Thursday, April 29, 2010

Where did the day go?

I know, it's not even 3 PM, but the day feels like it is over. It's homework, dinner, homework, my work, and then bed. I can't wait for bed.

This morning I was awoken by industrial blowing taking place next door. The parking lot clean up crew were there blowing away a winter's worth of sand at 5:30 AM. Half asleep I stumbled outside in my pjs, covered with a sweatshirt and untied sneakers.

"It's 5:30," I said.

The job foreman's response, "This is the third time you have hassled me about my work." It's true, this was the third spring in a row we have had words over painfully early morning noise.

My fogged with sleep reply, "This is the third time I have had to tell you my children are sleeping -- not twenty feet away from your noise."

He was not moved. My parting words were, "I'm calling the police." I had never resorted to calling the police before. After all you would think two adults could discuss the situation and resolve that sleeping children should be allow to sleep at the wee hour of 5:30 AM.

His parting words, "Do that."

And I did. Still not fully awake I spoke with a very nice policeman about the noise ordinance. I offered that six o'clock is fine, 6:30 better -- but 5:30 in the morning is not right. He sent over a car. The work stopped until the late hour of 7:45.

I hate hate hate hate confrontation. I really hate being the witch of the neighborhood, but... sometimes I have to put on my big girl panties, and open my big mouth. Thank God it is not all the time.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

From an email my mom sent me...

Five (5) lessons about the way we treat people

1 - First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady.

During my second month of college, our professor
Gave us a pop quiz
I was a conscientious student
And had breezed through the questions until I read

The last one:

"What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the
Cleaning woman several times. She was tall,
Dark-haired and in her 50's, but how would I know her name?
I handed in my paper, leaving the last question
Blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if
The last question would count toward our quiz grade.

"Absolutely, " said the professor. "In your careers,
You will meet many people. All are significant.. They
Deserve your attention and care, even if all you do
Is smile and say "hello."
I've never forgotten that lesson.. I also learned her

Name was Dorothy.

2. - Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain

One night, at 11:30 P.M., an older African American
Woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway
Trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had
Broken down and she desperately needed a ride.
Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.
A young white man stopped to help her, generally
Unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960's. The man
Took her to safety, helped her get assistance and
Put her into a taxicab.
She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his
Address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a
Knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a
Giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A
Special note was attached.
It read:
"Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway
The other night. The rain drenched not only my
Clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along.
Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying
Husband's' bedside just before he passed away... God
Bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving

Mrs. Nat King Cole.

3 - Third Important Lesson - Always remember those
Who serve.

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less,
A 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and
Sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in
Front of him.
"How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked.
"Fifty cents," replied the waitress.
The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and
Studied the coins in it.
"Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired.

By now more people were waiting for a table and the
Waitress was growing impatient.
"Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied.
The little boy again counted his coins.
"I'll have the plain ice cream," he said...
The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on
The table and walked away The boy finished the ice
Cream, paid the cashier and left.. When the waitress
Came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the
Table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish,

Were two nickels and five pennies..
You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had
To have enough left to leave her a tip.

4 - Fourth Important Lesson. - The obstacle in Our Path...

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a
Roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if
Anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the
King's' wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by
And simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the
King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did
Anything about getting the stone out of the way.
Then a peasant came along carrying a load of
Vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the
peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the
stone to the side of the road. After much pushing
and straining, he finally succeeded. After the
peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed
a purse lying in the road where the boulder had
been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note
from the King indicating that the gold was for the
person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The
peasant learned what many of us never understand!

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve
our condition.

5 - Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts...

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a
hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who
was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only
chance of recovery appeared to be a blood
transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had
miraculously survived the same disease and had
developed the antibodies needed to combat the
illness. The doctor explained the situation to her
little brother, and asked the little boy if he would
be willing to give his blood to his sister.

I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a
deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it if it will save
her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed
next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing
the color returning to her cheek. Then his face
grew pale and his smile faded.

He looked up at the doctor and asked with a
trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away".
Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the
doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his
sister all of his blood in order to save her.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Busy working

I love to be busy. I love to work. I love squeezing work into an already busy schedule. That is what this week is, busy with added work; which is good. But I also love to dream about not so far away places for knitting and spinning and writing and fishing.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tough Tough Situation

Three years ago a teenager with Asperger's disorder stabbed and killed another teen in the bathroom at a neighboring town high school. The trial is in the paper and on the news everyday. This morning the news debate surrounds the idea that the youth was having a psychotic episode, and is not responsible for his actions.

