Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Daryl Hall- Better than any wrinkle cream.

I just found out that one of the loves of my juvenile life is playing in concert where I live next month. Hall & Oates. As in Daryl Hall. I'm pretty sure if he asked me to run away with him, I'd give it a serious consider. I know I am not alone in this.

 I fell in love with Hall & Oates in 1981, at the age of ten. I must have played "Private Eyes" 987,889,735 times a day for a year. I'd sing to it with a cardboard paper towel roll (microphone) and drive my parents batshit crazy with it blaring nonstop. I don't know how they didn't develop a drinking problem with my behavior, something to be thankful for I imagine. As time went on their hits just kept coming and I was damn near obsessed. When "Maneater" came out I found new terrain. Now, I had no idea what a maneater was, only that Daryl was warning me to stay away from her, but kinda seemed to like her too. That was enough for me- I wanted to be a maneater too! I would take a bath towel and wrap it around my head for long hair and whip around the room warning my stuffed animals to "watch out boy, watch out boy!" Glorious.

I'm a little taken aback as a 43 year old Mom of three just how excited I am to see him in concert. I simply cannot WAIT. Daryl for his part has been a busy boy. He has taken to restoring houses and a few years ago  bought a property a few miles away. Husband had to talk me out of sleeping outside his bedroom window. "The police will not understand" he would tell me. I was a good girl. No stalking order for me. Yaay Andrea!  
So why is it that I am downright giddy to hear his yummy voice again? Is it the onset of grey attacking my temple? Is it the laugh lines sprouting like weeds? Do I long for a simpler time of dancing around my bedroom?
I wonder how I will feel when I see that Daryl is no longer his 1981 MTV self. Does he look in the mirror and pluck the grey terrorist strands too? Does he come to concerts hoping to be his 2015 self only to be bitterly saddened that the audience screams for "Rich Girl" instead? I doubt it. I bet he's just rolling with it. Should I just be rolling with it??

I think that's what the draw of Daryl is for me. Surrounding us are baaaad examples of how not to age (frenzied botox, mcmansion-boobs) extremes that make us feel better with our wrinkles. We sit in judgment, "well, will you look at her and what she has done to herself??!!" Ewww, we say. Boo, we say. Battle lines are drawn about women not being good girls as they age. Madonna gives a big fuck you to anyone who tells her how to do it. Bravo we say, but we still read the "what not to wear after 40" articles. Sigh.

But surprisingly instead of Madonna, Daryl is my beacon. He is smiling, without angst, traveling the globe, rehabbing houses singing his old songs with a new twist to them. There always seems to be something new in his voice. He's himself. He's honoring what it is that we all fell in love with; all the while quietly, fiercely, bravely showing us who he is NOW.

Maybe I love Daryl because he is showing me once again a glimpse of what's next for me, of how I may want to proceed in my days ahead. Because after all, it's way more fun now that I actually know what a Maneater is. I still kinda want to be one.

Thanks Daryl.

Love Always,

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Rule #1 of Parenting: Never wear socks with holes to Music Together class

There are many rules to parenthood; don't put the diaper on backwards, don't drive away with the car seat on the hood, don't swear like a sailor on leave in front of little Sabine, you know, the basic's.
But there are (hushed tone) some horrific, almost unspeakable rules that you must NEVER break, not even once.
I dare say these must follow rules make you literally responsible for not just yourself, not just your kids, but all other parents as well. I know, you already have one foot out the door with your bag packed yelling; “no way did I sign up for this action movie with Nicholas Cage! I DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THE WHOLE WORLD TILTING OFF IT'S AXIS PRESSURE!!”
Sure you did. Right at the moment you got knocked up. Sorry. (really sorry, not just I bumped into you on the train brushing your purse off your shoulder sorry, but really, really sorry.) Hey, I was duped too! Shall we continue?

Rule #1
Never, I mean never, wear socks with holes in them to your kids' Music Together class.

