Wedding by the Sea

What’s nicer than a family wedding on a Sunday in September?

When the sky is so blue

And the prelude is by Pachelbel



And even the view from the hotel room just lifts the spirits.

And then we have the bride and her father. Ah the bride and her father~!



Such a day is bound to be happy,


as folks stroll and play

And toast and yell and wave their spoons around …


And everyone claps the “May I present Mr. and Mrs.” moment…


And the dancing goes on for just hours.

Rainy Day Fun

I had the care of our little guys the other day, who because it was Rosh Hashanah and they had no school, arrived even before breakfast so their parents could get to work. I was going for a bacon and pancakes thing but the outside of our house is getting painted right now and suddenly I was told to run downtown for more paint. A sudden decision had been made to work inside, what with the rain, on the screened-in porch, which I had understood was not to BE dismantled and painted until 2012. But no? We were doing it now? And that meant we would have to move out the whole dining set and the wicker chairs and all 2,000 of my houseplants? NOW? 

No worries! replied the paint boss reassurringly. His men  would just shift everything from one half of the porch, paint that part, shift it back, paint the other half etc., which sounded fine to me. Then  Old Dave finally floated down the stairs at 8:30 all freshly showered and shaven and set to go to work and said “Oh no no. We’ll empty the whole porch for you right now, no problem.”  And in came every single thing out there, straight into the kitchen where my faint bacon-and-pancake project was stuttering along. Then a second painter showed up and set up a giant ladder to paint in the kitchen, another project I hadn’t seen coming, so that now all the little tables and the reading lamps and the 2,000 plants brought in from the porch to the kitchen had to be moved again, to the dining room. Suffice to day I could no longer even find the pancake-and-bacon fixings.

“Let’s go to the Pirate Museum and eat breakfast on the way!” I suggested to these grandsons of ours, a little desperate by now.

“Eh” they basically said to that idea.

“Well the zoo then?” I asked. But they didn’t want to go to the zoo either. “Well what would you like to do today?” I asked.

“Explore,” they said.

And so it happened. They spent the next two hours holed up in our bedroom  going through every last one of our drawers as they examined coins, old pocket watches, mismatched earrings…. “Is this valuable? What is this, TT,  and what is this? And oh I think this is gold!”

 I explained that none of it was gold but they were fascinated nonetheless. 

Then, much to my chagrin, they came upon something I’m pretty sure I myself hid back in 1985 under that pile of old sweaters: the cruelly shrill and primitive musical instrument known as “the recorder” which the mother of these two had taken actual lessons on when she was nine.

This is the recorder as played the other day by her oldest boy, who is seven:

And here it is in the hands of his little brother,  four:

In turn they each lifted it to their lips and blew: notes so ear-piercing it made my fillings hurt; sounds so shrill even they found them unendurable.

(These are people who appear to enjoy the instrument. They’re both deaf. 🙂

And so back we went to lying on the bed and examining cheap treasures from the 1940s.

Along toward noon we brought some nice hot lunch to Uncle Ed who is 90 and looked through all of his old treasures, then worked off some energy at MacDonald’s Play Pace and landed at last back at the boys’ house where Exploration is given free rein, parents being WAY more capable than grandparents at dealing with projects like this one, already well begun upon in their driveway by the time I said my goodbyes.  (Ahhhhh… youth!)


Color My World

A white lampshade is all well and good but if it proves to be TOO blindingly white then what do you?  Bad enough they’re coming after all our nice incandescent bulbs. Bad enough they’re all but forcing us to use that ugly new kind that’s shaped an alien’s antennae. Add to that a lampshade whiter than like the inside of your grocer’s dairy case and where are you? Where do you go then to get the mellow feeling you want in the sanctuary of your home?

Here’s what I do when I find myself with lighting that has me reaching for my sunglasses. I take that lampshade and I dye it, a nice shade of Dusty Rose generally. It’s a tricky thing to do, sure it is. If you submerge it for too long in your near-boiling bath of dye, the glue will loosen and the whole silky thing will start delicately dropping to the floor quicker than the gossamer raiment of a romance novel’s heroine.

