Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas in Bear Country

Bearmas 2011

It's Christmas time again although it's hard to tell by the weather. Here in CT we've been enjoying temps in the 50's every day. Maybe Mom Nature is giving us a break. It hasn't been an easy year here in New England weather-wise.

We normally start the Christmas decorating shortly after Thanksgiving. Over that first week of December, lights gradually appear but not this year. After Snow Storm Alfred gypped us out of Halloween, we're NAILING Christmas. At 12:01 the day after Thanksgiving this year, it was as if someone flipped a switch and Connecticut lit up like the Vegas Strip.

There are more lights than ever this year. Yards are jam packed with moving, singing, shaking and ringing elves, reindeer and Santas of every shape and size. I've seen more inflatable you-know-whos than I can count.

As for us, well the Bear's sporting his hat and spear and Radioactive Santa is in his place of honor on the garage roof.

I normally decorate everything that doesn't get out of my way. I collected handmade ornaments for years and when Son O'Mine was little, we'd spend a whole day hanging them all on the (real) tree. I get this Christmas mania from my maternal grandmother, Nanny. She loved Christmas. I mean, LOVED Christmas. This woman had 6 children and a husband who was a career Navy man so they traveled a lot.  Nanny never had much money, so she hand-made all her gifts - I particularly recall a blue shag hat with earflaps that she made me. Ugliest thing ever but it was warm and made with love so I wore it. Anything my Nanny made carried love in it and that made it magical.

Christmas was her holiday. She had one of those silver aluminum trees with two (yes, two!) colorwheels. Each year she'd decorate the tree in a theme - balls, garland, icicles - all in one color. One year it was red, one year green, one year blue - but my all time favorite was the year she did the tree in PURPLE.

Yep, a 7 foot shiny silver tree hung from top to bottom in deep purple balls and garland. It was spectacularly hideous. Long after she passed away, it was the topic of laughter anytime our family got together - that damn tree with the purple balls.

Over the years, I surrendered to the ease of the artificial tree. I think it was after the year I watched one too many Martha shows and felt the need to wrap every freakin branch with lights - it was gorgeous, but it was a bitch to take down. After about 5 minutes of trying to remove the lights, Sparky just said "Get out of the way!" and chucked the entire 7 foot tree out the front door, lights and all. I was not allowed to watch Martha again.

This year, I decided to scale back. I put up the tree and decided I really liked the way it looked with lights and no ornaments. 

Tree au naturale

So I went through the boxes and pulled a few simple pieces to put up and left the rest.

But I found one thing that I couldn't put away. It's the only ornament on my tree. It wouldn't be Christmas without it.

from her original tree

Merry Christmas, Nanny.



Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dear CL&P

A gift from CL&P

So we received our monthly bill from CL&P today. This is the first since the freak snowstorm (Alfred) in October that knocked out power to most of CT for the better part of a week.

I'm still trying to figure out how our electric bill is higher than October when we didn't have power for a week... But I digress.

Enclosed with our bill was a sweet little informational pamphlet titled "Weathering a Storm."

Since I am a good customer, I promptly wrote the check and I returned the pamphlet to them with a note:

My Holiday gift to CL&P

What can I say? It's the holiday season and I like to give back.

Monday, November 14, 2011


At this time of year, when the weather turns colder, we occasionally get critters making their way into the house. Usually a field mouse or two - which Sparky will humanely trap and toss back outside. Then they try to make their way back in. It's his version of the Circle of Life.

Me, I have a different theory. They're animals and they belong outside - catch them, kill them and staple their hides to the door as an example to other mice considering our home as a winter vacation. (I'm the bloodthirsty one in this family)

So it wasn't a huge issue when I heard the skittering of tiny feet and saw a flash of brown fur. I texted Sparky that we needed to get the traps and went on with my life. (I know what you're thinking but geez - It's not like I could catch it bare-handed, these little fuckers are FAST!)

The next day, I saw it again only this time I actually SAW it - it's not a fieldmouse.

He looks just like this...

