Thursday, April 30, 2009

Planted today

The little ones helped me to plant our garden today -- all but the tomatoes, peppers and basil. Those plants we have to buy.

We have rows of lettuce and mixed greens. Rows of peas mixed in with corn, and a row of beans topped with Cilantro. The girls spread wildflower and marigold seeds in front of the beans and in the other veggie garden next to the house they put in gourd and squash.

Planting day is always a great time. We are outside, working together and having dreams of baskets overflowing with local bounty.

Don't sit under the apple tree

with anyone else but me...

At one time, our property was part of an orchard. When we cleared the poison ivy bushland from the backyard, the last Baldwin tree was taken. I admit it was a mistake, and since then, I am haunted by dreams of reestablishing a few trees of our own.

A few years ago, our middle one planted some apple seeds from one of her afternoon conquests, only to have them germinate into an orchard full of trees. One of these babies was killed by rodents this past winter, and when we found it, there was a profound sadness. Planted almost exactly where the old Baldwin stood, for five years we had watched and watered our orchard hopefulness.

Not to be thwarted, she announced, 'We'll just have to plant some more." And she did.

I love the fact she keeps trying. I love the fact she has such a wonderfully green thumb. I love the fact that someday we will harvest apples from this land.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tired tired tired

For the past two days, I have awoken tired. My eyes not fully opened and I had the dreaded feeling of wanting to roll over and go right back to sleep. No such luck. Yesterday was errands, today is raking, fertilizing, and gardening. Throw in there, somewhere, cooking dinner and that is my day, slathered in a layer of fatigue. I find a bit of grace as I inch towards my finishing off the to do list: With each dandelion pulled I am one more dandelion closer to going back to bed this evening.

Another bright spot was I discovered a rogue apple tree in our yard. This is a great thing, as the local rodent population gnawed the bark off, and thus killed, one of our dear baby trees. Transplant tree to better location is another highlight of the to dos.

Now back to the regularly scheduled raking.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Back in the saddle

We road to the DQ. It was the perfect night to be out on the bikes. I had the little one riding shotgun. At first the ride was quiet. The tires graced the pavement like a spatula moves across frosting. Then there was a wiggle and some resistance to taking a curve or two.

"Squidlo, sit still."

"Yes, mommy."

The humming starts. So low at first, I'm not sure if I hear it. She rides relaxed; trusting. I smile as I push onward for home. I love having her on board. Her humming grows louder, more melodious until she is singing her favorite selections from the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. For over two miles I was lucky enough to listen to "Everything's all right now. Everything's all right. Everything's all right now. Everything's all right."

She got that right.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I claim today as my Mother's Day

Today was a perfect day, not to jinx it, for several hours remain.

Today I woke up, windows open, cool breezes blowing through the house. I breathed in, relaxed, and claimed today Mother's Day. I didn't tell anyone, for that might have ruined it. For on the already scheduled for prime time Mother's Day, the tension to please is so high, that tears flow, tempers flare, and I wish I lived on another planet.

So today, I claimed today. We all worked outside, raking, turning over the gardens, spreading compost, and moving plants. We cleaned out the sugar shack, and shed. Rested together and relaxed. I went for a long walk.

Happy Mother's Day to me. No cards, presents, special meals, flaring tempers or tears required.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Is it over yet?

Is vacation over yet? I'm exhausted.

Last night we decided to stay very close to home this summer. In other words, my big excursions will be early mornings alone in the garden. And the thrill ride will be to the top of the ladder when I finish scraping and painting the garage.

And it will be fun fun fun until her daddy takes the tbird away.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


We are having family over this weekend. Despite the Frenchy last name, when it comes to feeding a crowd I reach back to my own Italian roots and cook with tomato sauce (gravy). But not all family can eat the love apple, so I needed a recipe that was Italian based, but white in sauce.

