Friday, December 26, 2008
Soft white petals that gently float from celestial beginnings, all spectacular thumbprints of nature's breathtaking beauty.
After jotting down that thought, I started to reminisce about the white snowy memories in my life and how much I truly do love snow. This year I've picked up a second job working at a ski resort so when the snow begins to trickle from the sky like feathers floating from heaven, I feel joy. Skiers & riders love snow and rejoice when the forecast calls for blizzards or even nor'easters.
Yet today's storms seem to produce much less snow, certainly not the volumes of snow I remember as a child. We would be buried in snow, with mounds of it piled as high as the window sills. The snowfall would often be 10 -12 inches per storm, and we had snow cover throughout the Winter and most years well into Spring. Coincidentally the biggest snowstorms here have come in March... one in that I remember fondly dropped 22 plus inches of snow! Aaaaaaaaaah.... spring skiing!
I admit that I hate to drive when the roads are snowy, but delighting in the pleasures of wintertime activities always revolves around tons of that white stuff. The more the merrier for me! So as I conclude this little perspective, I ask you to Think Snow...
Friday, December 12, 2008
My first real sting of grief happened just as I was celebrating a new life. It's ironic how our worlds can collide, how one day you can be filled with such joy that you feel that your skin will burst, then the next you can be brought to your knees with devastation.
It was November 9th, 1998... my very first day home alone with my newborn son. I was nonchalantly rearranging the closet while the baby lay nearby on my bed when I heard someone open the front door. My first thought when I saw my husband was "How sweet! He's come home to have lunch with us." But when he took my shoulders to turn me toward him, I saw something other than joy on his face. Finally, after a stale silence, he said my nephew was gone. "Gone? Where?" I asked. "Lisa, he's dead..."
All I remember is having my knees buckle and screaming in shock. He was only 21.
Realizing that the baby was just a few feet from me, I ran down the hall, as though to hide my pain from him. Once my husband reached me, we melted together in grief, all the while me mumbling "no, no, no, no!"
To this day I will never forget the feel of Michael's hand on my leg the last time we were together. I was in labor, and he had come to the hospital to be with me. Just before midnight he left my beside, promising me he'd be back in the morning to see me & the baby. He whispered his love to me as he softly caressed my leg. He smiled, winked and left my room.
I never saw him again. Yet, ironically, every time I look into my son's eyes, I see Michael. It's crazy how alike they are... they are both dirty blond & blue-eyed with similar body types, personalities and intellects. But the most stunning similarity has to be their eyes, though... the most exquisite, unique mix of ocean blue & green. In fact, I remember what my friend Sue said to me when she heard the news of Michael's death: He had the most beautiful eyes, and you never wanted him to look away once you caught his gaze. Coincidently when most people look into my son's eyes, they've felt that same magical pull.
I never understood the magnificent power of love until I held my son in my arms for the very first time. And I never truly felt grief until I experienced it with my sister. I will forever wonder why the circle of life in 1998 had to include our two sons. Still, every year, on the day before my son's birthday, I sit alone in the dark and rub my leg. Then I wink as I blow a kiss to my son's guardian angel.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I remember a time when I was having lunch with a friend and her daughter, when out of the blue the little girl became upset. Her whines quickly turned to tears. I was baffled, bewildered, and unequivocally puzzled. I could feel panic swelling in my gut. My pulse raced and my eyes darted from side to side in terror. What happened? Did I miss something? What changed this sweet little girl into a sobbing, blubbering mess in the blink of an eye?
You see I have boys, and they don't whine. They seldom cry, unless they are seriously hurt. I mean physically in pain. Like a limb is broken or a finger is caught in the door. Or they've fallen out of a tree or they've taken a ball to the groin. Now don't get me wrong - they throw fits and tantrums, but it doesn't remotely sound like the whining you hear from girls. When I think about being a mother of two boys, I know that it was my destiny. There is no way on earth I would ever be able to function under the pressure of whining.
