P.S.-Pooh Says...

"What day is it? - 'It's today' - squeaked Piglet. 'My favourite day' - said Pooh."- A.A. Milne

17 June 2018

My Umbrella Policy-Daddy's Gifts Today and Everyday

 “She did not stand alone, but what stood behind her, the most potent moral force in her life, was the love of her father."
~Harper Lee
This week has been another horror of headlines. No, I will never get used to watching the world crumble, and I fear we are becoming numb and expectant of each new outrage and accost to decency and humanity.  This week,however, was especially painful because the most innocent are being harmed,perhaps for life, by being torn from their parents who made the egregious error of wanting a better world and future for their children. On this Father's Day may every Father who can make a difference and change a policy of such horrific outcome do it and do it now! 

 Yes, this is yet another Hallmark day, designed for card sellers and tie makers.  Of course we should celebrate Dads beyond a Sunday in June, but to have a day set aside on the calendar to stop and hug the man or the memories is a good thing. There was a time I ran from this day, a day filled with memories so strong that 28 years later I can still feel all those  family Father's Day cook-outs in all types of weather, the piles of gifts left in front of my Papa who preferred to have all his grandchildren around him rather than packages and left the presents for Nana to open, the clumsily wrapped cans of tennis balls and Izod polos that populated Daddy's stack of gifts... 

  No, it does not get easier with time.  Loss leaves craters in your life.  Though they can never be filled, and will never be closed, if you have been enveloped with love the holes are softer to look into and can bring both strength and joy.

 Though this will never be a fun day for me, it is a day that holds my own stash of gifts.   This Father's Day weekend may not be my first without Daddy, but like every year at this time I try to keep the mascara from going by hugging the memories and re-opening his many gifts to me.  Gifts that I carry with me every day and always will.  Gifts that are sewn into the core of my soul and especially my heart. Gifts that have given me an umbrella policy for life.

Being a daddy’s girl is like having a permanent armor for the rest of your life.”
~Marinela Ranka 

 I proudly say I am a "Daddy's Girl" and that is a badge I wear boldly. There are a lot of negative connotations with that phrase...spoiled, Princess, indulged...but for me the phrase symbolizes not only the unbreakable bond between a Father and Daughter but also the foundation upon which I stand... every day. The insurance, and assurance, that believing in myself,as Daddy believed in me, will get me through.

"Run your own race,baby. He could have said it a dozen other ways. “Be independent.” “Don’t be influenced by others.” But it wouldn’t have been the same. The words he chose touched my heart and have remained with me all through my life. Whenever I’m at a crossroads, I ask myself, 
“Am I running my race or somebody else’s?"
What a gift he gave me."

We lost my Dad suddenly. After the shock wore off, and the numbness set in, I felt as if I were living without a safety net, sort of free falling-I still have days I feel that way. It took some time to realize that Daddy had left me many gifts, gifts that would help me realize that a safety net would always be there. My umbrella policy. The most important gift perhaps is the knowledge that I do have solid ground beneath my feet because of the lessons he taught me-be yourself, stand for what you believe, laugh no matter what, show them how it's done!, know you tried your best, believe in who you are!  These lessons helped to build my base, grow the roots that sprout from my feet and created my own terra firma, composed of all  the love that I was graced to be given. 

  How very lucky I am to know that being a “Daddy’s Girl” means that I carry the extraordinary gift of unconditional love with me wherever life takes me. That love has taught me to believe in myself and my strengths, and to know that I CAN “run my own race”- even when I have trouble finding the track. My Father taught me to trust my instincts, believe that there is nothing I can’t accomplish and that the worst thing I could do would be to give up, pass on an opportunity or to sit on the sidelines and never try! I think the only instances that Daddy was upset and angry with me is when I gave up, ran home, didn't try.

Still on the days when I think…”There is NO way I can do this!” I hear Daddy saying “just try”. Happy Father’s Day Daddy…Thank you for my many gifts. Oh how I wish you were here to watch me run my race,especially when I run the other way :) I love you today and everyday!

