One of my earliest, and fondest, memories happened when I was four. My grandmother had shelves of cookbooks which were easily accessible to someone with my 37 inches in height. While the adults were talking, I’d pull a couple cookbooks, grab a few pencils and go hide in the stairwell. There, I would flip through the pages and “write” stories based on the pictures in the books. In one story, the pasta was actually food created by aliens and served to kids in school (Having not yet entered kindergarten, I had no real baseline as to what happened in school and naturally had to fill in the blank with absurd stories of my own creation.)
My favorite story was the one where Grandma and Grandpa Sweetheart (My grandma always called me “Sweetheart” and for the longest time, for no real reason, I thought that was their last name) just couldn’t make it to their granddaughter’s house in time for Christmas, due to a storm. The granddaughter was very upset. I’ll spare you the majority of the plotline but WILL tell you – spoiler alert – the grandparents showed up after all, with a tray of Christmas cookies, even!
When my grandparents passed away, my Aunt Linda inherited plenty of cookbooks with incoherent four-year-old handwriting and gibberish.
I’ve created stories and have wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember. Once I was old enough to realize that a male gender bias ruled our society, I decided I needed to find a woman writer to look up to. Sure, Ann M. Martin (and her team of ghost writers) pumped out Babysitter Club book after Babysitter Club book, but even as a pre-teen, I knew that her (their?) stuff wasn’t that of which aspirations are made.
Now Nora Ephron – she was someone I could look up to. Born in the 1940s, women in her generation weren’t expected to do much of anything. In an industry dominated by
dic men, she broke through, becoming one of the most successful women in Hollywood. Her movies will always be referred to as “rom-coms” or “chick flicks” and she has been accused of pandering to her audience. I never thought that was the case. I thought that she wrote smart, modern women who were always in search of a little old-school romance. She wrote about women, for women. Her words always felt uncontrived, never forced for plotline’s sake. In Ephron’s land, although it may have been delayed, everyone always got their happy ending. And isn’t that the goal in life? To be happy?
While some criticized her characters, expecting more out of these fictional role models, I focused on Ephron as a role model for myself. She was born into a family of writers. With roots in journalism, she married one of the all-time great investigative reporters, Carl Berstein. She took all of that experience and became a novelist, humorist, essayist, blogger, movie director and Oscar-nominated screenplay writer.
In her writing, she never wasted a moment, with dialogue always landing exactly where it was supposed to, with purpose and timed to perfection. Ms. Ephron could take the most mundane, every-day scene and turn it into so much more.
She was so much more.
Ms. Ephron, thank you for being a woman that a little girl, with pencils in her hand and stories in her head, could look up to. If I am ever successful in just one of the careers that you made for yourself, I will consider myself blessed. (Even if I’m the worst kind of woman – high maintenance who thinks I’m low maintenance.)
“Should old acquaintance be forgot. Does that mean we should forget old acquaintances, or does it mean if we do happen to forget them, we should remember them, which is not possible because we already forgot them? ” – Harry
“Maybe you’re just supposed to remember that you forgot them, or something. Anyway, it’s about old friends.” – Sally
You, Ms. Ephron, will never be forgot.
One of my favorite lines in a movie, from When Harry Met Sally:
“I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that a lot of things in this life are NOT guaranteed. You will not always have the metabolism you had when you were 17 – (most of us will someday) kiss it goodbye. Your first love will rarely be your last. You will face plenty of rejection and disappointment as you grow. And relationships – be it decade-long friendships or the ones you were born into – may not always survive with the same amount of effort you are used to putting in.
You will pursue new interests, put down new roots and create new branches on the tree of your life. It is not guaranteed that those who were once important to your existence will continue to be important.
If you want them to stay important, you need to make them important.
Life gets busy. One day, you and your high school buddies are laughing together in 9th period study hall before you go home to the house you share with the family you were born into. And then, in what seems like the blink of an eye, you’re applying for a mortgage on your own house, the one you now share with the family you’re creating on your own.
