Monday, December 28, 2009
I will say that the pool playing was a good time. I had a few moments of brilliance in the beginning, then my nerves got shattered by hecklers (Jonathan, Roger and David G.) who thought I took too long to set up my shots. Whatever. They were just jealous that I was owning the table. Sadly, I never won a game all night, because I always managed to choke on the last shot. I will not be heading out on the ESPN pool playing championship tour. Too bad.
The good news is that we don't have hangovers (despite drinking Stoli on the rocks-what is wrong with me?), we didn't crash our car (though we came close when I insisted that Jonathan attempt to beat David to his driveway) and I didn't get picked up by a redneck (I did get hit on by a Larry the Cable Guy look alike). Next time I will choose my outfit for such an excursion more carefully. It appears tight jeans and pointy toed high heel boots are "stand out" attire at this establishment. My Goodwick friend, Chris chose to attend in sweat pants and muck boots and she fit right in with the locals. Lesson learned.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Yesterday, Christmas came and went. It was a lovely day. We ate a delicious breakfast and opened stocking gifts. We sat around the tree and opened the many beautifully wrapped presents, admiring each others bounty and thanking all for our own. For some reason (it was boredom, really), we decided to take a drive to Augusta, GA, so the five of us wedged into the car for the hour long journey. I was chosen as the driver for this adventure (a choice spot as it turned out) and John was my co-pilot. Roger, Jonathan's younger brother, who was slightly inebriated at this point thanks to a few mimosas concocted of cheap-o champagne, sat in the backseat wedged between Jonathan and their mother. Throughout the entire drive he proceeded to mess with the radio, sing, smoke, yell about having to pee, open the windows, close the windows, belch... hmmm...I think that was it. It was an amusing show, but I guess you had to be there and know Roger to appreciate it. The rest of the day was about eating, drinking, visiting friends and that was that. By 9 p.m., I was nestled in bed reading my latest smut filled vampire novel (the writing is appallingly bad, but the sex scenes are HOT and I'm easy that way). At 9:45 I turned out my light. Voila! Christmas came and went.
With a wry Grinchy grin on my face this morning, I am glad that it's over.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Meet Remy, or Big R as Jonathan and I call him. He is our super sized, abundantly furry Australian shepherd, who has extremely gentile sensibilities. First off, let me say that Remy was born in Maine, but somewhere on the journey from his birth state to our home in Connecticut he acquired a very gentlemanly southern accent. Creating dialogue for Remy's "voice" has never stopped amusing us and sometimes we bust ourselves up laughing over the things that come out of his "mouth". Poor dog. He has childless owners and you know how those types can go a little overboard on their pets. Nonetheless, Remy enjoys his life to the fullest and he appreciates the love from his family and friends.
This past summer Remy's friend Izzy, another Aussie, contracted a serious heart condition and she passed away on August 1st. Izzy had been our girl for ten years and she was a devoted, adorable, lovely spirit. Jonathan and I were heartbroken about losing her and it's taken me until now to even be able to write about the fact that she is gone. Whenever one of our friends heard the sad news, they always asked the same question, " How is Remy handling it?" Well, the truth was that he didn't seem to be any different than he was before Iz died. It was as if nothing had changed in his happy, carefree life. I guess it didn't surprise Jonathan or I, because we always pegged Remy as a bit self centered. No judgement, that is just how he is. When our old male Aussie Dewars, who was Izzy's friend died, Izzy went into a mourning period that lasted until the very moment that we brought Remy home as a bundle of white and grey fluffernutter. Remy had sincerely shown love for his old girl friend, but now that she was gone it was like out of sight, out of mind for him.
After a month, or so had passed, Jonathan and I began to talk about getting a puppy, but we still weren't sure we were ready. Remy seemed to be almost relishing being a single dog at this point. He didn't have to share the back seat of the car, we allowed him on the bed, he was taken on most every road trip, we really thought he was A-okay. Until one day when I came home from my birthday party with a stuffed toy that my sister had given me as a joke. It was a grey rabbit and when Remy first saw it, he seemed quite stunned. I noticed his apprehension at coming to meet the bunny, so I made it dance around and invite him over to say hi. This caused him to leap around the living room with joy. He came over and gave the bunny a poke with his nose and began to nuzzle it gently. Jonathan and I shared a laugh over our simple pet and we didn't think much of it at the time. Over the next few days his ardor the bunny intensified and we began to question this relationship that he had developed. He thought he had a new friend and his devotion to this animal was clearly bordering on unhealthy. Jonathan decided we needed to take action, so one night while Remy was outside I hid the bunny-friend downstairs in the basement. Poor Remy searched the house in a frenzy when he came inside. It was wrenching and disturbing to watch is distress over the loss of the new pal, but we stuck to our guns and over the next few days he returned to old self. The writing was on the wall. Remy had shown us that he needed a companion. Were WE ready for a new puppy, yet?
