Popcorn Love

January 19th is National Popcorn Day!




It seems there is a “National” day for anything and everything, right? Just in January alone, there is “National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day”(January 3rd),  “National Bubble Bath Day” (January 8th), “National Kiss a Ginger Day” (January 12th), and “National Have Fun at Work Day” (January 28th).


And January 19 is “National Popcorn Day”!!

(For more “National” days, check out this website)


Popcorn is one of those foods that makes me happy-because I usually eat it while enjoying some sort of other treat. Like a movie, or a sports game, or a good book.

But here’s the thing-I know popcorn can be a pretty low fat snack when it’s air popped with no toppings. That NOT what I’m talking about. And I’m not talking any microwave popcorn either. Just yuck.

I’m talking about making it on the stove, the old fashioned way, with oil and corn kernels,  and watching those little kernels explode! With real butter and sea salt. Yum! And maybe even burning it just a little bit. Love me some of those popcorn kernels just a little burned.


There are a ton of recipes out there to make your popcorn even a little better. I’ve rounded up a few from Pinterest.


garlic parmeson popcorn

                                                                                                                                   This is Garlic Parmesan from Little Spice Jar



                                                                                                                                                 This one looks fantastic! Chili-lime-popcorn-made-with-chili-powder-lime-zest

                                                                                                                                                                           Chili Lime Popcorn from Kitchen Heals Soul


                                                                                                                                         Buffalo Ranch Popcorn from Serena BakesRanch popcorn better

But my most favorite way is very, very simple.

Popcorn cooked on the stove, real butter, some salt and the pièce de ré·sis·tance:  M & M’s!

Just make your popcorn, pour some hot, melted butter on it, sprinkle some salt and pour in M & M’s. The sweet M & M’s get kind of melty and blend very perfectly with the crunch and salt and butter. Not the most low calorie, but I don’t care. It’s so yummy!



If you are in the need for Valentine treats for your kids’ classroom, this is an easy one!

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Sew Your Own Dog Crate Cover

Meet Lucy!!

IMG_0746 (1)

Lucy Lou is our newest family member who is now a year old. A couple years ago I wrote about my Bailey, who we had to say good-bye to…seriously broke our hearts and I NEVER thought I’d get another dog again.

Well, Never Say Never! I guess we were ready and it sure felt lonely and incomplete without a family dog.

Out of the blue, I received a phone call from Bailey’s breeder that he may have another bull mastiff pup for us if we were interested. We thought about it and it sounded so nice to once again have a loving, loyal companion in the house. I had kept in touch with Bailey’s breeder over the years and he knew how much we loved her. So thankful he thought of us as another owner for one of his pups! But it almost didn’t happen!  There were a lot of people in line for her!

(Side note) When considering a pure bred puppy, it is IMPERATIVE that you get to know the breeder. A great breeder loves the dog and the breed and knows all of its qualities and is breeding for the love of the breed. They will take the time to get to know you and your family and your background and will not sell their puppies to just anyone. PLEASE-do not go out and buy a puppy from just anyone!


Lucy’s mama is from Guardian Angel Bullmastiffs and her daddy is Rudy G from Trugrit. She was meant to be a show dog, but that was never in our plan for a dog. We just wanted a bull mastiff puppy, to grow up with us and love us and be part of our family. Luckily for us, it all worked out and she came to be our girl.




Look at the size of her paws!

Lucy is so full of personality and intelligence and agility. You would not think such a big dog could be so agile, but she is! She moves with a lot of grace and power, one day I will post a video.  She is seriously one of the most beautiful dogs I’ve ever seen in person. (I don’t brag much on her, do I?) She’s also so sweet and loving and likes to snuggle right up to you.




Lucy kept growing…

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And growing….



And growing…




I’m a big believer in a dog having its own space. So enter the dog crate. Now, I have a very small living room and Lucy’s crate is right there, all big and metal and black. I had to think of something to kind of cover it up, blend it in a little bit. I decided to make a crate cover for her and I loosely based it on this tutorial for an ottoman. It’s actually very simple and any beginner sewer can do it.


I started by using an old full sized bedspread that we weren’t using and draped it over the crib. Make sure you have the inside of the cover facing you, and the outside (the part you want seen) of your finished project facing the crate. So in sewing terms…the right side down.

Then I pinned the corners like this….

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 Make sure you get the corners nice and tight.

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Then I cut off the excess at the corners, leaving the pins intact.


DSCN3941 (1)

Sew a straight seam connecting the two sides together. Do this for all four corners. I used a double stitch just to make sure it’s strong.

Turn your cover inside out and straighten it out over the crate- and there you have it!


I had to have Lucy pose for a picture…



And…in true to me form, I had to jazz it up a little.