On the other hand, when I do [or review] homework with my oldest son, I need to remember to take an extra dose of Valium in order to keep my composure. News flash: men & women do not think alike, or perform at the same level. Yet, because I am a detail oriented (okay, okay ... anal) person, I expect him to produce very meticulous, very neat and very accurate work. He, on the other hand, will spend the least amount of time to complete a task. Neatness is not his forte. And if you ask him, directions are for pansies and it's an abdominal waste of time to check over your work. Needless to say, this drives me craaaazy! He could be an exemplary student if he gave it more effort.
But he's a typical boy and no matter how hard I ride him, we will never see eye to eye. It's human nature for the opposite sex to be, well, opposite. I just need to relax, give him some space and pray that he will get superior guidance from his teachers, and his father.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Yesterday as I was working there were several women who caught my eye because they looked so stylish and put-together. I felt pangs of envy. There I was in my 2nd-hand boring khakis, unflattering red polo shirt and an ugly black sweater that keeps the chill off. My make-up, which is applied very haphazardly most morning because I'm often racing the clock to ensure that the kids have all that they need for the day, was smudging. My hair was drooping and looking pretty drab. I try to make an concerted effort every day to accessorize myself and my mousy mop, but I just don't have the money, the flair or the time to make myself look like the cover of Vogue.
Yes I'm in a funk. Lately I've been eating like crazy, trying to fill some kind of void. My closet is full of clothes that I've owned for decades, nothing new or remotely tantalizing. In fact I've worn the same two pair of jeans for 3 years now and they are starting to wear so thin that I wonder if they'll hold up in the next wash. I don't like the way I look lately. All I want is for some fairy godmother to wave her magic wand over me and turn me into Cinderella Mom.
But here's the reality check: only I have that control. So today I made myself a promise: I will count my blessing before I get out of bed and remember how very lucky I am to be me, faults & all!
Monday, November 17, 2008
A dear friend of mine lead me to a website where the author posts an images then writes a prompt so visitors to her site will creatively compose a comment.
That day the dandelion was the image and the prompt was " Quick... make a wish!" So here was mine:
My wish is that my family stays forever connected and embraced by harmony, that my sons live happy successful lives enriched by deep rapports with those who lead them from temptation & negativity, that we grow to fully appreciate all of the things that we have without tainting our heart with envy, that we continue to live long healthy lives and offer support & kindness to those who need us, that we respect our world and all of it's inhabitant regardless of race color or creed, and finally that we put joy & peace above all else.
Here is the site: http://picturespoetryprose.blogspot.com/ Check it out and get inspired!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I work with the public and sometimes I wish I were deaf so I wouldn't have to hear people complaining about snow & the cold. In fact, I would be filthy rich if I had a nickel for every time someone complained about both! The forecast tomorrow is for cold temps and possible snow showers; nothing serious, but you'd think they were forecasting a freaking blizzard by the moans & groans I heard today.
So I say find something to enjoy about the winters instead of kvetching about the weather. There's plenty to do outdoors and in the snow: ice skating, snowshoeing, downhill skiing, sledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing, snowball fights, dog sledding, x-country skiing, building snowmen and playing pond hockey! When I was a kid, we went ice skating on an outdoor rink, sledding at the country club and downhill skiing every Sunday at a local ski resort. We dug tunnels through the snow and had massive neighborhood snowball wars. Afterwards we'd always warm up with a steaming cup of hot cocoa topped off with tons of marshmallows!
If you don't enjoy being outdoors, go to the library, write letters (not emails), go to the movies, knit a scarf, go bowling, join a gym, go to an indoor pool or waterpark, play tennis, racquetball, volleyball, basketball, walleyball or even soccer. Do something to take your mind off how cold it is outdoors. And for godsakes, don't talk about the weather UNLESS you have something positive to say.
Lastly remember how fortunate we are here in the Northeast not to have weather related calamities like hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, twisters, heatwaves, earthquakes, mudslides, wildfires, or even avalanches. Meanwhile enjoy the world around you and give snow a chance!
p.s. Thanksgiving is only two weeks away, so I want you all to find something to be thankful for regarding the climate where you live then practice that everyday, especially when you're in the checkout line!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I never thought it would happen this soon. My heart has been hurting since August and I had prepared myself that I might never find another one who could touch my heart again. But I believe in love at first sight and when I first saw the ad and the picture, I was smitten.