Another week or two passed by when one morning I noticed there was a swath of brown fur on the grass by the back steps. "Oh jeez," I said with a sigh. I figured that one of the cats had caught an animal and left it for me to find. As I went outside to check it out, Remy jumped past me and excitedly gave the fur a poke with his nose and jumped in the air. Upon closer inspection I realized that the fur was a piece of deer hide. Disgusting. The local coyote pack has been on a mission lately taking down deer in the fields surrounding our house. It appeared that Remy had found a remnant of a kill and decided to take it home so he could hang out with it. And that is what he did. Anytime he was outside he could be found laying down next to his deer pelt. Contented friends. First a stuffed animal, now a deer pelt. When I told Jonathan of this new situation with our nutty dog, we both laughed at the absurdity of Remy's choice of friends. It was totally amusing, but we both know we can't let this dog be a single dog for much longer. He'll end up committed to a canine insane asylum.We simply have to get him a living, breathing friend. This time I think we're ready.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Within a few weeks, the spiders were really reaping the benefits from their new housing developments. I guess I had forgotten the scene in Charlotte's Web where Charlotte gives birth to about a million baby spiders at one time. Yeah, the amount of spiders in the house was getting totally out of control. They were thriving to an epidemic degree. I decided there was only one thing to be done. They must be culled. I'm not a natural born killer, so squishing them wasn't an option. Then I had an idea. I have a brilliant Dyson vacuum cleaner and it has a detachable hose arm that extends to the ceiling. What happened next gets a little blurry for me. I didn't want to suck those spiders into the Dyson's death bin, but I had no choice. The place was looking like a spider ghetto, with over crowded webs full of mummified bugs dangling precariously, on nearly every wall and corner. I even had a shower spider (who I did opt to keep, because he kept me company while I washed my hair and seemed to enjoy the off key show tunes that I sang to him). All I know is that when I clicked off the vacuum, the house looked neat and tidy, and I had left several spiders and their webs untouched in strategic locations. I had a strange hollow feeling for the rest of the day, but I had to put the whole mass murder that I had committed behind me. Just be content with the spiders who are left, I told myself.
That night I dreamt of the spiders I had left behind. Imploring to me from my bedside,they were all teary and mournful, full of questions like, " Why did you have to take Colleen?" and "Where's my Daddy?". It was absolutely dreadful. I awoke the next morning flooded with guilt. I had spider blood (do they have blood?) on my hands and it made my heart heavy.
Over the next few weeks, I kept my eyes averted from the new masses that were beginning to appear in the corners. I knew I didn't want to go through the whole act of carnage again, but the haunted house look was too much for my inner housekeeper to take. So, sighing deeply,I put myself in my happy place and the Dyson and I performed our macabre task once more. This time my dreams that night were full of spider screams, peppered with profanity and threats to my life. While showering that morning, I noticed that my shower spider had moved out. He probably couldn't handle being in such close proximity to a known murderer of his friends and family. Could I blame him? But still I was sad to see that he had gone, without so much as a note. I had allowed him a permanent stay of execution and this was how he treated me. The sting of his abandonment pained me and not even my best renditions of songs from Gypsy could cheer me up. After getting dressed, I walked downstairs and at the bottom of the stairway I caught something shimmery out of the corner of my eye. I looked again, but couldn't see anything so I continued on toward the kitchen. Again, a glimpse of gossamer winked at me from my peripheral vision. Then it all came into focus. With horror, I realized that the spiders had set up web traps for me all throughout the downstairs. They had boobytrapped every doorway and the paths between the furniture in an effort to snare me. It was at that moment that I had a revelation about these creatures. I was now being hunted by the very spiders that I had fostered so caringly at the beginning of the summer. My blood began to boil and I slashed my way through their carefully laced latticework, heading up to the upstairs closet where the Dyson was stored. "Ungrateful, insidious monsters" I fumed "How dare they form a plot against me after I welcomed them into my house with open arms!" . After all, it wasn't my fault that they bred like rabbits and bore ten zillion babies every few weeks. There weren't enough bugs to go around and then we'd have a spider famine, outbreaks of disease, possible cannabalism. I had been forced to do what I had to do! The Dyson growled to life and I brandished the long arm like a sword, waving it wildly over my head. I sucked up the nearest group of spiders and pointed the hose at the next group, who visbly trembled and began bouncing up and down, turning their web into a spider trampoline. "Vengance is mine", I howled, "I shall remain victorious!"
