Farewell Emma

Sugarland is the min dachshund. Emma is the weimaraner, who is clearly enjoying the relaxed rules of hospice.

Sugarland is the mini dachshund. Emma is the weimaraner.

My friend Lance helped their Emma over the rainbow bridge last week.  She had stopped eating and started losing weight.  Her bladder cancer and her hospice days had come to an end.  She was a great dog he said, aren’t they all.  God love her she eeked another year out of life and brought laughter to everyone around her.  Rest in peace girl, give my regards to my little crowd.

From Emma’s Family

With incomprehensible sadness, we write to tell you of Emma’s passing. Over the past two weeks, she had really been struggling…eating very little, not moving around much, moaning in obvious discomfort. On Thursday, when she didn’t get off the couch or even lift her head to greet Janet, we knew she was telling us it was time. We couldn’t have even imagined how perfect a family “pet” (i.e: member)  she was going to be – tolerant of all the hustle and bustle of kids and activity, happy to be just by our sides, loyal and loving…I know we will all miss her…we’ve just begun to speak about our happy memories and look at MANY pictures of her (see attached), one of God’s very special creatures, in our efforts to heal our broken hearts. We know she is at peace and in a happy place, and that is a good start…


How would you know?

aunts rock

How would you know?  You’re not a mother.  Ok get ready for the Aunt Rant.

No I’m not a mother but I am an Aunt, both biological (I think, does divorce change that?) and honorary.  To kids that are, well, kids and to former kids that I still can’t believe are grown and to young adults I’m just getting to know.  I believe I am a favorite Aunt to some, a cool Aunt to others and even a surrogate Mom to some others.

I do pro bono work on your behalf.  I say the things you wish you could say and I hear the things you may never hear.  Got that Mom?  I am a safe place, I don’t judge, I don’t sugar coat and yes I’ve been told I can slap (figuratively speaking) your kids (and pretty much everybody else) so hard they think they got a kiss….it’s a gift.

If someone needs a ride and Mother Dearest isn’t home, I’m their girl and yes they will probably call me before they call you.  If they charge out the door without their coat I am NOT going to send them back in the way you would.  They will get the lesson better if they shiver until they reach their destination where it’s once again warm inside, you remember I have heat in the car right?  If they want to pout and stamp their feet before we proceed with a group activity they will be left out.  That’s called…wait for it…consequence.   If they sneak up behind and want to join in, I’ll hug them into the fold, lesson learned.

I will spoil them on the birthdays, and Christmas and Hanukah and there’s nothing you can do about it.  I will create days that will long be remembered. They will be allowed to drink coffee with me. Don’t worry I know how to order decaf.

I will leave my door open and they will know that they can walk in whether I’m there or not.  Can’t tell you how many times I’ve found kids in my living room. I will listen to their most haunting secrets.  Haven’t heard one yet that would end the world and I will NOT condescend.  I don’t nag, I never have said nor will say I told you so, I use questions not preaching.  I value their opinion, and validate their feelings.  I’m someone who could whisper in your ear that you might want to keep an eye on this or that without ever betraying a confidence.  I put them in charge of their circumstances in such a way that they feel safe and secure in taking small risks that will not ever hurt them.  They can learn resourcefulness from me.

I will light up when I see them.  For all those people who tell me they were afraid of me when they first met me not once has a “niece or nephew” ever said that.  They can recognize the depth of feeling and the love I have for them immediately.

So the next time you hear yourself say…”you’re not a mother” understand you may be talking to someone who could turn out to be your advocate.  Listen Mom, Aunts have your back, they will not let anything happen to your children.  And I know like I know that you may be spared a good deal of the dirty stuff and very hard conversations if you embrace their role as an Aunt.

Done ranting….for now.



50 Shades of Grey

50 shades

No I’m not talking about that here today gone tomorrow S and M manual that tried to call itself a novel.  Yes I read the first one and thought oh boy this is interesting, did I go out and buy handcuffs, no.  Did I read the second one where they were continuing on their “journey” and actually trying to make a “story” out of a really bad piece of writing? Yes.  Did it even cross my mind to read the third one? No, so terrified was I that they were going to try for a happy ending I totally lost interest…just sayin.  I’m talking about my hair you dirty minded people.