As you might remember, I have been looking for kittens for the boys for Christmas. Well I scoured the internet, the want ads, & the local shelter. I sent e-mails to friends and spread the word at work & at school. Hubby thought I was crazy and truthfully I was... well more obsessed than crazy, but I had to find the perfect kitten by Christmas. And I was willing to travel as far as Pennsylvania, if I had to, to find her. Luckily I just had to cross the lake.
Last Thursday I called the shelter to make sure she hadn't gone home with someone else and was told that she was still looking for a family to love, in addition to her sister. I talked to the shelter manager for about an hour, explaining everything to her. She agreed to let me adopt these two 9-week old kittens although they had not yet been spayed. So the next day I went to sign the papers and meet these precious sisters face to face.
It was Halloween so I decided that we would surprise the boys after they came home from trick or treating. But things got a little mixed-up and the shelter couldn't release the kittens until the next day. When they finally did come home, I had to hide them from the boys in my bedroom until their friends went home. Now we hoped that we could pull off some kind of birthday surprise for them, instead of Halloween or Christmas. (Their birthdays fall on 10/29 & 11/21)
Eventually we unveiled the surprise to our oldest, not at all in the way that I had planned. Yet in the end, it never really mattered. The brothers finally have sisters! And the sisters love their new home, even if they each have to share a room with their brother. These two little girls have literally stolen our hearts and have made our sons laugh harder than I have heard them laugh in years. As for me and Hubby, we are in love all over again, just like we were when we took home our first fuzzy baby back in 1993.
MOXIE, the orange puffball that made my heart skip a beat!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I'll never forget the first time my husband demonstrated his teddy bear personality... Back then I was a glamor puss who wore high heels, big hair and lots of bling. Hubby, on the other hand, was more down to earth, outdoorsy and simple. He invited me to go camping for the weekend with some of his friends in a remote part of northern New Hampshire. We drove there in dark during a torrential thunderstorm, which to me was somewhat romantic because I love storms of all kinds. Little did I know that this was actually a primitive camping trip, which meant no rustic cabin to nestle up in to listen to the rain, not to mention no running water, no bathroom and no shower. When we got there, Hubby pitched the tent all by himself, gathered firewood and built a roaring fire, all in the still pouring rain. He put my pretty pumps by the fire to dry while he got the bedding ready to snuggle in. The next day was gorgeous and we fished & swam in the crystal clear lake all day. That night the sky was lit up by a blanket of twinkling stars and we laid on the dock talking for hours. This was my first sign that I had found Mr. Right.
Then he saved an animal's life. We were driving down the road toward his family's lakefront property. (Now, don't get all green with envy... it's merely a piece of land on the lake; no house, no cabin, no lodge, no outhouse either! Just land, but still a treasured plot right on the lake.) Anyway, I was reading (something I have always done in the car) and all of a sudden the car veers sharply toward the ditch. Then it stops and Hubby gets out. When he returns, I ask him what happened. "There was a turtle crossing the road; I just helped it along..." This is typical Hubby behavior. In fact last Saturday he swerved to miss hitting a woolly bear caterpillar!
In 1993, we found the perfect little place in the country to call our own. Only we decided a week later that, despite having all the comforts of home, we were still missing something. The hunt was on. With his blessing, I searched the classified & bulletin boards around town. Still nothing fit right. So the next day I went to the shelter and there it was! A perfect black & white ball of fuzz named Fax. Yet they wouldn't me take her. I was crushed and told Hubby through a river of tears how perfectly Fax would have fit in our nest. Well apparently God had other plans for us, because we eventually brought home Vernie, then his beautiful half-sister Chloe.
As it turned out Vernie was our problem child, an adorable black furball with claws! Chloe was a gorgeous Maine Coon sweetheart who we nicknamed Brat Pea because she was so reluctant to ever be seen. Vernie was always willing to be around you, but you could NEVER pick him up without risking life & limb. Chloe never wanted to be in the limelight, much less your lap, but always allowed you to cuddle & caress her. The boys absolutely adored her! She was the love of their lives. This patient plump feline was the pride & joy of our family. She would lessen any bump, bruise or heartache any of us, especially the boys, ever felt.
