Friday, December 6, 2013

The Fountain of Youth

It has been said that my parents neighborhood must be built over the Fountain of Youth because most of the people that live there built their houses and still live there.  They have always been very active and vibrant people and many of them are in their eighties and nineties.  Within the last 12 months, I have seen some of them up on their roofs cleaning out their gutters. 

Lately, the fountain has been failing us.  Earlier in the year we lost a couple that had lived at the end of the street.  They died within a few weeks of each other.  We were friends with their kids growing up, and they had a ton of kids.  There are many grand kids and I am sure there are great grand kids as well.  It was a devastating loss for their family, as well as the neighborhood.  Their house is still in the family which makes me happy.  The yellow house will always be their house. 

A couple of weeks ago we lost a another member of the neighborhood.  He was a 97 year old Pearl Harbor veteran who lived a very full life.  He and his wife had been married for 66 years.  He didn't appreciate us when we were younger and tried to eat his apples, but as we grew into adults, we got to see another side of this man, and to appreciate him as well.  This past summer we had a picnic on Memorial Day and he told us a little bit about his Pearl Harbor experience.  It is hard for me to wrap my head around how scary that must have been for him as he was only a 19 year old boy.  He really didn't want to talk about it, but we pushed him, and now I am glad we did. 

Last Saturday was a crushing blow for me.  We lost our next door neighbor who was only 53.  He had lung cancer that wasn't discovered until it was too late.  He fought the good fight for three years, and I watched as he got weaker this summer.  Still, I was shocked when I got the call that he had passed.  He was an incredibly generous man that watched me grow up from a snot nosed kid to a productive member of society with a job and kids of my own.  He was a big man that had gotten a scholarship to play football at the University of Akron. He had a deep booming voice that could draw the attention of even their cat when he would try to leave their yard.   When he and his wife moved in, they had a big boat and a motorcycle and a huge dog. After a few years, the toys disappeared, and in their place came a baby boy.  That baby boy is now in his twenties and is the spitting image of his dad.  As I was looking at the pictures at his memorial service yesterday I realized that as he was only 11 years older than me, but he always seemed so much older than that.  I realized that as he was watching me grow up, I was watching him grow up as well. 

The old neighborhood will never be the same, but I know I am better for having lived there. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Reasons Why Thanksgiving is My Favorite Holiday

  1. Laura comes home and my kids get to play with her kids.  This makes my kids very happy.
  2. Girls day on Black Friday. 
  3. Yum Yum salad.  (Marshmallow goodness mixed with pineapple and cream cheese!)
  4. There is no gift buying or giving involved.
  5. Going to Julie's house for dinner and letting Ryan play to his hearts content with Parker and Payton.  Adult supervision is still required to avoid the emergency room; however, Colin does not want to be the supervisor anymore which is a big bummer for the rest of us. 
  6.  Going to Mary Beth's house with a full belly to eat desserts and plan our black Friday shopping adventure.  I must add a bit of a rant here.  Now that stores are opening on Thursday, we are deprived of the door busters because I REFUSE TO SHOP ON THANKSGIVING!
  7.  I get five days off of work in a row and I am not in charge of any kids for at least one of those days.
  8. Organized chaos for a short time is good. 
  9. My mom's crumb top apple pie.   
  10. The most important is that we get to have all 20 of us in the same place at the same time for a short while and that makes me very happy. 

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Why does StoryCorp Have to Make Me Cry?

This whole week on NPR, they have been commemorating 10 years of StoryCorps by replaying and updating some of the most popular stories.  This is the one they played today which is a story about one of those couples that is so in love that it makes you long to have that kind of relationship.  As I was driving to work I started to get teary and this made me think of Dave. 

Danny said "Being married is like having a color television set; you never want to go back to black and white."  I can totally relate to this.  I had a great life before I got married.  As is well documented, I have a great family that has fulfilled pretty much all my needs.  I have amazing sisters and brother-in-laws that would have helped me with anything I might have needed.  What I didn't have was a partner to share it with.  Someone that was on my team no matter what.  Someone that I could bounce ideas off of without being judged; someone that "got"me.  My life was a great story, but with Dave it has color. 