I used my embroidery machine and embroidered an arrow, and used my silhouette cameo to cut out the letters. The letters were then ironed onto the front.

And as you can see from the picture, Lucy prefers the couch! 

On a little personal level, when we first got Lucy, I felt such joy-but I also felt a little guilty, like we were somehow replacing Bailey.  But over time, I have come to realize that the human heart has such a capacity to love. While Bailey has left her footprint on our hearts forever, there is also plenty of room to love and enjoy another dog. Has anyone else ever felt that way?


Lucy & Me

Linking up!


flamingo toes

Life on Lakeshore Drive

Why “Feathers and Dimes”?

“He shall cover you with his feathers, and under his wings shall you trust:  his truth shall be your shield and buckler.”



 I sit here on the first day of 2018 and feel vulnerable because I am about to share what is very precious to me…

Many people ask me why I have the name “Feathers and Dimes” for my blog, facebook page, Instagram page, etc..

I am hesitant to answer because I am afraid they will think I’m a bit crazy, a bit of a religious zealot, a bit out there.

But I’m not any of those things-I’m just a person who has noticed some things.

It all started many years ago, about 23 years ago to be exact. At least, that’s when I started to notice. I was a twenty something, living far from home, engaged to be married, starting my adult life. It was my Nana’s birthday, she had died several years earlier from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease, and I was missing her something awful. I was missing my whole family, trying to establish a life for myself in a strange place. Trying to figure out who I was, where I was going, blah, blah, blah.  I was sitting out on my balcony that overlooked the water, reading my Daily Guidepost, a devotional book my mom had sent me to help ease me through this transition…it was a warm summer morning, with an ocean breeze and birds singing and sunlight warming my skin. It was beautiful and perfect, but I was in tears, covered in sadness and just wanting the comfort that I always found in my Nana’s presence.

And then it happened. A beautiful, white feather floated down from the sky and landed right in middle of the page I was reading.

Of course I looked up into the sky to see where it came from. Just blue sky and clouds. I stopped crying and started wondering.

My Nana…is it possible she knew what I was going through? Someone up there knew what I was going through and gave me this gift? I didn’t know, but I knew it was a wonderful coincidence.

Sometime later I spoke with my mom on the phone and told her what happened. I remember very clearly what she said.

“Oh yeah, that happens to me sometimes, but I find dimes.”

I have always felt that I helped my Nana somehow in her last day. In full blown Alzheimer’s, she no longer recognized anyone. She was just a shell of the wonderful, loving person she was. Alzheimer’s Disease stole my grandmother from us and she was “living” in a nursing home, needing full time care. My grandfather faithfully visited her every single day. But she didn’t know him, or any of us, anymore. She didn’t talk or laugh anymore. She was just there, in that awful hospital bed, repetitively crinkling the sheets and blankets in her hand. I had just returned from my junior year in college for the summer and went to visit her. She was moaning and groaning. My grandfather was there and I could see how hard it was for him to see her like that. I told him to go home and I would stay with her. I asked the nurses to check on her because she seemed to be in pain. They couldn’t find anything wrong with her, her vital signs were stable, and she couldn’t speak to tell us what was wrong. I remember how pissed off I was at God that my Nana was living like this. “How unfair, how awful, how unjust are you, God?” All these things I said as I “prayed” for my grandma.

I sat real close to her and laid my head on her shoulder. I whispered in her ear…”It’s Ok, Nana,” I told her. “It’s time. We will be OK. We will miss you, but it’s time for you to go.” I prayed for God to take her, I couldn’t bare this life for her. She deserved so much better.

I stayed with her a while longer and then I left…That night we got the phone call from the nursing home that they thought the end was near. We rushed there but she had already passed…my Nana was gone.

That feather on her birthday was the first of many, many feathers I find in my life. And since that moment when my mom told me she finds dimes, I find dimes also.  Times when I am scared, feel alone, worried. Times when I am celebrating something. Random times when I’m just going about my day.

Here are some examples:

  • My sister and I and my young niece were travelling via Amtrak to New Orleans to attend my oldest brother’s graduation from graduate school. We sat down in the dining car to eat dinner and stuck to the wall was a beautiful white feather.
  • I had just had my 20 week ultrasound with my youngest child, and they had told us he had a marker for Down’s Syndrome. I was an anxious mess. When I opened my front door the following morning, there was a nest of feathers stuck to my welcome mat.
  • I had a job interview that I bombed completely: I mean, I couldn’t have messed it up any more if I tried-I even showed up on the wrong day! Feeling very confused and very bad about myself, I stepped into the elevator and found a feather on the elevator floor. And then the janitor that was in the elevator with me began to sing my favorite hymnal.
  • Speaking of jobs, many years prior to the above incident, I was driving home from a job interview that would mean moving to another state. Talk about plans up in the air! A bird literally flew in my open car window and started fluttering all around, and in the chaos, left many feathers behind.
  • In the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I watched my youngest, a budding guitarist, marvel at all the rock and roll paraphernalia. I was thinking how happy he looked. And there, in the middle of a huge exhibit, was a little, bright shining light. It was a dime.
  • I was having a particularly difficult day at work-I was near tears but was fighting it. Something caught my eye. There, by my foot underneath the desk, was a shiny, new dime.

