Daze of Wine and Poses

There is no better comparison than to say I was like an accordion.


Stretched to my limits.

Occasionally wheezing.

And still trying to belch out cheerful sounds.

I think I was fairly successful on that last bit despite the prior two burdensome grievances. And damned if I was going to put any damp, dark marker on my one weekend in Boston—my three days with Chloe. A mother/daughter weekend extraordinaire like none I’ve ever had.

I thought it would be 72 hours of us fixing up her new tiny flat—a space Harry Potter would have called a snug fit when compared to his hovel beneath the stairs. And I also thought we’d be shopping for groceries. I was pretty determined to make sure she had all the necessities since her miniscule weekly shopping budget seemed just about right as long as she had the appetite of a two-pound gerbil.

But my visit turned out to be time spent doing neither of these.

Chloe had planned for every minute available to us—and, as it turned out, many more that weren’t. She’d booked activities requiring the precise timing that would have made a Swiss watchmaker glow with pride. But I think we’re all pretty familiar with the old adage If you want to make God laugh, plan a picnic.



Now just apply this to public transportation timetables and you’ll have just revealed the fat glitch in her ‘planned down to the second’ schedule of events. I can still hear the echo from the cackling deities.

The first thing she said upon meeting me at the airport, and snapping the first of a million selfies to catalogue our time together, was that she hoped I’d clocked a few extra hours in my sleep bank, as nightly rest was not something she’d taken into consideration before writing out the agenda—a roster of events I was guessing would be taped up on her bedroom wall in the form of several pie chart diagrams, bar graphs and schematic flowcharts.

My response to this was to ask her where the nearest wine store was in relation to her apartment, as I was likely going to want to purchase a bottle to help get me through the breakdown of the activities lecture surely awaiting me once we arrived at her flat.


She then told me that Boston was expecting an uncharacteristically intense heat wave for the next three days, that her room was on the top floor of a five floor building, and that air conditioning was for wusses—or that they just didn’t have any. It could have been either. I couldn’t hear over the roar of the subway station we’d entered.

My next response was to amend my prior request for one bottle of wine. Yelling out that I’d likely need a heftier supply of vino to soften the weekend’s unexpected challenges was probably not a great idea as I had no clue how far a voice could carry in the cavernous tunnel of a tube station—especially after that roaring train instantly disappeared.

We did, however, find ourselves with a little more elbow room after that so I suppose it wasn’t a total loss.

She wasn’t kidding about the heat. Nor the size of her room. So, as a consolation prize, she informed me that she shares a bathroom with about six other girls, although after using it I updated her description of “girls” to mean two Yetis, a Sasquatch, the band members from ZZ Top and the showering rights of Chewbacca.

Hair is really important to college women.

Losing it, not so much.

Reclaiming it, not at all.

So instead of doing a rundown of every activity we managed to squeeze in, I will give you the highlights I thought most important to share:

Boston has a lot of public libraries. Some of them have books you can check out. Unless you’re hoping to take them back to Virginia.

Or into the women’s bathroom for an extended, relaxing read.

There is a bucketload of beautiful churches in this city. Almost all of them are locked. Especially when you need to use the bathroom. Even if you’re not sneaking a “keepsake” from the Boston public library beneath your sundress.

Museums are no longer free. Unless you’re a college student.

I can no longer pass for a college student.

Museums are not terribly wine friendly.

The subway is filled with people. But oftentimes surprisingly bereft of trains.

The subway has no issues with beverages of any description.

People who go to the Improv are usually people who auditioned for the Improv but were rejected by the Improv.

I can still run three miles in flip flops. Especially when told that the world as we know it will end if we don’t make it to a reservation we were supposed to have shown up for thirty minutes earlier. And “TWO WEEKS’ WORTH OF SOMEONE’S PITIFUL HOURLY WAGES WILL GO OWN THE DRAIN FOR NOTHING, MOTHER!”