I have been guilty of assuming that my relationships would grow with me, without any extra exertion on my part. This naivety nearly cost me a fifteen year friendship during the most stressful, life-altering time of my life. During that period, I often had pangs of disappointment and sadness, knowing that I would no longer be sharing these highs and lows with my friend. (Although we missed out on a year, we are both working to rectify the situation and for that I am very grateful; as an adult I’ve learned the hard way that best friends and confidants no longer come easy.)
Before getting angry and defensive, you need to take a look in the mirror. If you aren’t accepting any blame for the dispersion of the relationship, then you need to look harder. What could you have done differently? What are you going to do to rectify the situation?
Lots of people will come and go in your life. Are you ready for this person to be one of them?
I just read this article on Friday Puppy (For those in the Capital region, surely you follow Matt Baumgartner’s hilarious blog. If not, well, at least you go to Bomber’s for your free birthday margarita. If not – what is wrong with you? Find another blog to read. You don’t belong here.).
Anyways, the article is titled “So you wanna drive an ice cream truck” and is a list of ten helpful hints from a former ice cream truck driver, Matt himself. I tried picking a favorite tip to share with you, but they are all hilarious, so I will just give you a sample.
6. Some towns require a daily permit to be a “vendor”. So every day, I had to go into the Scotia town hall and buy the permit. And every day they acted like it was my first time walking in there.
“How can we help you?”
‘Delorores, it’s me. I need another permit.”
“A permit for……..”.
“What do you think, Delores? I’m wearing an all white paper hat. I have ice cream stains on my thighs. You see my big stupid truck outside.”
Go read the article. Then leave work and go to Bombers for happy hour. Its hot out and a frozen mango margarita is calling your name. Or is that “Heather” its saying?
I forgot to pop allergy medicine this morning, so I’m even more chipper and friendly than usual today. My throat feels like it’s on fire. Why I thought today would be a great day for contacts, I’m not sure. I’m fairly certain they are going to flow down my cheeks in a stream of pollen induced tears. Anyways…
When we made the decision to go from renting an apartment in Watervliet to buying a house in East Greenbush, many factors came into play. For me, the lack of privacy while apartment dwelling was really grating on my nerves. I wanted a place where I could come home from work, grab a coffee (or some wine, depending on the day), go into the backyard with our dog and read the latest Emily Giffin without eyes
judging watching or people trying to make conversation.
We purchased a home on a double lot. I quickly envisioned a peaceful oasis- flowers and Adirondack chairs, wicker swings and bistro tables. While imagining my silent sanctuary, I failed to take into consideration that we now lived on a hill. Meaning that even a ten foot fence does not block our neighbor’s view of our yard. Or us. And with two young children, a puppy and an overly-chatty husband and wife duo, that quickly made my silent sanctuary null and void.
Listen – I’m the first to say that I’m not the friendliest person in the world. Don’t get me wrong. I have no qualms about throwing a neighborly wave their way. If I saw that their puppy got loose, I would happily bring him back to their yard. But do you know what I DON’T want to do? Have a twenty minute conversation every time I go outside. If you see me going out back with a magazine and a
bottle goblet glass of wine, you don’t need to ask me what I’m up to. It’s apparent.
Now, being a total witch would not be a problem for me. I have no problem ignoring both adults and children alike, in order to reclaim my space. I won’t discriminate whom I direct my bad attitude towards. My problem is my husband. He’s just too nice. This is one of the traits I simultaneously love and dislike about him. He can make friends with anyone. And clingers, as I like to call them, know it at first glance. Like a wild animal sniffing out its prey, clingers know that they can lull my husband into an hour long conversation. In our back yard. While eating OUR chips.
It appears that I can’t just ask my husband to be blatantly rude, like I plan on doing, in order to get some privacy. (Well, I did ask him, but it turns out that his answer is “absolutely not”.) He understands where I’m coming from, but he’s already opened a can of worms (I don’t get that saying. I’ve seen worms. They aren’t that speedy. Does the saying originator mean a can of snakes? Like that “Surprise!” toy? Is ‘can of snakes’ too distracting and scary to say, so they changed it to worms?***). So, my question to you is how do we get this to stop? How can we get back our privacy without looking like total jerks? How would you handle this?
