Giving Tuesday….Xtremely Generous…

I wish every Tuesday was Giving Tuesday….it might be a better world if on Tuesdays we just stopped and did something for someone else….anything, like hold the door open, pay it forward at the drive through or maybe just decided not to yell “Asshat!” and give the finger to the car that may or may not have cut you off….The world is drenched in drama.

Anyhow, I wanted to point out that this year again, the local Cheers aka Xtreme Screen Printing – you know the place…you walk in and around the customer bar are the Norm’s and Carla’s….only their ‘brook names are John and Karla…they are passing around a box of day old donuts and chat it up about dri wick and embroidery floss….and when Christmas time rolls around…they put up their Giving Tree.  And a lot of people do this, I know that, but when you have a small local company that takes the time to find out what local families need and they get down to the business of trying to provide for that need, it’s, well it’s extremely generous.  Xtremely generous.  Because they don’t have to.  There are plenty of other organizations, churches, schools that will lend a hand.  But to know that this small gesture of hanging a tag on a tree asking someone to buy gloves for a 12 year old will surpass buying your own 15 year old the latest NBA2K video game in your heart, is a gift.  We forget at Christmas.  We stray or rather we are pulled by commercialism, consumerism and spendalism….we feel guilty if we don’t buy enough, we feel guilty for spending what we don’t have, we feel guilty that instead of embracing the season for what it really is, we have to buy 10 rolls of scotch tape and color coordinated bows.

But the act of buying something for someone you have never met and not taking any credit for, is a gift to you.  It’s about love, it’s about grace and it’s about getting back to what this season is all about.  Xtreme, I am grateful for your example in our little town.  Cheers.

Just because Bill Nemitz writes about you…..

Had dinner with Drew last night….he was his usual Drew self….dressed like Mr Rogers, but with his sharp intellect and quick wit….Mr Rogers if he were a combination psychiatrist/attorney/ninja…..anyhow…a Sunday night pizza with Drew after a long weekend of turkey leftovers, relatives and the Christmas scramble was like an intellect cleanse.  My brain hurts.

A big topic, thank you, Erica, was what was the difference between blogging and posting on Facebook.   I dunno.  But this week I am determined to find out….

I am trying to nail down the D’ports for my next Icon interview….but if you know the D’ports, this is no easy feat….they are the Where’s Waldo of the ‘brook….I also forgot to pick the coffee cup of the week at the DG Friday, so I will do that today.  While others may not see the relevance in this, I sometimes have to fabricate an excuse to be in there, lest I skate narrowly close to stalking.  I really love it there, it’s the Narnia of the ‘brook.  Tomorrow or Thursday is my Throwback Interview from the 80’s….

I also have to check on pinterest and etsy for flannel wedding gowns….i womder if my mom saved any of our old Lanz nightgowns….

Happy Monday, help the next one in line….always stay humble and kind.

Eat, Pray, Run….my interview with brook Icon, Terrie Bourke….

She is a modern day Pippi Longstocking.

Most people don’t know her by name, but they know her by sight.  I’ve bared witness to the hundreds of times people do a double take and say “Hey! You work at the post office!”  She doesn’t just ‘work at the post office’….she runs the whole shebang in our little town….but there’s more to her than just an expert on how many stamps you need and if it’s cheaper to ship it via ground….

I am partial to her, because she is one of my besties….but she is also a ‘brook Icon because she is eccentric, interesting and like most brook icons…she is solid in character and integrity.

Terrie Bourke.  When I asked her if I could do an interview with her, she texted back “LOL ok!” and has proceeded to avoid me ever since.  The other night when Corey and I were walking the dogs (Terrie and I call it walking the f*ckers, but you’ll read more about that later…) she screeches up alongside us and lets us know she is on her way to swimming lessons.  Swimming lessons.  But that’s her.   One trait for sure about her is that she is determined.  Determined is a nice word for tough as hell.  She is the pirate version of Touched by an Angel….she is both the kindest person, while simultaneously not flinching if you drag her across fire.  “Stay on my heels!”  is her mantra to her friends when she is running at 75 mph and we are way back at .23 miles per hour…but because her belief in her friends, her convictions that life is what YOU make of it, we somehow stay on her muthaf***ng heels…..

