All posts by Teri

White Nationalists Are Winning

Below is a recent white supremacist attack you’ll probably never hear about.

Early Wednesday morning, on August 7, a house exploded and burned to the ground in Sterling Ohio.

Officials investigating the incident found a swastika and an anti-black slur painted on the garage.

The homeowners who were thankfully not in the house at the time, are an interracial couple who lived there for 23 years.

The wife was quoted as saying: We decided that whatever happens, we’re not rebuilding here.”

To quote Trump: “We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning.”

IS THAT A BEAR?

I was minding my own business while parking the car at our hotel in New Hampshire last week. I wasn’t crazy about parking next to the garbage bin, but there weren’t a lot of spaces available.

After getting out of the car, this is what I encountered.

This bear video #1 below was recorded by my husband, while I stuck my head out of the mostly closed car window.

Then I got stupid nerve and recorded the bear for myself.

This bear video #2 which I recorded was cut short when Mr. (or Ms.) Bear looked in my direction, and then jumped down from the bin…

…because well..

I was running and yelling like a banshee…

 

 

Nightmare 2.0

My sleep patterns are substandard at best.

And what little shut-eye I do manage to sneak in, is more than often consumed with a never-ending succession of movie-worthy dreams; chock full of ideas, emotions, and images.

Unfortunately for me, way too many of those visions involve wild menacing beasts, which make them more nightmares than dreams.

These epic brain dumps typically wake me up in the early hours of the morning in a heart-pounding, anxiety-heightened sweaty state.

I call them my bogeyman wake-ups.

My typical bogeyman wake-up goes like this: I open my eyes, paralyzed with fear. I quickly turn on the light and check the room. I pull out my notebook from the nightstand next to my bed and furiously write down everything I can recall. Sometimes this exercise takes ten minutes, while other times it takes two to three hours.

If the image or idea is particularly vivid, I can write an entire essay until I either run out of words, am mentally exhausted, or I’ve self-talked myself to calm it down.

Once I’m calm, I’m usually also wide awake, so I regularly turn on my tablet and research the why of all of it.

I recently found a quote by Sigmund Freud answering his why of all of it, which stuck with me:

“On my way to discovering the solution of the dream, all kinds of things were revealed, which I was unwilling to admit even to myself.”

This past Tuesday my bogeyman alarm woke me up at precisely 3:02 in the a.m.

The apparition was an animal image combined with a question: How can I escape?

The dream started out with a very scary goat.

I know what you’re thinking. Goats aren’t scary.

But this goat was a scary doozy, and because I was in a corner, the goat was even more terrifying.

It was less a dream and more of an idea. Or maybe it was less of an idea and more of a blurry image of that super scary goat and helpless me.

I wrote “scary” and “goat” in my notebook.

And then, with nothing better to do with my drenched and anxious self, I grabbed my tablet and looked up, “scary goat.”

Google offered me several choices:

scary goat
scary goat gif
scary goat meme
scared goat
scapegoat
scapegoating

Oh, my God.

“On my way to discovering the solution of the dream…”

I then looked up scapegoat: A compound of the verb scape, which means “escape” and two Hebrew translations/interpretations. 1) A possible misreading of the Hebrew word ‘ez ‘ozel (goat that departs) and 2) the Hebrew proper noun Azazel (demon).

I also discovered that In Leviticus 16:1-34, a goat was used in a ritual by a rabbi on Yom Kippur; where the rabbi symbolically loaded a goat with the sins of the Israelites and then let it loose into the wilderness to die.

The bottom line in Leviticus 16: that unsuspecting harmless goat who did nothing wrong was blamed and punished for the mistakes and sins of everyone else.

I continued my research.

By definition, a scapegoat is a person who is blamed for all that goes wrong, regardless of the guilt and wrongdoing of others. Scapegoats are repeatedly subjected to character assassination, abandonment, betrayal, and outright hatred by family members.

Scapegoating is also a way for adult children to hide familial abuse by blaming everything negative that happens, on one particular (and innocent) family member.

Further, scapegoating by adult children is usually due to having one parent with a personality disorder. To protect the parent with the mental disorder, the adult child uses the other parent as their scapegoat.

In an abusive, dysfunctional family, keeping their image unmarred is key to the scapegoat coverup. They live in an alternate reality. The dysfunctional family will go to any lengths to destroy the scapegoat because otherwise their abuse and sickness will be uncovered. They will also do whatever it takes to convince others that the scapegoat is a horrible person in order to further isolate and destroy them.

