Tag Archives: childhood

Status Update – Bouncy!

Feb 05, 2017

How cool is this???

Oh my gosh, I did the most awesome thing ever yesterday! I accompanied my 5-year-old honorary niece to a classmate’s birthday party at a place called Bounce U. It’s basically an entire warehouse full of various bouncy castles!

HN (Honorary Niece) had such an amazing time. Granted, she bounces like a rubber ball all the time anyhow. She started jumping, just randomly, from the moment we got into the place. Then she continued to run and jump and zip down the slides and bop around like a crazy person. This, by the way, according to her mom, after waking up at 5am and going to ballet class in the morning, then the birthday party at noon. I swear, 5-year-olds have enough energy to light up a city!

Anyhow, this bouncy house place was pretty darn cool, and I wish they’d had them when I was a kid. Someone somewhere came up with a billion-dollar idea with all these gigantic air slides and bouncy houses. I was worried that they would feel unsafe or like the kids might get hurt, but they were all pretty ingeniously constructed for the least possibility of injury. The kids were more likely to hurt each other by stepping on each other than to have problems with the equipment. Fortunately, they did an okay job of watching the safety video before they got into the rooms, and there were attendants watching the party.

They also served pizza to the kids afterwards and had a cake. Seriously, this is a brilliant idea. And the kids had a blast. I’m proud to say that HN is one of the most popular kids in her class…with the boys. Ha! Her dad is going to have his hands full in about 10 years. It was fun to sit with one of the moms of one of HN’s particularly close boy-friends and to hear about how much he talks about her. For a second there, I almost felt like a parent with an actual kid!

My brave, brave girl!

But hey, I love my honorary niece and nephew (her little brother, who just turned 2, and boy was he acting like it yesterday!) like they’re my own. And I’m more grateful than I will ever be able to express that their mom, my best friend, considers me family. Yay for the family you find!

Status Update – The Philadelphia Orchestra

Feb 03, 2017

My view last night

I was raised on classical music. As far back as I can remember, it was in the air around me. We had a nifty album when I was a very little kid called “Hooked On Classics,” which took the major, recognizable themes from the great composers and set them to a disco beat (it was the very early 80s, after all). I used to dance around to that album for hours!

I also think that the first concert I ever went to was an orchestral concert. I know that when my mom was still alive, we used to go to the Philadelphia Orchestra concerts in the summer at the Mann Music Center, bring a picnic, and sit out on the grass. It was great!

So of course my big treat to myself these days is going into the city to see the Philadelphia Orchestra, which I did last night. The concert was lovely! The famous pianist Andre Watts was supposed to be the featured soloist, but Mr. Watts couldn’t make it, due to insufficient recovery from surgery. So, with three days’ notice, three days, brilliant young pianist Lise de la Salle stepped in. And wow! She’s only 27 years old, but she was magnificent. And at that level, the soloist memorizes the entire piece and plays without music. Mlle. de la Salle (she’s French) played Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto, and wow! She also had a really awesome red dress on, but seeing as you’re not allowed to take pics during the concert, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

Photo of Philadelphia by Dave Z, courtesy of Flickr

I love these concerts, but I also have to admit that I get really sleepy sitting there listening to them. And my thoughts drift a lot. I revisited a lot of old memories while listening to the orchestra, some good, some bad. I puzzled over the mysteries of consciousness and how impossible it seems to me that consciousness could just disappear with the death of the body. Yes, these are some of the things I think about. I know.

Anyhow, whenever I go to an orchestra concert—and I have season tickets—I stay at a hotel in the city. The Marriott is my hotel of choice. I’m a big fan of room service, although I forgot to put the tray out in the hall to be picked up before I went to bed, and seeing as I had the striped bass, my room smelled fishy all night long. But I slept fairly well for a hotel room, so it was a win after all.

And now I’m home, and it’s back to work! It’s really nice to take a miniature vacation now and then, though. I feel a lot more refreshed than you’d imagine for such a short trip.

Status Update – Cookie Monster

Feb 02, 2017

Oh my gosh, THESE exist!

Yes, those are Cadbury Crème Egg cookies! I found them at CVS yesterday when I was picking up some aspirin and heating pads for my neck and shoulders (which is a whole other story). They’re perfect too! There are eight, fairly small cookies in the package. Cadbury Crème Eggs can be murderously sweet, but there’s just enough in each cookie to give you the taste of a crème egg without overpowering you.

This is a dangerous discovery. Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely LOVE cookies. They’re the perfect sweet treat. You can regulate how many you need and either eat a gigantic cookie extravaganza or just have one. Believe it or not, I’m a just one kind of girl. And I’ll also admit that I prefer to bake my own. Here’s a lovely batch of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies I made the other day using my top-secret recipe.

One of my earliest childhood memories involves cookies. Well, I was about four, so it might be a memory and it might be one of those things where you’ve heard the story enough times that you form a memory. Apparently my love for cookies is genetic. My memory is when I was tiny and my mom was annoyed (as much as my mom got annoyed, which wasn’t much) because someone had eaten an entire box of Oreos. My dad insisted it was the cookie monster. Being four, I absolutely believed that there was a cookie monster who came into our house and ate those Oreos. Of course, the real culprit was obvious. And yes, I have seen my dad eat an entire sleeve of Oreos in one sitting.

But of course at this time of year, when we think of cookies, we think of one type in particular:

Yep, the Girl Scouts got me the other day at the post office. I broke right into the box of Peanut Butter Patties, of course. They are far and away my favorites. They actually remind me of a kind of snack cake from here in Philadelphia—Tastykake brand peanut butter patties. P.S. If you don’t live in a place where they sell Tastykakes, I’m sorry. Anyhow, the Girl Scout cookie that I’m really interested in trying is the S’mores. They’re the limited-edition cookie for this year, and I’ve heard great things about them!

