Archive for the ‘Laughter’ category

Life During the Coronavirus Pandemic

April 9, 2020

During this COVID-19 crisis, many lives have been turned upside down. My husband and I are at home, sheltering in place. We have never been closer – maybe too close. For now, creativity is of utmost importance to keep a calm household.Oatmeal clipart cereal fruit, Oatmeal cereal fruit Transparent ... Our typical day begins with oatmeal, fruit, and coffee. On the weekends we spice it up with eggs, fruit, and coffee. The thought of it makes my mouth water. Yummy in the tummy? NO! I call it the Boring Breakfast Menu! As soon as our breakfast is finished, my husband wants to know, “What’s for dinner?” In the back of my mind I’m screaming, Really? We just had breakfast! I calmly look at him and say, “It’s a surprise .”

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In the middle of the day, we get some exercise walking around the neighborhood and keeping our allotted social distance from other walkers. Sometimes we go this way. Sometimes we go that way. Sometimes we walk in circles. If not walking, we’re washing our hands and sanitizing the house from top to bottom so it smells like industrial-strength Clorox.® Then we’re on our computers. I’m writing or blogging with ultra-clean hands, and my husband is watching our investments go up and down like a yo-yo. Best Television Clip Art #537 - Clipartion.com

After our surprise gourmet dinner, we settle on the couch to take in some television entertainment. Even though we have endless channels available, we can’t decide what to watch.

Our conversation goes something like this as we pass the remote between us.

“You choose.”

“No, you choose.”

“You choose.”

My choice is always the Hallmark channel, but that was recently banned in our household. For the past few years, my husband has patiently watched every new Hallmark movie. So, if I click on a rerun, he groans and, miraculously, a new channel appears on the screen. Our tastes are a bit different. Documentaries about flying insects are not at the top of my list. Sigh!

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The next day is the same as the last one. I feel like I have the starring role in the movie Groundhog Day, reliving the same day over and over. Or I’m a member of the crew from Muppet Treasure Island, and I’ve got… “Cabin Fever.”  

Cabin Fever Clipart

How long this seclusion will last is anyone’s guess. In the meantime, my husband and I take the best medicine available  —- no, not alcohol — laughter. It’s the love that binds up together!

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Coronavirus is serious. Take care of one another and follow the rules of shelter-in-place. We are strong. We will get through this. Lift up your spirits — laugh and hold your loved ones close. (I hope you have six-foot arms!)

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The Relatives Came

February 8, 2018

“One of the things that binds us as a family is a shared sense of humor.” ~Ralph Finnes

We came from California, from Texas, from New Hampshire, from Massachusetts, from Florida, from Washington state, and from Washington D.C.  The core group: A brother and his wife. Three sisters and their husbands. Along with us came our daughters, their husbands, and their children. Three generations of the family were together again. We hugged. We kissed. We laughed. We cried. We’re a small family with big hearts. In all, there were nineteen of us plus one on the way. We were missing only two who were unable to attend. While the children played, the adults gabbed, ate, drank, and laughed some more. For one long weekend, we were a wild and crazy family again.

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Sometimes you don’t realize how much you miss your family until you come together, and the love that surrounds you is magical.

 

“You go through life wondering what is it all about but at the end of the day it’s all about family.” ~ Rod Stewart

One of my favorite books is The Relatives Came written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Stephen Gammell.  It’s a Caldecott Honor book filled with charming illustrations and a story with heart.

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Embrace your family!

“I think the family is the place where the most ridiculous and least respectable things in the world go on.” ~ Ugo Betti

 

 

 

 

 

MOTHER BRUCE Is Funny!

January 28, 2016

Ryan T. Higgins the author/illustrator of Mother Bruce is a funny guy! This picture book, published by Disney-Hyperion, is laugh-out-loud hilarious!

Bruce is a grumpy bear who lives by himself. He doesn’t like much of anything except eggs. He whips eggs into gourmet recipes he finds on the internet. While preparing a new recipe with goose eggs, the eggs hatch into four cute little goslings. “Mama!” they say to Bruce. Bruce wants nothing to do with them and tries to return them to Mrs. Goose. Alas, she has flown south. The goslings are attached to Bruce. He tries to shoo them away, but they won’t have it. Like it or not, Bruce becomes their surrogate mother. Bruce uses his ingenuity to try to get them to leave, but nothing works. He is stuck with them as they grow from babies to teens to adults. Will he ever be rid of them? Higgins’ illustrations are delightfully funny. Each page turn offers a colorful variety of illustrations with clever lines and dialogue bubbles that kids and adults will love. If you’re a grump, Mother Bruce will make it all better!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winnie-the-Pooh and Twin Girls, Too!