***Guys, bad news. I google image searched “can of worms”, thinking I’d find a cutesy graphic. Instead, there were pictures and pictures of pop-top can of worms. Sooo now I can vomit up my morning coffee because that was gross.
UPDATE: We officially adopted Bumble in July. This is an updated picture of the not-so-little guy, with his sister, Sadie:
Although I grew up in a family that always had a dog (and whom I always loved dearly), I’ve never really considered myself a “dog person”. Now, don’t get me wrong. Like I said, if one is part of my family, I love them with all my heart. And if you don’t ooo and ahh when you see a puppy, then I believe that you have no soul. But, unlike my husband, I don’t stop to ooo and ahh over every dog I pass.
Now my husband – HE is a dog lover. Jason will go right up to strange dogs, let them sniff him and within seconds he is covered in slobbery kisses. I’ve never met a dog who didn’t immediately love Jason and vice versa. He’s had our pup Sadie (who’s now 14), since she was one. When he was 18, he went to the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society to get a dog. I love hearing his father tell the story. “Jason was down to two dogs. We took the first dog outside. He was so good on his leash, didn’t tug, and was obedient and calm. And theeeeennnn there was Sadie.” As I’ve written before – Sadie was a ball of energy then and, fourteen years later, is still feisty and playful.
As Sadie’s age is creeping towards two decades old, Jason’s anxiety is increasing. Because he’s never had another dog, he can’t imagine having a dog who doesn’t behave exactly like Sadie. He’s been itching to get a puppy so that in a Yoda-like fashion, Sade can bestow all of her wisdom and behavioral traits onto
a machine that will create her clone him or her.
I, on the other hand, think that the three (Yes. Three.) cats and Sadie is plenty of fur for one household. You all know by now how I hate change. Our family has a nice, steady routine going. For instance, they know that Mama likes her sleep, so nobody whines for me to let them outside at night. When I’m getting ready for work, they all do their own thing, careful not to step in the way of my always-frantic mornings. I get home in the evening, let Sadie outside and then we cuddle while we catch up on DVR. The cats come and go, never requiring too much maintenance, just some love. Sadie is just as content spending the day lounging around as she is playing fetch outside. I have been worried that a new puppy will disrupt our family harmony and, more importantly, all of the things I like to do.
Then we came across the Homeward Bound Dog Rescue of Albany. I stumbled across a post on Facebook that they made about puppies from Tennessee coming to the area in order to avoid euthanization. If they didn’t have a foster home to stay at, they wouldn’t be able to make the trip. One puppy, Duce, caught my eye. He was just a huge puffball of white fur. He is a 12-week-old Great Pyrenees/Irish Wolfhound mix.
I showed the organization to Jason. Maybe having a puppy wouldn’t be as bad as I thought it would be. If we fostered a puppy, we would be able to see how a new dog would fit into our family (and into my uninterrupted nightly visits to dreamland.) By fostering, we’d be saving a pup from the ultimate unfair death sentence. I thought it was a nice compromise of me to come up with, and Jason agreed.
We submitted an application and were approved to be foster parents. We went to the Homeward Bound storefront at 4:30 on Sunday and waited for the shipment of dogs to arrive from the south. At 4:45, two tiny shepherd pups came bounding into the room, followed by a timid 10-month-old shepherd-boxer mix. Then, in came Duce. He was three times the size of his little pup picture. At 28lbs, he is almost as large as 39lb Sadie. His paws were the size of my hand. (Great pyrs can get as large as 155lbs) He was petrified. He quickly found a table to hide under, his back up against the wall, his tall in between his legs. We knew we had to take him.
After a quick rename to Bumble (ala the Abominable Snow Monster in Rudolph, due to his fluffiness, colors and eventual size), we spent the next twenty minutes trying to get him outside. He was scared of everything – the hallway, the pavement, the grass. Slowly, we got him into the backseat of the car with me. He seemed comfortable with me petting him and soon laid down. We brought him home and, in typical Sadie fashion, she came barreling out of the house. He dropped his head and tail, quick to be submissive to anyone or thing around him. After a few sniffs, Sadie showed her disinterest and continued trying to get us to throw the Frisbee for her.
