Category Archives: Cranberry Blogs – Life in New England

Stories about where I live and what I like about New England


The time between enjoying the sunrise and realizing it’s a work day; an upside down ‘w’ verbal response.


First Man Standing

During our “50 first dates” my husband taught me to stop inserting myself into the life of other “Men, Women and children”. We were a young couple back then and I liked to people watch. I took note of other tables to figure out which “Grownups” were falling in love, pissed off at each other or celebrating a special occasion. Richie’s advice for me was to ‘eat at your own table’.

Over time, I admitted I was “Going Overboard” and stopped living in the world of “Funny People” that I allowed to “Reign over me”. While my new views aren’t “Bulletproof”, I focus on our own relationship and families when we go out to dinner now.

Too quickly our girls are young adults and I’ve also finally learned to “Just go with it”. They are past “Bedtime Stories” and “Anger Management” so I work on being present and attentive. I’ve learned we don’t get a “Do Over” in life, so when we are together, I am totally focused on my family.

“The Ridiculous” example of how to explain this better is to tell you about our breakfast at The Purple Finch Cafe in Manchester, New Hampshire last month.

The eatery is a quick drive from Tarah’s St. Anselm campus and Richie, or “Big Daddy”, for the sake of the story, loves their menu. The owners are also alumni of UNH, where Trisha went to school and now works. Trisha wasn’t with us but we took Tarah to a late Purple Finch breakfast after helping her to install some “Click” shelving from Bed, Bath and Beyond. The cafe has a clientele of “Mixed Nuts” from young families, to “Airheads” to probably even “Paul Blart” – or the local Manchester – “mall cop”.

The cafe is always full of patrons that happily spill out into the strip mall, before or after a meal, to take in the fresh air or interact with family and old friends. I enjoy that spirit of the cafe and don’t otherwise mind the crowds. The creative and delicious menu items are worth any short wait. This day was no exception.

“The Longest Yard” is waiting for a table, so Richie dropped me off at the door to check on the wait time. The hostess told me it would only be a few minutes, so I sent a wave back to the Jeep. I watched Tarah and her Dad cross the parking lot from the cafe front window as I made Richie a cup of coffee in the waiting area. I was “The Benchwarmer” so I sat down on one large enough for all of us. When Richie and Tarah entered the cafe, they sat together in the two-person swing across from me instead.

Rather than feel left out, I focused on taking their picture. As a mom, it was great to see them engaged in conversation at one of their favorite venues. There was laughter and clapping at the tables but I’ve learned not to pay attention. I figured whatever birthday party or mini reunion was occurring was not my business. My participation would not make it any better for them. My world was in front of me, under the lens. I took a photo of my husband and baby girl, edited it and then took a few others.

Once the noise died down, my name was called and we were brought to our table in the center of the cafe. The waitress arrived and we all ordered without even referencing a menu. Last but not least, Richie ordered the steak bomblet.

The waitress excitedly reacted with a bit of an accent, “That’s what Adam just ate too!”

As she walked away, I asked what exactly she said?

“What do you think she said, Mom?”

I repeated what I thought I heard ending with an “Adam who though?”

Richie added his two cents after that, “Omigod! You don’t even know what just happened?”

“What?” I was just watching you and Tarah on the swing.”

“Didn’t you hear the applause? Mom, Adam Sandler was here.”

“Huh?! You’ve got to be kidding me?! I love him.”

“We know. Didn’t you take his picture? He even waved at you!”

“NO SA! I was taking a picture of you and Dad by the door.”

My husband was disgusted with my powers of observation and humored that I missed out on everyone’s favorite local.

I am sure I would have noticed if he was “The Water Boy” or if he’d stayed a little longer to order “The Cobbler”. Perhaps not. It was my own personal SNL – Sunday Noon Loss. Next time, I’ll make sure Adam isn’t there celebrating Chanukah.

Photo credit: Purple Finch Cafe website – evidently, around the time I was making a cup of coffee (in front of the other window)

Lick it up

Even though it’s a comfort food from when I was a child, I sometimes forget how much I like pot roast. It is a Yankee culinary delight. Richie basted this one in our crockpot last Monday. The meat cooked so slowly, it quickly melted in my mouth. The carrots, Irish potatoes and onions swam alongside in the delicious gravy on my plate. Yankee me couldn’t get enough, even after several pot roast dinners last week. I am comforted as the cold weather approaches; warmed by the wood stove, a crock pot and my man.

Fake Halloween

When you’re at a wooded intersection, halfway home from work, and feel like you’re being watched…and then realize it’s just a lurking Frankenstein dressed for dusk. 

When a four-year-old trick-or-treater is dressed like an airline pilot and, rather than take the candy, walks into your house wanting to see your washing machine…and you think maybe the blue suit costume was intended to be the Maytag repairman? 

When you get home before dark to light the Halloween walkway and then come into the empty house to a ringing telephone with a heavy breather on the other end…and it’s your daughter trying to freak you out on a haunting devilish night. 

When you buy six bags of candy at CVS and explain away to the unasking cashier that you get 80 kids at your house on October 31… and you haven’t had that many kids in over 10 years plus you really know the candy that’s not handed out won’t go to waste.

Is it fake, pretend, all for fun or just denial? In that order. 

‘Til next year!