I could honestly go on. But for a lot of the feathers and dimes that I have found, I have forgotten some of the stories behind them. I keep them all in two jars on my kitchen windowsill and I keep adding more feathers and more dimes as I find them. I also have them in my car, in my wallet, in my coat pockets. As I find them, I keep them.  I just know that this is more than just coincidence. I know that they are put in my path for a reason. Is it my grandmother, letting me know she is always with me? Is it a guardian angel or angels or guides? I am sometimes sure of it. Sometimes I think it is all part of the greater scheme of things I just don’t understand. Things I am not meant to comprehend. But I know now that when I get one of these “signs”, I don’t try to understand it, or make sense of it, or try to explain it.

I just say, “ I receive this.”



So now you know. And you may think I’m a bit off my rocker.  And you may judge me. But that’s OK now. I feel this needs to be shared. And I think a lot of people have similar stories and I would love to hear them.

Peace and Love and Feathers and Dimes,


Making Your Own Soda


Homemade Summertime Refreshment



Last Christmas, my husband asked for a Soda Stream so he could cut down on the sugary soda and make his own sparkling flavored waters. I thought this was a great idea and searched the internet for recipes for homemade soda syrups.  Turns out there are so many great combinations and they follow a basic recipe of a simple syrup and fruit and herbs.


To make a simple syrup, combine one cup of water to a half cup of sugar. To flavor your simple syrup, throw in about 3-4 cups of fresh fruit and fresh herbs and bring to a boil. Mash up your fruit with a potato masher to release the juices and flavors. Simmer for a half hour. Strain the fruit and herbs with a fine mesh sieve, mashing the fruit into the sides to further bring out the flavor. Store the syrup in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to one week.

When your want to make your soda, add 3-4 ounces of your syrup to your sparkling water.


For my first attempt, I made a Ginger Peach Combo



It was delicious, so I tried a Grapefruit and Mint Combo. (Not so delicious.) But there are so many flavor combinations to try, I’m ready to experiment.



Strawberry Basil

Cherry Vanilla

Blueberry Sage

Pineapple Mint

I think you’re only limited by your imagination! And these sodas are especially good if your kids, like mine, drink too much commercial sodas. These are all natural and you can control the amount of sugar. And these soda syrups would make really pretty hostess gifts. You don’t need a soda stream-you can just add it to plain sparkling water from the grocery store.


If you try this, I’d love to hear how yours came out!




The Curse

I finally realize my mother was probably right…

Picture this…

It’s about 1981 and I’m 10 years old. I’m in the fifth grade and it’s time for the much anticipated sex education curriculum at school. We are separated from the boys and told we are to bring our moms for a “special movie” to talk about growing up. Our bodies will be “changing”. We all heard about this “change” about to occur in our bodies. Most of us girls have older sisters who gave us the run down. I, however, didn’t have an older sister. I had my mom to tell me these things. And I had Judy Blume. Thank you, God, for moms and for Judy Blume.



My mom sat me down and told me how in a couple of years, I would be “becoming a woman” and every month my uterus would shed it’s lining and I would bleed for a week.

I remember thinking, “WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? WHY WOULD I BLEED FOR A WEEK EVERY. SINGLE. MONTH?” I was the quintessential tomboy. I climbed trees and collected tadpoles, and played sports and did everything I could to keep up with my older brothers and their friends. I hated wearing a dress, had no interest in wearing a bra like some of my friends, and I sure didn’t have time to bleed for a week from “down there”. What a crock.

“Well, why?, “ I remember asking. “Why does this have to happen?”

My mom answered, “It’s Mother Nature’s way to prepare your body for having a child someday. When a baby is not created, your body has to get rid of the lining and the cycle starts all over again.”

So I asked the next question…”Well, how are babies made?”

Insert uncomfortable silence. “We don’t have to talk about that now,” she said. “Just know that it’s normal and natural for your body to do this as you grow older. I don’t want you to be scared or surprised.”

Mother Nature, huh? She must not like us much if she wants us to go through this. In fact, she must hate us. But if my mom said it was normal, then OK. I believed her.

