Monthly Archives: December 2013



You’re standing at the center of a circle, staring out toward the horizon, what do you see? Does the horizon change; does the landscape remain the same every time you take a small step with even degrees? Do you even notice a difference?

God I hope so. The last 365 days of my life have been interesting, thank God, but not too interesting; if you know what I mean. A week or so ago, my Facebook page offered me a glimpse at my life lived this last year and thankfully, I’m a boring middle aged woman. I never ever thought I would like to be boring, but with age comes a modicum of wisdom and YES I’m happy to be boring.  2014 holds many mysteries with adventures to unfold…and those are just the few I know of…what will the year hold for me and my family?

The boy, is becoming hairy. Dear God he almost has a full mustache. As his facial hair soon expands to cover his neck and then chest; my little man will begin looking more like a real man, less like a boy. He’s about to turn 15 and as exciting a time as this is…it scares the heck out of his mom. His sister, DEAR GOD! is almost 12 and God help us, will really begin to change. Already people are noticing her slender form taking shape. She told me yesterday she didn’t want to grow up. I replied, well now you know how the rest of us feel…growing up stinks…even when it’s breathtakingly beautiful-like her.

This past years’ adventures were for the most part fun–a trip to the Bahama’s where we tried to keep the sea gulls from eating our food; watched the brilliant sun rise every morning; basically lived the life of beach bums (on an inclusive resort). We also experienced some scary times…my husband’s A-fib attack and subsequent medication tinkering to get everything right. Yet through it all, we lived on, laughing during the hard times, laughing through the good and listening to our very sarcastic children try to tell us, we didn’t know a thing. Sometimes I think they are right…….though, we’re very good at playing it by ear.

So 2014 looms, another circle to walk into….another chance to get the year right…to succeed in areas we haven’t before. Well that’s the hope anyway. I am however blessed, many of you will be along for the ride with us…

So, raising my WineStein into the air I proudly toast to you, Happy New Year!! Go OSU! GO ND!

Go go go…but not too fast (seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months…)  Savoring a year is hard to do when time is flying by. Stop and smell….the boy–his bouquet has been quite beautiful (swaggerlicious) since last week (thank you unknown classmate).

Peace and good fortune in the New Year!






There is something to be said about having a clean house…especially when ascertaining one is nearly impossible. While both kids were on adventures over the weekend, I took the opportunity to make my house look inviting and pleasing to the eye. Donning knee pads I scrubbed all the hard wood floors; dusted the ceiling and wall fixtures; vacuumed the downstairs carpets, washed out the bathroom floors and tub, cleaned and washed out the refrigerator; threw out tons of paper and garbage, before settling down on the sofa and calling it a night. Looking around my newly clean house, wanting to feel good about all my hard work, I couldn’t help but feel empty.

The house smelled of lemon pledge, not the boys deodorant (or lack thereof). I could finally see the top of our coffee tables, not the cluttered leftovers from kids. All the Christmas wrap was put away, remnants of life lived a few days earlier; gone.  All the couch cushions in their rightful place, not molding themselves to someone’s body.  Yes the house was clean….sterile…..boring.

I guess there is something to be said about living in a cluttered, dusty old house. At least its a well lived in house…or more importantly, it’s a well loved in home.



gifts from above….


20131227-130442.jpgLast year, during my family’s “White Elephant” Christmas gift exchange, my Mother was a busy woman. That is, a portrait of her from eighth grade was busy. Everyone kept exchanging gifts to get their hands on that portrait. Finally at the end of the night a deal was reached…everyone would receive a 5X7″ picture of the portrait and we could finally all go home. The irony is, my Dad would later say, “Your mother hated that picture of herself”. Of course she did.

This year, my sister Ann Marie decided to bring Mom to our Christmas celebration in a different way….”Well Dad doesn’t appreciate these things anymore (if he ever did) and I thought the girls would be taken by the gesture”. Boy were they. I was called to a commotion occurring in the home’s family room. My first inclination that something was up was the look upon my niece Cori’s face; she was crying, holding a ballerina figurine made by the famous Spanish sculptor, Lladro. “Cori purchased that for Mom while she was in Spain. She carried it all over Europe to bring home for her” My sister Terri explained. The label on the present said, To Cori from Grandma Joyce. All around the room, similar scenes were playing out. Nieces opening small presents, revealing sculpted figurines, all girls in various stages of tears, all with labels which read “From Grandma Joyce”.

