Thursday, January 31, 2008

What they did for love

I read in the Readers Digest an article about some interesting antics people did for love. For example, working in a marriage proposal into the Boston Sunday Globe crossword puzzle. And I wonder, after the knot is tied, will they still be up to their old antics?

It's amazing what a husband and wife will do to each other after the big day. The white gloves come off, and it's the old one two punch. Interesting, they are suppose to love eachother, but in some cases that all important sense of respect is gone. I've heard stories where a stray dog is treated better.

I've been around the block a few times. I know there are good times and bad. And still I wonder during those bad times how anyone can forget their love for another. Isn't that suppose to come first? Sure there are differences of opinion, and no one gets their own way every time. But if a relationship is focused on love, commitment and caring, wouldn't compromise come into play fairly frequently?

busy, busy...

What a day it has been. I woke up late. I did a bit of editing. I was actually dreaming about the piece... scary. And then blink, the day is almost gone, after a few swipes of the paint brush and a tornado in the kitchen. The rest of today is filled with taxi here, taxi there, schedule, schedule, schedule. Not mine... the little ones and the not so little one.

Maybe, after I clean up my mess in the kitchen, I'll do some knitting.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Two Sides

The glass half full, the glass half empty; isn't it strange how just about anything can be viewed from opposite sides. There's the big house on the hill. But inside there is a pit of unhappiness, money can't fill. There is the child with CP; twisted, unable to speak, but exuding an unconditional love that would settle wars. Do you want what they have, all of it, the good and the bad? For both sides make the package. And what about the people that you meet? What about yourself? Today, I'm wallowing in, "What about me?"

Right now, my litany is rooted in darkness, accented with words like fat, soft, headache, mediocre, and tired.

I once knew a woman, who on her death bed was about to confess her darkest secrets of a past she wasn't proud of. She wanted me to know that she wasn't always wonderful. I stopped her, saying, "It's the you of today. Your life brought you here." It was that woman, whom I loved. I miss her. Why did she want me to know?

When I saw her last, many years ago, she was just about my age now. Back then she had the wisdom of age, mixed with a wisdom only terminal cancer bestows. Strange how only when one is ravaged, that the importance of life is laid before you. She saw only goodness. So what would she see in me today?

In the quiet, I hear her answer: A mother, a writer, a knitter, a listener, a home brewer, a maple sugarmaker, a walker, a taxi driver, a teacher, a painter, a brewer, a mathematician, a reluctant cleaner, a cook, a closet sewer and quilter, a lover, a friend, a gardener, a church goer, a leader of young girls, a joker, a mediator, a homework helper, a disciplinarian, a motorcycle momma, a finder of lost things, a squirrelly thinker and problem solver.... someone to count on, a glass not blackened with emptiness, but overflowing.

Why does it take the whisperings from a death bed long gone cold to put life in perspective?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I'm Dreaming

of a stress free, dirty dish free, quiet secluded sun dappled hammock being swayed by a warm breeze. I'm dwelling on small cups of cafe being carried on elevated trays to me by well dressed Scottish men. I close my eyes and contemplate leaves rustling and birds singing in brambling rose bushes. I'm relaxed. My feet and hands are warm. I've forgotten about the constant winter shivers. I'm wearing an oversized well worn and loved tshirt and jersey cotton pants; no shoes, no woolen socks. My mind is washed clear. I have no worries, no concerns over what to cook for dinner. Instead of facing mountains of laundry, I'm gazing upon curling waves of reflected heat dancing home towards the sun.

Some people are lucky enough to get vacations. Others have to wait for the slideshow.

Monday, January 28, 2008

It's Purple

The room, it's turning purple. The little ones are in color me heaven. I'm all for color, but thankful it's not my sleeping space. Still I can't wait to get the house back together. With each brush stroke I hear the little voice whispering, "One stroke closer to being finished. One stroke closer to not having to pick up a paint brush again."

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sweat Equity

The girls are getting a new room; our old room. We have a new room. A room that was but a shell three years ago. This summer we bit the bullet, worked with an excellent builder, who let us do some of the work ourselves. Finally, we moved in, and the girls are getting a bigger space.

It needs paint. They picked out lilac.

This weekend I said to them, "It's your room. You need to work."

No questions, no complaints. The little ones helped to wash the walls, spackle the cracks and holes, sand, wash again and prime. It's so easy to list all that in one sentence, but it's taken days. The girls hung in there. They did it. It's going to be their new room. They are invested in it. Hopefully we'll have the job all done and they will be moved in by the weekend.

