Memorial Day Adventure

Several months ago, while cleaning out my file cabinet, I came across of paper work from a long ago Memorial Day weekend.

Several co-workers and I were sitting in a bar Friday night and decided to drive to Virginia Beach for the weekend. No, we weren’t drunk. But we were young and optimistic. Surely Virginia Beach would be warmer than upstate New York at the end of May.

Three of us decided to go. My friend Dave had another friend who had moved to Washington DC earlier in the year, and somehow (this was pre-cell phones) got hold of his friend. We agreed to pick him up enroute to our holiday weekend.

We drove all night. At one point, I remember jerking myself awake–I was behind the wheel. That scared me. Dave took over driving duties so I could catch a nap. Our friend Char was in the back seat of my car, sleeping.

We got to Washington, DC and my first encounter with the beltway. In comparison,  traffic doesn’t exist in upstate New York.  But I managed.

Dave’s friend, Ron, it turned out, was living in a pup tent in Burke Lake Park. He had tossed his motorcycle and camping gear into the back of his pick up truck and moved.

As you can see by the shadowy photos, we actually found Burke Lake Park in northern Virginia. And we eventually found Ron. He said he would ride his bike to Virginia Beach and catch up with us there.

We eventually arrived at our destination and actually found a place to stay right on the beach. Probably due to a cancellation. The weather was overcast and cold. I had to buy a jacket. Char flew home the next day. Dave and I tried sitting on the beach but we turned blue instead of tanning. We spent the rest of the weekend looking for Ron.  We never did find him.

The highlight of the weekend was on the first night when we went out to dinner and found ourselves being entertained by the Drifters.

The funny thing is, I flew back to Virginia Beach by myself in mid-July and spent a week in the same beachfront motel. And you’ll never guess who I ran into one night. Yep. Ron. Turns out he moved there, with his camping gear, motorcycle, and pickup truck.


Music: Sun Songs

One of my foibles is creating music playlists by theme. Yes, I love finding songs for the books I’m writing, but I also enjoy coming up with an idea and finding as many songs as I can to create a CD (yes, I still play CDs in my car and office). I keep running lists on my phone.

One of themes I’m currently collecting is Sun Songs.

Here’s what I have so far:

  • Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone
  • Sesame Street Theme
  • Sunshine Go Away Today
  • Walking on Sunshine
  • Good Day Sunshine
  • Sunshine on my Shoulder
  • I’ll Follow the Sun
  • Sunny
  • Soak Up the Sun

I’m open to suggestions!


Mommy Moment: The Bread

When Y-Chromo came home for the summer after his first year at college, there were many adjustments that needed to be made. We had to learn that he’d been on his own for 9-10 months and needed more leeway than he’d been given in high school. He needed to adjust to being in a family situation again.

While he was away at school, I didn’t have to buy as much bread for sandwiches as  I did in previous years. His first weekend home, we were nearly out. He informed me he would eat only Supermarket brand bread, if I couldn’t get Supermarket brand peanut butter, he would eat only a certain national brand. He missed Supermarket brand bread while at college.

I was very busy that weekend and did not have time to go to the Supermarket he specified. There is another grocery chain with a store closer to home. In the interest of time, that’s where I went to pick up a few crucial items. Including bread. When I got home, I transferred the loaf of bread into the Supermarket brand bag and stuck it in the freezer. Y never knew the difference.

I think X-Chromo recently told him the story. (She thought it was hysterical when I confessed it to her years later.) He laughs about it now.

Sometimes a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.



Movie: Frozen River

I never would have seen Frozen River had it not been nominated for an Academy Award in 2008. I’ve seen it only once (TV Stevie sees every nominated film he can, and I happened to catch this one with him), but the images and messages have stayed with me. The film was nominated for Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay. It won several other awards, mostly for Best Actress.

I never realized the underlying story until I overheard a TV program my husband was watching about female directors. Frozen River  was mentioned as being a film about motherhood. When I heard that, all the images came crystal clear.

Mexico isn’t the only point of entry for undocumented immigrants. When the St. Lawrence River freezes, it becomes a smuggler’s route between New York State and Ontario/Quebec–especially since the Akwesasne nation (St. Regis Mohawk tribal land) straddles the river between the two other countries.

Two single mothers–one white, one Native American–both desperately poor, want better lives for their children.  They live on the New York side of the Frozen River. This unlikely pair team up  with disastrous consequences. There is a happy ending, just not in the traditional sense.  The film ends on a note of hope. Yes, their partnership brought dire consequences, but in the end, the same partnership will help them create the better lives they want for their children.

The movie is dark. Grim. Yet as a mother, I identify with their anguish.  We will do anything for our children.



Mommy Files: Learning the Language

One of the best things about being the mom of very young children was observing them learning the language. Figuring out how to use words when they didn’t have the vocabulary immediately at hand to communicate their meaning.

X-Chromo was a genius at this.

Two occasions come immediately to mind. She was about the same age for both.

One morning I was getting her dressed and gave her two choices of an outfit to wear. “This one or this one,” I said as I held up two dresses. “The housekeeping,” little X replied.  I was confused. She pointed to the one she wanted. “The housekeeping,” she repeated. Duh! She attended a center-based daycare /pre-school and the dress she wanted had an apron on it. Aprons were part of the housekeeping center.  She couldn’t think of the word, but she knew where it belonged.

Another morning, we were standing in the kitchen, preparing to leave for the day. “Squirrel!” she started yelling out the window. “Get off my summertime!” Again, it took me a moment. “Summertime” was the swimming pool we had in the back yard while the children were growing up. She couldn’t think of the word, but understood it was something we used only in the summer.