One article specifically used the following example: A wife leaves an abusive marriage, (which in and of itself takes enormous courage).  The family of the husband becomes paranoid that his abuse, dysfunction, and psychopathy will be revealed, and used against him, so the lies, brainwashing, and alienation begin until the scapegoated wife is attacked, denounced, alienated, and ultimately removed entirely from the familial picture. The scapegoating is used to deflect accountability for the husband’s abusive behavior.

“…all kinds of things were revealed which I was unwilling to admit even to myself.

Out of that scary goat dream, I had an epiphany:

The hurtful accusations and condemnation I have endured over the years were explicitly designed to protect an abusive family member. I was scapegoated and sent out into the wilderness to shrivel up and die. But now that I’ve found my way back home, I can finally stop beating myself up. I can eviscerate the self-doubt and let go of trying to work out a relationship that I now see is sadly impossible because the one that I miss the most is complicit in all of it.

The goat wasn’t scary. The goat was scared.

The goat wasn’t the demon; the goat was the target.

What started as the mother of all nightmares turned into a miraculous and most welcome wake-up call.

To Blog or Not to Blog My Novel

I have been going back and forth trying to decide whether or not to publish my fiction book titled My Stolen Diaries, traditionally, independently, or chapter by chapter through my blog The Teri Tome.  

For several weeks I have been thinking about how the process of organizing and arranging the chapters would come together while researching examples of formats other bloggers have used to post their books online.

So far, I haven’t found any articles that explain in detail or show actual examples of how blogged books are laid out.

I’m guessing I couldn’t find explicit samplings of how to blog a novel because writers either aren’t blogging their novels, or they haven’t found a functional fiction format.

I did find a few articles about how to blog a nonfiction single-topic book.

But in my opinion, the process of blogging a book lends itself well to nonfiction vs. fiction.

Additionally, all of the articles I found regarding how to blog a single-topic, non-fiction book suggests that to blog a book, a separate blog needs to be created to support the effort.

But my blog The Teri Tome gets over 30,000 page views a month, so why would I want to start all over with a brand new blog that nobody has ever seen or heard of?

I don’t want to create a blog called My Diaries. What I want to do is blog my novel My Stolen Diaries within my existing blog, The Teri Tome.

The question is: how to blog my novel within a blog?

An actual novel moves methodically page by page through the storyline allowing the reader to pick up where they left off, so blogging my novel is going to be challenging.

What I hope to do is to cohesively blog my novel and weave it all together post by post or chapter by chapter to tell the story in a way my readers can keep up with it, without having to search around for the beginning, middle and end.

And the last thing I want my reader to do is to get to the end of the book before the beginning. Nobody wants to be the victim of a spoiler, and I would totally never want to be that person.

Since I found nothing to guide me as to how to blog my novel, I decided to make my best effort to test out some formats and see what sticks.

While I didn’t find any articles that showed me how to blog a novel, I did find some generally useful articles, although I disagreed with many of them:

  • A blog should have 10-15 categories. [My blog has a hefty 21 categories before I even add My Stolen Diaries so sue me.] 
  • A new blogger should post often if they want to bring significant traffic to their blog (At least three times per week – each post approximately 300 words long, until they reach a minimum of 1,000 posts). [I never post that often, I still don’t have 1,000 total posts and as I stated earlier, I enjoy over 30,000 page views a month. So there.]
  • A dedicated [?] and seasoned [??] blogger should blog their book daily – each post approximately 500 words long). [Blogging a chapter a day of my novel seems highly unlikely, and as the queen of verbiage I need to write way more than 500 words per post. BTW, this blog post is over 1,600 words! And I would consider myself both dedicated and seasoned. So, as they say in my neck of the woods: fuggedaboutit.]  
  • The importance of writing an “Elevator Pitch” for your blogged book in fifty words or less. [Click here for the article I wrote about the grueling process I went through to come up with a 25-word book pitch for Our Romantic Getaway, although I have yet to use it in an elevator.] 
  • How to market your blogged book and requesting reviews. [Click here for the article I penned about book marketing and requesting reviews. That was before I realized that it was an all-consuming job. And please don’t judge me, but after umpteen hours of marketing and requesting, I gave up on my own advice. My bad.]
  • How to create a book flyer. [Here is my post about creating book flyers. As the late great Yul Brynner aka Pharaoh once said: So let it be written; let it be done. And okay, after a gazillion hours of mailing out flyers, I gave up on that too. Sorry not sorry.]
  • How and who to hire for search engine optimization (SEO). [Now I have to worry about SEO? Who the heck has time to write? But okay I went on the website Fiverr, and I’m working on that.]
    • How to add your blog to a blog directory. [This was a new one on me. The recommended directory was Blogarama.com, who boasts millions of visitors, so I happily submitted my blog. There is a free and paid part to their site. I signed up for free and received an email from them, letting me know that they had indexed 11 of my blog posts. But try as I might, I never found any of the supposed indexed posts, so good luck with that.]
  • The best format for creating an About the Author section is to write your achievements, expertise, and experience in the third person. [I originally wrote my About page in the first person, so I changed it up. Click here for everything you wanted to know about Teri (or not) but never asked or cared to ask. Oh, and speaking of asking;  if you wanted to ask but thought better of it, NO my novel Our Romantic Getaway is NOT about me, and YES I am wearing a top in my author photo.]
  • How to set up Google alerts so you can track your business, yourself, or any other kind of stuff. [I went on Google Alerts and added my websites, my name, blog to novel deals, how to blog a novel, worldpress.org, The Teri Tome, and terischure.com. FYI: My g-mail account is now inundated with useless alerts, but don’t go by me.] 
  • Understanding Web traffic. [Quick and easy: Concentrate on your Monthly Page Views and Unique Users. Hits are meaningless.]

Back in 2014, I published my first novel titled Our Romantic Getaway, and while it makes some money, it’s a pittance compared to the number of hours over the five long years I spent writing it.

I know.. I need to market it, and I will. I might even blog a few chapters of it. Call it avoidance behavior, but right now I’m busy with other mundane work stuff so the relaunch of Getaway will have to wait.

I’m also in the midst of publishing a not-so-mundane children’s book I wrote back in 1970, when I was seventeen. It should be out in three to four weeks. Excited!

And…I also have a cookbook sitting on the back burner. [Pun intended.] 

But My Stolen Diaries has always been the bucket-novel I’ve dreamed nonstop of publishing.

Plus, My Stolen Diaries seems like the perfect blog-a-novel project, mainly because of its event-based format.

I started writing it back in the 1990s. So far, I have 168 pages and 117,653 words.

If I assume that each average post will be 1,500 words in length, I need to write at least 78 blog posts for My Stolen Diaries.

Now I recognize, that’s a ton of posts/chapters, so here’s the dilemma:

How do I present the posts/chapters in a way that readers can easily catch up with the earlier posts/chapters they may have missed?

And will anyone take the time to slog through 78+ posts/chapters?

After racking my brain, trying to figure out what to call each post: Chapters, Episodes, Scenes, Events…

It finally hit me!

Duh.

Diary = Entry.

So, I guess I’ll start at the very beginning; entry by entry.

What have I got to lose?

What harm could it do to post some of my novel entries into cyberspace and then analyze what you all think?

Worse case, I’ll post a few entries of My Stolen Diaries and give up if I see that the Page Views don’t warrant my time.

Plus, what better way to test-market my dream book than sharing it with my die-hard readers?

And since my novel is only partially written, it won’t be like I’m giving the entire store (in this case, story) away.

Note to my readers: Your opinion about My Stolen Diaries will help me to determine whether or not to keep on keeping on, so I welcome your thoughts and suggestions. Okay, let’s be honest, I NEED your thoughts and suggestions, so puleeze help me out here?

But before presenting you with Diary Entry One, here is how I would like to disclaim:

[My Stolen Dairies is a work of fiction. F-I-C-T-I-O-N. Although its format is based on a personal diary, it’s not real. It’s made up. Space and time have been moved around to accommodate the book, and except the mentioning of some public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. The events expressed in My Stolen Diaries are those of the characters and should not be confused with the views and opinions of the author. The author will not be held responsible or liable for any perceived or actual loss or damage to any person or entity, directly or indirectly caused by or alleged to have been caused by anything in My Stolen Diaries. If anyone happens to see themselves in any of the characters, that’s on them and a figment of their overly imaginative imagination.]

Stay tuned for Diary Entry One.

