Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I Get Knocked Down But I Get Up Again

I Get Knocked Down But I Get Up Again

It has been many moons since I have done anything blog worthy.  Yesterday I may have outdone myself. Once again, it involves a fall.  

Yesterday was a particularly beautiful sunny day.  Grabbed the cart and

headed to the center to run errands and soak up the day.  I must have been full of myself, perhaps even thinking I was pretty Euro.  I mean I have a cart that has a few miles on it.

It is no secret that I am a fast walker and Marty walks like a slug.  For the love of God for a man that can bike for days, he walks like a toddler.  I am sure I had some earworm* which distracted me from keeping track of one foot in front of the other.  Somehow my right foot got tripped by the wheel of the cart. 

This depiction is the opposite of exaggerating...I am downplaying most of the details:

My knees hit first, the cart flies and only stops as I land on my hands and catch it. But only the cart stops as I continue to flip over and land on the historical cobblestone streets of Antwerp.

Like with any fall I write about, you are more than welcome to take time for a visual and laugh.  For the record, I cried.  And then I laughed really hard. 
So typical of me to start the spring/summer season off with scabby knees.  This confirms that I am not so Euro and also that there is always a high percentage that I will be wearing denim at any given moment.

Textile Alert:  Despite lululemon getting a bad rap for the pills, and see though backside, I can confirm that the knees held up during this incident.

It would be important to note that many people saw this and in Flanders style, pretended that they didn't.  

I continue to rack up the pictures for the future publication of cartwheels and spills across the world.

Yes these all seem to involve alcohol but NO they are not all mine. I still blame long arms and man hands that I have genetically acquired. (and  maybe a lot of adhd)

We have just completed our 6th year abroad and our second in Belgium  How can that be possible?

1.  a catchy song or tune that runs continually through someone's mind

Monday, December 2, 2013

Out of the Mouths of my Babes

Out of the Mouths of My Babes

1995 was a huge year for us.  I spent lots of $ and energy trying to get my daughter into the only school in Delaware that had all day kindergarten.   Yes, it was a Catholic school. Yes, we had to give to the building fund.  Yes, there was Catholic guilt involved.  But it ended up that God won.  After all the effort, time, and what little money we had to make sure she had all day kindergarten, the joke was on us.  December of that year Marty took a position outside of Atlanta and we moved to Peachtree City GA.  It was an ideal place to live with miles of golf cart paths and amazing schools.  Schools that took the time to have children write their own stories, print and bind them with your child's illustrations.  Charming, right?  Kate's story at 5. (and I am pretty sure I am not paraphrasing.)
My dad is the boss at work (picture a desk with a man behind it with nothing other than a pen), My mom is the boss at home. (picture nice lady in front of the house).  All good so far?  Third page.  And she has fake fingernails. The drawling is me with nails longer than my fingers.  

This is not how my nails looked , but how I thought they looked when Kate drew them for her teacher.  Hey!  It was 1996 and it was Atanta.....When in Rome.  

Forward November 2013.  My mother is cleaning out her parent's home that is being sold soon.  She stumbles upon an email that I wrote to my Granny when Maddy was in Kindergarden CCD.... (think Catholic Sunday School).  It was during Easter.  The question was if Jesus walked into your house right now what would everyone do.  Maddy's answer is as follows:
If Jesus walked into my house right now my sister would faint and fall on the floor.  My mother would be so excited she would not be able to talk (now you know for me that is excitement). My dad would think he was a stranger because he does not know what Jesus looks like.  My nana would be so excited that she would ask him if he was hungry or thirsty. And my Papa would say, "holy cow!  it's Jesus!"

I love that this memory was preserved by my Granny in her china cabinet and until my mother retrieved it I would not have remembered the story.  My Granny continues to talk to me.

I am 8 1/2 weeks outside of surgery.  I am feeling great.  Not 100% but loving not being in pain seems like a gift.

