Night Terrors in the Bedroom


Photo Credit: Dia™ via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Dia™ via Compfight cc

Three a.m:  “Chirp. Chirp.”

She wakes.

Uh oh. The window’s open. The screen must be broken.  There’s a bird in the house.

Ridiculous. Go back to your dream.

I think it’s flying around the living room.

What if it’s not a bird? What if it’s a bat?

If it’s a bat, then we’ll have to go for rabies shots.

No, get a hold of yourself. Bats don’t make sounds. They use that echolocation stuff.   It’s one of our phones.

We just charged our cell phones. It must be the smoke detector.

“Wake up, Jerome.” He snores.

Chirp!  Chirp!

Oh my God! What if it’s the carbon monoxide detector? Do we even have a carbon monoxide detector? Is it that red and white thing that’s been hanging in the basement for twenty years? There must be a gas leak. I must be delirious, probably dying from the poison gas.

“Jerry, wake up. We gotta get out of here. I think we are unconscious. We’re dying.”

He snores.

She tiptoes out of the bedroom to investigate.

Chirp! Chirp!

The noise is definitely coming from behind her, in their bedroom.

She whirls and steps back. “Oh my God, Jerry!  It’s in this room. I think someone has been recording us.”

“Boring movie,” he speaks for the first time. He turns over.

Who had done recent work in their house?  Cable guy? Electrician? Which one of them installed the camera? She looks up at the ceiling fan. Was that little button there last week?

She looks down at her bleach stained green tee shirt and ratty sweats, and then at her snoring husband.

“You’re right,” she says as she gets back into bed, “pretty boring.” She gives a quick wave to the ceiling fan, pulls the covers to her neck, and goes back to sleep.


Stage Your Supermarket Cart: Be the Envy of Everyone

Photo Credit: JasonUnbound via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: JasonUnbound via Compfight cc

Start with the Kiddie Seat.

Staging One: No Child is in the Kiddie Seat:

Stage a Tableau of Color and Texture

Mix red and green baby lettuces, white daikon (who cares that you don’t know what to do with it; it’s a nice color contrast.) Mix in a few jars of baby octopus. So what if the jars have been on the top shelf since 2004; people will be intrigued by your allure.

Surround an upturned loaf of white Wonder Bread with jars of fig jam, assorted almonds and quince. Shabby chic!

Staging Two: A Child is in the Kiddie Seat:

Stage the Child

Give him carrot sticks and have him nibble them passionately. No one needs to know that you promised him, if he was good,  a big fat bag of M & M’s when you got back in your car.

Get on line in back of a cart where another child is having a tantrum. Teach your child to smile and coo at other customers who are screwing up their noses in disgust at the crying child.

When you get out to the parking lot, get the hell out of there, fast, before the other mother comes out. Throw your kid his M & M’s and head to McDonald’s just like you promised.

Excavating Gums and Memories

Photo Credit: peasap via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: peasap via Compfight cc


Don’t you just hate it when the dental hygienist cleans your teeth? I’m not talking about the polishing. I’m talking about that horrible scaling and excavating of your gums.

Liz, my dental hygienist, stopped her scraping long enough to wipe my face, allow me to sit up, rinse my mouth, and spit out.

“You wipe like a mother,” I said.

“I am a mother,” she said quietly.

I sat back in the chair and Liz continued with her cleaning. Liz was a no nonsense hygienist. She continued to probe and scale my gums, I closed my, eyes and probed the reasons for my comment to her.

Liz did wipe like a mother… my mother.

The rasp of the drill was the only sound in the room as Liz worked. She had stopped talking. I worried that I had offended her with my stupid big mouth. She’s a really great hygienist, and when she’s not gouging my gums, I really like her.

I leaned back, and Liz continued her relentless probing. Her drill screeched, but she was silent. She scaled my gums and some of the water sprayed my face, and some of it escaped the little suction thingy in my mouth, and headed south toward my neck. Again she stopped and swiped the paper towel across my face in that same quick back and forth motion. Liz was definitely not tender; she was efficient. Neither one of us spoke.