13 May 2018

Marmee's Girls-Loving Little Women

"My dear girls, I am ambitious for you, but not to have you make a dash in the world, marry rich men merely because they are rich, or have splendid houses, which are not homes because love is wanting. Money is a needful and precious thing, and when well used, a noble thing, but I never want you to think it is the first or only prize to strive for. I'd rather see you poor men's wives, if you were happy, beloved, contented, than queens on thrones, without self-respect and peace.”

 "I've got the key to my castle in the air, but whether I can unlock the door remains to be seen"
I do not have any sisters, so perhaps that is one reason Little Women was, and remains, one of my "Best Books".  I have many copies-some with broken spines and yellowed pages, others just sit so I know I have them on the shelf.  I have watched and re-watched every film and screen adaptation countless times-my favorite wavers between the 1933 version with Katharine Hepburn as Jo and the 1994 with Susan Sarandon as Marmee and Winona Ryder as Jo. Tonight Masterpiece Theatre premiers a new adaption  with Dame Angela Lansbury as Aunt March-I cannot wait!!

“I want to do something splendid… something heroic or wonderful that won’t be forgotten after I’m dead. I don’t know what, but I’m on the watch for it, and mean to astonish you all someday.”

Louisa May Alcott wrote her coming of age tale set during the Civil War and based on her own family stories, just up the road in Concord Ma. She was an abolitionist and an early feminist and was the first woman to register to vote in Concord when women were given limited suffrage in 1879.  You can visit The Alcott's Orchard House ,"Home to Little Women".  

"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship"

Like many  readers, I saw myself in each of the March sisters. Amy, who loved her family but was impulsive, jealous, fluffy ambitious and artistic who wanted to be surrounded by beautiful things, and as the youngest, despite knowing better,could be a bit bratty. Meg, responsible, good natured, practical and there for all her sisters yet holding her own longings for her own life.  Beth, painfully shy and so truly good, with a selfless tender heart that seemed always in need of sharing.   Jo, like many of us it is Jo I identify with most-ambitious, dramatic, sharp witted, creative, imaginative, frustrated, willful, stubborn always with her nose in a book, fighting change but longing for it, and never at rest confined to the limitations of being a girl in 19thc New England. She would not marry the "boy next door" dear Laurie, though I know they would always love one another, Jo dreamed big and knew there was more for her than being the wife of a wealthy man.
“Because they are mean is no reason why I should be. I hate such things, and though I think I've a right to be hurt, I don't intend to show it. (Amy March)”

For a book published in 1869 Little Women remains as relevant,and I would argue perhaps more so, than in the post Civil War age it was written.  Not simply because of its tales of siblings love and jealousy dealing with all the messiness of  growing up,coming of age and finding out who you are entails, but also because the characters remain real-they love, they scheme, they care, they hurt and they dream.  From Jo we learn that being a girl, no matter where you grow, doesn't and shouldn't stop you in place.  Marmee's girls may all be different but at their core is heart and Marmee raises them to be their best selves.  On Mother's Day, and everyday, is there a better way to celebrate Moms and Daughters.  Enjoy!!!

“My Jo, you may say anything to your mother, for it is my greatest happiness and pride to feel that my girls confide in me and know how much I love them.”

“Jo's breath gave out here, and wrapping her head in the paper, she bedewed her little story with a few natural tears, for to be independent and earn the praise of those she loved were the dearest wishes of her heart, and this seemed to be the first step toward that happy end.” 

all illustrations from gutenburg.org

12 May 2018

Keep it on Replay, The Mom PlayList-Happy Mother's Day

"Motherhood: All love begins and ends there." ~ Robert Browning
" Sweater, n.: garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly." ~Ambrose Bierce

Let's just acknowledge from the start, much like Peter Rabbit we don't listen to our Mothers very well...not with our ears anyway. Momspeak after so many years can become the true Muzak of our lives. "Why are you wearing that?" is the hit single we can all dance to-But I promise you Moms, we may not listen...but we hear! 
How else do we grow up to sound just like you??

