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Show up. Bring cupcakes.

Cupcakes from Susiecakes.com

Anyone who knows me knows cupcakes are the way to my heart, my mind, my stomach, my bank account. Cupcakes. But this story isn’t exactly about them. But it is. Sort of. You see recently is was my birthday. I get freaky around my birthday. When I was 5 (Ohhh no, not THAT STORY AGAIN..NO NO NO Pat don’t tell the story about your 5th birthday we beg you…NO!)  yes. I am going to tell THAT story. When I was 5, birthdays were a big deal in kindergarten. You got a crown. You got a parade in your room. You got a banner with your name. It was glitter-outrageous in all is glittery-ness and I had to wait from September to June for my turn. And then finally, on June 9, 1966, I couldn’t wait. Today was THE day. I would wear the crown. I would get the parade. I would see my name in glitter. But I didn’t plan on Richard Sawodski ruining my day. Richard Sadowski, who to this day, shares the day of my birth and who will always be my arch-birthday- nemesis. I got to school that day in my fabulous party dress only to meet my teacher, Mrs. Mangum, who informed me it was NOT my birthday, it was Richard’s. She informed me my birthday was the 19th.

Huh? Can teachers do that? Can they just give you another birthday?

Apparently, the answer was yes.

No, I argued (respectfully because it was the 60s after all). My birthday was today. My mother was going to bring cupcakes. It was MY day.

No, she argued back firmly (because she WAS the teacher and didn’t take any flack from a kid because it WAS the 60s and no one sued teachers back then) my birthday was in 10 days. It said so on the card from the office.June 19. That was that. No cupcakes for you.

Well, it was quite a  blow. I was crushed. I cried. I was stood in a corner for being a poor sport. Richard stuck his tongue out at me. He got the crown. He got the banner. He got the parade. And then….

Richard’s mother walked in with cupcakes. My teacher looked at me victoriously. THEN my mother walked in with cupcakes.And then all kinds of havoc broke loose.

My teacher tried to tell my mother it wasn’t my birthday. My mother who was a parent to four children at the time, was pretty sure of when my birthday was and told the teacher that. It was found out later that the office had made the error and there was a quick scramble to make me a fast paper hat, a sign and then a bunch of cupcake starved kids half-heartedly paraded around the room desperate for the treats that were mere inches from them ,but they couldn’t enjoy because of all the drama.

Here we are 51 years later and that story still makes me nuts…not to mention the thousands of people I tell it to over and over again.  But this year, Kendall, one of the best friends a girl can ever have, pointed out….

“You know. You missed a key point in the story. Your mom did show up. And she not only showed up, she brought cupcakes.”

Now to know my mother is to know she was not your cupcake baking kind of mom so yes, my mom coming anywhere with a tray of cupcakes was national news. But she did show up. And she did bring cupcakes.

And now my mom is 83 and not in good health and this year, she forgot my birthday. It was hard. Which is why the story hurt more this year than ever. Until Kendall pointed out that way back then, even when there were many times she wasn’t the best at showing up or saying what I needed her to, she was there, with cupcakes in hand.

And isn’t that all we ever want anyway. Someone to remember us. Someone to acknowledge and value us. Someone to show up when we’re scared, or angry, or sad or fighting a bully whether it’s a life threatening illness or a big mean teacher.

Show up. Bring cupcakes. Sweeten life with a simple joy.

My new life. Chapter 1 (also known as a Monkey in a Broadway Dress)

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A friend gave me coasters with this title. Considering I’m on move 18 and in yet again another new apartment in another new town it seems fitting.

Time for a do- over. Again

I am back on Long Island and reeling from the traffic, the cost and dealing with a new job. The good news is I am connecting back with old friends and family. And although there’s been a few hills to climb, there’s been a lot of laughs.

Today  my friend Kendall cracked me up on the way to work — I’ve known Kendall over 40 years  and we both are the youngest daughter in our family (she is #2 of 2, I’m #3 of 3).

During my recent whining about a difficult time in my life and how I don’t always believe I am being heard by my family she made the keen observation that sometimes, due to our place in the birth order, we get treated like a monkey in a Broadway dress.

im still laughing.

That’s the beauty of life  even in moments of crisis, or sadness or frustration– even in move 18, or when you feel like the world is treating you like a monkey in a Broadway dress, you can laugh.

God bless and keep laughing

Sometimes, due to our place in the birth order, we get treated like a monkey in a Broadway dress.

 

 

 

 

Funny… You don’t look like a comedian

I just lost a lot of weight. Like 2 sixth graders worth but someone recently mentioned I looked funnier when I was heavier.

What???????

granted clothing choices are limited so some of my outfits were a bit on the odd side sometimes but I assure you my sense of humor ( and some say my ego) remain super sized.

