Thursday, August 10, 2017

USELESS TRIVIA


It was late in the afternoon when my husband Steven walked in the front door. “I'm home!” he called as he dropped his keys on the foyer table.
“I'm in here!” I called from the living room where I was sitting on the couch, still in my pajamas with my laptop propped up on a pillow on my lap.
“What have you been up to today?” he asked picking up the pile of mail from the coffee table and leafing through it.
I was busy scrolling though some news-feeds. “Did you know Jim Carey was also a painter?” I asked as I turned the screen around to show him some of his paintings.
Steven looked confused. “Jim Carey? You mean the actor?”
“Yup.” I turned the laptop back to facing me and began tapping on the keys again.
“What made you look that up?” He dropped the mail back on the table and sat down next to me.
I shrugged my shoulders. “A friend of mine posted a video on Facebook of him painting. At first I thought it was a role he was playing but then I realized it was his work.”
“So you've spent all day looking at paintings he's done?” Steven looked at my pajamas. “When I left here this morning you had a whole list of things you wanted to get done.”
“Not just paintings he's done.” I pulled a blanket over my bare feet. “Once I saw what he'd done it got me thinking if there were any other actors who like to paint.”
“Really?” I could hear by his tone he wasn't impressed.
That didn't stop me from sharing more of my new found knowledge.“Did you know Sylvester Stallone likes to paint in the nude?”
Steven shook his head, giving me a look of disgust. “Why would I want to know that?”
“No reason.” I said shrugging my shoulders again. “I'm not a big fan of his work but I thought the nude thing was pretty interesting.”
Steven laughed as he took a pillow and placed it behind his back. “So who else paints?”
“See...I told you it's interesting!” I went back on the site I'd found earlier. “Did you know Anthony Hopkins started painting when he was in his 60's!”
“I did know that one.” Steven said.
“What about David Bowie?”
Steven nodded his head. “Knew that one, too.”
“Well...” I scrolled through the site. “What about Johnny Depp? Or Stevie Nicks?”
“Nope didn't know about either one of them.”
“See!” I smiled as I as I shut off my computer and placed it on the table. “Now I've given you some useless trivia you can feel free to share with friends and family!” I stood up and stretched.
“Thanks.” Steven got up and headed into the kitchen. “What's going on for dinner?” He opened the refrigerator and looked inside.
“Well...I got so busy with my research that I didn't get a chance to go to the grocery store.” I admitted.
“So we're ordering out?” Steven was headed for the drawer we kept the take-out menus in.

“Nope!” I opened the freezer and pulled out the frozen pizza I liked to keep on hand for just such emergencies. “Dinner will be ready in twenty minutes!” I turned on the oven. “Once I get this in the oven I'll have just enough time to jump in the shower and put on a clean pair of pajamas before dinner!”

Friday, August 4, 2017

THE ART OF PIT SPITTING


Our son Alex came out on the back deck carrying a bowl of cherries. “Look what I found in the refrigerator!” he said placing the bowl on the table between my husband Steven and I. He looked over at me. “Did you get these today?”
“I did! I picked them up at the farmer’s market, don't they look good!” I popped one in my mouth and pulled the stem off. Spitting the pit into my hand I got up and went into the house coming back out with a few napkins. “Does anyone else need a napkin?” I asked placing them on the table next to the bowl of cherries.
“For what?” Steven asked as he took another cherry from the bowl.
“The pits.” I said.
Steven and Alex looked at one another before they began to laugh. “We don't need a napkin.” Alex turned his head spitting the cherry pit over the rail and into the yard.
“Nice!” Steven said then spit his own over the rail. “But I think mine went farther!”
They both turned to me. “You want to try?” Steven asked pushing the bowl of cherries closer to me.
“I've never been very good a pit spitting.” I said popping another cherry into my mouth, taking the stem and placing it on my napkin. When I spit out the pit it tumbled unimpressively just a few feet from my chair. “Told you.” I said picking it up and tossing it into the yard. “I've never been a gifted pit spitter like you two.” I grabbed another one from the bowl to try again.
“You've got to tip up your chin up a little more...it helps you get some distance.” Alex demonstrated what he was saying as I watched another one of his pits go sailing over the railing and landing in the yard.
I tipped my chin up and spit. The cherry pit dribbled out of my mouth, down my chin and landed on my shirt leaving a red stain where it landed. “Oh, great!” I said flicking the pit with my fingers. “That's going to be a stain I'll never get out!” I complained.
Alex looked over at Steven. “She really can't do it.” he sounded almost amazed.
Steven shook his head. “Nope, she really can't.” He shot another pit out of his mouth and we all watched it sail over the railing in a perfect arch. “It must be like the tongue curling gene. You either have it or you don't.” He curled his tongue and looked over at Alex.
“Oh yeah! I can do that too!” He curled his tongue and they both turned to me.
I stuck my tongue out, of course without a curl. “Nope can't do that either.” I sighed as I took one last cherry, popped it in my mouth and spit the pit into my hand before dropping it on my napkin.
“Maybe if you practiced.” Alex tried to sound hopeful.
I looked down at the cherry stain on my shirt. “Nope, not worth it.” I shrugged my shoulders, “Besides, it's not really very ladylike.” I sat up a little straighter, brushing an invisible speck of dirt off my pants.
“Really?” Steven turned his head, spit out another pit then looked over at me. “That's what you're going with?”

