Saturday, October 30, 2010

Goodness Rains

Last week we lost a car, but not a daughter. And as we reshuffle our family schedule to include carpooling, taxiing, and car sharing, there is more time for those brief little in car chats; like the one we had this morning on the way to meet the Bay States cross country meet bus.

She is 18 today! Run like the wind! Today is your day!

Goodness Reigns!

Friday, October 29, 2010


Five years ago, while stretching to paint just a little bit more of our kitchen, I did something to my Achilles tendon in my right foot. It hurt, but if I wore shoes I could walk. For months I nursed it along with patience and no exercise.

This summer, while pushing our pop up camper out through our backyard fence gate I did something to it again. But like before, I could walk, and time once again healed the wound.

Yesterday, for reasons unknown, as the day progressed my heal hurt more and more... even with shoes on. By the end of the night I was lame, and this morning despite sleeping with an ice bag, it's the same.

Busted with a yard full of leaves and pine needles. There has to be a lesson here somewhere. And I think I am in for a whole lot of down time to contemplate it.

My baby turns 18 tomorrow.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Twenty-two years and... nothing... sad

Recently I stepped into a situation, while someone else was stepping out, retiring -- after 22 years. Twenty two years is a long time to be working at any one job; especially when it is community oriented. Their last day was yesterday and the powers-that-be offered them no more than a tagline after thought thank you via email. Twenty-two years...

Yes, there was tension and hard feelings. Yes, the parting wasn't the smoothest, but still, 22 years and really... nothing. No brunch, no flowers, no in office reception of coffee and donut holes to allow the business leaders they have dealt with for 22 years to come by and say, "Good luck."

It saddens me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


4 PM, 4:20, 4:45... The little ones are fed and the track star should be home anytime.

5 PM I call her phone. It's off. I hit redial again, and again. Same result. 5:03 I txt: Where r u?

Worried, it's late... 5:15 I call. It's off. 5:15: 30 call again, twice. Same result.

I never used to be this way. When I was her age, I didn't worry, I didn't want kids. Didn't plan on childbirth, maybe adoption, but never childbirth. For a longtime, I was going to be an unencumbered scientist forever. But now, I'm mad. I can't reach her. The time I promised to walk on water, to come to her rescue, flashes through my mind. That moment always flashes in my mind, when I am worried. I'm worse than that mother bear; worse. It's not pretty.

5:30 PM I can't sit or stand, so I lie down on my bed. My husband asks. "What's wrong?" I never lie down.

"I'm worried. She's not home."

"Did she have something going on?"

I think. It's been a long day. Nothing comes to mind. I can't just lie there. He suggests I call around to her friends. I can't sit, and decide to drive to the school.

"And what are you going to do there?" he asks.

"Look for her car."

"And if it's there?"

"Find her."

"And if it's not?"

"Call the police." Well maybe that's a little extreme, at first. I would call home to see if she were there, then call the police.

5:35 PM It's dark. As I drive I slow to peer at each and every car that passes. Not her, not her, not her. I hit redial again. Her phone is still off. I fear the worse. Where is she?

At the school, the 1000 car parking holds ten cars, max. One of them is her's, but where is she? I park next to it. Hoping if she sees my car, she'll know I'm there and call me. Ask me, "Mom, what are you doing here?" Will I be able to explain, I was worried? Will she understand?

I walk to the athletic complex, hoping if she is somewhere inside that she will opt to take the same route and our paths will cross. I pass other students, not her. In the Wellness Center I ask the trainer about girls cross country. Another mom pipes in, "They are almost back?"


"They had a meet."

And then I remember. It's Tuesday -- they had a meet. Their last weekday meet before the string of Saturday State's meets. The schedule is tacked up on the wall by the calendar. I remembered the meet yesterday when I emailed about SAT tutoring, "Sorry, she can't make Tuesday. She has a meet." I feel stupid. Silly mommy.

6:08 PM I walk outside, a bus is unloading. I see her. She sees me, leaves her friends and joins me on the walk back to our cars. "Mom, what are you doing here?"