The Christmas season is on in Flanders.  The story of Sinter Klaus still amazes me.  Nothing like a man in hat that resembles a KKK hat walking with black faced Zwarte Peits. 

Please, if you have the time read this essay by one of my favorite essay writers, David Sedaris, called 6-8 Black Men 


It explains it as only an American can see it.


I was whistling the Lodes song Royals.  Marty thought I was whistling Baba Black Sheep.  Either I am a bad whistler or Marty does not have a clue of new pop culture.

Headed back to the village for the holidays.  Our girls from 3 states will converge in Dewey.

We will miss our caroling in WS this year but the Ralston/Thomas family are committed to bringing it back next year!

Here are some of my favorite memories.

If you are invited to a tacky Christmas attire party, try to top us.  Greg as the crazy Uncle Eddie from Christmas vacation, Sharon's skirt, that she made sang Elvis songs, I am a present and Marty's sweater lit up on the back.

My family dressed in Circle in a Square. Thank you Andrew Dickenson for making holidays the best!

My yaya friend, Sharon 2012.  
Antwerp is getting ready.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

The good, I am on the road to recovery.  I am 3 1/2 weeks out of surgery and continue to make some strides.  Not going to lie, the trip abroad has left me physically exhausted in addition, to the regular jet lag.  (Doc says 8-18 months....I say I was slinging babies after 1 week with c-sections...no time for that)

The surgeon gave me the goods to get across the ocean but I needed to groom up before I came back.  

I am not sure what was longer the hair on my legs, my head or my chin. Most Amish men, once married, grow their beards out and no longer shave.  I say the same thing happens to Catholic women.  I made Marty have a pact with me that if I was ever in a nursing home that he must PLUCK my chin....not shave it and this may even have to be a bigger vow than marriage itself.  He can pay someone to do it but I do have some standards.

As it turned out, Madeline was on fall break after my surgery.  There are many things that she isn't but one thing that she is....a great daughter....she plucked my chin!  I almost think she liked it.

In full disclosure,  this is not me.

Has anyone used the new NO-NO hair remover?  Might have to invest.
Most reviews say no no.

Good: Check
Ugly: Check

The Bad.  I am giving everyone the okay to laugh at the end of this bad but not until you have at least 10 seconds of OMG.  
I woke up last night after about 4 hours sleep to go the bathroom.  In my mind I was still In Dewey.  I go into the bathroom to do my business and back into the toilet...a normal night pee.  But I wasn't in Dewey, I am in Antwerp with a total different layout.  So I am backing up and backing up and I fell into the bath ....wait for it... (How i Met Your Mother Barney style)...tub! I fell full on into the bathtub. I cut my back on the fixture and for drama purposes I will add a minor concussion from banging my head (could be true based on the knot) and a for certain bruise will be appearing soon on my ass.  Okay now say OMG and give me the curtesy of the 10 seconds ...now you can laugh.  At 4 AM this made me cry.  At 10 AM with a coffee in hand delivered by Marty, I allowed him to laugh.  I am sure I will laugh eventually at that but I am actually laughing at the lady with the beard.  This could have been serious, I'm sure...I guess I should have left that FALL RISK bracelet on.

I continue to get so much love and concern.  I am one lucky chick.

Attended a Halloween function at the Starboard with my neck brace on last weekend.  People actually touched my neck and asked if I came as an accident victim. OW.

I have made a huge cross over....I enjoy a glass of wine. (Don't worry I am still a vodka girl)

Kate Thomas has been a real working girl for a year now in Columbus at Abercrombie and Fitch/Hollister ....her dog Koda has made their instagram page twice with combined 70,000 likes.  Here she is with a few Halloween looks, lady, bug, lit pumpkin necklace, cat women, skeleton....(Wonder why I hear things like..."Mom, I don't have any money?")

Finally, Katie Ralston found the words for me why I never ever have to explain why I love cheeze-itz.  Click the link below.