Wine is essential after running three miles in flip flops fueled by nothing more than guilt.

The Farmer’s Market in Boston was filled with booths belonging to painters, sculptors and photographers.

And one farmer who sold goat yogurt.

Goat yogurt tastes surprisingly good with wine.

Boston’s Freedom Trail is a 2 ½ mile long path that highlights the patriots’ determined fight for liberation from the British.

It must have been a path littered with booby traps as it is filled with scores of cemeteries along the route. Haley Joel Osmond could never survive in Boston.

Apparently, folks are generally discouraged from taking selfies with the tombstone of Paul Revere whilst making a duckface.

If you’re going to be visiting the dead all day long, the only way to rouse yourself from the incredibly somber mood you’re falling into is to agree to make duckfaces whilst snapping selfies.

Making duckfaces while snapping selfies as you stand behind national monuments is so much easier if you’ve first had some wine.


I’m fairly sure Boston has placed a moratorium on air conditioning.

I’m incredibly grateful that the patriots chose to toss the crates that held all the tea and not the barrels that held all of the wine.


So, all in all, my trip to Boston was chock a block full of a bazillion activities where we made some serious memories. Although I may have to review each of our pictures in order to remember them all.

Or any of them. *hic*


PS. Next week. It’s Chloe’s version of the very same 72 hours.

Oh, goody.


Don’t forget to check out what we’re cookin’ in the Scullery and what we all talked about down in the pub. Plus, you can see more of Robin Gott‘s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone.





100 thoughts on “Daze of Wine and Poses

  1. I could barely read past your opening lines so stunned I was that a college student would have a packed schedule for their visiting mother! I just dropped my son off at college yesterday, and he couldn’t seem to see me leave quickly enough. Granted, he’s only an hour away, but I doubt he’ll be inviting me for fun get-together weekends. The difference between sons and daughters I suppose? Then again, he’s a freshman. Maybe after he’s had a few weeks there, he might actually miss me…

    I love Boston, and I loved hearing about your adventures. And glad you survived the heat!

    • I’m guessing that’s exactly what it is, Carrie. I can’t imagine my high school senior son enjoying a visit from me next year that’s any longer than the length of a ping pong game.

      Regardless, perhaps your son will surprise you and thrill you with a special ‘look what I’ve discovered’ weekend? Fingers crossed for you, Carrie. And a huge congrats on the new college boy!


    • i agree. our son (like i spoze i wuzz when that age) tried real hard to convey the illusion that he was “there” @ school, parent-less, like he had come into the whirled and continued along and thru’ it without any semblance of parents whatsoever. our daughter at least pretended to appreciate her parents dropping by …

  2. What a fun read, Shelley. It sounds like an exhausting 72 hours, perhaps one of those trips that will seem like more fun when a few months have passed. Of course now that you’ve blogged about the experience you’ll have to let your eyes glaze over this entry when you’re writing your memoir(s). S or no S…I digress.

    I’ve only been to Boston once on my way to visit friends in Connecticut. I was five weeks pregnant with my first son, so found myself acquainted with public garbage cans when waves of nausea arrived. No selfies of me from that trip!

    I hope the trip home was uneventful and that Chloe settles well into her new digs. Have you read Mindy Kaling’s recent book? She has a great chapter about her apartment and two roommates in New York in her college years. It’s a fun and uplifting read.

    I look forward to reading Chloe’s version next week.


    • Truthfully, it was one of the best times I’ve ever spent with her Alys. She totally outdid herself. I would never be able to match a schedule of fun like hers. But yes, I was comatose after returning home. Blurry-eyed, indeed.

      I’ll check out Kaling’s book – I love her humor, so many thanks for the tip.

      Chloe’s version will skin me to the bone I’m fairly sure. Holding my breath. 😉

      • Shelley, that’s wonderful to hear. I know as my boys age that I’ve enjoyed relating to them as young men. I would love to have that kind of dedicated time with either of them in the future.