So let’s begin….she stopped by last night, whirlwind that she is….”Ok, let’s go!”  she commanded me as the dogs were freaking out with love around her and she was surveying the house that once again changed up….Immediately I asked her why she often slipped into a southern accent – it’s real and not deliberate- “My dad was in the  Air Force – I lived in Louisiana….we also lived in New Jersey, Virginia and Texas before we moved to Maine.”   Interesting because she identifies primarily as a “Hill Girl”  because she grew up in her middle school and high school years on Munjoy Hill.  The Hill Girls were tough.  You wouldn’t know it by looking at them today – sweet, beautiful, accomplished women, but to hear the stories….Terrie said our mutual friend Lynn once told her, “Terrie you would have beat us up if we showed up on the hill…”   Maybe, but most likely not.  Terrie would be the Rizzo of the Hill Girls, but maybe with a little of the girl who wanted to be a hairdresser too…..anyhow…she has a core group of best friends from those days who she remains close to – especially Sandra who she describes as…..”not so gangy..but kinda.”  Love that description.  We talked about teenagers and adulttoddlers and how parenting is tough….but Terrie has such a big heart yet simultaneously holds her values and convictions, a hard balance, but an important one… “I was  (expletive, expletive, expletive) at 13…so I get it…”

And then she tells me she is gluten free.

Squirrel.

Why the post office?  I asked her.   It was all her dad’s idea – they signed up together almost 30 years ago to take the test and she aced it.  Of course she did, Terrie, in my experience, takes nothing on that she can’t commit herself to completely.  She has also been, for the past 20 years, a waitress/bartender at Jay’s.  I am sure she is an icon there too.

She said that she enjoys both jobs but at Jay’s she likes the customer interaction especially when there are people there just enjoying themselves and having a good time.  She then interjects that garlic and whipping cream are what goes in good mashed potatoes.

Squirrel.

I met her at the feared 5:30am TYIA (train your inner athlete) class about 4 years ago when she read about it in the AJ and just showed up.  Showed up and said she was ready for a change.  And change she did…she is a die hard.  We started running together – well, she at a whole different pace, but as part of the same group.  Running to her is like a prayer.  She can’t wait to run because it clears her head and it helps her to connect with her spirituality.  For someone who ‘jumped into running’ as she describes it, she’s done multiple 5ks, 10ks and at least one half marathon.  She is mulling the idea of a triathalon or two…hence the swim lessons.  “I swear I drank half that (expletive) pool water yesterday and all I can think about is all those kids who peed in it…”

And finally, I insert me.  I know she has a lot of friends.  People are drawn to Terrie because her fierce, brave spirit is balanced with compassion, warmth and a radiant heart.  You can’t not like her….you can’t not fear her a little too, but man, it’s hard to not like her.  Our friendship solidified in our evening walks with our dogs…aka “the f***kers” A few times a week, more when life is stressful, we leash them up and move it down Forest Street.  Bentley, her dog who adores her, is a fluffy puff of attitude – he barks at the sticks, the acorns and any other dog.  He gazes at her adoringly – Terrie says she’d like another dog but after Ben ate the down comforter, she’ll hold off for a little bit…anyways (squirrel – me), we walk and we talk talk talk and every step we take bonds our friendship and is filled with laughter, swear words and support for each other.

Thank you, my dear friend, for being such a good sport and shining your radiant light on the world.  This world needs more Hill Girls.Terrie.  I absolutely adore you.

Thanksgiving Eve and dad is destroying, I mean making his traditional pie….

God there are a hundred things I should be doing to prepare for the feast we are hosting here…but I am on the couch drinking coffee with cool whip and wondering if I should start the Gilmore Girls over again….I can see the dust bunny farm under the chairs from the view on my couch….I should call my dad.  He is making his “famous” chocolate cream pie…allegedly.  Oh the years we have begged him to please just buy one from a bakery….I don’t think I’ve ever had chocolate cream pie, but I’ve tried the thing he brings every year.  I just think it’s weird to have ‘magic shell’ or whatever covering the pie crust.  But Suzie says after a few big gulps of Merlot, it almost looks like pie, so that should count.

The bathroom is a disaster.  I know I have to go up there and deal with it.  For me, organizing under the sink is more important than bleaching the mold outta the tub or cleaning around the base of the toilet (boys)….because I sure as hell look in people’s medicine closets and under the sink….I think you learn a lot about a person by what they hide behind the Drano….