"I forgot about your meet. I was worried."

She give me an understanding smile, "It's okay."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gooble Gooble

Monday, when we stepped outside to walk to school, we heard, "Gooble, gooble." The little one and I looked at each other, I dropped my arm full of stuff, and ran back inside for my camera. Our neighbors were back.

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Neighbors

Twice last week, while leaving our driveway we noticed new neighbors, of the gobbling kind, across the street. So yesterday, bearing gifts, as in a pocket full of dried corn, I wandered through that woods for the first time since moving here. It is a nice woods, with a house or two always in view.

I searched at high and low, but did not spy the elusive two. I did see a couple of squirrels kicking it up in the dry leaves, and an overturned log exposed, briefly, some insects busily getting ready for winter.

The offering spread out, in hopes they would find it, and feel welcome.
I'll try again some other day.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Trips taken with our Youth Ministry group require the participant (you may read the family here) pay one third the total cost, while the parish pays two thirds. It is suppose to give the participant a sense of ownership. They are invested in the event, and in theory, will take the experience more seriously.

In a similar vein, we started a similar program at home. Large niceties, and expenses, like a Varsity letter jacket, class ring, driver's ed., and car insurance are handled with the same split. With the hopes ownership would bring a sense of responsibility. Happily, the program has met with success. The jacket is a treasure. A lost ring wasn't chalked up to experience. Instead it was willingly searched for, by the bearer, in a garbage can, and found; thankfully.

But what happens when purchases are not appreciated? Last year, we had a youngster that was ruining, this mom's opinion, her jeans. Warnings were given, but not heeded. So the line was drawn, "Write on or rip the knees out of another pair of jeans, and you will be buying your clothes." Of course, the line was soon crossed, and now we have follow through.

A week ago, the complaint was registered that "My pants don't fit." I shrugged and said, "I'll take you shopping, with your own money and this 30% off coupon that came in the mail.

Horror crossed her face. "But I'm saving my money for ...."


And still the pants were not fitting. So, yesterday, just the two of us went shopping, she found some great jeans further on sale, and with the additional coupon she was able to buy three pair (for the price of one), a pair of leggings, and a new Mickey Mouse fleece snuggie.

Smiling, when we arrived home, she announced all her savings and willingly handed over the purchase price, that went on a credit card; a growth experience? Time will tell.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Victoria and Albert's -- Comes Home

The man's big 5 0 was yesterday, for real. Yes, we celebrated our combined century mark in the land of the mouse a few weeks ago, for that is when we could get away, but yesterday at 3:30 AM was tick off time. The man is there.

For us, birthdays mean eating a meal of your liking. For the little one that is grilled cheese and boxed mac'n cheese -- no veggies. The middle one requests fondue, for the college bound it is always yummy sushi, and for the man -- tenderloin.

So yesterday, after our out of this world experience at Victoria and Albert's a few weeks ago, I attempted to set up the same at our house. Although V&A puts out 10 courses, I could only manage four... Oh well...While the girls were happy to eat watching their favorite Disney channel shows (how appropriate) the man and I ate at the Chef's Table, ie -- in the kitchen by the light of our Halloween spider candle, how romantic. There we could watch the chef, me, prepare the meal. But isn't that how we always eat?

The meal commenced with champagne and escargot gently heated in olive oil infused with garlic, and a little sauteed onion. All topped with fresh grated Romano cheese. And yes, it was yummy.

The second course was a wild greens salad. I was sorry I didn't have the little V&A caviar tins, (or the delicious caviar), to use as plates. And now that I think about it, we didn't even use salad plates. But instead ate off the tried to true dinner plates we always use; room for ambiance improvement -- next time.

The one and only entree came next: Beef tenderloin accompanied with Gorgonzola pasta. At this point I called down to the family room: Dinner... Which brought about the girls charging upstairs, to grab a plate with salad, some beef, and a few pieces of pasta, as Gorgonzola is not big for them. And then as quickly they returned to their paused show. Could daddy's birthday get any better? But I digress... for the beef was accompanied by a very nice pinot noir; just a glass.