All except new curtains. We haven't picked out their material yet.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Soft Sensitive Under Belly

For my whole adult life I have had to battle my weight. Everyday I'm either patting myself on the back for a day full of good food choices or kicking myself for sitting down with a book and a bag of chips.

Last fall I was introduced to It was Big Mama who had the big idea. And it worked. I lost 15 pounds, then the holidays hit and I regained 8, (7.5 on a good day). So with doubled effort, I climbed back on the horse and circled the wagons, by adding more exercise to my daily routine.

This morning the little one was up early and broke into my exercise moment.

"Mom, what are you doing?"

( 75 huff) "Crunches"


( 79 puff) "To tone up my belly."

The little one's face fell to the floor. Her eyes grew to the bodily dimensions of a horse fly. "Why?"

( 86 huff) "So it's not so flabby."

"But it's so soft and..."

Do you know how hard it is to do crunches with a little cranium resting on your abdomen? So, who am I exercising for? Not for the little one, who prefers her momma warm, soft and squishy. Think about it, who wants to rest their head on a board? (Pass the chips!)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Walk in the Woods

Jitter bugs

I am trying to learn as much as I can about solar photovoltaic cells. I've been scouring the web, reading books, comparing electric bills. I even talked to someone who has them installed at their house. All day yesterday I sat and read and figured and jitter bugged.

What I found out is solar photovoltaic cells are one of the many greener ways of electricity production for the future, but you can start now. (The other biggie is wind.) One economic analyst calculated that by 2020 the price of generating electricity with PV will rival that of fossil fuels. My sentiment is why wait.

Another thing I found out is I can't sit still for very long unless my hands are busy... more than a few minutes at a time. It is amazing I learned anything at school, because I'm sitting, I'm reading, I'm up getting a tea, reading email, thinking about dinner, reading more, taking notes, checking email again. In the end I'm exhausted from all that movement.

I realized for me to sit and read, I need to anchor myself to the chair and table. The best way for me to do this, is food. Yesterday I refused to snack while I read, so instead I jittered about.

Oh I can sit at night and knit, while the TV is on. But even while watching TV, I'm up and doing this or that, unless I'm knitting.

What I learned: Yes, I want PV on our house. Yes, it will be expensive, (I suspect about $7500 -- after rebates for a project our size -- based on other prices I heard about). But it's like going on a BIG vacation that lasts and gives back to you for years to come.

And imagine the giggles we'll get watching the electric meter run backwards. That has to be worth a few K.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What happened to yesterday?

I woke up, dropped off the recycling, interviewed a man about his solar system, and poof the day was gone. No blogging, a little editing, and very little knitting. Today seems to be much the same. I have tasks on the radar screen and I don't know if I'll even get to them. Should I shop for food or sew curtains? I have five pair of curtains to make. I don't even have all the material for the job. What to do? I think I'll knit and think about it. Truly I lead a boring life.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Nana's Heart

The little one finished her quilt today. It's an oversized lap quilt, but it took an all day effort to finish it. She is so happy Nana's heart is a part of her quilt.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Night Time Driving


Into the Fray

I have to drive into the big city today. A task I don't glom onto or relish. So much so, I would rather drive to Florida than drive into the big city airport and fly out. My reasoning is, by the time you drive in, get parking, check in and go through airport security you can be in South New Jersey. Add a three or more hour flight to that and you're half way there without any of the traffic, big dig, crazy driver, switching back and forth roadway, airport hassle.

Today, I'm not going to the airport. Today I have to go to the Reggie Lewis Center to pick up a track star. I've never been there before and Mapquest and AAA have provided me with very different directions. Mapquest is sending me on a journey down the Pike and then through the bowels of the Boston. AAA is having me take the safe route full of traffic lights and cross streets into the city then a U-turn of all things. My dad suggested a more straight forward route: the Pike, to the Mass Ave exit. Take it to the end and turn right onto Cass Blvd. Tremont will be somewhere up ahead. I can see his reasoning, but on the map there doesn't seem to be a Mass Ave exit off of the Pike. I'm still at a lose as to which way to go.