But then she said, “In my day, we called it ‘The Curse’.”

“The Curse? Why?, “ I asked.

“Because Eve ate the apple in the Garden of Eden and now women are cursed with menstruation and pain during childbirth. And because every time you go on vacation or have something special planned or are wearing white, you’ll get your period.” My mom laughed when she said this.

“What???? I have to pay for Eve’s stupidity? And what does wearing white have to do with anything??? I guess I just won’t wear white, ever.” These are all the thoughts that went through my head. But again, I didn’t have time for this growing up stuff. There was a baseball game going on at the vacant field in my neighborhood and I was the pitcher and everyone was waiting for me.

Fast forward a couple years and I was still a tomboy, but I had a copy of “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.” I had read it about 4 times. Margaret was very excited to get her period. So maybe I should be, too.  I found out how babies were made, (thanks to our Encyclopedia Britannica and Amy Skrekrut who demonstrated on her hands what goes on…)


My friends and I were curious about this period thing and when it would happen to us. We took bets on who it would happen to first. Our best bet were the ones who were “most developed”. We even sat around my friend Annie’s basement and asked the Ouija Board when it would happen to us. I put the notion of “The Curse” out of my head.

And then it happened to me…An innocent 12 year old girl/woman. Instead of celebrating my womanhood, I cried and cried.  My mom was there for me. “Why are you crying? This is normal and natural, it’s ok.”

But I wanted to GO SWIMMING WITH ALL MY FRIENDS IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD!!! And now I couldn’t for 5-7days!!!!

“Well,” my mom laughed. “I told you it was The Curse.”  I moped and moped. This becoming a woman thing sucked.

(On a good note, surprisingly an Atari gaming device was added to our household that day. I hung out at home playing Megamania while my friends hung out at the pool. I am still so thankful to my mom for that silent gesture. I knew it was a stretch in finances to buy it, but I think she just wanted to make me happy.)

So the years go by and periods come and go…

In Eighth Grade when I was a cheerleader, our uniforms were white and we had to wear white skivvies underneath. In the Big Game of the Year against our rivals, we had to perform a dance routine at halftime on the football field. Yup, you know who came to visit for that—Aunt Flow.

The night of the Sleepover of the Year with your friends and your brand new pink sleeping bag…there SHE is.

The all day field trip to the state capitol and having to approach your teacher for some “supplies” because you are not prepared properly

The Prom…

The day you actually DID  wear white pants…

The much anticipated trip to the Bahamas in college…

Meeting my future in-laws for the first time and spending the weekend at their house…

Just some of the many moments that come to my mind. And my mom and I would always laugh…”Well, it’s the Curse.” (And we didn’t actually believe it was a Curse on women. It is more like Murphy’s Law.)


But now that I am in my mid ‘40s, I’m starting to wonder…because now I’m in another phase of my ‘womanly’ life…




And I ask, “Why? Why Mother Nature? Why do you hate us so?” It’s night sweats and sleeplessness. It’s gaining weight around the middle. It’s irregular cycles and forgetfulness and hot flashes and “flooding”. It’s intense mood swings, crying spells,  irritability, headaches. My skin is drier, and oh shit! Is my hair thinning??? I’m not cute anymore! Dear God, it’s freaking awful! Maybe my mom was right?

But I can’t forget that even with all these symptoms and issues and what not, my body has been good to me. When the time felt right to conceive a child, boom! It happened. And the same for my second child. My womb held those babies safely and securely for nine months. I was able to successfully nurse both for over a year.   I never had issues with cramping or migraines or anything else my friends would complain about. I was always so amazed at what the female body could do, I spent my professional career in Maternal-Child Health.

I talk to my mom about these things…”Oh, it’s OK, you’re just going through the beginning of The Change.” (First, The Curse, now The Change).

“But it’s awful, Mom!”

“I know, honey,” she tells me. “But in a few years, this will all be done. You won’t have to deal with it anymore. This is normal and natural. Just another phase in your life.”

“Ok,” I believe her.

But then she pauses…”Yeah, soon you will be done with this phase of your life and you’ll be free.”

“Freedom,” I think. “That sounds nice.”

Another pause…”But then you’ll dry up like a prune.”

I laughed so hard I peed my pants.

I just love my mom so much.

And by the way… Thanks for nothing, Eve!


Homemade Bath Bomb Fizzies


The only time the world beats a path to my door is when I’m in the bathtub.



When was the last time you took a long, hot bath? I’m a quick shower person because I don’t have the time to lounge around very much in the bathtub. This is something I’m working on-making time for myself. Also, I can’t relax if I hear other people walking around (my kids) and shouting things to each other. And by the time they are asleep, I’m too tired to put forth the effort.