  3. We were foolish enough to once attempt driving in Boston – lovely city but you were wise to use public transportation! I once slept on a mattress my son dragged into his college pad from the street. I’ll spare you the description of what it smelt like! Hey, you survived. Congrats!

    • Ooh, Jan–the mattress. Poor thing! I think I’d find myself sleeping propped up against the wall if it came to that.
      Thinking about the size of my daughter’s room, I’m actually surprised she was able to shove a mattress in at all. It was a squeeze. But still, it’s her first and I think she’s pretty proud of it.

  4. I have never been to Boston, and now that you have helpfully let me know about the ban on air conditioning, I will be sure to avoid it in future. What would I do without you, Shelley? You are a(n inter)national treasure.

    And I’m pretty sure I can no longer pass for a college student, either. Maybe we should start a club. I’ll bring the wine if you bring the chocolate!

    • Oh, yes please! Ganache, girls and ground up grapes. I’m so in. Let’s see if we’ve any other takers.
      College girls, your membership applications are welcome, but pending–probably for the next twenty years.
      Feel free to drop off your meeting snacks regardless. We’ll look after them in the meantime. 😀

  5. Chuckling. I’ll have to retract a statement I made earlier this morning, guilt is good for nothing. Guilt is obviously a good incentive for a parent not wanting to disappoint their child. Boston in a heat wave? You can stop there. You have my utmost admiration, and pity for the heat and the bathroom share thing. Ugh. I do feel sorry for my daughter now, though, because her town house is suddenly looking palatial and I may pay her a visit. Still chuckling. xx

    • I’m so with you on the guilt thing, Ardys. Guilt has very few helpful applications to create a happy life. This one worked. Seeing that child’s face when we made our reservation by the skin of our teeth was priceless. I’d do it again in a heartbeat, but probably also in tennis shoes.
      I hope your next visit is a spectacular one.
      Ah, the making of memories.

  6. Oh I am so looking forward to reading Chloie’s version of events. I have noted over the years how very different mine and my daughter’s versions are of seminal events in our lives 🙂 I’m really impressed with the three miles in flip-flops [we call them jandals here] In the heat. With wine. Way to go!!

    • Makes you wonder if the two of you attended the same event, doesn’t it, Pauline? Twenty some years between the two of you can make for an astonishingly different perspective. There have been times where I’ve turned to one of my kids and asked them “Did I seriously birth you?”
      Jandals? Huh, learned something new today. The world just got a tiny bit smaller.

  7. Whoa, back up there….you can no longer pass as a college student? Bah to that, I have seen your photo. (What do those officious museum peolple know anyhoo….) A busy time indeed, what’s not to love about Boston seen through the eyes of wine-goggles? Seriously, some very special (if sweaty) mum and daughter memories being made there. The flip flop running wine cartoon is killer RG!

    • ‘The Magic of Mabeline,’ Cheergerm–it’s all smoke and mirrors. 😉
      And I love the term wine-goggles. Boy, is that going to find some traction in my house (and writing).
      And in truth, I’d do it all again a thousand times over. Best time I’ve ever had with that child. She amazed me (I may have to retract all this after next week’s slaughtering version. We’ll see.).

  8. I know I’d be right in saying you love your daughter and were happy to be with her. It shows. I’m pretty sure I’d be right in saying you also have a love affair with the old vino collapso, Of course that ones only a guess and I’m not sure where I got the idea.
    I wonder how much variation there will be between the two separate descriptions of the same weekend. No doubt very little at all. I’m looking forward to the other version nonetheless.
    xxx Massive Hugs Shelley xxx

    • Yes, David, you’re totally spot on. I could eat that child up with a spoon–and I want to squish the beejeebies out of the other one who is equally delicious. I adore my kids, and I love seeing them grow into these marvelous updated versions of themselves with each new season. I think many parents feel that same way. We’re lucky folks.
      Now, next week? Well, it may be paybacks for years of forcing her to take violin lessons and clean the cat litter. Time will tell.

