Tidying up food

tidying upI have only been taking baby steps with my The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo book since I did the clothing category. I am motivated, but I haven’t had an uninterrupted block of time to tackle the next category (books) yet.
Well, that’s my excuse, anyway.

Since then, I have been scrutinizing other areas of my home through my new ‘tidy eye’, and here’s what I’ve discovered.

I am not a tidy person.

Anyway, this week I have given myself a challenge that is tied to my goals to

  1. Be more tidy and
  2. Spend less money.

I am not going to spend any money on meals or drinks when I am out this week. I am going to eat and feed the fam using the food I already have in the pantry, fridge, and freezer.

I have a lot.

My husband and I figure that conservatively, we are spending $150 a week on food. At the end of this week of not spending any money on food, we will deposit that $150 in the bank (in our new “Go to Italy in 2016” fund, perhaps? :) )

Anyone else want to do this with me? Just for one week. I started October 2nd and will end the week October 9th. You can start today, or tomorrow.

If you decide to try it, I would LOVE to hear how it goes for you, so please consider commenting below.

As Liz Gilbert (speaking of ‘eat’-ing, and oh! of Italy!) would say, “Onward!”

Message from Mom

mom for blogSo I had a visit last night from my mother. She died in 1996.

She visited me in a dream. She was wearing a long white dress that was cinched in at the waist with a sash that I think was also white. I should note that she never dressed like that in real life.  Anyway, it was a slimmer, younger, healthy version of her (she was quite ill when she died) and she came to tell me something. When my mother comes through to me in my dreams, she never actually speaks out loud; she communicates with me through thoughts. Anyway, she came to give me a message and in the dream, I had the thought that this must be very important information for me to know, since she made the trip to tell me this, and that I better remember it.

Later on when I woke for the day, I remembered the dream very clearly. I remember my thoughts about the message too. What I DON’T remember is this: WHAT THE MESSAGE WAS!

I tried over and over to get it back, but it’s gone.
I told my husband this, and as I was telling him, the tears started.

He: Why are you crying?
Me: I don’t know! Because I can’t remember what the message was!

He: Don’t worry. You got the message. Just because you can’t remember it consciously doesn’t mean you didn’t get. It’s in your subconscious. You have it.

I immediately felt the truth of what he was saying. Every so often, my husband says exactly the right words to me at exactly the right time.

And then he sort of shuddered.

Me: What was that?
He: I got a chill.

So now I get it. That was my mother there in the car with us.


We joined them

IMG_4711We saw the sign last week, inviting us to join them for a concert, and after some maneuvering of the work schedule, join them we did.

What a good decision my daughter and I made.

The performances were amazing. Men and women of all different ages and backgrounds took turn standing up on the stage and sang most beautifully the songs they had chosen for us.

Their voices were accompanied by quite accomplished musicians, which elevated their songs just a little bit more.

Many of the songs we knew, but some we heard for the first time.

There were several people who I have been casually acquainted with for years who possess incredible voices and until tonight, I had no idea.

We may not really know the people we see every day as well as we think we do. We all have something shining inside us. What a gift these men and women gave us tonight by sharing their talents with us.

Thank you!! 😊❤️

Italian birthday cake, 2015

IMG_4349My family of origin had some family traditions, but they were few.

One that has made it to the present is the Italian Rum Cake birthday cake tradition. My brother’s birthday and mine are about a month apart. We both love Italian Rum Cakes. My family? His family? Um, not so much.

Okay, they hate it.

As much as I love this cake, it is not fun to have a birthday cake on my birthday that no one but me will eat.

Also, it’s damn hard to find this cake in Maine. Actually, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to find this cake in Maine.

So here’s what my brother and I do now:

  1. We call La Cascia’s Bakery and order the Italian Rum Cake with Strawberries (included) and Peaches (cost extra-pay it! it’s worth it!). You get to choose between whipped cream and buttercream frosting (WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING ROCKS!). You must decide if you want nuts on the outside or not-I can never decide so I order nuts on half of it. :)
  2. One of us picks up the cake and drives to the other’s house (we take turns hosting-this year is my brother’s turn).
  3. We split the cake. Literally. We each eat half. In our defense, we order the smallest one (serves 8-10 people in real life) they make.