And for dessert -- a cupcake topped with homemade butter cream frosting and a few candy corns.

Not as elegant as Victoria and Albert's. Definitely not as fancy -- though we did score the Chef's table... where as at Disney we were in the Queen Victoria Room. Still all and all it was a great birthday dinner, and there are leftovers.

Friday, October 22, 2010

They Need You

As my children are growing up, I have often heard older, more experienced mothers say that children need you more when they are teenagers than when they are babies. And as I have one that is on the verge of college, one that is smack dab in the middle of middle school and the little one still in elementary, I was thinking the other day, is this true? Does my teen, tween, or my not so baby need me more?

The college bound lovely doesn't need me to sit on her for homework, or for the day to day ritual. She needs to know that I am there. And frequently texts in or checks in with a two minute call, or sometimes longer on issues such as, "What do you think about this college? I'm nervous, can you help me study for that test? Would you pick up new contacts..." I will boast, despite not having a full keyboard on my phone, I have managed hour long texting conversations on college choice, track training schedules, and study schedules. And I will admit texting has brought us even closer.

The middle one is more aloof, giving every single adult in her life the idea she needs no one. Only proving she is the daughter that needs me the most. Needless to say, she has spent the majority of our life together, so far, pushing me away. At first, I rebuffed, but now I let her steer the course of our relationship. Not seeking out that good bye kiss, or providing without first being requested the good morning cozy. I let her come to me, which for this very squeezy mom, was quite difficult at first. So, imagine my recent surprise, after returning from a week away, at her many requests to sit close, or for cuddle time. Interesting, and though she demands I never go away again, I just might...

The little one has the best of all worlds, but don't tell her you read that here. She has all the cozies she wants and much more independence than her sisters had at this point in their lives, as she slides through on their coat tails. For example, this summer, while on a camping trip the tweens and teens were full throttle set to swim across the pond. Adults in boats, offering safety support and a gunwale to rest upon, were cued to escort the hearty swimmers. And then came the little one, "I want to, too."

This parent paused. And in that moment of thought I fully reflected on the fact that I had not once, ever let my oldest more than 20 feet from me, until she was ending middle school. And now I was thinking it was okay to let this sub two digit child, swim, (with a life jacket on), across a pond. Of course she did it. But more impressively, I did it. Crazy mom...

And my answer is, They all still need that parental support, as always, but differently.

p.s. When I awoke this morning I discovered two small, but very warm bodies in my bed; all cozied up on either side of me. It could be love, but I have to give credit where credit is due. The outside temperature was below freezing last night. The little ones were cold. Still, it was nice to be needed.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Best Time of the Day

Yesterday, as I walked my little one to school I realized that this was the best time of my day. That as a mom, this was the time of the day I was the most content, relaxed and joyful.

Walking to and from school is a ritual; so far rain or shine, we walk. We will see what happens when winter whips up. But still, I suspect we will be out there. Each morning we leave the house and before we've crossed the front yard, I am reaching for my daughter's hand. And thankfully she obliges me, and in turn holds mine. Nothing beats that feeling of acceptance and love.

As we make our way, we sing, dance, twirl, skip, laugh. I use our close proximity to get in a good tickle and she playfully darts away, only to comeback, risking more tickling, when I hold out my hand.

Yesterday's hand holding also reminded me of the last time we saw my father-in-law. As I have blogged before, that weekend prior to his passing, when we all (36 in a little house) gathered at his side, remains the most memorable time of my life. That weekend, we all at some point or another held Pepere's hand. Grown sons holding the father; daughters, grandchildren waiting for the chance. And how lucky and blessed I was to be able to photograph those moments.

I'll never forget his final words to me: "Ptcakes, I never thought I could love an Italian."
And I replied, "It's worse Pepere, I'm Sicilian."

Don't forget to hold someone's hand.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Who Am I?

This question has been rattling around my head for several reasons. One being I've been jotting stuff on this blog now for over 5 years; October 14th was the anniversary of my first post. Five years, 1,536 posts, most with pictures, that give insight into me and my small world. For it is a small world, after all.

