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 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 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 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!


Defiant? Hell yeah!

Heh heh...that's

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.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

House of the Rising Madness

Now where did I leave off? It's been so long since I've shared the highlights of my daily grind that I'm not sure where I should begin.

Well, think I'll just start with what my house looks like today.

A pig-pen.
No. No. Not THAT guy.

Something akin to a sty.

Yeah, that's the one.

It's a mess. Organized chaos. But somehow we're making it work...barely...agh!

I'm working. Part-time. It's okay. It's got good points, and not-so-good.
Hubby? He's working, too. Full-time with laid off days here and there. Again, good and bad points.

At this point last year, neither one of us was working so I guess we're making progress, right? Consider ourselves lucky...but are we lucky? The jury's still out.

Ok. Moving on. What to tell you next?

not the grandkids ↓
Yup, they're still living with us, and they sure do keep us hopping. From the never-empty laundry basket to the piles of dirty dishes that never seems to go away. Sometimes I feel like I've turned back the clock 25 years to when I was a young mom with 3 youngsters under foot, except I'm now contending with a very old, tired middle-aged body that has seen its better days. I get tired a lot quicker nowadays. And unfortunately, the kids are not seeing grandma at her best. Thankfully, they seem to be pretty resilient and adjusting to life pretty well under the circumstances. 
We try to keep them busy and offer them lots of different experiences. From their first attempt at sledding to their first snow tunnel in the backyard. School fills their days. The boys go to a local school and the girl goes to daycare (what she calls "school"). One boy is taking hockey lessons, the other is signed up for baseball (hurry up, Spring!) and the girl is in gymnastics.

Last but not least, rounding out the house of madness, is an update on our animal kingdom. Our own petting zoo.

The two felines, Meow and EV, are purr-fectly fine and miraculously getting along.

And speaking of miracles, my dog Sammi has bounced back from her mystery ailment. She still goes for regular checks to make sure all is still ok. So far so good. The other 3 canines are doing well. Notwithstanding the occasional chewed toy or knocked over trash can, they are all cohabitating peacefully. (Just wish they would pitch in and clean up all the pet hair and fur floating around here and earn their keep...geez!)

Yeah, I know this only scratches the surface. There's so much more going on - and not going on. But my addled fried brain just can't handle espousing about it in blog format. And I seriously doubt if there's anyone out there that has hours to devote to reading about my woes...For if there's one thing I've learned in my long time here on this Earth is that no one really cares about anyone else's problems. They're too busy trying to take care of their own issues. Maybe you get a "poor baby" or a "there, there", a pat on the back, a quick cyber hug. But its all just going thru the motions. If they really did care, they'd roll up their sleeves and jump in to help someone who's drowning in stress.

So suffice it to say, I'm going to leave out the sordid details. And spare you the uncomfortable discomfort of trying to figure out how to delicately extricate yourself from listening to me drone on and on about how I can't get rid of the black cloud that hovers over me 24 hours a day.

What a friend, eh? Always thinking of others. That's me.

Aren't you lucky!

So, what's new with you?

Monday, February 10, 2014

I'm Back...In The Saddle Again!

Wow! Has it really been so long since I've been here? Since Thanksgivukkah?

Talk about time slipping away. I neglected my love-child, my blog. Sorry.

And you know what? I honestly don't know why. Many times I've opened my laptop with the intent of writing, only to go off surfing in a totally different direction.

A couple of times I just sat and pondered why I didn't feel like writing. I even had one of those late-night problem-solving in-the-dark discussions w/hubby. Nope. Still couldn't come up with any definitive answer.

I ended up concluding that since no one had reached out to me to find out why I hadn't posted lately it must mean that I stink. No no. Not me personally. My writing. It just didn't grab and hold anyone's attention. It's not very good. And maybe that's why I don't want to write again. Subconsciously, I must know this about myself and my conscious self is starting to realize it.

The holidays kept me busy so I didn't have much time to worry about writing. When things quieted down, I thought about getting back on the bloggy horse. And that's when it hit me...I hadn't received any emails, facebook posts, private messages, post comments, texts...from anyone asking about my bloggy absence or asking when to expect my next post. Hmmm...didn't anyone miss me? Hadn't anyone wondered where I'd been?

So. Huh. That's that. Now I have a big decision to make. Do I close up shop? Delete all my posts and let Kate Khronicles die a quick yet dignified death? Or should I take hubby's suggestion and continue on but with the intent that I only write for me? Write about what I like and not worry about if its read by anyone or not?

I let this decision stew inside my little grey cells for a few weeks.

Think I'm going to go with hubby's idea...Plan B.

Write for me. Write what I like. No more worrying about how many page views or comments I get. No more stressing myself out trying to keep to a writing schedule. Just write when the urge overtakes me. No more trying to write the perfect post, choose the perfect topic.

Ok. This is it. My foray back into the blogosphere. With a new plan. A new attitude.

And if no one likes it...well, pffft on them.

I'm baaaaack!