Friday, February 28, 2014

Love Newport Style! Chapter: 1

33 years. That's how long I've been married. It seems both unbelievable and surreal - all at the same time. Depends on my frame of mind, I guess. My gosh, I can remember when I was 33 years old like it was yesterday so how could I be married for that long? And yet, some days I feel sooo old that being married more than 30 years isn't all that far fetched.

Since our big 25th celebration (complete with a gathering of the kids on the official date and the romantic honeymoon of our dreams to the exotic islands of Tahiti), we've settled into going out on our big day with just dinner at a nice restaurant and small gifts to mark the occasion. And that's ok.

But this year, hubby came up with an outstanding idea. He wasn't going for just a dinner date this year. We needed alone time. Get away from home time. Us time. With no distractions. This past year has been very stressful for both of us and boy did we need to get away for some r&r.

Usually celebrating our anniversary by going away overnight somewhere in the Northeast in bitter cold snowy February...sucks. Many of the local fun tourist type places are either closed or running on very reduced hours. Take the year we tried to indulge in a romantic weekend hotel package on Cape Cod. "Cuddle & Bubble" read the advertisement. Well, it sure didn't live up to its billing.
First - they were out of the bubbles. The champagne kind. So we were given a bottle of wine. Hmm, ok.
Second - we couldn't take part in the "other" bubbles...the kind for the bathtub. Seems they had a bit of a problem...no hot water. Ummm, not taking a cold bubble bath...nope. (And definitely wasn't about to take cold showers...on a romantic getaway? oh no no no.)
We headed out into the dark, dreary cold to find a local tavern we could kick back in, have a few drinks and a nice hot meal. Ugh...everything in walking distance was...closed for the season. Since we were out anyway, we strolled to the beach where we almost turned into human icicles. Brrrr...
And I guess that would be where the cuddle part comes in. We hugged each other close for protection from the icy wind that blew in from the ocean and stayed glued to each other throughout the long cold night in our room.

Ok - see what I mean? Unless you're into sporty ski weekends, New England sucks in wintertime. (And before you ask, yes, we did try those too. After we took lots of ski lessons cuz neither one of us knew how. Hubby did great...me? not so much.)

Which led to my skepticism and the raised red eyebrows I sent hubby's way when he pleaded: "No, no. Listen! This could be great." He described a winter festival taking place in one of our favorite cities, Newport. All kinds of fun events. "We should get a hotel. Stay overnight," he suggested. Ah, alone time.

No twisting my arm needed. I'm onboard with this idea, oh sweet hubby o'mine! Heck yeah!

I found a great weekend package at the Hyatt on Goat Island. Buffet breakfasts - included. Mansion tickets - included. Shuttle service to downtown (AWEsome! ever try to find parking in Newport during big events? then you'll know how happy shuttle service made me!) A few of the major festival events were taking place at the hotel: comedy night and Beatlemania! Yay!! for partying it up at hotel events with only a quick stumble back to our room. And to top it off: an outdoor bar made of ice with sweet tropical pineapple drinks to slurp and enjoy by the fire pit! Yum and mmmm!

But we did so much more than that!

I'll close for now...but check out my next post for all the juicy adventurous details!

Here's a hint ... trains, helicopters and trucks. ☺

Sunday, February 16, 2014

My Friend In Time of Need

Some time ago I decided to throw my hand in the volunteer ring. Make my contribution to this world I live in. But what to do?

I found my answer in my first love. Music. No, I've never been a musician. Can't sing. Can't play a note. My only stab at the music business was filling notebooks full of lyrics. Whimsical, morose, teen angst, sometimes whiny prose. It was quite a release for my tortured teen soul. But as I matured, started a family and moved on in my life, I let go of my hold on the notebooks. To be honest, part of that was the angry realization that my dream of becoming the next Carole King would never happen. I even ceremoniously set fire to a few of the notebooks, watching the black acrid smoke lift to the sky. My dreams literally going up in smoke and falling back to the earth in ugly black ashes.

No matter how hard I tried to stay away, music continued to have a pull on me. It soothed me when I was sad, elevated my mood when I was blue. There seemed to always be a song on my playlist that would match whatever situation I found myself in. It was always an important and integral part of me.

Because of that, I wanted to give back to it as much as it had given to me.

I found a local grassroots organization that was working to preserve the music of local musicians. To honor and recognize those in our community who had contributed so much to America's music landscape. Aha!! This is it, I thought. This could be where I belong. Where I could give back. Where I could do the most good.

I spent a year helping with various projects and pitching in wherever I was needed. It also gave me a good chance to get to know the members of the board who had founded the organization. Most of them are musicians so I felt a bit out of my league. Not in their clique. But they accepted me and seemed pleased to know that I was there to help and support their mission.

Before I knew it, I was asked to be a member of the board! Quite an honor. And seal of approval. I may not be a musician, but I believe in what they're trying to do and they believed in me, too.

A few months in, and I'm having my doubts. It may take some time for them to see me as an equal on the board and not a glorified volunteer. There've been some little instances here and there which make me feel this way. I'm trying not to be paranoid.

Oh well. I'm willing to wait this out. Give it some time to see how it all plays out. I'd really like to stay on board (no pun intended), help to build the organization into a very worthy and valuable resource for my tiny state. But if my participation isn't viewed by the others as essential for its success, then I'll step down and away. What they're doing is so important, and much bigger than my ego, that I can't be selfish and be upset that I'm not wanted.

But no matter what happens, it won't change how I feel about music. It has been there for me thru thick and thin, the good and bad times, the ups and downs. My friend in time of need.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

"Life in Plastic, It's Fantastic!"...I'm a Barbie Girl!

Stunning!
Smart!
Sexy!
Strong!

Defiant? Hell yeah!

Heh heh...that's me...um yeah...no.

I'm talking about that eternally youthful gorgeous gal. Barbie.

Yes, that's her. The doll. Brainchild of Ruth Handler.

And I love her. There. I said it. I admit it. My name is Kate and I love Barbie. Always have. I'm not ashamed.

Those who know me know of my doll obsession. I have a room filled with my dolls. And I have the best husband who indulges me with my guilty pleasure.

I'm a Barbie girl.