That’s it. Problem solved! We love the cake! Our relatives are not subjected to it! Plus it’s June (my birthday was in May) and I am still eating birthday cake!

I did find a recipe for it (without the strawberries and peaches) on the Mangia Bene Pasta website, but there are something like a thousand steps in this recipe, so it’s pretty certain that I will never make it. Ever. I’d be too tired to eat it after all that.

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Missing my mother

IMG_3330It’s Mother’s Day, and I am missing my mother.

My mother died. Nineteen years ago. Sometimes I am embarrassed by the tears that can suddenly overtake me when I realize that I am still missing her so much. Really? At almost 53 years old?


Sometimes the emotion sneaks up on me so fast and is so strong that it takes my breath away. But it’s been so long, I think. I shouldn’t still feel so bad, I think.

The truth is that I didn’t appreciate her enough while she was still alive. I left her in a million ways before she left me.

Now that I am the mother in this complicated mother-daughter algorithm, I have insights that I lacked then. It wasn’t until I became a mother that I realized all the ways that my mother was there for me that I didn’t even know about.

We are connected forever to our mothers. My mother carried me inside of her, and now I carry her inside of me. Whenever I wonder if she is still with me, I get a huge rush of feeling-love?- that assures me of her continued presence in my life. Just like when she was still alive, she is always as close as I will allow her to be.



me space mtnI went to Disney once before, in 1989 (or thereabouts). There was one ride I wanted to go on then: Space Mountain. I have no idea why, but I was fixated on it. When we got there, the first thing I did was ask where that ride was and, guess what? Space Mountain was CLOSED. Yep. I know, right? Unbelievable.

Fast forward (OMG-I just had to use a calculator to make sure this number was correct) twenty-six years to the present. Twenty-six years during which all of my friends and family were subject to hearing that story. Over and over.

And over.

I was going back to Disney with my daughter. It was her first trip there. It was her birthday present. It was all about her.

Except for this: this was all about me. I had a FastPass for us for Space Mountain. We got there. I made her take my picture in front of it. We found the FP entrance and went in. We got in line and…my daughter freaked out. She didn’t want to go on it! Now I had a moral dilemma. After twenty-six years, I was finally going to put this urban legend to rest, but am I the kind of mother would force my distraught daughter to get on a ride when she didn’t want to?

You bet I am.

The only way out of it is through it.

I think this is a good lesson for life in general.

N.B. In my defense, afterward she said it turned out to be her favorite ride at Magic Kingdom.


To boldly go, part one

disney blog 1My daughter has been asking to go to Disney since she was about 9 years old. I would always listen to her ask, nod, smile, and say that tried and true line that I’d borrowed from my own mother: “We’ll see.” I got away with that for, oh, 5 years or so. Five years during which she watched many of her friends go to Disney. Five  years during which she watched her older brother go to Disney (in fairness, I never took him either-he was an adult and paid his own way when he went). Five years during which she got older and smarter and my “We’ll see” was starting to fall a little flat, even to my own ears.

A few years ago, she changed her tack; instead of asking to go, she started asking to go for her sixteenth birthday. That changed the game completely. That was a line in the sand. “We’ll see” is timeless, fluid, eternal. “By my sixteenth birthday” was a finish line. I stopped saying, “We’ll see” to my daughter and started thinking, “What if…?” to myself.

Since my one word this year is ‘brave’, the ‘what if’s’ have become more insistent. So what if I haven’t been on a plane in, oh, 25 years or so? So what if my vacation hours at work are precious and few? My daughter will only turn sixteen once. So what if park passes cost more than the airfare? So what if we live far away from an airport with a direct flight to where we are going? So what if the idea of getting us there and back is, um, terrifying?

We’re going.

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