Tuesday, September 11, 2012


One of my sweetest memories from childhood was my Saturday morning ritual.  My mom would let us sleep in a little later, and, of course, we knew we would have to get all our chores done before we could go out anywhere, but first we could sit around leisurely to watch our favorite Saturday shows; the cartoons!  I would get up and make myself some breakfast, consisting of lightly toasted bread, buttered first and then slathered with grape jelly, accompanied by a nice cold glass of milk. Naturally, I would eat this in the kitchen because my mom did not allow us to have food or drinks on the carpeting.  In hindsight, I realize she had good reason for this particular rule, because I always put an awful lot of jelly on that toast.  After breakfast though, it was time to plunk down in front of the television to watch my favorite shows of the week.  I let our children do the same, but, even by the time they were growing up, the offerings were never as entertaining as the ones that I viewed as a child.
Today's cartoons truly fall short, in my opinion, compared to the ones that I watched back in the days when I was young.  "The Flintstones, "Mighty Mouse" and "The Jetsons," made such an impression on me, that I can still sing the theme songs from every single one of them, along with a bevy of others! I liked the way they were animated and I liked the lighthearted stories that they told. They were silly and fun, and I relished every moment of them.  Sadly, I can never find any reruns of those classics, because, if I did, I would be willing to put off all my "grown-up" Saturday morning chores, make some butter and jelly-bread toast, and watch them all over again with the same enthusiasm I had as a child.
Another ritual that I sorely miss is watching all the animated Christmas cartoons, along with the family, when they were aired right before the holiday.  "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "Magoo's Christmas Carol" were shows I looked forward to every year, and knowing that if you didn't allot time for them in your schedule you wouldn't be seeing them for another whole year made them all the more precious and important to watch.  I even treasured the "Dolly Madison" commercials that were always shown during "A Charlie Brown Christmas, but not at any other time of the year in my area. Those commercials, somehow, made the shows more memorable to me because Charlie Brown specials were the only times when I saw them.
Today, of course, those shows are still aired but they are shown multiple times; somehow making them feel less special than they did in the past.  Also, with the advent of videos and the DVD, the need to set aside time to watch the shows together was no longer necessary.  I remember a time when I was watching a video with my daughters when they were small, and, as was their usual custom, they asked me to play it over again after it had finished. I mentioned that when I was a child we didn't have videos, so they asked me how it was possible to rewind them that way.   I explained that we couldn't, and, not only that, we could only watch the shows when they happened to be on television; they were not available whenever we wanted!  Their faces showed the evidence of both their pity and astonishment.
In retrospect, I think maybe our way was better.  Not having something whenever we wanted it made it all the more precious and exciting to us those times when we did. I think the fact that today that is no longer the case, leads children to continuously expect instant gratification, because more often than not, that is exactly what they get! In any case, I miss those shows shown once before the holidays, and, of course, those delightful Saturday morning cartoons.  Sponge Bob is alright...but he will never compare to Fred Flintstone....sigh.  Blessings, Amycita 

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Last year, my husband and I decided we needed to have some work done on our house.  With the three oldest daughters out on their own now, and Olivia at college for most of the year, it seemed like an ideal time to give our house a little update.  Olivia was just four when we first moved out here, the twins were 10 and Holly was 13, so the fifteen years that ensued were busy ones, that were filled with a parade of friends, pups, cats, fish, parties, sleepovers and school projects, (not to mention a few of my cooking disasters or the couple of floods in the basement) so the house was in definite need of a "little sprucing up." Since Dave was exhausted from having been working six days a week to pay for all of the aforementioned, as well as the groceries, clothes, mortgage, vacations and college fees, too, we decided to hire a contractor to help us with the job. The plan was to have the whole house painted, an upstairs bathroom remodeled and new flooring to be put in throughout the house, but, somehow, along the way, two more bathrooms, the laundry room and the kitchen ended up being remodeled, as well. The project took many months, and the fact that our marriage survived intact speaks volumes about our tenacity.
Each day I would return from work, excited to see what new transformation would greet me, beyond the dust and mess.  My unabashed enthusiasm often amused the workers, as I would expound, at great length, about the beauty of drywall or hug the new laundry tub, which came with a retractable hose AND towel rack!  We muddled through our absence of a working sink in the kitchen, and the loss of my favorite curling iron (which I still haven't located amongst the many items that remain in the 10,000 boxes, still unpacked, in the basement) until, finally, after months of work, the job was completed. The house looked more lovely than I could have ever imagined and the only thing left to be done (other than unpacking those pesky boxes) was to buy a new kitchen table and some furniture for the family room...that was almost two months ago and I still have not completed these tasks.
Since July we have been without a kitchen table, which one would think would spur me on to make a quicker decision, but, not only do I hate shopping, the ability to go online offers far too many choices.  One site alone brags that it has over 7400 tables to choose from!!  Are these people crazy??  I get exhausted just thinking about looking at 7400 tables, much less choosing one!! And what if I choose one and then see it cheaper on a different site that offers 7400 tables??  Not only will I hate myself, but, more importantly,  I will have been forced to have looked at 14,800 tables!!!!!  So, I am left with the only sensible thing to do....eat off of my brand new kitchen counter for the remainder of my life, or until they offer me less choices.
Blessings, Amycita...and here are a few pics of the project. :]

