Baby, check this out, I've got something to say. Man, it's so loud in here. When they stop the drum machine and I can think again, I'll remember what it was...
- They Might Be Giants (
John Flansburgh and John Linnell)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saying Goodbye....

"Make new friends
And keep the old
One is silver
and the other, gold"
--an old Girl Scout song

So, we're getting ready to move to New Mexico. Not sure when it's gonna happen, but it's GONNA Happen. Pat and I both want it really BAD. We are WICKED excited. We know that life won't be perfect there, (water-shortage) but we're pretty sure it will be easier to take. The adventure of it, the weather, the laid-back lifestyle....and new friends. We met 'em, we like 'em, and even better, they LIKE us, they really do.....
What could be better? Well, I'll tell you what could be better--having all our old friends (and they
ARE old) move down there with us. One is planning to...what about the rest of ya? Or at the very least, come visit us often!
So, it's been on my mind to start thinking, planning and "working" on saying goodbye to the old friends as I look forward to enjoying the new friends. (Clair said we can bike along the Rio Grande-dry as it is.)
This is where I get stuck....I don't even know what to say about leaving the people I've grown to love and need here in the great white north.....It really will be hard and I'd really rather avoid the strong feelings that will come. I've spent a lot of time, driving the snowy roads, watching the ice fisherman, saying goodbye to New England....I'm SO ready for that....see how I get side-tracked? I don't know, maybe this will have to wait for another post, when I can get the words out....
All I can say now is, thank you all for being here and I will take little pieces of all of you to New Mexico with me.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lookin Like a Fool

So, here we are in Las Cruces, NM.We've met some people on the internet and they offer to drive us out to the desert. OK....some of you this this is a terrible mistake, but you've been reading too many Tony Hillerman books.

So we drive out towards the Organ Mountains, those big red rocks in the distance. Todd, our realtor, has told us that they actually look purple wehn the sun hits them right, but we haven't seen that yet. We go out past Baylor Canyon to a place called Dripping Springs (I'll have to look that up)and our new friend Clair tells us a story about a guy found in a nearby cave with a knife in his back. We're just innocently enjoying the ride.

So, we stop, catch the last dribs (is that a word?) of the sun going down, dreaming of all the sunsets in our future, and smelling the desert air. I noticed as I turned my body the scent changed. Bill told us we were smelling pinon, mesquite, or possibly creosote. So, so, so much to learn......

So, after the sunset show, nature provided another show--Clair explained that the white couldish stuff in the distance was actually rain that doesn't reach the ground because of the dry air. In-freakin-credible.
The next show was the lights coming on in the city of LasCruces, sparkling in the distance for our pleasure.

You might think this was enough, however there was one more show of the evening, when my adorable husband's pants fell to the ground, possibly due to a belt malfunction or the steady weight he's been losing lately.
And these people still want to be our friends! In fact, Bill cooked us some awesome enchiladas at their cosy Adobe in Dona Ana.....Sing with me now, "Pants on the Ground, Pants on the Ground, Lookin Like a Fool wit your Pants on the Ground.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Monsters take New York!

