Hello 2017

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I would like to start the new year by thanking you all for your support and kind messages in 2016. I am truly grateful.

As we embark on another new year, I wish for you more happy days than sad, friends and loved ones to surround you and memorable moments that you’ll hold onto forever. May your year be filled with books that make you love, laugh and cry, music that swells your heart with emotion and may you unwrap each day and view it as the gift it is. Time is fleeting, friends. Life is wonderful and unpredictable.  But it is ours for the taking. Let’s make the most of it, shall we?

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy New Year.

 

 

 

Hold The Turkey

Growing up, Thanksgivings were spent at my grandparent’s house. Seventeen to twenty of our family members (depending on what year it was) would congregate in their small house for the day. While the adults passed the time in the kitchen and living room, my cousins, my brother and I would hang out in grandma’s bedroom. We had no games, no videos, no music, but we were never bored. We made up things to do – anything to keep ourselves entertained while we waited…

Let me pause here to say that I love my family. My aunts, uncles, and cousins are my favorite people. We’re close and I am truly thankful to have them. But I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that the highlight of the day was the moment my grandfather announced supper was ready. In a rush of euphoric glee, we’d drop what we were doing, gather around the extended table in the kitchen and watch as he placed the large, tan ceramic bowl in the center with the simple instruction. “Mangia!”

Under a thick haze of Camel cigarette smoke, and amid the threat of misdirected fork prongs, we simultaneously dug into that bowl and feasted on homemade, melt-in-your-mouth raviolis. There was no one serving us. We learned to fend for ourselves. I became a fork-wielding master at an early age. Over conversation and jokes, we inhaled in minutes what took Grandpa hours and hours to make.

That ceramic bowl was center of every holiday spent at that house. When that bowl came out, it brought the sun with it.

After every ravi was gone, we rolled ourselves from the table and in a self-induced food coma, continued our play. Two hours later, we were called back to the table for the traditional turkey dinner. Life in an Italian-American family.

I never went for the turkey. I’d sit at the children’s section of the table, still full, and pick on stuffing and potatoes, reminiscing about the beloved ravis I hadn’t yet digested. I also knew there would be desserts coming later. It was an eat-fest. It was wonderful.

When the sky darkened and the dishes were washed (no dishwasher mind you. As we got older we earned the coveted position as head washer or dryer), the children retired to the living room to watch The Wizard of Oz, while the adults stayed in the kitchen playing cards for money.

Every Thanksgiving without fail, this is what we did, until we lost our grandparents. I was twenty-five when my grandmother died. When my grandfather passed four years later, I stood at his casket knowing that life would never be the same. Thanksgiving would never be the same.

I was right.

While I stood at his casket saying my silent so long, one of my cousins stood next to me and she asked the question that was on all of our minds that somber day. “Who do you think will get the ravioli bowl?”

Of course, it went to one of his children.

I’m almost fifty now and I sit at a different Thanksgiving table with my husband and our children. Tomorrow, as I do every year, I’ll give thanks for the childhood I had, the family I love, my grandparents, who I miss terribly and for the raviolis I enjoyed for almost three decades. I have a replica of Grandpa’s ravioli bowl, sent to me a few years ago by an aunt who found it at a flea market down south. When I opened the box and saw it, I was overwhelmed with sadness and gratitude. I treasure the countless memories of my youth spent around this bowl. Laughter, tears, always love, and raviolis.

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So, no turkey for me this year. I’ll be feasting on memories of times gone by.

I wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.

#NEW Rosie’s Book Club Resources

Hello Friends,

I have been a happy follower of Rosie Amber’s blog for some time now. Rosie is an avid reader and book reviewer who’s goal is to connect readers and authors through her reviews and various posts. She has amassed a wonderful team of reviewers who offer their perspectives daily on a variety of genres.

Now, Rosie has added a resource for book clubs! So, if you’re part of a club, check out the 5-star books rated by Rosie’s team. You will have an opportunity to contact the author as well. I’m honored to note, Both Sides of Love was chosen as one of the many books on this list.

Click on the link below to connect directly to Rosie’s site. Happy reading!

Resources for Book Clubs Appledore Book Festival, Devon, September 23rd- October 2nd details here Bath Kids Literary Festival September 30th – October 9th details here Tenby arts festival Sep…

Source: #NEW Rosie’s Book Club Resources

Full Circle

img_2266Well, the sun has set on another season.