DO I have a recipe for you. A recipe to die for. A dish that might be scant leftovers come party time.
White Lasagna with Chicken, but having a veggie in the fam, I left out the chick.
Other modifications:
Used two onions instead of one.
I had no garlic in the house so when I added the flour I added a good tsp of garlic powder.
Made my own ricotta and mozzarella cheese.
Left out the black pepper and parsley.
Mixed the spinach with the ricotta and added two eggs -- as usual when I make lasagna.

It is the white sauce that makes this dish, and barely resisted the urge to belly up to the stove and eat it all out of the pan with a ladle.

To Vacation or Not To Vacation

That is the question.

This is the first April vacation in 12 years that we haven't gone to Florida. Not specifically to the land of Mickey, but to visit family. And I've been pondering: Do I like being home this week? Is this a prelude to what summer is going to be like?

We have definitely been busy. Marathon running, marathon cleaning, marathon laundry, movie marathons, marathon scheduling, and marathon driving (Not really -- when you consider we usually drive to Florida.), but any driving in the rain at night from a foreign venue is an emotional marathon to me.

I think what I need is less marathon and more rest. When we are on vacation there is Mommy time, little cooking, some cleaning, beach walking, game playing, and perhaps a day at my favorite roller coaster park -- Busch Gardens; maybe next year.

But for now, we will party on with this year's plans. Today is Sear's House Arrest from 8 - 5, making cheese for a First Communion white lasagna, First Communion practice, and playing taxi driver to the track star. Maybe I can get some Mommy gardening time in, or a strum or two on the Mommy banjo.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

They can surprise you

I have had the biggest ah-ha moments with the Girl Scouts. The latest one is over sewing. The girls in our troop love it. Their reaction was completely unexpected -- by me. As leaders, we thought it would be fun for them to make simple fleece hats that involved sewing one simple seam.

One seam and they were hooked. They wanted more. And this quilt is what they did. Each girl making a four piece square. Then taking turns with the individual assembly steps and ironing.

Not stopping there; they have a second quilt in the works. So in today's world where you can buy all your worldly needs, those basic skills like sewing, knitting, and cooking still have a place and should not be forgotten.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More Marathon Photos

Yesterday, I wanted to stay to watch the mass of runners surge down the road, but the kids were tired after walking close to 6 miles...

Today is rainy, and the troop is coming over to watch Troop Beverly Hills, and to finish sewing the quilt we are donating to Project Linus.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Boston Marathon

The eldest was a spotter at the Marathon today. The two little ones, two of their friends, and I walked along the route from Natick into Wellesley and back. It was moving to see the soldiers with 40 pound packs walking the route for their brothers and sisters whom could not. They got cheers and thank yous with each step.

The hand bikes and wheelchairs were next.

Again inspiring. But this gentleman took it all...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Busy Weekend

It was a busy weekend with the Rock-a-thon, Marathon Mile, parish breakfast and a run into Boston to Diablo's to pick up our necklaces and then over a few blocks to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross for Divine Mercy Sunday. All good.

I am so amazed by my girls. The eldest, quite a lady and able to understand mom can't be in two places at once. She ran the mile is 5 minutes 40; and then called to tell me the race was over and that she had fun. All done after participating in the parish rock-a-thon the night before -- rocking in a chair for 20 hours straight to raise money for charity.

The little ones love working at the parish breakfast: Now serving a consistent 180 -- even when it is a holiday weekend. It's nice to see everyone and to be able to serve the community at such a gathering. I especially love hearing the girls make plans to meet there friends at the breakfast.

After wards the two little ones, wanted to go check out Divine Mercy Sunday at the cathedral. Of course, that meant mom had to drive into the city. But it was fine; light traffic and we were good to go. We observed Adoration, and participated in singing the Chaplet. It was very moving, and the girls reverent. Our faith has some very interesting practices. Of course as we walked back out to the street they both agreed we didn't have to come back to do it again until next year. And that is fine by me. They give their faith a go, stretching it here, testing it there, and it's all good.

