I fear I’m growing my uncles’ eyebrows. My dad had wonderful thick hair. When it grew shaggy waiting for a haircut, it swooped across his glasses as he swayed over the piano. My three uncles sport increasingly unmanageable eyebrows. Long and lush lashes are fashionable – painted and even glued on for glamour shots. On women anyway. But eyebrows are managed.

They’re larger than life, these uncles, so important as I grew up. Each gave me something I didn’t even know I needed.

Brad was a musical compass for me. My family is full of musicians and singers. I married a rock and roll bass man. We sang as a family around the piano for generations. My father at the helm accompanying us through carols and hymns, musicals and show tunes all the way to Handel’s Messiah. Brad is the jazz man. A clarinetist of exceptional talent, I was enthralled when I listened to him play. The music I hear in my head was shaped by all those hours and hours of music but none was more impactful than Brad’s noodling around a melody. Dad had studied piano in college and his practice was a constant in my life until he died. Brad would improvise in and around my father’s scales and arpeggios. He would find another line into and around Mozart, Chopin and Bach. Jazz was the first love of my life. Brad’s eyebrows were hidden by a downward facing clarinet playing posture but full on, they were full and burly.

Uncle Jim was a musical influence. A life long church choir member, his perfect hearing and near perfect pitch always kept us in line during summer sing-alongs. The gathered family musicians were many times that of my leg of the family. Jim was a lawyer in Boston. His business-like manner when organizing expeditions or planning dinner always seemed impressive. I went to school in Boston for a time. There was always a safe warm haven at Uncle Jim’s house. I’m sure Jim’s professional reputation was due in part to copious eyebrow maintenance. More lax later in life, the curly hairs popped out here and there.

Uncle Arthur was my dad’s older brother. They were close in age, a bit older than their brothers and spent their early childhood in Holland. Arthur stayed in Europe as an adult and had two twenty-plus year marriages to French women, one of whom shares my birthdate exactly 10 years apart. This odd intergenerational pattern repeated elsewhere in my family. My family lived in France when I was born. I spent my beginning years there and returned twice to my first home there. The first time I returned, I was 10 and spent my days caring for my toddler cousin. The other was when I was just 18 and after a tour of Paris an its outskirts, I spent a few months at my aunt’s family’s house in the North of France. It was a vacation home near the ocean and I cared for the family grandchildren and learned to speak French the hard way. That last trip was thanks to my Uncle Arthur who answered the call of his bored, ready for life to start, awkward teenage niece. Arthur’s eyebrows were award winning! They grew long curling around his glasses and reaching into the air like crazy plant legs or some sort of sea shrub.

As I look closely in the mirror and inspect my face, turning from side to side, I remember my uncles, and yank out those couple of hairs I see trying to escape my minimally manicured brows.

Cheers to – many years since my last post; 2021, a year I remember daydreaming about how old I would be then; and the reach to find something meaningful to pursue.


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StoneWe leave a trail behind us as we go along. Some trails are fairly straight, point A to point B. Others meander, go in circles or take sharp turns. The crumbs left behind may be perceived as stale bread by one and blessed food by another.

I recently had dinner with some old classmates, some of whom I haven’t seen in over 30 years. We spoke of our life journies and those of our children. We laughed and marveled at the passage of time. In remembering our school days together, where I remembered myself as self-conscious and shy, friends remembered someone brave. Where I recalled a vaccuum of self-confidence, they remembered someone who did whatever with no fear of what others thought.

This revelation doesn’t change my trail, but looking back with new perspective, I begin to truly appreciate the path I’ve chosen to travel.

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Think It, Live It

A group of 30 or so high school kids came across my path today. Inside my fifty year old body is a girl about that age. She is shy and insecure, but has learned to compensate with self-deprecating jokes and an easy going nature. Dubious of any value her life’s experiences may hold, she is still unsure of what she wants to be when she grows up.

Recently, I have been reading about how our very thoughts shape our lives. That we become and attract what we think about. For most of my adult life, I have pursued my life’s passions and goals by a process of elimination. I try something out, determine that it isn’t exactly the right thing for me and then move on. Chameleon-like, I can adapt to nearly any situation. From a job that isn’t the greatest but not that bad, to a family gathering that didn’t turn out as expected, I don’t very often get too upset about things. I keep in mind sayings like – “live and let live”, “no biggy” and “don’t sweat the petty” – and that mindset keeps my blood pressure steady, allows me to sleep well at night and avoids any confrontations that might arise for someone else living my life.

