Saturday, December 31, 2011
I stopped making New Years resolutions a decade or more ago. I realized way back whenever that I can't keep a promise to myself for a whole year. And the fall from grace for failing is so far with such huge intentions. It's devastating.
Instead I make resolutions daily. Today I will strive to be healthier. Today I will be nicer, pray more, take that walk, hold my tongue, help a stranger, be there for that difficult family member. Today. For the next 24 hours I will forgive and never remember. Today I will be nicer, and more forgiving to me.
How do I do? What's my track record? Some days are better than others. Some days sometimes are strung into a week, maybe a month or more. Then again some days are a struggle, where each hour or even each moment painfully passes. But no worries, for with the early dawning of the new day I start over, with hope on the horizon. Crossing those familiar bridges when I come to them.
Happy New Year! Grace and blessings to you all.
Friday, December 30, 2011
It's no secret that I love my job, but this week I received confirmation that my job loves me. For when I walked into my clients' apartment, from the bedroom I heard, "Our girl is here." To which the reply came, "Well tell her to come in."
Lately, ten times out of ten my shift starts with a bedside chat. Mostly in English; more and more in Italian dialect. And this week, the good morning routine has gone from greeting, to Italian to music. I can't play the piano, but I can read music, so from the 8 inches of stacked sheet music I find a song from which I can pick out the melody line on the keyboard. Yesterday, I few measures in, the query came from the bed, "Is that Bill Bailey you're trying to play?"
"Yes, can you tell -- really?" was my reply.
"Yes," to which the singing ensued.
We sang and laughed all morning. Which begs the question, "Who gets the most out of my going to work?"
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
It's also a parallel for life as the first moves are never focused on getting the red block to the door. No, the first shifts are always focused on clearing the path. Even if it means moving the red block backwards.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Talk about the melding of two musical minds: Tina Turner and Bing Crosby. And why not mix in a bit of Rosemary Clooney, for good measure.
While listening to the commentary track on the White Christmas DVD Rosemary Clooney suggests that Bing Crosby was a little standoffish with fans. She notes he always seemed to take the quieter tack. Though at one point she shared, seeing and overhearing him backstage whispering towards his audience, "I love you, I love you, I love you," before heading out for his performance. Interesting.
My clients often ask me, "If I like my job." My quick reply is always the same, "I love my job." But more to the point I love my clients. And through that love I feel like the Grinch when his heart grows 3 sizes. I happily go to work with a smile, some quick wit, and as much Italian as I can remember.
Really, whatever your situation, whatever your goal, it is all about serving the customers in our lives. For really only when we love can we truly put our best foot, our best intentions, forward.
What's love got to do with it? Everything.
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Each Christmas season, it brings my family close to home, close in our hearts, when the nativity is set up.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
The college one is not home for the holidays 24 hours when I overheard her say, "They moved the key so I was locked out of the house for one and a half hours."
What would you think if you heard that? Terrible parents. Leaving their poor daughter out in the cold. Rotten.
Really. This situation is a life lesson, and not the obvious life lesson on communicating where the key is, or isn't. It's a lesson on each situation has two sides. Yes the key has been removed. But also yes, the college one has a house key, but did not have it with her.
The glass is neither half full or half empty. It's just a glass containing a certain volume of water.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
My teacher paid me a lovely compliment today, and even showed my work to a guest at the studio. Made the last class special... just a few words... amazing the positive power of language.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Our troop is selling Girl Scout cookies with the goal of using the proceeds to fund their trip to Washington, DC for the 100th birthday celebration of Scouting this June. If you would like to purchase a box or two, (They sell for $4/box.), please leave a comment and I will get back with you via email.
The flavors are: Caramel Delights, Shortbreads, Thanks-a-lot, Thin Mints, Cinnamon Spice - (not it's real name), Peanut Butter Patties, Lemonades, and Peanut Butter Sandwiches.
As always, thank you for supporting Girl Scouts.
The leadership and girls of Troop 72148
Monday, December 12, 2011
But there is something darker that children, my children, have taught me, sadly. My lovelies have taught me to yell. Sad but true. Many a time I start a request with my indoor voice, not to gain cooperation or compliance. So to get the attention required, I raise my voice. Not all the time, but enough of the time that I learned if I really want quick action I must yell.
Happily when I pointed this out to my lovelies, they are helping me unlearn this behavior by listening to my softer requests the first time.
Now, take this learning out into nature. Specifically the Vince Lombardi rest stop on the New Jersey turnpike. There we witnessed some incredible learning when a flock of 10 gulls flew into a man carrying a breakfast sandwich from the rest stop's fast food restaurant. The man, nearly knocked to the ground, dropped his food, and instantaneously the flock devoured it.
Shocked -- We witnessed the entire event. Unbelievable learning...