We brought Bumble inside and introduced him to his other foster sisters, one of which was very friendly while the other two played the scaredy cat card. He quickly warmed up to us, following us if we left the room or coming over for attention. We brought him to the back yard and saw his playful side as he hopped and sprinted around. His first overnight was rough, as we made the mistake of setting up his coop in the living room and not upstairs in our bedroom. We paid for that by listening to him bark and whine most of the night. (We quickly remedied our mistake, bringing him upstairs the next night, where he slept peacefully, waking up to whine only once, alerting us that he needed to go outside.)
When we turned a baseball game on tv that evening, he jumped up. How adorable, I thought! “Look, Jay! He loves baseball just like us!” And then, he put his tail between his legs and walked backwards into the corner. That’s when we realized that he probably had never seen or heard a tv before.
We were reminded that this poor baby has never been in a home when we tried to walk him up the stairs. He was so scared. The first time we tried to get him down, I ended up having to carry him because I was going to be late for work. Three days later and he’s got them down like a champ now.
He has had no accidents and is quickly becoming acclimated with his coop. Bumble and Sadie are becoming quick friends, as Sadie has realized that she now has someone to play chase and tag with her outside. He is really opening up, becoming so affectionate with both myself and Jason. My sister visited yesterday and we were interested to see how he would be with a stranger. He took his cues from Sadie, who charged over at her, excited to have a new person in the house to give her a few pats and ball tosses. He was licking and loving my sister up. I felt like a proud mama.
Bumble’s picture is up on the Homeward Bound Dog Rescue site (listed as Duce). We will also be bringing him to adoption clinics on Saturdays. He is turning into the sweetest little pup. I teared up last night, thinking about letting him go. But, as someone at the rescue said, I just have to remember that when he goes to his forever home, that leaves room in ours to save another dog in need. Along with Sadie, Jason and I are teaching him how to be the perfect dog.
If you or someone you know is interested in adopting our Bumble (he’s starting to learn his name, so don’t even think about changing it), please let me know (Or, not. Then we’ll just HAVE to keep him. Bummer.)
When we were planning our wedding, we decided right away to make our priorities clear. With a tight budget, we needed to know where to spend our money. I didn’t want to splurge on flowers (turns out that with Karen from Splendid Stems, I didn’t have to. Karen knew how tight our budget was and made the most amazing bouquets and boutonnieres I have ever seen. Truly.) We decided that the venue was the most important thing to us. We wanted to have it somewhere beautiful. We wanted a place that was both elegant and fun, allowing all of our family and friends to have a great time while celebrating with us. Once we checked out the Franklin Plaza, it was a no-brainer that we would book there. They took care of everything, from the ceremony and lighting down to the h’ordeuvres and dessert bar.
After making sure we found the perfect venue, a great photographer was next on our list.
I love photos. I love to flip through albums and books, reminiscing and laughing at times past. And the pictures don’t even have to be of me or anyone I know! I think it’s the writer in me, because you know what they say. A picture is worth a thousand words. That’s so true.
I knew that, for me, in order to tell the story of our wedding to our kids someday, I needed to have plenty of breathtaking photos.
If you’ve never had to choose a wedding photographer while living in the Capital Region, consider yourself lucky. Well, maybe I should consider myself lucky. We are saturated with an overabundance of extremely talented photographers. It was very hard for me to whittle our potential pool down. Luckily, we met with Vinny from Vincent Nicholas Photography, and quickly decided to hire him. While looking through his portfolio, it was clear that not only did he capture the typical family portraits and first kiss, but he was able to get snapshots of the little moments that help create your wedding day – a bridesmaid lacing up your dress, the moment you look in the mirror and realize you’re a bride, the best man adjusting the groom’s tie. That’s what I wanted. And that really is what we got with Vinny.
So, of course, after getting our photo package back, I wanted to put them all on display. This, of course, would make me look like a crazy woman, so I was forced to choose a select few.
You know how I am about Etsy. I went on there to find unique picture frames and discovered Frames, Y’all. Love love LOVE this shop. Shop owner, Mandy, makes all of these frames herself, guaranteeing that nobody else will ever have one exactly like you.