Sadly Vernie died last summer. But the loss really resurrected Chloe. She seemed to come out of the shadows and often strutted queenly around the house, (but only when the kids were gone... she was still pretty leary of them) flicking her tail flirtatiously, begging us for attention. Words cannot adequately describe the spell Chloe cast upon all of us. We were fully & completely mesmerized by her. She was special. One of a kind. An unforgettable gift. We knew she would live forever because nothing could ever take her away from us. Nothing!
Yet we were wrong. One day this summer, I picked her up to nuzzle her adorable face and listen to her motor run. But something was different; she was skinny! She used to be a fat 13 pound ball of fluff, now she was only about half that. I called the vet to have her checked out. The news was good; she was just a healthy old lady who needed to be handled with extra care. So we changed her food, gave her vitamins, and loved her more tenderly. Despite all that, she began to loose the sparkle in her eye. And so I called the vet again, but this time I made the ultimate sacrifice, the only humane thing that was left to do. I made the appointment to have her put down. I have never lost someone in my life that I loved so unconditionally. Yes, she was a pet. But to us she was our daughter, our sister, our beloved cure-all. It's been hard on the boys. They miss her fiercely, as do my husband & I! Not a day goes by that either Hubby or me don't wish that she was curled up snugly in her favorite chair by the woodstove, waiting for one of us to caress her gorgeous coat then wait for her beautiful song to pierce the soft silence.
We understand that we will never ever be able to replace our precious little bratty girl, yet we want the boys to again experience the unconditional love that pets bestow on their owners. This time, we are hoping to introduce a kitten into our family, so that the boys can grow up with a little lovebug from infancy. We'd like to start the process now so that, by Christmas, everything will proceed smoothly without delay. So we ask that you pray for us... that we will find the perfect Christmas angel for our empty nest.
I've been incessantly searching the papers, the internet and the shelters for the perfect kitten but have yet had my heart flutter with the butterflies one feels when they experience love at first sight. I'll know when I lay eyes on her that the time is right, that our hearts are truly ready, that this is the one Chloe sent from heaven to fill the void she left behind.
Christmas is such a magical time, one that evokes undying memories of special times & perfect presents. I work very hard to create a wonderment of charm and excitment when it comes to Christmas. And this year I truly have my work cut out for me. Yet I have decided to succumb to the will of God. If it is meant to be, He will deliver. And something tells me that she will be bursting with comfort & joy!
Friday, October 17, 2008
These are the days that I wish that time would stand still. I feel completely blessed when I look out my window to see the fabulous blaze of color that graces my world. Every maple & aspen tree for miles is bursting with the rich colors of crimson, amber, scarlet, bronze & ginger, dotted with just a hint of green. Above all of this triumphs the magnificent Harvest Moon, mesmerizing the earth with it's magical power, surrounded by a glittering sea of stars.
The gift of sight is something we all take for granted until we experience the glory of nature, whether it's the fall foliage or a litter of fuzzy kittens, or a gorgeous magenta sunset over the water, or a blanket of virgin snow glistening under a crystal clear ocean of sky. Of all of the sense I have been born with, it's the gift of sight that I know that I would miss the most. Yet hearing my favorite music or even my sons whispering "I love you, Mom" in my ear would be tough to let go of, not to mention the smell of freshly cut grass or homemade apple crisp. I do know that I could remember what it feels like to cuddle & kiss my loved ones; and I absolutely know that I could live comfortably without tasting another piece of chocolate or homemade bread. But sight is so precious, so vivid!
Close your eyes and think of the things that bring beautiful images into clear view. For me it's the seasons... which explains why I live in the North.
We often experience a long snowy winter, everything covered with a frosty white coat of lacy snowflakes & glassy icicles. People huddle beside the fire, sipping steamy mugs of hot chocolate after a day of skiing, skating, sledding, or youth hockey tournaments. The Christmas holiday enhances our sense of hope, love & charity, as we deck the halls with evergreens, twinkling lights and treasured ornaments. Christmas fades into the excitement of ringing in the New Year, followed quickly by the romance of Valentine's Day and finally the merriment of St Paddy's Day.