Tomorrow is Marathon Monday. It is all about the eldest, getting her where she needs to be and back again.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Diablo Glass School

We took the troop to Diablo Glass School yesterday. What a place. We got a beautiful demonstration of a blowing a bowl and then the girls were given the opportunity of making fused glass pendants. The staff also helped the girls to create a glass plaque to decorate our meeting space; a nice extra that really impressed the troop.

I think the girls would like to go back in a little over a year, when they are all over 12. For when you are 12 and older you get to try glassblowing. Up until then, the youth are limited to what I would call cold glass work; fused glass, and prehaps stained glass, as they offer classes in both.

It's a great take. The girls had fun, and it gave them another creative outlet to explore.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The chariot is out and about

For the first time ever, I took my motorcycle out before the hubby wrangled his ride out of the garage. And as I was cruising around with the middle one riding shotgun, I was thinking about how easy it was getting back on. The feet and hands working their magic; brake, clutch, throttle, shift.
And then the thought,"It's just like falling off a bike," flashed through my brain.

Falling? not falling, RIDING a bike. Let's all hope and pray for a safe biking season, motorized or otherwise.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Dear Friends,

Late night walks
Dinosaurs and drawing
Heartfelt talks
Claw foot tubs for reading

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

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

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

Dear Friends,
I am -- Forever Yours

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Yard waste pick up now available at a curb near you

I feel like the Dunkin Donuts guy saying, "It's time to rake the gardens." It's time to tackle the weeds that are greener and growing stronger than anything else in my yard. It's time to find the 5 dozen yard waste bags I purchased last fall, but didn't make the chance to fill.

Each year I have dreams about my gardens. I envision yellows, purples and pinks flowing down our embankments and spilling onto the lawn. Flowers spreading across the sidewalks with such enthusiasm that the traffic in front of our house slows to get a glimpse. Fruits and veggies so galore the produce man at the local market forgets my name. And each year, until now, it doesn't happen.

Each year, until now, the weeds take over, the ground hogs have babies and all 7 of them grow fat, and the squirrels take a bite out of each and every tomato before it has a chance to ripen.

But I'm not giving up. This year, I'll build a new fence and weed every morning before the sun turns the backyard into its own easy bake oven. This will be the year of the garden. I have a dream and no plans to travel further than my own backyard.

Now, to find those yard waste bags.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Aftermath

Aftermath is a funny word. According to it means:

1 : a second-growth crop —called also rowen
2 : consequence , result aftermath of the accident
3 : the period immediately following a usually ruinous event aftermath of the war

I generally think of it along two lines of thought: calorically and housecleaningwise. And of course there is no such word as housecleaningwise, but you get the picture. Or you would if you saw my house.

This morning, as the alarm went off, I muttered, as I always do after vacations and three day weekends, "I could use one more day." And I could. The laundry pile is being nominated to join the 4,000 footers club, the refrigerator empty, the floors resemble a desert, and very flat surface is covered with vacation clutter.

This family lives for days off. State, federal, religious days off are met with work stoppage. Especially when the entertaining surrounding said day off is not taking place here. For then we prepare to depart, we depart, and then we return -- and no one else has to see the glass of water that has taken up residence by the sofa, just in case a coughing attack comes on during a movie marathon. Or the pile of books, paper, and cardboard stacked by the door, ready to be recycled via the school book sale and town recycling center. Or the sewing machine and all the other associated bits and pieces required for sewing spread from the kitchen to the living room, by way of the dining room.

For some reason during days off, no one is this family feels the need to take care of the kitchen. Meals get made. Meals get eaten. Dishes get glanced at. Now, I live here too, and being the usual pot scrubber and bottle washer I do notice I tend to take the lazy way out regarding dishes. Especially when I find that I can't get to the sink due to others piling up their plates and cups instead of loading the dishwasher
, or God forbid emptying it.