I messaged Mandy and we got to talking. Her shop just opened in September. As a mommy and a wife, she feels blessed to have found her life’s passion. And I feel blessed to have found the perfect frame for my favorite wedding photo!
Not only does Mandy take the time to create your frame, but she also sends it carefully packaged. Little touches like that is why I love buying from little shops and boutiques.
Mandy is offering my readers 10% off any order with coupon code HeatherBlog. She is also going to offer one VERY lucky reader a $50 gift card to her shop. Considering I’d like to own everything in the shop, I’m positive you will find something you love.
So, to enter the contest, please visit Mandy’s Etsy shop Frames, Y’all. Come back here and leave a comment, letting Mandy know which piece in her shop is your favorite. Be sure to leave your email address, so we can contact you if you’re the winner!
For one extra entry, please like Mandy’s shop on Facebook. Leave a separate comment, letting me know you did this.
For one last entry, subscribe to my blog (on the right) and leave a separate comment letting me know you did this.
The winner will be chosen using random.org, from all comments, on Tuesday June 19th at 3:00. Good luck and happy shopping!
Guys! Tons of entertainment news today. I’ll start with the story on Yahoo, where Mark-Paul Gosselaar confesses that Saved by the Bell just “wasn’t a great show”. He goes on to say that the “writing is kind of hokey … it’s very much a piece of that time.”
Um, duh, Mark-Paul. Do you think 13 year old girls were watching it to discuss character interactions and storyline depth? (Although, Kelly Kapowski’s family’s socio-economical status and her ability to rise above being one of several children being raised on unemployment checks, becoming the head cheerleader, the captain of the volleyball team AND the standout star of the short lived all-girl band Hot Sundae would be great fodder for a discussion on the high school caste system.) No, sweetheart. They were watching it to see your smirk and dimples and to check out Albert Clifford in his wrestling uniform. They may have watched to see what hot trends fashionista Lisa was wearing or to see what sort of shenanigans Screech would get himself into this time. But I’ll tell you
one two things. Nobody was watching because of the fantastic writing. Also, nobody was watching because of Jessie Spano.
In other news, Liam Hemsworth decided to put a ring on 19 year old Miley Cyrus. They have been together for three years. And she hasn’t appeared to get herself in much trouble as of lately. Too young for marriage? Perhaps. But who am I to judge such a beautiful (Like, literally. They’re both so pretty!) union?
After battling breast cancer, Sheryl Crow has revealed that in November she was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. Meaning, that it is causing her no harm and doesn’t really mean anything. Not sure why everyone is fussing over this. Maybe it’s because I dislike Sheryl Crow, for no particular reason. Not that I wish tumors upon her, but let’s move on with our news day, shall we?
Lindsay Lohan had a nip-slip on the set of Liz & Dick, the biopic about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. It’s not the first time we’ve seen her parts-that-should-be-covered-by-underwear, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
Congratulations to comment #9 – Jen!
I’d like to go on record with saying that I liked the vintage look way before it became mainstream. I’ll totally toot my own horn on that. I always loved looking at pictures of my grandmothers from the ‘40s and loving the dresses that they wore. The look back then was so classy and simple.
In my usual quest to find something unique, I turned to Etsy and ended up at the shop Material Whimsey. The shop owner, Becky, makes all pieces by hand. She takes a vintage and reclaimed materials and updates them, bringing styles of the past into the 21st century. Everything in her shop is one of a kind.
When Becky had her first child, she quit her job as the manager of a café to stay at home, creating a career out of what she loves – fashion.
I’ve been saying to The Husband for years that I’d like to get a sewing machine and create clothes, although I don’t have any idea how to do that. Becky’s blog has posts with step-by-step instructions, with photos, showing how to make certain pieces. I love the Up-cycled Nursing Top, made from an old men’s shirt. It definitely could be used as a regular top, or swimsuit cover-up. Once I get around to getting a sewing machine, I think I’m going to try it!
Becky has offered to host a giveaway for my readers, which is super lucky for you. She is offering all of my readers 15% off her shop when you enter the coupon code HEATHERSBLOG at checkout. She’s also offering one lucky reader a gift card to her store!