But are those very thoughts confining me to live a life of acquiescence? The shy teenager inside me struggles today, this very minute, to identify the things I truly love doing, so I can concentrate on them. I want to ride the high seas of a passionate life so that later on, when I float again on smooth, calm waters, I will have something to share.

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High Flying

Naturally, since I now work in the aircraft / flying business, it was a job requirement to go for a ride. With barely restrained trepidation, I climb into the small 1946 Piper PA12 Super Cruiser, strap myself in and clutch my knees with gloved hands. The pilot and my new boss is an animated, cheerful woman, several years my senior. Her enthusiasm for this business, this airplane and flying is contagious. She has already teased me about driving like an old woman in the snow, I must overcome my case of chicken and just enjoy this gift of an opportunity.

Our takeoff is smooth and effortless. In no time and only a small stretch of runway, we are in the air. Fresh snow paints the landscape and picturesque farms, normally hidden from view stand out as islands of pure white scattered throughout the western Maine forests. The Saco River twists and turns below us as we soar along. The plane jostles here and there, “just an innocent little bump” she tells me. I experience more turbulence driving over the frost heaved, pock marked back roads of my neighborhood. I forget to be timid as we slowly descend and skim our skis along a snow covered pond.

We circle around and land, back where we started. But not exactly where we started. I am different. I have felt the seductive powers of flight in a small aircraft and I will look upon my colleagues and customers with new understanding.

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It is an amazing feeling when something happens that is completely unexpected, yet undeniably right.

I have been job hunting. Out of work for nearly a year, I took some time to relax and enjoy my home and my husband. Being creative and day dreaming. After 20ish years working full time with a maximum of a couple weeks off in a row, the past 10 months have been restorative, surprising and at times frustrating.

I have slept a great deal. Always thinking myself a morning person, I found I want to sleep more than I ever knew. I haven’t set an alarm clock in months. Sometimes I get up at 6:30, sometimes at 8:30 but either way, it is lovely. Getting enough sleep is underrated.

I have slowed down. No longer racing from task to task, from place to place, struggling to keep up with…. well with what? With others? Keeping up with a reputation of being always available,  “online”? There are days that I go out and forget my cell phone. I think for a fraction of a second, “oh no! no one can reach me…” then I remind myself that I’m going to the grocery store and then to visit my mother and there will most probably be no emergencies. I log onto my computer and check my email to find that there are 38 messages. “Oh no!” I think. “I’ve made someone wait…” Turns out it was only jobsinme.com and a couple online magazines that were waiting.

Surprising how quickly time passes, even when slowed down. Frustrated that I didn’t accomplish more as each day passes. If you have a lot of time on your hands, procrastination is a formidable foe. Why rush? We’re slowed down remember? Well life is a balancing act and I have become out of whack. Until now.

Tomorrow I go back to work. I was anticipating being asked to join one organization for which I had interviewed when I heard of another opportunity. Within a few days, mutual friends put me in touch with a woman who is my new boss. Our conversation was effortless. I felt immediately comfortable even though I have zero experience with the industry I am entering. Everything about it feels right. Synchronicity at its best.


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Valentine Love

I didn’t choose my family. I am bound with them through genes and shared experiences. Some people don’t share for long. Others share for a lifetime. Common life experiences read as separate and distinct stories over time. Some siblings are not friends; related yet distant and not invested in anything more than the occasional holiday meal. I take for granted the constancy of my family’s acceptance and affection. I love you all and miss you that are gone.

I chose to have children with no notion of who they would be. They can infuriate and frustrate. They can push and pull every button and loose hanging thread until I’m sure I will unravel. Yet there is something about them that I cannot resist. Perhaps it is the memory of their baby faces: grinning with a plate of spaghetti smeared all over them, determined as they rode their bikes in endless circles around the house, sweet smelling and angelic only as they slept. My heart is a deep pool of love for each of you.

I chose a partner and miraculously, he chose me. Together we have shared a life filled with precarious cliffs and exhilarating views, sprawling green meadows and cool summer waters. Among all the loves of my life, you are the only one bound with me by love alone, my one true valentine.

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We knew it would be like this…..

Last summer, we nearly drowned in a sea of summer squash and zucchini. We ate it steamed and baked in lasagna. We shredded it into breads and muffins. We cubed it into stews and casseroles. We froze it in every form imaginable. We eventually composted it. We nodded to each other, “oh yes, we’ll be glad we did this when the winter winds blow.”