20 REASONS (click on this)

 I am certain my Holiday Merriment will be out soon.  And Don't forget Hanukkah is early this year....Nov 27...get those candles!  And a special shout out to Hannah Dobie and her new home in WS....Happy Diwali!

Peace.  Your non editing, friend.

Friday, October 11, 2013


Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

Surgery talk later but home again, home again!  Thank all of you at Woody's; employees and locals, alike for all your well wishes and thoughts.  I am looking forward to what I don't even have to ask for when I sit down.  It should be called the Bootsie.  This picture gave a friend of my mother's pause when he saw it wondering if she were ill.  So let it be known to all the land.....
While I am called Bootsie, Boots, Boo, Aunt Bootsie, Aunt Boo (mostly by my niece's and nephew's friends which is pure heart love), Theresa, Terri, Flag Lady, Little Man, and some people call me Maurice 'Cause I speak of the pompitous* of love, just added that because it made me laugh, I was born Theresa Marie aka Theresa Boutin Thomas. My mother has been called Bootsie since she has been 5...how she ended up marrying a Boutin gave her the best name ever.  Who wouldn't want to be Bootsie Boutin?

*Get this, I looked up the lyics, because I thought it was "prophecies" of love.  Being a little bit Miley I was all like...I need a wordsmithizzle.  "In 1954, Vernon Green of the Medallions wrote a song called "The Letter" in which he used the words "puppetutes of love", a combination of "puppets" and "prostitutes". A puppetute was a woman of your fantasies who would do anything you wanted. Steve Miller, who sometimes imported words from other songs (including his own) into his lyrics, misheard the word as "pompitous" or "pompatus" and added "pompitous of love" and "pompatus of love" to his songs. (urban dictionary since it is not a real word, duh)"

When people ask me my age I usually add 5-8 years older.  Why?  Cheaper than face work and most always people will say, "Oh my goodness, you look so young for your age"  Well at 54 telling you I look 60 may be the truth.  I am wearing a purple nightgown...haven't done that since I have been 11 (with no underwear I might add) , I have a big hair/I don't care do, and I drank coffee out of a straw this morning.  And this is the bracelet that I left with.  There are many that know that I am a fall risk in general (Dewey Beach Scavenger Hunt 2013).  But this may make it official.

The whole process of surgery is barbaric.  They knock you out, cut you with a knife, take stuff out of you and tell you to leave in 24 hours. And they did this work on your spine.  Last words the Doctor said as he said see me in surgery...the neurologists and I have never see one of these...read about them,  but this is a really interesting case.  YEAH cut it out of my 
f---ing back for a practice try.  Amazingly, the excruciating pain that I have had most of the summer is completely gone.  They forgot to mention the pain on the other side is just as bad.  Marty, was a trooper.  Jet lagged and tired he was up delivering me at 530 am for surgery.(Who does serious surgery that early?) Sat through hours of me sleeping, cleaned up my first cup of coffee after one sip and was at my beck end call.  My girls were wrecks..okay, Maddy was worried Kate was a wreck and Hail Maryed herself to sleep with a picture of me and her by her bed.  Love Dr Puppy sent by my girls.  Notice stethoscope, medical bag, and head mirror.

                                            This is just more evidence I look 60.

I have received so many well wishes for surgery and recovery...by phone, email, cards, but this yummy funny one was sent by 2 of my favorite sistas of the mountain from Lugano.  Colleen and Di.  It made me cry feeling the love but laugh harder.  You have to love a friend who has an empty oxycodone bottle around.

I am feeling better being in my own bed with my special dietary needs.  Sorry, Sharon guessed first what my first delight was.

cheese-itz and a diet coke

I was also greeted with this lovely sign from family.  Playing on something we said every time either we saw someone stumbling, sleeping during the day, seeing the walk of shame etc ....#somepeoplejustcanthandledewey.  It seemed so appropriate.

