Day is Done

It’s starting. That horrific cascade of friends and classmates who have begun their travels to another world not inhabited by me … yet. … and the news is always unbelievable because we are still summer campers, neighborhood pals, grade school chums and high school buddies … only we’re not.  Funny how that goes – like time never really stops. We feel the same as we did then – mostly, and  when we see a long-lost friend, we wonder why they aged and we haven’t.

As grim as it sounds, it is truth, and truth cannot be hidden from – for long. Soon there will be a torrent until someday, as happened with my parents, their parents, and so on, we will be one of the few left, having said goodbye to former loves, best friends, not-so-best friends, colleagues and everyone in our lives who made an impact.

Annie made such an impact in my life with her fiery red hair, her face amass with friendly freckles, her dedication to all things fun, her kind and gentle heart, and her bugle.

I knew Annie from summer camp. She was the one who woke us in the morning with Reveille and put us to bed at night with Taps.  She was the one who gave our days the pulse that wound its way into our young psyches. We could count on her and her bugle which is more than could be said for other areas of our lives – then and now.

Two days ago,  a glistening scarlet red drop found its way into the torrent. It was the forever young, red-headed girl for whom Taps played one last time.

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.



L.L. Bean SweaterWool is back! All those funky, chunky L.L. Bean wool sweaters that I always loved can now emerge from their mothball moratorium. Hooray! However, there’s a reason my beloved sweaters were sent to storage for so long. They ITCHED!! They remained stored away in a Tupperware container, instead of being tossed, in hopes that one day they would suddenly stop …. itching!

My passion for wool ignited again when I stopped in a thrift store the other day and there but to my wondrous eye appeared a beautiful, almost-new, L.L. Bean turtleneck sweater. It was a wool blend and it felt just yummy to the touch. Excited beyond words, I washed it as soon as I got home (by hand) and set it out flat to dry. I checked it twice a day for the two days it took to dry and at the appointed hour, on it went and shortly thereafter – off it came. It ITCHED!! I wanted to cry.

Unwilling to be thwarted, I began an Internet search for how to eliminate wool’s itch. Was this even possible? To my delight, I found a good bit of information. Here’s what I learned:

  1. Wear things under the wool garment: long sleeved tee or under-shirts, camis or another garment that is comfortable next to the skin.
  2. Use talcum powder: it is great for protecting skin.
  3. For itchy-neck, turtle-neck wearers, add style with scarves smartly tucked into the top of the sweater.
  4. Opt for Marino or Angora, higher-quality wools that are generally non-itch.
  5. Choose wool garments that have linings, which protect the skin from direct contact with the wool.
  6. Hand-wash wool garments and use a mild soap or even vinegar which is known for adding softness to clothes.

Also in my Internet travels I learned that after a 15 or 25-year fashion hiatus (because of itching?), British fashion houses, including Ralph Lauren and Chanel , are glomming on to this rediscovered fabric-treasure and fashioning it into high style clothing. Besides flexibility, wear ability and durability, wool is the essence of green – think natural, renewable, biodegradable and sustainable!

As for my treasured L.L. Bean sweater, with my new information, in tow, the project of de-itching (it or me?) has begun.

Interested? Take a look at “Why is wool spinning back into fashion.”

After the Wedding

I went to a wedding this weekend … a beautiful fairy-tale affair where the bride looked like a princess and the groom, her charming prince. It was my son’s wedding, a gala event and the culmination of weeks of finding dresses, shoes and purses; making appointments and going to get hair, manicures and pedicures done; shopping for bridal shower gifts and going to the shower; and making arrangements for and hosting the rehearsal dinner. It was a whirlwind.

When it finally arrived, the day dawned dark and rainy, a frightening  prospect since this wedding was to be on a hillside, in front of a castle overlooking Seneca Lake. As if by magic, four hours before the late afternoon ceremony, the sun came out and gave warmth to one of the few remaining temperate days of the season. Perfect!

The time came and the groomsmen stood alongside my son, all of his high school buddies who always congregated in our garage, the designated ‘hang-out’ place. I loved those boys. I still do, but what a shock to see them in their tuxes, bringing with them careers and marriages – a rude awakening since in my mind they were still the boys in the garage.  As I looked at these handsome men, I began wistfully reminiscing about their teen years, of all the possibilities before them then, possibilities replaced by the hard-core realities of lives needing to be lived, money needing to be made and careers needing to be forged.