That's a long time to be jotting stuff down. And jotting what? The day to day of a mother and housewife, with passions in the arts and community service; a crazy woman. Sometimes -- a very stupid woman. Words that show most days I am on top of the game, and paragraphs that expound upon why I am not. Life in electronic black and white.

But who am I? Towards writing this entry I searched this blog's content table with that exact question, "Who Am I?" And I was handed back a list:

Mom tops the list with entries seeking parenting tips. To this day, I can still use the help: insightful comments always welcome.

Wife is up there too. I know now that love is a decision and a promise. (Period) I am a very lucky woman.

Writer, I finished my book for the first time, that first crappy write through in October 2005. (And blogged about it.) Then 4 more years of rewriting before I published it. All reported on here, in this blog, in endless detail... you lucky readers.

Artist, I love to create anything and everything. I see beauty in each day, even the rainy ones.

Musician, yes the banjo is an instrument. And yes, I have paid someone to actually teach me how to play. Arthur is a god among musicians, with the patience of Job. I love the banjo. And I love my banjo. If my family loved it as much as I do, I would take it everywhere I go; even to the grocery store. I leave it home to not embarrass them.

Seeker of truth, yup that one had gotten me into trouble many a time. Ideals smashed, bonds broken. Life's lessons learned and relearned. Proving once again 50 year old dogs can learn new tricks, eventually. My little girl heart gets in the way; stupid woman to care so much. Will I ever grown up? I'm 50 after all, (darn close), I should start acting my age and not my shoe size.

Though, on a more carefree note, yesterday a dear friend and I were discussing all of the world's problems. She eluded to hearing some upsetting news on the radio during her daily taxiing children commute. My reply, "Oh, I don't listen to that. When I'm in the car I listen to the Guru's chanting CD." My dear friend thinks I might be on to something.

I am a Friend, who has done exactly what I tell my children never to do. For I reached out, or reached back, to electronic entities and formed friendships, twice. People who have similar ideas and interests -- we somehow found each other blog by blog. And my life is better for it. Thank you for taking that chance on me. Truly I live for those days when our physical paths cross and we share a cup of coffee, for real.

Scientist, for you can take the researcher out of the lab, but you can't take the lab out of the researcher. Experimentation is always cool; especially when it involves food, or beer, or hard cider. Or Mead... that last batch of honey wine is to die for. Unfortunately, or fortunately we have so much liquid refreshment from my experimentation, that we could never finish it on our own. Still the need to brew or ferment is strong. I've been thinking about making some hard cider from scratch... will blog about it I'm sure.

According to my friend, Burr Morse, I am a misplaced Vermont Maple Sugarmaker. I'll take that as a complement. Be still my heart the 2011 season is right around the corner.

Insomniac, God if I ever sleep through the night... it will be a miracle. Look at the bright side, I was seeking quiet mommy time about 12 years ago, and I have had it ever since in spades. So, my advice would be to be careful what you wish for.

A do-er, that's me, a professional volunteer. But, today I start a new job; a favor to a friend who needs some data entry done. God knows I can type. So off me and my fingers will go, for the cause -- Mother's hours, of course, for that's who I am.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

First Light

When working with glass, it in one thing to pick out color and texture. But there is a piece the artist can't control and that is light. Light plays a huge role in glass work. And until the work can be picked up and viewed in and with the light, success or failure cannot be measured.

Today was the first day I was able to illuminate my latest project, The Shack. There is still more soldering to be done and the edging has to be finished.

Today was a good day. Kindness rules.

Fall Meets Spring

Halloween and pumpkin carving are huge at this house. And being a family that tries not to waste anything -- there are a lot of pumpkin seeds gathered when you carve seven, (or more), pumpkins.

Roasting seeds was on my to do list yesterday. And as I was laying out the pans I thought of drizzling the seeds with maple syrup. Not bathing, or soaking, or floating -- just a drizzle, before roasting. Well, they came out delicious. Here is the recipe. And yes, I used some of Framingham's 2010 Spring time finest.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Collect and rinse a cookie sheet worth of seeds. Don't dry the seeds, for they need to be wet at the start of roasting. What I do is remove them from the rinse bowl with a colander. And give the colander a good shake to get rid of excess water.