As is usually the case in my new life, several things have converged to make me rethink coloring my hair.  I went to Anna, my newest hair dresser, for a cut and she said, “No color?” No, maybe in two weeks.  “You need it.” No it can wait. “You sure?”  Anna are you going to cut my hair? Really?  Now I came to find this particular beauty parlor, and I use that term deliberately, because I was sick to death of paying $125.00 for my cut and color every 6-8 weeks at the salon.  This is an old style beauty parlor with the smell of ammonia in the air, men over 60 dropping off their mothers for a “wash and set”, rows of Aquanet cans in the showcase, you get the picture.  But…I could get a cut and color for $75.00, come on.

The first time Anna colored my hair, and it’s been only once, she didn’t use any of that Vaseline type stuff that keeps the color off your face.  Don’t worry she said in her Greek accent, the color will take better.  Yes I did have ring around the hairline, you bet and yes the entire world knew I just got my hair colored.  Not my style.   I was so hopeful because my dearest, best former stylist, who moved to California, was Greek; I somehow thought it would run in the ethnicity.  Wrong, I miss you Maria.

The next thing that happened was a guest on the Katie Couric show who relinquished all makeup and fashion related accoutrement.  Her motivation?  Phoebe Baker Hyde put’s it like this:

The Beauty Experiment started with a dazzling new dress, bought to produce utter fabulousness at a holiday party. But even when Phoebe Baker Hyde paired the dress with the right shoes and tied its ribbon belt in a perfect bow, it failed to deliver: the person inside was still an inexperienced parent, an awkward foreigner and a woman trailing in the wake of her husband’s more successful career.

In response, Phoebe swore off Beauty and all her trappings: makeup, new clothes, salon haircuts, and jewelry. This radical beauty cleanse lasted a year, but ignited the author’s ongoing quest to outgrow the fantasy of feminine perfection and remake the mantle of womanhood in the only size that fits–her own.

I get it; it can be tough when you’re surrounded by advertising and pressure from society to find the right balance of beauty.  Beauty is….wait for it….only skin deep.  Poor Phoebe is probably in her thirties, I’m in my late fifties so I get it better than she does.  Add menopause to that equation and I could give a shit less what you think.  My makeup has been dwindling for years.  But I’ve got to say I think it’s because my hair could carry my looks, I’ve got great hair. I’ve also got great eyes and you will never see me without lipstick.   But I digress.

The next thing is Zumba.  I wear a bandana when I dance because I can’t stand my hair in my face or sweat in my eyes.  Yes this fat girl dances with abandon and yes I burn at least a gazillion calories when I dance.  So Phoebe shows up on Katie, I put on my bandana and there it is the hairline of fifty shades of gray.  Stunning.  But wait a minute it really is fifty different shades, some gray, some dark, and some silver.  I’m thinking hhmmmm.

So on my way home from Zumba, I know I’ve been using this shampoo that sucks because I’m out of the one I normally use, I stop at Walgreens on the way home, yes right after Zumba.  Looking exactly like why men leave home…let’s try and remember who left whom for a minute.  But I digress again.  So down the shampoo isle to my beloved John Frieda and there is a new shampoo and conditioner, intense shine for brunettes.  Hmmmm.  I pick it up and don’t you know it makes my hair even more fabulous.  Even those grays that want to squiggle up and stick out are blending in perfectly.

So I get to thinking.  Always dangerous I know.  Why not?  My dear Summer Sister has not dyed her hair since its grown back after chemo and it is the most glorious shades of silver and gray I’ve ever seen.  She is rocking a younger Dame Judi Dench kind of cut but with her own I’ve been there done that attitude.  You all know I love her but WOW is she even more gorgeous then when we were younger.