I have been particularly emotional from all the people who have reached out to me.  It has come as much needed healing....you see it will be weeks before vodka is on the menu.  So cheers from a diet coke. And humbling as well, although it is really easy to hit like when you are stalking people!

And one last thing.  Yes I did watch the the most recent say goodbye to Finn episode today.  For someone that is pre menopausal, has a 6 inch incision down her spine, its raining, Marty just left and I'm on vicodin ....that just set me up for a headache from crying for an hour.  RIP Finn Hudson.

Friday, October 4, 2013


Pain in the ASS or Pain in the Neck

Please pretend to think how pretty I am just to make me feel better....but check out my post September tan.

So much has happened to me this summer and for those of you that know me well it takes a lot to slow me down.  If asked to do most things I am VERY impulsive (yes ADHD related) and rarely say no (whether it is fun, easy, hard, against the law....up to and including jaywalking and talking on my phone in the car)....but I rarely say no.  For the past few months I have had to say no more than I would like.

I pretend to be a blogger but rarely have the words to be witty enough to do it on a regular basis, but thought I would take this forum to inform and be clear what is going on with me. I know I tend to exaggerate, but this is a true number I have been to the doctor or related appointments 50 times (-11...was kind of exaggerating ).  General Practitioner, Orthopedic Doc, chiropractor, dentist, medical massager, Dermatologist  Surgeon, blood work, MRI and 3 times to the Emergency Room since June 19.    

First and for most for my friends who have followed my head horn which has already been removed 3 times.  Insert here from Di Roe.... I can see your horn  you need to cover it up with your hair.  It grew back again and this time a specialist had to go in and remove scar tissue.   Everyone can now pause and gag.    Done gagging?  It should not return.  

After X-rays and non invasive procedures to relieve pain in back and arm a MRI has determined that I have Cervical Stenosis and a cyst that is pushing in-between my c6 cnd c7 vertebrae. (Thank goodness for spell check as I do not think I have ever spelled vertebrae correctly and have no clue if that is singular or plural).  The cyst is benign and I am scheduled for spinal surgery October 9.  Marty will get in on the 8th.  I am planning to be fine and ready to fly back to Antwerp on the 23.

Things about the previous few sentences.  Saying things like Cervical Stenosis and  c6/c7 vertebrae make me want to be an extra on Grey's Anatomy and I also think that the movie This is Spinal Tap is one of the best satirical films ever made.  

11! must be the loudest!

I cry and I cry a lot and have said many times to Marty that this has been a shitty summer.  He is always the pragmatic one and is the opposite of impulsive when replying to anything.  His response, "It has not been totally shitty." (fun when you can use the word shitty more than once in a conversation and it is a serious.) And you know?  He is right.  Thought I would share some less shitty moments.

still the flag lady
old people can still score!  2nd place scavenger hunt
starboard  2013 #team red white and boozie

                                                                                    still sing with the Seed

this really is my new car tag for my jeep

This June-Sept has been a time of joy and blessings welcoming Lucy Ann, William Brian, and Hayden Eliza to this world.  May they live to be as healthy and happy as my Grandmom Press who lived just 2 weeks shy of her 103rd BD.  I pray I have her good genes as she smoked and drank until the day she died. 


Just found a cold diet coke in the fridge and I have straws.  Big + for the day.

Orange really is the new black.

My hair is longer and grayer than it has ever been since I can't sit through a color/cut right now.  Marty asked me please not to look like a picture of me from 1985 that he thinks makes me look like a clone of Bette Midler 

Just bought a spanx turtleneck.....cant breath in it but I look great.

Brought 7 pairs of shoes with me to the beach this summer.  I have worn 2+ 1 pair of new Toms.

I have already bought my tickets for Firefly 2014....It was the best time ever.

Gave out 500 flags at the Starboard Running of the Bulls with the help of the local beach rat kids.

