Please Note

I am having some surgery soon so I may not be posting each day for a while. I’ll be back on line as soon as possible; writing this blog is one of my real pleasures.

Thank you with all my heart for reading; that you would take time out of your day to read my blog means so much to me!

Back soon!



Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

I am pretty much a goody-two-shoes when it comes to signs; I obey them all. If a sign reads, ‘Don’t Park Here,” then I don’t park there. If there is a “STOP” sign in the middle of a parking lot, I stop. I am so used to doing it that I don’t even give it much thought.

However, the Crankee Yankee thinks differently about them. For one thing, he claims that ‘there are no driving rules in parking lots.’ Huh?! Which is probably why the following happened:

The other day we went to a Chinese restaurant we hadn’t tried before. There wasn’t a single car in the parking lot, so we parked close to the door—right under a “Take Out Only” sign. I pointed this out, and he said, “There’s no one in the parking lot; it doesn’t matter.” And refused to move the car.

The weird way my mind works is this way: all of a sudden there will be a great stampede to this very restaurant, including a couple of people who are picking up a huge amount of take-out food. Then it will soon be revealed that us, Mr. and Mrs. SelfishJerks, have parked where no none-take-out people should park and we will be forced to flee the restaurant while villagers with pitchforks and flaming torches chase us out of the restaurant……

Well, I could be carrying this a tad too far, but honestly, I was  constantly looking out of the window to be sure that a crowd wasn’t gathering….



To the Forgetful Ones

When the dish soap is all gone,


When the last of the peanut butter is on a sticky knife (with a fly trapped in it),


When there is one sheet of toilet paper on the roll,

REPLACE IT! (or you’ll find that roll under your pillow)

When you’ve made your sandwich,


When you see that I’ve just mopped the kitchen floor,


When the phone is ringing and I’m in the shower,


When you use a tissue to blow your nose,

THROW IT AWAY! (You’re not going to use it again, and we have about a dozen boxes of Kleenex)

When you have eaten everything on your plate except for one pea, a scrap of potato and a teaspoon of stew,


Speaking of the above, when you’ve saved half a cupcake for two weeks in the ‘fridge and I’ve eaten it,




New England Chic

After seeing the outfits at the Oscars not long ago, it’s easy to see what Hollywood chic looks like; fabulous designer dresses, killer heels, breath-taking jewelry, tuxedos, handmade boots and bespoke suits. On the other side of the country, there is  New York City business chic; clothing tends to be black or gray, tan or taupe, with designer shoes and boots. Then there is also New York City street chic: plaid coats, cashmere scarves, skinny jeans at $200-$300 a pair, knee-high leather boots, wild tunics over black leggings, armloads of bangles and bracelets, and so on. California chic can be denim shorts (expensively distressed, of course), vintage-y lacy tops, peasant dresses, leather thongs, etc.

And then there is New England chic. Bear in mind that we in New England can never truly count on the weather. We’ve had hot days in March, snow in June, hurricanes in summer, and the list goes on. So we women have to be prepared for anything. We know to “layer up” in cold weather; start with long underwear, flannel-lined jeans, thick wool socks, L.L. Bean boots that can handle anything from deep cold to spring mud; turtlenecks followed by flannel shirts, a sweater, a down coat or jacket, wool scarves, earmuffs or wool hats, and wool mittens or gloves.

In summer, we stick to shorts, sandals, light t-shirts or linen tops, capri slacks, and some summer-y jewelry. More jewelry is up to the person–not all New England ladies stick with dainty post earrings, a tiny necklace and a ring or two. (Some of us believe that MORE is more!) Most all of us carry jumper cables and emergency kits in our cars or SUVs or trucks, and we all know how to change a tire. Most New England warm weather “dress up” is casual; a nice dress or skirt and top, or linen slacks and a cotton sweater, espadrilles or good sandals, and no stockings.

You see, chic is really in the eye of the beholder, and it also depends on the weather. We New England women understand that weather can turn in an instant, and we don’t like to be caught in an icy downpour with only our flip-flops on our feet. It’s not unusual to find a change of clothes for every season in our trunks, as well as emergency granola bars, water, aspirin, duct tape, a First Aid kit, soap, paper towels, Kleenex, mints, extra underpants, and a long and heavy flashlight which can also be used as a weapon.

Part of what we call “chic” means that we can change in a very few minutes if we need to. Our kind of chic also means that our daddies have taught us how to maintain our vehicles, fire a gun, make a campfire and put it out correctly, and our  moms have taught us all the “lady” things.

All this is what we in this part of the country call “chic.” And chic is as chic does!

The Wanderers and the Stay-at-Homes

There are people born with what I call itchy feet–they long to wander and often wander far. Then there are those who are born with a preference to home and all its comforts. My late wonderful mother-in-law told me years ago that, when she had her two boys (the oldest of which is my Crankee Yankee), she said that you could tell what kind of men they would be when they grew up.  The Crankee Yankee walked before he could talk. His younger brother was the opposite; he talked before he could walk. To this day, they are still walkers and talkers.

My step-daughter, mom of Ava, is a wanderer, too, as is her husband. At age four and a half, Ava, is also a wanderer. In fact, she’s already traveled more than I have! My one big adventure was going to Rome on a class trip when I was a teen. Back then, I didn’t realize that I was a born stay-at-home.

