Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'll be there

When you're down and troubled
And you need some loving care

And nothing, nothing is going right

Close your eyes and think of me

And soon I will be there

To brighten up even your darkest night

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am

I'll come running to see you again

Winter, spring, summer or fall

All you have to do is call

And I'll be there

You've got a friend

If the sky above you
Grows dark and full of clouds

And that old north wind begins to blow

Keep your head together

And call my name out loud

Soon you'll hear me knocking at your door

You just call out my name

And you know wherever I am

I'll come running to see you

Winter, spring, summer or fall

All you have to do is call

And I'll be there

~ Carole King

Yet, I often wonder... why can I no longer sense you? Distance and time have not altered something I still treasure... you!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

True Colors

I'm not afraid of confrontation, although I don't go seeking it. I have never been timid to share my opinions or feelings. This may get me in trouble at times, but I believe that you should go through life showing your true colors, rather than being disingenuous.

On Sunday I was approached by a man who, around this small town, is known as a brash loud mouth. He is very involved in local sports and coaches hockey & baseball. Although he does a good job at this, many have been turned-off by his gruff demeanor. He can be overbearing and offensive.

He never addresses me by name, because I don't think he's taken the interest in knowing it. So he comes up to me and starts off by saying " I hear you've been running your trap about me at (the store) so if you have anything to say about me, say it to my face because my friend just about had you fired."

Ooooooh I'm scared, buddy. If I said anything about you it's that your coaching style makes those opposing you feel very small, very browbeaten and very sorry that we have to listen to you alienate the kids & coaches on the other team. There's a right way to motivate your team.

By the way, you must think it's okay for YOU to give ME attitude about your strike zone as an ump. How about the time you deliberately pulled up in your car to berate me when I was simply watching my son practice? Because you do this to my face with your bitter sarcasm, you feel you're justified because your cards are laid out on the table?

Think again. I will not be intimidated by you and will continue to call a spade a spade.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Step One: Staying Busy

As of Sunday, we started getting outside for some more fun & exploration. All of us went for a bike ride Sunday night, then on Monday I took the boys to Burlington to go for a hike. We also stopped by the beach where they frolicked in the water while I roamed the shoreline.

The summer plan is to ensure that we all stay active and off the couch. I put a daily agenda together for the boys, which includes reading after breakfast, then sending them outside to play while I get some chores done around the house. So far things have worked perfectly, but I'm probably going to go broke before too long. If we all benefit in the long run, it'll be worth it though.

Today I signed Birdie up at the gym for the Kids Summer Plyometrics & Weight Training Program. [Plyometrics is a type of strength training designed to produce fast, powerful movements, and improve the overall performance in a specific sport.] His doctor recommended that he drop about 20 pounds, especially if he wants to play football, so this was the inspiration. He'll also get better results for the other sports he plays, like baseball, soccer & skiing.

I tried to encourage him to do a summer weight loss challenge with me, but we couldn't agree on a tangible reward system. So I had to go in a different direction. He's excited about going to the gym and has agreed to make a commitment of 4 days/week in the program. I hoped to join alongside of him, but their free daycare isn't available during that time slot. So Nut & I will probably ride the bike path while Birdie does his thing.

Meanwhile, Friday we're going to sign up for the Summer Bowling Program, which the boys love. Plus it's cheap. Next week I've got more hiking & biking trips planned at Smuggs and around town.

So many adventures out there waiting for us to uncover... I just hope the weather cooperates!

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Tiny Spark of Inspiration

Sometime I look out and see nothing but the fog. Gray, dense & overwhelming. Other times there's a burst of color that explodes in my mind when I'm inspired. Like any good swift kick, all it takes to start the ball rolling is an "ah ha" moment.

As I said in my last post, I've been tinkering on Facebook. I've found some old friends from way back and it feels fabulous to rekindle these connections. There are many others who I have yet to find, but I'm sure that when the time is right, we'll come together.

Meanwhile, I've been doing some thinking lately about where I want to go, and how I want to lead my life. Now that I've got a 6th grader (a.k.a. "tween") in the house, I really have to buckle down and start dredging up some super-positive habits. I need to start changing things about me, or at least modifying things.

Hmmm... where do I start?