I smiled as I placed another stem on my napkin. “Yup! That's exactly what I'm going with!”

Friday, July 28, 2017

NOT A GARDEN


We'd invited some friends over for pizza and Steven had made some appetizers. As he put the plate of tomato, mozzarella and basil drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil on the table he proudly announced. “This came out of Kathy's garden!”
“Oh, the tomatoes!” Nicole asked as she scooped one off the plate.
“No, the basil.” Steven said and smiled at me.
“The tomatoes came from the grocery store.” I admitted.
“But she's growing some great looking cherry tomatoes!” Steven said. He looked over at Nancy. “Would you like to see her garden?”
“Um...Steven there's not really much to see.” I said passing the plate of olives to Nancy's husband Frank.
“Oh, come on...you're not giving yourself enough credit.” Steven got up and tapped Nancy on the arm. “Do you want to see?”
“Sure.” Nancy got up and followed Steven out the back door to our deck where five pots of cherry tomatoes were tied along the deck posts.
I handed the plate of cheese and crackers to Nicole's husband Jake before following them out to the deck.
I opened the back door and could see Nancy patiently standing next to Steven as he proudly pointed to the dozen or so cherry tomatoes ripening on the vines. “It's a pretty nice crop she's got coming in!” he said.
Nancy nodded and tried to look impressed.
“And her basil's right over there!” Steven pointed to the pot of basil next to the rocking chair. “Oh that's nice.” Nancy agreed.
“Hey, Nancy! Can I get you a glass of wine?” I asked as I stood in the open doorway.
“Oh, that would be great!” She came back into the house with Steven following her. I let Nancy in and stopped Steven at the door closing it quietly so the two of us were alone on the deck.
“Didn't Frank and Nancy have a huge garden when they lived in Connecticut?” I whispered to him.
“Sure they did.” Steven looked over his shoulder. “It was probably the size of our whole deck. They grew everything! Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers!” He shook his head trying to remember. “I think he even tried pumpkins or watermelons at one time.”
I groaned as I smacked my hand to my forehead. “So do you really think Nancy wanted to see my five tomatoes plants and a container of basil?” I groaned even louder. “I can't believe you even called it a garden?”
Steven patted me on the shoulder and reached for the doorknob. “Hey, don't be so hard on yourself. Last year you only had two tomato plants and this year you have five. I'm proud of you!”
I laughed. “Thanks.”
“Hey, just think maybe next year your garden will be in the yard and not on the deck.” Steven gave a hopeful smile.
I just shook my head. “Let's not go crazy. I can barely remember to water the five plants I have.”

As he opened the door we heard the knock at the front door. “Pizza's here!” we called in unison.