I feel for his family and for the family of his victim. This is a tragedy. But further I am left with questions on whether this whole situation could have been avoided and what about the next time.

Was the school aware of this child's violent thoughts, fascinations, and behaviors? And if so, why was he unsupervised for even a moment in a bathroom? Seriously, it took a moment for the victim to lose his life.

Was this teens parents forthcoming with the school about his condition? And if this teen had a fascination for weapons and living in a fantasy world why would his parents allow him access to the books that fed this bizarre fantasy?

Are our children protected from this situation? When I send my children to school are they safe? How many other children are in our schools that put our children at risk?

The attacker is a student who was moved from school to school due to "bad behavior." His father said he was bullied and that led to the stabbing of a student who didn't even know him.

Another case of where moving the problem student (priest) around does not solve the problem...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

So far the line up looks something like this

We toured four schools this past week. Today is a revisit for just the scholar. Oh parents are invited but we are having company today and I thought I should clean and cook... But the line up is somewhat of an alphabet soup: W, WPI, HC, and BC. We have UNH, UNH, OC, and B left to go.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Last Friday, Sad Friday

The vacation week is coming to a close. We finally get into the vacation groove and it is at an end. Yesterday the little one and I spent hours outside clean up the front garden. It needs a ton more work, but we were out there together, working together, having fun. I raked. She planted seeds and acorns. We chatted.

Today, it is back to the college visit marathon track. Maybe we can get some gardening in this evening.

I'm not ready for Monday.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

College Visiting Marathon Rest Stop

Today we are taking a day off. It seems appropriate that this visiting marathon, at least how I view it, started the week of the Boston Marathon. It has been an eye opening experience. I am viewing it with a more relaxed eye, despite still harboring apprehension about parking, and a deep fear of getting lost.

But what we are getting from these visits far outweighs any negative baggage I'm toting about. And slowly but surely I'm able to leave that baggage behind.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What to be when I grow up...

Is it a do over?

We are starting the college search process. For weeks, months, years actually, I have been very anxious about this whole period in time. Where to go? What to do? How to pay for it? Tough questions with not real straight forward answers.

Today we toured Wellesley. Two reasons we picked this school for our first tour:
1. It's close.
2. We know several women who went there, and all say it would be a great fit.

So we went. And truly it is a great campus. Well laid out. Relaxing landscape. Beautiful on the eyes, with outstanding architecture. Promoting phenomenal course listings and a wide variety of student activities and supports. So -- it remains on the maybe list.

But during the tour, of course we are not there for me, but during the tour I started to wonder if I were one of the lucky ladies attending this fine educational establishment, what would I do? The school's mission statement goes something like this: To educate women who want to make a difference in the world. If I were 30 plus year's younger, could I have been a Wellesley woman? Or has it taken my post undergraduate days to focus my desires?

I probably can't tease apart the two scenarios enough to concisely answer those questions separately, but after our tour I did say, "If given the opportunity to do it over again I would probably double major in International Affairs and Woman's Studies. With the goal of being able to improve women's lives worldwide, especially in war torn countries."

Yes, that is what I would want to do.


Let the fun begin.

Monday, April 19, 2010

More Marathon!

Robert Cheruiyot KEN 2:05:52

Teyba Erkesso ETH 2:26:11

Wakako Tsuchida JPN 1:43:32

Ernst Van Dyk RSA 1:26:53

How could there not be more marathon. I took over 200 pictures... And I'm pretty sure that I captured the four first place finishers in these images.

Marathon Monday!

For the second year in a row I went to the Boston Marathon to take pictures. What an event. The courage that is seen on each and every face.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Great plays come in high school packages

Last night I saw one of the greatest plays I have ever seen, and by far the best high school play I have ever seen. The Music Man put on by North Attleboro High School. Great job, cast and crew. Very entertaining; beautiful scenery, excellent singing and diction.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Foiled and Finished

I started this window last fall. New to stained glass, I had no idea what I was undertaking.

It is a collage of four themes. My daughter flying a kite. The seagulls flying overhead. The rock wall that lines the roadway to the beach. And the pumpkins on my birthday teddy bear's dress. All reminders of a wonderful Columbus Day weekend of camping.

My next project will be for Project Haiti.

A picture from the past

We have a busy week ahead. I'm going to take it one day at a time, one event at a time. I think I can. I think I can...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Run run run

as fast as you can... You can't catch me, I'm a busy busy mom.