My self is the first thing on my makeover list. Got to start dusting off the fitness DVDs and sprucing up my eating habits. Now that it's summer (although you'd never guess it's summer if you live in VT where the sunshine has been nearly non-existent) I'm going to start enjoying the great outdoors with the boys; hiking, biking, swimming, walking, rollerblading, and exploring the sights. I'm even thinking about doing plyometrics at the gym with Birdie and taking a Zumba class.

My job is the next thing that I need to change. I really need to find something new, maybe inside a school or hospital so I can really make a difference. Meanwhile, I have to garner more knowledge in order to expand my horizons. I want to talk to an advisor at the community college and get a direction, although I'm leaning a bit toward health care.

Baby steps to a brighter future.

I'll need an angel to guide me and a drill sergeant to keep me in check. Any volunteers?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summertime = vacationtime

Lately life has been flying by, mostly because we are all so devoted to baseball. Both of the boys played Little League and Hubby coached both teams. I sat on the bleachers, often between two different fields watching two different games. Then when they weren't both playing at Rotary Field, one of us was racing to another town for a game.

This year Birdie played 17 game while Nut played 14 (2 rainouts). Ironically of those 14 games, there were 10 conflicts with Birdie. A very hectic season indeed. But it hasn't ended yet, Birdie made the All Star team and has been practicing nearly every day. So that's why I haven't taken the time to be here...

I do love to write, but as I said in a recent post, the boys have been harassing me about how much time I spend online. You might think that I have earned my time away from the motherly grind, but I'm tired of listening to them kvetch. Maybe what they're really saying is "Mom we need you"...

I've had my nose in a few books between working and dabbling a bit on Facebook so that's why I haven't been journaling much here. Plus things at work have been very stressful. I'm thinking of taking some classes in the Fall; maybe taking some accounting or medical courses to further my employment horizons.

Meanwhile, I'm taking the time this summer to spend some quality time with the boys and take some much needed time off. TTFN

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Little League

Determination, strong work ethics, perseverance... just 3 of several standards of Little League.

Then there's the other side of the coin.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

3 Beautiful Things

My gratitude journal for May 18 - 24, 2009:

1. enjoying a gorgeous long weekend with lots of time off
2. seeing the magnificent oriole (plus hearing him sing)

3. finding a beautiful spot by the falls to read while my men fished

Life is good when you can get outside and enjoy the beauty of this fine planet.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Let the Music Play

Every now & then I think about it. The hair on the back of my neck feels prickly and the goose bumps on my arms swell. I shiver, mostly in fear, thinking about the inevitable I will face someday. Yet at the same time I think about how liberating it will be when I get there. I mean, when I, myself, go.

I just want to go first, not after them. Like my sister.

For many parents, it's our greatest fear; outliving our children. And for me it became a reality I witnessed with ironic torment. I had just barely given birth to my first child when my sister's first child was taken.

To this day, I am still rattled by the cruelty of this vicious cycle.
There are days that the reality floods over me like a tidal wave, knocking me down, sucking out my breath, choking me as I swallow the filthy water of his death.

I miss him and wonder, especially as I spend time with his siblings, what he'd be doing with his life today had the chord not been cut.

Like a
crescendo, his music stopped. The song remains the same, but the melody is different ~ more melancholy.

Our world changed forever. And no matter how many years pass, our ears will always ring with the sound of his silence.

Now, as I lay quietly next to them in their restful slumber, listening to the rhythm of their gently breathing, I pray that my sons will be bound for a long, productive journey, with me & Hubby watching in the wings, until the day our music stops.

grave Pictures, Images and Photos
Happy Memorial Day

Sunday, May 17, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 59/365

My gratitude journal for May 10-16, 2009:

1. baseball victories for both Nut & Birdie
2. the many fruit trees in bloom throughout the yard
3. quality time with family, especially Jason

Life is good when you've got so much to be grateful for...

Graduation Day

Yesterday was little Lex's graduation day. From college.

I swear it was just yesterday that my sister told me she was pregnant with her baby girl. Then again wasn't it just recently when we all sat in the audience to watch her baby's dance recital? And was it really 4 years ago that our baby girl put on her cap & gown for her high school graduation?

Now our baby girl is finished with school and ready to face the real world with her degree in business management.