July 23, 2015

We recently moved from the Midwest back to the East Coast. It’s been an adventure, but the best part of it is that we are now closer to our daughter and son-in-law. And the pièce de résistance is the impending births of identical twin girls. Yes, we’re going to be grandparents!

Last Sunday we celebrated the upcoming births with a baby shower. Close friends and family made the Winnie-the-Pooh-themed gathering a perfect afternoon. Come join the fun!

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Enter

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It’s the 100 Aker Wood!

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Presents and Balloons

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Pooh’s friends and Pooh books were there.

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There were flowers, food, and drinks.

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Tigger Tails, Rabbit’s Munchies, Eeyore’s House Sticks, Piglets in a Blanket, Kanga’s Chicken Salad Pockets

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Roo’s Fruit Salad, Rabbit’s Carrot-Top Rolls, Tigger’s Twisted Pasta Salad, Eeyore’s “Whine”

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Pooh’s Honey Cupcakes, and Piglet’s Haycorns

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There were games, prizes, and a take-home honey bear.

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There was love. There was laughter. And the beautiful mother-to-be!

Having twins? Check out this book.

Take Two! A Celebration of Twins written by J. Patrick Lewis and Jane Yolen and illustrated by Sohpie Blackall

Celebrating With Family, Friends, and Food

July 9, 2015

“Laughter is brightest in the place where food is.” – Irish Proverb

Holidays are for family, friends, and food. That’s exactly how we spent our Fourth of July – with family and friends, enjoying a feast.

We began the day with a trip on a ferry that took us to Long Island. Our black jeep was the last one on. Yikes!

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After warm greetings, the feast began.

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To begin …

Oysters Rockefeller and Oysters Bienville

These oysters were harvested by our host, who created this delicious presentation on the half shell. Yum!

On to dinner …

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Doris, the Boston Terrier, got a peek at what was to come.

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Lobster anyone?

If that wasn’t enough, out came …

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perfectly grilled filet mignon with sides of corn, salad, red potatoes, and wine!

We ate outside on a glorious Independence Day, overlooking Long Island Sound. The combination of family, friends, food, and laughter made the day remarkable!

Boston Adventure in Four Parts

July 24, 2014

Last week we were in Boston. We stayed with our daughter and her husband while checking on the progress of the house we’re building. They live downtown on the fifth floor of a quaint 1864 building. They love it. We love it, too, but there are challenges.

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Quaint Building

Early Friday morning, after my husband and son-in-law had left on a man mission, the teeny-tiny elevator in the charming building took a permanent break between the second and third floors. As I comfortably slept, my daughter and grandpuppy were stuck in that elevator. At 8:00 a.m., she burst into the bedroom, looking flushed. “Didn’t you get my call? My voicemail?” I looked at my cell phone. I did get it, but I didn’t hear it because of the noise from the window air conditioner. “I was stuck in the elevator for an hour and a half!” she cried. “The emergency crew put a ladder down to get us out. I’m late for work!” Good mother immediately jumped out of bed and comforted the distressed child. All the while I was thinking I would have died if I had been stuck in that munchkin elevator!

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Infamous Elevator

The adventure didn’t stop there.

That evening my daughter, her husband, and the puppy left for Long Island for a four-day visit with his parents and to attend a wedding. My husband and I kept busy going to and from our new home site. We walked down stairs – five flights of stairs – 87 steps. We walk up stairs – 87 steps – while the elevator was being fixed. We used my daughter’s car. She neglected to inform us the air conditioning was NOT working. Did I mention the weather was extremely hot and humid? We were driving around in a sauna! Was I having fun in the fun city of Boston? NO!

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A Moving Sauna

 There’s more.