I’ve created a monster. Really. Many parents worry about the mistakes they have made in raising their children. I made the huge mistake of taking my kids, as teenagers, to Times Square to celebrate the New Year.
We drove from our sleepy little home in New England to the Big Apple and stayed in Bayside with my sister Rosemary and her family. My niece Christine accompanied us in her wheelchair, on the Long Island Railroad, for an afternoon of sight-seeing. I can’t remember exactly what sights we saw, but I do remember when we passed through Time Square around two in the afternoon on December 31st, crowds were starting to form, and we decided to forgo the sightseeing and park ourselves in the hopes of snagging a good spot to watch the ball drop. All day long I had been stating that all I really needed was a bathroom and a police officer.
I had my blanket and my knitting. We entered a “handicapped accessible area” and hung out all afternoon, chatting with a few people who had traveled from Australia to ring in the New Year in NY. There were about nine people in a 100 square foot area, so we were golden. There was a deli with a public restroom across the street, and dozens of police officers in the area. They came in handy several hours later when Chris found an abandoned backpack leaning on the nearest building. This was a couple years post 9/11, so the cops brought in the dogs, ushered us all to another section, only to discover the backpack held empty booze bottles. They were friendly police officers and one even let Dylan wear his cop hat and take some pictures with them.
At one point, Ryan Seacrest was there filming a little something. He was very unfriendly, wouldn’t even give Chris his autograph when she begged him. Later, I decided to spread out my blanket and have a little nap. The kids took pictures of this and later splashed them all over the internet. Oh, it was lots of fun hearing from the high school kids I worked with that they saw pictures of me sleeping like a bum in Times Square.
We bought some sandwiches at the deli around 3:30ish and waited in line for a half an hour to use the rest room. OK, so far, and the weather was decent. Around 5ish, Chris and I went for a walk to Tower Records, I think. Picture three foot-tall, gutsy as hell, Chris, in her wheelchair, bucking the throngs of people walking in the opposite direction. Chris is yelling at the top of her lungs “EXCUSE ME, EXCUSE ME!” People are scattering, yelling at each other to be careful of the little girl in her wheelchair. OMG, I will never forget this. Chris, I miss you so much!
Around 6ish, I had to go to the bathroom again. We waited an hour on line in the deli. The staff started yelling that we couldn’t ALL use it, they were gonna have plumbing problems. I yelled back that I had spent tons of money there and I HAVE to GO!
The crowd thickens, and I mean THICK. We stood around for HOURS, the high point was each hour they would give out trinkets, like balloons, hats, glasses. Really, it was torture, I’ll NEVER do it again. Hours passed, people arrived and squished us against the barriers. It was horrible. People got nasty, except when the cameras came by and everyone was happy and waving. By 11:30, the adrenaline was flowing and it got to be fun again, but painful, too. My heart was bursting, watching that ball drop, but the best part was the confetti, like snow, falling from all the nearby skyscrapers. When it was time to leave, the crowd, en masse, walked downtown towards Penn Station and literally lifted the smaller, lighter people as we made our way.
Watching the ball drop has become a regular ritual for my son Dylan. Every year he gathers up friends and makes his pilgrimage. One year he and his lovely, ever patient, girlfriend Nicole, braved temperatures in the teens, this past year, it rained on them. I stay home, snuggled under a blanket, read their Tweets, and watch for MY monsters on TV.

Rainy Days and Mondays....

So, a few of these blog entries have been percolating in my head for the last few days or so (I TOLD you, it’s loud in here……..
So here goes:

I’m turning 56 this summer. OMG, did I just say that? Well, my mother, Rosemary MacDowell Lawrence, died when she was 56 and I was 21. At the time, I thought she was ancient. Now, not so much…..
My sister Maura, as she approached her 50’s, used to have a fear of being like mom and not making it past 56. I’m not sure what that was all about, but that’s what she used to say. Well, Maura actually made it past 59, and despite our issues, and there were many, I miss her desperately. That’s for another story.
I’m not concerned about dying in my 56th year, I’m more worried that I’ll be like my Dad, who died 10 days short of his 90th birthday, or his oldest sister Julia, who, at 100 years of age has outlived all her siblings. That’s gotta be tough, and that’s another story, too.
I really want to write about my mother, and our differences. She packed an incredible amount of living into her 56 years. Never graduated High School because she had to quit school to help support her family. She was Shanty Irish and married up, my dad was Lace Curtain. Hence, her total paranoia about manners. Our living room was always strewn with graph paper on which she did the New York Times diagramless crossword puzzles. She loved words and loved to play with them. She loved Ogden Nash, the Galloping Gourmet, the Smothers Brothers, and Laugh-In.
She loved her children, all ten of them-six girls and four boys, two of whom died very, very young. How do you handle that? Well, she handled it with alcohol, and recently, I’m beginning to understand how that happened. She used to put our jackets on the dining room heater before we went to school on winter mornings. On the day Nancy, the baby of the family, was brought home from the hospital, mom sent us back to school after lunch with two nickels, not the usual one, for a treat at the local candy store.
She hated rainy days, especially rainy Mondays. I LOVE rainy days, especially when they occur in the fall, at the beginning of the school year, and I’m cozy in a classroom. I started first grade the during Hurricane Donna, in fact, we had to turn around and go home after arriving all dressed up and ready to go. Maybe that’s the reason I like those rainy school days so much.
Mom and I had other differences. I’m learning to embrace the similarities I like, and reject the differences that get in my way. I would give everything to sit and chat with her about being a mother.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Our own research girl, Milliejupiter, was a scrappy little toddler, a biter, too! Although I enjoyed keeping up with her as a SAH mom, when she was 2ish, I needed something more. So I took a Career Planning class at the Worcester YMCA.
Surprise, surprise, I discovered I was suited to teaching and library work, both of which I had dabbled in. Voila! At the same time, my local small town New England library was looking for a part-time director. I put my hair in a bun, really, I did, borrowed a pretty flowered dress from my friend Maureen, and got the job.
It was a perfect job for a new mom--two blocks from my house, many old dusty books waiting to be weeded--oh, forget it, that's another story. The best perk on the job by far was filling a canvas bag with picture books at the end of my shift. Then I would return home to the cries of "Mama, didja bring me nice books?!" Then we would settle on the couch for a read and cuddle.
A small aside on the topic-I recently asked CollegeBoy aka Boothboy if he remembered all those nights when Dad worked late and we'd sit on our bed with a pile of books, to which he replied, "OH, yeah, I used to hate that."
Flash forward twenty years and Milliejupiter graduates with honors in Anthropology from Syracuse University. She moves home after a brief roommate from hell experience, and accepts a job running the circ desk at a large suburban library. She loves her job and we love sharing "problem patron" stories. However, when she walks in the door after a long day in the trenches and I ask her, "Didja bring me nice books", she just rolls her eyes..........