It was especially tough to see this summer end. Not because we enjoyed better-than- average weather, or took two wonderful family trips, using passports for both (a first!) or because we spent a lot of time with our family and friends who continually make our lives richer. No. This year marks my older son’s last year of high school. The last year he’ll wake up in his bed, eat breakfast at my table, say goodbye in the morning where I’ll wish him a good day and wait for him to come home. Or see his hockey games or watch him perform during the half time shows on football fields, or attend his concerts. His last year before leaving for college, altering our family dynamic forever.

I am not the only parent of a high school senior. I know that. My sentiments aren’t my own. They’re shared by parents of seniors everywhere. But he is my son. My pride. My heart, who walks out the door every single day, and makes me smile when he walks back in.

This year will be a year of lasts, full of bittersweet endings, emotional moments (for me) and exciting plans (for him).

Thirty years ago, 1986, I graduated high school. I forged ahead full speed, shrugging out of my gown, tossing my tassled cap, seeing only my future, my friends, my summer job. I ran to college, not giving any thought whatsoever to how fast I’d grown and how my own mother must have been feeling what I’m feeling this week.

This month, I will be attending my high school reunion. While my child embarks on his final year, I will be rekindling my own memories. He’ll be doing his Social Studies homework while I will be catching up with classmates who sat next to me in my Social Studies classes.

I will enjoy one night with the people who spent every day with me during my formative years, who were in my life before it became laden with responsibility and stress and commitment. When the future was so bright, we had to wear shades. I will embrace lost friends who got away simply because life got too busy, the people who knew me before I knew myself, who knew me when I was young, inexperienced, a dreamer.

Then, I will put down my empty glass, dry my laughing tears. and bid so long to these old friends. I’ll return to my 48-year-old life (I cannot be 48), to stand by my son as he gets ready to embark on his future, to make his own way in the world. I’ll try like hell to remember who I was at seventeen, how I felt, and let him go.

Barbra, Can You Hear Me?

Hello Friends,

I hope you’re all doing well and are enjoying your summer. The sun is out, the sky is blue, the soft grass is green. Life is good.

Life is especially good since I found out my favorite singer in the world is coming to Barclays Center this week. That’s right. Babs is coming to us!

I love Barbra Streisand. I love her voice. I love her movies (The Way We Were, Funny Girl, The Prince of Tides, and my favorite A Star is Born, to name just a few). I’m a huge fan. So when my husband mentioned she was performing at Barclay’s Center, my head almost exploded. Until I checked out ticket prices and availability. There are so few tickets left and the (almost) affordable seats are way up high in the rafters. Floor seats are in the neighborhood of $1k ea., not a neighborhood I can get to.

So, to have a little fun, I drafted my version of Barbra’s amazing song from Yentl. A plea, if you will, for her help.

If you know it, feel free to sing along. If we sing it loud enough, who knows?

Barbra can you hear me? 

(I really would love to see you in concert.)

Barbra can you see me?

(I can really see myself in the audience but I can’t see paying $600. for one ticket. In the rafters.)

Barbra, can you find me a spare seat? Or two?

Barbra, are you near me?

(I’d love to sit near the stage, preferably within the first ten rows?)

Barbra can you hear me?

(TWO TICKETS PLEASE!)

Barbra can you help me not miss this concert?

(You’re my favorite singer. You sang my wedding song. You were pregnant the same time as my mother -she-likes-to remind-me-every-time-I-mention-you-as-if-you-two-are-great-friends-and-the-only-two-women-pregnant-in-1968, but I digress)

Looking at the sales, I seem to see a million (or close to it) tickets sold. Which ones are mine?

Where are you that I can listen to you sing? Before you wave goodbye and close your doors?

The night is so much darker

The wind so much colder

The world I see is so much bigger

(From the upper deck in Barclays Center.)

Barbra please forgive me.

Try to understand me.

Barbra don’t you know I have no choice?

(My son is a HS senior and college shopping. If I buy 2 tickets I’ll have to feed my children lentils.)

Can you hear me praying?

Anything I’m saying?

Even though the night is filled with voices (of people who all have a ticket to see your show?)

Barbra? Can you hear me?

 

If anyone goes, please tell me how she was. No don’t. Okay, yes. Please do.

 

A Trip to Paradise.

Hello friends! Happy August: the last warm month of the year where we try to cram in everything we thought we’d do over the summer but haven’t yet accomplished.