A clean sign on the dishwasher has been know to cause a total weekend work stoppage. Imagine, 4 pair of hands, besides my own, and all unable to unload. It starts subtle enough with a cup or glass next to the sink. For why would anyone waste their time emptying an entire dishwasher for just a small drinking vessel. But then a stack builds, spreading beyond the counter and down into the sink, normally reserved for rinsing the dirties. No rinsing means no loading. No loading means no clean dishes; forgetting the load of clean beauties was the reason for the back up to begin with. But I digress.

Boy did Nana cook an Easter meal yesterday. The lamb was so tender, and the polenta devine. Brussel sprouts and carrot and turnip were cooked to perfection, all followed up with the little one's lemon meringue pie.

This morning plowing through her morning bowl of oatmeal my oldest said, "I can't believe I'm eating again." I know the feeling. I can't say I want anything more than a cup of coffee for the next week and a half. In the case of the student, she has an exam today and needed a healthy breakfast to fire those test answers from her grey matter to her pencil. "Eat," I said, "you have an exam." I did notice she declined the little baggie of Easter candy I included in her lunch. Her comment,"Please, Mom..." and I understood.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

So Sew

Today was a quiet day.
Some reading with the little one. A walk home from the mechanics. A little cooking for dinner, and some sewing. This is my youngest's dress. It is the same pattern as the other, but two sizes smaller. Basically it's done except the zipper and some hand stitching. If I am brave and daring, maybe I'll try the zipper myself; tomorrow. Then she can wear it for Easter.

I hope the news got this wrong

Imagine finding an unconscious person lying in gravel, calling the police and then refusing to check and see if the person is breathing... Read it for yourself.

I read it twice to make sure that I understood that the caller made the refusal. As I was on my walk this morning I thought about this. Maybe it was apparent from the state of the body that the person was dead. Maybe they couldn't really reach the person without endangering their own lives. Maybe they were overcome and couldn't complete the request. Maybe the news report is misleading. All things are possible.

I may be off base with my shock over this, but all I know, if I were that person and I might have been breathing and possibly saved, I think I would have appreciated a little bit of effort. Would you?

WYD 2011

Our parish had its first WYD 2011 meeting last night. There was representation for three returning pilgrims and two for fresh meat. Our fearless leader believes there will be 15 youth for this event.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Cast of Characters

I worked on my book for over ten years. And I just realized in that time my characters grew up. Carolyn's dad died during the Gulf War in 1991. The Cahill's left Bainbridge Island in 1998 -- the year I started writing.

April 9, 1944 is the date Martha and Charles Boss got married. They would have been married 65 years this week. Martha was born September 1, 1924. She was five months shy of her 20th birthday when they wed. She would have been 85 this coming Fall. Charles, though never mentioned, was 5 years older and would have been 90 if he hadn't been killed in World War II.

Sarah, Melody, Carolyn and Jeff were all in sixth grade in 1998. In 2009, they are eleven years older. They are all 24 years old.

Good God, where did the time go? I feel like somehow my brain has been sucked through a time warp.

SURPRISE ptcakes -- while you were sitting at that computer, life marched on!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Art shows it all

We went to a local art gallery for a free art day today. One project was to create a collage in the shape of the person. The one on the left is my creation. The other is that of my middle one. As we were leaving and I was carrying both I noted that our art truly shows our personality: for better or for worse.

My lovelie's collage has depth, texture, multimedia. Mine, on the 180 degree other hand, though colorful with some interesting areas, is rigid and regular; sharp, pointy and defined. As I drove home I realized that is exactly how I mother; for better or for worse. A schedule is set and I work to meet it. A place for everything and everything in its place. Does that come from managing a house of five -- all going in different directions?

Now that doesn't mean we don't have fun. After all we went to the museum today and yesterday we went to an open house at a local artist studio collaborative, Brownies and then to Grandma's.