Spray the cookie sheet with a PAM like product. No oil or butter -- I personally don't need added calories.

Spread the pumpkin seeds on the tray.

Season with season salt, and be generous with the fresh ground pepper. Then drizzle with maple syrup. Don't worry if all the seeds aren't touched by the sweet goodness. When you stir the seeds the syrup will spread.

Pop in the oven. Set a timer for 8 minutes. And every 8 minutes until the seeds are toasted golden brown stir them so they don't burn. The roasting time will be effected by the number of seeds on the pan, and the amount of water left on the seeds at the start of roasting.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Could use a little Disney

Right this very minute...

My head is hosting a brass band free for all. It's stress; I know it. I felt it coming on last night when we went to bed.

And no matter how many times I tell myself, no one got hurt, accidents happen, the insurance companies are not the bad guys, they just want to hear your side of the story, I still feel like crawling back up into bed and shutting my door on the world.

Life's lessons come in all shapes and sizes. This one is coming down with an Excedrin chaser. The bright side: When days start off this low, it doesn't take much to lift you up. One hug from the girls and I'll be 1000 percent better. Maybe I'll wake them up... early...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What I loved about today

The Boy and Girl Scouts all had a great time at the parish picnic. And what were they doing? Playing? Running about? Eating more Mississippi Mudslides than God ever intended? Not really -- they worked: painting faces, applying tattoos, leading scavenger hunts, toasting marshmallows, teaching knot tying, and watching over the bouncey house. Ten, eleven and twelve year olds working for the greater community of over 200 participants and having fun. One scout even asked if they could paint faces at the upcoming parish pumpkin fair. The answer came back, "Yes." And a cheer went up over the troop.

I love the fact that they have fun being in a position of service.

Of course, there were young adults and older adults there too -- coordinating, running games, watching over the Silent Auction, selling raffle tickets, setting up, and then cleaning up. And of course, I delight in their sense of community and love being part of this community with them.

And so on and so on...

Last Christmas I received a Christmas cactus from our parish administration for volunteer work that I had done over the year. It was all wrapped up in that foil-like cellophane and when I unwrapped it, the plant fell apart. Sad. But like life, it happened.

A cactus has the property of rooting from its plant segments, so I found three plastic cups, filled them with potting soil and set up a little cactus nursery on my kitchen window sill. Over the past ten months the segments took root, and to my amazement a few days ago, I noticed flower buds forming. WOW!

Like many other things in our disposable society, I could have tossed the plant. When I mentioned to the secretary that my gift had self destructed, she offered to replace it, but I said, "No, let's see what happens." And look what happened. From the one plant, I now have three beauties.

I've been thinking about giving two away as Christmas gifts. And maybe their receivers will create new plants and then give them away, and so on and so on...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Really -- It was one of those days.

Driving into the city first we hit traffic enough to constipate a dinosaur. Then 40 minutes, and 3 miles later, the parking garage in sight, someone hit us.

We were stopped for pedestrians crossing against the light, then tap! Or more like slam! Who would think pedestrians would do that; just bustle out in front of traffic? Who would think a very nice young man would hit us? It happens.

The bright side: No one was hurt. My ten year old Rig has a dent. (She doesn't look brand new anymore.) I'm hitting the half century mark and this was my first real accident. There was the time about 31 years ago... I backed into a fire hydrant while driving my parent's station wagon. But that doesn't count, right? And the scouts enjoyed the circus...

Parish picnic set up and birthday sleepover today; rolling, rolling, rolling, keep those days a rolling.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ever Have One of Those Days?

A day where a trip to the grocery store to pick up a few items for your daughter's birthday party results in finding everything you sought on sale?

A day where the townwide constant road construction gridlock has traffic flowing in your direction?

Eyes wide open; I noticed. And I pinched myself.