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Kickin and screamin...

So, it seems I'm being dragged, kickin and screamin, into the VORTEX of the Blogosphere. NO! Really! I had no intention of doing this at all. It started with a little note to a new-found friend on Facebook, Clairz. I found Clairz while researching relocating from Massachusetts to New Mexico. No, I don't think that will be the theme of my blog, but it might come up. Clair liked my note about my sister Claire and said, "Where's Your Blog?", to which I replied "Ummmmm......." then before I knew what had happened, my husband Pat,aka TFabP, set me up on this here Blogger thing.
So there ya go. I have no idea what will show up here, but I do have something to say...and it's So loud in here.....

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Another Claire...

Mary Hulser January 16 at 6:54am
I'm so happy to have another Clair in my life....
Let me tell you about my sister Claire. She's the oldest of 10 children (I'm one of the "little" kids) and she was an awesome sister. When I went to K and first grade, she bought me back to school dresses. When she came home from college in the 60's she taught us about "pixies" a game like Secret Santa, where we did secret little favors for each other leading up to Christmas, then guessed who was our pixie. She always promised to take me horse-back riding, but that never happened. To this day, I'm afraid of horses.
Lots more memories of Claire, but more recently, as we grew older, we would have a nice chat on the phone on Saturday mornings, with much laughter.
Claire was an elementary teacher in cold, grey,flat Holley, NY (near Rochester). She and her husband Butch, a Jr high IA teacher, spent their summers dragging their 2 kids all over the country. They drove to Alaska twice. I went with them to Florida and Disney once.
Anyway, as Claire and Butch were getting ready to retire and buy their lake house in the Adirondacks, she started to "lose words" as we all do. She started to tell her third graders to remind her of things if she forgot them. They retired to the lake house and I noticed our phone conversations were a little odd. I mentioned it to sister #2, Rosemary, a hospice nurse, and she hadn't noticed anything.
Eventually Claire was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia, and she lost her ability to speak. I remember sitting with her by the lake and she showed me her brochures on the condition and she simply said "I KNOW". Things progressed and now her diagnosis is Picks Disease, a form of dementia, similar to Alzheimer's.
She's gone, although still alive and well cared for at home by her saintly, anti-religious husband. She speaks only gibberish and we don't know if she recognizes us. I don't visit her enough. I offer to give my brother-in-law a break from the care-taking, but he won't take it. I'm guessing he feels that others won't be as attentive as he is.
So, I miss Claire......and happy to have a new Clair in my life....
More sister stories to come....if you can take it.......