And the winter wind is blowing. (Well not today, it is actually sunny and beautiful and supposed to be in the 40’s.) But the ground is frozen and mostly snow covered.  There is a warm summer breeze, packaged into convenient sized portions, slumbering in our freezer.

Tonight, we enjoy turkey and summer squash soup. Seasoned with oregano and chives, we  close our eyes and feel the steam of the giant stock pot we kept at a rolling boil last summer.

Time to pull out the seeds and start all over again. We knew it would be like this.

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The beauty of burl…..


You see them out in the woods. Weird looking growths hanging off otherwise perfectly good looking trees. At a quick glance, they might be a bird’s nest or a cluster of leaves. But hidden inside can be a treasure of nature’s perfect artistry. There is no way to tell until a blade breaks the gnarly surface. The grains are intense and unyielding. The craftsman must allow the wood to guide his motions. There are stories being told if he is listening closely. Each story and piece inherently unique and rare.

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I can’t look away from the television. It seems no matter what crap is being displayed; infomercials about work out equipment and the latest diabetes drugs, sappy predictable Hallmark movies or hunting shows highlighted with camouflaged country stars whispering their excitement. If there is movement on the screen, I am watching.

My husband turns on the television in the morning. At one time, it was to hear the news but we no longer get any news channels so that excuse is no longer valid. But still he turns it on. But then makes coffee, and putters in the kitchen. Shockingly, he can walk right out of the room and move on to some other task without batting an eye. I, on the other hand, lock on the screen upon entering the room. I sometimes manage to pour the coffee without spilling, since my eyes are still watching whatever garbage is being shown. I generally can find a spot on the couch without losing eye contact.

Television strives to smolder and put out any core of originality that I posses. Leaving nothing but a bleary eyed, zombie-like woman, clawing her way off the couch and up to bed. Where the television is glowing like a giant night light.

I vow to turn them all off right now.


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You Got To Be Kidding Me

I have returned to the hospitality industry after a 25 year hiatus. I tend bar and serve at a local smokehouse and tavern. It’s a small place, seating about 50 people indoors, with a deck to accommodate more in good weather. I love this work. It’s like hosting a big party with a fully stocked bar and great food being cooked to order! And I get paid to make sure people have a good time! I admit I’m somewhat lame after working my shifts….

Recently, I was working a rainy Monday lunch. It filled up fast and I was soon running to keep up. A party of three came in and sat at one of our high top tables.  A woman and presumably, her husband – certainly her lover, in their mid to late sixties sat with a younger man, perhaps fifty five. They were elegantly dressed and all three well perfumed. The younger man had a strong accent. I decided it was Italian as he fit the part- tall, dark, thick black hair and smooth skin. The woman did most of the talking.

She asked for a wine list. Being a smokehouse and tavern, we don’t really have a wine list so I started rattling off our house wines and some of the others I knew we stocked. She settled on a Kendall Jackson chardonnay for the three of them. She asked the price so I told her I thought it was $5.00 and that I’d check. Her husband asked for a beer instead, an IPA, my personal favorite. I cheered him on and brought their drinks. I had checked the price of the chardonnay and it was $6.00 rather than $5.00 but with a dozen other tables needing attention, I forgot to mention it, as I worked to get their order placed.

The woman drilled me on the preparation of the baked fish dish, the freshness of the seasonal vegetables, and settled on both, with a side salad and Roquefort dressing. It was just the way she said it. Bear in mind that a tall customer sitting at a high top table is often looking down on me as I’m not much over five feet tall. This woman used it to her advantage, looking at me through glasses perched on the tip of her nose.

“The salads aren’t pre-made are they?” She asked me haughtily. She turned to her younger companion.  “I despise an ice cold salad.”

The meal progressed and everything was agreeable. Thank God. I continued to run back and forth trying desperately to keep ahead of the people who kept coming and coming….

When I checked with their table, the woman informed me she wished to purchase the beer glass. It was a standard “pint” glass with the Boston Red Sox logo on it. I told her I would check on a price. I did and was told that we didn’t sell them. We only had so many and couldn’t get more. So I told the woman.  “Too bad. Its quaint.” She said.

When I presented the tab, the woman whisked it from the table. Immediately she noticed the wine price. “You said $5.00 for the wine.” She demanded. I couldn’t spend any more time on this party so I simply agreed to change the price. I left them the amended bill and continued to take care of my other customers.

Twenty minutes later, they had left and I got around to cleaning off their table. The beer glass was gone and the tip was tiny. You got to be kidding me.

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