When it comes to driving into the big bad city I find myself sounding a lot like Brer Rabbit, but in my case, I mean every word. "Please Mister, I'll drive the 10 and a half hours to Oberlin, Ohio, or 20 hours to Orlando, Florida, straight, but please, please don't make me drive 30 minutes, 60 with traffic, and then park in the big bad city." (Sounds rather silly, doesn't it?)

I've lived in this state most of my life. I used to work in the city. I take my daughter to that wonderful Children's Hopital with it's great valet parking in the city -- several times a year. I used to venture into the city for social entertainment in my younger years. So what is up now? Have I smartened up? Or grown more sedentary? Am I chicken?

Regardless, it is into the city we go. For it is Girl Scout night at the circus -- and I am sure we will all have endless amounts of fun. My smile is attempting to form already.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Errands, drop offs, appointments, to dos, take a number. Today is laid out task by task, appointment by appointment. Where hours are assigned, starting with Chinese at 8 AM, and carefully accounted for -- till flute at 5:30 PM.

I've had many jobs in my life. Functioned under a myriad of job descriptions. I find motherhood the most varied, challenging and rewarding. Almost like Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ. Ten years of walking the yellow brick road of college, followed by stint in OZ -- post graduate work on the highest and finest level, and a career screaming down the fast track... all to find out the most real and exciting deliverables are sleeping in the next room.

There is no place like home.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What do you see?

I went out for a walk today and as usual picked up an assortment of cans and bottles that littered my route. And as I was dumping my treasures into our recycle bin, the question, " What do you see?" popped into my head.

Is it just trash? Or do you see the Youth Ministry nickel for the bottle and the elementary school two cents from Terracycle for the Capri Sun bag. Do you?

Good, but look even closer...

I see a winter jacket. Or a special dress or birthday present for a small child who is being cared for at the Ronald McDonald House in Springfield, MA. Flip tops, collected one at a time, seemingly weightless, but when gathered together and cashed in bring smiles to many small faces.

Flip tops, litter on the side of the road, like small acts of kindness, go unnoticed. Rest assured flip tops and kindness go along way. Notice them.

Happy Birthday Little One

We love you like a chicken... (is that a good thing?)

Oh the joy you bring to those around you.

Happy Birthday Little One.

Friday the 13th will forever more be cause for joyous celebration.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Grace Happens

The parish picnic, just hearing those words causes a fist to tighten around my chest as the stress rises in my throat, choking me. Welcome home. In years past there were a few of us that did the coordination. Then there were two hearty souls, and this year just me; crazy woman. For months the planning and gathering of supplies has taken place. The bright side, coordinating meetings for one; easy as pie. No worries about reserving a room. And most details were worked out on the fly.

Still a tornado of details spins in my head; games, prizes, signs, food, bouncey house. My heart rate rises; and I close my eyes to gain a better perspective. Quiet settles in. I see words: DICE, HOOLA HOOPS, SILLY BANDS graffitied on my retina, while I sit in the middle of a darken space, where nothing touches me. I remember to send out an email requesting the hall and cabinet keys. Another to do taken from the plate. The load is lightened. The sky brightens.

Protected and calm, I know I am not weathering this storm alone.

Monday, October 11, 2010

One Last Look

Fall is upon us. The cool of the evening invades the day. Blankets scatter about the house. Hats worn on the coldest of mornings. The Shack is closed up for the winter. I long for spring.

Dreams of next year's sugaring and setting up our sugar shack put a smile on my face. Maple Madness, I truly believe it is a disease whose only cure is to breathe in the warm maple steam in the dark of early spring mornings. Four months and counting...

Being a small operation, 15 taps at best, maple sugarmaking is not a process to be rushed. And maybe that is why I love it so. The sap can only boil so fast. The process can only move so fast. Boiling days can't be hurried -- without risking the pan or the product.

Sweet rewards from lessons in patience. And when sugaring is a sweet, hopefully successful memory, our dear Shack will be waiting for us to return to spend summer days.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Can't judge a book...

by it's cover. That saying has been running through my head for days now; probably weeks since a friend suggested I change the cover of my book, Forever Yours, from The Catcher in the Rye rust color that I chose since its inception. "Covers sell. You would get more readers if you had a house with a ghost. Maybe even some fog..." was his suggestion. And I almost jumped at it, until an ah ha moment happened during our recent trip to Disney.