But I do have some friends who SWEAR by the relaxing qualities of a hot bath. This is for them.

Now one store I just LOVE is Lush. They have all these fun soaps and creams and lotions and it smells so good in there. Everything is pretty natural-even the facial masks have a short shelf life and have to be refrigerated.

But my favorite things at Lush are their Bath Bombs!

bath bomb

It’s like being a kid in a candy store! I have tried these bombs once or twice and they really are THE BOMB! All fizzy and smelling all pretty.

Whelp, whilst perusing Pinterest, I came across a whole bunch of DIY recipes and wanted to see if they really work. Some recipes call for carrier oils, corn starch; all need baking soda and essential oils for fragrance.

I pinned and tried this one from The Beauty Bar Blog.

The recipe calls for Citric Acid which I found to be hard to find. I finally found it at Fruitful Yield, but it can also be found at wine making stores. (You know, in case you make some wine with your fizzies for your relaxing bath.)

I made half the recipe so what you need is-

1/2 cup citric acid

1/2 cup baking soda

1/4 cup corn starch

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

4-5 drops of essential oil

food coloring



Mix your dry ingredients together in medium bowl and add your desired coloring. I added red because I was looking to make some pink bath bombs for Valentine’s Day.


But it wasn’t really showing any color even though I mixed it with my hands like the directions said. (But my hands were red…)


Combine the coconut oil and essential oil together in another bowl.

Here’s the tricky part

SLOWLY add the coconut oil mixture to your dry ingredients. If you pour too quickly, your citric acid will react and start a-bubbling and fizzing.

Mix this together with your hands until the mixture feels like wet sand.


The good news is that once the wet ingredients went in, the coloring really started to show.

I packed it in real tight to a silicone Valentine mini cake mold I found and hoped for the best.



The instructions say to wait for them to dry for 24 hours before taking them out which is kind of torturous for someone like me.

In the mean time, there are lots of great blogs and sources out there for making Bath Bombs.

Check out these lavender ones from A Pumpkin and a Princess. They are so, so pretty!



Urban Soapsmith is just one of many that sell on Etsy…and the packaging really caught my eye.

bath ache

And, of course, there’s the queen of stuff like this…Martha Stewart.…she even has a video to make things even easier.

martha stewart

But mine…well, after 72 hours, I popped mine out and here’s how they looked…




Umm, not so good. I thought I could salvage them by spritzing the mess with water, thinking they were not wet enough when I originally did it. Easy save, right?


No…I think I then spritzed too much water and they started expanding and reacting.


Oh well, back to the drawing board. Maybe I should watch the Martha Stewart Tutorial.

Peace and Fizz,


When Someone Doesn’t Hold the Door Open For You

What Would Nellie Do?

Don’t know who Nellie is? Click here.


Dear Nellie,

giveadamnI was recently doing some Christmas shopping at a verrry upscale mall, humming along to the lovely holiday music that was piped in overhead, feeling pretty peaceful and joyful because my Christmas shopping was almost done. I just had to pick up one more thing from Williams-Sonoma and then I was done! As I was skipping up to the the door (because I was so happy and ready to go home and relax), a middle aged fellow was holding the door open for his family to walk through. He literally looked right at me, turned around, and let the door slam in my face! I was dumb-founded! What would Nellie have done in a situation like this?


Hurt by Bad Manners


Dear Hurt by Bad Manners,

First of all, what were you wearing? If you were at a verrry upscale mall, you should have been dressed appropriately. Don’t think of going to a mall like this without any make-up on or in sweatpants. You should be wearing your best Vineyard Vines clothes and have your hair perfectly coiffed. Maybe then the middle aged man would think you really deserved to have the door open for you.

Now, Nellie hopes you didn’t let this Rude Man ruin your good mood. Nellie would have stood up straight, lifted her chin, and opened the door for herself. Then she would have found Rude Man in the store, probably by the Vitamixes, and questioned him very, very sweetly,  “Excuse me, Mr. Rude Man, but why did you not hold the door open for me, too? I was right behind you.” And as Rude Man looks at Nellie like she is crazy and about to cause a bit of a scene, she would have looked him straight in the eyes and walked away.

But then she would have kept an eye on him as he shopped for his Espresso Maker for his lake house and conveniently positioned herself in front on him at check-out. And then she would have took her time checking out. She would have asked to sign up for the email alerts and coupons. She would ask the salesperson if her purchase was available at other stores,  or on-line, or in different colors. And what colors would those be? She would make small talk with the sales associate about the weather, the news, human nature and manners. All within ear shot. She would have texted someone on her phone. Searched through her purse for her credit card, dropped some things on the floor. (Just to see if Rude Man would help to pick them up.) Then, at the last moment, she would have changed her mind and instead of buying the Kitchen Aid Mixer in Copper, would have just bought a box of vanilla snowflake marshmallows.  And as she turns to leave, she would smile so sweetly at Rude Man, who is now Impatient Man, and she would wish him a Happy Freaking New Year.

