Y is for Yesterday: Blogging from A to Z Challenge


There are three types of people in this world. People that long for yesterday, the ones that eagerly anticipate tomorrow and those that live in the moment. Which one are you?

I admit it. I’m a person that spends a lot of time thinking about yesterdays. When I speak about yesterdays, it is with a very broad scope. There are the yesterdays when I was a child growing up in rural Pennsylvania. And there are the yesterdays spent without my mom. There are also the yesterdays when I was a rebellious teenager largely perceived as a good girl. But let’s not forget the yesterdays of my college years, of my dating years, of my married years or of my parenting years. I also think about yesterday in the literal sense. Today’s yesterday marked one year since the passing of a friend who was very special to me. The point is, I think about yesterdays a lot. Most of those thoughts are about what I would do differently. I am always trying to inch out pangs of regret with the promise of what is possible. Let me tell you, regret is a serious bitch to be reckoned with.

My husband, being the yin to my yang, is the person that looks to tomorrow. He is, without doubt, the optimist in our family. When our usual summer vacation to our favorite spot in Maine was usurped by circumstance, we found ourselves, instead, planning around our limited timeshare and summertime availability. When our destination and calendars were in flux, my husband was unsettled. Every night he would come home to see what exchanges became available, almost lost without something to look forward to. As soon as a destination was booked, there was light on the horizon: maps to plan, restaurants to visit, tourist traps to ensnare us. There is now peace and balance in the world. I think that is why my husband loves Christmas so much. What could me more exciting than six (or more) weeks of planning as a means to a spectacular end?

Obviously (or maybe not so much), it is optimal to live in the moment. To appreciate what is happening now without trying to overcome the past or outdo it with the future is the true zen of life, isn’t it? I valiantly try to appreciate the here and now, I do. But remember, I am a dweller on yesterdays and I understand how crippling that can be to the appreciation of today. My big roadblock, sadly, is that I fear what tomorrow holds more than I look forward to it. I’m still working on that.

I am, always, a work in progress. But I haven’t given up yet.

X is for xfinity: Blogging from A to Z Challenge


Man, am I slugging along through the end of the A to Z Challenge. I have already missed the official deadline by 17 days but I promised myself that I would at least finish the challenge, even if within my own time. The end is so near I can taste it. In all honesty, I was struggling to find a good “X” word. Xanax was too boring and cliché, xenophiilia/xenophobia was too pretentious and Xanadu was an easy way out, not to mention my friend’s “X” word.

Then it hit me: xfinity.

I supposed xfinity isn’t really a word so much as it is a brand but I have to tell you, it has saved my life. It has been 9 days since I had minor foot surgery and I have been instructed to stay off my feet as much as possible. So I’ve been watching a lot of xfinity (and Netflix and Amazon and regular ol’ cable TV).

With the help of streaming, I’ve caught up on all of my favorite shows that are currently airing or wrapping up their seasons. In the past few days I’ve seen the finales of four shows. There was some good TV going on in the last couple weeks and I thought I’d share my “nutshell” reactions.

[WARNING: Spoilers Ahead.]


The Good Wife. Unlike the surprise of Derek’s departure from Grey’s, we knew that Kalinda was leaving the show. The finale gave Kalinda’s storyline a little more closure. Much like Grey’s Anatomy, Season 6 of The Good Wife left a pretty open playing field for Season 7. It was no surprise that Louis Canning will continue to figure into Alicia’s legal career and it remains to be seen how Finn figures into Alicia’s life, both personally and professionally. It will be interesting to see Alicia, Louis and Finn going head to head with Cary, Diane and David next year.

Bates Motel. So this is the season where Norman really starts to lose it and his split personality with Norma starts becoming more prominent. The season finale was decent. Nothing really jaw dropping. The show had a few dramatic turns that could develop into something compelling next year. No confirmation has come from A&E as to whether or not they are picking Bates up for Season 4. I would like to see it go at least one more season so we can see Norman really coming unhinged, which is when Freddie Highmore is at his best.

Grey’s Anatomy. I have to say that Shonda doesn’t deliver Grey’s season finales like she used to. All in all this was basically a “cleaning up house” kind of finale, giving her a fairly clean slate to start with next season. Following Derek’s death, she raced through an entire year in one episode so she could get us quickly to new conflicts and challenges for the Grey Sloan Memorial gang. It’s been renewed for Season 12, so I’ll keep watching. Natch.