Friday, July 21, 2017

LAUNDRY DAY EVERYDAY


I walked into the laundry room and saw the laundry basket overflowing with clothes. “Oh come on! I thought I caught up with the laundry yesterday!” I cried as I began sorting the dirty clothes into piles.
“Are you talking to me?” my husband Steven called.
“I am if you're the one who dumped all the dirty clothes in here!”
Steven came to the door. “I only threw in what I used when I showered this morning.”
By now I had three separate piles. I held up a pair of my son Alex's shorts. “I'm pretty sure I know who did this.”
Steven backed out of the doorway and headed to his office. “Hey, I'm just glad it wasn't me.” he called over his shoulder.
“ALEX!” I called up the stairs.
“What?”
“Didn't I ask you to put your dirty clothes in the laundry room yesterday?” By now Alex was at the head of the stairs.
“I did.” he stood there looking confused.
“Yesterday?”
“Oh...um...maybe it was this morning.” He gave me his most charming smile. “Sorry.”
“Nope, not going to work.” I said motioning for him to follow me. “I would have done it for you yesterday but now you get to do it yourself.”
I was pretty sure I could hear a slight moan behind me as Alex followed me. “I don't want to hear any complaining.” I cautioned. “I'm tired of having to do laundry everyday. It's about time you did your own.” By now we were both walking into the laundry room.
Steven was already there taping up a sign on the shelf over the washing machine. When he saw me coming he pointed to the sign. “I made this for you.” he said than smiled.
In bold print the sign read: HAVE YOU EVER LOOKED AT THE LAST FEW LOADS OF LAUNDRY AND CONSIDERED JUST THROWING THEM AWAY?

“Amen to that!” I said looking at Alex, then down at his three piles of dirty clothes. “That's exactly what I was thinking when I came in here this morning! I adjusted the sign so it was centered on the shelf. “I think I just might go out and get this thing laminated!”

Friday, July 14, 2017

BACK ROAD WARRIOR


It was noon and my son Alex was just coming out of his bedroom.
“Want to go down to the beach and grab a hot dog for lunch?” I asked him as he came into the room rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.
Alex looked out the window. “It looks like a perfect beach day.” He began to stretch. “So, I'm going to say no.” He stifled a yawn.
“What?” I was confused. “But you just said it's a perfect beach day?”
“I know.” He wandered into the kitchen and I could hear him rummaging though the refrigerator. “Do you know what the traffic's going to be like getting down there?” he called out to me. He finally came back into the living room. “Do you know there's nothing here to eat?”
“I know. I didn't feel like going grocery shopping this morning.” I explained. “That's why I'm suggesting the hot dog.” I smiled at him.
Alex stood there for a moment thinking about it.
“What if I told you I could get you to the beach without hitting any traffic?” I added.
Alex didn't seem convinced. “How?”
“Your Grandmother was the original back road warrior and she taught me all her tricks.” I got up and grabbed the car keys. “It's time I passed this knowledge down to you.”
We were in the car backing out of the driveway. “Knowing all the local shortcuts is the best thing about living near the ocean.” We were stopped at a traffic light of a major highway that led to the beach. “Now, off season we'd just go straight to the beach.” I pointed to the highway that now looked like a parking lot as cars jockeyed for the better lane. “If you go that way now, you're talking about getting to the beach in about an hour.”
“I know, that's why I don't go down there in the summer.” Alex grumbled.
“Well, that's just sad.” I said. “We live by the beach we should be able to enjoy it too!” By now the light had turned green and I crossed over the highway. “We're going to weave our way though a few towns, take the roads less traveled and be eating a hot dog in less then fifteen minutes!” I looked at Alex and smiled. “I promise!”
Cutting through two developments, and taking roads parallel to the direct beach route we were pulling into the parking lot of Windmill Hot Dogs in less then fifteen minutes.
“Wow!” Alex said as he got out of the car. “I didn't think we'd be able to find a parking space.”
I smiled as I pointed to the sign on the light pole. “That's because this lot is only for customers, and they really do tow you if you park here and go to the beach.”
“Did you know that before we got here?”
“Of course, or I never would have suggested coming down.” I pointed to the line of cars driving up and down Ocean Avenue looking for parking spaces. “You think I want to be one of them, waiting to see if someone's pulling out soon?” I shook my head no as we headed into the restaurant.
Once we ordered our hot dogs we sat outside to eat and listen to waves crash against the beach.
“Isn't this nice.” I said looking over at Alex and taking in a deep breath of ocean air. “This is how locals enjoy it here.” I sighed.
Alex laughed. “So after the hot dogs do you want to go get some ice cream?”

“Sure.” I smiled at him. “I'm pretty sure I know a short cut.”