But first, last year during religious ed. the entire 6th grade had a special presentation on the Eucharist. At first blush the event was a disaster. The presentation was chaotic at best. The kids were unruly. A few were even caught trying to sneak out early; only to be brought back and watched more closely. The noise level was loud. Disgusted, I retreated to a corner to wait out my sentence with the seering thought of, I have way too much to do at home, to sit here with this craziness. What could the youth possibly be learning from this? And quite a lot was my final answer. The take home message of, "We give Eucharist to those around us with each and every selfless act." became my teaching mantra for the rest of the year, for my life. My class closing blackboard word was always EUCHARIST.

Disney was somewhat the same -- but different, of course. This trip we did more than the usual park fair experience. Hitting the Wine and Food Festival, a Polynesian luau, a Segway tour at Epcot, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and an all day Back Stage Magic Tour we saw and heard more about Disney than we had ever before. Most of it was fun and eye opening, truly real do overs, but some of it wasn't. And that some due to technical difficulties, and deep lack of engagement, could be categorized like last year's retreat. And like the retreat, I retreated to a corner. Wondering what am I here for? Wishing I could duck out, catch a thrill on the Rockin' Roller Coaster, or slip onto the Tower of Terror. It was a lesson in personal patience, as I attempted to fathom the take home message... and then yesterday during the midnight shift quiet ride, it hit.

Disney, life, people, and books are more than just fancy eye catching covers. There is a depth, in plain site, written with plain words, wearing plain clothes, ripe for exploring. I will strive to never judge a book, an event, a person by its cover again.

Saturday, October 09, 2010


Yesterday at 1:30 PM we left Downtown Disney. Today at 10:35 AM we walked through our door and into the loving and relieved arms of my parents. Who not only gave us the best 50th birthday presents a sleepy daughter and son-in-law could have -- time, but a new hot water heater for Christmas. I will remember to put a bow on it and kiss them again on December 25th.

Yesterday at 8 AM the phone rang. My dad called and said, "Water water everywhere and none for a hot shower or dishes." Well, he was a bit more serious than that, as he asked for our plumber information. The tank was leaking and there was no way to shut off the flow. YIKES!!

And when we arrived home, all was taken care of; lucky, lucky us.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Home Again Home Again

Our bags are (just about) packed. We are getting ready to go. This birthday vacation is just about over. We've seen Disney inside and out. Some we would do again; other things; thanks but no thanks. Still we are glad we gave it a try.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Right Pew. Wrong Church.

The man and I drove all night and made it to our fantasy home away from home; the land of the mouse. A place where adults can be kids, when their children aren't looking.

Anyway, we arrived tres early and the husband asked, "What do you want to do?" My reply, "Well find a church, and go to Mass." After all we had just had a successful 23 hour road trip, and there was plenty of time to spare before check in.

So pull out the Garmin and search: Catholic church. And sure enough in Orlando there is a cathedral. Oh, to go to Mass in a cathedral; wouldn't that be nice. So heading off into the humid early morning wild blue yonder, we went on the hunt. And we thought we found it, but it was under a lot of reconstruction. As we drove around the corner, we spotted another cathedral, or was this the right cathedral, The Cathedral of St. Luke, complete with crucifix. So I said, "I'll go to that church."

It was 8:10 AM, Mass was listed to start at 8. I'd be fashionably Catholic late, but sitting in the back; no worries. I tried to slip in unnoticed. The door wouldn't budge; but a nice gentleman opened the door from inside, and welcomed me with a smile.

The cathedral was beautiful. Huge stone pillars lined the way up to a very ornate altar. The priest was giving the homily... boy did he rush the first part of Mass. I sat down and listened. He spoke of faith and how we can never impress God with our acts of kindness. But with the faith the size of a mustard seed and God's good grace, we could work miracles. Lovely concepts...