I say these things for no other reason than to tell the world that I love Dave. He does not read this blog very often, so it could be months before he sees it.  On the outside, it doesn't look like we have one of those relationships.  On the outside it looks like we are just tryin to make it through, and on the inside sometimes it feels like it.   He does not write me daily love notes, but he does tell me and show me every day that he loves me.  We are partners in this messy life we have created, and there is nobody else that I would like to share it with. 

On an different note, I have had the opportunity to participate in StoryCorps with my dad.  I didn't know what it was all about when I did it, but now I feel like I am a part of something really cool.  Ours will never be the featured story of the week, but it is our story and I got to ask him some questions that I never knew.  My dad is not the most talkative of men, so I never knew what his favorite memory of me was until then.  I had suspected it was the one about the girl who cried wolf, but now I know for sure. 

I should tell him that some of my favorite memories of him are when I would fall asleep during church and he would carry me up to communion and then out to the car when mass was over.  People would tell him how special I was, and at that moment, it was just the two of us instead of all six of us.  I would bet that this will surprise him. 

If you ever get the opportunity to participate in StoryCorps, please do it.  You do not have to have a story that will be featured that talks about some groundbreaking thing.  Your story is just that.  Your story, and it is important, too. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Another Post About Nothing

I don't really have a lot going on, but I don't want to lose my momentum of writing, so this will be another post about nothing, or random thoughts.

  • Ryan wants to be Iron Man for Halloween.  Have I mentioned that I am not the biggest fan of Halloween? 
  • I very rarely talk about politics on this blog.  It is not that kind of blog, but I do write about kids, and since our elected officials are acting like children, I can talk about them here.  They need to stop this nonsense right now, and allow our people to get back to work.  The simple fact of the matter is that the ACA is now a law, and no matter how long the republicans hold their breath, that won't make it change.  Causing a global depression won't make that change.  Even if what you believe in is 10000% correct, this is not the way to accomplish your goal.  Grow up and do your job.  Rant over. 
  • I have a really cool job that I wish I could talk about here.  I mention this because I feel like a new woman going in every day and working for something I believe in.  Not every day is great, but a bad day in this job is better than a good day in the other jobs that I have had. 
  • I missed exercising today and I will miss it again on Monday.  I have to say I am kind of sad about that.  Three months ago I would not have said that.   I am also wearing a pair of pants that I would not have been able to wear three months ago.  That makes me happy.
  • I just ate my weight in Zeppe's garlic twists for lunch.  Not sure how long said pants will fit.  I am still happy because I love them, and they love me. 
  • Laura is taking Flat Ryan on a tour of the greater Philadelphia area for Ryan's class project.  Is it wrong that I am a little bit jealous of Flat Ryan getting to see such cool sights and spending so much time with Laura?  I need a girls shopping day to spend with my sisters.  I am really looking forward to the day after Thanksgiving. 
  • Have you had an opportunity to see Malala, the girl who is fighting for education for girls?  She is amazing and gives me hope for the future.  I look forward to watching what she accomplishes as she grows older.  SHE IS ONLY 16!
  • I would really like a vacation. 
  • Many public radio stations across the country are having their fall fund drives.  I think  people don't know that these stations do not operate on money generated by commercials.  These stations are funded by members.  Your membership dollars are what keeps the station running.  It is so important to do your part if you have a station that you enjoy.    Please don't assume that someone else is going to do it, because those people are assuming that you are doing it.  We need all of you to contribute. 
Lunch is over so I have to get back to work.  Here is hoping that you all have a great weekend. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Friday Night Homecoming Parade and Family Values

Friday night was homecoming for our town, and it is a big deal here.  The middle school band gets to march with the high school band, and when they are all together, there are over 400 kids.  There is a parade and then they get to do the pre-game show.  Colin plays the French Horn so, of course, we went to both.  It is really amazing, and so exciting to see the older kids take the younger kids under their wings to show them all that band has in store for them.  That it will be worth it to stick it out to get to share in the fun. 