Being good parents, we went grocery shopping to restock the refrigerator. We bought wine. Wine was good at that point, but taking groceries, wine, briefcase, and building samples up five flights of stairs was NOT good. My husband double parked in front of the condo. We dumped everything at the bottom of the five flights of stairs. While my husband hunted for a parking place. I brought bags up the stairs. I got three bags up the first 25 steps before my husband joined me. Together we climbed the hot, stuffy stairway to heaven. He took the heavy stuff. I took the light stuff. By floor three, I was breathing hard. I sprawled myself out on the steps and admired the intricate woodwork on the walls while I caught my breath. It’s a beautiful building, but as I prayed for a burst of energy to make it up the last two flights of stairs, I also thanked God I didn’t live there!

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Stairway to Heaven

The Finale.

While putting the ice cream away, I discovered watery ice cubes and a tender pork tenderloin. Freezer on the fritz! Smorgasbord for dinner! After our not-your-ordinary meal, my husband and I topped it off with a bowl of chocolate ice cream soup!

Downtown living may be charming and filled with excitement, but there are unexpected challenges with every step you take. It’s good to be home!

Check this out!

Boston:  A Photographic Portrait by Stan Patey (Twin Lights Publishers, 2004)

That One Inch

December 12, 2013

Our house vomits Christmas! It’s in-your-face. There are snowflakes,

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candles, garland, bows,

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poinsettias,

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a Christmas village,

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snowmen, lights,

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 trees,

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trees,

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and more trees.

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I seriously considered cutting back on the decorations this year. Then we found out the “newlyweds” will be home for Christmas, and they’re looking forward to the whole shebang!

In order to get the just-right Christmas look, things need to be put away before the Christmas elves can begin. Storage proves to be a challenge, and retrieving everything after Christmas proves to be an even bigger challenge! (Now where did I put that?) Things go down the stairs to the basement. Other things come up the stairs. Up and down, up and down. It’s a Christmas workout!

For about a week, our house is in upheaval as we slowly decorate. The clutter makes me a crazy woman, but I mostly manage to keep it together because I know when we’re finished we’ll revel in a job well done.

There is just one thing that pushes us over the edge. It’s the final placement of the big Christmas tree. In my world, it has to be perfectly placed. My husband calls it “that one inch.” It’s true. No matter where the tree ends up, it seems that it needs to be adjusted – just a bit. As my husband and I survey what we have accomplished, he is ready to declare it finished and relax. When I suggest he get back down on the floor and pull the tree a little bit to the right, or maybe a little to the left, or maybe a little bit forward or backward – that’s when he loses it. You’d think after all these years he’d be used to my quirks. I guess that’s what keeps this marriage going. It’s that one inch! And that one inch makes for a perfect tree!

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Here’s a great book about a Christmas tree that would be very difficult to move “that one inch.” The Carpenter’s Gift:  A Christmas Tale About The Rockefeller Center Tree written by  David Rubel and illustrated by Jim LaMarche, Random House, 2011.

Pepe Says Okay

December 27, 2012

Maybe I had too much cleaning, too much cooking, and too much family. Picking up scraps of leftover wrapping paper, ribbons, and food hiding in the carpet and furniture wasn’t on my list of priorities. Whatever the case, I wasn’t in my usual jovial holiday mood on Wednesday, okay.

I decided it was “me time.” So I sat down with a book my daughter received as a gift for Christmas. The book appealed to me. It offered lots of white space for a quick read, and I knew it wouldn’t tax my tired brain. The book in hand was It’s Hard Out Here For A Shrimp by Pepe the King Prawn.

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Let it be known, our family is crazy for Muppets, okay. During the Christmas holiday, we watched Muppets from Space, and on Christmas night, we all fell asleep watching The Muppet Christmas Carol. It’s a tradition – not to fall asleep during the movie, but to watch the Muppets. So reading Pepe the King Prawn’s book was a welcome escape, okay.

Kermit the Frog’s introduction put a smile on my face, and Pepe’s forward started me laughing. Giggles and snorts followed as I read page after page of Pepe’s thoughts and advice on life, love, and living large. This book is irreverently funny, but so on target, okay. My laughter caught the attention of my family. Perhaps they were wondering if I had finally gone off the deep end. Then I started sharing some of Pepe’s words of wisdom with them, and they knew.

Pepe’s thoughts on families:

My family embarrasses me,

makes me mad,

and drives me crazy.