Scandal. Okay. Scandal was the finale the elicited the most gasps from me when I was watching it, making up for some of the ridiculous stuff we endured this season. Papa Pope is truly the hell, the high water and more. I love how evil he is. There were a couple good cliffhangers that should ensure that Season 5 will start with a roar and not a whimper. The fate of Huck and Jake (I refuse to believe we’ve seen the last of him) should prove to be very exciting next season. Fitz finally grew a pair and shook things up at the White House. Also, he got the girl. But the question is for how long?

BONUS: Wrapping Up Tomorrow Night, Forever

The Following. The recent cancellation of the Fox series saddens me a bit but I have to say that it has lost a little of the sizzle it once had. The recipe is the same, the players just get changed up a bit. I think the series suffered when they lost Joe Carroll as a primary character. While Theo is certainly a formidable opponent, I don’t see him bonding with Ryan Hardy in the same way Joe did/does. The season, and now series, finale is tomorrow. The producers are apparently shopping different networks but if they don’t find a home, I hope tomorrow night’s episode gives us a somewhat tidy ending.

* My doctor said I’m healing because I’m calm and compliant. I don’t freak out and I do what I’m told.

W is for Weight Loss: Blogging from A to Z Challenge


For most of my life I have struggled with my weight. Because of my love of food and my general hatred of exercise, I am usually somewhere between 15-20 pounds overweight. I have started and stopped three pretty significant weight loss efforts in the last couple of years. The latest one has been the most successful but I have, admittedly, stalled. All three times, I find myself stalling around the same number. So perhaps I set myself up, expecting to give up at that number.

This time around, I had lost 20 pounds since the beginning of the year. I had been losing the weight slowly and steadily for a few months but then a couple of cheat weekends turned into a couple of weeks. Last week, I had foot surgery, so now exercise if off the table entirely for at least a month, likely longer.


Can I recover from this setback? Or will I find myself at square one in a couple of months?

Well, one thing I discovered is that when you are not permitted to put any weight on your foot, it is a little more difficult to open the refrigerator door out of boredom or wander past the candy dish. That isn’t to say that I haven’t been eating super clean but I haven’t gone completely hog wild. Today’s weigh-in revealed a 5.5 pound gain since mid-April. I am still (barely) within my DietBet Transformer goal for May but it is time for (re)action.

I am going to allow myself a couple more days of indulgence but then on Friday, it is back on the “eating clean” wagon. No red meat. No alcohol. Lots of water. Less sodium. Tons of fruits and veggies.

I can do this. I am much further into this tunnel than I am out of it.

A Memorable Souvenir at TheatreWorks New Milford

Photo Credit: Rich Pettibone

Photo Credit: Rich Pettibone

Some theatres have been around long enough to have become known as reliable producers of certain types of shows. Such is the case with TheatreWorks New Milford, who has mastered the production of small yet dynamic dramas featuring fascinating women. In recent years, the venue has successfully produced shows about Katherine Hepburn, Golda Meir and Lynn Redgrave.

TheatreWorks’ current production, Stephen Temperley’s Souvenir, proves once again that they are the perfect venue for intimate storytelling. This gem of a play is about Florence Foster Jenkins (Priscilla Squiers), a New York socialite and amateur opera singer who was known and ridiculed for her lack of singing talent. The story is told by her accompanist of twelve years, Cosmé McMoon (Greg Chrzczon), in a series of flashbacks and musical vignettes.

This is the third time Ms. Squiers and Mr. Chrzczon have portrayed the performer and musician in Souvenir. This production was originally conceived and presented at Westport Community Theatre under the direction of Ruth Anne Baumgartner. Squiers and Chrzczon recreated their roles once again in Southbury and then arrived in the cozy setting of TheatreWorks New Milford, with additional direction provided by Sonnie Osborne.

The play begins with Cosmé recalling the first time he met Ms. Jenkins. Seated behind the piano, he recounts their relationship through the years. As told through snippets of song and anecdotes, we learn about when he discovered Florence couldn’t sing, about his coaching her through concerts and recordings and finally his recollection of her only public performance at Carnegie Hall. Greg Chrzczon plays the role of Cosmé with great savoir-faire. He is clearly comfortable behind the piano, which is delightful to watch. It is during the narrative of the play that he brings us as difference side of Cosmé. Mr. Chrzczon’s blend of comic timing and sincerity help to create a relationship between the accompanist and the singer that is quite poignant.