As I was waiting for the parade to start, I struck up a conversation with the lady sitting next to me.  I know that everyone is shocked that I started talking to a stranger.  In fact, Ryan talked to me about stranger danger while I was doing it, but she was there all alone and Dave was talking to his parents.  I asked her if she had someone in the parade and she said that her grand daughter was playing the trumpet.  To make a long story short, it turned out that her husband had passed away from a brain tumor the year before.  I have been working on my filter, and even though I desperately wanted to know where her daughter was, I held my tongue. 

After the parade we walked down to get our tickets and she was getting kind of agitated.  Since my filter was worn out from minding my own business, I had to ask if she was okay.  She said that she had seen her daughter and thought about getting a ticket for her but decided against it because she wasn't sure that she would accept it from her.  Apparently she had done something to upset her daughter and she was not talking to her, returning her texts, or even acknowledging that she existed.  I didn't want to get involved because really, what could I do?  I simply said that I was sorry that was happening to her, that I had enjoyed her company and that I hoped she enjoyed the show and that we didn't get rained on, and then moved on. 

Obviously I don't know the situation here, but after talking to this woman for 35 minutes, she seemed pretty normal.  For all I know, she is a controlling shrew, but this family has already learned the painful lesson that life is short. 

I am blessed to still have both of my parents.  I am also blessed that they are amazing parents that have taught me that family is the basis for all I have and that sharing my triumphs and commiserating in my sorrows with them makes it even better. Even though I am in my forties, they are still my safe place to land.  Knowing that they are there to back me up lets me be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, and employee.  They make it possible to just be me. 

Knowing what I know about family and how it is supposed to be, I was sad for that woman and her daughter.    I was also reminded just how fortunate I am to be a part of my family.  Even on bad days, I know that between Dave and the kids, my parents, sisters, and the rest of the crazy crew, I am surrounded by love and support.   Once again, I am a lucky girl. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Another Actual Conversation...

As is often the case, Ryan was bored this weekend.  Ever since Luke moved away Ryan thinks that either Dave or I should be his social director.  On Sunday he was bugging Dave to let him have some friends over or to take him to Game Stop.  He is relentless in his request and after a few hours Dave had had enough.  He yelled at Ryan to leave him alone or he would have to stay in his room for an hour.  Ryan still tries to play both sides against the middle and he came to me and started in again. 

I am much better at ignoring him and he was going on and on while I was folding laundry and going about my Sunday routine.  That is until he dropped this one...

"Mom, can you help me make a miracle happen and get Daddy to take me to Game Stop?"

How is one expected to keep a straight face when asked something like this from an eight year old? 

In case you are wondering, no miracles happened. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Twelve Weeks of Sweat For This?

Three months ago I got an e-mail that the university was offering an exercise program for faculty and staff that have a sedentary lifestyle.  It was one student's doctoral study to see what would happen if you take 100 or so people that do nothing and make them exercise like crazy three days a week.  My initial thought was, "how bad can this be?"  Famous last words...

I have a busy life, but none of it includes exercise and aside from grocery shopping and the never ending laundry, it has very little movement.  I figured I really had nothing to lose except a few pounds, and maybe my pants would finally fit.  The class started on July 17th, right after Ryan's birthday at Hibachi Japan. 

On the first day they had us do a ton of tests like how many curl ups and push ups you could do in a minute, skin fold measurements, balance tests, blood work, etc.  I was a bit disappointed and discouraged because I weighed more than I did when I gave birth to Colin. 

During our 12 weeks we met three times a week and exercised for about an hour.  On the first day I met two new friends and for some reason, they thought it would be a good idea to do kettle bell boot camp.  For 12 weeks I had bad thoughts toward our trainer, Oliver.  Oddly, he seemed to enjoy the fact that I was shooting him daggers from my eyes.  He liked it when we were on the verge of tears.  (Okay, that one might be a bit of an exaggeration as I never actually cried.)  He really did enjoy it when we came limping back day after day.  I kept trying to convince Jen and Lucy that Zumba and Yoga would be perfectly good alternatives.  They would laugh and go back for more punishment.  Like a sheep to the slaughter, I would follow them dragging my feet all the way.  As the weeks went by, I no longer felt like I wanted to vomit or curse Oliver to within an inch of his life. 

