Monthly Archives: May 2013

Hospice,you got some learnin to do…


Despite it all, our last adventure was memorable….

Sparkling By The Way's Blog

My dad was a throwback to a simpler time. A time where people used candles and there was no such thing as TV and food was made from scratch. Like the Victorian era. So, when he was dying, he refused to get a hospital bed. He was dying on the blue velvet antique settee. Jim tried very hard to get him to see that a hospital bed would be much more comfortable. Jim didn’t understand that my father was not giving up. My dad figured his terminal cancer was simply a matter of mind over matter. Getting a hospital bed meant giving up. And also, hospital beds are ugly. Do you think Queen Elizabeth died in a hospital bed?

But in the end, the hospital bed was delivered and I took up the blue velvet antique settee as my bed, as it was right next to the hospital bed. Jim slept in…

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Little Black Dress + Gorilla Glue Duct Tape = 50 Shades Of Ow


So this past weekend an old friend got married. Ok, we aren’t old, but we have known each other for many years….well, not many years because that would make us old. You know what I mean. We did theater together as teens and were both part of the punk scene. I love this guy! He is funny and stunningly beautiful and kind and talented. And he’s my friend. I am so lucky to have the coolest friends in the whole world. I know this. For many years I put my friends aside, not that I wanted to but because my attention was forced to be elsewhere. Despite my dysfunctions, when I got free, my friends were right there, along with a whole bunch of new friends.

Look! No duct tape involved....

Look! No duct tape involved….

This weekend was the first time in years and years and years that I have traveled sans children! I was SO EXCITED!!!! I drove to Albany then took the train to Penn Station, met my girlfriend who I was staying with and who was my date to the wedding!! I felt so grown UP!!! Just like I used to when I was a teen who would hop in the car and drive to where ever whenever. Or check the bus schedule and take off to another state or jump on a plane with my Walkman and dramamine….When I had kids and got married that all stopped. We traveled but it was with kids ofcourse.

I packed lightly, a couple of dresses and shoes to choose from. Silly because I totally knew which dress I wanted to wear to the wedding. One that I had bought but really was never going to have an opportunity to wear it cause it is rather funky. But this wedding called for funky. I was going to be with friends who actually remember me when I had half a head of hair and combat boots and dressing up meant a prom gown from the 50’s and Converse. But this dress has an issue (ofcourse it does).

Let me explain, the dress is black, with a tight, spandex-y tank dress underneath that comes to mid-thigh and a very sheer overlay that comes to above the knee in the front and longer in the back. It’s really a great dress. But like I said, funkier than what would be expected of this single mom of three daughters in my little world. And….it rides up. Yeah, like…way up. There is no bending over in this dress which wasn’t going to be a problem as I had no kids with me. Kids are usually the reason moms have to bend over. BUT, walking also makes the dress rise. And dancing. And breathing. And standing still. Ok, so obviously I need some duct tape.

I ask my girlfriend and she runs down the 4 flights to her friend who owns this super cool Japanese antique store just next door. She comes back with packing tape and Gorilla Glue duct tape. I choose the Gorilla Glue duct tape because it was black and Gorilla Glue is superior so their duct tape will probably be also. I fold the tape over on itself and stick it to the side of my bare thigh and then stick the dress to the tape. I do the same on the other leg. It isn’t really working as well as I thought it would. So, I do a piece on the back of my thigh. Hhmmm….well, even though it isn’t really working to keep my dress down I just leave it because well, because I THOUGHT it was a good idea and I am just not willing to give up on my theory. Meanwhile, my girlfriend and I are deciding what she is going to wear, checking jewelry and shoes and doing our hair. We look good. Her boyfriend offered to drive us to the event! Score!!!

We totter down the four flights of stairs in our highest heels and plop into his car. At this point I am sort of bummed that my tape idea wasn’t really working but I figure it is night time, no one is going to notice or care if my “mom” panties are showing are a little. Maybe they will think it’s a new cool trend (yeah…for 40 year old single moms who NEVER leave the house…cool “trend” Lady) My girlfriend and I renewed our long standing promise (me:you tell me if my panties show! her: yup. You tell me if my boobs are hanging out) A promise we made and have kept for over 25 years now.