You will look down at your feet (because even in freakin' February you have to freeze your arse off by taking your shoes off at the door- (for WHAT?! So little Sebastian doesn't get dirt on him?) You will be sitting uncomfortably in class with your stretched out crap maternity bra and your muffin top squished outward to look more like a bundt cake top and all this won't matter a bit because 1) you are freezing  2) topping off this hot mess you are now depressed and aredepressing everyone else. Why you ask? Because Mom, your holy socks are a reminder. An urgent reminder and extension of your life not being your own any longer. Of you only combing one side of your hair because that's how much time you had to get ready. Of you not having a blessed moment to fully empty your bladder. You, in short order, will have spread this realization like a contagion, leaving you hovering on the brink of tears. All this because right at that moment of realization you loving gaze at little Sabine and Sebastian and they look bloody fantastic! Their socks are plushy and sans holes. They have the cutest stinkin' outfit on and every hair is coiffed like a hair team came in. You on the other hand, you have toothpaste down the front of your shirt and holes on your feet. Yes, your children are a miracle and your greatest happiness. This we know. But my long winded point is this Mama: you have to put the oxygen mask on first before your child's. Get yourself a good pair of socks for class, sweet girl. It's a world spinning on it's axis correctly kinda thing.

Rule #2
Screw that laundry! Throw it in a big pile in your backyard and set it on fire!

OK, maybe a tad extreme with the last part but heed my warning!
Nothing will ever suck the life out of you like a vampire on crack than laundry. Nothing. (Don't argue with me, it's true!) There are two very important points about this rule: 1) Don't forget that you put a load of whites in the washer lastMonday. 2) DO NOT PUT THE LAUNDRY TO FOLD ON YOUR BED. Hey Sister, I know what your motivation is: “if I put this here I will HAVE to fold it before I go to bed!! Hahaha! I am so smart!” Um, no, no you are not. For the simple fact that it is now 11:45 pm and you are swearing (too loud I might add) about how it is ON THE BED (“what lunatic would put this here?!”) You need to sleep. Like, now.

Rule #3
Do not say yes to anything more than your day to day responsibilities (anything outside of keeping the kids alive and work deadlines gets a big NO!)

DON'T CARE that everyone else seems to wake up with birds sweetly chirping around them as they change diapers-make breakfast-pack lunches-write a proposal-make 100 cupcakes-take out the dead ant farm-run their company andthen head up the bake sale, school raffle, teacher appreciation and school car wash so Sabine can get new pom poms for cheer leading! YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE THIS PERSON! (It needs to be said that I am very, very happy/grateful these people exist for my own selfish mental health and well being) but to everything a season right? It ain't your season. Survive the day and go get that laundry out of the washer. Everything else is gravy.

Lastly, Rule #4 which is a “do” rather than a don't. Sorry for the false advertising, but I was drinking to recover from not following rules #1,2,3. Oopsy!
Please, dear ones, take a shower. Do not be like me who went days without one because there just wasn't any time. I know you are weary, I know you want to shank someone, but please, do this for yourself. Just like your own Mom said to you, you will feel better afterward. You don't need to recreate the PBS 1900 house show with their weekly baths (I cried with empathy during that part) just get in and lock the door. But don't take your Big Gulp wine glass in there with you- that's an accident waiting to happen, trust me. Do shower. If not for people starting to talk, but because you will have to do more laundry; like sheets because you are leaving a grime impression on them.

So. Many. Rules. So much life-filling wonderful craziness. Try and remember every six months or so or as a daily mantra; Oxygen masks on first, sweet Mama's.

Andrea Ardito is a freelance writer from Portsmouth NH who with her three kids did does all the things she is telling you not to do. But hey, if you can't be a good example you can always be a horrible warning, right?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Whoop--ee....I think.

So, yes, they are back in school and I am back to my 16 cups of tea before 6:30 am and it's nice to be able to breathe for a moment and not attend to or wipe anything after 8:30 am. BUT I kinda... miss them....

The noise (yelling) the lazy days, the moments of sibling care (few but there) I miss that. Already.