  9. A totally rib-tickling start to my Sunday Shelley, I await with baited breath the flip side version! Glad you managed to find some red stuff to soothe the schedule although I’m surprised you didn’t opt for a good cup of tea ? 🙂 Love the cartoons this week especially the dude on the cloud and the tombstone toper !! 😀

    • It’s funny you should mention the good cup of tea, Jane, as a top-notch solution, as I recall a thousand times hearing from English friends that the best thing to do when one is fighting near heat stroke is to have a hot, strong cup of orange pekoe. I shall give it a whirl next time. And then have a glass of wine. o_O

  10. This is just a beginning! Try four daughters with annual moves to rabbit hutch sized apartments from London to St Andrews, and ?? painting and furnishing each while being hidden because of the IGNOMINY of needing your MOTHER at all! Then understand why I don’t even ask about the new flat.

    I look forward to Chloe’s account. It may provide deep insights.Lovely cartoons. You do know how to derive the best from the possible worst and come up clinking glasses.

    • Philippa, I’m thinking your words of warning should be one I translate into “better stock the wine cellar now,” right? Four daughters … good heavens, you have had your hands full. But I also love hearing about that independent streak that screams, I GOT THIS, MOM!
      Chloe’s account may require that I pop the cork off something stronger before reading it. Time to head down to the cellar to compare and contrast ABV percentages.
      Always so wonderful to see your words, Philippa. Cheers!

  11. Hilarious and touching that she planned your visit so carefully. Note for next time: stay in the Four Seasons. It’ll be worth the money for the bathroom alone 🙂
    I love the cemeteries in Boston!

    • Bingo. That’s the plan, Stan. Next time, I told her that I’d get a room at a local hotel that we could share and she’d feel like it was a tiny vacation for her too. Clean sheets, towels and a bar of soap that wasn’t sprouting alien growth.
      And you’re so right, the cemeteries were amazing, Linnet. I wouldn’t mind doing a special tour of just those alone next time I return.

  12. And now the important question … What type of wine?
    Thanks for a great read over coffee (Peets, Maj Dickensons Blend, french press) this morning. The Devil is indeed in the detail. 😉

    • Type of wine, Gary? I can say with great confidence that at that particular moment, as long as it effortlessly poured out of a bottle and was red or white or pink or yellow I would not look a gift horse in the mouth. Gratitude was bountiful when sore muscles, aching feet and the memory of that “bathroom” was wiped away in a hazy fog.
      And your morning’s caffeine routine? Boy, was my post in high-class company. 😉

  13. There must be some intelligence in Chloe’s mind. Most young people when you ask them what would they like to do today, shrug their shoulders and say, “I dunno”. The don’t pack a months worth into a week. You’ve got a real prize with your daughter She will go far. Me, I could go far too with enough wine. Well, maybe as far as the next park bench under a tree for shade. No air conditioning would have me checked into the nearest hotel that provided it. I’m sure you both enjoyed flip flopping around. This was a hilarious view from your perspective. Thanks.

    • I will happily go through nearly anything if it results in adding indelible marks to the ‘living life to the fullest’ column. And, of course, a blog post worth sharing. It’s so worth it.
      And yes, Marlene, I totally lucked out with the two human beings I’ve been put in charge of. Don’t know how that happened, but I’m super grateful regardless.
      A million thanks for reading!

  14. Sounds like fun. Never been to Boston but since I hear that Massachusetts does not allow idiots to set off fireworks, I was thinking I might visit next year for the 4th. Then again, if its really hot….

    • Apparently–and this is just a report from my daughter who watched the festive fourth celebrations–it was one of the most impressive displays she’s yet experienced. Of course, that comes from a child who’s Fourth of July nights were basically a box of sparklers and the occasional bottle rocket on the driveway. Still, I’ve heard it’s worthy.