I consider myself to be a pretty independent woman....known for my strong will with my own opinions and vision of the world. Yes, even headstrong and truly stubborn at times.  "My Way" or "Don't Rain on My Parade"could be my personal anthems...but there are in fact other voices in my head...an endless playlist of Dos and Don'ts, How Comes and Why Nots,rights and wrongs...find the topic from which shoes to wear, to how to fold a bedsheet,roast a chicken or walk into a crowd-the voices on my playlist will show the way.

No matter what else a Mom does with her life her job is her children. For our Moms our "end result" is the product of their career...so of course we have been asked to get it right!! Our success is their success and for more than one generation of women that reflected "glory" or "failure" defined the women who raised us. We are the personification of their life's work-if we messed up so did they. I may have my days when I wonder if I will ever do it right, get it right, but I am a woman who cares a great deal about doing it right,and getting it right, because I was taught by the women whose thumbprints are all over me that it matters. Sure, I have picked my rebellions to drive them nuts...I never learned how to properly fold a sheet which drove my Nana up a tree. I consistently neglect to wear a raincoat on a potentially rainy day leading my Mother to exclaim that I truly don't know when to come out of the rain.

I have to come to realize,however,that I am my Mother's product. I am put together not with a selfishness or interest in making her mark, but with a complete commitment to her job. She is a Mom, this is what she does. Despite many other roles and abilities, being a Mom is who she is with every inch of her being. If I can stand back and look at the woman who raised me with any objectivity I will see that not every woman who wears the label Mother does that. With all due modesty, my Mother is better than your Mother-ha!
It isn't that other Mothers don't love their children, or that they didn't do a good job, but that somewhere along the growing up line they declared an end game. OK, so a professional might say that is healthy-forget it! Maybe I can't see how it is possible to retire from the most important job any human can have because my Mother, and her Mother before her, never put their feet up on the job-thank goodness! Even though my Grandmother is no longer here she would be happy to know that the Muzak she implanted in both her daughter and in me plays everyday! WWND?-What Would Nana Do? makes us smile,laugh and remember. By some string that will always connect us we do it her way, with our own twist, but Nana is in the building!  How lucky I am -I got stereo! There is my Nana's Muzak and there is my Mother's- not surprisingly very similar tunes.

Of course it is not just the "do it my way" tunes that I hear each day but more profoundly the emotional songs that have taken root from the bottom of my feet. These roots come from knowing without any hesitation or embarrassment that I keep playing those tunes because I need to hear the noise. I need the voice of the person who loves me no matter what! I may not always get it right but there is no auditioning here. Even when the raincoat is in the car keeping the car dry, I know that if I get wet there is shelter available.

I also have the innate comfort that my Mom's job is far from done-her daughter is a product in development and will continue to be, as Anna Quindlen wrote-"A finished person is a boring person." I'm not finished, and only a person who does not need to be loved, does not hear the Muzak or recognize the thumbprints, can be finished.

If you are lucky in this life the bond with your Mom is the simplest, and many times the most complicated, one you will ever have. I am THAT lucky! There is nothing simpler than being loved completely and knowing that her love sustains , motivates and grounds you. The string that runs from Mom to child is the most powerful and lasting connection there will ever be. We may walk through different doors sometimes but we are usually going in the same direction... together! (much like the time we discovered we were in adjacent dressing rooms in Bloomingdales!)

The definition of a Mom cannot be found in a Hallmark card, in an ad for cake mix, or on a rerun of a 70s sitcom. A Mom is defined by her life's work. She can be a Supreme Court Justice or a candidate for President, her Momdom is at the core of everything she does. Her success is not found in material success but in the knowledge that there is a work in progress out there that will always hear her music, always need her tune to be played, and always love her.

 Don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor. The Tale of Peter Rabbit

 Happy Mother's Day Mummy...job well done,but never finished! I love you!

23 March 2018

Not One More!

“We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”  ~ Martin Luther King,Jr.


