Many Happy Returns Of The Day

Today is my parents’ anniversary. They’ve been married for 52 years, and they still really enjoy each other’s company. This is a video that I meant to share on my blog shortly after they celebrated their 50th anniversary. Unfortunately, I never had a chance to make it live. Better late than never, right? Please join me today in wishing my parents continued joy, love and acceptance. Whatever they’re doing, it’s working.

a broken knee, a broken heart


Back in August, I walked 5 miles on a really uneven surface.

In cowboy boots.

I knew I did something dumb almost immediately since both my knees started making audible popping sounds.

I tried anti-inflammatories and ice and heat. Nothing helped. At one point, it got so bad that I couldn’t walk at all. That’s when I got scared.

I don’t like to run to the doctor too quickly, and it takes me a long time to admit that something is wrong.

In November, when I couldn’t walk without tears, I knew it was time to make an appointment.

After an exam and x-rays, my doctor determined that I have arthritis in my knees and meniscial degeneration. That’s simply a fancy way of saying that my knees are old and plum worn out. He also said that things weren’t so bad that we had to consider surgery.

My right knee healed quickly, but my left knee earned a cortisone shot (holy big fat needle!), and I’ve been wearing a heavy-duty knee brace for the last 8 weeks.

I seriously didn’t think I’d ever walk without pain again, but it’s getting better. It’s just happening slowly.

Apparently, that’s the way healing works. It takes a ridiculously long time so we feel grateful when we finally get thru it.

All my knee stuff got me thinking about pain.

Some of you may know that my husband and I recently separated.

It sucks.

It’s confusing. And it hurts.

Some of the time, I appear to be fine.  Some of the time, I’m lonely. And sometimes, I’m downright afraid.

It’s an invisible wound.

I never appreciated the pain associated with divorce before now. In fact, my ideas about divorce came mostly from movies. I imagined two people screaming and trying to push each other down a staircase.

But my situation is nothing like that.

My husband is a good man.

We’ve just grown apart.

These days my heart actually aches the way knee aches.

My day is punctuated by awkwardnesses.

I still like to receive his texts. I still reach out to touch his knee when we’re seated together because it feels natural, even though I know I shouldn’t do that any more. I want to confide in my husband the way I once did because… well… he’s been my confidante for over 20 years.

How do I ask my parents to take down that painting of me that they’ve got hanging in their living room: the poster-sized me wearing my wedding dress, holding all those purple irises? What do I do when a someone I’ve known for my entire married life decides to ignore me in the grocery store? And how do I stop crying when I hear love songs on the radio?

People keep telling me to be brave, to stay strong.

That the pain will get easier.

Unfortunately, no one can predict how long my heart is going to hurt, and there are no cortisone shots to take the edge off the pain.

Which is worse? A broken body or a broken heart? Any practical advice would be appreciated.

What I Wore – The Parade of Hats

By now, you’re getting the idea that I love hats. Since my last post, the temperatures took a major nose-dive, and in an effort to stay warm (and raise my spirits), I pulled out a few wacky hats from my collection.

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This little number was given to me by my friend, Teri. Someone in her family knitted (or is it crocheted? Hmmm.) especially for her. Can you appreciate the feather and faux gemstone? I knew that you could.

Then I have this hat:

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I gave the original Spider hat to a dear friend, but when I had the opportunity to have another one, I simply had to do it. I have absolutely no idea why I made the Hang-10 sign with my hands.

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Now that my son is in 10th grade, my polar fleece jester hat rarely makes an appearance. Tech Support has never said he’s embarrassed to be with me, but I try to be sensitive and not push the dorky envelope too far off the table. My amazing fingerless gloves are from Baabaazuzu, a company that was born in late 1993 after Sue Burns, a gifted graphic designer, cut up the shrunken remains of her favorite sweaters, pieced the fragments together and made jackets with matching hats for her two daughters.

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I won this colorful skully in a blogging contest held by my friend, author, Kasey Mathews. Jen Wagner the Creator of JAMMS hats designs these great warm hats that are wicked stylish. I love having a pop of color on my head on gray days.

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This stocking hat comes from HandCandy. It’s super warm on the inside, as it’s lined in polar fleece, and the tail is wicked long and can wrap around the neck so the wearer doesn’t need to fuss about a scarf. And while I love the colors and the mix of fabrics, this thing is heavy and leaves me feeling choked. Truth be told, I would have probably done better to swap this hat for a scarf or a pair of mittens because I really adore the varied textiles and broad stitchwork.  For now, I wear this hat as a house-hat. A what?, you ask. Sometimes it’s just so darn cold outside that the chill creeps inside so I keep my hat on even while I’m inside.

