Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Getaway, Part One

Take a lazy summer weekend, thunderstorms predicted. Take one mother and one adult daughter, looking for some fun. Take one Canadian son-in-law willing to mind the munchkins for a night. Take a much needed mini-vacation before the mother starts working full-time this week.

Find a Saturday-night vacancy at a charming inn in Vermont. Find a credit card that can still absorb some new charges. Find a map. Find an overnight bag. Find car keys. Pick up daughter. Get outta town!

Jenn and I managed an impromptu overnighter this past weekend to a secluded bed-and-breakfast where we dined on grilled tuna steak for dinner and blueberry pancakes with Vermont maple syrup for breakfast, compliments of the hosts. Alex and Anne pampered us and we enjoyed every decadent minute.

Besides eating, we hiked a trail, took plenty of photos, laughed till our stomachs hurt, drank a bottle of wine, played Scrabble late into the night, shared a ghostly experience (a given when traveling with Jenn), talked about old boyfriends, happy marriages, cosmic connections, and marveled at the fascinating little people Hannah and Sophie are becoming. We also challenged each other on the hike and while sitting on the front porch. At Jenn’s nudge, I actually wrote a birthday card to that high-school boyfriend whom I still dream about. Just ‘cause.

On the way back, we took a longer scenic route, stopping to walk through an old cemetery where I read the gravestone of a “Minuteman who served with George Washington in New Jersey and also at Bunker Hill”. Awesome.
It was a very hot Sunday but the weekend thunderstorms never arrived. So we browsed a town’s bookstore, art gallery and ended up in an antique shop which turned into an ice-cream parlor. We sat on its shady porch, eating gourmet ice-cream while the heat rippled on the sidewalk. I turned up the car air-conditioner as we drove along country roads and lakefronts. Jenn and I had talked and teased so much already that we were quite comfortable with our own thoughts as we admired the green beauty of Vermont out the car windows.

I’m going to share some of the nature pics I took on our hike. There are other stories to tell and other photos to show but Jenn may have a few tales of her own to spin first. So, for now, I’ll be good and do the landscape portion.

Have to wrap this up tonight as I'm starting my full-time hours very early in the morning. Join me later for Part Two!

Friday, July 27, 2007

The real thing

As I've mentioned, I gained a few pounds this winter and they are really dragging me down, physically and emotionally. My clothes are screaming at me, "fashion abuse", as buttons pop and zippers strain. Well, it's not quite that bad but remember my family motto? Never let truth get in the way of a good story.

I've got to find a way to shed a few pounds.

Plan A (which I did last summer with a home-delivery diet meal plan) didn't seem to work. My checkbook lost weight, not me.

I never got to Plan B when I moved as the new job and dark chocolate in the secretary's desk drawer kept me occupied and quite content during my first New England winter. I convinced myself that dark chocolate was every bit as important as Lipitor in maintaining a healthy heart. See? Never let truth get in the way of self-gratification. Denial and dark chocolate are such compatible bedfellows.

Now I have to worry about my girlfriends. The latest research suggests that your friends determine your weight. They are a bigger influence than family and neighbors. Your friend can live miles away but, if she puts on a few pounds, rest assured that you're more than likely to add an extra dress size to your wardrobe too. It must be some kind of soul-food sisterhood connection. Be careful of the friends you keep.

And then there's the whole get-out-there-and-move-your-butt requirement. I like to exercise my mind much more than my body. This is a problem. I did find my groove a couple years ago but then lost my pedometer on the streets of London. Can't walk without my pedometer. What fun is walking if you can't see the instant results of your efforts? I liked that little gadget translating my steps into calories burned but I haven't budgeted for a new one yet. So, I have not budged it much. I sit at the computer and do stuff like this or write sci-fi romance fics. Appalling, isn't it. When it comes to escapism versus exercise, you know where my vote lies.

Which brings me back to the topic at hand. I've gained weight and am fed up (pardon another pun) with all the many weight-loss miracle cures. I've decided to part company with the high-carb, low-protein, low-carb, high-protein, daily calorie-counting diets and their gurus. It just takes too much effort and too little positive payback. At my age, I'm not looking to shove myself back into a bikini. The glory days of youth are over. I'd just like to buy a smaller bra.

I'm going for the quick fix, the sure thing. And I think I've found it, thanks to a medical friend of mine. I don't know her dress size and will not ask. Why spoil a great relationship? She has shared what may be the Holy Grail of dieting.

I can lose weight easily and on my own. I can stop adding to the profit margin of the weight-loss industry. You can join me, girlfriend!

Here, for the first time ever, is the Mater's fool-proof plan for losing weight.