Local theatre maven Priscilla Squiers simply shines in the role of Florence Foster Jenkins. Similar to Ms. Jenkins’ audiences of the 20s and 30s, the audience at TheatreWorks would chortle openly whenever Squiers sang, rarely matching pitch or tempo. It is an easy trap with this role to make Florence into a caricature but Squiers is able to solicit just enough laughter without going overboard. Ms. Squiers also brings a deep passion and vulnerability to Florence, which fuels some beautifully done scenes. Special mention should, however, be called to the finale in which Squiers proves what an accomplished performer she is. There is great complexity in singing well but it is even more difficult to intentionally sing badly. Proving that her technical skill is bountiful, Ms. Squiers does both in this production with great aplomb.

Under Ms. Osborne’s guidance, Squiers and Chrzczon deliver strong and moving performances. The play moves swiftly from scene to scene, permitting the audience to join in on a raucous ride without ever stopping too long to chew the scenery. Baumgartner’s and Osborne’s combined directing efforts for this production have resulted in a sharp, enjoyable and interesting evening of theatre.

The technical aspects of this production were impeccable. Rich Pettibone’s set, replete with spinning panels, was bathed in hues of yellow and grey and became Florence’s music salon, the Carnegie Hall stage and a backstage dressing room. The elegant set was complimented by Scott Wyshynski’s warm and inviting lighting.

While Mr. Chrzczon spent the evening in a tuxedo with only a simple change from jacket to tails, Ms. Squiers’ costumes were innumerable. Under the coordination of St. Clair Bayfield, Mary Kulscar and Rhonda Schutz created a splendid array of costumes for Florence, from her beautiful socialite attire to her outrageous performance costumes. Kudos should also be given to dressers Beth Plotkin and Erin Shaughnessy for assisting with the costume changes, some of which seemed to be at lightning speed.

Souvenir is a lighthearted and respectful look at the life of a woman who was passionate about her art and who was convinced that she was good at what she did and that she could “live in the music forever.” This lovely production at TheatreWorks illustrates, through the story of Florence Foster Jenkins, that joy can indeed be achieved by truly believing in yourself and your abilities.


Souvenir continues May 9 through 23. Curtain time is 8:00 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays, with 2:00 p.m. Sunday matinees on May 10 and 17. Tickets for all shows are $23 for reserved seating. Students and military personnel with ID will be admitted for $18. Reservations can be made online at www.theatreworks.us or by calling the box office at (860) 350-6863. TheatreWorks is located on 5 Brookside Avenue, just off Route 202 (next to the CVS), in New Milford , CT.

V is for Vegetable: Blogging from A to Z Challenge

I mentioned in my “P” post that I’m a pretty good cook. In addition to knowing how to make a variety of dishes, I am quite knowledgeable about the preparation of almost any food, especially vegetables. I love almost all vegetables. I have even toyed, at times, with the thought of becoming a vegetarian. However, I know that I need protein that goes beyond tofu, nuts and dairy, so I don’t see becoming a true vegetarian any time soon.

My husband and kids aren’t huge vegetable lovers. Most everyone in the family likes the Midwestern farm vegetables: corn, potatoes, peas, carrots and salad. Beyond that I can usually only find one other person in my household to share my veggies with. Nobody likes spinach in my family. I absolutely love it. Sauteed, creamed, in a salad. Even canned like Popeye! I love spinach. One of my girls likes kale chips but greens beyond that don’t appeal to anyone else like they do to me.

Two of my girls like artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower and the like. I like cabbage and brussels sprouts but nobody else does. I also like root vegetables: turnips, beets, etc. I especially love them roasted! I also like squash of all kinds.

With my latest round of dieting, I discovered the miracle of the Paderno slicer. It is much like the Veggetti in that it spirals slices foods and makes zoodles, which are an amazing lo-carb/lo-calorie option when making pasta and Asian noodle dishes. There are some great recipes using zoodles on Skinnytaste.com. I highly recommend them.

