Monday, April 20, 2009

Dreadful childhood habits we'd all love to wish never ever happen

One rather innocent afternoon, the five year old asked me, "Mommy? How do we make boogies?"

I gave her what I thought to be a rather scientific explanation. One that was probably somewhat true, very basic, and encouraged good habits along the way.

"You know we have to drink a lot of fluids, right? Well, we do that so our bodies stay moist where they're supposed to, like in our noses. Then, when we sleep, or breathe a lot through our nose, the mucus dries out and turns into boogies."

Kinda right. Encourages good fluid consumption. Go mom.

Two or three days later, the payout:

Sitting in a restaurant, she asks if she can drink some of my iced tea. I give her permission. Several large gulps later...

"Mommy! I drank lots and lots of fluid so my body can make more boogies so I can eat 'em!"

I might need to stop sharing my iced tea.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


My personal religion has seen some shifting over the last few years. Occasionally, I might still refer to myself as 'Christian', but often now that's more a course of the way I was raised. A respectful nod to my upbringing as opposed to the way I practice spirituality in my life today.

Yet, without fail, as the years pass, every single Easter morning I fall back to a particular memory from my youth. Every Easter, regardless of the swayings of my personal faith, my mind plays the tune and lyrics to an old favourite hymn:

"Christ the Lord is Risen Today! Alleluia!"

Do you know it? Uplifting, that, no? I continue, throughout the day, to sing the entire first verse, though I know I get it wrong. As with most memories, I pick and choose what I recall from the whole, and concentrate it into what's meaningful for me... and sure, maybe some parts i just plain make up.

This holiday found me EASTer than I find myself normally. It was the second of the last four Easters since moving to Colorado where I have traveled and not spent the holiday in Colorado. Instead, I was EAST. This time, NJ (after a stay in NY, before a departure from PA), the state that was home for most of my life.

I was a little pensive about my visit. I hadn't missed it. I have missed people, certainly, and I have missed some things (the Ocean City boardwalk, Philadelphia, NY, good pizza, diners), but I have not missed living in New Jersey. Not visiting for a couple of years now, has not bothered me too much. It has seemed without mistake that the WESTer life is for me.

EASTer though, this past Easter... well it was nice. Fantastic, in fact.

When I awoke on Easter morning, in the home of dear friends (Ken, Debbi, and Michael Denton), I stepped out of the back door to a beautiful Easter morning, and rich memories filled my senses.

I thought about the spring there in New Jersey; the trees were budding their leaves, and the grass was soft and green. I thought of Easters with my family- colored eggs and rushes to church.
I thought about the hymn.

The day was calm and easy. Debbi prepared a wonderful little egg hunt for the kids and some bagged goodies. We played at the playground at Michael's school. Ken humored me by taking me for a ride on his motorcycle. I don't rightly know how the day could have been better.

I don't particularly want to move back to New Jersey at any point in time, but this EASTer was a reminder to me of the uplifting things of my past that continue to linger... of New Jersey, of friends and connections there, of green grass worth laying in, and the faith of my youth, complete with old resurrection hymns I still try to sing, year after year.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Ahhh… a day wrought with apple pie in the sky highs and fallen bread dough lows.

I had forgotten how truly good a bagel could be. On the surface, this could seem like a tragedy, forgetting the bliss of a perfect NY bagel. Upon careful consideration though, missing the food of a region can be a blessing. It’s better for my heart, my waistline, my potential for diabetes and cancers to be far far away from the land of amazing carbohydrates and perfect pizzas. Of course, for the next several days, I am doomed.

… and moments prior to leaving for Manhattan, during the ‘use the potty once more before we hit the road! You don’t want to have to go on the train!’ period, Abi struck up a case of diarrhea. My tiny hopes cracked. Was she really getting Braeden’s virus? Here comes the blessing… she only went maybe twice, and never complained of a sore tummy, or having to use the potty. I couldn’t believe it. Even Braeden only went once. It was nothing short of a miracle (on 34th St, right on up to Central Park).

The tension induced, however, had me feeling like a true New Yorker by the time our LIRR train hit Penn Station. My life was filled with so much shit, and I had an awful headache. Isn’t this how most city folks feel? Always? I considered for a time how perhaps I could fit into the Manhattan scene!

Then I looked around… saw the excruciating high heels pounding the bustling sidewalks, noted the designer bags tossed brilliantly over black wardrobe clad shoulders, looked in a Luis Vuitton store window, and in addition to noting the top pin-tucked seam of broad bowled leather pouch purses, I noted, also, my reflection: all terrain running sneakers under foot, suaded earthy vest buffering a North Face diaper bag/backpack across my shoulders, baby stroller just ahead of my hefty rugged frame. Yikes. Could I ever do that? Fit into the scene in NYC??

Then, by Central Park, I walked Braeden by one of the horses drawing a carriage around the park. “See baby? This is a HORSE! I don’t think you’ve seen one of these so close before... how pretty!”

A woman standing right next to me looked at the horse and said to a friend of hers, “oh, I like the way that horse is decorated! That’s pretty!” The horse was wearing a huge plume of turquoise feathers atop his head. His black leather straps were dotted with turquoise rhinestones. The strap padding around his girth and his rump was a bright and furry purple. Yes, the horse was decorated. I looked high. I looked low. I looked in the eyes of water fountain statues. I looked in the eyes of passersby. I could not find reality anywhere. What is real in a land where the beauty of a horse is in its ‘decoration’??? In Colorado, if a horse is decorated, he’s either been fancily branded, or awarded a medal of honor.

I understood at that moment that, though I’m pretty sure I can live anywhere for at least a short time, living in NYC would never be a good fit for me. I could do it. It just wouldn’t fit.

… and I think I’m okay with that.