 Now we are headlong into paperwork and pretend smiles on the playground. Back to adjusting and hurried pace. Back to realizing that even though we may be going into this school routine for the 1st time or the 15th time, time is fleeting and somehow we need to appreciate the paperwork, unconscious mornings and tantrums over hair elastics. And even though I said I would never be one of those people who tell you to "cherish every moment" here I am with my liar-liar-pants-on-fire wardrobe. We are going to blink and snow will be falling, Spring will be swooning and we will then have our toes in the sand. We will meet in this back to school place once again with our droopy everything and try to catch time with an insect net. So go grab that extra tea and join me in a moment of thanks. It's OK if you bitch the moment after. That's allowed :-)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Wahoooo here we go! Yes, I know I am delusional thinking rainbows are coming out of my kids bottoms because it's Summer! No more school with the 17,000 end of the year field trips and teachers gifts and the terror of packing lunch. By the end I wanted to hand them a fruit roll up and a twenty and ask "are we good?"  But now, now we are off a schedule and we are going to be so very, very happy together! Days at the beach! Library time! Catching fireflies! Blueberry picking! Bring it!!! Right?! Right????!

For some reason I never learn. Like smashing my head into concrete again and again I think each year will be different. I get to day two of beach time ( I don't want to go-it's boring-she threw sand at me-I'm hungry!) to blueberry picking (it's hot-we have been here, like, forever-he's eating all the blueberries!) and everything in between. It goes on and on until everyone is yelling and I want to drink my way through the day.

Adjustment. That's all it is. Like we tell our kids, emotions pass, this is will pass.

What a crock of crap.

 Like the days of spit up and poop-up-the-back diapers we will feel the length and hot searing heat of these Summer moments until bright crisp September rolls around. And we will dance in the kitchen (as we make that first non-fruit roll up lunch with a love note enclosed!) We will lament as we watch them leave the house for school and remark on how much we will miss them. Funny enough that lasts about 13 minutes....

But I digress. Stick with it Peeps. Summer is built for those light bulb bugs and sleeping in. You will be as tired as a ninety year old at the end of the day and that will be great. Grit through your teeth how "we don't TALK TO EACH OTHER THAT WAY!!" and laminate the house rules that no one but you will read. Do soak in those moments of laughter. The tiny minutes of silence. The smell of beach on their skin. The gift of parenthood that we have been given for such a brief time.

And if that doesn't work try rum. That'll work. Definitely.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

I'm digging in my garden. It's that time of year. Thinking of Mom and wanting to bring this post out into the light of day again....

Motherless child

May is a hard time for me. Mother's Day rolls around and I'm a bit twitchy, there is a definite edge in the air. Even though the torch has been passed to me in celebrating the day, it always goes back to my own Mother. How could it not? Like the nightlight we forget to turn off in the morning, she's always there in the background.

I lost my Mother 16 years ago to cancer. Lost is such a funny word in describing death don't you think? Like she went into the grocery store with me and just wandered off. With so many years passed and so much having happened in those years it feels like my life is truncated into two parts: my childhood with her and the beginning of my adult life. That's a really strange compartment. Comparable to playing in the sand one minute to having a house on it the next.

She missed so much. She will never know my husband, the man who transformed the way I love. She will never look into my children's eyes. She will never see them come into the world, never hold them, never comb their hair. Never be part of any Christmas or Birthday, never again ring in the new year. She will not see the radiant smiles walking down the aisle, not laugh at the antics of my Dad. All this I know. I wear the finality of it like a coat. There is nothing to be done with it but sit with it and invite it to the table; less painful than having it linger by the door.

I feel less alone now than when my kids were babies. So many nights wondering: is this normal? /did I ever have a rash like that?/was she as exhausted-elated-exhausted as I am? I'd watch my friends Mum's with that look in their eyes- bottomless love, enchantment, that buffer; how they would relish their time; the tender lessons only a Grandmother can teach.
I could do many things but I could not trace her footprint in their lives.

I'll say it. I'll say it out loud. I felt cheated.

Gradually though and with much inner destruction, I realized not all paths were meant to be ours.

The ouch of it all did ease with my husband's Mother. She was not my Mom but she loves her Grandkids. My heart melts every time she plays Crazy eights with them. Isn't that funny? Crazy eights. Who knew that would be what dulls the ache. My kids are surrounded by people who love them. My Dad's wife dotes on them like they were her very own. It's enough. We all pretend it fills the cup that is cracked. We put napkins on the floor to cover the drip. It's enough.

