Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Roller Coaster -- one more ride

Ever since CMC blogged on her roller coaster life, I've become very aware of my own ride. The latest go round started last Wednesday when my oldest lost her clarinet. (Going up!) It walked away from outside the band room. After lining up a rental replacement, emailing the band director and talking with the principal, it reappeared in the band room on Friday. (Going down!)

Saturday and Sunday was a scream. We had dinner with my old grad school buddy and I rode my motorcycle on the street. Sweet.

Then twists and turns hit. This morning at 2 AM, the little one woke up with an ear ache. Of all days to be sick -- HALLOWEEN! (Going UP!) Despite a goodly dose of motrin, we were awake for the day. At 7 AM I decided I would take her to school, check in with the school nurse, and see what she thought. Was my little pirate princess too sick to participate in the Halloween parade?

"Yes, the ear is infected. Yes, she needs to see a doctor today?" AND "Yes, she can stay for the parade." (Thankfully, GOING DOWN!)

The parade was wonderful. The wee pirate and her fanciful classmates thrilled and delighted everyone that saw them.

An hour later, at the doctors, it was a confirmed ear infection.

"Can she trick or treat?"

"As long as she feels up to it," smiled the Dr.
(WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE....... Going DOWN some more!)

A quick trip to the pharmacy, antibiotic in hand -- she was back at school for the party. Then we were off to Daddy's for his office trick or treating, before hitting the neighborhood streets.

We now have a mountain of cavity inducing sweet stuff, and three sugar charged children...
(I'm GOING UP to bed!)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Scheduled Plus

When November hits, I'll be running. (As if I'm not running now.) The girls pick up Christmas play practices, and participation in the family Mass and the teen Mass to the already busy schedule. I circled the events we will attend on next month's church schedule and we will be there almost everyday for something. (And somedays -- TWICE!) A friend suggested we move into the rectory. Honestly, we are NOT one of those families that does everything at the church. I swear.

I'm going to have to take it a day at a time and not go anywhere without my calendar.

God give me strength.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Sunday Scribblings -- Bedtime Stories

Nature or Nuture?
In this house the nut does not fall far from the tree.

When I was a little girl, my parents started the bedtime routine at 6:30. Why? You ask. Me, is the answer. As it turns out I would save everything and anything I absolutely needed to convey to my parents for bedtime.

"Mom, I gotta tell you this now. Did you know Nancy is getting a new kitten?"
"No, go to bed."
"And Laurie and Dean have two kittens. Can I have a kitten?"
"No, go to bed."

"I have a spelling test tomorrow. Will you quiz me?"
"Why didn't you mention this before going out to play this afternoon?"
"I forgot." These type of queries generally bought me 15 - 20 minutes.

"Dad, can you help me draw a Native American for my project?"
"Tomorrow, go to bed."
"I have Girl Scouts. Can we do it now?" A half an hour later, I had learned how to draw a Native American, actually any American, sitting down. I can still do it. So, my attempts at extending the evening were not a total waste. Maybe as a mom I can branch out and try to draw Europeans or Asians.

Sometimes I would sit at the top of the stairs, or behind the couch, and listen to my parents talking. Not that they said much. But I liked to be close.

Now skip forward to my own tribe. My smidglings (the latest term of endearment) have the art of extending the bedtime down to a science. Long before and even longer after the lights are to go out, there is the parade. And I didn't teach them this skill. (So that's one for Nature.)

"Mom, will you braid my hair tomorrow?"
"Yes, go to bed."
"Noah pushed me in line yesterday."
"Did you tell the teacher?"
"Because I pushed him first."
"Go to bed."

"Mom, she's touching the ladder to my bed."
"Is she climbing up to your bed?"
"No, her foot is rubbing against it."
"How do you know this, if you are lying down reading?"
"Well, I was watching her."
"Go to bed."

"Dad, we're ready for a story." A good bedtime extension in my opinion.