We have the world's biggest hickory tree in our front yard, so we're always seeing squirrels in the yard. For a few years, we had a particularly sneaky red-tailed squirrel who would hurl hickory nuts at us. He had great aim, too - you'd have to duck and run from the driveway to the front door. But we've never had one in the house. Suprising, really considering Son O'Mine has a habit of leaving the doors wide open when he is outside.

We can't use the mouse traps because squirrels have bigger heads (even though this is a little squirrel) so we need to find a better way to get rid of him. I did a little research. They said to close him off into one room (did that) and open a window or door to outside (yep) and put a cracker with some peanut butter on the sill outside (check).

Now, I didn't sit there and watch - left the door open for a couple hours, but the cracker is still there. Maybe he doesn't like JIF creamy peanut butter? Should I have used the Skippy Extra Chunky?

Or maybe he did go outside - haven't heard him since. Although I half expect to see him one of these days pumped up and pissed off...

Hey, it could happen...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Penn State Shame

"May no act of ours bring shame"
Too late, Joe.

Ok, so as the wife of a Football Coach, you know I couldn't stay silent about this horrific situation at Penn State University. I thought letting some time pass would allow me to calm down and see this rationally. Yeah, not so much.

When the Board of Trustees fired Joe Paterno, I was relieved to see that they seemed to finally be getting their priorities straight. But it seemed a matter of too little too late. While Joe Pa might be the most visible villian here, he is by no means the only one.

First and foremost, Jerry Sandusky is the lowest form of life there is - a pedophile. There is no punishment dark enough, painful enough to pay for what he did. He is simply a waste of skin.

Then there's Mike McQueary. He actually witnessed Sandusky raping a 10 year old boy in the shower. What did he do? He called his father. Then he reported it to Joe Paterno.

Did he call the police? NO.

The reports keep mentioning that McQueary was a graduate assistant at the time - making it sound as if he were a young student himself. The man was 28 years old. A grown man who made a choice NOT to notify the police after he witnessed a crime.

Then there's Tim Curley, the Athletic Director. After Paterno reported what was witnessed in the shower, Curley informed his superiors and 10 days later, he and Senior VP of Finance Gary Schultz interviewed McQueary.

Did either of these men call the police? NO.

It took them over two weeks to take Sandusky's keys to the locker room and they banned him from bringing children into the football locker room (a ban that Curley admitted was unenforceable).

Gary Schultz supervised the campus police at the time. He stated that he thought the incident involved Sandusky "inappropriately grabbing the boy's genitals" but it was "not that serious." He also told the grand jury that he knew about a 1998 investigation into a similar incident involving Sandusky and a boy in a shower and STILL did not report this.

And lastly there is Graham Spanier the University President. The incident was reported to him and he was fully aware that neither the campus police or any other police agency were notified. This man has a background in sociology and marriage and family counseling and it never occurred to him to report this or follow up?

All of these men knew and CHOSE not to report it. Nor did any of them attempt to identify the boy involved or make one move to protect him or future victims.

The only moves they made were to protect the football program. This was a cowardly conspiracy of silence.

As I've said before, Sparky coaches football. For years we've understood that when it comes to holidays, family gatherings, social obligations, birthdays and such, they all come in second to football. We try to schedule around games and practice. And when he is home, the conversation runs to what players he's recruiting, what plays they'll use in the game this week, re-plays of last week's game, who's doing well/bad in practice - it's all football all the time - we get that.


He takes his role as a Coach seriously. He spends his time reaching out to kids, encouraging them to work hard, keep their grades up, respect themselves and others and grow into decent, honorable men.

And I know without a doubt that he would NEVER put football ahead of the safety of a child. EVER.

My advice to parents of football players - do your research. Check out the Coaches and observe how they interact with the players on and off the field. Does the Coach invest in the players or does he demand blind obedience? Coaches are there to support the players, they are not Gods.

The men at Penn State created a Football Cult.

Football is a wonderful sport and it can teach youngsters about strength, determination, teamwork and life.

Just don't drink the Kool-Aid.

