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?

Really.

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.

 

Disney

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.

Lemons

IMG_2067I got up early on the Sunday of Daylight Savings Time, the way I (almost) always do. Time to make the donuts…

No wait! That’s not right! Time to feed the chickens….I threw on my coat over my PJ’s and bumped into my daughter on the way out. She said she was getting in the shower, and then inexplicably, picked up her phone and went on to the bathroom and shut the door. I went out the back door and the moment I shut it…I got the universal sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that one gets when they realize they just locked themselves out.

I called my daughter on said phone-no answer. I fed the chickens. I got the paper. I called her again. No answer. I texted her. Nothing. I called my other sleeping child on his cell. Nada. In desperation, I even called the land line.

Right. Nothing.

I stood on the porch, wishing I had put my jeans on as the 4 degrees seeped through my thin pajama pants. Let’s face it, a teenager’s shower could potentially take an hour.

I decided to (take my life in my hands and) take a walk. In the snow. And the ice. On my Very. Narrow. Street.

I made limoncello out of lemons! I am the type of woman who does that!

Of course, 3 minutes into the walk she called me, and I turned around and went right back.

 

The Song of Karen (or whoever)

IMG_1584I went to the Crystal Harp Healing Session at The LoveLight Center with an open mind. I wasn’t sure what the ‘healing’ part was about, but I have heard Cheryl play that instrument before, and that was worth going back for.

There were about 9 of us seated in a circle. Shoes were shed at the door. The sequence was this:
1. She played for the group.
2. She then played an individual melody for each person present.
3. She closed with another song for the group.

It took about half an hour. It was free.

What was it like? Well, you know how when you have a massage or acupuncture session, sometimes there is an emotional release? It was like that for me (full disclosure: so okay, I was crying).
Right before Cheryl said that she was guided to play ‘my’ song first, I was sitting there thinking:

I wonder if my mother is here?

One moment before the music began, I suddenly felt like she was standing right behind me.

Is that you, Ma?

My mother Mary died in February 1996 on Leap Day. She was only about two years older then than I am now.
Then the music started.
Then the tears.
Yep. It was her.
Thanks, Cheryl.

 

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