Last week we returned from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, our first time there. We stayed at the lovely Paradisus Palma Real Golf Resort & Spa and it was wonderful. The weather was perfect. And the people were warm and friendly. Our hostess upon arrival, Reyna, gave us a tour of the hotel grounds on the way to our room. She called my husband Papa and I was affectionately referred to as Mama.

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This is the view from the reception desk. Paradise, right?

 

This resort is an all-inclusive resort, meaning food and drinks are prepaid. I have two teenage boys over six feet tall. This was the only way to go. Here is one of the plates of my 17 yo’s breakfast. It rivaled Buddy’s from Elf.

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Yes, that is crumbled chocolate cake over french toast and chocolate crepes covered in syrup. With sausage links. This was his first plate.

We found seats on the beach every day under thatched cabanas, where we watched the pale green water lap onto the shore beneath a deep blue sky. Parasails flew in the gentle wind above hobycats and kayaks. My toes sunk into the silky white sand and I spent hours each day soaking up the atmosphere. I don’t spend enough time outside when I’m home. I made up for that here.

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Best seats outside of the house

Each time Reyna passed by the pool or outside deck, giving another tour to new arrivals, I heard “Mama!” over the music and swimmers’  laughter. Each time I waved to my new friend and she continued on.

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Next time

In the early evenings, we drank pina coladas on the large deck and got teary over weddings on the sand. (Okay, I got teary, the rest of us, not so much).  After dinner, we walked among the arches of the hotel buildings and watched salsa dancing under the stars. The Dominican people love to dance. Look at this place. If you were here every day, wouldn’t you?

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Michael Jackson is alive and well in Punta Cana

 

There were shows every night, spin and yoga classes in the pool during the day. Our last dinner was served on the beach, authentic food of the Dominican people, while bands played and entertainers performed.

 

Sure there were some small issues. Being in a foreign country, we had to remember to brush our teeth with bottled water. Our 15 yo was struck down for a full day with stomach issues but fortunately he quickly bounced back, returning to his gluttonous behavior at the buffets. We lost power a few times- usually while I was mid-shower, possibly due to the quick rainstorms that passed over almost every day, but they came back on within minutes. This is to be expected everywhere. Little kinks to work out.

Overall, we couldn’t ask for more. It was a lovely break from the reality of work and responsibility. We’ve been back a week and I long for one more day of music, white sand, a drink with an umbrella and a sweet voice calling Mama.

Where have you been this year?

J.K. Rowling and Me

Like many, I have dreams and goals.

Twelve years ago I told my husband in a movie theater that I wanted to write a book. By verbalizing my intent, I’d set myself in motion. A year later, I typed ‘The End’. Then I thought, Kim, you’re crazy and I put it in a drawer.

But I kept writing. I finished another manuscript the following year and shoved that one on top of my first. And so on, until finally I wrote my fourth story and decided I would share it and see what happened. That was in May, 2014.

Currently, I have two published novels and I’m writing another one when I’m not working at my part-time job or screaming my head off at a hockey or lacrosse game. I was feeling pretty good about myself.

Until I read an article about how J.K. Rowling’s writing chair sold for – wait for it –  $394,ooo.

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Through a thick haze of humility, I compared myself to Rowling. I know I shouldn’t compare myself to anyone, least of all one of the most popular writers in this century. But how can I not? We both write books and we both sold furniture. I had been trying to sell my son’s bedroom furniture for months: armoir, dresser and a bed  -all for $600. For four months, we got nary a nibble. We lowered the price while I wondered if the prospective buyer could sense the aura of the temper tantrums still surrounding this furniture. I told my husband J.K. Rowling sold her writing chair at an auction. He said, Maybe you should tell people this is the furniture that inspired the bedroom you described in Letting Go? My answer: Let’s put it by the curb.

The parallelism of our lives does not go unnoticed by me. Rowling wrote an incredible 7-book series that swept the universe and as a result, sold a plain chair with writing on it, for almost $400k. I’m still working my day job. I couldn’t give away a whole set for $400. No writing on it. Not a scratch. (Well, okay, one tiny pen mark, but I’m sure if someone Googles how to get penmark off of wood, this will not be an issue.)

My dreams and goals are malleable and realistic. They grow and change as I do. I don’t want my writing chair (den couch) to one day draw in a crazy amount of bids. My goal right now is to sit on it longer and write more.

I have nothing but good wishes for Ms. Rowling. And I’ll try not to compare myself with her or anyone else for that matter. I am me. This is it. Rock on, me.

For those of you curious, the pieces did finally sell this past week. All for $300. And a book.

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