Thursday, March 8, 2012

In my grandmothers' houses

Me and Mom-Mom
I am the first child and the first grandchild on both sides. I was born to young parents and was fortunate enough to know a great great grandmother, two great grandmothers, one great grandfather, and all four of my grandparents.

Five generations on my dad's side:
My Grandmom, Mom-Mom holding me (my great grandmother), Granny (my great great grandmother), and my Dad
I spent a lot of time with my two grandmoms and my great grandmom. I have so many memories of these women.  They have shaped so much of my life and loved me to pieces every day I was with them. They are what I remember most from childhood. I watched them and incorporated what they did, said, and thought into pieces of myself. To me, the best part of a person's story is the small details that make them who they are. It's comforting to take a stroll down memory lane through my grandmothers' houses.
My mom's mom is Gamma. Gamma and I were always on the go, to Makro, Shop-n-Bag, walking to the butcher up the block, stocking the stand at LSAA, visiting my other grandmothers, and checking books out of the library. She read me Humm the Singing Hamster eleventy billion times and instilled in me very early a love of books. Her youngest children, the triplets, were only eight when I was born, so Gamma's house was always loud and busy. I was always treated like the queen, and there was no end of cereal varieties. Gamma kept me well stocked in books and swedish fish (red and purple). She was at every game and school function even though she returned to the working world after I was in school. Her house was the first place I drove to on my own when I got my license. I pinned her mother's blue brooch inside of my wedding dress, and this year she gave it to me for Christmas. Gamma will be 80 in December and still lives in the house I spent so much time in growing up.

My dad's mom was a teller at Meridien bank, and I've been banking there through all of its ownership changes since birth. Her mother was a single working mother, and my Grandmom looked after her siblings and learned responsibility and the value of hard work early on. From her out of everyone in my life I learned work/chores first, play later. I often slept over her house on the weekends. Her poodle Inky would walk on my back and Grandmom would say he was taking a walk on the boardwalk. I spent a lot of time swimming in her pool, pretending to be a bartender at the bar in her basement, and playing with her music boxes. I now own the glasses that used to be in the bar and the music boxes. We jumped in the leaves at the American Legion across the street, and she took me to church at Our Lady of Grace, where I spent every  mass counting the beams on the Church ceiling. She made the best lemon meringue pie and pretty awesome corned beef too but has given up all kitchen duties in recent years. She will be 80 on March 17, and my family will spend a weekend in Cape May this June celebrating.

When I was born, Mom-Mom (my dad's grandmom) was in the hospital. She perked right up when I entered the world and we were inseparable from then on. Mom-Mom's apartments were always warm, full of potted plants and afghans. She made soup all of the time, and I am now a weekly soup maker. When I'm in a store, I pick up Basis soap and smell it because it smells like her. She taught me to knit and quilt, skills I have long let lapse. She answered everything I asked and never shied away from any subject. She snuck out and hopped on a train into Center City to go to dances as a girl, was a divorcee when it wasn't acceptable, went to school in secret to become a nurse and later worked at Byberry, never got her driver's license, was a single working mother and would only buy shoes at Ballow's in Bristol. She made me so many clothes and afghans, complete with matching ones for my dolls. She always twirled her thumbs which I often find myself doing. She frequently said "now wait" so it sounded like "nahwait" when I was impatient, which was always (her daughter, my Grandmom, does this too!). She died when I was 17, and she visits me in my dreams when I need her. Today is her birthday. She loved to celebrate our birthdays together.

Mom-Mom and Big Pop-Pop's Grandmom (yes, I called her that!)-Gamma's mother
I thank my stars every day for these strong female role models, and for all the time I spent with them growing up. March is Women's history month, and when I think of the women that have paved the way for all of us, I feel lucky to have my grandmothers so deeply woven into my own personal history.


p.s. one week until my birthday!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Life lessons A to Z

Happy Wednesday, worldwideweb! As part of my birthday month, I thought I'd share an A to Z of some things I've learned along the way in life. Enjoy! And try not to be a dbag today, to yourself or anyone else.

A. Actions speak louder than words. Do what you say you're going to do.
Photo from

B. Don't think so much. Just be. This is my favorite quote from the fabulous novel Ordinary People.

C. Comparison is the thief of joy. Appreciate what you have, don't worry about anyone else or what they have.

D. Don't drink and drive, and don't be an asshole drunk.

E. Excuses are lame.

F. Facebook is not a therapy office, nor is it a place to air dirty laundry. It's a social network. The End.

Photo from
G. Graciously accept aging - some people don't have the privilege of growing old.

H. Honesty is the best policy.

Photo from

I. If you don't love yourself, nothing else matters.

J. Jail is bad, so don't do anything that might land you there if you get caught, mm'kay?

K. Karma doesn't have a statute of limitations. Treat others how you want to be treated.
Photo from

L. Laughter cures most things. So do loving and loyal friends.

M. Manage your expectations of others and of situations and you will be happier overall and less bitter about things you never had any control over anyway.

N. NO DRAMA - don't create it and don't participate in it. It's like Beetlejuice. Don't even say it.

O. Own up to your part in things and take responsibility.

P. Play the best hand you can with the cards you've been dealt.

Q. Quit blaming other people for what's in your life. Whatever is there is there until you choose to get rid of it.

R. Race the sun - have productive and full days. You'll sleep better at night.

Photo from
S. Stand up for what's right, especially when nobody else will.

T. Take vacations, enjoy every day, and have fun.

U. Use correct spelling and grammar.
No lie, I was fortunate enough to be behind this guy this very morning. Please sir, the're killing me.

V. Vote. It's a privilege many people in the world don't have, and one of your freedoms that many soldiers died to protect. The least you could do is inform yourself about candidates and issues and pull the lever.

W. The world doesn't owe you anything, so check your sense of entitlement at the door. If you want something, you have to work for it.

Photo from

X. eXtremists are bad news and tend to ruin things.

Y. You can't control what other people do or say, but you can control your reaction to it.

Z. Zen states are good.

Sayonara, amigos.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Hello birthday month.

It's here.

Welcome March, month of my birthday, March Madness, daylight savings time, spring training, spring the season...My birthday is in 14 days, doo dah, doo dah. I'm sorry. I can't help myself.

How does one kick off the month of their 35th birthday? By buying gifts, of course. Mine: 

Hello, pretty. We're finally going to rendezvous. You will arrive in just a few days. I can't wait.

Ok, this is not a birthday gift, but it is on its way from Amazon. Free shipping and all.
I need it to make my own ranch dip mix and dressing and I can't find it in stores.
I will classify this as a useful birthday bonus.

A friend of mine from college had a book of poetry published, so I ordered that too. Check her out here.

Guess what, guess what? I'm going to have my very own label maker.
Debbie gave me one of hers long ago, but it didn't work for long and I never replaced it.
Is it weird to be so excited over a label maker?
When you store everything in clear plastic containers and have handwriting like a serial killer's
I say it's very exciting to own a label maker. Very exciting indeed.
Thank you for the recommendation, Laura.

I have my eye on a few other things as well...specifically a dress, a cardigan and a glue gun after yesterday's blog.

Last night, I baked March two loaves of english muffin bread - my first time baking bread that was not a quick bread - as an offering of good will. It's quite good toasted. March, I hope you enjoy the bread and are a kick ass month in return.

Marching in like a lion,


p.s. Milo's Kitchen Treats for dogs might be recalled, they are making some dogs ill. Thanks Jennifer K for the info!

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