Pearls and Squirrels

Sometime in February, I heard the very dreaded bashing and crashing going on in the basement half of my eight room raised ranch. I had heard it before! We only visit this part of the house to sit in front of the ceiling-to-floor, stone fireplace and watch TV in the winter or take advantage of the air conditioner which cools the two finished-off rooms in the summer. I knew something was up, and I was right. A squirrel had found its way in, either through our sliding glass door when we were not paying attention, or through a not-so-very-well-sealed window which will be repaired in due time. Run and jump the animal circled, energetically threatening to break every treasure on my shelves. Even they survived after the critter flew through the open sliding door, over the hot tub cover, and out onto the apple tree branch in less time than it took me to write the last sentence! OK. Do rhyming words mean double trouble?

The next day, I was on my way to a dental appointment when I decided to make a quick stop at my bank which was nearby. I was wearing a lovely necklace of a single strand of petite rose pearls my husband had given me as a gift years before and a matching three-strand bracelet of even smaller pearls he had found at a business convention. I did my banking business in minutes at the drive-through and drove down the street to park my car to go into the appointment when I noticed that the bracelet was not on my wrist. Panicked, I decided to return to the bank drive-through and survey the area. The bracelet was nowhere around. I returned to the car, drove off, and, for no reason, touched my neck with my free hand. The pearl necklace was hanging in my clothing, the clasp having broken away from the strand. No problem. I was able to retrieve the neckpiece, but where was the bracelet? Figuring it had fallen off of me somewhere I would never guess, I resigned myself to the fact that it was gone forever. Never wanting to give up, when I returned home, I looked around everywhere possible, but had no luck. My husband cursed and blamed me that it was my fault that what he had been fortunate enough to find at a business convention, I had been careless enough to lose. Giving up hope, I carried through the afternoon. It took a bathroom visit to simply look down at the tiled floor to witness the pearl bracelet–its gold clasp crushed and one of the three pearls missing, although not far. There was the lone pearl a few tiles away. Apparently, that morning before I went out, I had not secured the delicate clasp as I should have. What really puzzled me was having both pieces of jewelry break in the same day!

But I was so happy to have these lovely pearls of sentimental value back with me so they could be successfully repaired! But not until I struck back and make sure my husband would be careful enough in the future not to leave that sliding door open!

Laura (De)Marco (Osborne)

Dad’s winds made the exceptionally hot summer not just bearable, but so beautiful. I had to come on and thank Dad who is somewhere up there looking out for me.

Then, news of another wind startled me and many of my friends and family. I don’t know if Dad is to be credited with this God-like power, but I seem to have been placed in charge of the upcoming winds in all of the Gulf Coast this week. The tropical storms are named Laura and Marco, both of my names. I only hope this means that I shall “blow everyone away” with the book I have been writing for many years, The Cross of Silvana. Yes, epic book power.

Tonight, Turner Classic Movies is honoring actress, Olivia deHavilland in her 1939 performance in Gone with the Wind, another one of my favorite books. I sit here watching the movie after the worst hail storm I have ever seen in our area.

Dad’s Winds

The day my father died, April 13, 2014 in Boston, I was in New York City. I had previously signed up for a “Meet the Agents” weekend put on by the International Women’s Writing Guild, so I went. The doctor had been too optimistic about how long Dad would last. Even he encouraged me to travel, knowing I would return in two days. Dad had been unable to speak so well and was in and out of consciousness. I took the chance, hoping that my Monday morning rush to the hospital would allow me to hold his hand in mine to say my good-bye. I do wish I had been there, even though he knows I love him.

Dad’s funeral was delayed for two weeks because of the Holy Week during Easter. For those two weeks, his wind began and kept us on alert. I attributed those to his discontent with me.

Immediately after Dad’s funeral, my siblings and I noticed the winds to be increasingly stronger and more fierce than any we could remember. Shortly thereafter, a violent windstorm accompanied another family occasion, leading us to believe that Dad and another relative’s wrath commanded the winds from their lofty post in heaven. My siblings and I began to notice these blowing uprisings common to certain birthdates, anniversaries, etc. We enjoyed Dad’s invisible presence. On the other hand, we feared the irony of the power of his fatherly anger in the air, hoping it was harmless not just to us, but to others.

Our parents’ wedding anniversary is May 28th. I don’t know if anyone in the Boston area remembers, but all week Dad spoke to us with his windy dramatics. I sincerely hope that he is having a good time raising cane all over the universe. He never really had his day, so I think he has collaborated with God and is making his own music. Sometimes I actually love the breezes! Thanks, Dad. Thank you, God.