So I investigate further.  Anne Kreamer has written a book called Going Gray, What I learned about beauty, sex, work, motherhood, authenticity and everything else that really matters.  Don’t you just love book titles that take up half a page?  She explores this polarizing topic with those who dye and those who don’t, those who are confident and those who still fear the reprisal.  I do, however, like how she describes the coloring dilemma:

Either way she says, once you start coloring at thirty or thirty-five or forty-the insidious creep of roots perpetually growing out, lighter or darker, always threatening to show themselves and expose the ruse-you are trapped on a treadmill.

It’s an interesting book but um not my dilemma.

What it comes down to for me is time.  I can think of a million other things I could be doing beyond sitting in the beauty parlor/salon for hours with the goop plastered to my roots and no Vaseline to hide the dye line.  The incessant blah blah conversations that drive me to distraction while I’m trying to read my Kindle with those little aluminum sheets around the arms of my glasses so I can see.

The other thing is I’m cheap. As you’ve seen I’m not beyond going to the Beauty School for a cut. Can’t picture them doing a color though, visions of Frenchie from Grease come to mind.  I do not want to spend money on color when I could spend it on a delicious La Tur cheese out of New Hampshire and bottle of Bear Print Pinot Noir.  I have my priorities.

The fact that I’m getting older has not escaped me, especially in the last few weeks.  The fact that I already know who I am is being confirmed over and over again.  The fact that I am beautiful is still a story in the making.  But the beauty I see for myself is natural, authentic, and reflective of where I’ve been and what I know.  My beauty is in the shine of my hair, whatever color it turns out to be, the fabulous signature lipsticks I wear, the uniform I’m just now developing.  I’m thinking cute cardigans and scarves, belts to show off my tiny waist (oh yeah and my full hips, we’ll get to that later).  The renewed attention to health and the door-is-always-open home I have for anyone who needs to know what I know.  I know like I know that you’ve all been hounding me about how I look best in a short sassy haircut, that’s not lost on my either.  I’d rather find someone who can give me that cute cut, for a decent price (sorry Anna the Aquanet didn’t cut it for me) and amp up my eyes, lips and style than color and color and color to a mediocre long haired excuse for a woman.

grey cut

I’d love to know how you feel about the subject.  I know like I know even more great changes are ahead for me.  Can’t wait to be free of the dye! And hear what you’ve got to say.




photo courtesy of cottage960.com


If you think courage is reserved for those running into burning buildings, fighting wars and criminals on the streets I can assure you, you are wrong.  Courage:  mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty, thank you Merriam-Webster.  I had no idea what I would be posting as it’s been quite a roller coaster ride for me this week.

Roller coaster ride or not, I attended a Grand Opening of my dear friends’ new floral design store in White Plains, NY called Bloom Floral Design.  The store is beautiful, centrally located, lots of traffic, nearby parking and they’ve already proven their success at their other store, A Bed of Roses.  But to look at Carl I knew this took courage.  Not trusting or knowing that the Universe is in line with you but going ahead anyway…courage. But should that be the post?

I had my answer when I got home.  I had an email from one of my dearest friends who has applied for a new position; a promotion.  There was a case study to be completed and she aced it.  I knew courage would have to be my post theme.  To take a chance on something new, to put you out there, to consider a move, to leave the comfort of, well, everything takes enormous courage.  I am in awe of her; she is insightful, intelligent, savvy and yet holds compassion in the highest regard.  The exhaustion of putting together the case study on her own left her spent and ready for a sleep that would allow her to let it go.  I know like I know that she will awaken to her very bright future and that I am beyond proud to be her friend.

My sister is embarking on a new lease on life herself.  She’s gone to the gym, come with me to Zumba, taken her health and nutrition, her life back into her own hands after struggling with a loss so deep she couldn’t believe she would ever recover.  She is celebrating a love rather than mourning it, she is taking all the lessons learned and putting them into her daily rounds.  She is reducing her stress and her need to be “the go to person” while not letting go of her caring and thoughtful disposition.  To take these steps forward and on her own…courage.

She has had her share of health issues in the past.  Several surgeries under her belt and I often said to her, that I could not do what she does.  Be brave in the face of threatened health.  I can withstand any amount of stress and pressure you throw at me but to find myself in a hospital would devastate me.  So I thought.  In the past two weeks I have undergone a breast biopsy, a hysteroscopy with the intent of removing polyps and repairing a tear.  I was brave.  I was surprised that I was brave but I found that I too have courage.  More so now that each of these procedures produced that most treasured outcome of, benign.