But if suddenly I start whining about the lack of Greek yogurt in the world or that I had to throw out a whole pan of lasagna because it was too high carb you have my permission to tell me to smack me in the head with a bag of marshmallows.

My new life and yours begins now
My new life and yours begins now

When it comes to God, it’s best to be specific

 

 

When I was 5, my best friend, Nancy Donaldson moved. Nancy and I cried, clung to each other and promised we would never forget each other, but as she grew smaller and smaller in the distance waving from the back of her father’s Rambler, I was jealous. That’s right, jealous. I remember praying, “Dear Lord, please let me be able to move like Nancy did someday.”

And now… as of Saturday, I will have moved 18 times. Yes, 18 times. I think perhaps when it came to my prayer I should have been a little more specific with God.

Moving is not fun. Being in a new place IS fun, but moving is not. Finding boxes is not fun. Purging all sorts of strange items (ohhhh there’s all those batteries I bought and rebought over and over again), and trying to beg family members with promises of free pizza to help move and lift is not fun.

But as I get ready for move 18, I not only think of all the many times I packed and repacked and packed again, but also of all the people I have met, have known, have laughed with, cried with, parented with and shared life with. When I browse over all these memories, I realize I have had a rich life. I have known so many people; people from Oswego, from Babylon, from Huntington, Merrick, Bethpage, Florida, Wantagh, Bellmore, Brewerton, Syracuse, Liverpool, Mexico, and dozens of places in between. And I can’t imagine never knowing these people. It was all because of moving.

I am a big fan of saying, “Grow where you’re planted,” but in truth, it’s not just in the physical—yes, be at home where you move to, but also grow from the heart as well. That’s what happened to me. I grew  through the care and love of others wherever I was planted and I am all the better for it.

And as I head off in yet another new direction, I think back to Nancy Donaldson and hope wherever she ended up in life, she too grew where she was planted.

 

 

 

Comedy at a wake and Happy birthday MaryAnne

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This is Mary Anne.

I am saying happy birthday to her for several reasons. One, she is old. Ok. Not old. Old-er than me. Two, she is a wonderful person. She is. No, really, she is.

Three. She is one of the main reasons I ever seriously thought about doing standup comedy. And it has has nothing to do with her wearing giant Mickey hands, although I do confess, I did go out and buy a pair out of envy.

Several years ago we were at a dear friend’s family member’s wake. Now this friend, has a tremendously large Italian family and as these things go, we began to gravitate to the back of the room to let the family grieve together. We stood around and talked quietly while our friend we came to support greeted a kazillion people she hadn’t seen in a kazillion years.

While we were standing there in the back, Mary Anne asked me how my son, (who now is 25, but was 6 at the time), was doing studying for his First Holy Communion.

And that, Ladies and Gents, was when my standup comedy routine was born. Sort of.

I had just come from a meeting for the parents of First Communion students and I started launching into a long-winded story about how the priest met with us to discuss confession and penance and the “new way” that things were done for First Communion. He rolled out an overhead projector and then drew a cloud up at the top with a cross and a pitchfork and horns at the bottom of the page.

We all nodded.

Then he smiled and said, “As parents, I bet you think this makes sense when it comes to sins, confession and penance.

Again we nodded. Good and bad. We got this.

Then the priest began drawing arrows up and arrows down. “When you were a child, and you supposedly sinned, you went to confession to tell your sins,” he said drawing an arrow up. “But when you sinned again, you had to go back to confession or else you thought your soul was in danger,” he drew an arrow down.

There was shifting in seats but yes, we got it.

“But back then, you were taught wrong. It wasn’t your fault. We just don’t believe that a child is capable of real sin. What they do is make mistakes. They veer off the path and just need encouragement to head back to the path.”

The priest was met with silence as rows of Catholic parents scratched their heads in confusion. Mistakes?

He tried valiantly again. “You see,” he stated earnestly pointing to the cloud with the cross, “God understands that children don’t mean to lie. They don’t mean to fight with their brothers and sisters. They don’t mean to be disrespectful, they’re just…well….kids. They aren’t grown yet. They make mistakes. So what they do shouldn’t constitute as sin in the way we believe sin to be. What they do is just an error in judgment. So real confession is for real sins. Like murder, like well…real stealing…embezzlement, not taking a chocolate chip cookie. Your children are just making mistakes. So they just need to try harder. You need to encourage them. Understand they are just making mistakes. Got it?”

Got it????

Try harder?????

WHAT?????