Then Spring blossoms slowly into life, bringing a rainbow of breathtaking colors to herald the rebirth of all living things: pretty leaf buds, chubby bluebirds & robins, bright yellow daffodils & shiny red tulips. Birds sing in cheerful symphonies as they hurry to make cozy nests for their brood of fluffy chicks.
Eventually the warmth of Summer overtakes us, with our flags of freedom waving from every porch decked out with hanging baskets of petunias & ivy. Every garden beams with the kaleidoscopic flair of a crayon box, begging us to grace every empty vase with their dazzling color. Adirondack chairs and rope hammocks beckon the weary weekend warrior to take comfort in their lap. Docks lay in wait for children to bound, at full speed, down their beaten planks to make a huge splash in the cool clear lakewater below. Rivers ripple as lines are cast by anglers hoping to reel in the "Big One" that got away last season.
Finally Autumn envelopes us with its trumpet of south flying geese and shock of rich color. The time has come to ready ourselves for the harvest, to batten down the hatches and prepare for the long, often hard, winter that lays ahead. Monarch butterflies flutter gracefully across meadows sprinkled with wild asters, sipping enough nectar to fuel their long flight to Mexico. Corn stalks wave in the chilly breeze as the tractor hums ominously in the distance. Pumpkins adorn every doorstep surrounded by silly scarecrows and pots filled with plump mums. This is the season for soccer & football, jumping in leaves, picking apples, carving pumpkins, and breaking out the crockpots & wool socks.
Autumn in the North Country is an exquisite and enchanting season, one that I favor and one that will forever behold the most precious times in my life; the birth of both of my sons. Happy Birthday, boys. May your lives be enriched by the glory of the harvest and all that life has to offers.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
I was dressed in my best blue jeans, a deep purple blouse and gorgeous purple & black pumps. The evening started out perfect; warm but not humid, with scattering of stars overhead. But then half way through Joe Cocker's performance, it started to sprinkle. My husband turned to me and asked me if I wanted to find cover (it was on outdoor concert and we were about 25 rows back from the stage). I turned to him and smiled as I said " No I'm fine. A little rain never hurt me. Plus I know I won't melt (a reference to the Wizard of Oz...) " He laughed and we hugged as we applauded the final notes of "Leave your Hat on". Once SRV came on, the feeling in the air was absolutely electric. He was a fabulous performer and although I had not followed his music, I was quite impressed. After the show, fireworks lit up the sky.
Sadly less than 6 weeks later, Stevie Ray Vaughn was killed in a helicopter crash. But to this day, whenever I hear one of his song I remember that wonderful night, and thank God for the pieces that began to come together that night which now have created a beautiful puzzle.
Seven years from that first memorable date, on July 3rd 1997, the two of us watched the fireworks burst over the waters of the lake. When the finale had scattered a rainbow of bright sparkling colors in the dark star-lit sky, my husband proposed to me. I accepted & now we share the tradition of this fireworks show over the lake with our two beautiful sons.
Life is good. Thanks Stevie!
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Where we live the state requires children to be in school for a minimum of 175 days. But really about 30 days of each year is piddled away with fluff & nonsense, so why not shorten the school year and strictly TEACH the kids when they hit the classroom. There's a lot to be said for homeschooling when you see for yourself how much time is wasted everyday. I wish more parents would visit their child's classroom, like I do, to see what goes on in a typical day. They'd be surprised how rude and inattentive some students are, which would explain why teachers spend so much time disciplining & too little time teaching. Each classroom is graced by at least one of these human challenges; my oldest son's had 3 this year!
By the way, I wish someone would explain to me why we must send our kids to school until the 3rd week of June! We live in the Northeast, where it snows in the winter... Don't these administrators realize that they must build snowdays into the school calendar? And what about those ridiculous "in-service days" that litter each month of the school year... why can't they schedule these sessions for the week BEFORE school starts, like other school districts do so the kids don't have to suffer through an extra week of school in June! Also why do we need 3 & 1/2 days off during Thanksgiving week plus 2 extra days off for winter break?