That’s how I know they’re my family.

This is a great book to take your mind off the things that really don’t matter – like picking up dog poop from the yard when it’s twenty-three degrees. I suggest you put this book on your to read list for the New Year, okay.

(Just in case you didn’t know, Pepe often adds okay after he says something, okay.)

Best Mother’s Day Ever

May 8, 2012

Mother’s Day came early this year for two reasons. We’re in Boston helping our daughter, Beth, move (#10) into her new condo, and Boston has some of the finest restaurants around.

On Saturday evening after spending the day painting, packing, lifting, pushing, shoving, and grumbling at one another, we took a well-needed break. Beth decided we should celebrate the two Ms – Mother’s Day and Moving. She made reservations for dinner in the North End — a neighborhood known for its history and great Italian restaurants.

Luckily, Beth’s place is within walking distance of many Boston attractions. That’s a plus because parking on the streets is a rare commodity. We followed parts of the Freedom Trail, and just around the corner from Paul Revere’s House was our destination.

We stepped inside Mare Oyster Bar. It was cozy with seating for approximately forty-two diners and seating for twelve at the bar. The staff was friendly and very accommodating. For the first time that day, we were able to relax and have a decent conversation with one another.

Even though raw oysters are not on the top of my list of favorite foods, it’s a must to try at least one oyster. Duh … It’s an oyster bar! I will say my choice was delicious. Each of us chose a different entrée. Beth ordered the Truffle Crusted Tuna with grilled eggplant, wilted spinach, and sweet baby peppers. Tom ordered the Seafood Cannelloni filled with shrimp, scallops, and swordfish with a lobster cream sauce. I ordered the Pan Roasted Halibut with asparagus and morel mushrooms.

Maybe it was because we were ravenous after a day of hard labor, or maybe it was because we savor good food – especially when someone else is preparing it, but we all agreed upon one thing. Dinner was fabulous!

Afterward, we joined the locals and tourists milling around the narrow streets. Before heading home, we made one more stop. If you’re in the North End, you can’t leave without popping into Mike’s Pastry. We didn’t pop in because the line into the shop was half-way down the street. With a little know-how, Beth managed to make it quickly through the line. Pastries in hand, we were on our way home to enjoy them.

Chocolate Chip Cannolo and Pistachio Nut Macaroons

Whether helping our daughter move, celebrating a special occasion, dining at a fabulous restaurant, spending time together as a family beats all. This was the best early Mother’s Day ever!

Unleashing a Monster

April 17, 2012

Without thinking, I unleashed a monster. The living, breathing creature I unexpectedly let loose is my husband, Tom. Usually, he’s a calm, good-humored, loving man. The only thing that can make him lose complete control is the knowledge there’s a chipmunk in our yard.

Just as we were about to sit down to eat breakfast, I mentioned there was a chipmunk outside our kitchen window, and it looked like the critter was making a nest in our rock wall. Wrong thing to say. Before Tom even had a sip of coffee, he bolted out the door. I watched him come around the garage and quietly sneak up on the chipmunk. He was watching – oh so carefully – exactly where that rodent was building his nest.

The chipmunk disappeared. Tom returned to the kitchen, but not for long. When the critter showed itself again, gathering bits of grass to add to the nest, Tom vanished like a puff of smoke. I sat down to eat breakfast by myself while he and the chipmunk played hide-and-seek.

When my husband finally came into the house, he was ranting. “That thing is ruining our grass! It’s going to have babies and they’ll be running around causing …”

“Mass destruction?” was my comment.

“You bet, and I’m going to do something about it.”

I knew for the rest of the day Tom would be stalking, poking, prodding, and searching for the chipmunk. Traps, cages, and gross smelling stuff would be used to deter the critter.

I hung my head in remorse. With a few simple words, I had unleashed the monster inside my husband.

The Chipmunk Hunter is back at it!

Simple books for the overzealous chipmunk hunter and the child within:

Baby Chipmunks by Bobbie Kalman (Crabtree Publishing Company, 2010)

Chipmunks (Animals Underground) by Emily Sebastian (Powerkids Pr, 2011)

Chipmunk’s Hole by Dee Phillips (Bearport Publishing, 2012)


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Navigating the second half of my life

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