Friday, July 7, 2017

KIKI AND THE CATBIRD


I'd been sitting on my back deck trying to enjoy a beautiful summer morning when I couldn't take it anymore. “Okay, you two! It's time to knock it off!” I cried.
Steven looked over at me. “Who are you talking to?”
I pointed to the catbird sitting on our grill top, screeching at the top of it's lungs at the open window that our son's cat, Kiki was sitting in. “They've been at it for the last twenty minutes!”
Steven looked over. “Huh, I hadn't noticed.” He went back to reading the newspaper.
“You hadn't noticed?” I got up to shoo the bird away. “How can you not hear that!” The catbird's wailing was deafening.
Steven shrugged his shoulders. “I don't know, I guess I just learned to block out things I don't want to hear.”
I turned back to look at him. “Well, there's a conversation we might need to have.”
He looked up from his paper and smiled. “What? I'm sorry, I didn't hear you.”
“Yeah, right.” I laughed and turned to shoo the catbird again. But as I got closer to the grill I could see Kiki wasn't yelling at the bird at the same time. They were taking turns. I stopped and looked over at Steven. “They're having a conversation!”
“What?” Steven looked over at me.
I pointed to the window. “I swear, I think they're having a conversation!” I watched as the catbird cried several times then stopped. Then it was Kiki's turn to meow a few times then stop and wait for the catbirds response.

“Oh, great.” Steven shook his head. “Now you're going to tell me what you think they're saying to each other, aren't you?”
“Well, I could.” I began waving my arms until the catbird saw me and flew away to the nearest tree branch. “But that would mean I'd have had to listen to that screeching for a few more minutes and I can't do it.” I went back to sit in my chair and listen to the pretty sounds of birds chirping by the feeders. “Ah...isn't that better?”
“Sure.” Steven handed me a section of the paper.
It had only been a few minutes before the catbird was back on the grill yelling at Kiki. “Oh come on!” I cried.
“The bird's probably got a nest nearby.” he looked at me and shrugged his shoulders. “It's just doing what come naturally to it.”
We continued to listen to the screeching a few minutes more. “Oh, I can't take this!” I got up and went to railing of the deck to scream at the bird. “The cat is locked in the house! There's no way she's coming out! Give it up, she's not a threat!” Both the catbird and Kiki looked over at me, then the bird flew away again.
When I turned around Steven was looking at me. “So you decided to be a part of their conversation?”
“Hey, it worked didn't it!” I smiled as I sat back down.
Moments later the catbird landed on the grill again and started back up. Steven looked over at me.
I held up my hand, “Don't say anything.” I warned him.

Steven just shook his head. “What would I say? I don't hear anything.”

Friday, June 30, 2017

LEMONADE STAND


Alex and I were driving into our development when we both spotted the lemonade stand set up down the street. Two little girls, both holding signs, were waving and calling out to us.
“Should we stop?” I asked Alex.
“Sure, an open pitcher sitting out in the hot sun for who know how long sounds like a great plan.” Alex turned his head to me. I was pretty sure he was trying to avoid making eye contact with the girls as we drove past.
I took a quick glance at the pitcher and noticed that it was uncovered and that there was no ice floating in it. “Wow! You've got good eyes spotting that so far away.”
Alex shrugged.
“I just feel bad for them.” I said as I looked in the review mirror and saw their sad faces looking at our car driving away. “Remember how excited you were when you had your lemonade stand?”
Alex laughed. “When did I have a lemonade stand?”
“Are you kidding me?” I couldn't believe he'd forgotten. “It was in January and you set it up in our living room!”
Now Alex was really laughing. “January? Why did you let me do that in January?
Now it was my turn to be surprised. “Let you? Are you forgetting how determined you get when you get an idea?”
Alex nodded and shrugged his shoulders. “How old was I?”
I thought about it for a moment. “I'm going to say around three.”

Alex shook his head. “I must have needed some money for something.” He looked over at me again. “Did I get any customers?”
Now it was time for me to laugh. “You had plenty because while you were dragging your Little Tikes picnic table into the living room I was on the phone calling all our friends and neighbors to come over so you wouldn't be disappointed!” I looked over at him and smiled. “You looked so cute sitting at your table patiently waiting for your customers.”
“Thanks for making that happen, Mom.” He patted me on the shoulder. “I guess when you're three you don't think about a marketing plan, huh?”
I smiled as I pulled into our driveway and put the car in park. “Hey, that's what Mom's do.”
Alex was quiet for a moment. “Well, now I feel bad about not stopping at their stand.”
“I can fix that too!” I smiled as I put the car in reverse and backed out of the driveway.
Alex laughed, then looked a bit concerned. “We don't have to really drink it do we?”
“Of course not.” I shook my head. “You just smile and say you're going to drink it in the car then we'll get rid of it when we come back home.”

Alex reached into his pocket and pulled out a few bills. “In that case it's on me!”