I'm actually glued to my seat here...I would like to say it is in anticipation of this incredible union of souls...but mostly it is because of the damn duct tape....

I’m actually glued to my seat here…I would like to say it is in anticipation of this incredible union of souls…but mostly it is because of the damn duct tape….

We get to the venue and as I get out of the car I realize the heat from my leg and the pressure from sitting on the duct tape has activated the Gorilla Glue and it is stuck! MY PLAN WORKED!!! HA HA HA!!!! I AM A GENIUS!!!!! Except…wait….when I sat down in the car, the dress rode up, as did the tape and now it is stuck just below my ass. Oh this is bad. It is really bad. You can SEE the under dress and the hem is down in the front and WAY UP in the back. I look like…well….like I have stuck my dress to my butt. EMERGENCY!! EMERGENCY!! I grab my girlfriend and as we are standing on the sidewalk outside the venue, I pull up the sheer overlay dress and say “Do it.” She looks at me, I look at her and we know. This is going to hurt. Alot. I have basically superglued my dress to the bare skin just under my ass. As I am standing there with my dress hiked up and my best friend ready to rip it off of my leg, I realize that this is my life. This has always been my life. I am friends with women who would have never thought to duct tape their dress to their leg. Some of them would have actually bought special skin tape to do it and some would have never tried to wear the dress in the first place. But me? Me I wear the dress, with the Gorilla Glue duct tape, and I know that not only will my girlfriend will rip it off fast, but that my friends inside will not judge me on my duct taped dress. Hell,  my friends actually used to have  entire wardrobes made out of duct tape no doubt. We are a very creative bunch.

She rips, I cry. I was shocked at how bad it hurt! I think I am going to need a skin graph….luckliy it wasn’t bleeding. And then we start giggling because really, who would have thought we would be standing on a sidewalk in the middle of Brooklyn, going to our dear friend’s wedding, with my skirt hiked up and her ripping duct tape off my ass…If anyone had told us this is where we would be 25 years ago we probably would have…..believed them….

Best friends have rules. We tell each other if boobs are hanging out, if underwear is showing, if we have something in our teeth, if we have a booger, and if we have lost the plot….new rule: friends never let friends use duct tape in inappropriate places on their body. Now we know.

I swear, I can't take me anywhere...

I swear, I can’t take me anywhere…


Solider Boy…Oh My Little Solider Boy


I have a best friend who everyone wishes was their best friend. Actually, ALL of my besties instill jealousy in others. Not intentionally, I am just one hell of a lucky gal and I have incredible best friends. When I think of the women I have been blessed to have in my life, as my friends, closer than family, I marvel…because I myself am not that great of a friend. My intentions are always good but you know where good intentions lead you…

When I was pregnant with baby #1, I was secretly terrified. I didn’t even know how scared I was. Mainly because I had no birth story of my own. I was adopted so my life began at 5 months old. My mother couldn’t give me any idea what birth was really like or even what MY birth was really like. So, as far as I knew, my stomach was simply swollen. Or possibly I was growing a huge tumor. I was the second in our group of friends to have a baby. Our first friend wasn’t all that helpful at the time because, well, she was taking care of a baby. My girlfriends didn’t really know what to make of the situation. I wasn’t a “kid” person. I wasn’t particularly maternal, like, ever. So, they rallied but we all just acted as if nothing was different. Which was comforting.

My best friend had been through a major surgery just a couple of years before so she was the one who instinctually knew I must be scared. Thinking back, we were just kids. But holy hell were we strong. Friendship really doesn’t cover what we have. This particular best friend is always ready with a laugh. She is the one who makes me funny. She makes anyone she meets feel like they are her best friend. She’s a good egg.