High-protein all the way. Make sure you add a piece of dark chocolate to balance out the carbs.

I'm all for a well-balanced diet.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Dear diary (or not)

I've hit a dry spell. Sitting here, looking at the screen, trying to think of a clever or witty topic to write about. Oh, I have been tagged recently for two memes. I cut and pasted the info and still am not ready to write six or seven random thoughts. Maybe that's because I can't think of six or seven things in my life that I want to share publicly, eh?

I probably could reveal that I overcook broccoli and occasionally dream of my high-school boyfriend. Hmm, that's two out of seven already.

And I have more books on my shelf than I'll ever finish reading. Wow, only four more to go ...

I squeeze peaches in the supermarket.

I could play Flight of the BumbleBee on the accordion when I was 14 years old, but my real show stopper was Malaguena.

I never learned to drive stick-shift, kept stalling the darn car.

I have been driving (automatic) since age 16. It was more fun than playing Flight of the BumbleBee on the accordion. My first car was my dad's 1960 aqua T-Bird. It is still my favorite car of all times.

I went to several proms in a '57 Chevy driven by the high-school boyfriend I still dream about.

I had my first crush on a boy in third grade and kissed him in the Tunnel of Love boat ride at a school picnic. Sophie tells me that she's already got her eyes on someone in first grade.

I kept a diary all through high-school and one year beyond. I still have it.

I just did a re-count and I'm over the limit. Maybe I can do this after all.

I can't tag fellow bloggers, though, because most of them have already been through this exercise.

I have just used the pronoun "I" over 20 times in this post. My psyche is imploding. I must return to "we", "you" and "they" to re-balance.

Hannah and Sophie wrote on-line diary entries with my help. They dictated; I typed.

Babci to Hannah (who was sitting on her lap): "So what would you like to say in your diary?"

Hannah (after some quiet reflection): "Babci, you're special."

I may overcook broccoli but I know how to raise grandkids.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Three generations
Consonance and dissonance
Like notes in a chord

Let there be music
That relates and resonates
Marches, polkas, fugues

We sing and we dance
We trip lightly and with grace
Each to our own tune

Sometimes we collide
Choreography all wrong
The dance still goes on

We learn by doing
Counterpoint and melody
Three beats to a waltz

Leitmotif, our lives
So connected yet apart
We are mystery

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


You, my granddaughter,
Are spirited and spunky
Full of life and love

I, your grandmother,
Welcome your kaleidescope
Absorb your color

You, too, reflect me
We share a common palette
Colors mix and blend

How does this happen?
Not choosing, being chosen
Many hues and shades

We come from rainbows
Sparkle in each other's arms
Celebrate the light

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Happy trails

I've been living here almost a year and finally set foot on the Appalachian Trail over the weekend. The kids called and invited me for a short hike. Since I've gained a few pounds this past winter, I couldn't resist the offer. My couch-potato self rose to the occasion.

The trail isn't far from my house but it's fairly inconspicuous from the main road. The sign is actually on a driveway which borders a private home. The driveway leads to the trail and common path. I guess the homeowners like to watch people backpacking past their side windows. No one invited us in for coffee though.

Even though I challenged myself a few years back in the Canadian Rockies, I haven't done much hiking since. So I found myself huffing and puffing going up a slight incline. Humiliating. Embarrassing. The younger generation and their dogs forged ahead while I swatted mosquitoes, took photos (great excuse for going more slowly), wondered why I didn't think to bring bug spray, and considered just how long it would be before I slipped in the mud and flopped on my butt.

Remembering my past experience in Canada (took a bad spill first day out), I decided to improve my safety record by improvising a walking stick from a tree branch. When Sophie turned around and saw me, she started to scold because the girls are not allowed to hold sticks while hiking. I invoked senior privileges.

The girls were surprisingly agile and really had a good time. I did too. I actually got into a rhythm with my walking stick and it brought back memories of that other summer when I pretended I was Maria from The Sound of Music and twirled on a mountaintop.

Grown kids, little kids, two dogs and a babci made it to a mossy clearing where the girls ate peanut-butter sandwiches and searched for berries.

I made the mistake of asking the children if they saw any Indians hiding behind trees. My politically-correct daughter was aghast. She didn't grow up with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Lone Ranger and Tonto, Buffalo Bob and Princess Summerfall Winterspring. When I was Sophie's age, the game of choice was Cowboys and Indians, not White Men Who Abuse Equines and Indigenous American People. We chose sides and our bikes were our horses. We even played with toy guns. Bows and arrows were allowed too. Imagine that.

Everyone managed to come down from the trail with dignity intact. No spills or tumbles.

I just had to extract my foot from my mouth.