It’s petty and very passive-aggressive, Nellie knows…And involving an innocent sales associate who is just trying to do her job is even more petty. But letting the door slam in someone’s face is the most petty thing of all.


As Always,



~*If you have a question for Nellie, PM me on my Feathers and Dimes Facebook Page*~

New Year, New Stuff on the Blog



New Year’s Resolutions…

Most people try to start the new year with some resolutions and they last a couple of weeks. I fall in with the majority, thinking of new ways to improve upon myself and fail by about February. So this year I’m setting my bar pretty low.

1.) Go to Church more often.

2.) Drink more water.

3.) Get some form of exercise 3 days/week.


Hopefully, I will not disappoint myself since it’s not a lot to ask.

But I also want to not neglect Feathers and Dimes as much as I have. It looks like my posts are getting to be about six months apart. So….


Look for more projects and links.

Look for more upcycling and sewing.

Look for more occasional musings into life.

And, I think, look for some advice from Nellie who will sometimes make an appearance, just to make you laugh.


May you and yours have a joyful and healthy 2017!


Peace and Love,


New Year’s Eve—Then and Now

“By the time you realize what your father was telling you was true, your own kids are telling you you’re wrong”—Wayne Gretzky


Ahhh, Gretzky…the Great One, you are so right.

Christmas 2016 is over, wrapping paper shreds and empty shirt boxes litter my living room and my youngest asks me what the next holiday is. I tell him, “Valentine’s Day is next.”

My freshman reminds me New Year’s Eve is next.

New Year’s Eve…

To him, this counts as a holiday. He probably has plans for that night. “Uh oh,” I think. Because I remember how exciting New Year’s Eve was. Maybe not as a freshman in high school, but definitely my college years.

I remember one in particular, twenty five years ago, I was a sophomore in college and not yet even 21 years old. The world was quite different back then.


I believe it went something like this…


10:30 am- Wake up, think about and miss terribly my boyfriend who went back home to New Jersey for Christmas break. Think about how awful it is to have a whole month off between semesters till I get to see him again.  After tears and listening to “Love of a Lifetime” by Firehouse on the radio, head downstairs and peruse the recently acquired gifts and presents from parents and large extended family. Admire new overalls from The Gap, contemplate wearing them with one strap down.  Maybe watch some TV. Possibly eat breakfast, most likely not.

12:00 pm-Call one of my best friends, Amy, on the kitchen phone to find out what we’re doing tonight. Get mad because phone cord won’t reach into living room where there is more privacy.

Wall Phone Beige Telephone   by LavenderGardenCottag:

12:30-Decide that it’s a very good idea to drive down to Amy’s school, the University of Illinois, where there’s several parties we can go to. Only about 3 hours away down I-57, never mind that it is snowy, about 10 degrees, and I-57 is surrounded by farmland. Feel lucky because Amy’s roommate Mia will drive since she is the only one with a car. Tell parents what plans are so they don’t worry. Remind them you will be home “sometime” the next day.  Wonder what New Jersey boyfriend will be doing and pray he doesn’t meet a cute Jersey Girl and ring in the New Year with her.

2:30-Pack for the overnight. Be sure to include a scrunchie or two for a quick and easy ponytail for the ride home. Also include acid wash jeans, maybe a plaid flannel shirt, wish that I had some Doc Martens.

doc martens

Double check for toothbrush, don’t bother with glasses or contact lens case because sleeping with contacts in eyes for one night won’t hurt anything. Triple check for fake ID. Have about $30 in cash from summer job working at Bennigan’s in case there’s an emergency.

4:30pm-Get picked up for road trip. Check once again that fake ID is in backpack. (Who bothered with a purse or wallet?) Wave bye to the parents. Admire Mia’s vintage car with her dead hamster on the dashboard that she stuffed herself. (One of Mia’s hobbies was taxidermy). Have backseat of car all to myself and stretch out. No seatbelt for me! (I wonder if that vintage car even had seatbelts?) Think how wonderful Amy is that she thought to bring  a Baker’s Square French Silk Pie with her.

5:00pm-While on the road, listen to mixed cassette tape Amy made filled with a variety of hits like, “Gonna Make You Sweat” by C+C  Music Factory, “Unbelievable” by EMF, “Good Vibrations” by Markie Mark and the Funky Bunch, “I Wanna Sex You Up” by Color Me Badd. Talk about a new kind of music hitting the radio from Seattle and a band by the name of Nirvana. Hit rewind and play “Right Here Right Now” by Jesus Jones and think about how prophetic it is. Keep wondering about Jersey Boy. Mention his name frequently.