Sliding Doors


MOVIE TRAILER OF SLIDING DOORS

Sliding Doors is one of my favorite movies. As soon as I saw the trailer above, back in 1998, I knew I had to see it.

I went to the movies alone and armed myself with a jumbo popcorn slathered with extra butter, a large coke, and some chocolate covered raisins.

Gwyneth Paltrow played Helen, a London advertising executive. After she gets fired from her job, she devastatingly walks out of her office and plans to go home via subway.

And then fate kicked in, and two side by side scenarios emerged.

In the first scenario, Helen squeezes her way into the subway train just as the sliding doors are closing. Too bad for her, because, she comes home and finds her boyfriend, Gerry (played by John Lynch), in bed messing with another woman. Heartbroken Helen leaves Gerry, eventually finds the love of her life, and lives happily ever after.

In the second scenario, the sliding doors shut in her face, and she misses the train. While hailing a cab, a mugger tries to run off with her handbag, and she falls, hitting her head. By the time Helen arrives home, the other woman is long gone. Gerry continues to cheat on Helen, and poor suffering Helen lives a miserable life.

I was recovering from my own misery; a harrowing and heartbreaking familial divorce, so I found the movie sadly relatable.

What if I had never moved back to New York? What if I never went to that stupid party? What if I said no instead of yes? What if I decided to go it alone and have the baby anyway?   

As the movie tracked through both storylines, I had no idea whether Helen got on that train or not.

But I was rooting for Helen. I was silently praying that those sliding doors shut right into her face. I was crying throughout the entire movie while shoving handfuls of overly buttered popcorn with a side of chocolate raisins into my mouth.

My tears weren’t for Helen; they were for me.

Because I had been the leading lady in my own version of Sliding Doors.

Haven’t we all?

The theme song Thank You from Sliding Doors

 

Championship Brisket

This past February my husband and I drove several hours with our grandsons to Lake Placid for the 2019 ECAC Hockey Championships taking place at the famous Herb Brooks Arena.

Cornell was in the finals against Clarkson, and it was EXCITING!

After trying time and time again to score on Clarkson during the second and third periods, Cornell sophomore forward Tristan Mullin tied up the game up with 5:41 left in regulation.

The crowd went nuts.

The Cornell fans were jumping and screaming and ready for OVERTIME!!!!

I was in my glory, bear-hugging my husband, and looking forward to creaming Clarkson…

…Until the grandsons tugged on my sweater while moaning that they were tired and wanted to go back to the hotel.

What????????

I tried everything in my power to talk them out of wanting to leave, assuring them that they were going to regret their decision.

I offered them hot dogs, popcorn, pretzels, ice cream, tablet time. You name it, I bribed them with it.

Until they started to cry.

So, what choice did I have but to take the boys back to the hotel?

As we were leaving, the Cornell fans were shaking their heads in shock. “YOU’RE ACTUALLY LEAVING?” several asked in astonishment.

Trudging back to the hotel, people who couldn’t get tickets were hanging around the arena, listening to the game on their phones, while I made one last-ditch attempt to convince the grandsons to go back.

Forget it. They were determined to go sleepies.

When we got to the room, they collapsed on their beds and were sound asleep in minutes.

Me? Not so much.

It was early, and I didn’t know what the heck to do with myself.

I didn’t want to turn on the lights or the television for fear of waking the boys, so I started combing through my phone for something to do.

When in doubt my go-to phone fallback is not Facebook or Instagram.

It’s looking up recipes and then mixing and matching them to come up with my own personal spin.

So, here I was in the dark, with nothing to do.

What better way to spend my time but to look up brisket recipes?

In between writing down a combination of recipe ideas, I was getting a play by play update from my husband via text.

Text from Hubby: Galajda [the Cornell Goalie] just left with a knee injury! The net pushed on top of him from behind, and the idiot officials never stopped the play! I wish you could see this craziness.

My reply: Yeah, okay, thanks. Why don’t you rub it in?

Then I scribbled down a killer brisket rub I found.

Text from Hubby: Turns out Galajda might have also injured his neck while trying to lift the net off his back! McGrath replaced him with just 3:47 left in the game. The Cornell section is going insane!

My reply: I’m going insane sitting here in the pitch-black combing through brisket recipes.

Hmmm, add a little dark sugar to ramp up the gravy flavor.

I was furiously writing down my brisket ideas as my husband continued to furiously text.