The ability to summon up mental strength to venture out into a new business, to take a chance on oneself, or to face the realities of getting older all require courage.  Although the courage comes in varying degrees it is nevertheless courage.  Who are we to question what it takes for another to do something they find difficult.  All we can do is stand back and recognize their courage, tell them we are there for them, whether or not they want us is up to them.  In the past two weeks I have learned what courage is and how to recognize it more easily.  It is all around me and I while I am grateful for those doing the fighting on our behalf I am more grateful to have the lessons from those living the moments of every day courage all around us.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. ~Ambrose Redmoon



Someone's experience with online dating via Postsecret.com

Many months ago, my sister got it in her head that I should find someone.  I should go up on Match.Com because that’s where she met her husband, and that’s where someone else met their husband and that’s where someone else met their husband and so on and so on.  Those of you who know me know exactly where this is going.

Though well intended she vowed to make it her mission that I should be just as happy as she and Honey were.  Love that about her, hate that about her.  Making me a social experiment (apparently she had someone from her church all picked out for me) let alone a mission just stuck right up in my proverbial.

But as quiet and lovely as she is, she can be relentless.  I signed up. For the absolute bare minimum, just to see what all the fuss was about. OMG what a mess.  My profile, while witty and true to who I am including a smart ass remark, won’t ever do me justice.  I have energy that can fill a room; you can’t put that on paper (this from a writer).   It just doesn’t translate well.

And neither do the 469 men who viewed my profile.  Seriously 469 men viewed my profile and not one emailed, I take that back the guy in the camo outfit did email.  Can you say delete faster that my eyes could focus on the shed in the background.

I can’t say for sure what percentage of the 469 wore black socks with their sandals, or were over sixty and still had their ponytails, or had pictures that were clearly from the 70’s in their profile.  Are these people serious?  The profiles could be nauseating to read, or infuriating to read.  For instance, one guy, no picture had a 500 word manifesto of she should be this and she should be that and the final line said, I’m looking for the “she” version of me.  Who are these people?

And the names they come up with: LovinspoofulXX, UrMomWillLuvMee, lovebeinginluv, preludeXXX, and skywalkerXX.  The XX are actually numbers on the site indicating that several people have chosen the same name.  I can’t.  I just can’t.

First lines are meant to entice you into reading their profile.  Hello all you busty ladies. Someone shoot that guy.  Time shows the way; could we get any more mushy?  Needy much?  I have no patience for this mass market schmaltz or the blatant disregard for women as people or the crybabies or the obvious lack of truth in any of it.

Needless to say, I cancelled within minutes.  That leaves you the ability to continue visiting the site to check matches until your final expiration.  Not likely, never again will I submit to anything like this where you get sucked in so your self-esteem can get batted around by the daily matches, winks, views, favorites, and emails received.  Because for me there weren’t any.  For a split second you begin to think it’s you.  It’s not me, this is a numbers game and I am not a number.

There was one final email that came through on January 2.  I had long ago cancelled this subscription so I didn’t pay any attention and frankly it seemed just a bit suspicious.  There was a reminder from Match.com that you have an email.  Ok I’m curious so I click on the “go to email” and guess what?  You have to subscribe to read your email and there is a 20 buck special for the New Year.  Of course you do, but I’m still curious.  So I pay the 20 bucks and there he is, all 5’2” of him, stating he is athletic though clearly his pot belly doesn’t indicate that, from India with broken English even in his profile.

I could not have laughed harder.  I paid twenty bucks for the best lesson I’ve had in a very long time.  Be well Match.com don’t call me I won’t call you either.  The single only profile I’m sorry I didn’t get to read while I was a subscriber for twenty minutes was this one:

I know like I know that I am happy where I am, doing what I’m doing.  The more I expand what I do the more people I meet.  The more people I meet the more friends I have.  That’s the only numbers game I want to play.  Got that everyone?