You’ve got to just dip it in quick and pull it right out again and … But wait. Remember that old saying “I give you a fish and you’ll eat for a day. I teach you to fish and you’ll eat forever?” Let’s fix our sights on forever. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial so that you too can feel as empowered as that newly minted fisherman. Ready?

  • OK, Step One: Have a bunch of newspapers spread out on the floor with a flattened trash bag underneath it to receive the lampshade after you’ve dipped it.
  • Step Two: Pull on a pair of plastic gloves.
  • Steps Three: Fill your bathtub with about a foot-and-a-half scalding water.
  • Step Four:  Pour in your dye and stir the whole witch’s cauldron with a broomstick.  
  • Step Five: Take off your clothes (yep) do a deep-knee bend holding the shade sideways and quick reach down into the water, steadily spinning it to achieve an evenness of hue. Remember! Keep it in the water for no more than 30 seconds!
  • Step Six: Then, with one motion, hoist it out and onto your newspapers where it will dry in no time at all.
  • Step Seven: Contemplating that colorful rectangle of water, now ask yourself if you wouldn’t also like some underpants in this nice soft shade like the blush on a dogwood’s petals. Of course you would!
  • Step Eight: Go get a few pair and throw them in too.
  • Step Nine: Also a few pairs of your spouse’s if you have a spouse, to keep fun in the marriage.
  • Step Ten: Also any nighties of an uninspiring hue or and any white towels that have gone grey with time.

By the time I’m done with this process, those lampshades are just plain gorgeous. They look like they came straight out of a funeral-parlor-decorating catalog.

In fact everything around here has this lovely soft glow to it now, since I’ve pretty much dyed every lampshade in the place. If you walk by my house you’ll notice right away. If you come in you’ll see at once how flatteringly the light plays on your face. Instant makeover! Here look at this picture of the lamp in our bedroom, that’ll give you the idea. (Ignore the naked lady propped up in front of the TV; that’s something I set up to get a laugh our of David.)

Of course, the place looks cool not JUST on account of the dye-job lamp shades.  If they run low on pink light bulbs at my favorite hardware store I do another thing. I paint all my 100-watters pink.

But that’s a how-to story for another day….

You Need It

What you need when you’re off on vacation is what you need when you come home – what you need every day of your life in fact: Good company and the chance to think your own thoughts. The people of course are very key (and the more innovative their exercise styles the better)

And so is the peace.

E.T. Phone Home

ET phone homeNot sure what to do with steamy temps and rain due in later but playing dress-up comes to mind. Our little guys had such high fevers yesterday reports are they lay side by side in the parental bed like two strips of raw bacon, too limp for Sesame Street even. They were way better by last night though so might come over here today to complete their recovery at TT’s house. (I’m TT. And when I say ‘our little guys’ I mean my grandbabies.) If they were my own babies I’d have brought costumes right to their little sickbeds, propped ‘em up and taken pictures of them – or so it strikes me when I look at this old picture, of my own little boy Michael on his bed back in ’87, ably assisted by costume-master/big sister Annie. It’s the Marotta way! File another one under the category Exploiting the Defenseless: Even the Cat Covers His Eyes at the Shame of It!

abe hides his eyes

Rainy Day Fun?

dress-up 1913A rainy day like this reminds me of the spring I was ten, when, visiting our super-fun cousins in upstate New York, five of us came whining into the house to say we had nothing to do – at which point our extra-super-fun Uncle David smiled big and shouted “Why not go out in the yard and hang yourselves?”

Everyone loved Uncle David and especially his first cousin, my mom, who the world called Cal. While nervously working her way toward his casket in 1987, she suddenly exclaimed in real pain “He was my first friend!”

They were the same age, younger kids in their respective families of pushy older sibs. ‘Cal’ was shy, and naughty in secret ways (winging a rotten strawberry at the stately fanny of a passing matron) while her pal was publicly naughty (telling us all when they were both in their mid 70s how he used to get her to join him in peeing behind the ice house.)

Here’s a picture of their idea of rainy day fun anyway. Mom is the one on the right who looks like she’s just come from being punished, a pretty good bet. And Uncle Dave? The guy in the hood, of course, who went on to vaudeville and Hollywood, family life and years and years and years of community theatre.