My favorite way to eat vegetables is in creative salads. One particular salad that I love, especially in late summer when the tomatoes are at their peak, is Tomato Potato Salad. I hope that you give this salad a whirl and enjoy, now that the weather is becoming more conducive to picnics.


Italian Tomato Potato Salad (Serves 4)

Ingredients: 2-3 fresh tomatoes (the fresher, the better), 2-3 boiled potatoes (redskins are nice because you don’t have to peel them), 1/2 red or sweet onion, sliced very thing, the juice of 1/2 fresh lemon, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2-3 tablespoons of cold water, 2 tablespoons of fresh oregano, salt and pepper to taste. A good crusty Italian bread for soaking up the juice. Instructions: Cube the tomatoes and potatoes into bite size pieces and combine in a large bowl. Juice the lemon and add it to the vegetables. Add the oil, water, oregano, salt and pepper. If you want more juice, double the lemon, oil and water. Toss the salad, cover and refrigerate for at least two hours. The flavors mingle better and more juice is produced when the salad is refrigerated overnight.

U is for Unfinished: Blogging from A to Z Challenge


I have recently come to the realization that I leave a lot of things unfinished. I don’t much care for that revelation because I suspect that there is something pretty telling about my inability to finish things, some deep-seated psychological meaning that I don’t have the time to unearth. But I do find it to be a pretty compelling “quirk” and I do find myself asking questions. Why didn’t I finish college in time to walk across the stage and get my diploma? Why didn’t I finish cleaning the attic last spring? Why did I give up on Weight Watchers and gain that twenty pounds? Why was I too scared to go back to that musical theatre class?

Obviously, when things are truly important, I finish them. My work gets done, my bills get paid and my family is cared for. Those are the most important things. If I’m directing a show or if people are relying on me, I do my absolute best to see it through to the end. However, if a task isn’t mission critical, it could potentially fall to the wayside or be put off until the last minute.


The thing that makes this more confounding is that I am a planner. I really, really love to organize and make things more efficient, so why do I put myself in the position of procrastinating and adding stress to my already stressful and busy life? Part of the reason is because I have a very difficult time convincing myself that just because I can do something, doesn’t mean that I should. I’m working on that. Also, I don’t really like to sit still and do nothing, unless I’m napping. Otherwise, I multitask.

This blog is a perfect example of something that lost focus. I signed up for a challenge at the beginning of April to push myself to write something every day throughout the month, prompted simply by a letters of the alphabet. I started off pretty well, only having to play catch-up a couple of times. Then life got busy and I found myself thinking about posts more than writing them. I was two days behind, then I was three days behind. Then suddenly April 30th was here and my blog was stuck at the “S” post. Dammit. Another thing unfinished.

Yesterday I read a comment on that “S” post from somebody who stopped by from the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. She said, simply, “Hope you’ll finish up the A to Z. You’re so close to the end.” And I am! So. Close.

I only have four more posts to go after this one. I may not have finished on time but I fully intend to make it all the way to Z. I will not add this to the list of things left unfinished that I will question later, I will add it to the list of things that illustrate that it is sometimes better to finish something later than to never finish it at all.

The next thing I plan to finish? The hat.

T is for Television: Blogging from A to Z Challenge


I am a television addict and the onset of the age of binge watching has made it all the more appealing. I feel like there is a lot of really good television out there and I thought I would provide you with my own personal “must see TV” list. This list does not include network sitcoms. There are few that I’ve loved over the years but for the most part, I prefer dramatic television, so I’m going to focus on that particular genre.

I know that this list is by no means exhaustive. I am not a fan of science fiction and while I’ve enjoyed CSI-type shows, I’ve never gotten hooked on them like I have on other dramas, so no Doctor Who or Law and Order here. There is also a pretty lengthy list of shows* that I have in the queue based on recommendations and the types of shows I like. I have a tough time getting into the historical stuff, which is why Downton Abbey has yet to be watched. I’ll get there though.


