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It was a dark and stormy night when my husband and I arrived in Cape May for a September vacation, so we didn’t do much gazing off into the distance as we unloaded what we needed to get to bed. The next night, Friday, the 13th as it happened, I was out on the front porch with a friend around 11 p.m. when we noticed  2 orange lights in the sky moving in tandem though not close enough to be on the same object. They headed west along the beach and then turned south over the ocean around Queen Street and soon enough disappeared. Mildly entertaining but hardly anything to talk about–until one of us noticed another orange glow coming low from the east and taking the same track as the other orange balls. And then another and another. Completely silent and steady. We called our other witnesses outside and speculated all sorts of things: something the Coast Guard base was doing, drone testing, UFO’s or a really meticulous wedding planner showing her stuff. The last was all mine.

We looked forward to the next evening with four more friends arriving to either make fools of us or be foolish with us. A little before 10 p.m. on Saturday, sure enough, the orange balls kept popping up to the east, silently coming towards our house before taking a left over the ocean to disappear–seemingly before they were so far away that we couldn’t possibly have seen them. I think we saw 8 that night over the course of 10 minutes. My usually shy and retiring husband went down the porch steps to accost some people walking along on the sidewalk with their backs to the show and they started pointing and blabbing along with us, wondering what the heck it was we were seeing. One of them had a good camera with a telephoto lens and took a shot, which my husband saw, that seemed to show that each orange ball was actually 2 separate lights. We talked about getting in the car to try to find the source of it–perhaps to Poverty Beach where we could glimpse the Coast Guard Station’s beach, but we were too lazy to do that.

This is not that photo.

aha!

Aha!

I wasn’t interested enough to do the research that one of our friends did. Somebody in 2010 noted a similar scene in Cape May and speculated it had something to do with the Electronics Support Group at the Coast Guard Training Center. I prefer the wedding planner scenario, imagining the rehearsal dinner guests and wedding guests on or near the beach oohing and aahing at the pretty lights in the nighttime sky.  We kept looking most other nights we were there, but didn’t see anything other than a beautiful full moon. When my husband and I walked to The Pier House for dinner one night, I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the light at Pittsburgh and Beach to send the friends who’d already headed home–not with the aliens–as far as I know.

Given that one of my most vivid dreams from childhood was of a traffic light near what is now the Heritage Motel in Cape May giving me lessons in how to walk on my heels, you would be within your rights to dispute the truthfulness of my earlier account. But I’d rather you just tell me what it was.

I wish I had something valuable to say. Instead I will have to settle for noting how odd it is that cleaning up one’s house, I mean really going into the bowels of drawers and files and cabinets, brings out the worst in me and more $2 bills than I’d ever expected.  You’d think TJ would get more respect, but nickels and $2 bills aren’t really impressing me. Sure you wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Statute for Religious Freedom and founded the University of Virginia, etc., etc., but what have you done for me lately? $6 bucks? I can find $43 in loose change without even trying.

Can't explain it.

Can’t explain it.

He wears it well!

David Rohrer of WPA Bakery wears it well!

Julia Child didn’t become a famous cook until her 50’s. I didn’t become a t-shirt mogul until 51. There must be a book and movie and television show there somewhere. In all of the writing I’ve done, who knew that 3 words: Capital of the Confectionery, would make my day–or at least our latest Real Richmond Food Tours t-shirt. I’ve seen one disparaging remark on Twitter–from someone who mistakenly thinks the phrase is showing pride in the other phrase most associated with Richmond that makes my skin crawl every time I read a lazy travel writer’s take on our fair city. Poking fun at all of that is my favorite part of all this–not to mention showcasing (on the back) some of our favorite bakeries and sweet spots that we stop by or utilize on our tours.

We eat it up!

We eat it up!

Besides online, the shirts are available at shops and bakeries around Richmond, including Fountain Bookstore, Quirk Gallery, Pearl’s Cupcake Shoppe, Shyndigz, World of Mirth, Very Richmond and the gift shop at the Richmond Convention Center on 3rd St. Wear it with the proper amount of pride in pie and cupcakes and in Richmond for being worthy of attention for a baker’s dozen of 21st century reasons.

Somewhere in the run-up to my 30th college reunion–which I did not attend–I received a survey to fill out from the alumni office. They’ve never lost me in all these 30 years, but they must keep hoping they have the wrong Maureen Egan (there were two of us in our class at Holy Cross) and figure eventually they’ll find the one who is a billionaire and wants to give it all back to the college. Keep trying.

Of course, they want to know what field people are working in. Under the self-employed spot–after the ones they’re really interested in–investment bankers, stockbrokers, doctors, lawyers–a couple of telling options popped up. There was freelance writer, where it belonged, which is one part of what I do. Right under it was an option I’d never considered and certainly didn’t expect it to have its own line: funeral director. A trick of that pesky alphabet or something more? The two fields have plenty of things in common. Magazines and newspapers keep dying and so do people. Synergy. God knows I’ve been to enough funerals that provide a microphone to people who could use a good writer to make what’s said not make the audience go nutty. See, Yes, I’m referencing my own damned story! It’s sad that I remember the awful funerals as funny stories and don’t remember the good funerals much at all. Perhaps I should write about that….

