it comes out.

I am such a fan of almost everything Celtic these days. My green roots are showing -- they might be an improvement over the grey ones -- and I'm consumed with reading all kinds of novels set in Ireland and Scotland. Keri and I are planning to take a trip to Ireland and hopefully visit Scotland as well next year -- if she doesn't do something major to change that, like get married!

My parents come from County Carlow, a very small area but where many of our Irish priests in this country went to seminary. We hope to trace my family tree. Apparently, the Irish are very eager to sell you your "history" so it is necessary to bring birth or death certificates along to make sure you get your real family's information. We'll tour some of the big spots like a castle and the Blarney Stone but we are both eager to get to know some of the local folk, which my daughter assures me can be best accomplished by frequent visits to the pubs. Should be an interesting trip -- if we can remember any of the sights.

So, for the time being, may the road rise to meet you ... And when you need to see that the impossible sometimes really does come true, go to youtube to listen to Susan Boyle.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Spring is springing into life, thank goodness. I can go back to being lazy, reading out on the porch (if I can beat the cat to my chair) instead of being lazy, reading inside. A few of my favorite writing ladies have come out with new books very recently and it has been wonderful to meet all their new characters.

I just read Maeve Binchy's Heart and Soul and loved it. Maeve has retired any number of times over the last several years but then yells, "Surprise"! and pops out another wonderful novel. This one was better than her last couple in my opinion. Then there's my favorite lass, Cathy Kelly, whose Lessons in Heartbreak finally made it to this country. A lot of it took place in New York but the publishers still took their sweet time releasing it here. Maybe they were waiting until close to St. Patrick's Day -- who knows! Another couple of ladies to check out if you're looking for a bit of blarney are Patricia Scanlan, Cecelia Ahern (do not judge her by the movie of her book, P.S. I Love You), and Sharon Owens from Belfast. Sharon can be hilarious in her stories. She has a few out that are in the library (others can be gotten through inter-library loan): The Tea House on Mulberry Street, The Ballroom on Magnolia Street, and The Tavern on Maple Street.

The new breed of Irish authors is so much more fun than the depressing old guys -- no offense to James Joyce fans, etc., but they didn't exactly make you chuckle. Patrick Taylor is probably as old as I am but he's a hoot. He wrote the Irish doctor books and it makes you wish you could kick your HMO to the curb and run to the office he runs with Barry, the new,young doctor.

So, if you get tired of drinking green beer or stomping on snakes, grab one of the new Celtic generation's editions and maybe an Irish coffee to go with it. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


It's been a while -- lots going on at work and I was the lucky recipient of Keri's nasty cold.

I know I tend to have my moments of being high-strung, emotional -- okay, crazy, but I decided this morning, during my "chat" with the beloved ATT that I would prefer to be the crazy lady than a robot. I would have sworn I was talking to the automated message that intones coldly, "all representatives are currently busy with other customers." This fella was probably listening to his ipod and playing a video game as he told me about my "great rate" which was supposed to be a greater rate than what I had been paying but amounted to $15.51 MORE than previous bills. He kept saying, "give me just a moment" -- I stopped counting after the seventh utterance. He could not have cared less if I dropped my account -- actually, he was probably hoping for it. Anyway, I'm staying with them for a while since I'm supposedly restored to my old rate, which is not the outstanding bargain he wanted me to believe but once I'm on the Social Security dole, ATT will supposedly take $13 off every month which is "a really great rate" according to Mr. Robot.

Enough of my whining. I heard an oldie but goodie on the radio the other night and the lyrics have been with me since then: "If you believe in forever, life is just a one night stand. If there's a rock & roll heaven, you know they've got a hell of a band"!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Anti-Social Security

I called the Social Security offices today to find out how much money I'll rake in monthly once I get old -- in two months. I spoke to a very nice young lady in Cleveland, Ohio who assured me that I was doing the right thing by applying for my own benefits to start once I turn 62 and that they could take care of it by phone interview.

Okay, the interviewer who initially sounded as if she had just been woken up from a nap (2 pm) and would rather be having a root canal also told me I was doing the right thing by applying for my own benefits now. I was almost giddy -- I didn't have to go sit in a horrible office and wait forever to talk to someone who would possibly be even less enthused about talking to me and they would see to it that I started getting money right after my birthday. What a wonderful world! I really need to have the rose tint removed from my glasses!

The lovely lady asked how much I earn and when I told her the embarrassingly low amount (hey, it's government work) she said, "I will pay you nothing. Nothing." Apparently, since I earn more than $14,000-something a year, I'm not deserving of receiving the money they have been removing from my paychecks since 1967. I was then told I could receive one check (quite small) in December because since my birthday is in the latter part of the year, it has to be postponed until Dec. Excuse me - since when is the fourth month considered the second half of the year?!

The woman actually turned out to be very sweet and we chatted a bit. The long and short of this interview was that anyone who continues to work full-time past 62 or who earns more than the bare poverty level is considered by government standards to be a moron or a glutton for punishment. I know I should be glad that I'll receive some benefits, but who knows if they'll still be there in four years!

The call made me realize that the organization is due for a name change: they're really not very sociable and our benefits are by no means secure.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday

As my dad used to say when he'd answer my weekly phone calls, "Happy Sunday." The day started well since I actually got enough sleep and had time to read some of my book of the moment, Italian Lessons, by Peter Pezzelli.

Then, my favorite priest and one of the funniest of all time, Fr. Small -- a young fella from Emory and St. Pius H.S.-- said Mass. When we got to the Lord's Prayer, the old gent next to me whipered a few things, none of which I understood and he was speaking English. I think he was asking me if it was all right to hold my hand but who knows? Then, he said "okay" after every statement of the prayer. Our Father -- okay! Who art in heaven -- okay! Hallowed be Thy name -- okay! You get the picture. At the sign of peace, after he hugged his sweet wife on the other side of him, he leaned over to me, kissed my cheek and said, "thank you, honey." His wife shook my hand and also said thank you. Okay, it doesn't take anything at all to make me tear up at church and that did me in.

Keri's home now, doing laundry, eating, discussing her take on the world and how it should be run, talking on the phone and just being plain old Keri which I thoroughly enjoy.

Okay, happy Sunday!