Tag Archives: Life Then And Now

My Favorite Summer Memory

When I was a little girl, Mom, Dad and I used to live in a 3 room apartment above my Aunt Mimi and my Nanoo in Nutley, NJ. We had no air conditioning so the porch was the only way to keep cool on hot summer nights.

There was a couch-like swing and a rocking chair where my grandma used to sit and rock for hours. I remember laying on that swing every night while my family told me stories – real and imagined.

It’s 40 years later and I’d give anything to sit on that porch, and fall asleep on that swing and listen to all the good people in my life who are no longer of this Earth.

Life was so simple back then. Sometimes we need to step back and take another look, so we can not only cherish the past but embrace it in the present.

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.  Republished 2011.


Baths vs. Showers: The Best Way To Get Wet

When I was little I always wanted to take a big-girl shower.  My mom made me take baths for a long time but I endlessly longed for a that spray of water on top of my head while I opened my mouth to get a taste.

As a teenager, I thought baths were gross.  Sitting there in your own filthy water while an errant hair floats by – YUK!  I could not bear it and I had to have the cleanest OCD tub in NJ.

Adulthood has brought me to the realization that I love baths again.  A bubble bath, an oil bath, a foam bath or a salt bath.  I’ll take them all.  I lower the lights in my bathroom, light some scented candles, pour a glass of Old Vine Zin and try to coax my other half to join me (he never does – I think we need a bigger tub).

I dream about a giant tub for two.  A bathtub where I can stretch out, covered in water from neck to toe (with no parts sticking out).  A soaking tub – with heated jets and aromatherapy – and maybe a sauna or steam to boot.

I’m glad that I haven’t forgotten – or rather can re-appreciate a good old bath and its therapeutic qualities.

What do you prefer?  A bath or a shower?  I still can’t decide the best way to get wet…. well I can, but that has nothing to do with bathing – but that’s another blog.

Image: Filomena Scalise / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010. Re-published 2011.

As Christmas Approaches… My Emotions Are Off The Chart

After blogging about Christmas music yesterday, I decided to load up my ¡POD with some new holiday tunes and listen to them on the way to work.

As usual, I left my house in an utter tizzy, trying to feed 4 cats, get my lunch together and set the alarm.  I hopped in my car and plugged in my ¡POD – but first I had to wait for the traffic report.

As a Garden State Parkway commuter, I have to listen to the traffic BEFORE I leave in the morning because there is always some accident, rubber-necker or left lane dick who gets in my way.

I turned onto the main drag and saw something lying in the road.

Oh no!  A kitty!  OMG!  Someone just left him in the street to get squished.  Why do people let their cats out?

My eyes filled up with tears and I started bawling over this poor unknown (to me) kitty’s life and how his or her family would feel when they saw the lifeless, innocent corpse laying in the middle of the road right before Christmas.

What a shame!  Maybe I should get out and put it on the side of the road?  Who just left him there?

This is ridiculous.  I need to get my mind off the cat.  Ok.  I already heard the traffic so I’ll listen to my Christmas Playlist.  That should work.

That did not work!

I can only imagine what the people on the Parkway were saying about the hysterical woman in the faux chinchilla in the black BMW soaring up the GSP like a fighter jet involved in serious combat over a hostile territory.

They thought – no – knew I was losing it… and I was.

Dammit!  My eyeliner!

I tried to stop crying so my eye makeup would not be a total mess but it didn’t work.  I composed myself somewhat only to drift back in to a sob or two and one too many tears over the dead cat, my dead mom, my dead family, my cat that I’m going to give away so she can have a good home where she will be the queen of the castle and not just one of the many royalty milling around at Versailles, my marriage, my bills, my weight gain and then back to the dead cat and my dead mother.

And that was all before I got to work!

Ten seconds into Amy Winehouse singing “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus“, I started to sob uncontrollably and think about when I was little and how my mom and dad created so many great Christmas memories for me.

I remember waking up early on Christmas morning and creeping down the stairs.  Once I peeked into the living room and saw all the presents under the tree, I ran back upstairs, jumped in bed with my parents so excited that Santa came during the night.  I couldn’t contain my joy.

I ran downstairs with Mommy and Daddy checking to see if Santa ate the cookies that I left and drank the glass of milk alongside.  All that was left were crumbs and an empty milk-stained glass.

Santa!  Thank you for coming!

I  flew under the tree and started examining the gift tags.

  • To:  Jackie  From:  Mommy & Daddy.
  • To:  Jackie  From:  Santa
  • To:  Daddy  From:  Santa
  • To:  Daddy  From:  Mommy
  • To:  Mommy  From:  Jackie

and the list goes on.

I was always happy about Santa’s choices.  I loved my Barbies – anything Barbie!  I loved it all!  The only thing I never got that I wanted was a motorized, battery-powered car from Sears.  Oh well….

I used to mark-off everything that I wanted in the Sears Catalog so that my parents could tell Santa what I really fancied each Christmas.