Monday, September 3, 2012


As a child growing up in Detroit a staple of my youth was our annual trip to the small town of Romeo each fall. Surrounded by an abundance of orchards, it provided an opportunity for one to pick their own apples or peaches, purchase fruit pies still warm from the oven, or savor the taste of some freshly made apple cider.  It was an event I always anticipated, even though as a child, the trip seemed to take so long that I always felt as if we were driving to the end of the earth. Fifteen years ago, my husband and I were looking for a new home and we decided that "the end of the earth" would be a charming place to raise our four beautiful daughters. It turned out we were right, but making the transition from city life to country life has brought us countless surprises.
One thing I discovered early on, but somehow, always seem to forget each year, is that our small town loves a parade!  Annually, on Labor Day weekend, our town hosts the "Romeo Peach Festival"; paying homage to all those orchards that so many of  us as young Detroiters, visited as children.  The festival runs from Thursday afternoon until Monday evening, and along with craft shows, Bed Races, a carnival midway, and the very popular "Beers Around the World" attraction, it also provides, not one, but FOUR parades for the literally thousands of visitors that grace our town that weekend.  On Sunday evening following the bed races, the "Festival of Cars" begins. This is a parade for anyone who happens to be a classic car aficionado; providing a plethora of beautifully restored vehicles for viewers to admire.   (This is also an event, which my friend, Lori Lemanski Cetlinski, was a proud participant of this year!)  Immediately afterwards is the "Night Parade," in which participants decorate their trucks or floats with Christmas lights, illuminating the night's sky, and lending a feeling of enchantment to the evening's festivities. Bright and early Monday morning is the "Children's Parade,"  which is the precursor to the main attraction, "The Peach Festival Floral Parade."  All of the parades provide wonderful entertainment and fun for all ages to enjoy... except if you are not attending them, and are merely trying to get to your house which happens to be on the other-side of the parade route.
My first summer as a resident I took my family with me when I ran to the store, unknowingly doing so, right before the Floral Parade was about to begin.  A few minutes later, when attempting to return to our house which is just off of 32 mile road and west of Van Dyke, I quickly ascertained that every avenue that I normally utilized to take home was now blocked by a parade of enormous proportions, and I was not familiar enough with the area to figure out a way around it.  With no other option available, I did what any sensible person would do; I parked the car and asked the family if they wanted to watch a parade!  We did so... for the next two and a half hours.
Last night, fifteen summers later, I did the same thing.  I was returning from visiting my daughters and quickly realized I had not factored in the evening parades.  I know my way around town now though, so I decided upon a little more circuitous route, one that would help me to bypass the festivities.  As I waited at the stop sign that would allow me to cross over Van Dyke and provide me access back to my  house, I was entertained by a large group of townsfolk who had been walking-participants in the parade and were sporting Sumo Wrestling costumes as they waddled across the street, in front of me.
"Only in a small town," I thought to myself, with a delighted smile on my face.
Peach Festival is not the only occasion during which parades have forced me to take the time to pause to reflect upon one of life's "unexpected moments." The high school that I live across the street from has an annual homecoming parade, during which the street is closed off to allow students to march down it together, in anticipation of the big game.  I watch them wistfully, as I remember my own years of high school, at Osborn High, back in Detroit, recognizing that this special time of life is often, far too fleeting. Then there is the "Christmas Parade," which I happened upon last year on my way home from  a meeting at work.  This was one occasion when I was lucky enough to have had food in the car with me, which afforded me the pleasure of just sitting back and partaking of my repast, as I enjoyed the parade that was passing before me.
Small town life is always full of surprises; whether it is the high school band marching down my street while practicing for the fall's big games, or the deer outside my back window, making its way through my subdivision on its way to some unknown destination. Life in this place has a way of making you slow down to enjoy the journey a little bit more...which is something we all should do more frequently, regardless of where we may live.   Blessings, Amycita