The doll opened her box and found a Sprite figurine. Yesterday when we found the perfect spot on our mantle to display the object, she said to me,  “Mom, this is really quite ugly”. “Well there is no accounting for someone’s taste level” I replied with a laugh. Did you notice Mary and Elle received companion Sprites to yours?” I asked. Shaking her head up and down she said, “But Cori got that beautiful ballerina…” The doll explained. “Ah, well you see Cori gave that to Grandma a long time ago. It was only fair she received it in the end.” The doll, now understanding the gift,  agreed. “Doll, do you remember my mom at all?” I asked. Shaking her head up and down she replied, “Yes, but only like in snap shots. Not really more than that…but when I think of her, I feel a warm love…” She said. “I hope you do…she was a wonderful woman.” I said and then we moved onto another subject from there.

“Grandma had a unique way of making everyone of her Grandchildren feel as if they were the only grandchild…without slighting the other kids in any way. She was the perfect grandmother” My nephew Colin told me Christmas eve; also overwhelmed by the gifts his cousins were receiving.

I dare say she was very much the same kind of mom…though, my thoughts are biased.



Sometimes memories are so thick you could swear you are reliving them. At other times you wonder if the experience you long to remember was a dream, rather than a reality. Life can be so bittersweet at times.

The doll leaves tonight for a week long vacation with her cousins; to Florida. I know she’ll have lots of fun and create memories to last a lifetime. When we were first approached about the possibility of her going, the hubby and I had to think long and hard before saying yes. It’s not that we don’t trust my brother and his wife, we do. It’s not that we thought she won’t have a good time; she will. It IS about our level of missing our baby girl.

“Mom I just gave you a hug and kiss goodnight” the doll said after I called her back into the room. “I know, but I wasn’t prepared for them give me another one” I replied; grabbing her into a giant squeezy hug and kissing her forehead, smelling her hair, kissing her cheek, and then squeezing some more.”Mom Jeeze you’re suffocating me!” She said, tho a wisp of laughter was evident in her tone. “I’m trying to commit to memory what this feels like. You’re going to be gone for a week. I won’t get these hugs for a week…” Still squirming against my hug she replied, “I’m not leaving until tomorrow night!” As if to imply there was plenty of time to memorize these feelings”. “True, but I won’t have you here to say goodnight to…tomorrow night. It will just be the boy.” Working hard to keep the tears from escaping my eyes I finally released her after one more squeeze, sniff and kiss. Backing away from me she said “Mom your weird…but I love you anyway! Goodnight!” And then she disappeared from my sight.

Sigh. My baby girl off on an adventure–without me. Whatsoever will I do? Try my best not to miss her toooooooooooooooooooo much, knowing all the while how impossible a task that will be.

daily hugs…


Last week while seated in the waiting area of a doctor’s office, I happened to have a lovely conversation with a woman, who turned out to be an Ursuline nun; with whom I found to be very nice and easy to talk to. After introducing myself to her, we came to the conclusion she knew my father (go figure).  After a while she asked, “And what do you do for a living Marsha?” I smiled and said “I’m a paid companion”. Her eyebrows rose to the top of her forehead while a surprised look crossed her face. For a brief moment I rendered her speechless. Then she said, “You know, there are many ways people can take that…”I laughed and then elaborated that I’m a companion to the elderly. “God Bless you for taking on that responsibility” she replied. “Oh no Sister, you don’t understand, I’m the one who’s blessed” I replied and she shook her head in agreement with me. A moment later, my friend Mrs. M was finished and we left to complete our weekly errands.

Last Friday Mrs. M informed me she was going to Chicago for the Christmas holiday to be with one of her son’s. Before her plans were finalized I had offered for her to attend my family celebration but explaining, “You won’t get home much before 2 am…” She laughed and graciously declined my invitation. After we ran our usual errands, we came home and found her front door lock had frozen. We were able to gain access to her home, yet she was unable to lock her door from the inside. My allotted time with her was short, but I made an appointment with a locksmith to come that afternoon. At the same time I sent a quick email off to her daughter, who lives out of state, informing her of the lock problem. In the letter I also mentioned Mrs. M had informed me she was spending the Christmas holiday with her son, in Chicago.

A few hours passed and I received an email from her daughter, which read,  “Mom is not going to Chicago…when you see her on Christmas eve, please reinforce that with her. I’ll endeavor to find one of her friends to invite her for Christmas dinner. Thanks for looking out for my mother.” As you might imagine,  I felt awful for Mrs. M spending the holiday here, away from her family. Yet here’s the thing…had her lock not broken, I would have had no reason to contact her daughter. I would have assumed she was in Chicago, with her family, not alone.

Had that door lock not broken, there is a very big chance, Mrs. M would have spent Christmas alone.

Another riddle to be sure…they say God works in mysterious ways…was I witness to a God-Incidence or just a quirk of fate? No one deserves to celebrate Christmas alone…and thankfully Mrs. M won’t be either. A very good friend stepped up and invited her to spend Christmas with his family. All because her front door lock broke.  God is great…especially when we all stop and take time to see/read his signs.

Merry Christmas everyone! Peace!