And as I did, sometimes the little ones sit on the stairs, listening to our conversations. They think they are being sneaky, sitting ever so quiet. What they don't know is they sound like a herd of elephants getting to the stairs. And they all have different foot falls. Long before they reach the stairs, I'll look at my husband and say, "It's the littlest one." or "Bet you it's the middle one."

Over time, I mastered the sneak approach. Maybe one day, I'll teach it to them. (That would give Nurture one, and tie the score.)

Goodnight, Moon.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


The hot shower sooths me.
Tight muscles relax, eyes closed, I dream
Of stoppering the drain and
Easing down into the warm pool
Collecting at my feet.
My knees weaken
Oh to be warm; to be comforted.

I open my eyes. The vision is gone.
Chased away by lunches to be made,
Children to waken, breakfast, and laundry.
I scrub my skin. The moment -- a memory
Someday -- someday sleepy eyes will find me
Content, prunish, pink, melted
Lunches unmade, breakfast not started,
laundry piled by the door.

I wonder when Someday will come.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Poetry Thursday

What gives me inspiration are the friends that stop by. Here is a poem I have been musing with for a few days... Not my usual style, but I've been working on getting it together for my birthday.

Dear Friends,

Late night walks
Dinosaurs and drawing
Heartfelt talks
Clawfoot tubs for reading

Playdates, boat rides
Magic 'til 2.
Carpools, swimming pools
just to name a few.

Knitting, sewing
A glass of wine, while children sleep.
Niblets, writing
Swimming out to waters deep.

A lifetime, a phone call,
A promise. an ear, a shoulder
Laughter together.

Dear Friends,
I am -- Forever Yours,


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

CMC, you've got something there.

Recently CMC blogged about her rollercoaster life. One minute good news, the next bad. One minute she is enjoying the fall weather, the next she is bringing clothes to her dad in the hospital. She wisely concluded that being negative is not a good thing. That looking for the positive in all situations is the better path in life. I have to agree. And my last week can be held up as an example of proof.

Last week I was facing a root canal, on what appeared to be a perfectly good tooth. My laptop, the computer that holds all my phone numbers and the family calendar died. And the oven died. It was not a noteable week, but there had been no trips to a doctor, hospital, or to school for meetings with the principal. We had plenty of food, that didn't require the oven. And was lucky enough to have a quick visit with a good friend I hadn't seen in a while. So by taking CMC's advice to look for the brightside, we were, as the saying goes, made in the shade.

This week I found out the problem with the computer is a broken on/off switch. Not major. My tooth doesn't require a root canal, but it would probably be a good idea if I stop grinding my teeth. And the oven will be fixed, on warranty. No worries.

So thanks CMC for the good advice. If I had wallowed in negativity last week, nothing would have been gained, except a few extra pounds from stress induced over eating.


I love taking photographs. When I have the time, it is more than a hobby. It's an obsession. Lately, with or without a camera in my hand, I have been focused on the affect a smile has on the human face. The transformation that takes place when someone smiles is just amazing. I am sure you know that a smile draws the lines of a face upward. But it also brightens the eyes, and enhances the skin tone and color. The other day, while out walking, I passed a woman who's skin tone was just this side of green. I said, "Hi." She looked up, and smiled. Her eyes brightened. Her cheeks puffed and the lines on her face softened. Her skin tone pinked.

There is a real power in smiling. Both for the smilee and the viewer of the smile.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

We Be Pirates!

Avast ye matey!

Yesterday was our annual Halloween party. Twenty-three children, 16 helpful adults in total. (I think that counts us...) We transformed our house into a pirate ship. Guests had to prove their worth by eating an eyeball. Then the invitation was extended, "Welcome to the cursed crew!"

We taught them the fine art of one handed WAR. Where the winner had the most cards after just one hand of play. They decorated skull cupcakes with frosting and candy. Gambled, played pirate bingo, practiced boarding a vessel, avoided the black spot, and pinned the patch on the pirate. For their dining pleasure we provided parrot wings and tenders, dead men's toes, toasted bones, devil eyeballs, and toasted spicy ones too, cheesey hard tack, fruit to ward off the scurvy, grog and lemonade, and treasure cake.