P.S.  Final score on these players:

Indicted: Jerry Sandusky
Fired: Joe Paterno and Graham Spanier
Admin Leave: Tim Curley (Penn State is paying his legal costs)
Retired: Gary Schultz (Penn State is paying his legal costs)


Friday, November 4, 2011

Storm Alfred - The Butler did it

Day 3:

Three days after the storm and still no power.   
Each day we venture out to forage for food and due to the extensive damage here, we're forced to turn around and find another route to get where we're heading. It generally takes about 4 tries to get anywhere because the streets are full of splintered trees and downed power lines.

And the new game in CT is "Where's CL&P truck?" They're harder to find than Waldo.

Day 4:

Sparky developed his own method to chart the power recovery process. He leaves a little early for work every morning to scout which Dunkin Donuts shop is open.  Coffee is a big thing here in the Suburbs. We live within 5 miles of at least 9 Dunkin Donuts and 8 smaller independent coffee shops. Suburbia runs on caffeine. At the moment, it's all that stands between us and the complete breakdown of civilization.

Day 5:

Still no power and even the Bear is beginning to show signs of strain.

Power to the Bear!

All in all, people are still relatively civil here. We patiently wait our turns at the intersections with the dark traffic lights. We smile and nod to each other because we all know how powerless (PUN INTENDED) we are. We are at the mercy of CL&P (CT Light & Power). People are helping each other.

But there's a distinct edge appearing. It's most visible each evening when the Governor drags Jeffrey Butler (COO of CL&P) out like a sacrificial lamb and throws him to the press.

At first, the reporters asked polite and respectful questions like "When do you expect power to be restored?"  Butler gave vague and evasive answers that went largely unchallenged.

After 5 days, that's no longer the case. Now he has to field questions like "I heard you can't get help from outside contractors because you didn't pay the bills from Hurricane Irene - is that true?" When he blustered, "Those bills were paid yesterday," another reporter piped up - "Did you pay them within 30 days? If I don't pay my CL&P bill within 30 days I get a nasty letter!!"

Maybe it's all the coffee we're drinking to stay warm.

Day 6:

1:51 PM - Power restored. Bear is happy.

Bear Power!

 Let me clarify - MY power is restored. There are still a couple hundred thousand people in CT without power.

And until that is resolved, each evening the press will snap and snarl at Jeffrey Butler until there's nothing left. He reminds me of Tony Hayward. Remember him? He was the CEO of BP Oil who pissed everyone off by being so arrogant after the Gulf Coast Oil Spill and then capped it with the whine heard around the world, "I want my life back!" BP shipped him off to Siberia (Honest - Google it!). I'm thinking Northeast Utilities (the parent company of CL&P) must be thinking BP had a good idea there.

First thing we did when the power came back? We made a pot of coffee.

Yes, we New Englanders love our coffee. We may politely let you go first at the intersection, we will shovel your walk, bring you food or help you clear that tree, but make no mistake about it - try to cut in line at the Dunkin Donuts and we will Fuck You Up.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Snow Fair!

It's the day before Halloween and we're up to our asses in snow here in CT.  The first storm of the season hit us yesterday and dropped up to 16 inches of snow over the state. Thousands of people are without power (me included - posting this from a friend's house - Thanks, Geno!)

Before the storm hit, we were all getting ready for Halloween - Son O'Mine and I had a map of the front yard of our planned decorations. Even the Bear was showing off his new Halloween costume.

Boo Bear!

Then, the skies opened and took a dump on us.

The Utilities company has stated that they won't begin making any repairs until tomorrow (Monday) - there are rumblings that the Governor just doesn't want to pay them overtime. The public statement is that they're "assessing the situation Sunday and will begin repairs first thing Monday morning. But... it could take a while." 

We were out on the roads (searching for hot coffee and food) for several hours today and I have to say it  was eerie... Not one utilities truck in sight.  It's almost like an apocalypse... just before the Zombies show up.

Let's hope this is the worst of this season... and not just the beginning.

Trick or Treat, Mother Nature... Trick or Freakin' Treat.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The "F" words - Fun, Festivities and FOOD!