As for the shows that I have watched or do watch, here my list in alphabetical order:

  • American Horror Story I love the idea of having each season be its own contained story utilizing repeat actors from the AHS company of performers. My favorite was Season 1, Murder House. I think the seasons get weaker with each year but not weak enough for me to stop watching. Each story (Asylumn, Coven and Freak Show) had its own redeeming moments but I felt that Seasons 2 through 4 were a little more uneven than the show’s debut season.
  • Bates Motel The Psycho-prequel that focuses on Norman Bates’ late teen years and his relationship with his mother. The show is set in modern day Oregon but has a cool retro feel about it and the sky’s the limit when it comes to creating back story for one of Hitchcock’s most notorious characters. Currently in Season 3 on A&E.
  • The Big C Showtime’s original television series starring Laura Linney about a suburban mother who is diagnosed with terminal melanoma. There were some incredible performances in the series and it remains one of my favorite things that Oliver Platt has done. It is a wonderfully human show about dealing with cancer – at times funny, at times sad. It was also filmed in Stamford, CT, where I lived with scenes actually filmed in my high school.
  • Breaking Bad I didn’t think I was going to like this show. The idea of a high school chemistry teacher becoming a drug kingpin didn’t sound like something that would appeal to me. However, I feel pretty confident in saying that Breaking Bad is the best television show I have ever seen. Everything about it was top notch: the writing, the acting, the direction. Just incredible.
  • Damages This legal drama starring Glenn Close as a ruthless lawyer and Rose Byrne as her protégée is outstanding. Each season has its own primary case but the series also follows the complicated relationship between Patty and Ellen, which is pretty interesting. Also, have I mentioned Glenn Close was is in it?
  • Dexter Man do I have a thing for shows about serial killers and sociopaths. I just loved Dexter, despite the less than stellar ending to the series. Michael C. Hall is outstanding as Dexter Morgan, the serial killer with a code aimed at retribution for criminals who evade justice.
  • The Following This Fox series stars Kevin Bacon and is in its third season. Bacon plays FBI agent Ryan Hardy, who has a very special relationship with serial killer Joe Carroll. Each season deals with a group of followers and the havoc they wreak upon Ryan and his family and friends. Good, fast-paced crime drama.
  • The Good Wife Part legal drama, part political drama, part soap opera. The Good Wife stars Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick, the scorned wife of politician Peter Florrick. Over the course of the last six years, she has made herself quite the powerhouse attorney, with a new case being featured with each episode. The supporting cast includes the magnificent Christine Baranski, Alan Cumming and Chris Noth as well a slew of great guest stars.
  • Grey’s Anatomy Most certainly a guilty pleasre, this medical drama has been a television staple of mine for several years. I came late to the party but binge watched my way through the first five seasons and have grown to love all the heartbreak and stress that comes with watching Grey’s.
  • House of Cards Nobody does a take to the camera like Kevin Spacey. His portrayal of power hungry Francis Underwood is deliciously reprehensible, as is Robin Wright as his First Lady . Tailor made for binge watching, Netflix just released Season 3 with a 4th season set for 2016.**
  • Lost A bunch of lost souls that crash on an island together and are embroiled in mystery, philosophy and a bunch of fun back stories. I love the idea of thrusting people who are completely different from one another into a story. The ending was predictable and disappointing but it was a fun ride for sure.
  • Masters of Sex The story of how famous sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson came to publish some of the most renowned findings about human sexuality. Set in the late fifties, I love the feel of the show along with the story of how Masters & Johnson worked (and played together). Only two seasons so far but I love it and the cast is outstanding.
  • Nurse Jackie I love Edie Falco and I love how conflicted Jackie Peyton’s demons and angels make her. Her addictions reign supreme and the choices that she makes are not always the best ones. But Jackie is smart, and she’s a great nurse and she has a heart, so I love her. The current season that is airing is the last season. <insert sad face>
  • Orange is the New Black I jumped on board this Netflix train early. Based on a true story about a drug runner who ends up in the Danbury Prison, Orange Is The New Black is another show where very different people find themselves in a similar and serious situation – prison. Just a great show with great writing.
  • Parenthood This is a sad, weepy show with some very real and identifiable characters. The show features a wonderful cast that includes Craig T. Nelson as the family patriarch, as well as Bonnie Bedelia, Lauren Graham and Peter Krause, among others including Ray Romano. I particularly love how they tell the story of Max, a young man with Asberger Syndrome but there are many relatable moments in Parenthood, which just wrapped up its sixth and final season.
  • Scandal The story of Washington D.C. fixer Olivia Pope and how she rights the wrongs of the capitol’s most high powered people, including the President. Who she is in love with. It is very complicated and has a lot soap opera-type drama but there are some great characters and several gaspworthy moments. I highly recommend this show.
  • Six Feet Under Oh, the Fisher family. How I miss you. Peter Krause is Nathaniel Fisher, who inherits a funeral home from his father following a tragic accident. Nate runs the business with his brother, David, played by Michael C. Hall. <Ga-gung.> The women of family, widow Ruth and sister Claire, are played by Francis Conroy and Lauren Ambrose respectively. A fairly quick binge watch with only five seasons.
  • True Detective This anthology series from HBO is only eight episodes long. You can watch it over a weekend or a very ambitious day of binge watching. The first season focuses on a two Louisiana detectives, played brilliantly by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, and their pursuit of a serial killers. It was creepy and I like creepy. Season 2 will be set in California and will star Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughan and Rachel McAdams as the detectives. As best I can tell, True Detective returns on June 21st.
  • The Walking Dead I didn’t think I’d like this show. I mean zombies? Really? But the show isn’t really about the zombies, it is about the people that are left behind to fight them. Once again, another show with diverse characters united to get out of a difficult situation. I love the cast but be forewarned – it is a show that has no qualms about killing off major characters.
  • Weeds Mary Louise Parker is a master of subtlety. Her Nancy Botwin goes from widowed mother trying to make ends meet to a key player in the drug world. It is not without humor and amidst all of the Botwin drama, Justin Kirk, Kevin Nealon and Elizabeth Perkins are welcome and memorable comic relief.
  • The Wire This HBO drama was written by a man who knew the inner workings of Baltimore firsthand. The Wire provides interesting insight into Baltimore’s drug trade, dock workers, politics, school system and media. Comprised of a cast of mostly unknown actors, it is one the best written and grittiest crime dramas out there.