Sunday, December 11, 2011
A pivotal moment at World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid, Spain, was the Stations of the Cross. Especially the station of the Last Supper, for at the table, instead of the Apostles being arranged horizontally (with some quite distant from Our Lord), they sat vertically with Jesus at the head of the table. And what struck me was when the crowd pressed up to see this station it appeared as if we were all seated at the table of the Lord. All invited. All welcome.
This past weekend, a bit disheveled and tired from the drive, as we knelt in prayer of thanksgiving for our safe journey, I again faced this same awesome image of the Last Supper.
Madrid, Spain, to Orlando, Florida -- the table is set. No reservation required.
Friday, December 09, 2011
But was this accident real? Nope, this was staged. But for friendships and relationships, we really need to be real in the real sense of the word.
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Monday, December 05, 2011
A blessing? Delightfully yes, for I am forced to slowly and leisurely enjoy all around me.
Enjoy your day. Whatever it brings.
Enjoy your life.
Sunday, December 04, 2011
Saturday, December 03, 2011
Friday, December 02, 2011
Answer: Yes I would love to be the weight I was in my 20s or 30s, but there are no shortcuts. Being healthy and living a healthy lifestyle is so much more important than fitting into size 4 jeans.
Thursday, December 01, 2011
I can't imagine insurance companies pay for these treatments. Would it be vanity that would fire the urge to undergo this procedure? Or am I missing the point? Just wondering...
I love (re)learning something everyday. Life is one big school room; no desks or chairs required. Yesterday I learned how to say Stand Up in Italian. Proudly this morning I remembered it.
What will I learn today? There is a tingle of excitement as I ponder that question. What about you?
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
At times in my life I have traversed what I can only call a religious desert. It's not that God wasn't present in my life, but I have struggled with being Catholic, or maybe it's really a struggle with the importance of attending our church. Not feeling as if I am ministered to, I have had to put on the parental face as we head out the door to Mass. While inside, seriously wondering if a change was required in our family's spiritual path.
Though really how could I contemplate not being Catholic? I've been Catholic as long as I've been Italian; since before birth.
It was my dear friend and her questions that showed me my answer. And I wonder if this was how Peter felt when Jesus asked him three times if he loved Him. For it's not uncommon, as I have been writing, for my friend to ask me several times in the course of a morning, "Are you Catholic?"
To which I reply, "Yes, I am." But by answering that question, with a smile, interest and love, several times in the course of one conversation, I was handed a gift.
Yes I am Catholic and my mission is to serve those around me. As Mother Theresa instructed, "To recognize Christ in the distress of the poor." How blessed am I, my friend caught a glimpse of Him in me. For now I may see Him in others.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Before my time, the story goes that my grandfather, Vito Bertolino would come out to this town to visit his cousin, Billy Caradonna, who would be his best man when he married my grandmother, Ella Pagano. That was my one glimpse of this town until 30 years ago, when I started my own story line visiting various Italian kitchens for a meal, listening, laughing, and learning.
Mostly this learning revolved about a warning, "Beware of the Red People," (complete with the pointed shaking of a crooked right index finger), the Sicilians... but being Sicilian, I would just smile. The rest of what I learned was a litany of names: Grandoni, Feranti, Ghilani, Falconi, Spinazola, (I am sure there were more.) Really the who's who of Coburnville, the old Italian neighborhood. But from those times my life moved on.
Now, fast forward to the present.
My friend and I are talking... She asks, "Where do you live?"
The snooty people live there.
Maybe, (I leave that comment alone.) Where are you from?
Oh, do you know the Grandonis?
Maria, yes she lives on an extension near the cemetery.
Yes, she did -- Bridge St. And what about Aldo and Edo?
Yes, I know them. How do you know Maria?
She was a family friend. She was always warning me of the red people.
The Sicilians. My mother lived next door to them. She got along with them. Did you know the Caradonnas?
Yes, I met Billy Caradonna once. He came over for lunch. Did you know him? He was my grandfather's, Vito Bertolino's, cousin.
I knew him and the Bertolinos. I went to school with Susan Caradonna. I was a Ghilani.
I've heard of your family. Do you remember the Feranti family?
(And it goes on.)
The common ground builds. We exchange stories. My friend is reminded of her childhood, but mostly it is me hanging on to lifelong facts and stories of a town and it's immigrant Italian families and being amazed at the circular nature of life.
Monday, November 28, 2011
My new friend asks, "What's your name?"
Are you Italian? Named Patricia?
Yes, my Aunt Angie, Angela Pagano, liked that name. She named me.
Pagano, that's Italian. My confirmation name is Patricia.
And so it goes. We have a common ground. Stories flow. Bonds are established and built upon. Trust. All over a name. More tomorrow.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
At work it is very common place for me to be repeatedly asked and to repeatedly answer these four questions. All simple, with simple answers that open so many doors to conversation and opportunity. But not just for my clients, but for me. Really, I have the best job.