Home is where?

Recently my husband and I took a vacation. This is news, because it was OUT OF STATE. Way out. Like, in NJ. Just getting the same days off from work together to go took weeks-and an aligning of the planets AND and act of congress.

What was better about Atlantic City than Wells, ME? Not much. I had to really think hard  for things.

  1.  The seagulls had black heads. Kind of cool.
  2. The ocean was WARM. WARM. The OCEAN.
  3.  The ocean was very close to the hotel; you could walk to it. There also didn’t seem to be very much
    variation between high tide and low tide.
  4. There were some different kinds of seashells from what I find here in Maine.

That’s about it.

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The best thing about Atlantic City? We were on vacation! We were together! That is all we needed.

Long time no see

dad (1)I went to see Melissa at Deep Blue Truth in Kennebunk today. I go every year (at least once) near my birthday as a present to myself. I always get messages from one or more of my friends and relatives that have died, and today was no exception.
When they come through, they always talk about something that is personal to me and to them. Something that helps me know that it is really them. Something that no one else would know. They give some kind of a sign.

Today, someone named John came through. Okay, so John is my dad, so that’s a no brainer. Melissa told me that he kept telling her to say ‘matches’, to talk about striking matches.


Last night, I was talking to my husband, telling him I needed to get some more matches to light candles, that I was down to my last 2 books.  I joked that I was just coming to the end of my dad’s stockpile of boxes of matchbooks that we found in his house after he died…in 1998.

Pass the kleenex.

One brave thing, part 2

I went to the Aqua Yoga class on Monday morning, despite my trepidation. I got my big girl pants on (read: found a bathing suit that fit) and I went. I pulled up to the door at 8:59am. This is significant because usually I am at least a half an hour early for everything. Because it was so late, though, I didn’t have time to hesitate. I just got out of my car and went right in.

As soon as I entered the pool area, I knew I had done the right thing by finally going. The instructor was playing music for the class and the song that was on was this: “Happy” by Pharrell. People that know me know that this is my new favorite song!  Because I heard the Happy song, I was immediately put at ease. I took it as a sign that I was in the right place.

Two other positive signs:

  1. The instructor, Jennifer, reminded me of one of my best friends, Karyn.
  2. One of the other women in the class reminded me of my one of my grandmothers.

So how did it go? It was hard! It was fun! Everyone was so nice! I wish I had started going (like the other women had) six months ago!


One brave thing

Today I am going to an Aqua Yoga class.

I have been thinking about going to this class for weeks-maybe months. I have been practicing yoga for years, so it’s not the yoga part that has been an obstacle for  me.

It’s the aqua part.


  1. I took childhood swimming lessons, but they didn’t fully take to me. I know how to swim, but am not very good at it. How much swimming might be involved was high on my list of reasons for putting off going.
  2. Also, I wear glasses. Glasses+pool=no confidence in the pool.
  3. And another thing: I am not a good small talker. I don’t know a soul in this class. Since I have also put off checking out the Toastmasters, this is yet another obstacle to me going to this class.
  4. Finally, Hello, extra 5 pounds? Meet last year’s bathing suit. Not pretty.

Today, I decided to feel the fear and do it anyway.
I’ll let you know how it turned out.


Stealth birthday party

Does someone have an upcoming birthday at work? Do something different and fun! It only takes a little bit of effort: a card, a happy birthday balloon, a quick graze-your-way-through-the afternoon potluck can make their (and your!) day.
Don’t tell the designated person in advance. This adds a layer of stealth that makes it all that much more fun. 😄


Pi(e) Day

sheriNational Pie Day was January 23rd this year. I missed it. The “other” pie day is March 14. This Pi Day, the math Pi Day, is the second chance for those people who missed the first one. You know, like me. Like I do every year.

Every year for the past several years in the weeks leading up to January, my friend and colleague Sheri and I have talked for days about how we should make pies for Pie Day, how we should bring them in to work and share them with everyone. How we should get everyone else to make pies and bring them in too. How we could make both savory and sweet pies and have it be a potluck meal. How much fun it would be!

And then we didn’t do it.

So we’d start talking about the March Pi Day, the do-over chance, and why don’t we do it that day instead?

And then we didn’t do it.

Things get in the way. We’re too busy. We’re too tired. We don’t have all the ingredients. Yada yada.

This year I have been thinking about Pie Day alone, because my friend Sheri died last August. I toyed with the idea of making pies myself this year in January.

And then I didn’t do it.

As March 14th approaches, I decided that my heart wasn’t in it and I was going to let the day pass unobserved, just as I usually did. Except then my daughter came home from school and announced, “Mom, we’re going to make pies for Pi Day.”

From the mouths of babes, right?

The story of Mary

20140301-220000.jpgMy mother: Mary Agnes Burke Maffeo. She died at 55 years old-much too soon.

I’m reading Life After Life by Jill McCorkle, and in it, a hospice volunteer writes stories about people who have died. This got me thinking about my mother, who died at home with hospice. Of course, my mother had her obituary.  I don’t remember much of what it said, other than the obligatory series of ‘survived by’s’. Anyway, it was hardly a story about her life.

So here, in no particular order, are some random thoughts about my mother:

When she was in her thirties, she began reading books by Edgar Cayce. I thought they were kind of hokey, but I surreptitiously read some of them when she wasn’t looking. I didn’t want her to know I was interested in them for some reason. She also liked Bernie Seigel, and gave me her book, Love, Medicine, and Miracles. I lent it to a fellow student nurse who never returned it.

She kept a bowl of Tootsie Roll midgets on her fridge and whenever my son was visiting her, she gave him some. After she died, he inherited the candy bowl. I don’t know what  happened to it. Probably got lost in a move.

She worked the evening shift at her job and I could never understand why she liked that shift so much. Me? I was in my 20’s then. I liked to get up, go to work, and get it over with. “Wouldn’t you rather do that?” I asked her. “No. I like to get up and go slow. Drink my tea, pick up the house, and then go to work,” she told me. Now that I am in my 50’s, I have realized that I am like her in this way.

She always set her hair. With rollers. Always. She used a lot of hairspray. She almost never wore makeup. She was Irish and liked the Irish Rovers. Saint Patrick’s Day was one of her favorite holidays. She almost never drank alcohol. The first time I remember seeing her cry (and drink alcohol, too, come to think of it) was the night her father died. She was 29 years old;  I was 7 years old. She loved animals. At one time we had 13 cats and 3 dogs. She took in any stray, whether animal or human, without a second thought. She was one of the kindest people I have ever known. My daughter is like her in this way.

She was a Nana. She loved my child (I only had one then; my daughter was born three years after she died) as much as I did. She always felt like she didn’t see me, us, often enough.

Once when I went shopping with her, she bought me a pair of jelly sandals that I still have.

She liked Dean Martin and Engelbert Humperdinck. She was an excellent cook, from whom I had no interest in learning, to my everlasting sorrow. She listened to me complain about what she was making for supper many a night, even if it was something I liked, much as I listen to my own daughter complain now about meals that I make which she proceeds to eat and then to ask for seconds.

My mother didn’t want to die. She left us kicking and screaming.


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