Panting, I sat bolt upright in my bed and looked around wildly. I waited until my chest stopped heaving and slowly I pieced together the terrible nightmare that had been going on in my mind just before I awoke in this sweaty, disheveled state. I had been engaged in guerilla warfare with the spiders. How insane was that? I looked over at Jonathan who appeared to be slumbering deeply,undisturbed by the lunacy of his wife's subconscious. Shakily, I got up and went into the bathroom to splash my face with cold water and get my breathing back to normal. Folding the shower curtain back cautiously, I looked above the shower head to see if my shower spider was actually gone. No, he was there. The whole spider plot of my assassination had just been a dream, a very scary, unsettling dream. Phew. The shower spider looked toward me and waved one of his longer arms in my direction. I waved half heartedly to him and decided that maybe Jonathan needed to take over the vacuuming duties for a little while.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
For three days straight Perv #2 stood on a ladder pruning the giant lilac tree right outside my kitchen window. By pruning, I mean he clipped one leaf every three minutes, or so. Think of Edward Scissorhands in slow motion x100. At one point I was sure he had fallen asleep up on the ladder, but then he moved ever so slightly and clipped another leaf. Perv #2 always worked with a hooded sweatshirt pulled up over his head and he chain smoked cigarettes like a fiend. The hoodie gave him a sort of Grim Reaper effect, minus the sickle. Even Jonathan insisted we lock the doors and usually he accuses me of being paranoid if I suggest some kind of extra safety measure. "No, you're right about these men", he said to me, " There is something not quite right about them and I don't trust them one bit".
Finally, after days of poking around in the bushes and gardens in front of our house the two Pervs appeared to be done. But what had they actually done in all of this time? It seemed to me that the only actual work they completed was to make our beautiful, leafy Lilac tree resemble the pathetic needle-less tree in A Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon. Amazing. I can't tell you how thrilled I was to see Perv #2 aka Grim Reaper pack up his ladder and troll down the hill to his Ford Escort wagon, of course, still smoking his perpetually placed cig. As he drove out of our driveway he gave the house a final leering glance through his crookedly placed inch thick glasses. Perhaps my imagination had been working overtime about these two dudes, but I was still happy to see them heading down the road. Right then I decided that life is too short to have to deal with nasty, sketchy landscape guys. Why couldn't we have a nice pair of tan, lithe, hippie types with golden locks and perfect white smiles? I would bring them ice cold coca-colas and we could chat about horticulture together. But maybe that makes me the pervy one. Guess we're stuck with the Dirtbag Brothers, who probably moonlight as players in re-enactments for Lord of the Rings. Freakin' freaky garden gnomes.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
This is a picture of the lovely house that Jonathan and I rent in Millbrook. It's a grand old place, around 150 years old and right in the middle of a gorgeous, hunt country setting. Really, it's like living in a post card. Whenever friends or family come to visit, no matter the season, they marvel at the panoramic views, the majestic oaks in the front yard, the intricate moldings in each room and of course, the very formal sweeping staircase in the entrance hall. One of our friends nearly swooned when he saw the staircase. "Wow, you could make some truly dramatic entrances! Just like Scarlet O'Hara!", he said with a tinge of jealousy in his voice. To be honest, I hadn't thought of that, because a.) we don't hold many parties and b.) I'm not so graceful and with my luck I would fall to my death in front of everybody.