And I could not have gotten through this summer with my people  near and far but especially my near Red Tent people.  (Maddy must not have gotten the denim memo)

I continue to not reread or edit or let anyone proof read....forgive me for being me.

Peace and Blessings for a fine fall.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Red light, Green light

Red Light, Green Light

Have you ever played the game Red Light Green light?  I think about it every time I pass the Red Light District in Antwerp.  The picture above is the actual Red light in the Red Light District.  It is located between a few streets about 1/2 mile from where I live.  This you will love...within the district (and you can't make this up) is a street called  Oude Manstraat translation "Old Man Street".  Known as the Sailor's Quarters, the original district was for the sailors that would come into port.  This is the only area in Antwerp where prostitution is legal.  Much like Amsterdam, the ladies (for the most part) are in windows and scantily dressed.  I added "for the most part" because a friend and I cut through the district as a shortcut the other day. I am going to admit right now I am just too immature not to look......so I look and this lovely lady is sitting on a chair in her sexy little outfit and guess what she is not?  NOT a lady.....will let you use your own imagination how I knew.

I paid $45 dollars for an 8 1/2 pound turkey for Thanksgiving.  But where do you get a turkey in Belgium?  Naturally, in Chinatown.

This is a picture of Sinterklaas. (Short for St. Nicholas).  The arrival of Sinterklaas to town is a huge public event.  An event that Marty and I could not miss.  Sinterklaas arrives by boat after spending the off season in Spain (no North Pole for this guy)  Sinterklaas, a precursor to our traditional Santa Claus is part of the holiday events here in Belgium, Holland, and other low country areas.  He is the patron saint of children and on the eve of his birth, Dec 5 he comes and delivers presents to children in sacks that are left at their house. And of course, he has helpers.  This is where Marty and I had a jaw dropping experience. Once Sinterklaas comes off the boat to the applause of the town you notice that he is surrounded by some others known as Zwarte Piets.  Translation  Black Pete (s).  Now it is clear that Sinterklaas is not so politically correct...They were all blackfaced white men.  OMG....so uncomfortable.

The story goes that Black Pete was a slave of Sinterklaas and he freed him.  Black Pete was so grateful that he stuck around  (How funny that this bothered me but the man in girls clothing 1/2 naked in a window did not).  The Black Pete story evolved over time to say that he was actually a white man that got soot on him when he went down the chimney to deliver the sacks.  Sinterklaas travels around on a grey horse that flies....not what normal child would believe...everyone knows only reindeer fly.  It is also traditional for children to dress up on the arrival of Sinterklaas as a Black Pete.  

The town was electric, the children were delighted and we notched another euro event on our belts topped off with a cava (my new prosecco).


I think these are the bomb!  There is a large Hasidic Jewish community in the southern part of the city.

Are they not the hippest? They are called shtreimels.
from wikipedia:
"a shtreimel is a fur hat worn by many haredi Jewishmen, particularly (although not exclusively) members of Hasidic groups, on Shabbat and Jewish holidays and other festive occasions."

And so now I bring this chat full circle.....Red Light Green Light... how many of you played that game?  Mother May?  Swinging Statues, Tag...your it!...Hope that you did.

Here is a red light that you must obey.

It is hard for Americans to stay still.  Why would you wait if a car is not coming.  Because of the bike, car and pedestrian traffic in this city, not only is it important to stop when you see the red guy because you may be hit......there is also a 75 euro fine for crossing when it is not green.   That is $96.75 USD.

Hope you are bringing out your Holiday Merriment items....mine are out.

Wishing you all a Cool Yule!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

De Kunst Van Het Snijden Haar

De Kunst Van Het Snijden Haar

Curious? ...the translation is "the art of cutting hair" in Flemish.  And I am one that has had a fair share of experiences in the hair cutting arena.  I have had my haircut in 3 countries, several states and 3 languages. 4 if you count Fayetteville GA (think Honey Boo Boo Child, she lives 2 hours away).  And don't be hating the Boo Boo child....I love me some Honey Boo Boo.