Lexie Lu, the spitting image of her mother, has captivated us all. So it's not surprising that so many of us were there to celebrate her commencement.

I was glad that the rain came down with such vengeance, thereby postponing Birdie's game, so we could get an earlier start on the 2 hour ride to the party. We had all come from many miles away to be there for Lex; my mother from Florida, my father from Pennsylvania, my nephew from Oregon, my "twin" & me from northern VT. The only ones missing were our 3 brothers, who all live too far to join us.

What a wonderful day we had, being together and catching up with one another. None of us had seen Jason since 2005, so it was a wonderful surprise to have him there. In fact, my boys hardly remembered him. They were 6 & 4 back then.

It struck me funny to see my boys with their maternal cousins, who all except one are young adults ranging from 21 - 27 years old. Funny because all of us sisters had our children so far apart, despite only being 4 years apart ourselves. My oldest sister had her first child in 1977 and I had my first child 21 years later.

Yet the bonds of family are not tainted with distance or time. The boys love their aunts & cousins despite the lack of an everyday connection with them. I especially enjoyed Graduation Day. There truly is nothing better than spending time with the people you love.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Everyday Battles

Last night I watched Farrah's Story on NBC and went to bed very melancholy. It really opened my eyes to how much I take my health for granted. And the health of my family as well.

Cancer is so evil, so sly, so potent.

I was humbled by how well Farrah is dealing with all of this, while witnessing the downward spiral of her son, Redmond, whom she adores. Her spirit is strong despite her weakening body. She remains positive & optimistic, hopeful that her tenacity will outlast her cancer.

I was also struck by how much medication Farrah has to take to fight this vicious disease. The fact that she has travelled to Germany several times for highly specialized treatment not performed in the US was also very enlightening.

There are days that I walk through my life in a haze, commiserating about the small stuff that worries me. Now, after watching Farrah's battle with Cancer, I have a new found respect for the life God has given me.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Still proudly wearing the Black & Gold

Last night was a real bummer. I was so hoping that the Boston Bruins would pull off a win, after being down in the series 3-1 versus the Carolina Hurricanes. But with 1:14 left in overtime, the Hurricanes' resident goon scored a tip-in goal for the victory. Uuuuuuuugh!

I had a hard time falling asleep, partly because I was disappointed, partly because I knew the boys would be bummed when they watched the highlights on NESN, and partly because my asinine BIL had to call (at 11:25pm) to rub my face in it. (I had the last laugh though, since the Bruins played 7 more games and finished with a respectable record compared to his beloved Canadiens. Haaa!)

Although I've never played competitive sports, I've become very passionate when routing for my teams, especially when the boys are part of them. Yet ever since I met several of the Bruins' players at training camp, I have fallen in love with hockey. I still cannot always follow the puck as it whizzes across the ice, but I can sense when something is abreast or afoul. And last night I knew that puck was going in.

Alas, in all sports, there is always one winner & one loser. Life hasn't been irevocably changed. I have learned that it's not worth losing sleep over... It's just a game!

The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling,
but in rising again after you fall.
~~Vince Lombardi

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Metamorphosis of Our Gang

My parents were busy bees in way back in the late 50's & 60's because they were chasing around 6 children. As I've said before, I was the youngest of the brood; 3 boys & 3 girls. We were all about a year apart, born between November 1956 & December 1962.

I cannot imagine what it was like for my mother to have all of those cloth diapers to change and wash. I say my mother because I'm pretty sure that my dad didn't help too much with the children, other than discipline & a little playtime. I will give him credit for being a good provider, though, because I do not recall ever wanting for much.

Anyways, as I was growing up I remember feeling like I could lean on my oldest sister for anything. She was always so mature... so ready willing & able to face anything head on. I came to rely on her instead of my mother in some ways, probably because Mom seemed so harried with managing the mounds of laundry, the endless chores & everything else mothers do.

The fun I had was with my youngest brother, who was a couple years older than me. We were usually sent outside to fend for ourselves for the day so we'd head to the backwoods for some wild adventures. I was afraid to go far from the house, but when we were together he somehow managed to venture off in the deep, always finding something new to explore around every bend, with me trailing just a feet feet behind.