So are you a cookie monster? What’s your favorite cookie?

Status Update – Fairies

Jan 27, 2017

I’m trying something new! Status updates via blog post instead of Facebook! Because the other day, well, it finally got to be too much. I got into an argument with someone over something they posted, and it turned ugly. It’s way too easy for things to get ugly on social media these days, but I want to stay in touch with readers and friends. WITHOUT all the noise and hype of tempers that have been stoked into running high.

So let’s try this, shall we?

Fairy condo 😉

This is what I did yesterday instead of constantly checking Facebook and driving myself crazy. Well, after doing a lot of work and running some errands. I intended to go for a walk in the woods near where I live, but it was way, WAY too windy. So instead, I popped up to my aunt’s house to take pictures of the fairies who live there.

Here’s the story behind the fairies. My 5-year-old friend-baby/honorary-niece is convinced that fairies live at my Aunt Martha’s house. I’m definitely fueling this imaginative enterprise, because I was encouraged to believe in fairies when I was her age. My Aunt Martha and I would build fairy houses all through the garden and gather fairy food (basically seeds and acorns) for them. We had a ball!

So I took a bunch of pics and sent them to my BFF, my niece’s mom, so that she could show her photographic proof that the fairies exist. *nods*

But, of course, here’s the real reason I believed in fairies growing up. Because my aunt has an elf that lives in her house. As you can see, this elf’s job is to wash bugs. And as I was told when I was 5, the thing about elves like this is that if you’re looking at them, they don’t move. They hold perfectly still. But when you look away or you aren’t there, that’s when they move around and are active. I spent a lot of time trying to catch this guy moving!

There are actually a lot of these elves around my old hometown. They were made by a wonderful woman who was the mother of one of my aunt’s good friends, Mrs. Glebe. As you can see, they’re incredibly detailed and lifelike! I remember going over to Mrs. Glebe’s house once and being awed by all the elves. I know they’re still out there somewhere, so if you happen to be reading this and own one, I’d love it if you’d let me know or post a pic!

One of the many fairy houses on our property. Although I think all the fairies are wintering in Florida right now.

Anyhow, I think it’s important to encourage kids to believe in fairies or elves or unicorns or other things that are beyond what we can see. Believing is the gateway to creativity and innovation. Any time we can think outside the box of what we see, it opens our minds to the greater possibilities in the universe. I am sure that I became a writer because I was taught to imagine at a very early age and never lost the taste for it.

Rest In Peace

Jan 14, 2016

brandonI just heard the news that Alan Rickman has died of cancer. Four days after David Bowie passed away from the same cause. It sucked to hear that Bowie was gone, but when I went to lunch with a good friend on Monday, I foolishly remarked that as sad as it was to lose an icon, I couldn’t think of any celebrities whose death would really crush me. Then Alan Rickman. It was like the universe was sucker-punching me to prove I was wrong. I am deeply sad that Rickman’s light has moved from the earth to the heavens.

So why does it bother us so much when beloved celebrities die? It’s not like they were close personal friends. The likelihood of any of us meeting and hanging out with a star is infinitesimal. And yet, when they leave us, it’s like out next door neighbor—the one who got invited to the Christmas party and shared barbeque in the summer and was always there when the baby needed to go to the hospital but someone needed to stay and watch the kids—has died. Why is that?

I once had a voice teacher who summed it up nicely. When someone becomes famous, they gain a sort of magic. That magic is highly attractive to us. We crave it, and we consume it, and it becomes part of us. We need that magic to expand our world and to make it shine. It’s not the celebrity themselves who we come to adore and hold close and think of as part of ourselves, it’s their magic. And it hurts when we feel as though that magic is ripped from us.

labyrinthBoth David Bowie and Alan Rickman played pivotal roles in my development as a human being. Yep, I, like so many other tweens watching Labyrinth in the 80s, can pinpoint the moment of my sexual awakening by David Bowie’s pants in his role as Jareth, the Goblin King. We giggle about that bulge, but no, seriously, it was a defining moment in my young adolescent life. That’s the kind of power that celebrities have. They are perfect projections for those crucial moments of human development that we all go through. It’s part of their magic, the thing they unknowingly sign on for when they reach for the stars.

Similar to David Bowie, the moment Alan Rickman walked on screen in Sense and Sensibility, listening to Marianne playing the pianoforte and singing, stepping into a beam of light and falling in love…in that moment, I knew what true romance was. And I knew that I loved older men. Not only that, Rickman was a major bonding point between me and one of my best friends from high school. Our shared love of his magic drew us together and cemented us as buddies in one of the most difficult times of my entire life. Without the slightest clue who I was, Rickman was there for me when I needed him. He continued to be there through good times and bad.

The loss that we mourn when celebrities who have touched our lives pass on is not so much about the death of a person, it’s the loss and fear of the beautiful and important moments of our lives that they have touched leaving us. It’s the loss of an innocent crush and the fear that we will never recapture the fleeting moments of our own life. I hate to say it, but I experienced the same piercing, bitter sense of fear and loss when the Bill Cosby scandal broke, because he too played an incredibly important role in my early life. His magic was ripped away, but the man himself lives on. For all intents and purposes, he died too, or at least the part of him that mattered to me.

The good news as we mourn is that magic never dies. All of the good and noble and sexy and wonderful things that these stars inspired in us lives on in their legacy and their body of work. And new stars are being born all the time. We will always feel the hole that people like Bowie and Rickman have left in us because we can never go back and reclaim those crucial moments of our own human development that they became the face of. Childhood is gone. But life goes on, love endures, and the world is just waiting for us to add to the brightness of magic.


(screencaps of Sense and Sensibility and Labyrinth used under Fair Use to represent the films being discussed)