Every week we had to weigh in and get our blood pressure checked.  I watched my weight creep up and I was getting really mad.  I gave up my polar pop habit.  Who gives up 32 oz. of Coca Cola goodness every day and still gains weight?  I do.  Who gives us Lucky Charms and donuts in favor of fresh fruit and Frosted Mini Wheats and gains weight?  I do.  Who literally sweats their behind off and gains weight?  I do.  Overall, I gained close to five pounds.  There were a few times that I wanted to quit.  If I had been exercising on my own and Duane didn't need me for his dissertation, I would have totally bailed on this nonsense.  If Lucy and Jen weren't looking forward to seeing me and my smiling face as Oliver kicked our butts, I would have quit.  But I didn't.

Today we repeated the original tests.  I went from being able to do six (yes 6) push-ups in a minute to doing 30!  I know, right!?!  I lost fat on my arms, thighs and hips.  My balance improved by a ton.  My blood pressure was better, even though I take medication for that and hadn't eaten at Hibachi Japan, which is the equivalent of eating a salt lick.  I have to retake the blood tests on Wednesday, but I am sure they are better than they were. 

My pants still don't fit all that well, but heck yeah, I will take it.  Maybe we can concentrate more on my abs in the next 12 weeks.  Looks like Oliver is going to have an opportunity to have more fun at my expense.  He better watch out because Lucy, Jen and I are coming back for more. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Be Careful What You Wish For...

For the last six years I have been wishing that my boys would start to get along.  I dreamed of the day that they would play together in harmony and our house would be filled with the sound of joy, love and happiness. 

I think I have come to the conclusion that boys bond in a different way than girls do.  I grew up with three sisters, and I can safely say, with the exception of one time with Mary Beth in the driveway, I have lived 42 years without hitting, wrestling or tackling any of them.  Of course we fought.  It was not all rainbows and unicorns in our house, but we used our words. 

I finally figured out that over the last 12 months, when my boys are sword fighting, hitting, kicking or doing anything short of pulling hair, that is their way of showing affection.  It is currently impossible for them to be within reach of each other without one instigating a scuffle.  I finally get the phrase "no blood, no foul".  It goes against my every instinct to let this happen.  All I want to do is put them in separate corners of the house and go about my business knowing that they are safe from each other, but I also stepped back and listened.  They are laughing.  They are teasing each other, and there is genuine interaction that is different from when Ryan was younger and he was just bugging Colin. 

It would seam that the my boy's language is different from what I had with my sisters.   The sounds of joy, love and happiness are different, but they are here, and I should just be happy.  It is taking some time for me to get used to it, but I am getting there. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Updates

I know it has been a few months since I updated.  There are a few reasons for this which I will detail below:

  • We went on vacation.  It was not the best vacation I have ever been on, but I am sure there have been worse.  Dave's 100 year old grandmother passed away in March and we went to Vermont for her memorial service and then a family reunion.  For the last 30 or so years she lived in Florida, so I was somewhat surprised at the turnout she got.  She would have been very happy.  We then went to Boston so Dave, Colin and his dad could add one more park to their quest to visit all the Major League Ballparks.  I am amazed and just how nice the people of Boston are.  We had one woman help us who had just had her eyes dilated.  It was a really long drive and the bigger the kids are, the smaller hotel rooms get.  I don't think I am in a hurry to go back to the great state of Vermont. 
  • Colin and Ryan were both on the swim team this year.  When I signed them up I forgot how time consuming this can be.  Laura was in town for ten days and we had 4 home meets in that time.  It was cold and rainy for the whole summer and I was helping in the concession stand.  I have come to my senses and the kids are not swimming next year.  Ryan was also on his baseball team.  If you read my previous post, we all know how that turned out. 
  • Now that I have a full time job out of the house, my time for extracurricular creativity is greatly diminished.  It is now filled with less creative things like cooking and laundry.  Good Lord, does the laundry ever stop? 
  • In my new job I get to write copy that goes on the radio.  One of the objects is to keep it short and sweet.  I have had to change my whole mindset to completely opposite of what I do here.  It is hard to change gears. 
  • I have been reading some amazing blogs lately that have passages that make me weep because of the beauty.  I can not compete and it takes away my will to write.  Thanks Emily.  This is all your fault, even though I haven't seen you since you were ten.  Honestly, besides my two boys, she has two of the cutest kids ever and her writing is fantastic.  She goes on spectacular trips like her recent one to Iceland (I know, who does that?) and loves great food.  It would never occur to me to want to go to Iceland, but now I do.  I wish I could love food.  Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy a good strawberry pie here and there, but I wish I could be more adventurous in my dining choices. 
Anyway, other things that I have been doing include and exercise program that is causing me to gain weight, (what is up with that?), and quite a few projects for work.   The kids are back in school which is time consuming, and I am already missing the hot days of summer. 