Many of the memories of my childhood stem from being with my "twin", though. My sister, Lauren, was only 15 months older than me yet, for the longest time, Mom dressed us alike. We'd wear the same sundresses, the same sandals, the same everything... just different colors. She was a beautiful little chocolate haired cherub of a girl with bright blue eyes and I was the towheaded pixie.

We were always close and today we only live about 30 minutes from each other. Nevertheless we have busy lives that rarely bring us together. My other sister & I don't talk much, and our relationship grew cool over the years. My brothers all live in different states and none keeps in touch.

I admit that I hate the holidays. I see families all around me giddy with the excitement of being together, reminiscing about the good times and the antics of growing up with a big family. This, unfortunately, is something I've never experienced. So when I hear my boys bickering and wishing they were an only child, my heart aches.

As another Mother's Day passes, I realize how sapless most holidays are in our house. So it is my hope that, going forward, we invest more time to celebrate, not just the occasion, but the love & camaraderie of a real family.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The best job I've ever had

I originally posted this on MySpace, so now I'll repeat it here.

Free Orkut and My Space Mothers Day Graphics Glitters

You will find as you look back upon your life,
that the moments when you have really lived,
are the moments when you have done things
in the spirit of love.
~ Henry Drummond

I firmly believe down deep in my heart that the first time I ever felt the true meaning of unconditional love was the moment I gave birth to my first baby.

When I was pregnant with my second child, I wondered how I could EVER love this next child as much as the first. I cried many tears before my little guy came into my world because I didn't want the magic that I had with baby number one to end or become clouded.

But the love for each child is very unique; there are no favorites, just differences in how the love is connected and expressed.

More than a decade later, that love has deepened and intensified by the day. There are times that I don't like my children's behavior, but the love and respect I have for them will never diminish. It's etched deep in my soul.

What I know for sure is that I would give my life to spare my child any pain or grief. Being a mother is the most rewarding, and heart wrenching, relationship I have ever experienced. And the best job I've ever had!

The only thing I imagine that will exceed my love for my sons is the love I will have for my grandchildren. I am so looking forward to the day when my children experience their own unconditional love as a parent.

I hope that I'll live long enough to love my great-grandchildren, too! Meanwhile... I thank God for giving me the privilege of motherhood.

And to those who don't yet have children, I never believed the testimony of mothers who were smitten by their kids, but believe me now when I say… the best is yet to come.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

3 Beautiful Things 58/365

My gratitude journal for May 3 - May 9, 2009:

1. only needing to get up extra early once this week
2. finding the book I thought I lost
3. finishing the book before my 1st club mtg

Life is good when you don't feel stressed.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

It wasn't meant to be a trick question

I've always believed that if you want answers, you have to ask direct questions. So I did. And she didn't respond.

I'm frustrated by the imbalance between being a full-time mother and being a part-time peon. They've known for eight years that I will never compromise my family's needs and it was never an issue.

But, all of a sudden, something has changed. Of course, it's the corporate office's fault. Corporate Office = highly-paid-know-it-all-bean-counting-fat-cat-hot-shots.

If I didn't need to work, I'd tell them where they can shove their "corporate" excuses then never look back. But, in this dismal economy, with everyone around me losing their jobs left & right, I know I need to suck it up for now, work the crappy shifts I get, & pretend it doesn't bother me.

What effing annoys me about the whole thing is that we had a similar conversation less than 8 weeks ago. Everything was hunky dory then. We were on the same page. She understood what & why my priorities are because "when [her] kids were young, [she] made motherhood a top priority, too."

Fast forward to the last 3 weeks, when the schedules were posted and the prime shifts (that used to have my name on them) were given to the new cashiers, one that has been there only 2 weeks!

Did I mention I've been there 8 years? Evidently, seniority counts for absolutely nothing. I suppose Corporate wrote that bullcrap policy, too.

So I've got a new strategy. As of tomorrow, I will only be able to work my required 20 hours over three days thereby satisfying the policy regarding my benefit classification. Period. No more. No less.

And if that doesn't work, maybe I need to have a little conversation with the District Manager the next time we meet at the ballpark and get HER take on this.

Meanwhile I'll remind myself of this philosophy :
Determination gives you the resolve to keep going
in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you.
~Denis Waitley

Pursue your dream

Pursue your dream
Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.