Getting inspired for the next session.

Getting inspired for the next session.

should be the next big thing. I’m a fan. Especially  drunk yoga on the beach. Tipsy yoga just doesn’t sound right. Hammered yoga–no. But drunk yoga brings the hard sounds and the soft ones together on the beach. Not too drunk. No queasy feeling. Just loose. No mats. Just bathing suit and the sand and the ocean and a drink or two. My father used to sneak over his “funny 7Up” to the beach. You didn’t want to pick up his bottle by accident. It is hard to contemplate putting my father and yoga in the same sentence, but that is the sort of mind-altering stuff that can happen when one is at one with drunk yoga.

Woke up the other morning fuzzy and a little confused about where I was since I’d been out of town a couple of nights before. But clearly through the haze two words came to me: church chocolate. In that order. Related. Unexpected yet it all made sense. Not chocolate church–that’s a different dream. I love alliteration even when I’m asleep. To my mind, especially at 6 a.m., church chocolate combines religion with all that is holy. If only pain au chocolate were the bread that gets broken at church, I might make an appearance now and again.

A chocolate for my thoughts?

16 apostles here

Of course, Jesus didn’t say, “I am the chocolate of life,” but perhaps he’s regretting his turn of phrase. With so many people avoiding wheat and going gluten free, bread is getting stale.

I’ve long had a theory that the whole Last Supper thing was a game of telephone gone awry. Jesus is at the table and says, “The bread tastes fresh.” And around and around the table his comment gets repeated, until it comes out, “the bread made flesh” and transubstantiation had to fill in the blanks. I think my version is every bit as believable.

When I heard that Hillary Clinton found comfort in watching a particular HGTV show real estate reality show, I don’t think I’d seen the show in question for more than a minute, so I didn’t quite get how it could be comforting. Now that my husband and I have recently purchased a fixer-upper house, I, too, take solace in watching Love It or List It. Those hosts get much more done in an hour than we do, so that part just makes me agitated. The solace comes from seeing how icky so many people’s houses are.

quite the denouement

quite the electrician

I’ve decided to start our own reality real estate show: Torch It or Trash It.

So here we are on a Sunday evening with no new Downton Abbey episode to look forward to. Life is harder than it looks–especially without all those servants and such. I suggest you don’t look at all. When one does, it’s not pretty.

It has come to my attention, especially when I am on the treadmill watching the morning news shows, that I have the answer to our unemployment troubles. Bring back the valets! There are just too many men on television who are in need of a good brushing off before they start spouting off.  I’m talking to you, Mike Barnicle! Tom Brokaw, too, I’m afraid. High Definition Television is doing no favors to those on TV and to those of us out in the hinterlands. I can see your dandruff. Your nose hairs, ear hairs, gunk in your eyes and spots on your sweaters. I don’t mean to pick on particular folk, and god knows I’d not do well under anyone’s scrutiny, but I avoid looking in the mirror early in the morning for good reason. I certainly don’t want to be subjected to visions on the television screen that are even more disconcerting. Thomas or Mr. Bates or even Mr. Molesley are what’s wanted ’round here! I get the point of their incessant shoulder brushing of Lord Grantham and Matthew Crawley’s suits and sport coats.

A valet in every house....

A valet in every house….

Think of the jobs there’d be. Especially if even the window guy at a big box home improvement store who has the unfortunate situation of an untamed mustache growing into his nose hairs–and vice versa–could get a valet. Be warned, once you start looking for unkempt men, the men in your own life might not look so bad.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all and to all some dark chocolate! I am not a traditionalist, so there will be no red roses today.

An orchid for Emily

Orchids are lovely. Sadly the pot is empty now. My bad.

 

 

IMG_2168

I made it myself only in the sense that my sister Mary Eileen wove the basket and my daughter made the heart magnet. I did purchase the Pantone postcards and put them in here though!

A chocolate for my thoughts?

A chocolate or 16 from Gearharts? Sadly these are not in my possession.

Heart be still.

Heart be still. It’s a beef heart from my heart throb. 

BaconHeart

BaconHeart

Whoopie!

Make some Whoopie!

impressive, no?

impressive, no?

that's all she wrote

that’s all she wrote

It is unnerving to see how much paper has accumulated in the filing cabinets in this house. Note that I didn’t say I had accumulated the paper but the paper has accumulated. Paper makes me passive. Or feel passive. Or passive-aggressive. Sure don’t want to take ownership of much of it. Ok, so it’s not as bad as the photo, but it is utterly not empowering to go through one’s files. It makes me think I’ve been both busy and lazy simultaneously. That I have wasted my life and continue to every minute I spend purging the outdated and extraneous stuff from the damned files or reading things I find interesting in them. It’s that just putting off the inevitable ashes to ashes. It’s more like ash to trash and brain down the drain. Will my children thank me for the load I’m taking off them? That depends on whether the binders of my father’s multi-papered life outlast me. My husband just put a load of them in a container up in the attic. As heavy as it must have been, I feel lighter already. Out of sight–out of mind works so well sometimes. I much prefer it to going out of my mind

 

 

I’m back!

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