The highlight of the evening was the treasure hunt which tested the mental mettle (mby, thanks for the spelling fix) of the participants. Their clues were in code. For a good pirate knows the code, and can follow it.

In the end, they all went home the richer. Still, I think the Captain and I had the better time.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Sunday Scribblings - GOOD

I've never been one who worried about being good.

I'm a below the radar, middle child. My path through life was cut by keeping my head low, mouth shut, and not making any waves. Without even trying, I was the good daughter. For the better part of 34 years I used this approach at home, in school, work and marriage. And I thought it was working, until the day I decided to having a differing opinion.

That day I stood up for myself.
I said, "No."
I said, "I can't handle that right now."

Quickly, life became a war of the wills. I was accused of being a lair and breaker of promises. I was devastated. The pressure mounted. With my head down, I saw only one way out. I couldn't believe my life would end this way.

As I was veering towards that bridge abutment, I picked up my head and saw that a life can have many paths. All I had to do was stop, and take another. And I did.

I don't keep my head down anymore. My mouth is wide open, and at times I make really big waves. I'm not good. But I'm happy.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Sunday Scribblings -- If I could stop time

Better late than never....

If I could stop time I would slowly wake my children
with multitudes of kisses.
Blanketed by love thickened with hope.
Rubbing their backs and carressing their faces.
Whispers of sweetness would hang in the air.

If I could stop time I would work for world peace.
Preaching the mother's approach,
Keep Your Hands to Yourself.
Treat Others As You Want to be Treated.
All governments could learn from a good dose of mothering.

If I could stop time I would take the time to,
Read all those good books I hear about.
Knit one hundred scarves.
Play a billion board games.
Wisely spending each moment,
as if I were to be my last.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A year ago I wrote...

I'll be 45 soon. In a few short weeks. I have 3 girls and an advanced degree in biophysics to show for all my years. However, the days pass like clothes through my washer. I often say I don't know what will happen in a day until its over.

But-cept for the 45, it's all still true. All the days pretty much start the same. Then somewhere between dawn and dusk, I finished my book for the eighth time, kissed my children, ate turducken, did a little turkey dance, decorated our Christmas tree with friends and family, finished phase one and two of the house painting, painted at the pool, put in a lawn, wrote a few poems, did homework, kissed my children, put up a sugar shack, (Oh, I forgot to mention that, sorry!), went camping (twice this year), kissed my children some more, put the youngest on the school bus for the first time, threatened to dance naked in the street as it drove away, got my motorcycle license, visited a small pox graveyard, and knew that the souls of the departured children still play in those woods.

It's been a good year. Forty-six, ready or not, here I come!

Monday, October 16, 2006

My Weekend

I feel sorry for all those women who when they get the opportunity to have their weekend opt to go to a spa. How boring it must be to be manicured, pedicured, massaged, dipped, waxed, oiled, and lulled to sleep, when they could have spent more than two days on the back of a HOG.

Okay, maybe not a HOG. It was a Nighthawk, but a motorcycle all the same. My spa weekend was spent in Acton, MA at Ironstone Ventures Beginner Motorcycle Training. In addition to the 3 hours of classroom time on Friday evening, from 6:45 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and again at ungodly 6:45 AM to 1:30 PM on Sunday I was living and breathing a Nighthawk labelled C.

Along with 10 other lucky souls, I learned how to start the bike, (good beginning), and stop it. Also good for when balls, small children or other vehicles get in your way. We did swerving, turning (the slow, press and roll) , shifting, fast braking, and manuevering in tight spaces. We learned what to do in a skid, and what not to do. And at the end of the lessons we all passed the RMV test and got our licenses.

Now all I want to do is ride, ride, ride. My hands ache to once again squeeze the clutch and front brake. My left foot keeps probing for the gear shift. The right is inching forward for the rear brake. And my ass is only comfortable cradled in leather. I've got to get out there.

Maybe I'll ride over to the salon. I wonder if Marge can squeeze me in for a manicure.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Poetry Thursday

The Poetry Thursday assignment for this week is to take a subject out of the media. School safety is still on my mind.