Right Here, Right Now

5:45pm- Wonder why Amy included The Partridge Family Greatest Hits on cassette…

6:00pm-Talk and chat and chat and talk about things like if Dylan and Brenda will ever do it, the latest Cheers episode, and a little something we heard about called “the internet.”   Reminisce about The Bulls winning the Championship over the summer and how awesome Michael Jordan is, worry about  something called Operation Desert Storm, really worry about the AIDS epidemic and be sad about Freddie Mercury’s passing.

6:30pm-Stop all conversation as the car starts sputtering and coughing and comes to a halt on the side of the road. The side of I-57. In the middle of Illinois cornfields. Where it is very, very dark. And very, very cold.

6:33pm-Figure out that Mia’s vintage car has a broken gas gauge and, in our New Year’s Eve excitement, we forgot to put gas in the car before we left home. Come to the conclusion that we are out of gas. Wish Jersey Boy was here.

6:35pm-Decide to flag down a truck driver who is parked on the OTHER SIDE OF THE HIGHWAY!!! Hide in the back of the car under a blanket as two other friends CROSS HIGHWAY to speak to truck driver. Think about eating Baker’s Square French Silk Pie.  Try not to think of one of my favorite movies that year…



6:45pm-Wait for State Trooper to show up and talk about how nice the truck driver was and how convenient it is that he has a CB and can radio a police car for us. Laugh about how silly we are to forget to put in gas.

7:00pm-Ride safely in the back of the police car to the nearest town where the trooper drops us off at a McDonald’s so we can use the phone to call friends from U of I to pick us up. Buy some french fries so we have some change for the pay phone. Be sad about the fact that I don’t have enough change to make a long-distance phone call to New Jersey. Talk about how fortunate we are that we ran out of gas so close to U of I and don’t have to travel much longer.

8:00pm-Finally arrive at Amy’s apartment at U of I with car full of gas, backpacks and Baker’s Square French Silk Pie. Run up stairs to apartment and watch as Amy trips up the stairs and lands right on the Baker’s Square French Silk Pie. Laugh till I pee my pants. Try to salvage what is left of pie and place it in fridge.

8:30pm-Take nap.

9:30pm-Have a beer or two before getting ready.

10:00pm-Start getting ready to go out. Put on acid wash jeans and colorful sweatshirt. Make hair as big as possible and spray with Aqua Net. Put on some eye-liner and mascara, maybe some blush, and ready to go. Lace up the Reebok High tops. Be happy because we looked like this:


10:30pm-Go to party. Meet new people. Play various drinking games like Quarters. Lose a lot. Think about Jersey Boy and wonder where he is.

10:59pm-Go outside on balcony as the clock rings 11pm Central Time and stare up at stars knowing it is now 1992 for Jersey Boy because he lives in the Eastern Time Zone. Make Amy celebrate East Coast New Year’s too. Don’t understand when she looks at you like you’re weird.

11:03pm-Think about drowning sorrows of long distance relationship woes by eating entire Baker’s Square French Silk Pie, but have a beer instead. Laugh as Amy plays Partridge Family cassette and party stops to figure out what went wrong with the music.

12:00am-Toast to the New Year, sing Auld Lang Syne, dance like no one is watching, hug my new friends from the party, be sure they will be my friends for the rest of my life. (Amy still is.)

3:30am-Walk back to Amy’s apartment and marvel how it doesn’t feel cold outside anymore. Don’t make connection that perhaps we had too much to drink and can’t feel the cold.

4:00am-Eat Baker’s Square French Silk Pie but don’t bother to cut it up. Just take a fork and eat what’s left of it after it fell down the stairs. Think about how yummy it is.

4:30am-fall asleep on the couch. Whisper good night to Jersey Boy.

12:00pm-Make sure there is enough gas in tank for ride home. Drive home with less conversation, stop at a White Castle’s for some nourishment. Start to notice eyes feel dry and make mental note to take out contacts when I get home.

3:00pm-Arrive home, and when parents ask how night was, say truthfully that it was a lot of fun. Leave out several key details.

3:15pm-Take a nap. For as long as I want.


