A Bedtime Story

 

BedOnce upon a time, I thought I knew what I wanted. I wanted to put my kids to bed, tuck them in and go to sleep, serene and satisfied because my little darlings would fall asleep on their own. I wanted it but what I have is nowhere close to it.

For almost a year, we’ve been coddling the kids to sleep. It all started when we moved cross-country and the kids said they were scared at night in their new rooms. Okay, that made sense, so we stayed with them until they fell asleep. Temporarily, we told ourselves. Temporarily my ass. read more

A Halloween Homecoming

jack o lanternHalloween’s always been my favorite holiday. I love the costumes, the candy and the camaraderie. Halloween memories burn bright in my mind.

I grew up in a New York City suburb – exurb at the time – where Halloween went something like this: From toddlerhood to the time I got too cool for it, I’d go to school in costume, come home and head out to the neighborhood parade and costume contest. I’d parade around for the contest and whenever I had a homemade costume — my mom was a great seamstress and designer — I’d place. I never won, but the attention, the cider and cookies all combined to produce some serious joy.

The contest took place before trick-or-treating. When we were small children, the adults would rush home from the costume contest to man their doors for us. We’d all hit the houses, trick-or-treating on our way home. And it was good. We got lots of candy and we were done by dinner. After dinner we’d help Mom and Dad hand out candy, admiring the big kids’ costumes. read more

Mom, Me and the Market

I’ve been thinking about my mom. I lost her in October 2009. Technically I lost her eight years before, when she slipped completely into her Alzheimer’s world, but anyway, she’s on my mind. I haven’t written that much about her in this space, so I thought I would let you get to know her. 

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To my mother, grocery shopping was serious business. Sometimes I would lie on her bed as she fell asleep she would roll over and say, “Ground beef. Lettuce. Mustard.”

Every week we’d go to Waldbaum’s, Grand Union and the A& P because each one possessed a unique quality that was unequaled at the other. Once my mother discovered coupons, the need for specificity grew. Now I know that coupons didn’t come out in my lifetime but they were new to my mom, and Waldbaum’s would have double coupons on Wednesdays — we’d always go there for the best coupon deals. We once had a coupon for $1.25 for free coffee, and they doubled it so they actually paid us to take it. I think we saved 13 dollars that day. Our excitement over the deal inseminated the bargain shopper in me.

Since she was somewhat of an expert, Mom taught me the golden rules of shopping. Buy only name brands. Del Monte tomatoes and canned vegetables, Bird’s Eye frozen vegetables, Ore Ida frozen potatoes, Dairylea milk, Dannon flavored yogurt and Colombo plain yogurt. Never buy pre-chopped meat. Instead, pick out a nice sirloin and have the butcher chop it up. Grated cheese: Pick out a nice Pecorino Romano or Parmesan from the deli and have them grate it for you. I don’t know about then but I bought some grated Pecorino Romano from the deli recently and it was $11 for a quarter pound. Good thing my family had money. read more

Something About Mary

heart of gold

I apologize for the late post. I went to New York for a funeral. Pleas read on. 

The first time I met Mary, she was moving into the house next door to mine. She was tall, Italian and had short black hair, curled and coiffed so it never moved.  Her seven-year-old daughter, Beth, asked me if I wanted to have a picnic on the front lawn. I was nine and wary of hanging out with younger kids, but she was so nice and she was right next door, so I said yes. Beth and I laid a blanket out on the tall grass that grew above the septic tank. We could hear her mom and dad, but mostly her mom, directing the movers as they emptied their truck. Mary was  multitasking, taking care of Beth’s baby sister while she got the house in order.

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No Walk in the Park

Crying HeadFor the first time in weeks, the thermometer read below eighty degrees. I peeked out the front door, where my husband was weeding the walk. “Hey, do you wanna go for a bike ride?”

“Yeah, sure,” he said, and went to ready the bikes.

I told the kids to get dressed and I dressed myself. I was going to walk while they rode. I’d hurt my back and biking posture would kill me, plus I was pretty unsteady on my new bike. (See “Just Like Riding a Bicicle”) I hadn’t been taking my morning walks because of the heat, and I missed them. read more