It has become easier over the years to tell a new stylist how I would like my hair cut.  Along the way, Ellen Degeneres, Halle Barry and Rhianna have all sported my do...therefore, I have always been able to give a visual to the person doing my hair.  But that has not stopped me upon occasion ending up looking more like a man than woman and have more than once felt that the dye job left  me looking more like Elvis black than Julia Roberts brown/red.  And there was the time in NYC when the girl insisted blow drying AND flat ironing my 2 inch hair.

I, by chance, located an Aveda salon here in Antwerp.  Over the years and moves I have made, they still seem to deliver the most consistent talent and cut. My new guy Enrico, from France was my new best friend for a minute.  Loved him!  He understood completely that the day before I had taken my own scissors to cut my own hair...a little over the ears, a bit on the top and blindly I cut off (what in my mind) was a full blown mullet look.  WTH was I thinking? Once again my impulsivity ruled me.  But it was nothing a little hair wax could not take care of for the 24 hours that followed.   I love Enrico and I love my new cut.

Many of you will remember the Sesame Street, "One of These Things is Not Like the Other" song....for those of you who do not I have included this link:


Are you with me?

......take a look at the next 4 pictures.

So how did you do?  Did you guess which thing is not like the other?  Did you guess Ellen?  You're right Elmo.....she is BLONDE! (you did not think that I was going to say lesbian, did you?)

Wow..so much has happened since I last updated.  Kate graduated from college, Maddy graduated from HS, I lived in Dewey for the summer, moved Maddy to Chapel Hill, helped get Kate an apartment in Columbus for her new job at Abercrombie and Fitch headquarters, celebrated Sharon's 50th in 4 countries, had a pap, mam and colonoscopy all in 2 weeks.....clean as a whistle (it took all I could muster not to post the pics they gave me) and it has been a swift blurr of summer memories bouncing in and out of each other.

It would be unpatriotic of me not to mention so close to the election that I pretended to run for office in Dewey Beach this summer.  Why? Why not?  My "Bootsie for the Beach" made me laugh and for my birthday I decided to present myself with Bootsie for the Beach buttons...to the tune of 300+ buttons that I handed out (as always Marty was thrilled with my investment decision...).  What started out as a small joke became a daily venture as my posse of people gave out buttons and flags most of the summer to random people and took their pictures.  And in a valiant effort to outdo me, my expat girlfriends who moved back to the states, visited me in Dewey and actually had a flag made with my face on it.  (What did I run for?  Nothing and Irony.  I know I am a 53 year old with too much time.  It is okay to say that out loud and to my face).

This is just a smidge of the pictures. Sometime I will post a link to the others.

I rarely left my village this summer.  It was relaxing and for the first time in several years, the girls and I were under the same roof.  Marty made it for 2 weeks and Breana and crew made their annual beach vaca too.  Summer 2012 may be in the books but not far from my heart.  

I am glad to be back with Marty and dogs in Antwerp.  I look forward to exploring here in the land of Peter Rubens, master painter.  Fun fact?  He married a 16 year old girl after his first wife died....he was 52.  Big EW.  Lots to do and easy to get around here.  VISIT us.


I have not napped (other than on a moving vehicle which doesn't count because I have moving vehicle narcolepsy) in about a month.  Not sure what that means.  Could explain outbursts of crankiness.

Here is a store that we saw yesterday when walking around.  Did not feel a real urge to enter.

Today I went to a Sunday flea market and found these really fun old printing blocks.

And I am feeling especially Euro with my new shopping trolley.

I am reading "The Book of Mormon Girl" by Joanna Brooks.   A memoir of a girl struggling with the tenets of her faith.

  Da Da Da Da (translation...bye-bye bye-bye)  cracks me up every time I hear it.
peace and blessings from belgium.