As lovely as it is, there is one giant problem with living in this little Shangri-la. The house hates technology. It flat out refuses to accept a cell signal within its walls. Sometimes it allows a faint signal in the kitchen, if I'm huddled over the sink, not blinking, perfectly inert, balancing on my left foot. Other times, nothing. Not one bar. Because we don't have cable service on this part of our street, I have to rely on a verizon card for my internet connection. This worked marginally well at my desk for the winter/early spring. Then came the leaves on the trees, which blocked my already fragile signal completely and I was rendered internet-less, which equals paralyzed in my world. One day on a whim, I took my laptop out to the front porch and realized that I could sometimes get a connection out there.It wasn't perfect, but it kept me in the loop of emails, Facebook, etc. Then one gorgeous sunny day, I took my laptop out the patio table on our side yard and I discovered a magical, superfast connection. It was like I was in New York City! Bang, connected! The only drawback was that I had to be shrouded with a towel over my head and the laptop screen. It didn't seem like such a big deal at first because I was so delighted to actually have a fast connection. Then it started to rain... for the entire month of June. I was relegated to my tiny back porch, perched precariously on a tippy patio chair. My computer fort had turned into a computer prison. It seemed like anytime I would be typing something crucial, the telephone would ring and I would have to whip off the towel, carefully balance the laptop, trip over a cat, or three and make a lunge for the telephone. In a world of super fast technological convenience, this seemed to be horribly unfair and wickedly inconvenient. I just came back from a trip to SC, where my internet worked in every room of the beach house where we stayed. It like an internet fantasy for me. Surfing here, surfing there, watching youtube videos. It was sublime! Now that we are home and the weather is decidedly autumnal, I truly cannot believe that we live in the one house in America that won't allow the internet within its walls. It's just cruel. I am bundling myself up in the mornings and braving the frosty October chill, but frankly it's a matter of time as to how long I can continue doing this. Today we are experiencing intense, gale force winds, which are so forceful they have sent my hammock scuttling across the lawn like a sailboat. My computer blanket is waving about like a flag and there are white caps on the pond. At times the winds are whooshing so strongly that I have to keep peeking out from under the blanket to make sure that I'm not in danger of having flying debris crash down upon my head. This is a large price to pay for living in this pastoral setting. Maybe the house is trying to tell me something. Should I be looking outward for my inspirations, not within a specific box of four walls? Is my interior internet ban symbolic for my own introverted creativity? My writing groove has certainly been stymied for many months. Perhaps I need to gaze out to the horizon and a trove of fresh ideas will be scribbled out across the dried corn husk filled hills. Or maybe I am just numb from the cold and addled by the wind and I need to get inside for a hot cup of tea. There is one encouraging sign as the leaves go cascading off the tree branches to the ground,which is hopefully my weak cell signal will soon be restored in my upstairs office space. Either that of Jonathan will have to build me an igloo from which to write this winter.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Saturday, September 26, 2009
It took a couple of days and a quickie chiropractic maneuver performed by our friend Patty, who happened to be visiting for the weekend, to finally restore me to semi-soundness. I've never been all that aquatic, so I'm taking it easy with the swimming for the moment. If we do any more midnight runs for ocean adventures, I think I'll cheer the gang on from the shore. Meanwhile, time to get off the computer and get back to the beach.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Around May of this year I started to finally come to grips with the idea that I was to be turning 40 in a few months and it didn't quite sit well at first. Over time I got used to idea (let's face it, the sands of time are trickling through the hourglass, whether we like it or not) and I began to look for a way to make the whole number more appealing and I came up with a theory. I'm not a kid anymore, so I don't need to be spoken to in a manner that belies my well earned wisdom. I am far more wise at 40 than I was at 25. I will not take any guff from bossy, incompetent blowhards. When someone of that ilk tries to tell me that I don't know what I'm talking about, I can now reply, " Hold on a minute, I am 40 years old, don't speak to me like I am a 20 something who is wet behind the ears!". (I just felt behind my ears and it's quite dry back there. Mental note; I may need to apply some of my expensive firming cream to that area.) I can look at my new fourth decade as a license to being an actual grown up, who doesn't need to take any crap from anybody. Finally, a way to make this dawn of a new decade positive. Hallelujah!