Yesterday was a great day for going from one activity to the next. There was a school pick up, to a track meet, to a music lesson. Then home for dinner and homework.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Working for a living

Well that might be an overstatement: Working for a living. But I have managed to pick up some temporary QA testing for a friend. So my early mornings and late evening will be filled with testing and typing. I am in love. I do enjoy testing software.

It feels good to have a problem to solve and I am learning a lot to boot. The software I am checking out is for a site that offers medical education online. I'm learning about child birth...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Too Busy to Breathe

What day is it? And where am I going? My mind feels like it is going to explode. In the next week I will be taxiing the stars all over and everywhere, drs appts, multiple college visits, the marathon, an invite only elite road race in the big bad city, a meet, birthday parties, play dates, music lessons.... I have anxiety. It is suppose to be spring break but it will be more like spring crush.

I will need to remind myself to breathe, in and out.

Last night was the first of several "So Your Kid Is Planning To Go To College" talks. Sitting there before the seminar my heart was racing. During the speakers presentations I calmed down a bit, but still this next phase is so daunting. Paperwork, fees, financial aid, college visits. The most stressful for me, right now, is college visits. How do I get to these schools? Where are these buildings we are supposed to report to? Where do I park? YIKES!

We will get through this, this time and the following two times after that.

Breathe In and Breathe Out.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Reassignment

We all know that priests are not a constant. That they are assigned, they arrived, they preside, and then they are reassigned, and they go. It could happen in a year, two years, five or nineteen. No one really knows when the call to move will come. But eventually it does. And this week it did.

Our priest, well one of our priests, got the call to move on. The priest who got the youth of the parish altar serving. The priest who sings with the children's choir. The priest who goes on field trips. The priest that leaves the pulpit to give his homily among the congregation.

We have two weeks to say good bye. And then what...

Yard Work

I've been burning the daily calories raking and pulling weeds. It's nice to be outside checking out the spring growth, listening to the birds, seeing where the mice had been borrowing.

Today is the day, my religious ed class sees the quilt they made.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

SHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's A Silent Auction.... Get it.... shhhhh!!!

Starting April 10th you can visit the Avon Breast Cancer Walk Team Ta-Ta's homepage and check out their, hopefully not so silent auction. Imagine, you could be a click and a bid away from Red Sox tickets, massages, gift certificates and more. So let's bid, bid, bid for the home team, The Ta-Tas. If they don't win, it's a shame.

Image borrowed from Team Ta-Ta.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Last night, Chris Padgett was speaking on Mary: Behold Your Mother at the monthly LIFT gathering at Fontbonne Academy. An hour away, the event listed as running from 7 PM to 9 PM. It would be a 10 o'clock bedtime on a school night at best. It was completely outside the box of parental reality to ask the girls and some of their friends if they wanted to go. I mentioned that not only will they hear Chris Padgett speak, but there will be rock music and Adoration; maybe Mass. Most replied no, but the little ones and one of their friends said yes.

We got there with a few minutes to spare. The girls were excited. The LIFT band kicked off the event. They are full of worship, but also they are very loud. Incredibly loud. My littlest one mouthed, "Can we stand in the back." I nodded.

And as we walked to the back, who did we stumble across, working on his talk: Chris Padgett. It was a gift. For unlike her sister, the little one had never met Chris. But she has watched his Experience DVD, and music videos and listened to his CDs. So to see him in person, was incredible.

After the warm up we took our seats and listened to Chris talking about how we all have to be like Mary. She shows us the way to embrace her Son. Of course he mixed it up with humor and a certain silliness that the girls will remember forever. For example, "Rosary beads are not for beating your brother. They are not an exercise tool. Maybe you should do something novel with them, like pray." But I think, I hope, they got the bigger take home message.

After the talk, there was Adoration. This is not your grandmother's Adoration. It's worship a la rock. The older girls where up front and fully participating. The little one again asked to go to the back. Where we kneeled down, and she was engaged with the experience. I am so amazed by these kids.

At the end, who should walk by and offer the old lady, me, a hand up, but Chris. We chatted. The other girls met us up back, for we had to go, I had to get the girls home for bed.

Chris had words of thanks for our coming, said he looked forward to seeing us all again in December at our own middle school revolution. He posed for a quick picture with the girls and signed their tshirts. I was hoping the girls would fall asleep on the way home. After all it was after bedtime. No such luck. They were reciting their favorite quips from Chris' talk. Mostly the humorous bits, but occasionally I heard something about Mary.