I remember thinking,  I want my son to understand consequences! I want him to realize that when you hurt someone’s feelings or lie to your mother it’s not a mistake–it’s a choice. And a poor choice at that which is why as a Catholic, we go to confession and tell God and we’re forgiven and hopefully the next time the choice comes up we will choose a better path. I wasn’t thinking he should be shoveling coal down in the mines of Hell for telling me he brushed his teeth when he didn’t, but I did think even at his age he could get the concept of confession, penance, and how to set his moral compass. At least that’s what I had learned at his age.  Now this priest was turning the world upside down—Red was blue, up was down, in was out– what the heck happened!?

This 12-year-old looking priest who had never had children obviously had no idea what it was to look into the eyes of a 6-year old, who is an only child, standing in ankle deep water in the bathroom while the toliet makes strange gurgling sounds and a Spalding Pinky ball tries to dislodge itself and  hear him say, “I don’t know what happened, but I didn’t do it!”

This priest never dealt with a first-grade teacher’s brittle smile as she says, “We need to remind your son that we bite our food, not our friends.”

This man had never asked a child seventeen times if he was dressed and ready to go to school and hear  “Yes I am,” only to discover said child laying down naked amongst pants, sock, underwear reading a book, blissfully unaware his mother who is already late for work is about to lose her mind!

Why in the world would I say to my son,  “That’s ok, I know you didn’t mean it ya little knucklehead.”

As a Catholic, I felt this was the moment my son would start to understand how actions have reactions and that we all should try our best every day to live honestly and help others. Call me crazy. Call me Pollyanna, but that’s what I thought.

I wanted my son to think that when he chose badly, God would be watching and saying, ‘Hey! That wasn’t the best choice now was it? So how can you fix this for next time?” I wasn’t expecting lightning to be thrown at his head nor did I want my son thinking he was going to be a permenant resident of Pitchforkville for throwing a ball down the toliet, but I also wanted him to understand lying or covering up something wasn’t the right way to fix a bad decision. And from the Catholic point of view, that’s why I always believed there was confession —  Helloooooo!

Instead, this priest was trying to tell us that any sins our kids racked up until they started charting the mortal ones were just mistakes….nothing worth confessing about. That these kids should go happily skipping about in life making mistakes but once they started committing the top ten, then, it was confession time. HUH??? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have them understand the process BEFORE they start breaking a commandment or two or five?

So as I am conveying this whole episode of Catholic parenting to the group at the wake, I admit, my voice may have gotten a bit loud, and people started laughing and then things got louder and louder and then our friend, who we were there to support, looked out over the sea of her Italian family members and locked eyes with us, the rowdy bunch of Irish pals in the back of the room, and I stopped talking immediately. I realized that perhaps this wasn’t the best time to share my thoughts on parenting as a Catholic.  I began to slink back into a chair but as I started to move Mary Anne turned to me and said, “You really need to be a standup comedian.” I rolled my eyes thinking she was joking and started to turn away, but she grabbed my arm.  “No. Really. You need to be a standup comedian. You have a gift.”

Later, I believe I tried to apologize to our friend about causing the ruckus during the wake, but instead she just smiled and said, “Are you kidding? I wanted to be standing back there laughing with all of you!” And that’s when I realized that laughter could indeed be a gift. A gift that comes at the toughest moments in life, as well as some of the happiest, and the ones in between, like when a Pinky ball gets stuck in a toliet. And if laughter was the gift, a single-mom turned comedian could be the vessel.

Now, many years later, I am a standup comedian. That defining moment with Mary Anne at the wake was then I realized that being a comedian might just be achievable. It could happen because someone really believed it could happen. Someone looked me in the eye and said,  “This is your gift.  This is your calling. This is your talent. Now, go and share it with the world.”

And that’s eventually what I did.

Happy Birthday Mary Anne.

And thank you.

 

Ohhh McDonalds…I deserved a break today not to mention hot and fresh nuggets

The idea of hot and fresh food may not have reached my town...
The idea of hot and fresh food may not have reached my town…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think McDonalds is getting just a little big for their red Ronald clown shoes in my town. When I stopped to get four McNuggets for dinner last night I asked the girl to make sure they were fresh and hot since it’s too hard for me to process nuggets that have been hanging around a while. Here’s how the conversation went.