And my fingerless gloves, too.

I know, right.

They don’t come sexier than me, folks.

I’m always looking to add to my hat collection, so if you have a hat you’d like to donate to the cause, or if you represent a hat company and you’re looking for a middle-aged spokesperson, I’m your girl.

Stay warm, everyone!


What I Wore – A Furry Hat

Hats: you either love ’em or hate ’em. My husband will put on a scully to shovel the driveway, but he’d never consider wearing one into his office during the light of day. And the closest my 15 year-old son will come to a hat is a hoodie.

Me? I love hats, and I think I actually look better with a hat than without.

The hat featured is one of my favorites. I actually bought this “LIFE IS GOOD” hat for my son when he was in 5th grade. I thought the fluffy ear flaps would look adorable on him and keep him super cozy on freezing winter morning when he had to wait for the bus. I was sure he’d love the huge smiley face on the back. Alas, my boy never took to this hat, so I started wearing it. It’s probably a little too small, but I love it anyway.

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On this particular day, I also tried wearing a very bright lipstick and while it looked great in the tube, I don’t think I’m able to pull off such a bright shade. It’s good to try new things once in a while though, right?

What kind of fashion risks have you taken recently?

The Girl Inside: Wordless Wednesday

Look at this girl. This girl loves full-length skirts and fearlessly twisted her long-sleeve shirt into a halter top. This girl raises her chin at a jaunty angle. This girl is sassy. This girl still lives inside me, and from time to time, she comes out to play.


Look at that belly.


So who lives inside of you?

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The Purrrr-fect Gift

The dog formerly known as Mojo, 2009

In 2009, around this time of year, we got a dog. The world was white and unbearably cold, and getting a pet seemed like a wonderful idea. We were dogless and surrounded on all sides by barky-barkers. We figured, how hard could it be, if everyone has them? Hubby researched carefully, making sure to find a breed that would be a good fit for our family.

Looking back now, it probably wasn’t the best time to read Marley and Me. I was nervous about lineage and more than a little anxious about making sure to pick the right dog from the litter.

In the back of my mind, I remembered how my friend Cindy had brought home two freaky Wheatland terriers, and she hated them. Hated. Them.

“Do they smell? I feel like they smell,” she kept asking.

I swear she lost 10 pounds in the few days she had those dogs, and they quickly went back to the breeder.

I told my family I was nervous about our decision to get a dog. I told them I’d never had a dog, that I didn’t really want a dog, but my husband and son promised they would help with everything. They would pick up the dog poo every day. They would feed the dog. They would change the water. They would play with the dog. I wouldn’t have to do anything except enjoy the  dog.

I know people love their doggies like family, but I kept thinking of them as eternal babies, and I couldn’t figure out how we would ever be able to take a spontaneous day trip ever again. Everyone kept telling me I was just nervous about the unknown. I don’t think that was it at all. In fact, I think I knew exactly the right amount.

What I knew was that I didn’t want a dog. I just wasn’t great at vocalizing my truth because I didn’t want to upset everyone.

Eventually, I did though. And yes, everyone was upset. But I knew that as mom, ultimately I would be the one who would have to care for the family pet. The truth was I’d wanted a cat for my entire life, but Hubby was allergic, so I figured the whole cat thing was never going to happen.

Fast forward 4 years. Almost to the day. Hubby called to say he’d been to a breeder, someone who specialized in hypoallergenic Siberians.

Oh no, I thought. We’re talking about dogs again.

But we weren’t talking about dogs at all.

Hubby had been looking at cats.

He'd been looking at this guy.

He’d been looking at this guy.

He wanted me to go with him to see the latest litter.

“But you’re allergies…” I stammered.

They say good things come to those who wait.

And in our case, our good thing showed up as a tiny, white, long-haired kitten. He was purr-fectly perfect in every way. He loved to be cuddled and held and hugged — and he always went in his litter box, so none of us had to go outside in the bitter chill of winter. Mo loved to chase wadded up balls of paper and string. He seemed to love us, and we all fell in love with him.

One year later, Mo greets us each morning with emphatic meows; an exquisite snuggler, he pushes his head against our hands to let us know he’s in the mood for attention. He gazes into our eyes, plays tag, and soothes us with his purr. This boy gets lots of love.

Mo hanging out on a favorite chair.

Mo, 1 year old.

We are truly fortunate to have Mo as a member of our family.