Anyways, now it's summer vacation and I've worked out my schedule so that I can spend more time home with the kids. We've signed up for a bowling program, have arranged several play-dates, & had a few sleepovers so far. Our annual family camping trip is just around the corner and we've made it to the lake, the library & the strawberry patch already. We'll also go to Boston's famed Fenway Park for a game, as well as venture down to Camden Yards for a Red Sox/Orioles match. Going to visit family in PA along the way, and maybe stop for a beach day in Delaware, Jersey or Massachusetts as well. Hoping to read at least volumes 2 & 3 of the Harry Potter series, catch a few more fish, play some rousing games of croquet & bocce, do some hiking & biking, and just plain relaxing before it's time to send the boys off to school again.
Meanwhile, I hope that you have a fabulous summer and spend some genuine quality time with your family making your own Summer of '08 memories. Think sunshine!
Friday, June 27, 2008
I originally posted this blog on another site, but I think it's too important not to share again with more of you... For those of you who are parents, you will completely understand and identify with my sentiments here. For those of you who have yet to endure the pleasures and pains of parenting, take notes.
Being a parent is tough. I remember once my mother telling me that being the disciplinarian was harder than being the one disciplined. And at the time that made absolutely no sense whatsoever. How could that possibly be true when I was the one who took the punishment? I was the one who got the spanking, got grounded, got sent to my room, or got scolded … she was the one who doled it out! I think her words were "this hurts me more than it hurts you..." What the heck was she talking about?!
That was probably 36 years ago… when I was a naive child who knew it all, who couldn't be tamed, and who challenged all the warnings. Now I fully and completely understand exactly what she meant. You see I live with a carbon copy of that self, but just in the form of a 10 year old boy. Is this karma? No doubt!
So now I live those moments of being the parent who has to teach their child a painful lesson through discipline. I can honestly say that we do NOT enjoy doling out punishments, but we believe that discipline is really about teaching your child a lesson via strong, definitive messages. We struggle with these choices and decisions. It's gut wrenching to have to deliver severe consequences to your child's behavior, knowing that you have somehow failed him in the first place to have him act out with such negativity. Yet ultimately you must forego the alliance you've forged with your child in order fortify the respect they must earn from you, their fellow man, and society.Parenting is the hardest job in the world and one must be totally dedicated to the task, for richer or poorer, through sickness and health, in good times and in bad, as long as you both shall live. It's a commitment as profound as marriage but one that, if you successfully adhere to, will bestow great wealth to all. It will build strong character, morals, fortitude and reverence.
There are times that I wish someone would step in and parent my kids for me because sometimes it's way beyond exasperating. But no one should ever question my love, my devotion and my dedication to these beautiful human beings. I've said it before… I don't always like my childrens' behavior but I will LOVE them until the end of time. No matter what.
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Just within a seven day period, I learned bad news about three friends. One had debilitating major surgery and the others had job losses. Even my future at work seems ominous and cloudy. The climate has changed and I am very unsure about whether I will be there much longer, after a seven year tenure.
I trusted my boss implicitly and we had a very good rapport. Now everything has changed. Some could argue maybe for the better. Yet I, for one, absolutely abhor change. It makes me queasy and uncomfortable. I don't adjust to change well. Since I make few solid relationships at work because I am very guarded, having to start over with a new boss is not something I look forward to, especially when I foresee who it might be...
But I will count my blessing and hope for the best, adopt a positive outlook and walk into the unknown without fear or apprehension, knowing that there are others who face bigger obstacles than me.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
There are times that I'd like to whisk away from the chaos of being a wife & mom to sit on your back porch, a cold drink in hand, and just simply chat. I miss talking to you when I need some friendly advice or even a nudge of encouragement. I wish we could get our families together for camping trips, backyard BBQs or movie nights. Then there are times I want to slip away for a couple of hours, just you and I, to share a plate of nachos and a pitcher of margaritas, while we reminisce about the past, discuss the present and hope for the future.
Because my ever-changing schedule prevents me from touching base with all of you more often, I've created this blog to stay in touch... I hope you enjoy peeking into my world by reading my journal entries. I love to chat and this is my way of talking to you, my friends & my family, about the things that I most value.
As always I send my biggest hugs, my most sincere best wishes and my heartfelt love to you and your family. May everyday bring you satisfaction & contentment, joy & wisdom, and peace & harmony.
Hugs ~~ Lisa