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Thursday, July 26, 2012

First Place In the Daughter In Law Olympics

Having A Daughter-In-Law





Having A Daughter





A Daughter Of Your Very Own...

Last week, my daughter-in-law was picked up by the local police, right after my daughter-in-law picked up her beloved dog, Abby, to carry her home after a walk a bit too far from home on a 100 degree day. Abby is no lightweight. She is an armful and a heart full.

Just like my daughter-in-law.

The officer saw her struggling down the path and offered a lift home. I know Abby appreciated the lift from the policeman, plus, a ride in a car with a siren on top and flashing lights was truly an exciting end to her day. But if she could talk, she would tell you that if anyone gives her a lift, it would be her Momma.

I feel the same way.

Upstairs, in the little glass cupboard, near the kitchen counter, sits a book my daughter-in-law gave me for Mother's Day. I'll Always Be Your Daughter. I smile every time I see it. I understand completely that she is only on loan to me from her own wonderful Mom. I understand that she is mine only because my son made an exceptional choice in the "love of my life" category. When I am being just a tiny bit smug, I tell myself that I must have raised him well.

My D-I-L is a one and only. 

I can honestly say I have never met anyone like her.

I can honestly say I have never met anyone who did not love her.

Her heart is huge, but when she writes a note or signs a card, she uses a tiny script, and the words are carefully chosen. The marks are deep as though she pressed her pen really hard, to etch the words not just on the paper, but on your heart as well.


She is precious.

I know this word is somewhat old-fashioned, but in this particular case, it is particularly apt.

She possesses the persnickety gene. The conscientious to a fault DNA.


Like I said before. The way she loves her dog is the way she lives her life.

Tenderly and with heart full attention to the tiny details.

I am teaching her to garden. To take seeds and coax them into flowers. She started with seeds in little styrofoam cups that withered in too much sun too early in the season. She took it personally. She does not like to lose. And the thought of causing harm to any living thing makes her ache. So we visited the nurseries, walked amongst the plants and I watched her face. Searching. Searching for something I could not see, but the gardener in me could feel. Searching for the one little plant that needed a good home. Seeking out each petaled face for something special. A piece of garden art that would decorate her yard, that she could tend and nurture, and welcome her home at the end of a long trying day.

There, That's the word I was looking for.


She tries.

Very hard.

At everything.

And she can be very hard on herself when she shoots and misses. But she is a tough competitor. She is in the game to win, but she takes no prisoners. For her, the competition lies within, and once in awhile, the mother-in-law in me wants to say, don't sweat the small stuff, but I bite my tongue, because truth be told, older is not always wiser.

Sometimes, someone can come into your life unexpectedly, and bring you the kind of joy you never knew you needed.

Growing up with brothers and being the mother of two sons, I never realized a piece of me was missing, until I lost my own mother. That irreplaceable connection between a mother and daughter that even I cannot explain. A bond so strong and a love so rare.


Okay so life is not perfect.

Not this M-I-L.

Not my D-I-L.


Only one comes to mind. Her obsession with leftovers. I have watched her eat an apple over a period of weeks. Lovingly taking a bite and then wrapping the rest in plastic wrap and tucking it in the fridge. When I raise an eyebrow at the brown edged mushy fruit in her hand, she merely smiles, takes a puny paring knife, slices off the offending bruise, and says, "See, good as new".

My D-I-L makes me feel "as good as new".

Inside the little book, upstairs in the kitchen cabinet, are the words of dedication she wrote to me.
My wish for each and every one of you, is that someday, somewhere, somehow, someone shows you up as the writer you think you are, with these same gentle thoughts.

From D-I-L to M-I-L:

"You provide me with tenderness when I need it,
 laughter when I've had a rough day,
inspiration when I feel lost,
and motivation when I feel stuck in a rut.
I'm so lucky to have you as a Mother-In-Law.
I thought having one wonderful mother was good luck,
but having two is better than I can imagine."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

On A Scale Of One To Ten










Or at least that's my philosophical explanation for the fact that the scale at the gym registers 10 pounds MORE than my scale at home.