I have a confession to make - I love Renaissance Faires. Our first exposure was a local Renn Faire "Evening" sponsored by a local VFW. That was about 8 years ago, and since then we try to get away to the NY Renn Faire for one weekend each year, and we hit the CT Faire at the end of the season.

If you've never been, GO! Especially if you have kids. Imagine a whole day of entertainment that doesn't involve TV, DVDs or a Computer. Fire eaters, jugglers, knife throwers, belly dancers, human chess match, jousting ... all fun, all day long.

And Ladies... shopping galore! Leather merchants and breathtaking handmade jewelery.

You don't need to dress up - some folks do, some don't and some unleash their creative spirit in an entirely different way (this year in NY, there was a small group of Transvestites in Hello Kitty paraphernalia). No one judges, it's all in good fun.

Some costumes are sweetly creative

And some just defy Gravity...

In addition to all the entertainment, there is food. Oh Em Gee. Hearty soup in bread bowls, steak on a stick, Ginormous Turkey Legs, Pickles sold out of barrels, freshly squeezed lemonade and sweets to die for. They will dip anything in chocolate.

I thought chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick was the ultimate indulgence, but this year they topped that.

Wait for it... wait for it...

Chocolate Covered Bacon

Yes, that is exactly what it says... Chocolate covered BACON! (The goopy stuff is caramel) I know it looks like a turd, but come on Folks - it's Bacon!

Renaissance Faires... They're not just for nerds anymore.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Her Strange Addiction... This is getting serious.

After 4 full days of torrential rain, today the sun finally made an appearance. So did our neighbor, the Secret Gardener. I knew you wouldn't believe it unless you saw it, so I took this pic through my laundry room window. (I have mad stealthy ninja skills, yo.)

 That's right... The ground is so saturated that she can't move her riding mower around, and the weeds have surrendered to her relentless whacking.  But she NEEDS to do something!

She is watering the lawn mud.

 I'm thinking we have a contender for that reality show on TLC called "My Strange Addiction." This is just as bizzare as the chick who was eating her couch or the guy who married his life-size doll.  (Although not so crazy as the woman who was eating her husband's ashes - that was way over the top.)

Keep watching, folks. If you see "Foliage Fetish" on the TLC previews... you'll know who it is.

This is why there's so much reality TV these days - writers couldn't make this shit up.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Who are my neighbors?

There's some strange shit going on out here in the suburbs, Folks.

I've been at home during the days this summer and it's given me an opportunity to see just what our neighbors are up to.

First, there's the guy across the street. We call him Charlie's dad. They've lived across from us for about 20 years, and the kids were in cub scouts together one year, but we don't know their name and we never see them outside their house. Ever. Now he has a dog which he walks around the neighborhood - he walks in the street, the dog strolls on lawns, leaving little gifts along the way. The dog is friendly, the guy is not.

I make a point to yell "Hello!" when I see him - he freezes and then drags his dog away from my yard. (I think I scared him because I was planning to retrieve the gifts and leave them in his mailbox, but he's careful not to deposit any in my yard now.)

Then there's the older couple (70's) who walk every afternoon. Well, she power walks briskly and he wheezes along behind her. By the time they circle the block, he's red-faced and limping and puffing like he's having a heart attack. They walk every day. They don't speak though. Not to each other, or anyone else. The only sound is his wheezing as they shuffle to the finish.

But the one who takes the cake is my next door neighbor (Not the Bear, the other side). She loves her lawn. A lot. She mows it at least 3 times a week, riding around on her squeaky mower. "RrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrSQUEAK!!!!!RrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrSQUEAK!!! RrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrSQUEAK!!!!!" It goes on for hours. And hours... And hours.

On alternate days, she trims the lawn with the world's loudest weedwhacker - it's about a decibel lower than a jet engine. It must have a 50 gallon gas tank because she whacks those weeds for hours... trimming the sidewalk and curb, inch... by... fucking... inch.

And while she's out there, at least 30 hours a week tending to her greenage, she wears a uniform. Same outfit every day, even in 100+ degree heat.