I don't think there is a right or wrong. Some people need structure and others thrive meandering through life. I do think it's important recognize, acknowledge, and embrace differences.

Saturday, April 04, 2009


Put another dime in the jukebox baby...

Last night was our elementary school variety show. With Jill's passing there was talk of canceling, but Jill wouldn't have wanted that. So dedicated to her, the show went on.

There were 35 acts. Kids, teachers, parents sang, played instruments, performed skits did feats of magic and comedy. We laughed, cried, cheered and cheered some more. And then the reason for all my meetings at the school became apparent.

The Super Mom number. My kids screamed as I took my place backstage, "Why are you going to embarass us?" I shrugged. I had no answer.

The fifth grade mom's always have an act, dedicated to the leaving class. At first I wasn't going to do it. I'm many things: scout leader, writer, photographer, knitter, disciplinarian, mom, friend, tutor, dishwasher and pot scrubber, laundress, walker, church event planner, taxi driver, religious education substitute, fisherman, camper, but I am not a show girl. But my co-leader and friend said, "Come on, our daughter's will be so proud." The guilt laid on thick, I caved. And I am glad I did.

We have some talented mom's in our class. One can really dance and she and her daughter choreographed the number which started with doing a little hip hop to a Superman song that all the kids knew. (Note: After practicing two weeks weeks, I still don't know the title. But play the built up and I'll jump into position in my sleep.)

After a few refrains, and a few leaps across the stage, the lead show mom said, "Cut the music so we can give them some of our music, some good music from 1981." Quickly we, there were ten of us brave matriarchs, donned denim jackets, sun glasses and picked up Guitar Hero guitars and played and clapped along to I Love Rock'n Roll. The auditorium erupted. Two moms actually slide on their knees across the stage and got down and jammed. Our lead singer strutted the stage and shared the mike with the other jammin' mamas. I even got to sing the line, "Yeah Me."

For two minutes we weren't taxi drivers, homework reminders, note writers, library volunteers, mystery readers, or class moms. For two minutes we were stars. Put another dime in the jukebox baby... and dance with me.

I have no pictures.

Friday, April 03, 2009


Remember when you were a kid riding a bike and you would yell, "HEY LOOK! NO HANDS!" Well that is just about how I feel about this dress. A dress that my middle one and I put together -- minus the zipper. But you can't see that from the picture. My mom is going to help us with the zipper tomorrow. And then the little seamstress and I will do the hem.

The last time I tried to sew anything from a pattern I was 14 and spending the summer with my nana, who was bound and determined to teach me and my year older sister to sew. For me, it didn't work. The half constructed garment was more like a rag; having the look of railroad tracks from all the seams that had to be pulled and restitched and pulled again. We worked for weeks on that dress then one day that project was gone. Nana had packed it away. I doubt she had ever come across anyone who sewed so badly. I bet she thought when she wasn't looking I used my toes instead of my fingers. And to think: I wanted to learn. Imagine what that pile of rags would have looked like if I didn't. Note: My sister's dress came out perfectly.

So, Nana I'm sure you're smiling, and thanks for your guiding hands. (I did the gather at the waist all by myself. Are you proud?)

And see you tomorrow Mom -- thanks for helping us with the zipper.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

A Sad Day

One of the moms at our elementary school passed away suddenly. Today is her service.

All I have been able to think about is the suddenness of this tragedy. Did her husband get a chance to tell her that he loves her? Did she get to tell him the same? I know her son was at school and then with friends afterward. Will he remember her as the fun lovingly and dedicated mom that she was?

I am reminded of the movie the Beautician and the Beast. The King is talking with the Beautician about his late wife and how he misses her laugh. But what is implied is that fact that he took her presence for granted, and then she was gone.

Life's lessons can be so hard.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

April First

I have a parent teacher conference today. Imagine sitting at a conference viewing all sorts of lovely work, listening to a glowing report on how your daughter is the next best thing to a rocket scientist and then the teacher says, "April Fools!"