Plus, the additional factors that affect one's weight, regarding the gravitational pull on the human body which causes significant weight fluctuations depending on whether you are at home or at the doctor's office.

Fact: All the mercury in the thermometers they use coalesces around one's ankles. Mercury is a heavy metal. Like lead.

Or in Bed, Bath and Beyond, at the end of the aisle with five scales lined up and your shoes off and purse beside your bare feet.

Fact: You must look DOWN to keep an eye on your personal belongings, so the simple downward pressure of your bent neck causes you to seek your center of gravity and increased gravity increases the barometric pressure on the scale.

If you are using a scale in the back of the pharmacy, that costs a quarter, gravity does not enter into the weight equation as these machines are rigged.

Fact: It is no secret that these scales are tied to product placement, as a quick eye roll over your left shoulder should bring your gaze to rows of diet pills, powders and gels.

I prefer to use the most accurate weighing formula ever invented and certified by Scientific Americans and discussed in widely read medical journals across the country. Body Mass Index? Phooey. Just follow these simple rules and you will ALWAYS get an accurate read to the milligram.

One. Adjust your scale so that the needle is slightly to the right of the "0" position. Chances are good that your scale was mass produced and "settled" during shipment. You are doing nothing illegal, merely "resetting" to the original starting position.  I advise about 5.345 notches to the right.

Two. Keep your scale on the floor within twenty feet of your bed and bath. More on this later.

Three. Be sure to empty your bladder immediately upon rising. Do this very quickly.

Four: If possible, remove all of your clothing as you rush into the bathroom. If you are following strict weight measurement protocol, you will have removed all jewelry, dentures. hair extensions, fake fingernails, and have clipped your toenails, the night before.

Five: Step onto the scale with one foot while leaning the rest of your body against the wall. Glance at the scale. If you are within ten pounds of your "normal" weight, you may now pump your fist in the air and go about your business.

Six: IF, once you place both feet on the scale, while leaning slightly against the wall to maintain your center of gravity, and your weight is MORE than ten pounds over your NORMAL suggested weight, which is approximately 25 to 50 pounds heavier than you thought because you have not figured in your age and bone width and thigh DNA, do NOT PANIC. Move to Step 7 immediately.

Seven: Your scale needs RECALIBRATION. Occasionally solar flares occur during the night causing the tides to rise and the pull of the moon to create a gravitational shift, and there is nothing to fear.

Eight: Put your clothes back on. Breathe in. Breathe out. Oh...I forgot...about the holding your breath anatomical amendment...NEVER EVER EVER hold your breath while on the scale as the human body is like a balloon and absorbs almost ten pounds of oxygen with each held breath and oxygen is a heavy gas. Always, always exhale before weighing. Why do you think all the women in your Yoga class look so slim...they are ALWAYS exhaling.

Speaking of comes a big sigh..

Another grave topic...seismic shifts...otherwise known as sagging.

When body parts that used to be

up here








I am not the first woman to notice this phenomenon. There is now an entire industry devoted to cinching in, pushing up, pulling in and smoothing out. Spankss. Bearly There Traps. Miracle Surgical Suits. Shape Wear.

Underwear or Under Where?

That's how I feel when I seek out my body parts that go missing. I find them and say to myself, "Oh there you are UNDER THERE!"

Women. Tell the truth. You know that day. The day you found the courage to stand acapella in front of a full length mirror and wondered with a sigh, "Where did I go?"

I suppose I could ask a VERY dear friend to shrink wrap me in rolls of Saran Wrap from head to foot before slipping on that little black dress. Or I COULD invest a fortune in heavy duty Shape Ware. Do they have parties for this stuff, you know like Tupper Ware, but without the how-to-make-it-burp lesson?

I must be missing something here. Back in the day, shape wear came in a one size fits all form called a GIRDLE. It was not yummy for your tummy. A girdle was made of industrial strength latex and you had to lie down to wriggle into it. It came with pointy bra cups that stood at attention like a military salute so that your bust rested directly beneath your chin. Women spoke in soft breathy whispers, because they couldn't inhale. Oh, and as an added bonus, the girdle came with attached metal garters. Garters that left imprints on your thighs for two to three weeks AFTER your took off your HOSE.