If you’ve always wanted a cat, but you’re concerned about allergies, look into Siberians. And check out our breeders’ website HERE. Laurie knows what she’s doing!

How did your pet become a member of the family?

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FRIEND – a 4×4 canvas of a Labrador Retriever, just $40

For the last few weeks, I’ve been going canine crazy. While I may not be a dog owner, I can absolutely appreciate the love that folks have for their doggies.

I started experimenting with painting dogs, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. So far I’ve done a Weimaraner, a Wheaten Terrier and this White Labrador Retriever, with more to come.

4x4 acrylic painting with texturizing medium, just $40, including shipping to those in the United States.

4×4 acrylic painting, just $40, including S&H to those in the United States. Friends in Canada need to add an extra $8 to cover additional S&H charges

If you’d like this painting to be yours, simply type SOLD in the comments, and I’ll contact or — if you have an idea for a special order, feel free to email me at

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Extra views:


Side detail


Side detail.

Playing with Texture: Wordless Wednesday

I’m crazy about texturizing medium, a paste used to add surface texture to a canvas. Stiffer than paint straight from a tube, I love to scoop out blobs of paste with a palette knife and mix in a few drops of paint. Once dry, texturizing paste doesn’t drip or droop. I like to create peaks and grooves with a palette knife, and you can also make press patterns into it, or use it as glue to add collage items.


Blobs of paint featuring texturizing medium.

Blobs of paint featuring texturizing medium.

I used texturizing paste is this part of my painting, Can you guess what these are?

What have you been experimenting with lately?

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Moving Beyond Where I’m From

The place I grew up. My parents still live there.

i’m from a little gray ranch hidden behind overgrown bushes on a steep hill.

i’m from beneath the willow tree and a field-stone wall, peopled by imaginary friends.

i’m from high expectations. from complex equations left unfinished on the backs of paper restaurant menus; from pink plastic flowers; a bedroom with curtains that matched the wallpaper and the bedspread.

i’m from praise whispered in one ear and criticism hissed in the other. from “stand up straight” and “every penny counts” and “be a big girl.”

i’m from confuzzled truths and secrets and lies.

i’m from strong Judaism watered down. from Torah and tallit and kippot, lox and bagels, noodle kugel and matzah ball soup. from a broken Borscht Belt, stories of what once was, memories of a dark pew in a fire-bombed synagogue.

i’m from want. from a hot-headed Polish Papa who once threw his plate on the apartment floor. from his ketchup and eggs, like bloody clumps soaking into the carpet. and my Nan who silently cleaned up his mess.

(don’t tell me this isn’t true. i was there.)

i’m from a fractured family of brothers who tried to make a business work. from Muriel who nurtured her garden but didn’t do as well with her children. from Ruby who spent too many hours at the store and on the golf course, and smoked too many cigars.

i’m from cracked paint and faded couches; the girl hiding under a blanket in a drafty room.

i’m from a crooked house on a steep hill that rarely houses guests. from parents who were present but also not. from powerful magic love that made me feel invisible.

for too long a sense of obligation tethered me to all that grey.

i am done trying to please them.

time to take care of me.

Where are you from? Throw me one line.

• • •

This meme was very hot a while back, but I was not confident about sharing such a personal piece. Since then, I feel less afraid.

Thanks to Jenny Hansen for encouraging me to move beyond the first sentences and to Sharla Lovelace for inspiring Jenny. If you go to HERE, you will see this exercise is based on a poem by George Ella Lyon called “Where I’m From,” and if you’d like to try it yourself, the original link is there.

What I Wore – Red Hat

In the winter, I wear hats. Like every single day. It’s fair to say that my hair is generally unruly, so wearing a hat is truly the perfect solution for a girl who doesn’t like the expense of straightening her ‘do and yet never quite figured out how to handle her unruly curls.

This red polar fleece number is one of my go-to hats. It’s simple and bright and cheerful, and — believe me — people around here need to see a little color around this time of the year.

I am also a huge fan of fingerless gloves. In fact, I used to cut the tips of my old gloves before fingerless gloves were even a thing. It’s true! This crocheted pair came from author K.B. Owen. I absolutely love them, and they go with everything. Kathy sent this pair to me when I was in the throes of benzo withdrawal, and I’m grateful to finally be well enough to wear them out and about this winter. Thank you a million times, Kath. Now the world knows that in addition to being a fantastic writer you also have mad skills when it comes to the crochet needles!

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What do you wear to keep warm? What’s more important to you: looking good or keeping warm?

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