Red Alert

When you have an interview in the morning and you know it’s in the Federal building which is fine but when you approach the glass entrance you realize there are also 7 cops and a body scanner waiting for you and you think that’s okay too because it’s just like going to Logan airport until you realize you took the train and subway to the city so you only brought your Charlie tickets and some cash and your ID is  in your purse back at the car so when the pro wrestler looking dude at the security desk asks for your license that you don’t have he puts everyone on standby until he calls the office where you are interviewing and mandates that they come down and get you which is more than embarrassing and now you need to get through security so you put all your evidently non-essential personal items on the conveyor belt and walk through the body scanner which blocks your entrance at the same time there are  red flashing lights and a buzzer that would wake the dead so you step back in a non-threatening manner until they approach and ask  what is in your pockets and when you realize they hold change from the water you bought on the way in the WWF cop tells you to go back to the entrance and empty your pockets of the coins so you can re-enter the same body scanner which reacts the exact same way but with more people watching this time and then you have to be scanned with a body wand in front of everyone trying to get into the building and when nothing is revealed from head-to-crotch-to-toe other than your humility you sit your ass down on a red bench as instructed with another cop watching your every move and wait until your interviewer arrives for more questioning.

I’m thinking this isn’t the best way to meet someone for the first time and ask for a job?


The last time, and I mean the last time, I went flea marketing with my husband was a nightmare. He wanted coffee and I wanted to look at the toys and dolls. I told him I would take a quick look at the collectibles and be right back. 

I suppose I lingered a little too long:

I guess he really did need some java!

“IT” … and ‘her’

Stephen King’s stories are set in New England. He lives securely in Bangor, Maine behind a ghoulish spidery cast iron gate. We reside in the daddy-long-legs open woods of Massachusetts. Unfortunately, last night I was also fenced in. I sat at the very center of a packed movie house for the release of IT. 

To say my husband is a Stephen King fan is a huge understatement. Richie has been a member of his book club for over 30 years and the volumes are meticulously maintained in Richie’s ‘King cave’. Richie also archives the related DVD’s in our living room. When winter comes and the roads are closed off, he exercies his sense of humor by rewatching The Shining.  Richie’s movies, bookshelves and chef knives, must remain untouched, like the penguin in Misery. Our long-loved family pets are even buried on the hilltop behind our house; their tiny headstones include chiseled names and the spot is referred to as Pet Sematary.

I share this background to make a point about our theatre seat selection. It wasn’t to see Jack and Wendy, or Annie and Paul or Louis and Rachel.  Poor Danny. Poor Sheriff Richard. Poor Gage. We sped down the the highway to be the first to arrive at our 7:00 viewing. We ensured we were first to walk-in and selected the middle chairs, in the center row, to watch a psychotic  clown. Poor Georgie. Poor me.

The theatre filled in around us while we focused on trivia and popcorn. The noise quieted to hushed tones and candy wrappings when the previews started. Just after the first scene, the woman behind me sneezed twice, without a hankie. It was the one night I decided to put my long hair in a bun. The film was both in front of me and on my neck. 

I mentally tried to brush it off. Physically, without a napkin or tissue, I couldn’t wipe it away. Psychologically, knowing Pennywise would get me if I tried to walk out alone, I didn’t dare move.

Beverly’s terrifying bathroom scene brought an exploding sink at the exact moment two more rounds of nasal fluid hit my bare neck. Surround sound has nothing on spray-a-vision.   I could have shit my pants and taken a shower in that red bathroom. 

My combination of fear and anger set off dopamine in my brain and I finally thought enough to slink down in my chair. 

At this point, I was as contorted as Pennywise coming out of the closet. 

I couldn’t leave. It was Stephen King. I didn’t want to complain. Richie had been waiting months to see this movie. I stayed and became my own horror show.

I went through the roof when fake Georgie transformed at the well.  When Pennywise showed his teeth, sneezes five and six flew across the top of my head. The insides, and outside, of my body was completely terrorized.  

Pennywise killing in the sewer system was fictional horror at its best but still didn’t compare to the terrorizing moisture I tolerated as a human tissue. The Maine events were set due North but I know my health is going South. 

Sneeze Photo credit: Wonderopolis

Not A Rookie

Brimfield Antique Flea Market has everything you could want and decorative pieces you cannot even imagine.  The food is New England fare and the dealers are out of this world. This regional melting pot is a famous place to interact with the shop owners and artists, listen to their expertise and hone your bargaining skills.

“How much are your little wooden people?” is a standard inquiry. 

“$2 each.” the weather-worn dealer  responds when he sees you referring to the shoebox of peeps he has displayed from house clean outs, auction lots and probably even the sewers where IT lives. 

Since you already have all the clowns, you select three other unique characters.

Returning to pay the man holding a billfold that State Street would want to manage, you hand him a $5 bill. 

“Miss”, as he speaks more slowly, “Three times $2 is $6.”

“Actually, I figured $2 each or three for $5 was a better deal.”

My sunny disposition on an overcast day, prompts an honest “that’ll work too” as he adds my Abe to the till and tells me to have a good day.

Damn right. 

I’m no rookie. 

My offer was fair. Besides, those toys were all I wanted and the girl was sweeter than I could imagine. My other dollar went towards spicy sausage with peppahs and onions fare.