I have never been a woman that accessorized. I lose earrings. Bracelets get caught in my steering wheel. And every time I change my bag, I lose my license. Or a credit card. Or my favorite lipstick.

Six months ago, something happened. I “stole” a scarf from my 11 year old daughter. The scarf had been hanging around a teddy bears neck since her 8th birthday party so don’t judge me too harshly. I liked wearing it. It was like Jacob’s coat of many colors except it was a scarf. And it went with everything. It had many colors. I felt like a grown up. I felt like I could guest host a talk show. I felt “put together.”

Next, a friend passed on a scarf, or shawl, or pashmina, a large piece of cloth intended for draping around the upper half of the body. I liked wearing that too, though I still haven’t quite figured out what to do with it. Most of the time, I put it over my head if it’s raining. Once I get inside, I fold it into a triangle and pretend I’m a woman in need of a rocking chair. Which often I am.

For Christmas, I got two infinity scarves. Are you familiar with this latest rage sweeping the nation? (I think it’s been a few years, but I don’t get to the hair salon very often. The last Vogue I read was from 2012. I think they might have used the term revolutionary. Or maybe they were talking about a new kind of bang. As in short cropped hair on the forehead. There are a lot of revolutions in the world of accessories and hair. Not just the kind that grows on your head but that’s a whole ‘nother story. I need to go to the salon more.)

They are both blue, my new Christmas infinity scarves. One is turquoise blue, the other is a royal blue. They both go with almost everything I own, especially when framed by my very favorite jean jacket. Which is denim blue. (Duh, you are thinking. No, I’m telling you. Denim is not necessarily the color of denim any more. It was hard to find a denim colored denim jacket.)

I like them. I, who have never worn any accessories, except for brief binges on earrings, an intense love affair with a wrist cuff, and a series of flirtations in my late 30’s with a series of hair ornaments, have embraced the scarf. For the time being. The patchwork scarf I stole from my daughter. The burnt orange hand me down from my dear friend that I have yet to define. And the two Christmas gifts in the most beautiful shades of blue. Infinity scarfs.

The givers knew me well. The scarves are circular, so there is no draping or tying or folding to be done. It is not likely they will slip into my coffee or dangle in my soup.

And I need to eat more soup. I’ve seen the commercials. Women that eat lots of soup look like they are about 34, have perfectly groomed eyebrows and can shop for swim suits on line because everything looks good on them.

Christmas is over. It’s time to put away cup cakes and frivolous attempts at holding onto pairs of earrings, and to embrace the simple truth that I am a woman that needs simplicity in all things.

And two infinity scarfs in two shades of blue seems to be a really nice way to start.

I will survive this winter in New England, in shades of blue and green and gold. It’s nice to know that the people I love knew I needed a little help to stay warm this year.

The Way I Need To Be

December 28, 2014

I’ve developed a few coping mechanisms that help me live with a part time alcoholic.

The day after he goes on one of those booze fueled mini vacations commonly referred to as a bender, I go shopping. Now, one of the disadvantages of living with a part time alcoholic is we don’t have a whole lot of money, but at the very least, I take the family to Chipotle or buy a dress of the clearance rack at Marshalls.

The day after is also a terrific opportunity for me to get him to take over chauffeur duty for the kids. And pick up the birthday present for the cousin. And head over to Pet Co for the special kind of cat litter that can go weeks without scooping.

I really appreciate the glimpses of him when he’s sober. I don’t see that much of him. If he was sober all the time, I wouldn’t appreciate those moments so much. They are fleeting but sometimes we’ll laugh over something one of the kids did or we’ll listen to a new song on the radio and I remember I’m someone’s wife. It’s nice.

He’s always working, or on his way home from work. On his way home from work could mean he’s on his way home from work, or that he isn’t working anymore and he is sitting at the pub watching the tv and pondering if he should head home and risk the conversation we’ll have as soon as I realize he stopped at the pub or if he should stay at the pub until he’s sure I’ve gone to sleep.  I sleep soundly now.

It took me a while, but after living with a part time alcoholic for a long, long time, I’m good at going to sleep in difficult situations. And sleeping thru the sound of the door opening. And his uneven steps thru the house. I like sleep.

My kids are good at sleeping thru all kinds of crap, too.

I used to confront him when he’d come home late. I had a temper then.

I’m pretty even tempered now. Maybe it’s because make sure I get my eight hours a night. And I treat myself and the kids once in a while.

Or maybe because I need to be.

I don’t remember the first thing I said to my son this morning.
The second thing was- (and my delivery might have just a little bit hostile)- “I don’t like that when you take that tone with me.”

Colin proceeded to point out that he didn’t appreciate the tone I used when I spoke to him. He used different words, I’m pretty sure he jumped over the line from hostile to angry in about three seconds.

Moments later, f bombs flew. Doors were slammed. Sophie The Kindest of Canines hid in the closet. Coffee was spilled all over the table, though that was either collateral damage or me being a klutz.

I retreated downstairs. Sprawled on the bed. Tried to figure out if I should I apply make up or if there might be a post battle “what the hell am I doing wrong” reaction resulting in pink tear trails down my cheeks and mascara residue- a look that only worked in London 30 years ago. London is very far away from my bedroom and thirty years ago I wasn’t crying much or wearing mascara.

Colin came downstairs. Fell back on the bed. His head found my shoulder. For a moment we both looked at the ceiling.
I really need to wash my ceiling. I don’t even know what color it’s supposed to be.

He reached for my hand. I squeezed his hand. Without looking away from the ceiling, and I don’t know what the dirty ceiling made him think about , but it did’t seem to be a good time to ask, he said- ” I love you, mom.”

I looked over at him. He didn’t look back. I think he was waiting for something.

“I love you too,” I answered.

I could feel his body relax. He took a deep breath. He rolled over, towards me. “Mom, I think I missed the bus.”

I suggested he run very fast to the bus stop.

I remember all of that, from the way his voice sounded, how long it took him to come downstairs, the feel of his hand in mine when he reached for me, and which spots on the ceiling need the most work, and I have no idea what started it all.

Not a /:()$& clue.


December 5, 2014


At this moment in time, I know where my car keys are, my eyeglasses, (They’d been missing for a month, and last night I had a dream that revealed their location. Really.) both of our tv remotes, the cats, Sophie the Sweetest of Pups, my gym bag, the favorite cup, the house phone, the mobile, scissors, pens- I can even tell you where to find a band aid.

On the other hand, I misplaced the tablet, our dryer is busted so there are clothes draped on every available surface and our towels are crunchy, Christmas is coming. I need to make an appointment to get my teeth cleaned, and I’m having a hard time adjusting to the whole new full time job thing.

I have a new job! A job I love at Quincy College, 2 minutes away from our house, with a terrific boss and a really cool team that is kind and doesn’t mind that sometimes most of my sentences end in exclamation points.  And Christmas is coming!

But I haven’t had as much time to go to the gym as I like, and I miss my friends and long dog walks with the Wondrous One.


I know where most of my stuff is, there is a gym in the basement of the building I work, my friends are on Facebook, and I know where my children are. I know they will be coming home to me tonight, safe. And that we live in a tiny corner of the world where the odds are everyone is coming home tonight.

I am fortunate woman.

I am also a sad woman. A woman whose heart has broken more than a little in these past few weeks for all of the mothers and sons out there who aren’t so fortunate.

There is space inside me for both.