Emerald Birthday Farewell

This year my May 10th birthday gift went to different charities. I did not need any kind of gem but the wish that my friends and family were all safe and healthy. Since my birthstone is emerald, a set of emerald colored rosary beads that came in the mail from America Needs Fatima delighted me more than anything could. Father Wayne blessed them for me after my trying to connect with him three times that day. I love praying with these beautiful beads with the gold chain and cross and image of the Blessed Mother. This turned out to be the best birthday I ever had, and I needed no fancy restaurant in which to dine, as we usually do on the big day. My husband made me a delicious lobster omelette in the quiet and elegance of our own humble dining room, and many other small blessings were miraculously bestowed upon me the following week.

My daily prayers are first, for all of the victims of the Coronavirus and for their families and friends. I pray that those hospitalized advance to recovery. Secondly, I pray that people all over the world will use common sense in venturing out now that reopening is taking place. It will be very easy to set off another outbreak, something none of us wants.

Two days ago, we lost a brand new emerald green umbrella to the fierce northeast winds, the third in a series of yearly disasters with market umbrellas on our deck. Normally, I get really mad, but this time I smiled to myself. It was only my wonderful dad up there in heaven trying to get my attention. More on that next time…

Thank You

I just want to take this opportunity to thank all of my friends, family and associates who have purchased our new book, Getting Through: Tales of Corona and Community. I hope that everyone is enjoying the stories, essays, and poems. I understand that reading books has increased exponentially since the self-isolation and this is wonderful news. I am busy this week preparing a newspaper article to be included in the surrounding Boston towns, about ten or so. Be on the lookout!!

Middlemarch Again

Boston author and Grub Street director, Christopher Castellani was interviewed in the Sunday Boston Globe newspaper. He had read the book, Middlemarch around the same time as I did, and I found it amazing that an old epic novel had been resurrected by someone else. I loved that he mentioned it, like a mysterious bond between two strangers.

I call the Middlemarch time in my life- the hours of peace and indulgence with that book on my lap- the time of transforming love. The steady, committed reading began in early February in earnest. During that time I really grew to appreciate everything about my house- the comfortable, regal wing chair in which I sat for hours, the more than sufficient light from a bamboo pole lamp next to me- the only light in the room as the day turned into night, and the one big, fat, (ruby!) candle next to me which burned all the time as if I needed no other companion. I could not go downstairs to my office for fear of the stairs, so my world had become smaller but was just as content. All I needed was on that one floor- the kitchen where my husband waited on me as if I were a queen, the full bathroom, where I could sit in the tub to wash, and the bedroom where we have our TV for watching good movies, (over and over- why not?)

I believe that as my foot healed and I worked through the different phases of trying to walk with one crutch instead of two, going up and down the stairs on my seat, holding on to hard surfaces- walls, the entranceway railing, the tables and chairs, counters, etc.- I learned to love everything I have, even the objects I had thought about getting rid of. I did not necessarily approve of the sudden purchase my husband made of a new hot tub at a spa expo, but the tub turned out to be the best therapy for my foot, and for practicing relaxation.

Now, even though I can walk freely as I did before, I have a new outlook of my home. It is truly a home I love to cook in and enjoy. I love to sit at breakfast with my husband and make small talk, and plan our day and dinner.

During this quiet time, I find myself thinking about old friends and lost family members more than ever. This has been the shell of my transformation that I can now fill with the new future…

Ruby Roses, Ruby Dishes, Ruby Pier

The ivory roses trimmed in red have opened up beautifully. I changed the water once and added food. I’ll definitely turn to Whole Foods when I want long stems from now on. No baby breaths, though. Just accept it, I guess. We had a lovely dinner that night, with the cooked duck from Chinatown and some added Chinese vegetable dishes from a new restaurant in our area- Wild Blossom. Just the name I love.

We’re still celebrating. I made Lobster Fra Diavolo sauce today and made sure my ages-old Avon Cape Cod Collection Cranberry Red plates and matching wine glasses were on the table tonight. I did not things could get any redder.

Yesterday Hoda Kotb on the Today Show announced that author, Mitch Albom would be on the show today. I wanted to watch. Some time ago, I came upon a book of his, The Next Person You Meet in Heaven, and had never read it, so I thought I’d start it. I only read the first couple of chapters and one of the scenes took place at a Ruby Pier. I wanted to tell him that I had read this on my ruby anniversary, but I doubt he’d care much. And I actually missed him on Today. Some distraction at the time.