Text from Hubby: Clarkson just scored 14:36 into the extra period, That’s it. They won 3-2. What a rip-off. So unfair.

My reply: What’s unfair is I’m stuck in this hotel room looking up freaking brisket recipes. And I’m getting hungry. Can you bring me back a hotdog?

The next morning, the boys wanted a blow by blow description of the game.

Really????  NOW you’re interested in the ECAC game of the century?

While my husband told them about the game, I told them about my search for the perfect brisket recipe, which I was going to name in their honor.

Then we packed up and drove several hours home as the boys exclaimed how they couldn’t wait until they came back for the championships next year.

Yeah, okay, as if I’ll drive a gazillion hours to look up brisket recipes next year.

I missed the most exciting hockey game of the season, but I was able to cobble together one heck of a…

ECAC Brisket Recipe
1 Brisket roast (4-5 pounds with at least ¼” fat all the way around.)
1 Pound bacon (or 1 pound turkey bacon marinated in ¼ cup Olive Oil)

Rub:
1 ½ tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 ½ tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

For later use in the gravy: 2 cups beef broth, ¼ cup cider vinegar, ½ cup dark brown sugar

Mix the rub ingredients together and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and place the oven rack in the upper-middle position.
Poke holes in the brisket with a knife and then rub the brisket with the mixture.
Place the bacon crosswise in a broiler-safe 9 x 13 pan. Do not use glass.
Place the brisket fat side down on top of the bacon.
Place the rest of the bacon crosswise on top of the brisket.
Tuck any loose ends of the bacon under the brisket.
If using turkey bacon, pour the remaining olive oil into the pan.
Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 5 hours.
After 5 hours, take the pan out of the oven.
Remove the foil and then set the bacon aside and carefully turn the brisket over fat side up. Then place the bacon back on top of the flipped brisket.
Replace the foil and return to the oven.
Turn the oven off and leave the brisket in the oven for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, pour the juice from the brisket into a large saucepan.
Remove the bacon from the brisket and discard.
Add the beef broth, vinegar and dark brown sugar to the saucepan.
Heat and simmer the gravy until the liquid thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
Add the sauce to the brisket and place it in the fridge overnight.
The next day, take the brisket out and remove any fat on the top.
Reheat at 250 degrees for about 1 hour.

In case you want to see the ECAC Championship craziness

Beach Body on Demand

As a result of my recent complaining to my daughter that my weight was creeping higher and higher, she set me up with a fitness app.

For just $99 per year, I am now able to stream hundreds of workouts on my television, phone, or computer.

My favorite workout is called the 21 Day Fix.

My streaming trainer Autumn’s favorite thing to say while I huff and puff:

“You give me three weeks; I’ll give you the body you always wanted.  And it will get easier, I promise.”

Sorry Autumn, but it’s going to take way more than 21 days to fix what I did to myself.  And I’ve been hanging in there with you for 40+ days now, and it’s NOT getting easier. And BTW, I’ve lost two puny pounds.

The best part of Autumn’s routine is when she shouts 3-2-1 nicely done.

But I keep on trying. Because what’s the alternative?

So, every day, I force myself to stream the 21 Day Fix and jump around my bedroom as best as a 66-year-old can.

The only results I’ve seen so far: My knees are killing me, I have a crick in my neck, and a non-stop Charlie horse in my abdomen.

Last week my abdomen hurt so bad I looked up the symptoms of a hernia.  I was sort of hoping I had one so I could quit working out.

Okay, I did lose those two measly pounds.

Until this year, when I would hear my friends complain about their muffin top, I didn’t know what that was.

Oh, but now I do.

The first sign of that belly blob over my jeans caused me to bolt over to my computer and type in Muffin-Top.

Yep. I have the muffin thingy.

According to the Urban Dictionary: “Muffin-Top is a word used to describe the unsightly fat that bulges over the offender’s waistline.”

OFFENDER?

Dang. Who knew?

First thing I did after reading the Urban Dictionary was to throw out all my below-the-belly-button pants, jeans, and leggings.

Next, I ran out and bought a bunch of mom-type lower body clothing.

Then I turned on my television and slogged through another Beach Body workout with my new bestie Autumn.

I so wish that exercising was as easy as eating.

My Grandmother’s World War II Home Front Job

In the late 1930s, my grandmother Mammy (pronounced MayMe) came to Bridgeport, Connecticut from Caribou, Maine as a single mom in search of a better life for her and her young daughter.