Look, it’s not that I don’t like or appreciate travel; I do. It’s just that I have to have time to process all the reasons why I should travel and not stay home all the time. Oh, and did I mention that I am a worrier as well? That’s an offshoot of my stay-at-homeness. I worry about how well will someone other than me or the Crankee Yankee take care of our cats, and will they remember to put food and water out for the strays, will they remember to lock the doors and pull the shades down at night, will they leave too many lights on, or worse–not leave ANY on? And so it goes.

It is said that, horoscope-wise, we Cancerians vastly prefer our homes to anywhere else. We would love to carry our homes on our backs so that, wherever we go, we would be home. Ah, well, you can’t keep a wanderer home all the time, and you can’t push a stay-at-home to travel all the time. Suffice it to say that we stay-at-homes can’t learn something from our wanderer peers, and vice-versa.

That said, I am still, and always will be, a CRAB.




Things That No One Will Tell You About Being Over 60…But I Will!

Remember what the first day of school was like when you were a kid? I don’t know about you, but I expected that I would come home from my first day knowing how to read and write perfectly. Needless to say, I was pretty bummed out when that didn’t happen.

That experience taught me that reality doesn’t always meet expectations. At each stage of my life, I found that to be true, and gradually learned to accept things as they are, not as I wished them to be.

Same with getting older. One of the major milestones for me was turning 60, which, if you live in China, means a huge celebration of your new elder status, bringing you oodles of respect and gifts. In America, not so much. However, in the four years since I hit that major milestone, I learned some truisms about being over 60. I’ve spoken before about the many benefits of  being over 60, such as senior discounts and the joy of having grandchildren; there are many, many more.

But there are many other less delightful things you can expect when you’re 60 or older, especially if you’re female. If you’re female, there are a host of things that will happen when you’re 60 or older. In no particular order, they are these:

  • No matter your hair type, your hair takes on a life of its own after 60. Mine, for example, has developed zillions of frinky little curly hairs around my hairline. (I swear my hair was as straight as a stick until until then.)
  • You no longer need to shave your legs or armpits; the hair just refuses to grow anymore. No loss in my opinion.
  • Sadly, farts are inevitable. They happen when you bend over, walk up or down the stairs, move suddenly, or when you’re sitting in a crowd.
  • You notice that your formerly young-looking hands have developed brown spots, raised veins and knobby knuckles. (I say let’s bring back those nice lace mitts that just leave your thumbs and fingers showing!)
  • Toenails morph from pretty pearly shells to yellow-y little horns, and you are forced to buy those huge clippers that can also be used to trim horses’ hooves.
  • Your cleavage becomes the Valley of the Wrinkled Dolls.
  • Your nipples now look down disconsolately at your feet. They no longer have anything to look up for.
  • The skin on your heels, no matter how many gallons of lotion you put on them, turns into sandpaper rough enough to sand oak.
  • If you care to look at your bare butt in the mirror, you will notice that you now have pleats under your butt cheeks. (Do yourself a favor–don’t look.)
  • You avoid direct sunlight like a vampire, and protect any uncovered skin with number 3,000 SPF lotion.
  • Even if you stop drinking liquids at noon, you still find you have to get up to pee in the middle of the night.
  • Speaking of pee, you often find that laughing, coughing or sneezing can bring on what I call “happy piddles.”
  • You find that you can no longer wear eye-shadow; eyelids wrinkle right alongside everything else.

Look, I don’t want to view all these things as terrible, they are just hallmarks of getting older. I find that my sense of humor has gotten a real workout through all these changes, plus I take myself so much less seriously. Honestly, it really is all about your mind, your outlook, your values, your love of family and friends, and all those things that you love doing. The physical part of getting older is only the outer shell; it really is what’s inside that counts.

And speaking of that, here is a truth you can take to the bank: do not mourn your youthful self. Celebrate this new, older, smarter, savvy, amazing and unique YOU—warts, wrinkles and all. The fleeting beauty of youth inevitably morphs into a different beauty, and the greatest prize in that particular Crackerjacks box is that you get smarter and take less crap.

Appreciate the past, embrace the now, and keep looking forward. That’s the thing that will keep us happy, healthy, appreciative and positive.



I’m not kidding.




Lists, Lovely Lists!

Oh, where would I be without lists? I love all forms of writing, and list-making is one of my favorites. I know I’ve written about lists before, but frankly, they are an important part of my life. Lists make a foundation to the day; I know what I want to accomplish, and even doing 3-5 things on it make me feel I’ve justified my existence–for that day, anyway.

For example, here’s my list for today:

  • empty the dishwasher
  • do laundry, and, in a separate load, wash the *winter comforter
  • clean the bathroom
  • remind the Crankee Yankee that he promised to vacuum yesterday
  • dust and polish the furniture (once the Crankee Yankee has vacuumed, that is)
  • finish hemming the **quilt I made for Ava, my granddaughter
  • try to fix the zipper on one of my jackets

It may sound funny, but ever since I stopped working, I find I need this daily structure. Lists are how I conquer the dragons in my world; I can go to bed at night and feel I’ve made a good dent in the day.

Simple, I know, but it works for me.

*This thing has been living in a loosely-tied trash bag in our attic and Heaven only knows what it may be harboring! If so, I wish them an quick death in the clothes washer.

**This was supposed to be a Christmas gift LAST Christmas!