Ninja Gardener

Long sleeve shirt, gloves, big hat, long pants and high rubber boots. Some days, she even wears a bandana covering her face.

Because of this, I have absolutely no idea what this woman looks like.

Her Ninja disguise is working.


Friday, August 5, 2011

It's a Jungle out here, Folks.

Yesterday the local news announced a health alert - Rabid Bats have been found in New London, CT.

I know what you're thinking. "Connecticut is nothing but suburbs - Cul De Sacs and Country Clubs."

Actually, that's not far from the truth - on the surface. But that's just a clever facade. Behind the Soccer Moms and Debutantes is a plethora of predatory wildlife.

Oh yes, the wild west doesn't have a lock on dangerous critters. There's some scary shit here in New England.

Sparky took this pic of two hawks perched on a neighbor's car a couple of weeks ago. 

"I didn't get an ivite, did you?... Crap!"

They were there for hours, not the least bit afraid of the humans. Maybe they were miffed because they didn't get invited to the party so they decided to crap all over the cars. Kind of poetic justice.

For over a year now, people have been reporting Mountain Lions in CT. To which our DEP responded, "Don't be silly, there are no Mountain Lions in Connecticut!" Last month, one was hit by a car in Milford and the DEP's statement was "Well, it wasn't NATIVE to CT. The autopsy shows it came from North Dakota." (Or South Dakota - anyway, it was a Dakota.)

We also have Fishers (AKA Fishercats). These are a nasty (and big) member of the weasel family that can grow to three feet long. Sparky and I saw one once on the way to the Casinos (for research purposes). It shot in front of our car - those suckers are FAST! It looked mean which makes sense because they're one of the few animals that can hunt and eat Porcupines... Porcupines!

And speaking of nasty, Connecticut is riddled with wild turkeys. (Think I'm kidding? Google "Wild Turkeys in CT") Now, most people think turkeys come from Butterball, but when they still have all their parts (beaks 'n feets), these monsters are HUGE. Females average 36 inches and males average 48. That's four feet tall, folks.

They look better cooked.
They travel in packs or herds or gaggles or gangs, whatever the hell you call it. And they've been known to bring traffic on the Merritt Parkway to a complete halt during the Spring mating season.

And now, we have Rabid Bats.

This week, we found a dead skunk on the front lawn. Now, it's possible that he got hit by a car and was just able to drag his stinky self up on our lawn before he expired in a cloud of "Eau de P. U."

But the bodies are piling up. This is the third body in a month and with all the predators around here, the possibilities are endless.

And you thought it was easy out here in the Suburbs?  It ain't all pool parties and barbecues, Folks.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Mystery in Connecticut

Over the years, our family pets (cats & dogs)  have been pretty impressive hunters so it wasn't unusual to occasionally discover tiny corpses in various states of dismemberment. However, we do not currently have a predator in residence. So imagine my surprise last week, when I came across the body of a field mouse in my laundry room.  


There was something odd about this little cadaver. He wasn't on his side or his back with his little feet in the air, in fact there were no visible signs of injury. It was as if he just conked mid-stride. Couldn't be Vampires, there was no blood and his head was in one piece, so I'm pretty sure it's not the Zombie Apocalypse.  


With no further evidence, we wrote it off as unsolved, zipped the vic into his body bag and cleaned up the crime scene. 


The vic in his body bag

A few days later, when I was watering the tomatoes, I found another body. This one was a bird – the deceased was largely intact, but headless. Again, there were no signs of a struggle, the feathers were unruffled – the only thing missing was the skull.  

We have a serial killer on the loose here in Connecticut. 

Son O'Mine thinks it was natural causes. Gazillions spent on his education at the Art school nurturing his creative spirit and he votes “natural causes.” 

Sparky says it’s either a mountain lion or a chupacabra.

And THAT is why I adore Sparky.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Strike a Pose...

Since I was out of commission and vegetating for a month, I was forced to watch (or listen) way too much TV.

I discovered that there’s a marathon of “America’s Next Top Model” running at all times. Not always on the same channel (our cable company offers 50 bazillion channels) – I think they rotate. When it ends on one channel, it starts on another. It seems to be some secret TV law. Tyra must know Oprah.