Soon after she arrived, millions of unemployed Americans went to work to make weapons of war, many of whom were women.  My grandmother was one of them.

She had a 3pm-11pm shift at Remington Arms boxing bullets on an assembly line.

She had other jobs as well—at least three or four at the time, but Remington was her bread and butter.

Remington Arms was a sprawling 73-acre manufacturing complex on Barnum Avenue in Bridgeport and was among the biggest munitions factories in the world, employing over 17,000 workers and producing tons of ammunition and weapons each year.

For women like my grandmother, the war brought enormous change in American women’s lives and was a crucial step on the road toward equal rights.

Before the war, women were second-class citizens and were unfairly discriminated against in the workplace. World War II was first a stimulus, and then became the model for women like Mammy and solidified their place in the job market.

I’d like to think that my grandmother’s experiences helped to lay the groundwork for the women’s movement in later years. And I know for sure that her experiences in the factory and her work on the assembly line helped to shape the way she raised me.

Whenever Mammy spoke about her work at Remington Arms, she recalled it fondly. While we never spoke of her job in terms of whether her work helped the democratic cause, she always spoke of her pride in the work she did, including the enormous amount of overtime she booked, week after week, month after month.

For Mammy, her job at Remington Arms was a vehicle for lasting change and offered her hope for a prosperous future. It altered her thinking about who she was and gave her pride in what she had accomplished during the war.

As a result of her work boxing bullets, the American dream was more than wishful thinking. It was finally within her reach and had become her goal.

World War II was the catalyst for change, and America was undeniably transformed by the end of it.

And so was Mammy.

Pam 6/2/52-5/20/09

This is one of two photos I have of my cousin Pam in her before life—before her life took too many tragic turns.

I combed through my albums looking for the oldies but goodies to honor her today.

I was hoping to find some photos of us together as carefree kids, with no knowledge of the devastation awaiting her.

It saddened me that I only found two photos of the before Pam.

The one above, of her alone, and one of Pam with her husband Joe, before he heartbreakingly passed away at 38 years young.

Just two photos before her world came crashing in on her.

Before her husband died.

Before her son died.

I met Pam on March 6, 1966.

I know this because going through some old files last week, I found an entry I wrote on some Rheingold Beer stationery all those years ago.

A sign from Pam reminding me of the where and the how.

I was a nervous wreck that March day in 1966. I didn’t need to read my old notes to recall the terror I felt.

I was meeting my future family and it was going to be awkward because they knew my mom for several years, but they didn’t know about Theresa. I was a dirty little secret.

I couldn’t blame this family for being upset. They were Catholic like us, and I was the mortal sin.

The meeting started out not good. But in the end, it didn’t go as horribly as I thought it would.

Because of Pam.

She made it okay.

She was beautiful inside and out, and I never forgot her kindness.

We weren’t blood but everyone who saw us together thought we were sisters.

Can you see it?

 

 

Ballroom Competition and Mother’s Day

It’s May 12, 2019, and I’m writing this blog post for my mom.

I’m reasonably sure she doesn’t read or even know about my blog.

But it’s Mother’s Day, and I’m missing her. Badly.

So please stick with me on this blog post?

A close friend of mine invited me to Philadelphia to watch her compete in an Amateur Ballroom Dance Competition called the Philadelphia Dancesport Championships.

Now let me be clear. I know ZERO about Ballroom dancing, so whatever I blog here is from a know-nothing perspective.

And if you bear with me, you will see how I managed to intermingle her dance competition with Mother’s Day.

My friend is an amateur, but extremely talented ballroom dancer, who partners with a masterful professional.

As a fan of “Dancing with the Stars,” I was super excited to finally see Bo dance.

First, it was off to New Jersey for a two-hour lesson and practice, followed by picking up the mother of all sequined dresses.

I’m pretty sure the dress weighed more than Bo!

Then we spent a quiet evening at the Westin Hotel in Philly.

And the next day, while Bo prepared for her competition, I went to the ballroom to familiarize myself with the dancing lowdown.

There were numbers on every table, so of course, I quickly grabbed a seat at my lucky numero 18.

The table was set up with battery-operated fans, bottled water, lots of tissue boxes and neatly folded perspiration cloths.

There were at least seven judges, heads bent low to their table, busily writing stuff down.