So now May comes around and I garden. I dig and plant and arrange and concentrate. I clean my house. I fold my laundry. I write. I smile during the Spring tea's at school and love my homemade cards. And every year I silently say the only prayer I can muster; Happy Mother's day Mom.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hippity hoppity here comes Mommy losing her marbles

It needs to be stated that I am one of those people who should never have a medical 'signs and symptoms' dictionary in her house, nor ever click unto Web MD. I will think I am dying of every disease, just days away from perishing. I believe it's important to own your neurosis.

So it comes as no surprise that I would panic tremendously when during mid-yell at the teenage daughter I stumble over my words- ME, Italian-Irish girl- having a problem getting out rapid fire retort to her snark. I tell myself (before the dysfunction takes hold) that I have many things on my mind and that even though I have always struck with lightening verbal speed, this is normal. I have many reasons for my falter. She was upsetting my zen flow. I was looking for my chapstick. I was interrupted buttering my toast, which as we all know, takes great mental effort and clarity!

Within moments though, the crazy settles in. I have dementia. Early onset Alzheimer's. I am having a stroke.

Even teenage daughter tells me I am off my game. I do not like to be off my game.
Two glasses of wine later (red as it improves cardiovascular health and memory!) I accept the real, very unglamorous truth: I am not 28 anymore.

I can no longer:

1) Stay up all night (without wanting to commit homicide the next day)

2) Wear 6 inch heels (my back can barely manage 3")

3) Drink in the afternoon (I will fall asleep)

4) Tolerate asshat (it's a turning 40 thing)

5) Give my time to asshats (see above)

6) Pretend I like Parent Open Houses (My face hurts from pretend smiling)

7) Wear bras without padding.(see #4)

So life changes. So maybe I'm not as spunky as I used to be. So what? There are still PLENTY of things I can do.

The "can" list:

1) Wear a miniskirt and still look appropriate (I know my days are numbered, shut up!)

2) Remember any lyric from 1985-1993 (it's just after that time that gets a bit fuzzy)

3) Say no when I need/want to (it's a 40's thang)

4) Dream of what I want to be when I grow up (late bloomer)

5) Be kind to asshats (if I uttered 'stick it' I would know Dementia was a real possibility)

6) Still do a shoulder stand in yoga (it may hurt for three weeks to turn my head but I can still do it!!)

7) Laugh at myself (especially in mid-yell to teenage daughter)

So it's humbling. You try to banish the fear and let family know that you won't have an answer to everything and you will forget what word to say next; not from memory loss but because your brain is filled with so MANY moments/memories/to do's that it's hard to contain it all. And that is OK. It's evolution Baby!

So feel like you are having a stroke but then remember more likely you are just having a life.

Monday, February 4, 2013


The other morning I ran in 10 degree weather. I ran out and then back in for another layer. I ran along cursing silently as my face (the only naked part of me exposed) started to freeze. As I was contemplating the best treatment for frostbite, I started to wonder if I was really meant for this NH weather. My answer is no. My answer is that in my head I am meant to live as a  free guest of St. Maartin my entire life and that every time I feel stressed I just climb up my own private coconut tree and while throwing down a coconut (which I will drink from) I will take in the view.
Does anyone else want to throw something at the T.V. when the Key West commercials come on? Who are these people??!! On the beach, laughing, holding hands, KAYAKING! How dare they!!! They don't have frozen hair! They don't have to stand out on the arctic playground for what seems like centuries waiting for their children to come out! They don't even have children! And if they do, they are so busy making sandcastles they don't even ask for a snack!

Every year it is like this. The heart of Winter. And every year instead of getting all introspective and zen-like, slowing down and 'hybernating my spirit' I rail against it like a leopard in a cage. February is the longest month of the year. Don't argue with me because it will not be safe for you. I don't care about the 28/29th day thing. Us cold-living people want out come February. Our skin is all pale and cracky. We can't get out of bed, nor do we want to when it's 17 degrees out. Our cars whine. Our kids whine. And yes I am whining. And ready to cut the Groundhog for promising something that will not be delivered soon enough for me: An early Spring.

Take heart peeps, throw kleenex boxes at the commercials for therapy and cross off the days. We will get through this together. Oh, and drink. In my imaginary St. Maartin world they say rum makes the time go by faster.