Before the gifts were brought up, the priest asked if there were any visitors. The man who opened the door for me smiled and urged me to raise my hand. The Cathedral had a gift bag for me and the other visitors. How sweet. I would bring it back and share it with my religious ed class.(Inside besides a couple of cookies, was a pocket cross and some info on the parish.)

During the Mass, I noticed a few differences between this parish and ours at home. The prayers were worded a bit different. The parishioners said them slowly, really pausing after each phrase. There were women on the altar that appeared to be deacons. The altar servers were all older young men. The sign of peace came after a prayer over the entire parish for the forgiveness of our sins. The Eucharistic prayer seemed the same, until there was some mention of the Archbishop of Canterbury... Was Canterbury some place in Florida that I was unaware of? Then Communion was very different, for it elicited no Amen for a response, and the parishioners knelt at a railing.

After the recessional, I shook hands with the priest, and thanked him for a lovely service. He responded saying he was delighted to see me. And I thanked the man who opened the door for me. Explaining we had just driven down from Massachusetts and truly I wished to attended Mass. He smiled. And as I walked out I reread the small print under the Mass schedule and clear as day was the word: Episcopalian. St. Lukes is the Cathedral of the Episcopalian Diocese of Central Florida.

Upon my return to my husband,who so graciously waited for me in the car, I explained to him my religious educational experience of the day. He laughed and said, right after I trekked off to St. Luke's a crowd of people came out of St. Joseph's school (next to the Catholic Cathedral.) He assumed due to reconstruction they had moved the Mass. Where I had assumed I had misremembered the name...

Putting icing on the day's cake, as we were looking for a gas station we saw a sign for Shrine of Queen Mary. And thinking: Queen who? I proposed it could be Mary Queen of Scots... but why here in Florida? Seeing the shrine was a church I asked the man to let me off so I could go investigate. Jumping out of the car in the quick drop area, I hit the ground with a run.

The shrine is to the Queen of Heaven, Our Lord's Mother. It is a beautiful church with several chapels, inside and out. I quickly did a tour, said a prayer and made my way out to the parking lot to find the man. He had found a spot in the shade and urged me to go back with my camera this time and get some shots. So taking a more leisurely stride, I took a second tour around.

It was a lovely morning.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Seeing the forest for the trees

Sometimes when life gets hectic, it's hard to see the forest for the trees. Yesterday was like that. Busy beyond belief, but I wouldn't have changed a moment. There was Friday folders with old volunteer friends; true blue. Counting cans with a woman who donates not only hundreds of cans, but then counts those others donate; never to see a nickel of it. Generous to the very core of her being. Lunch with a soul sister. Thanks for the wonderful birthday honeymoon kick off feast. Parents who come over to pinch hit, and serve up pasta, in addition to taking over for the daily grind, and I'm not talking about coffee. Dear ones bearing gifts under the guise of knitting and tea. X Country buddies descending to eat pasta; filling the house with laughter. Lucky me, it is all good, all the time. And I wouldn't have traded yesterday for the world.

Friday, October 01, 2010

And now the craziness is over...

Time to relax... Be still my heart.

Today was, I know, crazy. A friend said, "You're so calm? How do you do it?"

"Easy, stressing doesn't help. Picking away at the list helps." So I pick. And now it is over.

Let the Craziness Begin

My days are always full. My life; often crazy. But today is a roll from one role into another -- non stop. It starts now as a laundress, with a brief stint as a health seeker on Spark People. I must get my daily login points. Followed by a quick change over to mom, breakfast and lunch arranger. Taxi driver, Friday folder stuffer to glorified can counter, then friend, and diner. After the lunch meet and eat, I'm a daughter and cruise director, who should have spent more time as a housekeeper. The evening brings with it the title of pasta cook -- I dear not say chef, and chief bottle washer to the high school cross country teams. Followed by hopefully -- a sound sleeper. My day, with dreams of a mouse's not so scary Halloween party. Be still my heart. How will I handle being me; just me? The transitioning from the many to the one might be harder than it seems. And what about coming back from the one to the many? Life is about to get very interesting.