Professional photographers were snapping photos and videographers were busy filming the competing couples.

Watching the contestants compete, I couldn’t help but wonder if they had day jobs.

I imagined, for example, that the hot tamale in the senior novice division doing the Cha-Cha in an ever-so skin-tight green dress, was an accountant by day.

“Number 476—the Cha-Cha, let’s hear it for the contestants.”

There was the Rumba, the Swing,  and the Mambo.

I was mesmerized by the abundance of illusion, glitter, sequins, feathers, and spray tan. And those splits! Oh my.

And every time a dance duo would glide by me, they would smile and gaze adoringly at me.

I was patting myself on the back that my slit wide-leg pants, glitter top, globs of face makeup, eye shadow and mascara had paid off…until I realized that there was a ginormous mirror behind me.

While the contestants were throwing back all brands and sizes of bottled water, I was happily throwing back a Chardonnay.

Two of the male dancers at my table were in deep discussion about hair gel, while I was mesmerized by one particular male dancer on the floor.

Not only did he have impressive dance moves (not that I would know), he had swag.

Mr. Swag competed with more than twenty different female partners, and he danced them to winning status every time.

Which got me to thinking: Does he live near me?

A thought balloon hovered over my head: The Terster in a tight green dress…okay maybe not so tight, because of, you know, the belly roll…

But there is the Terster—floating around the dance floor with Mr. Russian Swag Guy. And the winner is!!!!!!!

Okay, I was having a blast, but you know Teri.

She can always pull something out of the past to put a damper on any old day.

And this is where Mother’s Day comes in.

Because back in the day, my mom was an Arthur Murray dance instructor, so a lot of the songs and dances reminded me of how she would sing and dance around the kitchen on Huron Street with a phantom partner.

Once in a while, she would grab my hand, and we would float around as best we could in the cramped spaces between the table and chairs and the fridge.

Well, my mom floated, I clomped.

The flashback of the two us—with my mom so carefree and happy.

Back then, if she was happy, then so was I.

And of course, my grandmother would be sitting at the table, smiling, but covering her mouth, lest we would see her loose-fitting dentures moving around.

Maybe I looked forlorn, perhaps a little distracted. I can’t say why, but the young woman sitting next to me placed her hand on my arm. “Are you okay? Are you watching someone out there?”

I was a little choked up, so I merely shook my head no.

I pulled out a tissue from one of the several boxes on the table to catch the tears in the corners of my eyes.

Leave it to me to take a perfectly enjoyable dance competition and make a weepfest out of it.

A couple of minutes later when I had my emotions in check, I told the young woman about my mom and Arthur Murray. Well not Arthur per se, but you know what I mean.

She had bleached blonde spiky hair, a nose ring, and a mohawk motorcycle helmet. Not exactly ballroom material.

She told me that her mom was a senior novice. “The vision in lavender,” she said, as she proudly pointed her out. I answered that my favorite color was lavender.

And then she told me everything I needed to know (or not) about ballroom dance competitions, her passion for motorcycles, and how her mom got her mojo back through competitive dancing.

In between dances, contestants would come to the table and fan themselves, yank out a handful of tissues, and gently blot the sweat off their faces.

Then there came a series of songs that just stabbed at my heart:

♪ Sunrise, sunset, Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears ♪

I grabbed for a tissue and ordered another glass of wine.

♪ A time for us, someday there’ll be
A new world, a world of shining hope for you and me ♪

I mean seriously? These songs were hardly conducive for a happy Teri outcome.

I grabbed a few more tissue, said a quick goodbye to my punky friend who was busy videoing her mom and bolted out of the ballroom before dark Teri reared her ugly head.

Plus, it was almost showtime for Bo!

A flurry of stretching, hair, makeup and then the donning of her elegant sun-yellow gown.

Bo’s dancing was superb. She was a vision in yellow—a beautiful ray of sunshine. Bo and her partner danced with elegance and spot-on precision. I was so proud of her.

She breezed through the Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Fox Trot, Quickstep, and the Tango, and took first place in all of her heats.

Her last dance was the Fox Trot. The song was Fly Me to the Moon.

Thank God for those tissues.

How many times had I adoringly watched my mom float around our dumpy kitchen on Huron Street while singing that tune?

A lifetime ago.

What I wouldn’t give to have one more chance at one more dance.

Happy Mother’s Day, mom.