She (Tyra) has had some interesting judges over the years – Twiggy and Paulina are boring, the “J’s” are fun, Nigel Barker is yummy, but my absolute favorite is Janice Dickinson. That chick makes Charlie Sheen look like an amateur when it comes to bat-shit crazy.

Each cycle is the same – there’s the makeover with the inevitable meltdown (don’t cut/bleach/dye/weave/unweave my hair!!!!!!), the nude or semi-nude shot, the trip overseas, the run your ass off to appointments episode, the animal/reptile/creepy-crawlie shot, and the “Easy, Breezy, Beautiful Cover Girl!” commercial shoot.

I’m not sure what the purpose of this is – you never see these girls in the actual TV promotions. Drew Barrymore, Rihanna, Ellen Degeneres, Queen Latifah and recently, Taylor Swift. But no Top Models… nope, not one.

Each winner gets a $100,000 contract with Cover Girl – to do nothing?

I’m getting really good at doing nothing...



Hey Tyra, sign me up.

Friday, May 6, 2011

I'm baaaaaaaaaack! Sort of...

As promised, here is the re-cap of my recent detached retina surgery. I’ll just give you the highlights (if you’re interested in the gross details, check WebMD).

Sometime around mid-March, I noticed a shadow across the vision in my left eye – made an appointment with my doctor to get it checked out. I had no clue what it meant, but to be honest I didn’t think it was a big deal. Until he said “surgery.” OMFG. Surgery on my eyeball?

From that point on, most of it was a blur. He was great about explaining how it would work, but all the words just ran together – removegelfromeyeinsertgasbubbleineyeballbandbuckleheadpositioning blah,blah,blah.

And all of this would be done as an Outpatient.

The one thing I do remember is that he said nothing I did or didn’t do caused this – they don’t really know for sure but it seems to be more common in people who are nearsighted. And it happens far more often than I ever imagined. Coming as I do from a family where EVERYTHING was my fault, this was very comforting. This was rough enough to absorb without the added stress of truckloads of Catholic guilt.

They talked to me about the recovery process (the surgery is 10% and head positioning 90% in determining a successful outcome) but it didn’t really sink in till later.

Day of Surgery: I have to give huge props to the staff at Yale New Haven Hospital. They run that outpatient surgery center like a gentle assembly line. Kind of like The Wash & Brush Up Company in the Emerald City where Dorothy and the gang got spiffed up to see the Wizard.

Which is a good thing because it was 6:00 am and I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink (not even water!) since 10:00 pm the night before. So, off with the clothes and on with a Johnny coat and some funky socks with rubber grips n them – I guess that’s to discourage patients from sliding down the halls like Tom Cruise in Risky Business.

Then they marked my forehead with a Sharpie and covered me with a warm blanket. Yes, heated – warm. How sweet is that? Didn’t have to wait long (did I mention how efficient they are?) before they walked me into the Operating room.

This is the assembly line part – on the table, strapped down, sheet over my face (except for the eye), bang, zoom – done. The anesthesia was that Twilight thing (without sparkles) so I was in and out during the procedure, but too loopy to really remember much. They rolled me over face down and that was a wrap.

Recovery Week One: Face down, 22-24 hours a day. The gas bubble (in my eyeball!) floats, so to get it to press the retina back where it belongs, you must be in a prone position constantly.

Sounds pretty simple, right?

We rented this ergonomic torture device which came in the form of a chair and another brace to attach to a bed. I’d been on chairs like this before when getting a massage, but I was never really able to adjust this one to a comfortable position. So I spent the week in bed. My face resting in a donut-shaped cushion on a metal frame, attached to the end of the bed. Usually during the night, the donut cushion would shift and I’d wake up with a painful bruise on my forehead from resting on the metal brace. (Ladies, if you ever did it in the back seat of a car, you know EXACTLY what this feels like.)

I was banished to the guest room downstairs because I can’t negotiate the stairs. Navigating is unbelievably difficult when you can only see your own feet. Just getting to the bathroom is an adventure – going anywhere else is terrifying. Especially if I don’t have something (or someone) to hold on to.