  15. Oh, a continuing saga….I can’t wait for next week’s read. What I’ve learned from yours is never got to Boston without wine and a selfie stick and don’t wear flip flops. Also, am taking note to get IN WRITING BEFOREHAND what is on agenda when visiting son at his university when he goes in a couple of years…..somehow though…I tend to think his agenda would not include museums and the like but perhaps the even worse event of tech-y trade shows and Apple stores, etc……yes…..that’s probably it exactly…am now making note to myself to leave checkbook at home on that trip too!

    P.S. Rob’s flip-flop pic…..OMG. Best ever.

    • I’m going to guess that maybe in a couple of years when you’re invited for the visit, you’ll likely have a similar experience as mine–in that regardless of where you go (or where you stay – ugh), there’s something so overwhelmingly wonderful about seeing your child pridefully show off their newfound independence and discoveries. It was that good.
      Now, leaving the checkbook home? That makes me giggle, although funny enough, Chloe fought me tooth and nail to allow her to pay for things. It’s the beauty of the first job where you make more than minimum wage, I’m guessing. Again, beautiful steps for our kids.
      Cheers, Torrie!

  16. Top of mind thoughts:
    1. A 5th floor walk up sans air conditioning is the devil’s work. You are a champion for braving that.
    2. The apple does not fall far from the tree. I seem to recall many a post where you talk about plans. And time. And timing. And being on time. Chloe learned from the best.
    3. Whatever the problem, wine is always the answer.
    4. I CANNOT wait to read Chloe’s version next week. 🙂

  17. Every new place my growing daughters inhabit becomes, well a little more inhabitable from my perspective. I think watching them become adults is my reward for all those years of picking up after them. The tiny apartment will be a great memory Shelley!

    • So many delicious first for the kids as they slowly unravel the fraying tethered cord to me and “home.” Yes, I imagine we’ll all laugh about the broom sized closet when she’s moved on to the next flat. And in the meantime, I’m searching for ways to utilize head space storage. Great memories, indeed, Martha. 🙂

  18. I hate to say it, but … OMG Shelley,

    This is like reading a page out of my life, or at least my weekends in Melbourne with my Shelley. I was always happy to help her out and stock up her pantry however, she’d always have other ideas and I’d always return home more exhausted than when I left having never banked those extra, precious, hours of sleep before embarking on a weekend of ‘fun’ mother/daughter activities. 🙂

    It’s nice to see (I think) that regardless of culture, country, or continent, mother/daughter weekends follow the same pattern and invariably end with the mother only gaining some ‘rest’ during the flight home. But oh so worth it just to be in her company for a day or so.


    • Isn’t it amazing, Clare, how we have so much in common? It’s seriously like having a life experience doppelganger on the other side of the globe. Oh, I so hope one day I can have a brilliant experience like you and Dean–to travel and explore and have such a thrilling adventure.

      Fingers crossed that my lifetime adventures continue to mimic the wonders of yours. And in the meantime, you guys be safe, but give me hope for the further need to ratchet up my courage factor. I admire you both so much.

      Cheers, Clare!

  19. Oh Jesus, I so feel you. We were thinking of moving up to Massachusetts recently and went looking at houses. Houses built as late as 2000 have no central air, and when they DO have central air, it’s that lame ductless kind that never really reaches the whole house. First world problems are THE WORST.

    • You’re right. I feel like an inconsiderate idiot sometimes when finding myself complaining about something like the lack of AC. Kinda shameful, right? I’m going to have to discover something much more legitimate to gripe about next time. Like the fact that I can no longer get a scoop-load of fresh drinking water from the Charles river any longer. I’m forced to go to the local Whole Foods for a $6 bottle of H2O with two asparagus stalks floating in them for pure earthy flavor.
      Okay, still not feeling any better about griping.

      • feel free to be guilty if you like, but for once I was not being sarcastic– it really is a bitch, especially for fat sweaty ladies like me who need central air so that they don’t sweat all over the place, all the time, everywhere. Why can’t they put central air in their houses? Why? It’s hot up there. Why? Just to screw with sweaty people? That’s discrimination.