They want to go back next month. And next time, they want to stay for Mass.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Houston, We Have Completion

Few things beat the feeling of a long standing job done. And when it is an act of loving community service... it can pretty much take the cake.

Yesterday I finally finished the quilt my religious ed. class was creating squares for. As a class we talked about creating a heart with our squares. Including three red squares to represent the Trinity. Signing our names or initials to one square. And using denim as the backing material, since it is for a boy.

Most of my 12, 13 if you include my tag-a-long daughter, had never sewn a stitch before. And I am no real quilter. But together I think we created a piece to be proud of. I haven't told them it's finished. I doubt any of them, or their families know about this blog -- so I think everyone will be surprised this coming Sunday. I can't wait.

Monday, April 05, 2010


Today, the calendar is clear, but the to do list is endless. No after school activities, no appointments, just today and the bills that need to be paid, the quilt that needs to be finished, the laundry that needs to be cleared up, the dishes that need to be picked up, the car that needs to be towed to the shop, the lawn that has needed raking for weeks now. You get the picture. I have needs.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Friday, April 02, 2010

This is the big one

I know Christmas in high and hot on people's agenda, but Easter and Holy Week are my all time favorites. And the Stations of the Cross a la our parish is a highlight of the week. It's Godspell meets the 6th grade and older youth. On a selfish note: Godspell -- being close to 50 -- I KNOW ALL THE WORDS to these songs. Truly, I do. I sing. Every mom and dad in the congregation sings. And the kids... well they do their best.

The youth take the Stations and give them a modern twist; a modern meaning. They peer into my life and provide direction.

Pictures of the flooding

The Sudbury River was 13 feet above flood level yesterday morning when I took these pictures in Saxonville. In the top picture the water is hitting the bottom of the bridge.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Who is your God?

I'm not stepping up onto a soap box here. And this post in no way will shove religion down your throat. But some recent events have me wondering... So I will retell this story.

Not too long ago there was a religious ed director who was trying to schedule religious ed classes sometime during the week to ensure the highest attendance. Sunday at 4 PM was chosen. But when the enrollment weekend came around, he could tell that there was going to be a problem. From somewhere in middle of the line, grumbling was erupting. At first the director couldn't understand what all the commotion was about. Then he heard, clear as a bell, "Stupid idiot scheduled religious ed., right in the middle of my soccer practice. You think he would know better."

The director's heart sunk. Soccer, again. But if it weren't soccer it would be hockey, baseball, basketball or swimming. Not that he had anything against sports. On the contrary, he was a soccer coach himself. The director peered down the line. And yes the vocalizer was another coach. The only coach who hadn't responded to the director's email regarding practice times. He took a deep breath and then let it out slowly. He would need patience for this one.

The line moved forward. And just as the man stepped up to the table, but before he was close enough for a civil conversation he blurted, "You screwed me this time. I need my daughter to play. I don't have a deep bench."

The director started to apologize for the inconvenience. But the other coach wouldn't listen. Instead he ranted on about the importance of team sports and how he had ruined his practice schedule with religious ed.

The director took another deep breath and then asked, "Who is your God?"

The irate coach was dumbfounded.

The director repeated the question, "Who is your God?"

Still the coach said nothing.

To which the director added. If my God gets in the way of your soccer, then by all means step out of line and make your way home. For your God is not here. He can be found being kicked about on a playing field, everyday of the week, including Saturday mornings and afternoons and now apparently Sundays at 4.

Madame Curie

My youngest has a biography project to do. This is the third time I have had the opportunity to learn more about an historical or present day important person through these projects. First was Edith Cavell. Next was Jane Goodall and now Madame Curie. All great women; all are wonderful role models.

Sadly though, at first Madame Curie was not well received. The stumbling block was in not knowing if she wore pants. Part of the report is giving a presentation as if one is the person being researched. My little biographer was not putting on a dress or skirt for anyone. Two days were spent in a sulk, then we found some cryptic quote regarding pants and being a Nobel prize winning (twice) scientist. A sigh of relief went up over the town.

We started reading her book two days ago. One chapter done and I said enough, we'll pick it up again tomorrow. Yesterday, 4 chapters later, I couldn't get her to stop reading. Every new fact is as if Madame Curie is rediscovering Polonium or Radium again, with my little one standing at her side. It is so exciting to watch a young mind absorb facts and almost vibrate with excitement.

I love it when the girls embrace learning.