Thank God for audio books. I had a portable disc player and a bucketful of audio books – that was my only entertainment. Although, I did tend to fall asleep – this deep, Zen sleep – so I’m not really sure how much of those books I actually listened to and how much I absorbed subliminally.

Recovery Week Two: By now, I’m getting a little stir crazy, so I would wander (face down) to the living room and sit doubled over on the sofa, listening to TV. Then meander back to the bedroom. Other than trips to the doctor’s office, that was pretty much the extent of my traveling.

At the end of week two, the doctor gave me the OK to sit up and lift my head. Although I still have to sleep on my right side.

Yes – Freedom!!!


The gas bubble is shrinking as it’s absorbed and as it shrinks, it moves. I can’t feel it, but my vision is wonkier than ever.

This is the only way I can describe it - you’re looking through a glass of muddy water – the bottom is all murky, the top is clear, and the surface of the liquid (which runs right across the center of your vision) wiggles whenever you move. If I move too fast, I get a little motion-sick.  It's very unsettling to say the least.

And my depth perception is completely out of whack. Little things like putting toothpaste on my toothbrush are challenges – bigger things like going down stairs are terrifying.

Recovering: So, I’m upright now, allowed to read and use the computer – but I’m only good for about an hour on the PC before I get a headache. Still using drops to keep the eye dilated, so it’s very sensitive to light. Can’t drive, exercise or lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk. And on those rare occasions when the guys take me out, I have to wear those stylish huge dark sunglasses. Yeah, I know… stunning.

All in all, I’m getting better every day. The procedure was painless. Even though they prescribed Percocet, I haven’t used them. Had some aches the first week and still get the occasional headaches but it’s nothing that a couple of Tylenol can’t handle.

Meanwhile, the Bear’s been busy.

Check it out!

Yep, he won a beauty contest (although he swears he only did it for the scholarship).

I’m thinking it was the swimsuit competition that nailed it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ciao for now

My opthamologist informed me today that I need immediate surgery for a detatched retina. I won't go into the details since they're gross, but the short and sweet is that I'm looking at about 4 weeks recovery time - and I'll be restricted from the computer.

I will try to keep an audio record of my experience so we can share this when I'm back up to snuff. Won't that be a thrill?

So be good, take care and when I'm back from my medically-induced hybernation... we'll do lunch!

Ciao for now,


Wednesday, February 2, 2011


This is Son O’Mine’s first winter as a licensed driver. So before the last storm, he backed his car into the driveway so he could easily drive out after the snow.

Yeah, not so much.

According to the website’s “Weather Fun Facts” we normally average about 12.3 inches of snowfall in January.

This January, we received 54.9 inches.

For those of you who don’t live in climates where it snows, let me try to describe what it’s like on the roads here. Did you ever watch the Luge on the Winter Olympics? The athlete lays down on a teeny sled and is shot down a steep hill through a tunnel of ice. Here’s a shot I took on my drive home yesterday. (For size reference, I drive a Jeep Cherokee)


In some spots, the piles are so high and wide that there is barely enough room for two cars to pass with a quarter of an inch to spare.

But we handle it. We New Englanders are a stoic bunch. We know the drill – as soon as we clear the driveway, the plow will pass by and shove more snow in. Each time we unearth the mailbox, the plow will go by and decapitate it again. That’s the circle of life here.

No, the problem we have now is that we’ve run out of places to put it. I actually found myself standing in the driveway holding a shovel full of snow and wondering how much I could pack into the trunk of my neighbor’s car. And every time I see that US Postal Service TV ad – “If it fits, it ships”… I wonder how much we could send to the relatives in Florida …

Today is Feb 2nd. Yesterday, we were on the receiving end of another 5-8 inches of snow and today - the frosting on the cake - sleet and freezing rain. Winter Trifecta!

The one ray of sunshine today – the groundhog predicted an early spring. He’d better be right or we may just go all Sarah Palin on his ass.

And how’s the Bear handling all this mess? He’s hibernating.