Honorable Mention:

  • Ray Donovan Watched and loved the first season. Stars Liev Schrieber and Jon Voight in great manly roles. It only gets an honorable mention because S2.E1. didn’t grab me and pull me in, so the rest of Season 2 needs to be dusted off and watched before I can honestly weigh in.

* Better Call Saul, Downton Abbey, Friday Night Lights, Game of Thrones, How To Get Away With Murder, Mad Men, The Midwife, Sherlock and Sons of Anarchy.

** House of Cards, Scandal and The Good Wife are responsible for about 90% of my political knowledge.




S is for Sanctuary: Blogging from A to Z Challenge


There were two topics that I had intended to write about when I got to S – Stage Fright and Sleep No More. Both are topics that require more than the cursory glance and a hyperlink, which is all I’ve got time for right now. I promise to write about both at some point in the future.

I am currently in the process of reclaiming the zen in our bedroom, which has been buried beneath piles since mid-December. I want it to be a peaceful sanctuary in which to recuperate from foot surgery, which is scheduled for early May.

So forgive the lame entry for S but I’ve got boxes to fill.

R is for Reclaiming: Blogging from A to Z Challenge

The other day I was channel surfing and I stopped on an episode of Hoarders. I find something strangely fascinating and oddly inspiring about that television show. My husband doesn’t like the show because he finds it depressing, my daughter doesn’t like it because she’s a germophobe and it grosses her out. I like it because I see it and it motivates me to reclaim my space.

Now, to be perfectly clear, we are not hoarders. However, we are a family of five with a dog, and we accumulate clutter. We have rooms in our house that look as though they could be featured on that program but we also have rooms that do not. I know that I’m not a hoarder because I am willing to let go of things. In fact, I find it very freeing, as I’ve written about before.

Very slowly, we are reclaiming our space. I had taken this week off to visit with my mother and then took the latter half of the week off to clean the house. I was meant to have foot surgery tomorrow and I wanted to be sure that the house was in order whilst I recuperated. My bedroom still has piles of Christmas decorations that need to be sorted and returned to the attic. I promise you, piles are not a therapeutic and healing environment for me.

In a strange twist of fate, the surgery got pushed back two weeks, so now I have a few extra days to whack away at the chaos that has taken over certain rooms in our house. This enthusiasm has been, predictably, sparked by that episode of Hoarders and also by my mother’s visit. My mother is very organized and her home is meticulous. The same holds true for most of our family. My father and stepmother live in a gorgeously kept home and my brother and sister-in-law keep their house with two young children perfectly tidy. Needless to say, I envy all of them the energy and wherewithal to stay on top of keeping their homes in ship shape. (See? J is for Jealousy!)