Both Mapquest and AAA say this trek should take 30 minutes, 40 tops. If all goes well, I'll be back home by 2:45, considering the 2 PM pick up time. It will take me all day to get up the courage to make the drive.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I'm Not Cake

Yesterday, while out to pick up the oldest, I realized that given the opportunity to take a mini-break that I probably wouldn't return home. My husband promised me a weekend away, last summer. The schedule being what it was, I didn't cash in that chip. But I keep it in my pocket, ready to pull out in an emergency. Yesterday was not that day.

I am not cake. I am not to be measured, dissected, fought over. I am not to be accused of loving one more than the other. Dispensing more morning kisses to one than the other. Despite the fact, one shuns my kisses anyway. So am I to try to give a kiss, only to have those efforts shut down? Maybe that is the game...

It is not my master of the universe plan to walk to school closer to one than the other. I can't make the snow covered sidewalks any wider than the plow. It is not my wish that we have to walk single file so that no one gets more time at my side. I would rather have my children around me, but not fighting to be attached to my hip.

Lunches are made to order. I don't make her a better lunch. I make what I'm told will get eaten.

I don't lord over homework to reteach myself the basic building blocks of education. If help is needed; I'll be there. It's not that I don't want to sit and watch my children write for 30 minutes. It's because the Honors Math Midterm is looming. Truth be told; I can't write that essay for you.

Mothers are not equipped with little meters that measure each an every syllable I utter or am forced to listen to. Truly, if I am engaged in the fourth discussion of the week about the latest crush or playground bully, rest assured I am not loving her more, or spending more time with her over you. I am learning being a mother is not a piece of cake.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Old Dog...

New Tricks...

When I was young, even young in my 30s, I didn't sew more than a button or a hem. And those tasks would takes weeks of planning and prep. Then children happened. All girls, all wanting to know how to sew. It's like a light bulb that flashes on. They learned to talk, walk, knit, and now they want to sew. Being a tomboy, in my younger years all I wanted was to dig a hole to China in my friend's backyard. This concept of wanting to know how to sew is new.

Oh, my mom, grandmother and several home ec teachers all tried, and for the most part failed, except for the button and hem parts -- I did learn that.

Even so, I've had a sewing machine or two my whole adult life. My mother, the expert sewer, quilter, said, "Get one, they come in handy." She'd never steered me wrong before...

Right now in this house I have two. One in the attic firmly attached to a sewing table that takes the Hulk to move, and a portable, (including case), I picked up one day while shopping one of those huge warehouse stores. And when it snows, and we have a snow day, the sewing fairy visits my children and whispers gently in their ears, "Wouldn't it be nice to spend the entire day sewing a quilt, a pillow, a blanket, an anything... just so it is sewing." With sleep nods of their heads they agree and their snow day is set. And so is mine.

We spent the majority of yesterday sewing. The young one is making a quilt of squares, the older one two stuff animals and a blanket. Quietly and with patience we all worked together. Sharing the scissors, the iron, the pins, the machine. It was only when I realized my eyes were crossing from watching the needle do it's up and down dance, that I suggested we go sledding. Reluctantly they went. They might even admit they had fun.

This morning the sewing was back out again. One more stuffed animal is in the works and all the quilt squares are laid out waiting to be sewn. Hopefully we won't have to wait for another snow day.

Monday, January 14, 2008

It's Snowing

Yahooo! No school! Instead... Sledding! Photography! Snowshoeing! Snowmen! Shoveling! Hot Chocolate! Ginger tea! Chess! Cards! Sewing! Knitting!

Friday, January 11, 2008

The difference a year makes

A year ago I was on the verge of knitting socks. Now I have a sock going in my purse all the time.
A year ago the kitchener stitch was the death of me. Now I see the simple rhythm of knit, purl, purl, knit. A mantra, stockinette smooth.
I'm knitting socks.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I Love You Like A....

I visited a farm today to find out about their maple sugaring operation. While touring the place I saw a chicken who had somehow flown the coop, but was now trying to get back in. I walked over to peek in on the rest of the brood, and the little lady followed me. I squatted down and made gentle clucking noises. She eased over so that we were a mere chicken's breath apart. Slowly I reached up for the latch and opened the door. The chicken blinked, turned and shuffled her way back home.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Day Care For All

Over the years, while checking out camps or extra curricular classes for my children, I've often murmured, "I wanna come here. Why aren't there camps for moms, for me?"