Backpacks and lunch boxes
stuffed with fluff'n nutter and love.
We walk hand in hand
to the place of building blocks and story time.
Beads for counting, clay for the molding,
Word cards for writing your scariest pumpkin patch story.

I kiss and hug you. You squirm away.
Eager to join your friends.
And as I turn for the lonely journey home,
I pray that this moment is not our last.
That at the end of day, we will once again,
walk hand in hand.

Monday, October 09, 2006

One Hundred Scarves For The Holidays

Recently I joined a social group of crafters. I knew from the beginning that this was going to be a challenge. I am not social and when God was handing out the crafty gene, I was happy to hold the door for others. But after 45 years of watching my grandmother, mom, aunt, sister, and now my daughter knit, I decided to give it a go.

Truthfully, I've struggled with knitting in the past. And I can knit and purl with most of them. I've even made scarves for two of my lovelies. But ask me to YO, (yarn over for those in the loop), or PSST, (your guess is as good as mine), and I'm lost. And God forbid I drop a stitch. On such occasions, like a zombie with my work held out before me, I find my mother, aunt, sister, or daughter. For they are the knitting goddess who can fix anything.

So I joined the group with the hope to acquire enough knitting knowledge to become indoctrinated into the secret society of knitters. I got so much more.

There are eleven women, but anyone can join. Meetings are just once a month, and there's homework. "One hundred scarves to donate to charities for the holidays." You can knit or crochet them anyway you want.

Most women had the fancy bulky yarn with the oversized needles. I brought a skein of something I picked up years ago because it was soft, and I thought I might make something nice out of it someday, and notably not oversized needles. The upshot, for every row one of the more experienced knitters produced, I knitted four. I look upon the difference as added practice.

During that first meeting, in addition to handing out the assignment, each member received the directions for making a prayer shawl. (After the holidays the plan is to make shawls for cancer patients.) On size 11 needles cast on 57 stitches. Then for each row knit three, followed by purl three for the length of the row. For all rows repeat until the shawl fits from wrist to wrist. The directions seemed simple enough. On my size 8 needles I cast on 18 stitches. My first attempt at making a scarf with this stitch resulted in a ribbing that one would find at the top of an oversized sock. Still the scarf is soft, and fits nicely against my neck.

As I worked my second scarf, I realized how the ribbing was formed and when I modified my pattern, produced the seed stitch of the prayer shawl. I can't wait to share my scarves with the group. Better still, I can't wait for the holidays. For out there into the community will go my scarves and each set of three stitches (ribbing or not) represents a prayer for the wearer.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Amish are Right

I've been following the CNN reports on the Amish school tragedy since it happened. Mostly in disbelief that anything so violent could happen in a school. Nevermind happening in an Amish school. Today four little girls were laid to rest. One more will join them tomorrow. And what do the Amish people do, they offer their support and sympathy to the killer's family. They have forgiven the man that killed their precious daughters.

Could I do that? Would I do that if such a horrible tradegy struck my family?

The Amish are right. They know holding onto anger darkens the soul, blackens the heart and removes all love and joy from life. These peace-filled people threw off their anger and offered forgiveness. They opened their hearts and extended their hands to help. They know that darkness cannot dwell in an open heart. Hatred does not fester in an open hand.

There is a lesson here. And on the prayers and souls of five little girls, perhaps it is a lesson we as outsiders to the Amish should embrace.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What's wrong with this picture?

When I was little, right about when the earth was cooling and the dinosaurs roamed in my backyard, youngerlings were sent to school to learn. And we did. The ABC's, counting, French, pseudopotential theory; you know the usual stuff.

What is going on now? I send my children to school and then proceed to worry that some madperson will decide our community is their community of choice to find a school for killing.

I admit it. I'm from the old world where children were taught:
To keep their hands to themselves.
Don't hurt other people.
Don't take what is not your's.
Treat people are you would like to be treated.

What has happened? If this has anything to do with progress, give me the good old days.
I'm sick of this violence.

Where does this disregard for life start?