To enter to win, please visit Becky’s shop or blog, come back here and comment letting her know which one of her pieces (or blog posts) is your favorite. So easy and, hopefully, you’ll be able to walk away with your own one-of-a-kind piece from Material Whimsey.
For an extra entry, please like Material Whimsey’s fanpage on Facebook, come back here and leave a separate comment letting me know you did that.
For one more entry, subscribe to my blog (over on the right). Leave a separate comment letting me know you did that.
The winner will be chose at random from all of the comments on Friday, June 8th at 3:00 p.m EST. Make sure to leave your email address, so that I can contact you when you win!
I was doing so well with keeping up with my blog. And then last week, we found out our dog had to have surgery and, of course, that was all I could think about. Sadie is a 14 year old shepherd mix, whom Jason rescued from the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society when she was one. She is such a good girl (you know, if you look passed her need to sometimes run off and her constant badgering of the humans around her, in order to entice them into a game of tug with her rope). Most people who meet her do not believe that she’s the seniorest (yup.) of senior dogs, instead pegging her for five or six. She will literally play fetch until the point where she makes herself sick. She will pause a moment or two to puke, regain her composure and then bring the ball back to you, ready to take off after another throw.
Last June, we noticed a couple tumors on her hip, which ended up being malignant and cancerous. It had to be removed right away. The vet was very concerned with her surgery, mentioning that older dogs don’t always do well with anesthesia, sometimes not even waking up. But if we didn’t have the tumor removed, the .. bad stuff? .. from it would spread into her blood stream and that’s just no good. So, with tears, we sent her off to surgery, only to be pleasantly surprised when the vet called to tell me that not only did she do fantastic, but she woke up faster than most puppies.
Although we did (lovingly. Don’t judge) refer to her as Frankenbutt for most of the summer, she recovered wonderfully and was back to her old self by August.
That is, until right before the wedding, when we noticed she was having trouble going to the bathroom. Off to the vet we went yet again. She had a small tumor right inside of her butt, which was creating a blockage which, in turn, led to an infection. The vet prescribed some antibiotics which cleared things up for a couple of months. Last week, we noticed it looked inflamed again, and knew she was going to have to have yet another surgery.
Again, we were worried and lost quite a bit of sleep contemplating whether or not we were doing this for us or for her. The vets had to run pre-surgery blood work on her and assured us that everything else looks great on her. We wouldn’t just be prolonging the inevitable with this surgery. We would be fixing the one thing affecting her quality of life.
So I dropped her off Thursday morning and valiantly waited until I was back in my car to start sobbing. We waited anxiously all morning for the “all is well call”, which we received around noon.
Sadie isn’t supposed to exert herself for 7-10 days, but by Sunday, she was noticeably stir crazy. We let her out to do a little gardening with us and only had to yell at her 479 times to go lay down and relax. After being reprimanded for doing sprints between the front and back yard, she resigned herself to just walking around and sniffing things. Her recovery has been fantastic and I can only hope that my body is as tough as hers when I reach 78, which is her approximate human-age.
Having her second surgery exactly to the day of her surgery last year means that we may have to, again, miss out on one of our favorite fundraising events, the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society’s Paws in the Park, a walk to raise money for the local Humane Society. If you’re an animal lover and in the Albany area, you should really check this event out. The 1 ¼ mile walk encourages owners to bring their dogs and looks like a canine parade. Vendors are set up, selling homemade dog cookies (the human variation, too), unique collars and all sorts of treats for your favorite furry friend.
Last year, Sadie’s recovery time was a lot longer than it will be this time. We are going to play it by ear and see how she’s doing on Saturday (June 9th, the day of the walk). Even if we aren’t able to bring her, Sadie is still raising money for her alma mater. She wants to remind you that she is currently kicking cancer’s butt and that not all of her buddies are lucky enough to be in a loving home like she has. Even a donation of $5 goes a long way in helping the animals at the shelter stay fed and cared for, until their parents come along and take them to their home. So, with that shameless guilt trip, if you’re interested in donating, click this link for more information.