Her strictly business swipe of my wet face activated long forgotten sensations from my childhood. I closed my eyes and allowed the memories to play out. I was a little girl again, a little girl with chocolate ice cream all over her face. My mother wiped my face just like Liz did.  Swipe, swipe, done! If no water was available, my mother improvised with a quick spit into her tissue. Swipe. Swipe. As I replayed the feeling of my mother’s hand on my dirty little girl’s face, I forgot my discomfort with the whole dental cleaning process. I was in the hands of my mother.

Other mammal females groom their young by gently licking, patting and caressing.  We, female humans, approach our child’s dirty face with ferocity. We do not caress our kids’ dirty faces.  If our kid’s face is dirty from ice cream, snot mixed with sandbox dirt, or drool, or a mixture of all of the above, we, human mothers, dispatch the dirt efficiently, even roughly.

Our kids scrunch up their sticky faces, try to resist, but they don’t even bother to cry.  They endure the rough swipe of our hands because they know they don’t have a choice. It’s the easiest kind of tough love.

As they get older, our  kids will get into dirt much more ominous than snot and sand. They will have to make difficult choices. We parents will pine for the old days when our tough love was instinctive, incontrovertible. We will agonize.

Liz was finished with my cleaning. I sat up and she handed me the cup to sip and rinse. She stood in front of me, instead of behind me, and she smiled. “Thank you, Rose,” she said. “That was one of the nicest compliments I have ever received.”

“You’re welcome,” I said. “I meant it that way. Happy Mother’s Day.”

“Happy Mother’s Day to you too.”

A Bad Birder, Some Bicyclists and a Battlefield

Photo Credit: howardignatius via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: howardignatius via Compfight cc


“I don’t know if I can do this,” I said to my husband, Jerome The Great and Good, as we left the parking lot and approached the beginning of the uphill trail to the Stony Point Battlefield Lighthouse, “I’m not in shape.”

He said, “There’s no rush. Whenever you’re tired, we’ll stop and rest.”

We took two steps up the path, and I stopped and rested.

With another couple of steps upward, the immortal words of The Sound of Music were resounding in my sweaty ears.

Climb every mountain; ford every stream.

Follow every rainbow, till you find your dream.”

My dream was survive the climb to the lighthouse so that I could then go home and reward myself with a big fat lox and onions omelet washed down with one or two Bloody Mary’s. Mmm just the thought of the meal propelled me forward.

I had been to the lighthouse before. If one could make it up the hill, one would be rewarded with a wonderful view of the Hudson Highlands as well as an educational tour of an historic Revolutionary War Battlefield.

As we turned the corner to the beginning of the trail, I saw a guy sitting on a bench. Next to him was  a box filled with bottles of water, white sandwich bags, and oranges. As Jerome and I trudged past him, I croaked out a hello.

He looked down at his box of food and pretended not to hear me.

“Snotty bastard,” I mumbled to Jerome. “He must have heard me say I was out of shape and dreaming of food.  I really hate him.”

As Jerome and I were midway on the hill toward the lighthouse, we looked back down at the beginning of the trail. The guy with the box was surrounded by a swarm of bicycle riders. Oh no.

All I wanted was some peace and quiet and a bit of exercise to justify my upcoming meal and beverage. Now at the top, we would be surrounded by the bicyclists. Were they actually going to ride up the hill to the lighthouse?

“Let’s hurry,” I said to Jerome. “There’s only one bench up there and I want it.” My plan was to sit on the bench and enjoy the view. Maybe I’d stroll around with my binoculars and try to find one bird I could recognize.

I really have issues with some bicycle riders.  In addition to riding double and hogging the road, they are the biggest outdoor snobs in a world of outdoor snobs. Trust me. I know.

Did you ever meet a bicycle gang at a rest-stop?  You’re standing there chowing down on your donut, and they’re standing there sipping their water. You try to make conversation. Ah, forget conversation—how about just plain eye contact!   If you’re not wearing spandex, or if you’re a trifle wide in the rump, you’re invisible.