Corey made four pies.  I wonder if he will mind if I eat one…..?  After my fourth nap on a rainy Thanksgiving Eve…..

The Incredible Hunk

  1. He was the Burt Reynolds of third grade.  Plaid pants, turtleneck and possibly a mustache, at least that’s what I remember.  We all loved him.  Patrick Dion.  His side kick was Howie Brown.  I think they both had the same Snoopy lunch boxes, but maybe Bionic Man…anyhow….he is in all my Hamlin Hawk class pictures….I’ve known him since first grade.  I have two distinct memories of our Hawk days…the first is what I fondly dubbed as the “Domino Day” or “Why I would NEVER EVER be an elementary school Teacher..”  The Domino Day was the day poor Mrs Tewhey had us in line going to the gym or somewhere – maybe playground – our school was tiny so we weren’t going too far….all  of the sudden a ripple went through the line….someone up front started the throwing up, with Howie or Pat being grossed out and tossing their cookies next….then another person – could have been Tommy or Billy, maybe Becky – I doubt it, she was probably laughing….I just remember it vividly and often wonder if it’s because the little milk cartons were delivered in a crate outside of classroom doors at like 9am to be distributed for noon – lunch….sigh.   Poor Mrs Tewhey….the next memory is our Christmas concert and we were in sixth grade.  It must have been in the evening….I wore a maroon velour pantsuit and my mom shellacked my hair high.  I was beautiful in my eyes…Patrick gave us all gum.  I remember all of us standing in line to go into the theater (just the gym)…blowing bubbles, big bubbles and laughing…. I wonder what we did with the gum when pat interview picwe had to sing?   Ah life…then we grew up and grew apart and Pat moved to Florida and everything was unknown until Facebook arrived and suddenly we are posting our Little League pics from 1975 and asking if anyone knows what ever happened to Mr Coughlin….

I decided to start my first Throwback Tuesday (which may occur on Tuesdays or Thursdays, but most likely a surprise each week…) with Patrick Dion because I can’t help but smile when I think about him. Even though our interview was on facebook messenger, I still put on lipstick.

First, let’s answer the most important question…..what song brings you right smack back to those golden years of adolescence…. “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights.”    And when asked to talk about favorite childhood memories, Pat cited, “…playing flashlight tag in the neighborhood..going out in the farmers field with everybody…..running into the cornfields,  Mahoney Junior High school dances….going down to Jake’s pond in the winter to listen to the snow falling while laying on the iced pond…”   I can see it all now, so clearly, Pat.

Pat moved to Florida because he had an opportunity to work for his brother in construction.  He was restless and wanted  change in his life.   “I had just met my future wife and was thinking this is an opportunity for a big change and a new beginning.”  Growing up he had aspirations of being a police officer but ended up making a successful career in the pool industry and never looked back.  Believe me, the pics of his back yard are gorgeous.  He sends them to us Mainers usually in the midst of a nor’easter.

So why did I title this “The Incredible Hunk”…well, Pat loved the Hulk since childhood.  He liked Batman and other strong superheroes…but the Hulk was the ultimate for him.  He is an avid weight lifter and has a tattoo of the Hulk on his chest.  I saw this from a picture (I know girls, swoon) anyhow, I asked him about it.  “….when my wife passed away I ended up having it tattooed on my chest – that he was coming out of my insides because that is how I felt…angry and the only way I knew how to express this was to have it tattooed on my body.”  I had to pause when I read that.  And think about it.  Then he added, “Susan was the love of my life and my soulmate….I have a son who is my greatest accomplishment in my life and he keeps me grounded.  I wouldn’t be where I am today without him or family by my side.”   Do you see why Pat is such an old, beautiful soul?

I asked him if he misses Maine and if his life in Florida changed him.  “Definitely (Maine) shaped me to who I am today…..the people in Maine are a different bread compared to Florida…Mainers are down to earth and they care about people…. I will always remember where I came from and the people that impacted my life.”

“Now I sit on my back patio under my tiki, on my hammock and taking pictures of sunsets and realizing how beautiful the world is.”

I adore you, Patrick Dion.  Thank you for letting me show the world how beautiful YOU are.

 

Ramble on….