Aside from needing more Advil, firming cream, and consistent hair coloring appointments, turning 40 isn't much different from the last ten, or so birthdays. My body definitely hurts a little more upon getting out of bed each day, my face has a few more lines than it used to, and now that I've let my hair turn it's natural color, I see that I've been covering up a hair color that resembles Mrs. Claus. On the bright side, I'm still thin and fit, thanks to giving up ice cream as a sixth food group. So, my hair is grey, I have crows feet around my eyes and a bit of arthritis, but I still act like a goofy girl most of the time and I'm happy, so what more can one ask for? Here's to forty years of a blessed life! I shall welcome my fourth decade with a toast to my amazing husband, friends, family and adored pets. Cheers!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I decided that my approach to the blueberry cake should require no fancy mixers, just me, a bowl and a spoon. The only change I made to the recipe was to use cake flour in place of regular flour. The box assured me that it wouldn't change the flavor, but it would enhance the fluffiness of the cake. Since my cakes are almost always the opposite of fluffy, I was willing to give it a try. I can't tell you how dreamy this cake turned out. I haven't had it for about a year and I ate my first piece while it was still warm from the oven. Finally, I had baked a cake that I didn't need to use both arms to remove from the oven. I was so proud that I took a picture of the finished product, with my cell phone, and sent it to my Mom. She texted me back, "good job, this is a foolproof recipe!". What the hell? Did she mean that even a bozo baker, like me, can bake this cake and have it turn out well? Way to take the wind out of my successful baking sails, Mom. Never mind. I consoled myself with a second piece and decided that she was right. I am a bozo baker, but every now and then the odds go in your favor and today my blueberry cake would have made Great-Grandma Hannah proud.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I had no choice but to crawl out of bed and feel my way along the wall to the bathroom. "Just don't look in the mirror", I told myself. Ohhhhhh wowwww. I couldn't help but glance up quickly and what I saw was just horrible. I didn't know my face could look that pasty and bloated, nor my eyes that red and rheumy. I've seen car crash victims that looked better than I did at that moment. My stomach heaved and before I knew it the vomiting and profuse sweating portion of Mr. Hangover's special began. Misery, agony. Screw you, Mr. Hangover! Screw me, for inviting the bastard over. Wait a minute...what time do I have to go to work? I hovered over the toilet bowl, trying to tie up my hair so I didn't get puke on it. What was on the schedule for the day? Slowly, it started coming to me that I hadn't set up any morning appointments, but the afternoon was packed. Dammit. Maybe Mr. Hangover would only be staying through the morning hours. Sometimes he's almost human and he hits you hard, but then clears out for the rest of the day. I decided that I should go downstairs, make myself a cup of tea and see if pretending that Mr. Hangover wasn't there would make him go away. I'm a big believer in denial. That's probably what got me into this state in the first place. I remember that I was talking on the phone to my friend Mary last night, which is always hugely entertaining and we are usually imbibing cocktails while chatting. Feeding our addictions together is a favorite pastime. At some point, I lost track of how many times I stumbled into the kitchen to refill my wineglass and that would be mistake number one. Mistake number two was not listening to that little voice (why can't it be a screaming, loud voice?) that says, "are you sure you want one more? I mean, you already staggered down the staircase and there is a slight slur to your speech?". No, I chose not to listen, in fact, I laughed it off with the optimistic infallibility that goes along with excessive alcohol intake. You know, when you feel like nothing can touch you? I won't be entertaining Mr. Hangover tomorrow! That bastard hasn't bothered me in a long time and I've been worse off than this! There's the denial portion of my evening's chain of bad choices. And for mistake number three, for some reason I felt the need for a shot of vodka, taken in a jelly jar. A nightcap, of sorts. I think that is when Mr. Hangover tapped me on the shoulder and informed me that he would be shadowing me the next day. Mmmm. It's official. I hate myself.
With a cup of tea in hand, I made my way to the living room sofa and gently folded my fragile body onto it. I had taken six aspirin, though my feeling was that I could take the entire bottle and the headache still wouldn't go away. The ball peen hammer was pounding with a determined, predictable, wince-inducing pattern. I thought if I could just drift off to sleep then maybe when I awoke, the pall would be lifted. However, every time I shut my eyes, Mr. Hangover would show me a series of flash cards that had all of the stupid things I had said the night before written on them. In fact, he had flash cards that reminded me of every problem in my life. This seems to be a little treat that he saves for the over 35 crowd to experience. You could call it a compilation of every fuck up in your life. Suddenly, I was completely overcome with waves of paranoia rolling over my body and soul. I was suffocating on my own paranoia. And to top it all off I had a really bad Aerosmith song playing on a loop in my head. Two sips of tea later, I was running outside to throw up on the freshly mown lawn.
Just as I was coming back inside to rinse out my mouth, my husband came downstairs and took in my condition. I noticed a faint smile on his lips and I felt a sudden urge to back hand him across the face. Good thing I was too weak for any kung fu moves this morning.
"You were in rare form last night", he said as he poured himself a glass of iced tea, " Hangover?".
"Yes", I replied in a thin voice.
"Maybe you should drink a beer and see if that makes you feel better?".