Jerome and I pressed on, reached the top of the mountain, and he plopped down on the bench and immediately started snoring. I sat next to him, trying to catch my breath.  I figured if the bicyclists came, I would definitely move into serious birding mode.  Serious birding for me is also called “pretend birding” because I am the world’s worst birder.

I heard the bicyclists. They were walking up the hill.

As I heard the bicyclists coming up the hill, you would have thought I was Audubon. Grabbing my binoculars, I headed toward a low cluster of mountain shrubs.

Interesting! Without their bikes, the tight-assed ones were a huffin’ and puffin’ when they reached the top of the hill. They collapsed on the grassy knoll surrounding the bench where Jerome was snoring.

“Oh, God, I’m dying,” said one of them. He mopped his brow and gulped his water.

“Well now! How-do-you-do! Ha! Ha! Hee! Hee!” is what I was thinking.Of course I didn’t say anything because I was pretending that the bicyclists were invisible. Besides, I was much too busy scanning the shrubs with my binoculars

“See any interesting birds?” asked one of the bicyclists.

He actually talked to me!

“Oh, so many ,” I shared. “too many to name.” It was time for Jerome and me to scram.

Two Bloody Mary’s and two lox and onion omelets were awaiting our triumphant return from our hike.





Social Media Can Make You Get Fat

Photo Credit: Lotus Carroll via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Lotus Carroll via Compfight cc

When I Get Nervous, I Eat

Why I am Nervous

I am trying to Tweet. In fact, I have been registered with Twitter for almost 10 months, and I have only made 7 Tweets. That’s because I get totally confused.

For Facebook, I have no idea what I’m doing. For starters, I still can’t tell the difference between the pages I see and the pages that everybody else sees.

When I am inept, I get nervous. When I get nervous— I eat.

Out there in the world, I see everyone else clicking, clicking, clicking. I do not click. I write, with a pen, on a little pad  Then I go home and put my thoughts into my blog. I love to write. That’s not my problem. Writing is my comfort zone.

But only about twelve people read my blog and three of them are my first cousins.

Getting my writing found is NOT my comfort zone. I must reach out and use social media. That’s why I am nervous.

When I am nervous, I eat.

My Two Imaginary Friends Are At War Again

Grim says, “Just Tweet. Start already. You’re old and getting older.”

I say, “I don’t know how to Tweet. I get mixed up with retweeting, mentioning, modified Tweet, hat tip, replying, hashtags, linking, following.

Overthinker says, “Sit down and draw up a plan to plan for planning to link.”

Grim Streaker says, “Just retweet somebody. Become part of the community. Pretend you are at a cocktail party. Join the conversation.

And now,  Nervous Nibbler, my new imaginary friend arrives.

Nervous Nibbler says, “Speaking of cocktail parties, pour a small glass of wine.  Have some cheese with your wine. It will calm you down and then you will begin to make a plan for writing your plan on planning to use Twitter.

I looked at a few Tweets on Twitter from the people I follow. One of them was from Lois Alter Mark who wrote about her own writing process. I loved what she wrote!  I think I will tell her on Twitter. I’d like to tell other people how great she is too.

Overthinker chimes in, “Go back and read the Twitter help columns again, Rose. Be careful. You might write something that everybody will see. What if you do it the wrong way? Everybody will know you don’t know what you’re doing.”

I knew Nervous Nibbler would have to put her own two cents in.  “This calls for some salsa and chips,” she said. “Perhaps you might want to round it off with a donut.”

Grim Streaker Wins the Contest!

Grim Streaker finally set me straight, again. “Rose, put down the donut. You loved Lois Alter Mark’s article. Just tell her in as many ways as you can.

I respond in panic, “How do I do that? Should I retweet her? Or do I link to her blog or her Twitter account here on this very blog? I don’t’ know what to do first.”

Nervous Nibbler thrives on my indecision. “Rose,” she says, “make a  ham and cheese sandwich. Add some mayo, some chips and a pickle.”

I will make the sandwich, but after I write this link. Then, I will do the best I can on Twitter.

Read Lois Alter Mark’s post on her writing process here.  I loved it!