I will make no promises, but I will try to do a better job of posting.  I am always open to reminders and encouragement, so don't be shy.  I have to run.  Ryan has a small injury and there is a need for a band aid. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

The One Truth of Summer

Here is the one truth of summer.  It is not long enough, and there are not enough hours in a day.  That seems like two things, but in the context of this blog post, it is one.  Lets examine:

  • In the month of June, I had a total of three week-days where I was home longer than to change my clothes before 9:00.   We had either a swim meet or a baseball game every day of the week.
  • I am not supposed to be a two sport mom.
  • Being a two sport mom has made it very difficult to make health meals for my family.  In all honesty, even if I was home I probably would not have had the healthiest meals since I am tired when I come home from work.  Frankly, I would rather have a bowl of cereal.
  • It is difficult to do laundry when you are not at home.  Colin has started to help out of desperation.  I have declared it is now his job to do all the towels and kids clothes.  He is not a dedicated folder and I don't want to have to iron my entire wardrobe.  God bless Colin. 
  • My cousin got married consuming an entire weekend.  I can't think of a better reason for a consumed weekend, and I got to see several of my cousins that I haven't seen in years.  It was a beautiful wedding for my youngest cousin, and he married a lovely woman.  Hi Brian and Jennifer. 
  • July tricked me into thinking that it was going to be a calmer month.  It was not.  Not at all.  We had rain, a lot of rain.  We had swim meets, a lot of swim meets.  Some of the swim meets were in the rain. 
  • I got to go to Atlanta for five days for a work conference.  Public radio people know how to have fun, and I really learned a lot.  I also got to see my cousin Mary Ann.  She was a cousin that I reconnected with at her brother's wedding.  We had "the best Friday EVER."  Her five year old son does not agree as he had the worst Friday ever since he usually gets to spend the evening alone with her.  Sorry Jack!  I also got to see my college friend Megan.  I haven't seen her for a few years, but she is the type of friend where no matter how much time goes by, we start up again right where we left off.  Seeing her fed my soul, and I really needed that.
Here it is already July 22nd, and I just looked up and realized that we are more than halfway through summer.  I am not ready to think about the kids going back to school, or packing lunches, or finding clothes for my kids that have each grown several inches since school let out.  I am not ready to think about homework or early bedtimes, or shorter days.  I am not ready to think of the weather changing course or having to wear socks instead of sandals.  I hate socks.  So do my kids.

In short, I am not ready, but I will get there.  I am living one day at a time, and swim and baseball are over.  So far August looks better, but I have been fooled before.  Here is hoping for a few weeks where we have nothing to do and nowhere to go. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Of Black Eyes and Baseball

A few weeks back we were in the thick of Ryan's kid-pitch baseball season.  Have you ever had to watch one of these games?  It can be painful, very slow and very painful.  These kids are seven and eight and are horrible pitchers.  Because of that, they tend to have some trouble with hitting as well.  The only saving grace is the six run mercy rule per inning.  After six runs are scored the inning is over to save all of us from a slow death by boredom. 

Toward the end of the season, Dave thought that Ryan was ready to pitch.  They talked to the coaches and all of them made a plan to have him pitch an inning against one of the less than stellar teams.  Needless to say, I was not happy with this plan.  Lets recount the facts here:

1.  Ryan is still seven years old. 
2.  The pressure on the pitcher is tremendous and I don't think that Ryan needs that.
3.  I am afraid that he will hit someone.
4.  Did I mention that Ryan is seven years old?