Marsha, the Hub, the boy-soon to be ‘little man’ and the doll…



When I entered the house Friday, following work, I found the boy in his usual place, molding the couch cushions into his body. “Hey how were your last two exams? I asked. Thinking back to the day before when Mary Alice and I picked him up from his school’s early dismissal; we were two minutes from home when the boy spoke aloud what he was thinking “I’m a little nervous about my English exam tomorrow…you know because of the need to know dates and stuff”. “Well bay”, I began, “At least you have this afternoon and evening to study”. “Well not really, considering I left all my notebooks and class paperwork at school.” “OMG! Do I need to turn around and take you back to school to retrieve your stuff?” I replied very perturbed. “No Mama…its all up here” He said pointing toward his head. “Well, you know the deal, right? Ace the exams and I won’t bug you for the rest of the year.” I said. “Oh I know, I’m counting on that deal” he said as the conversation dropped.

“Well?” I asked him again. A sheepish grin crossed his face. “I don’t know, but I feel very good about the exams..” He replied as I approached to sit next to him on the couch and congratulate him on making it through one semester of high school. Then he smiled and said, “But you will appreciate this Mama”. Sitting up, he reached across the coffee table and grabbed a gift sized paper bag and handed it to me. “I was given this present from a friend of mine”. Setting the gift bag in my lap, I looked in and smiled. Pulling its contents out for a better look I asked “Who gave you this?”

20131223-101129.jpg “My friend, Alexis. She’s just a friend…not a girl friend…” He was quick to explain. “Is she in some of your classes?” I asked trying not to pry, but wanting to get a better picture of this girl. “Yeah, she’s in some of my classes and sometimes we sit together at lunch…but as friends only!” He replied. Laughing I said, “Well whomever she is I want to give her a big hug!” The boy laughed and said, “Point taken Mama…”

Later that evening we checked his grades online and lo and behold he Aced all his exams, save one…which hadn’t posted yet. In fact on his English exam he scored a 97. Happily clapping and jumping around at his grades he came up gave me a hug from behind. “And you can’t get on my back for studying the rest of the year!” He exclaimed. That’s right! For the rest of the year” I agreed. Still holding me in a hug from behind he said, “School year right?” Smiling I replied, “Um, I seem to recall the bet was for the year…I never said school year”. He tightened his grip on the hug and said, “You know Mama, that’s mean. “Bay, really, as your mother, did you really think I would give up that much power?” Relaxing the hug he replied, “I was hopeful…but you’re right, it wouldn’t be you if you couldn’t complain about something.”  “Exactly….I think” I replied, giving him a genuine hug…very proud of his accomplishments…and very happy he would be wearing deodorant from now on.

Crazy days are here again…


I was going to write about something of great importance today, however I’ve been so busy running between point A and point B and C, D, E that for the life of me I can’t remember what was so important. But that’s par for the course during the holiday season. So…I’ll let you in on what I do know…which ain’t much, I’m afraid.

I had a great opportunity to embarrass the doll today at her school, in front of the school secretaries. Mrs, K and I had the occasion to stop by and turn in all the recycling, pop tops, Campbell soup labels and box tops for education we’ve collected throughout the year; not to mention the teacher’s gifts that I remembered to buy twenty minutes prior. When the doll entered the office I walked over and enveloped her into an embrace and began kissing her cheek. “Mom what the…?” She tried to say but was stopped when I turned her toward Mrs. K to say good morning. Then I hugged and kissed on her some more, before releasing her so I could give her the gifts to hand out. “Mom, if looks could kill…” One of the secretaries said to me. “Oh I know” I said as I hugged the doll again, all the while noting the disgusted look upon her face.

When the doll exited the room and I prepared to follow suit, I heard “Marsha it was hilarious the other day when the boy stopped by to get the house key from his sister…” Secretary #1 said. At that moment Secretary #2 turned and said “Oh I missed him? Darn it!! I always enjoy seeing your boy! He’s such a great kid!” I always smile when I hear such compliments; so happy others see him as I do. “The doll came into the office with such disdain for your son “No huggies boy! Don’t touch me!” She said as she approached with the key. Then the boy replied saying “What doll? I’m even wearing deodorant for a change.” I thought the exchange between the two was HIL–LLLARI-US!” A bit embarrassed yet able to see the truth in her story I replied “Well that sounds about right.” Before adding “Merry Christmas!” To the ladies.

As we were walking out, Mrs K giggled at me and said, “I don’t know how anyone could go through life without children.” “Well they would have more money in their pockets…I joked but added “I’m blessed every day by mine…even on the days I want them to belong to someone else.” She giggled again adding “They’re teenagers…you’ll be wanting to give them away more often than not over the next few years”

Something tells me she’s right…then again what fodder would I have to write about if they were gone? Nothing very interesting I’m afraid.