I can guarantee my New Year’s Eve twenty five years later is much different. It will probably consist of trying to make dinner reservations somewhere and being pissed because I waited till the last minute. I will probably end up putting on my new flannel pj’s from Vermont at about 7pm( which are A-MAZ-ING and a gift from my Jersey Boy, who is now my husband of twenty years, by the way.) I will probably have my contacts out and be wearing my glasses. I will probably surf the internet and check my Facebook pages. I will probably wonder if maybe I should’ve asked for Botox for Christmas. I will be mad I didn’t make an appointment to have my roots colored.  There won’t be a Baker’s Square French Silk Pie anywhere near my fork.  I will probably keep checking my “find my iPhone” app to confirm the whereabouts of my teenage son. I will probably have called the parents of where he will be to make sure they will be home and no alcohol is allowed.  I will probably spend a lot of time praying he makes good choices and is safe. I will probably wish my younger son would like to hang out with his mom for a little while. I will probably snuggle up with my Jersey Boy and watch a movie and fall asleep half way through.

Amazing how the years fly by, isn’t it?

I wonder what Amy is doing?


Peace and Love in 2017


My Anti-Bucket List


Everyone knows what a Bucket List is-there is a huge list of things I would like to do, places I would like to travel to, experiences I would like to have before I die. So much of the world to discover, new situations to try, so much I would like to accomplish.

I am a Dreamer, after all…

But there are some things I really don’t want to do, and more importantly, I am OK with it. Sometimes I focus on what I want, what I want, what I want! Have you ever thought of what you don’t want?

Now, I’m talking about what you don’t want that other people might find really cool-things that might definitely be on someone else’s bucket list…

I’ve compiled a list-and it’s really not that long. Some people have hundreds of things they want to do before they die. I have 9 things I really don’t want to do and I’m content with not ever doing them.

Here goes – and to all you out there who have done these things and had life altering experiences because of it, kudos to you! Maybe you can convince me to try it.

#1) I don’t ever want to run a marathon. I don’t have any interest in long distance running. I know, I know-people who do marathons say it’s such a great feeling of accomplishment, they talk of the runner’s high, pushing themselves to the max. I would just aim for a 5K. Like the one that serves hot chocolate at the end…

Otherwise, I would look like this. Just waiting for a car to hit me and put me out of my misery.


#2) I don’t ever want to ride the Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure. I know this because I had the opportunity to do so and gladly passed it by. Now I’ve always loved rollercoasters, but this one is a but much for me. This roller coaster goes straight up 456 feet and then barrels straight down at 128 mph in 3.5 seconds. I could just see the damn thing getting stuck on the way up and being trapped there. (Incidentally, I let my son go on it and he said it was incredible! I’m sure it was…I’ll just take his word for it.)



#3) I don’t ever want to skydive. There. I said it. I know it’s on the top of most people’s bucket lists. (And it’s near the top of mine, too. My Anti-Bucket List.) Jumping out of an airplane is an adrenaline rush I am really OK missing out on. Really. And you probably think I’m not very adventurous. Hmmmm, maybe that’s true but I’m still OK never doing this.



#4) I don’t ever want a fish pedicure. Ever. Little fish eating the dead skin off my feet? What the F&#K!? Whoever came up with this little “treat”? E-gads! Yuck! Might as well have maggots crawling up my arm. Now give me a spa pedicure any day, but that’s not really a bucket list check-off, is it?



#5) This might sound like a no-brainer, but some people actually have this on their bucket lists…I never did and don’t ever want to try LSD. When I was a pre-teen and pretty impressionable, I read the book Go Ask Alice. It left an indelible mark on me. Mind altering hallucinogenic? Yeah…not for me.



#6) I don’t ever want to travel to China or Japan. I know, what the heck? right? I don’t want to offend anyone, because it looks quite beautiful. There’s just so many places and lands I want to see, China and Japan are at the bottom so they are probably going to get left off my real bucket list. (The one I plan to create-someday.) Besides, it’s so damn far!

china and japan



#7) I am OK if I never go to a real live boxing match.  I think there’s so much violence in this world, I don’t want to watch two people punch the crap out of each other in the name of a sport. (Then again, I LOVE hockey but there’s a difference.)

I mean, Look at this poor guy!


#8) I don’t ever want to dye my hair blond. I know they say blondes have more fun (and it’s probably true), and maybe if I dyed my hair blonde I would HAVE more fun (like jumping out of an airplane or running up and down the Great Wall), but it would look really awful with my skin coloring. Just saying.

I love you, Barbie!!!




#9) Last but not least, –I don’t want to hang out (literally) at a Nude Beach. I would enjoy swimming in the water sans clothing (as long as there is no pedicure-type fish around), but walking around with others who are nekkid-nah, I’ll pass.

surprised look

I wonder if, as I grow older, these things will change and maybe I’ll want to do one or two of them. But I’m quite content if that never happens-kind of the point of an Anti-Bucket List.

I’d love to hear what’s on YOUR Anti-Bucket List!