Any good transformations to speak of? I hope I can remember what I wanted to say about this. It was early in the morning, yesterday, and I should have gotten up and recorded my thoughts. It’ll come to me….

Day Two- Anniversary Weekend

The 40th wedding anniversary is ruby, and I know I am last-minute here, but I decided to go to CVS and just get Paul a gift card or two. No, neither card was red, but I had to take care of that so I spotted a beautiful red gift bag just big enough for the three red-packaged bags of really nice, fancy candy I had just slipped into my carriage. I didn’t forget myself. Red Swedish Fish will always do. I did offer him a couple! The ivory majestic roses trimmed with red are starting to open- just gorgeous! Paul is feeling achy, so I sent him to bed early because tomorrow is the big day. And, of course, I’ll say a few extra prayers- for him and the rest of the world.

Oh- I’m off to watch Born Wild: The Next Generation on ABC. Talk to you tomorrow. Love, kisses, and stay safe.

Bare Boston

Today Paul and I went into the city to get lobsters for our wedding anniversary this weekend. We had planned to go to Yankee Lobster, but we ended up at James Hook. There was even a small parking lot there. Good, because it was showering a cold dampness. Happy to be inside with the nice people there. I was given a free red pen- she did not know I am a writer. Good, because I didn’t want to reach for one in the cup myself. A couple of people, in masks, of course, indicated by their presence establishment popularity. Just to be with them made us feel as if we were in Grand Central Station as compared to what we had become accustomed to lately! The bisque lacked lobster pieces, but, happy just to find a fish market open, I’d settle for nice people any day over unmet expectations.

We both know our way around the avenues, streets, ways, and one ways. I suggested stopping in at the North End before we would brave Chinatown for a duck on display in one of the markets. I could never quite understand why the lines were always so long at Mike’s Pastry Shoppe on Hanover Street. Today I found out when I donned my mask for the second time and within a minute had two puffy cannolis in a fancy box tied up with thin barber shop string. The ricotta cream was lighter than any cannoli I had ever eaten, and when I bit in, I could still taste a hint of the oil in the fresh, crispy shell. I went in and out, just like that. We moved on.

We had to circle to actually get to the right market in Chinatown. A policeman didn’t care for Paul trying to park right at the corner of a street in front of what I thought were ducks in the window. They ended up to be small loaves of bread and the amused young girl in the bakery had the help of a nice gentleman who pointed me right down the street to a restaurant store. I waited in a line of about five people, under my umbrella and when I got to the head of the line I nearly walked out, afraid they did not speak English. But before I could even move, the young chef asked me, “Do you want me to cut it up?”

We began our day trip to Boston @ noon and were back by 2:30, accomplishing more than I remember ever doing so in that amount of time. It would sometimes take us an hour just to get into the city from our home. But, these days…

How are we doing with those transformations?

Getting Through: Tales of Corona and Community

Hello Readers and welcome back! The 775 page novel I asked about in my last post is Middlemarch by George Eliot. I started out the year planning to complete the fast read-through of my book, The Cross of Silvana. I was close to the end when, of course, I got sidetracked by a foot sprain and had to finish Eliot’s masterpiece and return it to the library. Then, a quarantine….

Before I talk about how concerned I am now for everyone out there during this unprecedented era, I want to invite you all to check out another new book for which I am proud and humbled to be a contributing author.

Getting Through: Tales of Corona and Community is now available on by going to Books, Advanced Search, plugging in the title, and clicking on the book cover to scroll down through the product description. The proceeds will be going to the American Red Cross. It all came about when author, Gerald Elias decided he wanted to publish a Coronavirus anthology and called for stories.

Thank you all who have read my essay and liked it.

Anke and I spoke tonight on the phone. It was so good to hear her voice, and I believe that what we spoke of hereby needs repeating. During this sheltering in place, much of the world complains about being “imprisoned”, and, yes, it is hard. We all agree with that. And new. But, what if we used this time to explore new ways in which to deal with the way we have always done things, get to know the kids, just plain relax, or grow an unlimited amount of patience while we are quarantined? Maybe the world would surprise us and be an even better place than it was before. Gee, I think this happens to be the intent of our new book, too. Funny about that. No, not funny. We care about you. Please stay safe and healthy, but think this transformation stuff through. We’d like to hear from you about the new you!