One day we were at my mother’s house. My mom is kind of what Oprah would call a hoarder. She has lots of random things lying around and stuffed in cupboards and tucked into corners, stacked in boxes, pushed up against the walls, on shelves in the garage, you get the idea. It’s heaven for little kids and prop comedians. We were sitting there at the kitchen table discussing plans for who knows what, when all of a sudden my best friend picks up a tiny wooden solider toy from the back of the stove and starts laughing hysterically which makes me laugh hysterically which makes me cry…down my leg. Even when I wasn’t pregnant this was the way our time together generally went. She laughs, I laugh, we pee.

Now we are both laughing so hard we are crying and she starts singing the song from the 60’s by the Shirelles “Solider boy….oh my little solider boy…” ( I should mention here that she has a killer singing voice. Like, she was in a blues band and all, cut a cd…the girl can sing which makes this all the funnier). I know I know, you had to be there. But, we decided that she WOULD be there for the birth of my first baby. I needed her. She would make this terrifying thing I was going through ok. She would make me laugh and remind me that it wasn’t the end of the world. And, she would bring Solider Boy with her. I was supposed to have a focus object for labor and Solider Boy was obviously perfect.

Now we had a plan. My best friend would smuggle Solider Boy in to the hospital in her mouth, cause he fit in her mouth and then pop him out when she got to my room so I could focus! We were still in fits of giggles when we left my mother’s house for the our own houses…ofcourse she called me 10 minutes after she got home to sing the Soldier Boy song on my answering machine which sent me running for the bathroom.

When the blessed day came and I was in my hospital room in writhing, unbearable pain, I wanted my best friend there with me. But the nurses refused anyone to come in! I have NO idea why. Possibly because they were bitches, possibly not. Anyway, I heard the commotion in the hallway and I heard my best friend yell “THEY WON’T LET ME IN!! I LOVE YOU!! WE WILL BE RIGHT OUTSIDE……ME….AND….SOLIDER BOY OH MY LITTLE SOLIDER BOY!!!!!!!”  And she walked slowly back to the waiting room singing at the top of her lungs Solider Boy….and I laughed and then cried. 100 years, 3 pain shots and an epidural later I pushed out my beautiful baby girl. My best friend and Soldier Boy weren’t there to witness her first breath but I knew they were there in spirit. I slept and when I woke up, I lifted my head to check on that little pink peanut sleeping in the bassinet next to me and then shifted my gaze to the night stand to see Solider Boy keeping watch over both of us.

In the 18 years since that night, I have moved house a few times, had a couple more kids, been divorced and basically lived a lot of life. My best friend has been living in New York City for the last 15 years. We are still tight. Anyway, I didn’t know where Solider Boy had gotten to. I couldn’t imagine that my best friend would know where Solider Boy was. But recently I was reminded of our Soldier Boy after watching a Seinfeld episode where Jerry, George and Elaine were attending a classical piano concert and were supposed to be very sedate and Jerry put a Pez dispenser on Elaine’s leg and she starts laughing so uncontrollably that she has to leave the concert disrupting the other audience members and ofcourse upsetting the piano player who George was dating. I sent the clip to my best friend and told her this reminded me of us and Solider Boy… did she remember Soldier Boy? She sent me back this:

Do I remember Soldier Boy?? I had to wipe the chicken salad I had for lunch off of him to take this photo. Of course I remember Soldier Boy!

Do I remember Soldier Boy?? I had to wipe the chicken salad I had for lunch off of him to take this photo. Of course I remember Soldier Boy!

And………… I peed.


He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Dog

Who's the manipulator here????

Who’s the manipulator here????

Most Sunday mornings I am on our local Native American land at a meeting. When the weather is nice, we sit outside in a circle, enjoying nature. The Rez  is a beautiful place. Our meeting is held on school grounds so there is a building, a field and surrounding woods for miles. We see hawks and deer and dogs. Lots of dogs. We have had dogs wander into our circle and bask in the love. We have had a mama trailing puppies who stopped to nurse right in the middle of our circle. I think it’s pretty neat stuff.