It was the day of the big game and Ryan was getting the call to pitch.  He was due to pitch in the next inning so he and Dave went into the open field and were warming up.  The inning went quickly and suddenly it was his turn to bat so he put his helmet on and went in.  If I wasn't reading my book (it was the latest Nora Roberts which was actually pretty good) I would have noticed that the opposing pitcher was kind of wild and had hit Nate, the batter in front of Ryan, on the top of his head.  Dave told me Ryan was up but I wanted to finish my paragraph. As I mentioned before, it usually takes a while before there is any action and I should have had plenty of time.   Before I knew what happened I heard what sounded like a hit.  I looked up and was expecting to see Ryan running to first base, but he was just standing at home plate.  Then I heard people say, "He got hit."  This got my attention.  I started to run to the field.  I pushed kids out the way and hurdled over equipment bags to get to him, only to find out that he got hit in the eye.  I pushed the dads out of the way to look at him while at the same time I was getting dizzy and time went into slow motion.  I was trying not to cry as I knew that would cause him to cry.  In fact, I couldn't believe he wasn't screaming his head off.  I asked him what he wanted to do and he said he wanted to take his base because he knew if he came out that he wouldn't be able to pitch in the next inning.  Here is bad parenting 101.  I let him take his base.  What the hell was I thinking?  My baby had just been hit in the face with a baseball!  Not his helmet, but his face!

Thankfully, one of the dads on our team is a neurosurgeon that specializes in traumatic brain injury.  He was the voice of reason and called him out of the game.  Here are a few things I learned from this. 

1.  Even if your child is seven and gets hit in the face, you will still embarrass him if you run onto the field. 
2.  If your child gets hit in the head, even if the pitch comes from far away and from another seven year old, you should take them out of the game. 
3.  It is normal to get woozy when your child gets hit in the face with a baseball, but you will embarrass both him and yourself if you pass out.  (I did not, but it could have gone either way.)
4.  If your child gets hit in the head, even if they don't have a concussion, you are supposed to keep them quiet in a dark room with no TV or video games for several days. 
5.  #4 is very hard to do, and I thank William for doing this, even though there was some Spongebob viewing was taking place.  William is a fantastic babysitter, but he is not a miracle worker. 
6.  It will take about two weeks for the black eye to disappear.  In that time you will get some strange looks at the grocery store.  You may want to buy a shirt that says "I didn't do it!"
7.  When looking for a batting helmet, price should not be an object and get the face mask.  

I am breaking one of my cardinal rules of blogging and posting a picture of Ryan.  This is his eye the night of the incident. 

blackeye.jpg

I have to also say that I was wrong.  Ryan did pitch in a game the next week and struck out the side while only walking two batters.  He is a pretty amazing kid. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Joy of Motherhood...


How many times have you heard about the overwhelming love that overcomes new mothers when they are first handed their infants after birth?  I have watched it a thousand times on "A Baby Story" and in countless movies.  All my life I have heard these accounts and assumed that it would happen to me.  The whole time I was expecting Colin I was anticipating the greatest love of all, the love between parent and child, to come over me like a tidal wave and I would experience pure bliss. 

That is not how it happened for me. 

I will spare you the details of Colin's fairly normal birth story.  Most of you already know them.  Why don't we just cut to the moment when the nurse held up my beautiful child seconds after he was born.  I was waiting for the crush of love.  Instead I felt a wave of fear, exhaustion and relief that the whole thing was almost over.  I remember thinking, why aren't they cleaning him off?  Then thinking, what is wrong with me?  I looked over to Dave and saw the look of amazement on his face and thought, he is getting the crush of love, where is mine? 

We took Colin home with us, with the usual thoughts of why, in the name of all that is holy and just, did they think that Dave and I were capable of keeping this child alive, and where the heck was the owners manual?  It was February in Ohio and we were driving in our little Honda Civic that amplified every pothole and crack in the highway.  I remember snapping at Dave for hitting them on purpose. I waited for the wave thinking that now that we were really in charge it would come, but instead I was grouchy at best.   Happy and loving was not even on my radar.  I knew that I loved him, and I knew that he was ours, and the love that I felt for him was much different than any other kind of love I had for anyone, but it wasn't the crushing love I had been waiting for my whole life.  Certainly there was something horribly wrong with me. 