Ah. Hose. Hosiery. Panty Hose. SUPPORT HOSE.

Okay, now wait a darn minute. I was THERE the day women rebelled and yelled together "NO MORE GIRDLES". Love your bodies. Love yourself. It was fashionable to "let it all hang out". We did. It was not pretty, in those early years, but then we all got used to each other being "ourselves".
Then, just about the time my own seismic shift arrived, the final penny dropped. No More Hose.  Bare leggedness was IN. There I stood, with my once lithe legs covered in what I like to call "freckles" but are actually AGE SPOTS. Kind of like the rings around a tree. If you take a magic marker and connect all the spots, you could calculate my age almost the same way.

I couldn't do it. Bare it all in public. I wore pants. and socks. It wasn't pretty. So I started the transition. Long skirts with just a touch of ankle showing and no socks. I have good ankles. Then a midi skirt. But only at night. In soft flattering light, like the one in my closet. And finally, true liberation.

I wore shorts.

In public.

At the grocery store.

No one fainted. No one laughed. No one pointed and stared.

I acted my age and it was okay. 

Reminds me of a day at the pool with my mom long ago. There were no changing rooms available, and I was at that awkward age and made my mother wrap her towel around me so that NO ONE COULD SEE. She had enough of my caterwauling and threw down the towel...smiled at me...and know dear...the only one paying attention to you is YOU! Good advice from a woman with metal garter imprints on her thighs.

So, if you are out there in the world, in search of your true self...

Defy gravity...

Lighten up.

Shape up.

Wrap it up in a smile.


Because life's too short and it's a scientific fact...

Smiling weighs ten pounds less than frowning. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Yard Yeti Radio Show

You People are Mad!

A podcast?

A series on You Tube?

A Twitter Tweet Off?

Well all righty then...

Grab your yellow wellies...

And pull up your adirondack chair...

Live! From the studios of GVW Media Productions...It's the Yard Yeti Radio Show. (cue the Noon whistle!)

"Tick Tock goes the clock...time won't stand still.

But we can...let's catch up." (My signature opening line.)

It's Yard Yeti Time!!

It's me, your favorite Yard Yeti, clad in my yellow wellies with my pet parakeet Pepper perched on my shoulder. He is wearing a sun bonnet today as the temperatures have been sweltering. I think he is suffering from a touch of sunstroke, as his cough does not seem to be responding to his normal teaspoon of Jack Daniels, so he is now sipping from a salt-rimmed frozen Margarita. Uh-oh. Brain freeze. (Hold on a sec while I do a little avian resuscitation.) Ah, there we are.
A little woozy and boozy, but then aren't we all now and then.

And now on to the weather report. Blazing. Blistering. Brutally broiling. Scorching. Searing. Sweltering. Sweaty. Torrid. Feverishly, sweating and panting, very warm and close and...(cue sound effect of me clearing my throat and taking a sip of Pepper's Margarita.) Got a bit off topic there. Tsk. Tsk. My bad. Let's just say that all of these triple digit temperatures and rainless days and nights are tough on a Yeti dressed in ankle to knee solid rubber yellow boots, slathered in SPF936, sun hat on head, whispering sweet nothings to a wilted group of greenery. Hot! The weather is HOT! And as we are an environmentally friendly radio studio, the only Air Conditioning is an open window and Pepper's breath on my neck.

The traffic report. A look out the window. Sweaty road crews. We have had sweaty road crews spreading tar for the past three weeks. Let me revise that. The first week they smashed up the curbs with jackhammers and left all the pieces in a pile. That is, ONE man, in a bobcat, ran the jackhammer and three hundred OTHER men stood around watching him and hoping for a turn. The next week, they came back and put some black stone stuff (note to self:look up technical name for black stone stuff) in piles. The next week, they put up about three thousand orange cones in some sort of a landing pattern for alien spaceships. Let me simply say here, that if the Yard Yetis had secured the contract for this project, it would have been finished on the first day. Yard Yetis are known for their singular focus, organizational and time management skills, manual dexterity, and ability to multi-task with very few hours of sleep. In other words, Yard Yetis are WOMEN.

