Another New Year’s Eve

The older I get, the less interested I am in getting all gussied up to go out somewhere to ring in the New Year. Fortunately, Dad shares my lackluster enthusiasm with this particular day, so we devised a plan for a mini celebration at home—just the two of us.

Today we headed to Fresh Market to buy something for dinner. After sampling a yummy cup of chocolate coffee, we began to walk aimlessly around the store because we had no plan. We started in the produce aisle with the curly zucchini and butternut squash and then headed next to the butcher counter with steaks, sausage which looked like a sad puppy dog, and concluded our tour at the counter with quinoa salad, mini meatloaves, and stuffed cabbage. Sadly, nothing jumped out and said New Year’s Eve, so we moved on.

Next we headed to Kroger, where I was positive we would find some sort of food which would say “come here, Mama,” but again, neither of us was feeling a pull toward anything at the Kroger butcher. Would we have to make a journey to Trader Joe’s tomorrow?

“Let’s try one more place,” I told Dad with a sense of hope in my voice, so we headed to good old Publix. I am happy to report that we are not going to Trader Joe’s tomorrow. We are having stuffed flank steak (stuffed with spinach and cheese), whipped sweet potatoes, homemade applesauce, and a broccoli, cauliflower, and sunflower seed salad.

Perhaps I can even get Dad to have a glass of wine. May I add that once you have gone to New Year’s Eve in Times Square, you can check this day off your “to-do list.”

Happy 2019 Everyone!

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Almost Done

The Christmas tree is up, my ceramic tree, Santas, snowmen, angels, and nativity set are scattered throughout the house.  The stockings are hung by the fireplace with care.

The outside lights have been shining brightly for more than a week, albeit less than previous years. I just could not decorate the porch with the garland lights in time to beat the rain and cold weather.

This morning I completed my Christmas cards and placed them in the mail slot at the post office, but I sent out much less than when we were first married and a stamp cost just fifteen cents. I did not even know until today that there had been an increase to fifty cents this year. I had been unaware because I had only purchased postcard stamps in 2018, which was to support some of my favorite candidates.

The presents have been purchased (except for one certain birthday gift) but not yet wrapped. The cookies have not been baked because we are waiting until the weekend to complete that task with the kiddies.

My first book, Do Svidanya Dad has had a facelift and given a new name: Trapped in Russia. I think the new title is not as confusing as the old because I feel that not all readers have a clue about the meaning of do svidanya.

My final accomplishment has been to publish a selection of my favorite stories from this blog—152 of the now 415 postings I have written since its inception 3 ½ years ago.

They can all be read here on your computer, or you can purchase a paperback or Kindle version (free for my Amazon Prime readers).

And as my Russian grandmother would say, “Happy Happy!”

Was it Enough?

I am beginning this day feeling both hopeful and anxious. How will this day end? Will tomorrow show the world that America is not satisfied with the status quo, or will we be looked upon around the globe with continued worry and confusion?

Politics never interested me. I never went to a march or a political rally, never communicated with my representatives, never allied with a particular party, and never did anything more than vote.

This time it is different. I am worried about the future for my children and grandchildren. Clean air and water, affordable healthcare and equality for all, and the return of integrity and trust has made me an activist.

It began with the Women’s March, followed by the realization that marching and carrying a clever sign was not enough. I decided to dip my toe into local politics. I attended and hosted meetings, where I learned how I could make a difference.

I wrote hundreds of postcards for my candidates for governor and Congress. I learned how to register people to vote. I helped organize a candidates’ forum. I visited my current congressman every week, armed with cookies and questions in the hopes of proving or disproving the fact that he does not answer to his constituents. Sadly, I learned he does not care about me.

I made telephone calls during primary season and knocked on doors as part of the Get Out The Vote campaign (GOTV). This got me out of my comfort zone when I saw that people were thankful for the information I provided on the candidates as well as how and where to go to vote early absentee.

In the wake of so much gun violence, I joined Moms Demand Action, a national group intent on enacting more common-sense gun laws. With this group, I learned how an idea becomes a law in my state, when I attended subcommittee and committee meetings, which happen before a law can be voted upon by the legislature.

I did a lot, but did I do enough? I will know tomorrow when I see the election results. No matter what, when my grandchildren read about the 2018 election in their history books, I will be able to tell them the story of the people I met, the things we all did, and how Grandma did not let this election go down without a fight.

Hurry Hurry Hurry

Hurry, hurry, hurry, everyone! Today is November 2, so the Christmas season has officially begun. I became acutely aware of this yesterday when I started channel-surfing on my car radio and discovered that the Christmas station is already up and running. (Channel 4 for anyone interested.) I am already late in acknowledging this.

So toss out those pumpkins before they rot. Take down those Halloween wreaths from your front doors and put away your costumes and decorations. Eat that candy before you begin baking the cookies. Begin creating your Christmas lists for Santa and your loved ones.