Nothin but nose, baby… Nothin but nose.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

No penalty is enough

So I’m sure you’ve heard by now that UCONN Football Coach, Randy Edsall left CT to accept a job coaching in Maryland. As the wife of a Football coach, the mother of a former football player and a resident of CT, here’s my open letter to Randy Edsall.


Dear Mr. Edsall,


We’re sorry to see you go.

I’m calling a flag on this play, YOU SLIMY CREEP.

You have been a respected leader and coach to not only the UCONN players, but the citizens of CT.


You were not only a Coach, but a mentor and role model to each of the young men who played for you.

When Jordan Todman made the decision to leave UCONN for the NFL draft, you made him stand up and tell the team face to face.

And yet, when it was your turn to MAN UP, you tucked your tail between your legs and ran like a dog.

You took that team to the Fiesta Bowl and after a valiant fight on their part, you ditched them like a fat prom date.

While the team returned to CT on a charter flight, you were sneaking off to Maryland without so much as a word of goodbye.

You didn’t have the guts to face those players and be honest with them.

In that one act, you have defined yourself. No matter what success you found (or find in the future), you will forever be known as the COWARDLY DIRTBAG who didn’t have the balls to face the team who looked to him for guidance.

You are the epitome of UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT.

And to the University of Maryland – you fired Ralph Friedgen after he won the ACC coach of the year award to hire Edsall? This COWARDLY LIAR is who you choose to lead your team?

Shame on you.

So long, Randy – Don’t let the door hit you in the ass.

Karma’s a bitch. I just hope I’m still around to see it when she bites you in the ass.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The smartest thing I ever did

I'm going to let you in on the biggest secret I have:

I didn’t realize it at the time, but the smartest decision I have ever made in my entire life was to marry Sparky.

I recall very clearly on our wedding day, as soon as the JP said "I now pronounce you man and wife," my new mother-in-law said, "I give it a month."

To be honest, I secretly agreed with her. I was terrified of commitment. Before I met Sparky, when a relationship turned serious, my immediate reaction was to leave town within 48 hours. I was positive that once he really got to know me, he'd come to his senses and run for the hills.

Here it is. I am not a nice person. Ask anyone who knows me. I am many things, a published author, a good cook, an uber-organizer, a fair and impartial manager, smart, funny, accomplished. But not one person would describe me as nice.

I am a solitary and selfish person. I am blunt and sarcastic. I don't make friends easily, nor do I keep them. Sparky, on the other hand is still friends with people he went to grammar school with.

He's the nice one. In 26 years, I have not met one person who did not like Sparky. Co-workers respect him, his players admire him, women love him and men just plain like him.

He's that guy.

He's the guy who can make a 79 year old woman blush in the grocery store after he gets that item off the top shelf and calls her sweetheart.

He's the guy who can't go into a store or restaurant without hearing “Hey Coach.” He remembers every player from every team he’s ever coached in 15 years. He also knows where they are now and how they’re doing. Other coaches get handshakes, he gets hugs.

He’s that guy.

True Story: We both grew up in Connecticut. On our honeymoon, in Key West (where neither of us had ever been before), as we’re riding up in the elevator to our room, the bellhop turns to Sparky and says, “Are you from Connecticut?”

He's that guy.

And in 26 years he has been my partner in crime – tiptoeing with me through knee-high snow to stalk the paper boy at 2:00 am when I was convinced he was a burglar.

He has always encouraged me to reach for my dreams and was as excited as I was each time my writing was published – even though he rarely reads anything longer than a magazine article.

He’s been my harshest critic – at times forcing me to face painful but necessary truths about myself and my actions. And he’s been the one holding my hand in times of incredible joy and profound loss.

He allows me the freedom to fly while his strength keeps me firmly anchored to the ground.

He is my hero. He is a model of what it means to be a decent and honorable man.

He's the love of my life and I'm a better person than I might have been because of him.  Yep, marrying him was the smartest thing I ever did.

I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions but this year, I have one.

This year I want to become Sparky’s hero.

That's my wish for 2011.