“They say it’s your birthday. We’re gonna have a good time.”—The Beatles
It’s time for the annual wearing of the tiara. As in, it’s my 57th birthday today and I have several tiaras to choose from. My son Adam bought me an antique one with seed pearls at a dandy little shop in Provincetown several years ago, though it was well past my birthday. I have a 40th birthday version and the one from my dental company job photo shoot where I posed as the tooth fairy (and oh, the dress and wings that came with THAT tiara!) The best one however, is my 50th birthday Audrey Hepburn replica from the movie Roman Holiday. It’s covered in Swarovski crystals and sparkles with intense beams when the light hits it.
I am shameless when it comes to my birthday—telling random strangers wherever I happen to be that it’s my birthday. Because I LOVE THIS DAY! It’s a celebration of living joyfully, appreciation for my parents who made me and fun for my family who have come to accept my narcissism for my special day as a loving quirk.
My family thinks my habit of counting down the days to my birthday is endearing. I write the number of shopping days on my husband’s Ansel Adams work calendar. About 20 days before, I start singing, “It’s almost my birthday!” to the Beatles Birthday tune. Mark loves to tease me when I say, “My birthday is in X days.” He replies sardonically, “It’s your birthday soon?” It’s our fun little game. I would be disappointed if he didn’t play along.
Mark loves to surprise me so my birthday is a natural time to indulge in this. In my 20’s, he arranged a work posse party at Chuck E. Cheese’s so we could play games and swim in the ball pool. On my 40th Mark, my siblings, nieces, nephews and our kids staged a remake of the Wizard of Oz starring me as Dorothy seeking out the wizard to reverse my trip “over the hill.” And of course, the 50th blowout was the best and biggest yet. In between the BIG ONES, there were treasure hunts, dinners lovingly made at home and fancy ones at swanky restaurants, and a trip to the Smithsonian to see the real ruby slippers. Homemade gifts from our sweet sons who reveled in the joy we created. One year, my darling even made me a banana cream pie because my mom always made me that dessert and she had passed on. I love M for trying as baking is not his forte. We still laugh over the pencil eraser texture of the filling which was an odd gray color from the skim milk.
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I love you and that’s the beginning and end of everything.― F. Scott Fitzgerald
My husband presented me with a quarter this week. For my Universe Box, a tiny vessel that houses all the coins and paper money the Universe lays in my path. Years ago I started collecting pennies, nickels and dimes I found on the ground. Quarters are a big score. I recycle the money by putting it in the Salvation Army Red Kettles at Christmastime. My darling shares the fun of the game too.
Many moons ago this glass treasure chest was a Valentine’s surprise from my sweetheart filled with tiny, deep pink dried rosebuds. Each time I add the find du jour, I catch a whiff of roses that warms my heart.
See, it’s the little and big things that make up our happy marriage. Equal parts fun and joy with a smattering of heartache you cannot bypass in life. I count my blessings because I am cherished by a remarkable man who truly means it when he says my happiness is what matters most to him. Who indulges me in all way my quirky ways, loves me with all my imperfections and overlooks the things that could legitimately drive him crazy… Read the rest of this entry
Margot is the quiet sentry of our lives.
Bonjour Margot Poisson,
I wrote much of this back in January when our lives were intact. You were still here, as was Fenway. We were settled in our little rental house and adjusting to the quasi-southern lifestyle. We three creatures had a rhythm all our own, bobbing and weaving about each other’s days. Now it’s just me from the original trio, and our new boy Miles. You tolerated Miles with much grace, putting the little nipper firmly in his place when he ignored your warning hiss. He learned quickly to bow to your authority—and claws.
You rebounded well with the move to our new house. On our car ride over to Beaverbank Circle, you looked with curiosity out of your crate, uncharacteristically quiet. I think you sensed this was to be your final home and were excited in your own cool cat way. You claimed the downstairs bedroom as your own, safely gated away from the new puppy. Gazing from your perch on the corner of the bed, and often the floor just beyond his reach from the other side of the gate, you teased him mercilessly as he whined to get in and play. You simply squinted with delight at your cleverness as you sat comfortably with your legs tucked under while Miles pawed the opening. Read the rest of this entry
Today at 8:46 a.m. with thousands of other people, I stopped to offer prayers to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist bombing at the World Trade Center. 8:46 was the moment when the plane hit the first tower.