Should I even bother displaying my Thanksgiving decorations—the ceramic pilgrims and tacky Mr. Rushmore salt and pepper shakers that I love? It’s time to put up those outdoor lights and drag out the Christmas tree. Hurry, hurry, hurry, before it’s too late!

          

It Could Not Get Much Better

We went to see “Hamilton” last night, and I admit I was nervous. After all the hype surrounding how wonderful the show is and therefore how difficult it is to score a ticket, I worried that I would not like it but would admit it. I did not even know the music was predominately rap. I am so uncool.

I am happy to report that I loved it—honestly! I realized how little I know of American history. I know the history of the explorers: Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, Vasco De Gama, and Henry Hudson to name a few. I know about the Civil War from the point of view of a Northern education. Sad to say, I did not know that Alexander Hamilton was responsible for our nation’s banking system nor did I know how his son met his fate.

But the incredible show was not all that was memorable. Did I mention the bathroom at the Blumenthal Theater? My friend Mary and I decided to pay a visit to “the loo” during intermission. As soon as we exited the theater and feasted our eyes on the line, I believed I would just have to cross my legs and think of little but the desert during Act II. No way would we make it inside the hallowed halls of the bathroom before the curtains rose for the remainder of the show.

Little did I know that once inside, we would be presented with 48 stalls manned by two women traffic directors, who moved traffic in and out with indescribable efficiency? Did I mention that it was very, very clean? Mary and I completed our mission with time to spare. If we had wanted, we could have filled our bladders with a lovely glass of red or white.

As someone who critiques all bathrooms, this was truly noteworthy. An award-winning bathroom, great company and a memorable show. It could not get much better.

Another Book on the Horizon—or not

I completed another book, girls. This is becoming quite the habit. I am uncertain whether this is my last book or if I will get inspired to begin another. In my mind, I have written two, because I am not counting the family history since it is really Aunt Marian’s baby. I just took her work and created a book.

The second, “Do Svidanya Dad—Tracing the Story of an American Family Trapped in the USSR” is really my first, and it sucked the life out of me because it took soooo many years to research and complete. Having self-published that book now two years ago and seeing little interest during two book fairs, I decided to change the cover and title because I thought that maybe a change would make a difference. After all, Russia is still a hot topic, but perhaps the title is confusing and the cover is just not eye-catching.

So I brainstormed with my book club and a few friends via Facebook and came up with the new title: “Trapped in Russia ~ An American Family.” I am now working on the revised cover. What are your thoughts? Similar to the choices when going to the eye doctor, do you like #1, #2, or neither? If neither, what would you do differently? I am truly interested in feedback.

           

You should all know about my second/third book. I decided to take a subset of this blog and publish it. I tried to only include stories relevant to my family or individuals of my generation, hence the title: “Mommysmeanderings: Down Memory Lane with a Vintage Boomer.”

I truly don’t know what I will do with this book regarding promoting it or not. I am uncertain of the interest level for this book. Dad refers to it as a “bathroom book.” Frankly, I disagree. I hate to ask this, but do women “linger” in the bathroom as much as men? I think this is more of a “I want a quick read before bedtime book.” What do you think?

 

 

My Body Just Ain’t What It Was!

I have become more and more appreciative of my great grandparents, John and Mary Carey, after every sleepover of my own grandchildren. Little children are full of so much energy—far exceeding what Dad and I currently have.

Mary became a mother again at the age of fifty-five after her twenty-nine-year old daughter-in-law died. Grandma Mary and her fifty-six-year old husband had to care for their three and five-year old grandsons while their dad, Jim, went off to work at the local silk mill. Jim and his son moved in with his parents and brothers after his wife’s death. Life was so much harder during the early 1900’s, so a person in their mid-fifties was not as young physically as their counterparts today.

When our little cuties visit us for an extended stay, we are usually exhausted after their departure. Dad has trouble climbing into the fort and remaining inside in order to play a game of cards. “We need to play at the kitchen table,” he explains to them. While temperatures hovering in the mid-nineties with matching humidity are no excuse to stay inside for little people, our tolerance for playing outside in the Carolina sun in these conditions cannot match theirs.

We have become accustomed to binging on Handmaid’s Tale during the evening, but that did not happen during the latest sleepover. Two-year-old children (excuse me—2 ½ year old) think it is hysterical to jump on the bed while screaming at a high-pitched volume. This was not even amusing to her 5 ½ year old brother.

Thankfully, vanity took over and she decided to peruse the photograph album which contained pictures of her from her birth to shortly before her second birthday. (We really need to update those albums.) She then found a container of shells, which she played with until I announced it was time for bed.

Apparently, 10 o’clock was the preferred bedtime for our little visitor. I really appreciate what my grandparents did for their son, but wouldn’t any parent do this?

I hope we look younger than this!