The wedding was truly magical, with lots of wine to drink, food  to eat, and dancing to be done. I thought I would dissolve when it came time for the mother-son dance, and indeed, a few tears threatened my mascara, but it wasn’t the gush I’d anticipated.

We stayed over – too far a drive, too much wine and food – and after a country-diner breakfast, set off for the 60 mile trek home. I was feeling sort of numb and I couldn’t figure out why. Until – I wasn’t! It came on me explosively. One minute I was gazing out the window, the next I was gushing – sobbing – with a hole inside me bigger than the Grand Canyon. Thoughts catapulted around in my brain:  clips of my son’s childhood and teen years, his first job at Tops, spinning out the first time he drove in snow, being afraid of a little toy figurine of a man with a snake: “I don’t like dat man with dat snake,” his 3-year-old self said, and so many more memories and the feelings that went along with those memories.  And now – all over. That’s what I felt. An unexpected and overwhelming surge of the emotions of a mother sending her son off to another phase of life and saying good-bye to what once was.

To Every Thing There is a Season

IMG_0327IMG_0328We had our first frost last night. They predict another for tonight. It’s always so astounding how quick the seasons change, how we go from summer to almost-winter; at least that’s how it seems to go when the seasons change here in upstate NY.

It was just a short week ago   when, on a warm and sunny day, I took a stroll into the back field with my camera. I wanted to capture the end of the season, the life that would soon say goodbye to a summer that left us all wondering, “Is that all there is?”

The answer: no it wasn’t all there is, and here is the proof.

The Ritual

100_0611Short-wearing season is over, and with it, the end of the ritual. Ritual? Argh, yes, the ritual.

You see… I have three Boston Terriers, one of whom is the little old man. He is indeed the littlest of the group at 10 pounds, as well as the oldest, at, well, we’re not really sure, because he was from a puppy mill, but the vet puts him at around 13 or 14. Our little old Timmy is nearly-blind – he walks into walls and furniture, and deaf – you have to scream before he turns his head in acknowledgement of your existence. Of course, his deafness could be a keenly-honed avoidance mechanism. But whatever it is, our happy little old man romps around gaily, when he isn’t sleeping, that is. And he does a lot of that!

Timmy is wickedly spoiled, and one measure of this is “The Ritual.” It goes something like this: during the last several years, Timmy’s favorite thing in the whole wide world to do is lick my legs. He is relentless. Anywhere I am sitting with my legs bared, there is Timmy at my feet, licking madly away. He takes this activity very seriously and would go on and on, forgoing even naptime, if so allowed.

One of the places he especially likes to do his licking thing is in my office, which is where the full ritual occurs. He licks and licks and licks until he gets plum-tired out at which point he puts his front paws on the side of my chair and ogles me with rheumy-eyes, making his request to be placed on the daybed for his daily snooze. He is thusly placed. Only this is usually not a one-shot deal. For whatever doggy-reason, he doesn’t settle into his final nap until after he’s done several rotations of down-lick-ogle and be-placed-on-bed.

With fall and jean season here at last, the ritual is on hiatus. For now, Timmy sniffs hungrily at the cuffs of my pants, occasionally finding a spot or two where he can get a few licks in. But with winter fast approaching, my soon-to-be head-to-toe covering means my little old man gets tons of goodies and loads of under-the-covers time.

A Baby Died Today

Sad TEddyA four-month old cherub should be alive today. He should grow up, go to school, get married, have a family, and then begin the cycle again.

But today his cycle died and all of us, whether we knew him or not, lost a baby when he died. Several nights ago this baby lay asleep in his crib, safe, warm and dreaming magical baby dreams—until those dreams exploded—as did the room around him. The magic of those dreams was snuffed out when a car slammed into the house where he was supposed to be safe, and the nursery where he was supposed to be even safer. A seizure, they said about the driver of the car. A driver with seizures who still had a valid driver’s license. A single seizure at precisely the wrong moment and an infant lost amidst the Armageddon-like wreckage of the little nursery.

At first they couldn’t find him, but when they did, the pulse was gone, the little chest still. Frantic to save him, they made his tiny heart beat and his small lungs inflate. Then an entire city took up the vigil, praying for this baby whom most of us didn’t know, and hoping beyond hope that a miracle would happen. It didn’t. When I saw the news blurb on the local news station today, I cried. He was our baby, he was everyone’s baby. But with my sadness came fury about a world where an innocent infant, asleep in his own little crib, is not safe from human horrors.

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