“You want them….Fresh?”
“Yes.”
“You mean you want us to make new ones?”
“Yes”
“You want nuggets hot right now from the fryer?”
“Yes that’s the general idea. Hot. Fresh.”
“Right now?”
“Yes. I mean I’m here at the drive thru right now so right now would be convenient. Is that a problem?”
“Nope. But no one ever asked me this before”
“No one ever wanted their food hot and fresh?”
“Nope. They just order it ”
“And then what?”
“We bag it.”
“What happens if their food is cold and not fresh?”
“Well I guess they come back but they come inside, they dont come back to me. But that doesnt happen unless we forget something like a fry. People get crazy if you forget a fry”
“Well, I can understand that but I don’t need a fry. Just the nuggets”
“And you want them fresh”
“That’s right. Hot. Fresh. And sometime soon if it’s not any trouble”
“No, no trouble but you can get them faster if we just bag them now.”
“But if you bag them, they’re not hot are they?”
“No not really”
“And they’re not really fresh?”
“Well, they weren’t made a long long time ago. Just a while ago.”
“Well, I would still like to get them fresh.”
“It’s going to be a wait.”
“that’s ok. I don’t mind waiting.”
“Do you mind if I ask you why?”
“Why what?”
“Why do you want them fresh and hot?’
“Hmmm. well, that’s the way I usually eat food. I’m funny that way. Plus I can’t eat nuggets that have been hanging around a while.”
“Why not?”
“It just doesn’t agree with me.”
” I sure don’t blame you for that. If you wait too long with nuggets you get rocks.”
“Exactly.”
[She actually says into the speaker  “Gimme 4 nuggets and the lady wants them fresh!”]
[buzzy feedback from the kitchen.]

“Yes. I said fresh. That’s how she eats them.”

10 minute wait for four hot fresh nuggets. But I did get a toy and a new comedy bit.

Love is never forgotten

I had the most marvelous cat. Her name was Houdini and due to circumstances beyond my control (loss of home, loss of job) I had to put her in foster care for kitties a few years ago. The wonderful thing is my friend Kathy who already had 5 cats, agreed to take Houdini (known as Deenie) and my other cat, Gracie. Unfortunately Gracie passed from an unknown heart ailment within a few months of her being at Kathy’s, but Deenie stayed with Kathy and apparently got married (to Misha and adopted a daughter of her own–don’t ask me—that’s what I know). But my heart never forgot my Deenie girl. It broke when I left her and when I had a new home and could take her again, I knew it would be too hard for her to leave Kathy and Misha and all the other cats she had grown up with and loved. But here’s the interesting part. The heart doesn’t forget love.

Kathy brought Deenie to Lil Bit of Heaven on Sat night, Sept 26, and the second I saw her I started singing this goofy song I used to do, whenever I saw her…”Deenie. Deenie, Deenie McWeenie…” In a flash, she came out of the cat carrier and was brushing up against me as if to say, “Well, it’s you! It’s been a long time.” But Deenie every so often would take out a minute to rub up against Kathy as if to say, “I may have missed Pat, but I love you too.”

The heart remembers. Love is never forgotten. It’s true in families. It’s true in romance. And it’s true in the pure love we share with our furbabies.

Love is never forgotten.

One of the greatest cats of all time.
One of the greatest cats of all time.

Pope-a-paloosa

I love the pope. It has nothing to do with being Catholic, I just think this guy has it all together. I like a man who wears white without fear. I like a man who says what he means and means what he says. And I have to say, I love the pope-mobile.

But more importantly, I love that this man has a sense of humor. He isn’t afraid to be human. He isn’t afraid to laugh and to hug and feel joy. I can’t remember when that’s been something a leader conciously did in our country. Oh sure, we had George Bush get ill on the head of Japan and Ronald Reagan sleeping in meetings and countless other social gaffs, but the pope goes out of his way to laugh and spread joy to others. Intentionally. As a comedian, I admire that. As a mom, I strive for that. And as a person, I am just glad I am around to see it in action.

In the words of comedian Jim Carrey, “Pope Francis, I like the cut of your jib.”

Here’s to laughter. It’s a pretty holy gift from above so let’s share it.

Pope Francis laughs during a private audience with the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines at the Vatican on December 19, 2013. AFP PHOTO POOL / TIZIANA FABI        (Photo credit should read TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)

Pope_Francis

So, what do YOU think?

imagesI am trying to seem like I know technology really, really, well, but truth be told, my son had to install my “simple” dvd player and I am continually hitting “input” instead of “channel return” when I am trying to get back to a show I enjoy watching (I am one of those strange people who watch two shows sometimes at the same time”

So I am trying to work through this website. I am determined to work through this website. I am….going to….ask for help.

I know the layout isn’t much right now but I hope to have it more interactive as we go along. Please let me know what you’d like to see on here and what you’d rather bypass altogether.

Thanks. I would send you an emoticon but I haven’t a clue.
Pat

Video post “https://youtu.be/sEFLxTwxZS8″>

Here is a video of me.
It’s about 20 mins long.
Understand I change my haircolor as often as other people do their socks.
And currently, there’s a lot less of me to see these days….since I lost a bit of weight.
Other than that, it’s just like I’m standing there talking to you.
Well.
If you were at Lil Bit of Heaven and I wasn’t upstate.
Then it would be sort of like that.
Sort of.