  20. Hello Shelley! I just nominated you for the Blogger Recognition Award.

    Don´t worry you don´t have to accept the award or do anything, this is just my way to tell you THANK YOU, I admire your work and I am grateful to you for sharing and teaching me so much!

    Check it out here: http://wp.me/p5trJ-ss

    And once again, thank you for blogging!!!

    Your friend always,
    Hector Sampson

  21. I have been lucky to be missed once my 3 kids were away. Tears with only son and one daughter, while one daughter rushed me out of the dorm. She felt I was talking “too much!” Lol

    • I’d say weepy shows of affection with 66% of your brood is a damn good result! And it’s probably a good thing to have one solid stoic in the bunch as well. Makes for some much-needed stability, right?

      • Yes, stoicism is helpful in crises, or near crises. I was going to come back and add that I am “blessed” with my girls liking to make plans BUT they fall behind while I am ready. I find this helpful in the fact you can have a drink without spilling while rushing around and there is a certain smug triumph in when arriving late, no blame falls upon me.
        By the way, my oldest daughter is 35 and has 2 boys. Over 4th of July, ’15, she foolishly entered a 5k with oldest son (Skyler, 10) and did wear flip flops. “How hard could it be?” While I entered with Micah, aged 6 with tennis shoes on the one singular mile race. 🙂 Another another smug but much hidden smile.

  22. Whooo, Boston in the summer–very brave. I don’t venture up there as often as I might, even though we’re only an hour away, since the driving alone is enough to make me quake in my boots. But it sounds like a successful (and busy!) weekend!

    • Definitely successful, incredibly busy, and after driving in Boston twice myself, I totally see your point. I’m all about public transport now–even if it leaves me waiting and stewing. At least I ain’t driving!

  23. i my-ta regaild thiss awlreddee: bawstun will always hold a strange/mystical/historical (no: not hysterical) place in my chronology as i met “B” there. shameless self-promotional plug: “time stood still at Hungry Charlie’s”

  24. Sounds like it was a riot. I couldn’t help but laugh at the mention of reclaiming hair. My biggest pet peeve!!! ARGH! Mainly because I don’t like looking at the clumps that come off my own head, reminding me my hair is thinning by the year, and is not ever going to be that luscious ponytail someone snapped a picture of over ten years ago, ever again. 😛

    Thanks for sharing the whirlwind version of your trip. 🙂

    And guess what!!! DEAR OPL arrived!!! 😀

  25. That sounds like a whole month’s worth of fun packed in to one visit – no wonder you were utterly exhausted by the end! I’m now looking forward to my youngest (and only daughter) going to university so I can visit an I’ve been making lots of notes in preparation. Rob’s cartoons are brilliantly helpful, although I may have to substitute a chicken for the duck in the last one.

    The next installment is eagerly anticipated – can’t wait to read Chloe’s take on it all, I’m sure she’ll do us all proud. 🙂

    • Naw, there’s something pretty magnetic about those fellas. And I covet their lush hair growth abilities.
      Lessons in flip flops running? I think you might find about a million teenage coaches out there willing to give you pointers.
      I can advise you on the wine to go with the workout, though. 😉

  26. Given the out-of-control nature of my mailbox right now, I actually got to read Chloe’s version first and now I have finally found yours!

    You are so much braver than I am. Fifth floor walk up with no A/C? I’d be looking for a hotel room asap. Having said that, this summer I spent a week in a tent with temperatures in the mid-90s because of my son. Call us crazy.

    Wine and chocolate is the answer to almost every question. Congratulations on surviving the weekend!

    • I’m guessing that’s what it boils down to, Joanne, doesn’t it? Parental love.
      And diminishing brain cells.
      I’m going to go with the parental love bit for as long as my GP can stretch it out for.

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