I played “Amazing Grace” on my iPad as my prayer to the victims, families, friends and coworkers. And for myself. I didn’t have grace that moment or the next ones on that September morning because I was too consumed by my job. When my graphic designer came into my office, ashen and unnerved to say a plane had just struck the tower, I barely paused from my email review. I made some trite remark that I cannot remember. Probably something like, huh, that’s awful. Then I told him I had to finish the email I was working on. I do remember the stunned look on his face as he took his 6’4″ frame through the door back to his office. Read the rest of this entry
Happy Birthday Sweet Sons!
Adam (l) & Alex (r)
Today you are 27—hardly seems possible that this much time has passed for you wombmates! I remember the night after you were born looking out from my hospital room, snuggling you up close as I looked over the city lights, baby in each arm. Who would you become? What things would you love in life? What are your special gifts? Would you be close as brothers?
The room was quiet and you were both snoozing, perfect contentment, baby A and baby B—Adam and Alex. I didn’t know then that you would become these incredible men who bring love, joy and light to those in your circle. Although it was my hope and wish you would.
Adam, you came into the world first. That’s your path in Read the rest of this entry
It is the sixth day since you crossed the rainbow bridge. It never occurred to me you would go on this adventure so soon. I imagined us growing into senior years together. Your slick, incredibly shiny black coat would slowly show the gray hairs of time’s passage. I inspected you often scouting for the changes. Only three hairs on the spot above your left brow. There was one, and then this past year two more arrived. You were barely five. I would have continued bragging rights to your youthfulness. Most people assumed you were a puppy because of your prance and curiosity.
Our peaceful spot.
You and me buddy. Bonded in a way as no other dog has ever touched my heart. Girl was special, as was Rosie. And long ago my Smudge. Yet you, and only you knew my soul. No matter what I was going through in life, you always stood by me. Your brown eyes filling me so deeply with your love. You heard my less than charitable rants over what I thought were important at the time. You patiently listened, head cocked just so, deciphering the words you knew from our time together. Your body wags to let me know, Read the rest of this entry
“Mirror Mirror on the wall, I’m my mother after all.”
Mom helping me dress wedding day 1982
It happened just the other day when I went into the downstairs bath to get a tissue. I looked into the mirror as is my habit and I saw her. My mother staring back at me. It wasn’t the first time I’ve seen traces of her in my smile or my jowls. Yet this time her entire face was looking at me through my eyes.
At 56, I look like my memory’s version of my mother at the same age. You know, the one that shows up in the reflection during the unguarded moments when you’re thinking you really should skip the afternoon Starbucks run and get back to your writing. When my mother was 56, I was 24. Younger than my own sons now.
I was cocksure I knew what the world had in store for me Read the rest of this entry
What if I change course to pursue a lifestyle of fun, learning and writing?
Since moving to Baltimore last fall, I spent time just being, what I always craved when I had communications jobs where I had prestige yet no time to simply be. I’d be lying if I said these have been carefree months of lollygagging and leisure. The hamster wheel of “what am I going to do to earn my keep” spins relentlessly… Read the rest of this entry
Halloween, Halloween, this is Halloween. All hail the pumpkin king!
Come little children, it’s time to play
We D’Agostinos love Halloween! It is hands down our favorite holiday. We had such fun creating magick in our little plot at 201 Miles. T made a witch’s castle one year as a surprise for us all. And a graveyard complete with wooden headstones and campy sayings. Ghosties swung from the trees, wooden characters made by my Dad stood guard. In the side yard, our towering scarecrow sported a necklace of orange lights and creepy satin green hair. She would billow with the wind, face in a permanent twisted screaming grin. Read the rest of this entry
Mark D’Agostino, my T, is a man who loves simple joys— family, friends, his bicycle, naps, Red Sox, an icy craft beer and church chicken barbecues. He isn’t a fancy guy, preferring jeans and sneakers to a spiffy suit and wing tips. And he definitely doesn’t like hoopla around him, especially for his birthday. Consider this the un-birthday post,T darling.
Enjoying the ride!
One of the best things about T is how he views life: don’t get worked up about things you can’t control—economy, terrorism, global warming. Do try to live lightly and find as much joy as you can, by taking care of the people around you, and giving your all to the task right in front of you.
By T’s example, we who share his last name have learned to avoid “piling”—reciting the litany of woes and things we don’t think are working out the way we want: work, life, money, people. His sage advice is to appreciate and focus on the things that are working : a sunny day, Read the rest of this entry