As time went on, my love for him grew, and every once in a while I get hit with the wave.  Yesterday was one of those days.  Colin earned the opportunity to attend the Reading and Writing Festival that is held for area kids that read seven books and write a sort of book report to go along with it.  Since it was held on the campus where I work, I decided to go for a little bit and see what it was like.  I walked into the session that was already going on and sat in the back.  It was a talk by an author of several of the books that were on the required reading list, and the theatre style room was dark.  It took me about five minutes to find him and then I just sat and watched.  There is nothing quite like watching your child when he is not aware of what you are doing.  Over the next 40 minutes, I was hit by wave after wave of crushing love.  I was watching his reactions to the story the author was giving, and seeing him interact with his friends.  I thought over the last 13 years and all we have been through and I got choked up.  It may have taken me a while to get where most people are instantly, but my, have I made up for lost time.  There are no words for it.  He is not just my child, he is a piece of my soul. 

Colin, thanks for making me a mother, and I will love you always. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bobby McFerrin and the Cherry Coke

I few weeks ago I had to write copy for the Bobby McFerrin concert.  My initial thought was, " who wants to see the 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' guy sing".  Because I was not familiar with his body of work, I set out to do some research.  Guys, did you know that he has 10 Grammy awards?  This guy is amazing.  He is the original beat boxer.  He can do things with his voice that should not be possible. 

In my infinite wisdom, I thought this would be a great concert for the kids.  In the future, if I mention that I am taking my seven year old son to a 2 hour music event that does not include cartoon characters, please slap me.  Certainly I am not in my right mind and need you to give me a reality check.  He did pretty well for the first hour because I had threatened him to within an inch of his life.  We were in Row G and I told him that the musicians would be able to see him. 

I was so happy when Bobby (since we were so close to the stage, I feel that I forged a bond with him and he wouldn't mind me calling him Bobby) decided on the spur of the moment to sing "Blackbird" which is one of my favorite songs. At the end of the song he made a noise that sounded like birds flying, but Ryan heard it much differently.  In the whisper that carries over every other sound, Ryan said, "Did he really just fart while he is on stage?!?!?!"  As if I needed to be reminded that Ryan sees the world in a whole different light, a few songs later Bobby sang "Joshua Lost the Battle of Jericho".  About halfway through the song, Ryan tapped me on the shoulder and asked me, "Why is he singing about Cherry Coke?  He must really like it."

This whole concert was amazing.   Bobby and his band looked like they were genuinely having a great time though at some points I thought it might have been chemically enhanced. I am still not all that familiar with his work, but when the album drops on May 14th, I think I may have to own it

As a side note, this post is in no way sponsored by Bobby McFerrin or anyone else for that matter.  I just really like him now. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Elie Wiesel

Earlier this week I had the privilege to see Elie Wiesel speak.  I didn't really know that much about him, but figured it would be a once in a lifetime chance to see a Nobel Peace Prize winner speak.  I knew he survived the Holocaust, and that was enough for me.  I had few expectations, but I was overwhelmed with the life lessons he shared.  These are the big three that stuck with me. 

Hope.  Each person's definition of hope is different, but hope is essential for survival.  When he was in a concentration camp, his definition was a bigger piece of bread or thicker soup.  Without that hope, he would have given up.  Now his hope is much bigger, but still just as important. 

Wasted opportunity.  During the Holocaust, millions of children were killed.  When arriving at the camps, if you were not big or strong enough to work, you were the first to be eliminated.  (That just gave me chills to type.)  Surely at least one of those kids could have become a great leader, or find a cure to disease.  Our world would be a much different place if not for the decimation of a whole generation.  This has truly saddened me since I heard his speech.  I had been able to wrap my head around this when the Holocaust was a concept. I had never allowed myself to think of these people as individuals who were just living their life like I do every day, until one day they weren't.  Just one more example of how life can change in a moment. 

We must all bear witness.  It is all of our responsibility to see what is going on around us.  It is not okay to just live and let live like I have been.  We must take an active part in being the change we would like to see in the world.  We all know that this should never happen again, but it continues to happen in various places around the world.  We must think outside of ourselves and do something.  At this point, I am not sure what that is, but we, as people of privilege, are responsible for helping those that can't help themselves. 