"Maybe you shouldn't suggest any random cures for my current condition!", I spat back.
With a shrug and a chuckle, my husband shuffled back upstairs and soon I heard the bath tub filling up. I transformed all of my feelings of misery into anger and hatred toward my husband, because he felt fine this morning and I didn't. That didn't last very long, because frankly, it was too exhausting and I didn't have the stamina for intensely evil feelings.
Shakily, I sat down and tried some more tea. It seemed to go down a little smoother this time. I drank a few real gulps and then I realized that the headache had begun to ebb. Could it be that my torture was coming to an end? I looked at the clock and realized that I had about an hour and a half to pull myself together and make it to my first appointment on time. For the first time so far that day, I was sure that I was going to make it. Holding the banister, I delicately ascended the stairs and when I reached the top I had a moment of true clarity. I said it out loud in a strong, clear voice. I am never drinking that much again! From behind me, I heard the soft clap of the screen door closing and I heard Mr. H. say, " How original. I'll see you next time." Smug bastard.
Friday, August 21, 2009
I really hate it when I get behind on stuff. Stupid stuff, say a sink that is full of dirty dishes. It's like a slow form of torture for me. I will be sitting down, working on a crossword and small voice will keep saying to me, " It's not right that those dishes are piled up so high in the sink". It's an agitation that will build to a crescendo and when I finally do get up and wash all the dishes, I am filled with exhaustive relief. Is that weird? I am so behind on reading the New Yorker right now. It's almost overwhelming how backed up they've gotten. I want to read every single word, but at this point I would have to lock myself in a room for two days straight to catch up. Reading the New Yorker is almost like having a part time job. A job that you really enjoy, but it's a commitment of time and mental focus. Both of those things seem to be scarce in my life this minute.
Just to add to my mental pressures, my tomato plants have gone absolutely beserk. I have a zillion ripe tomatoes. The only solution is to make tomato sauce, but the weather has gone to Africa humidity and I can't bear the thought of turning on the stove. Instead, I look at the tomatoes on my windowsill, and the beauties hanging on the vines, ruby red and ready for enjoyment and I whisper to them to hang on. " Just a few more days and this weather will break, I'll soon have time and energy to focus on whipping up a sauce of epic proportions", I tell them. I believe it when I say it. I hope it's true, for their sake.
I think my conclusion is that I am one of those folks who secretly enjoys torturing themselves. If I don't have a list of things to do, I am unhappy. My husband can sit inert in front of the tv for hours, not a care in the world. There could be laundry piled to the ceiling, carpets full of dog hair,dirty dishes, phone calls to make, all of this means nothing to him. I won't say that doesn't make me a little crazy, but he's a great guy and that's how he gets away with it. Okay, I've sat here long enough, time to go make a list and do those dishes.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I grew up on the seacoast and my childhood summer days were often spent at the beach, with my Mom and two sisters. My Mom would be basking on her beach towel, wearing a skimpy crochet bikini, her body slathered in Bain de Soleil orange gelee. My oldest sister, Joyce would usually be baking her skin on a neighboring towel, humming whatever 70's tune was blaring from our transistor radio. (Remember those pre-Ipod contraptions? To this day when I hear the song that has the line, "I've been waiting for a girl like you to come into my life", I swear I can smell salt air and hear a sea gull call.) Pam, my middle sister, wasn't one to lie still for too long so she was generally off exploring, or splashing in the waves by herself. And me? Well, I am ashamed to say it, but I was a giant pain in the ass at the beach. I hovered under an umbrella, whining continually about the heat, sand and sunshine. What an ingrate, right? I mean, how lucky was I to be growing up on the coast, minutes from this vacation oasis. Every summer tons of people came from all parts of the U.S and Canada to spend a few days on Hampton Beach. My Mom was a saint to put up with my incessant complaining during those long, steamy summer days. If I were her, I would have thrown me in the sea and let the tide take my whining ass to the Gulf of Mexico. I did eventually grow out of my hatred for the beach. In fact, now I adore going to the beach and I will lie on the sand for hours. I'm still not much of a swimmer, though I will bob around in the waves, until something icky touches me underwater, then I have been known to shriek and scamper out the water, with all of the grace of a lumbering sea lion. Despite the fact that at the time I didn't enjoy my beachtime as a kid, I love to look back on those memories and sometimes I'll make some cucumber sandwiches, put on some 70's tunes and be transported back in time to Hampton Beach, circa 1975.