Before I take a commercial break,

let me tell you a little bit about the Yard Yetis.

The Yard Yetis, known only by the footprints left behind from their bright yellow wellies. The women of the garden, dignified in their high top boots, gloved hands and flouncy garb. The garden warriors able to wrestle weeds with one hand and nurture tiny seedlings with the other. Women fiercely dedicated to protecting their turf. Slathered in sunscreen, slightly potty, surprisingly certain, and certainly certifiable. Women with tools. Fearless in the face of fevered foliage and frenzied ferns, waging war with vermin, drought and pestilence.

Yard Yetis are rarely spotted in the wild due to their cleverness with camouflage and the serious secretiveness of their tightly knit society. Yetis come in every color, shape and size. There is an age restriction as Yard Yetis are seasoned seasonal workers. Ripe. We prefer the phrase "ripened with age" to the word "older". In fact, considering the emotional RAGE...I mean RANGE...of most Yard Yetis...using the word "older"makes us a teensie bit you might end up with a little poison ivy bouquet in your shorts, but that only happened once and we were all terribly ashamed.

Actually, I referred to this incident on my last show, when I hinted at Gladys Gerbera's unfortunate tussle with Pepper, my parakeet. All I can say is that Gladys does have some difficulty controlling her hot flashes and Pepper has been warned repeatedly about letting his gardening shorts sag in the back. Pepper has started wearing tight black biker pants, matching helmet, and with the exception of a few parakeet profanities, seems to be on the mend.

Now! A commercial break from one of our sponsors, Allen's Seed and Feed Company. I am proud to announce the winner of the "Who Grew the Biggest" contest. Beulah Anne Harvey exhibited her sixteen inch cucumber out by mile marker 72, and received the most votes plus a few rather rude anonymous crank calls and a visit from a drive-by flasher who yelled as he careened down the gravel shoulder, "Try to top this!" Beulah and her husband Wolfie celebrated her win at Milly's Maid Rite on Route 43. Thanks to all who participated and here's to another bumper crop next year.

I made a compilation tape of all my favorite Broadway show tunes to share with you during our musical segment, but my eight track wouldn't fit in the floppy disc drive of my studio computer, so sing amongst yourselves. I am advertising for a new IT and Marketing intern, so if you are current with all the latest in technology and branding strategies be sure to contact me here at the studio on my landline. 1-800-IAMNOTOLD.

At last, the reason you all tune in, my special guest.

Yard Yeti Extraordinaire, that wanton. wicked, wild, wily, witty and weird...Wanda Wisteria.

A little Wanda Wisteria Hysteria if you please!

Wanda is known to wave her arms around when she speaks. Her face is always red and flushed. Her sentences end in exclamation points and she is known to create havoc and chaos wherever she goes. She is loud and extremely opinionated, but the very person I would want with me when tangled in the underbrush with no path out. A human threshing machine. Wanda can find a way out of any bad situation. She doesn't give up easily. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen her give up on anything or anyone. Ever. The sign of a true Yard Yeti. I would love to visit longer with Wanda, but she left via the window and I think I heard her scream "bobcat" on the way down.

Another Yard Yeti Radio Show comes to a close. I love being with you. Truly I do. If YOU want to be a Yard Yeti, just scroll down and find my email and send me a Yard Yeti hello....

As I sign off...

I am leaning into the microphone whispering conspiratorially Yard Yeti trademarked and fully copyrighted Sign Off...

"Your secrets are safe with me, 

except for the ones I posted on the internet."

See you next time, when my guest will be Fifi Forget-Me-Not.

You can find me on your dial at Station  GVWM...Garden Variety Wisdom Media Inc. with the Yellow Wellies Logo...and the Threepots on the windowsill.

Say "good-bye"" Pepper.

Sorry. Pepper is indisposed.

Adirondack Chairs