Mommy has been gone for almost 6 years and it still seems like yesterday yet so far away.  And every year I get melancholy over my family who cannot be here with us on this Earth – but I do hope and pray that they are watching over us from Heaven.  Guiding us.  Protecting us.  Yet somehow celebrating Christmas in Heaven so they can be around family too.

Pretty soon there will be more of us up there than there are down here – if there isn’t already.

I usually start my holiday depression in November but somehow it seemed to be better this year.  What was really happening is my head and my heart were storing it all up so I could have a proper emotional breakdown today.

The funny thing is that I never stopped listening to the Christmas music!

My battle has just started.  I love the holiday season but often pine away for yesteryear and long to see my loved ones again.

I hope you can survive the same because I know my mom would not want me to be upset but would want me to celebrate the life that I have and the life that’s ahead of me.  I hope you can do the same.

Merry Christmas!

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Image: graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Twenties Versus Forties: A Top 20

After having one of those days where I just should have stayed in bed, I pondered my life both then and now and decided to make a side-by-side comparison of what I wanted from life or did in my twenties and what I want from life or do now that I’m almost 43.

Things change and priorities shift as you get older.  When you have kids they change even more.  As a responsible adult sometimes fun gets put on the back-burner and a once clear-head become non-existent.  I miss that clear-head.

When I was 20 I was living it up in Paris on my parents’ dime, footloose and fancy free.  My only concern was where the next best soirée would be held and who was going to be on the guest list of my next party.  At 43 I worry about paying my bills, money in general, the health and well-being of my family, my health, taking care of my cats, going to work and the list continues.

So let’s take this point by point so we examine the age gap and maybe now understand what our parents went through with us as cranky teenagers and crankier twenty somethings.

  1. 20:  I wanted a hot guy with a hot car.  Hondas need not apply.
    40:  I want my hot guy with his hot car.
  2. 20:  I drove a fast 1978 Camaro LT, 350 4-barrel with louvers, air shocks, fat tires and a spoiler.  I had a lead-foot.
    40:  I drive a fast BMW convertible  with fat tires and I still have a lead-foot.
  3. 20:  I worked at TSV Video (when I was in the US), watched movies all day, drank wine, flirted with the customers, watched and recommended porno, loved my boss Stan and used to arrange Gumby-like toys in sexual positions on his desk every night.  I rarely had to deal with any bullsh**.  My biggest responsibility was making change and setting the alarm.
    40:  I work as a teacher, enlighten impressionable minds all day, drown in paperwork, drink water or Crystal Light, recommend places to visit in Paris and I’m not commenting on the boss.  I constantly have to deal with bullsh**  from EVERYONE.  My BIG responsibility is other people’s children.
  4. 20:  I had a dog.  My parents took care of her and I played with her.
    40:  I have 2 cats and I take care of them:  butt wiping, baths, litter box scooping, trips to the vet, cuddling partner, Mommy, playmate.
  5. 20:  I pounded shots.  Many shots.  Body shots.
    40:  I sip good wine.  A lot of wine.  All kinds of wine.
  6. 20:  I tried to figured out new ways to get away from my parents.
    40:  I wish I still had both my mom and dad and now love spending time with my Daddy.
  7. 20:  I had a Mandee Charge Card and no debt.
    40:  I have too many credit cards to count and debt up the wazoo.
  8. 20:  I weighed 120 pounds and ate anything I wanted.
    40:  I’m always on a diet!
  9. 20:  I would stay out all night and party.
    40:  I will stay out all night and party but try to get home by 4 so I don’t piss off the husband.
  10. 20:  I wanted to be a translator for the U.N. or a big-wig in the international business world.
    40:  I want to keep my teaching job and hope my pension will still be there.
  11. 20:  I slathered on baby oil so I could get that deep, dark tan.
    40:  I slather on sun block and skin repairing cream to try to undo the sun damage of yesteryear.
  12. 20:  I had big, whorey hair.
    40:  I have big, whorey hair.
  13. 20:  Fifty dollars was a lot to spend on shoes.
    40:  Now I try not to spend over $500.
  14. 20:  I had no kids.
    40:  I still have no kids (by choice).
  15. 20:  I never wanted to go home.
    40:  I can’t wait to get home.
  16. 20:  I lived in France and loved it.
    40:  I want to live in France and I still love it.
  17. 20:  I had a boyfriend who wanted me to look like a Barbie doll.
    40:  I have a husband who wants me to look like a Barbie doll.
  18. 20:  Dressing like a whore was always an option.
    40:  Dressing like a whore is a weekend only option.
  19. 20:  I went to the gym almost every day.
    40:  I stare at all the gym equipment in my house and dust it off once and a while.
  20. 20:  I stared at myself in the mirror and thought about how hot I looked.
    40:  I stare at myself in the mirror and notice fine lines and aging and think about when I can get my first facelift.

Some things have changed and some things have stayed the same.  I believe age is only a number (even though it keeps creeping around like a bad case of crabs) but with age come wisdom and knowledge.  I’ve heard before that youth is wasted on the young.  I believe it now.  If we only knew then what we know now, we could have ruled the world.

I don’t know about you but I’m not done yet and I still plan on ruling the world.