There should be camps, opportunities, daycares for all. My idea is an a la carte of migrating opportunities. Where a person could drop over Norm's to learn woodworking. Visit Bobby for chess; Brenda for fire building and remodeling 101 -- a hands on experience. Ronda is great with parenting tips and bantering about volunteer and educational opportunities. Steven's would be a great place to get the darker and deeper plot tips. Or make your way to Martha's for decorating ideas. Groups would set up walking dates, or music jamming gigs. Imagine all those tucked away instruments emerging from the over 40 closets and making melodies once again. Imagine the fun. Visualize the laughter, and you have all those wonderful camp experiences of old.

And for those dayswhen the hormone dip stick registers quite low there would be mommy day care. A place where moms are greeted with warm hug, simmering soup, and a fire. Severe cases might require knitting, warming up the vocal chords singing with the dogs, or a forced up hill march contemplating what to do with all those little bags of doggy doo.

It should be a right. Right up there with liberty and justice for all.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Brewing Beer and Knitting Socks

This morning I am brewing beer and knitting socks. Seems odd, for a person, me, who lives and breathes via the internet and email, to get so much satisfaction going back to what can be considered humanities first principles. I find there is so much satisfaction from making and then attempting to wear out a pair of handmade wool socks. And there has to be even more to be said, for going all the way from the sheep to the sock. But in my neck of the earth, that satisfaction for a sock well knit is owned by my dear friend Mrs. D.; for she has washed the wool, spun the yarn and then knit the most wonderful socks. I can only hope to learn from her.

So what is it, that draws this techno-aholic away from the keyboard and to the needles or brew? Am I taking comfort in the fact, that if the end of the world as we know it comes to pass, I'll be able to cover my feet and brew a water alternative like the Pilgrims? Is it that the knitting takes me to a quiet place. A place I pick up and tap into in the car, waiting at school, before concerts, or at mommy daycare? Who know? Truly, I've only been knitting for a little over a year. But now I can't imagine not having to push past the balls of yarn to find the keys in my purse.

And the brewing... when I was younger I used to brew with a few friends. Always following their lead; never taking credit for a batch well bottled. But today it is me, in my kitchen, the wort calmly boils aways as I type. My knitting lies next to the keyboard, waiting for me to select the publish post button.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Cutting Back

December was a wild and crazy month. Not in a Steve Martin way, but a bad way. Some nights there were two parents attempting to get three children to what seemed like a million places. I thought I was going to lose my mind, and at the same time change my mailing address to: ptcakes, driver's seat in the Big Rig, Large Town, Massachusetts. To say I wasn't happy is an understatement.

Something had to be done. Looking at the scheduling mess, the man and I realized that nothing could be done this year, that being 2007, but 2008 could be different, if we cut back. So we did. First the little one -- strike the banjo. Actually, she was drummed out of her lessons, due to lack of cooperation. I still find that hard to believe, my little one -- how could she lack cooperation? Then there was the middle one and her plea to be an altar server. At first I said yes, and then, no, sorry. They schedule you at whatever Mass they need you, so, no. We go to one Mass, the 8 AM Sunday and sit in the same pew with the same people, who despite the fact we don't live together, have become our family. Also, sorry no more choir. The practices made homework rushed, and the Masses they sing at our not the 8 AM. And for me, no I won't be teaching chess during the second winter nor the spring session. And no again to helping with knitting. And just in case anyone from church is reading... (yea right) when my term of Parish Council is over this May, I won't be looking for another term.

This was our first week of cutting back. I was nervous. Would the kids really miss their activities and friends? There was no pushing the banjo practice time. No fighting. No limp child draped over the one instrument that she swore she'd love till the end of time. Then Wednesday came. Instead of rushed crazy momma screaming to get your homework done, the afternoon was calm. Instead of driving out into the cold and dark for practice, we worked on flute and practiced singing the school songs for the winter concert.

Instead of craziness, there is peace. Instead of yucky driving in the car time, there was quality living room time. Showing this momma that once again. less is more.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Could it be true?

A few months ago a friend sent an email regarding a photography contest at She said it looked on the up and up... I went to the site. They weren't looking for money, at the outset, so I sent a picture.

Soon after the emails started. "You're a winner!" "The judges love your picture!" You this, and you that. The up shot was they wanted me to spend money on a book, certificate, a metal, a pin. You name it and they sell it. I haven't bought anything.

Today I got an email saying that I'm in the running for $10,000. Now wouldn't that be nice. I wonder if I have to buy something to get the money? It would be okay with me if they just stuck the prize winnings in the mail. But I'd answer the door, if they came calling with one of those huge checks.

Here is the link to my picture.