Needless to say, I am still absorbing what I heard and learned.  I have been called to action.  I am not sure what or when that action will be, but it will happen.  Right now, my action is to share Elie's message with others so they will also hear the call.  For now, that will have to be enough. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

10,000, the red marker and a few other things.

It  is time to celebrate.  While I was busy trying to get my life together, I reached 10,000 hits on this website.  I haven't decided if I should be100%  happy about this or not.  It seems that I have as many visitors when I blog regularly as when I don't.  It really is the little blog that could.  Since they have recently announced that they are creating a sequel to Finding Nemo, it makes me want to say, "just keep reading, just keep reading...".  Thanks to those of you that keep coming back. 

Car conversation with Colin on the way home from guitar lessons....
Colin:  I think I need glasses.  I am having a hard time reading the white board in science.
Me:  Is it just science?
Colin:  Yes, just science, and now that I think about it, it is just red. 
Me:  It is just red, and just in science?  Do you sit far away from the board?
Colin:  I sit in the middle of the room.  It seems like the red is not as dark as the other colors.
Me:  Do you think that your teacher needs a new red dry erase marker?
Colin:  hmmm, you might be right. 

I was talking to my new co-worker as he was looking at his calendar.  He said, "hey, did you know that Christmas falls on December 25th this year?"  He said it like this should be ground breaking news.  I was waiting for him to say something else, and when he didn't I mentioned that it falls on the 25th every year.  He said, "hmmm, you have a good point."  (He gave me permission to write this.)

I am really sad that Roger Ebert died .  When I was graduating from high school there was nothing that I wanted to do besides be a movie critic.  I loved movies, I loved writing, what could be better.  The practical side of me said that I needed to prepare for a job that would set me up for a career that would let me live in a lifestyle that I would enjoy so I went into business and got a degree in marketing.  I thought it would be a long time before Gene Siskle or Roger Ebert would leave and create a job opening, so I went in a different direction. 

Also sad about Margaret Thatcher and Annette Funacello.  Each are influential women in their own way, just polar opposite ways. 

Finally, the same co-worker who told me about Christmas also sent me the following e-mail:  (for those of you who are my Facebook friends, excuse the repetition.)  Come to my orifice, I have some yummy pretzels.  I had to reply, "No Thanks!!!"

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Kitchen Conversation

Me:  Ryan, I got some granola bars for you to eat for breakfast.

Ryan:  Are they the kind I like?

Me:  Of course

Ryan:  Mom, you are...

Me:  What?

Ryan:  I was going to say "you are the best mom ever!" but that just sounds so cliche.

Me:  Are you really seven? 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

Once again, I am back and today is my birthday. It is one of the days that I like to reflect on where I am, where I have been, and where I would like to go. For the first time in a long time, I am at peace. Dave is doing well, Colin is happier in school than he has ever been before, and Ryan is developing a love for reading that is filling me with joy. If my family is happy, I am happy. Spring is on the way and the light at the end of the winter tunnel is getting bigger and brighter. I feel like I am moving in the right direction and a lot of uncertainty has been eliminated. I am starting to feel like a grown up. 

There are several reasons why I have been silent.  The first reason was that I was looking for a new job while trying to get out of my China situation.  Most of the things I would have written about were about those things, and I didn't want to risk anything bad happening.  The good news is that I got the new job.  That was my first early birthday present. 

As I have stated in the past, I do not usually write about my work.  I am no longer working from home, but I have a job that I am loving and it is a great atmosphere.  It is a good thing that I am getting out of my house more and talking to real people in person as opposed to over the phone.  I am a much happier person and I think this is one of the reasons.  I do have the blessing of my employers to talk about work, but I like to keep these things separate, so I will not be doing that at this time.  Suffice it to say that it is where I am supposed to be. 

The second reason that I haven't been writing is that we got an iPad.  It is so much easier to sit in my recliner with Ryan or Max on my lap and read email or Facebook on the iPad instead of sitting at my desk on the laptop.  I don't have a keyboard for it so it is too hard to type a whole post on it. 

That is all for now, but I am making my blog a priority again.  I will be talking to you soon.