When I do get motivated, I am extremely thorough and quite enjoy the process of sorting, purging, donating and labeling. My sister-in-law actually shared an article on spring cleaning and organizing and I recognized a couple primary reasons behind our chaotic clutter. The first is that we clean the “public rooms” first. Whenever we have company, the main floor of the house is given a good cleaning. However, boxes get filled and we take them to one of the three out-of-sight “catch-all” rooms: the basement, the sun porch or the attic. All three of these rooms overflow piles upon piles. Those are the hoarder rooms. The next room to fall prey to piles and stacks of boxes is the master bedroom. Again, out of sight from guests. I wonder if starting with the bedrooms would end up causing us to neglect the family rooms.

The other cardinal rule of clutter control that we consistently break is the “one in, one out” rule. In fact, we could probably stand to institute a “on in, two or three out” rule. Whenever we buy something new – whether it is clothing, a kitchen gadget, a new toy – we should be getting rid of something else. This is something we should do on a continual basis and something I hope to achieve by the end of the summer.

So, the reclaiming of the square footage in our home is an ongoing battle. Right now, our little house on the hill seems like it is busting at the seams but I know, deep down, that in when the kids leave for college in a few years, it will seem so quiet and empty. Until then, we’ll just navigate the chaos.

P is for Positivity: Blogging from A to Z Challenge


My friend Kelly is the gal that got me turned on to this blogging challenge. I’ve got to say, with my busy life, some days it’s tough. Other days, the words flow freely. When she embarked upon this challenge, she also vowed to say something positive about herself each day through April. Another friend joined in as well. I wanted to partake but was a day late and dollar short.

The idea behind posting positive things about ourselves is to eschew the rabbit hole of self-deprecation – too fat, too busy, too broke, etc. I do it. We all do it. So I will add to this post every day so that by the end of the month I will have written thirty positive things about myself.

  1. I have a tremendous knack for language. I love to write and can weave my thoughts and words together pretty well, if I do say so myself.
  2. I am a great parent. Not perfect but as parenting goes, I think I do a pretty good job.
  3. I am an amazing cook. I began cooking at a very young age and I love to peruse recipes and try new things. I am the type of cook that can make something delicious out of nothing.
  4. I have bright, sparkly blue eyes.
  5. I am a talented theatrical director. I have a particular penchant for rock musicals and new musical theatre.
  6. I have incredible organizational skills. When I have the time and energy, I can clean and organize a room like nobody’s business.
  7. I am very knowledgeable about the Microsoft Office suite. I am an Excel spreadsheet expert wizard and can bang out a pretty impressive Power Point presentation.
  8. I am a foster mom to rescue puppies and dogs.
  9. I am a really good listener and a good advisor.
  10. I take nice photographs.
  11. I have pretty hands with long, piano playing fingers.
  12. I am decent artist. I can draw and paint and can be pretty crafty when needed.
  13. I have great DIY skills – I have replaced a kitchen faucet, installed lighting sconces and painted just about every room in our house. If there is a manual, I’m generally not afraid to do it myself.
  14. I am great at multi-tasking. I know that you can’t TRULY multi-task but I am a master of doing more than one thing at a time.
  15. I can make homemade capicola.
  16. I have an incredibly scientific mind, especially when it comes to anatomy and physiology. I often think that I should have pursued a career in medicine.
  17. I am incredibly patient and non-confrontational.
  18. I am a good and loyal friend.
  19. I am a great party planner. Weddings, birthday parties, special occasions – give me a spreadsheet and away I go!
  20. I have an excellent sense of humor, albeit dry and sarcastic.
  21. I have beautiful handwriting. It is something I am consistently complimented on. In fact, when I lived in London, I loved my classmates calligraphy-type handwriting but my teacher was enamored of my American style handwriting. PLUS – I’m a lefty! (As a side note, I can also do calligraphy.)
  22. I am an excellent stage manager. I am super organized, very prepared and a pretty good knowledge of theatre and keeping a production on its feet.
  23. I have a really good memory.
  24. I am very analytical. While I have spent most of my life loving theatre and the arts, I have an unbelievable ability to look at data and make it tell a meaningful story.