March for Our Lives Mission Statement

Not one more. We cannot allow one more child to be shot at school. We cannot allow one more teacher to make a choice to jump in front of a firing assault rifle to save the lives of students. We cannot allow one more family to wait for a call or text that never comes. Our schools are unsafe. Our children and teachers are dying. We must make it our top priority to save these lives. 
March For Our Lives is created by, inspired by, and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar. In the tragic wake of the seventeen lives brutally cut short in Florida, politicians are telling us that now is not the time to talk about guns.  March For Our Lives believes the time is now. 
On March 24, the kids and families of March For Our Lives will take to the streets of Washington, DC to demand that their lives and safety become a priority. The collective voices of the March For Our Lives movement will be heard. 
School safety is not a political issue. There cannot be two sides to doing everything in our power to ensure the lives and futures of children who are at risk of dying when they should be learning, playing, and growing.  The mission and focus of March For Our Lives is to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues.  No special interest group, no political agenda is more critical than timely passage of legislation to effectively address the gun violence issues that are rampant in our country. 
Every kid in this country now goes to school wondering if this day might be their last. We live in fear. 
It doesn’t have to be this way. Change is coming. And it starts now, inspired by and led by the kids who are our hope for the future. Their young voices will be heard. 
Stand with us on March 24. Refuse to allow one more needless death. 
"There is no sound more powerful than the marching feet 
of a determined people."
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

images via March for OurLives

04 March 2018

A Classic Kiss on Oscar Night

Roman Holiday, 1953
  It's March... grey, dreary, and that in between month when we don't know if mittens or mudboots are called for. The gardens at Camp MP are still sleeping in their messy beds. The world is not happy, the news is beyond comprehension and so much we need to Change! and March! for and CARE about...but sometimes it's OK to 
shut off the newsfeeds and curl up with a good movie!
I believe that what the world needs now...is a good Kiss!

  How to Steal a Million,1966

An Affair to Remember, 1957

"You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.” Rhett Butler


Lady and The Tramp, 1955
 So just in time for Oscar Night a romantic reminder of 
why I'm a Classic movie lover.

Thomas Crown Affair , 1968

Somehow we are missing Romance...we have robots, super duper super heroes,  galaxy fighters and things exploding and imploding but...romance??  Where did it go?

 Holiday, 1938

  “I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.”
Bull Durham,1988

Have you noticed kisses don't mean as much anymore in movies.  When you watch a film these days how often is 
 just expected, ho-hum, gratuitous, superfluous and simply  an "is  what it is " non-event.  I think it is sad that romance has disappeared---we know what's going to happen and  it is rarely worth the ticket price when it does.

The Thin Man, 1934

 Maybe we have become jaded by too many kisses, too many scenes that are throw-aways, kisses that are just filling space.  Where's the chemistry, where's the heat, where's the  witty dialogue, where's the soaring music, the anticipation, the drama, the MOMENT.  

I want THE MOMENT!  (Sabrina,1954)

It Happened One Night, 1934 
 SO this Oscar Night I am celebrating with some of my favorite on-screen smooches and some of the best kissy quotes --interesting that films made in much less socially open periods are the ones we remember--iconic kisses that are unforgettable and keep us watching again and again.  So Hollywood listen up--take a lesson from classic films and don't just toss those kisses in wherever and whenever...save them, make them special... and give us back THE MOMENT!

Charade, 1963
 "Aren't you allowed to kiss back?" 
"No.  The doctor said it would be bad for my 
 -- thermostat.
When you come on, you really come on."
         "Well -- come on. "

Ball of Fire, 1941
 "I'm gonna show you what yum-yum is. 
Here's yum...And here's the other yum...And here's yum-yum."

Casablanca, 1942
"Kiss me. Kiss me as if it were the last time."

From Here to Eternity, 1953
" Nobody ever kissed me the way you do."

Roman Holiday, 1953

Summertime, 1955

To Catch a Thief, 1955
 "I've been waiting all day for you to mention that kiss I gave you last night... 
Not only did I enjoy that kiss last night, 
I was awed by the efficiency behind it." 
She replied: "Well, I'm a great believer of getting down to essentials."

North by Northwest, 1959

The Way We Were, 1973

Moonstruck, 1987

Princess Bride, 1987

 “Since the invention of the kiss there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one left them all behind. The End.”