This morning, I sat down on the damp grass and looked out across the mowed field to the edge of the forest. About 2 acres away from where I was sitting was a dog, a perfect looking Husky. Perfect coloring and tail, standing as if he was guarding something a little deeper in the clump of trees. I shifted my gaze and saw some movement. I couldn’t really make out what it was exactly that was moving so slightly. I squinted and strained but all I could make out was a reddish shape and a blondish shape. I stared for a few more minutes willing myself to be able to see what the shape was. I was trying to force my brain to make sense of what I was seeing.

So, my brain said it was a reddish dog having puppies and a blondish goat standing behind it. That didn’t make a whole lotta sense.I had never seen a wild goat on the Rez…then again, what do I know? The shapes started to move a bit more. This was after about 10 minutes of them moving but basically in place. I was concentrating so hard on trying to figure out what the heck was going on in this clump of trees with these animals I think I drooled a little. Thinkin is hard work sumtimes.

After about 20 minutes I could finally make out that it was two dogs…butt to butt…and the reddish one seemed to be pushing the blondish one…like the blondish one was facing up the hill and the reddish one was facing down the hill and the reddish one was backing up as the blondish one was moving forward…what????? This made even less sense than a dog giving birth with a goat in attendance as like a midwife type role…So, this is going on and the husky is just watching from the sidelines. Now, my first thought is Oh NO! These poor dogs have been tied together, maybe their back legs…maybe some mean kid did it or maybe the dogs found some handcuffs and were playing and accidentally handcuffed themselves together…I’ve seen that happen in cartoons…

My second thought was the husky was going to try to eat them because they were sick and dying or had been hit and crawled off to die….And as the two slowly disappeared into the woods, the husky followed and I sat there and thinking about the circle of life, of what I know about dogs, about Emma and Spencer and their natural decline, about how a goat could survive in the wild or if there might be a goat gang living deep in the forest and how they might be harassing the homeless dogs. Goat gangs in Upstate NY…I haven’t heard that covered on NPR…

I saw some movement on the other side of the wooded clump and out trounced the reddish dog…up the hill and into the forest proper. More movement and there was the husky, butt to butt with the blondish dog pushing it up the hill. The husky took over for the reddish dog! About 10 minutes into it, the husky stood still, the blondish dog laid down and the husky went back into the clump. The blondish dog laid there, looking around, watching a big hawk fly over head.

I was stunned, I could not believe what I was seeing. I was so wrong in my assumption, in the story I was telling myself! The poor blondish dog needed help! Blondish dog was obviously old or sick or hurt. Reddish dog took the first shift, going butt to butt to help blondish dog though the small clump of trees and small hill. Then the husky took over and helped blondish dog up the steeper hill, butt to butt the same way the reddish dog had done. Poor poor blondish dog!!! But how lucky blondish dog was to have two such wonderful friends!!! What a heartwarming thing to observe. Nature, not being cruel or harsh, but being kind and gentle! So, as I sat there and marveled at the determination of the husky and reddish dog and grieved for the obviously sick blondish dog and wonder if maybe I was wrong about the goats being a mean gang and possibly being like nurses who could take care of poor blondish dog….the huskey came galloping out of the clump, and stoped next to blondish dog, Blondish dog got to his feet, huskey went ahead up the hill in a jog. Poor blondish dog…ditched by both of his friends. They were probably sick of pushing him up hills…blondish dog can’t count on anyone ever….blondish dog is probably crying, (I can’t tell because I am too far away, but I just have a feeling) WAIT! LOOK AT THIS!!!! Blondish dog is UP…blondish dog is trotting up the hill all on her own!!!!! Oh happy day!!! It’s a miracle!!!

No, it’s not a miracle. Blondish dog is a faker. Blondish dog is simply lazy and had manipulated his friends into butt pushing him through woods and up hills. Blondish dog is a total jerk!

Moral of the story: Never butt push someone up a hill who doesn’t absolutely need it.

Or maybe the moral is : Never assume to know the story from a distance.

Or possibly : Goat gangs exist.