Days before Thanksgiving and there is no way the sealed, pristine tub of Cool Whip is gonna make it til Thursday.  I am thinking about putting some in my coffee.  I never eat Cool Whip, except for Thanksgiving and maybe Christmas…on top of the kind of pie I never eat….anyways.  It’s Monday.  We are going to Caty’s on Thursday and then are doing our own Second Thanksgiving on Friday with all the kids.  We have a lot of kids between the two of us.  Better get more wine and toilet paper…when I have to go out to replace the Cool Whip.  The ninth ring of hell is the Hannaford parking lot this week.  No amount of “honeybabydarlinghowyoudoing?”  will make it any better.

This week on the blog….I am adding a Throwback Interview for Thursday….I am interviewing people I grew up with because aside from “friending” on facebook and looking at cute pics and private messaging Lisa with “Oh my god, he is still friggin cute!!!”  And tirading with her why men sometimes appear to age better than women – not meaning this in a sexist way – but hot-flashes definitely take their toll.  Just once I’d like to hear someone from the male persuasion mutter “My God these cramps are killing me…”  Anyhow.  I digress – so the Throwback Thursday interview….plus I have an Icon Interview (someone from the brook) and I will be bopping by the Daily Grind with the coffee mug of the week – and Weekend Wisdom by Java Joe.  Fascinating I know, but if it were 1940, I’d be doing a radio show live from my kitchen and you’d hear me swearing at the dog.

Do something…..

Mark your calendars also for this week…..The Annual Noyes Family 5K is on Thanksgiving and departs from Westbrook High School – you can still register.  I think it all starts at 8am.  It is a family friendly, wicked fun run/walk with proceeds going to 2 scholarships for Westbrook High Seniors.  Have you met the Noyes family?  Chances are you have – there are hundreds of them, and they are the most down to earth, gracious and generous people you are going to ever meet.  Yes I am partial.  They are my non DNA family.  And my TYIA girls (and few guys) are there.  They are the rock of my life – not the one stuck in my shoe, but the solid rocks of good people.

Take a ride….

With all your holiday shopping turning to screech mode….check out The Lady Stripper on Main Street in Gorham, next to Amato’s.  It is the very sweetest, cutes shop of vintage, antique, cottage, nostalgic stuff.  It will make you smile.  And Lynn the owner is just a beautiful soul, you will leave happier with a little bag of happiness and a little lift in your heart after talking with her for a few minutes.  She will be open Friday 10am-5pm.

That’s it.  Gotta go pry my slipper from Georgia’s jaws.  You got today, you got this week.  Be good to you.image

Cornocopias and jello

imageThe year was 1977 or 8…. somewhere around there….my parents had just finished laying down the shag carpeting in the bathroom.  Just in time for the holidays.  Mom was furiously pledg’ing the knotty pine everything and humming to Barbra Streisand’s Christmas album.   Kelley (my cousin) and I were pawing through my mom’s jewelry box while she was distracted and Caty kept opening the fridge to check the jello.  We loved this time of year.  Suzie was in her room writing to Shaun Cassidy and pretending she was Cher, but she had a bowl haircut and if she had a mustache, ironically she wpuld be a dead ringer for Sonny.  Dad was probablu with Jimmy at the big Portland vs Deering football game and one year, I think when we were 11 ish, my cousin Jamie, who was 11 ish had to drive the celebrants home after the game….that morning. ….Ah holidays….the nostalgia of the jarred gravy, cheez whiz  the flammable decorations, the extended families – all coming together to argue, drink and talk politics with the background croonings of some Irish singers reminding us about poverty, blight and poor Danny Boy.   A time where the kids sneakily sip the wine and play yahtzee and drag fingers through the cool whipped and meringue pies in the fridge (“I did not!!! Jimmy did it!!!). When we dressed up to eat and had candles on the table and fights over who got the drumsticks…hell yes we had candles on the kids table….my mom, the Other Jackie Kennedy, was all about appearance.  My God what would the neighbors say if they saw a kids table adorned with paper turkeys and the odd cornocopia, for christ sake?

So this morning I am digging out my Grandma’s china and I am pledg’ing the ikea bookshelf and humming along to Eva Cassidy and wondering if the jello will jel and if Caty will dress like Martha Washington unintentionally again this year…Suzie grew her hair out when she was 10 when someone called her the cutest little boy for th last time…and never looked back….my own kids traditions- fighting over drumsticks and acting shocked and offended that Thanksgiving was not a gift getting holiday…will play itself out …and the cats and dogs on the table…picture perfect, better than candles or cornocopias.

Life is good.❤️