Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chris Padgett is Coming! Chris Padgett is Coming!

I feel like standing on the roof and screaming. Chris Padgett is coming to our parish, next Fall, December 4th to be exact, to lead the middle school retreat. In the Rock'n Roll world it is like having the Stones play your graduation party.

I first saw Chris at the Middle School Rally last fall. He had the youth mesmerized with his stories. They were up singing and dancing with his songs. And now he is coming to our parish for a day full of community service and worship.

The community service will be filling 100 shopping bags with food for the needy. I can't wait for the youth to give a mountain of can goods away. The worship will be all day. Talks, singing, activities, sharing a meal, Adoration and Mass.

If you aren't in our parish, contact me and I can get you signed up. It is open to all youth, ages 11 to 13, and then some.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Cookie Sale

Today, 3 to 7, at the Old Conn Path S&S we'll be selling Girl Scout cookies. Come on by and pick up a box or two or three or ....

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Piece by Piece

I am cutting the final pieces to the first stage of my latest stained glass project. The final pinkie finger in size pieces that I have put off until the end. The last section to be finished and I realize that I need to put a boarder on this window so that the metal framing that goes around the window won't cover over these final pieces. Why cut, grind and place them if they will be covered over? Exactly.

Due to the tiny nature of the glass and the strain in my back this task is painstaking. So I set the achievable goal of 2 pieces a day. I can do two pieces. It will take me cut to finish 30 minutes -- tops, with a 15 minute coffee break.

But really what happens is I do three or four or five pieces. Some are new to the window, others are recuts or do overs. Pieces that sort of fit, but not really. Pieces I can do a better job with.

So by setting an achievable goal of two; I meet the achievement with four and usually a cleaner layout.

So many tasks, projects, ministries would benefit from taking a piece by piece approach.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Catalyst

I had a job this fall. It was rather opened ended and it looked like it would be a the real deal ride. The boss told me in the whole hiring process that he had been looking for a place to fit me in his organization for a while. That he liked how I worked; how I got the job at hand done. But soon after I started, I had to quit. No worries. Somethings, some people are more important, and life moves us on.

But still one thing sticks with me about that time. And that is my boss described himself as a catalyst. Someone who has an idea of megabomb proportion and then runs with it. And lately with all the activities and ideas I have been involved with at the parish, I realize, I'm a catalyst too.

A crazy catalyst who doesn't sleep because the ideas gallop through my head. I have "visions" of how events should flow. Plans and ideas worked out to the very last foreseeable detail. And the worries for implementation that go along with it. Without a thought of being socially awkward, I contact people who are huge in their field, and ask them for stuff, or to reduce their fee. After all we are just a small parish in these tough economic times. The worst they will say is no. I've heard no before and survived. The best they will say is yes. I can live with that too, and move ahead with a yes.

And I wonder where all of this is going to take me. All I know is next November 21st I'm sitting down for a very long time.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Matter of One

A boy was standing on a beach littered with starfish. As far as the eye could see, the sand was a twisted mass of tentacles. Time after time he would bend down, pick up one of the stranded animals, and throw it as hard as he could back into the surf. After awhile a man approached the boy and asked, "What are you doing that for? There are too many of them to make a difference?"

The little boy thought for a moment then looking down at the starfish clutched in his hand, he answered, "It matters to this one."

The matter of one; it can be easily start with one piece of litter, one empty soda can, one flip top, one can of tuna, one sandwich, one used winter coat, one newspaper, one box top for education translating into a cleaner environment, a nickle for charity, money to help the families of seriously ill children, a dinner, a lunch, warmth, money for nonprofits.

Irena Sendler saw a problem and she acted, one child at a time. How lucky for those 2500 children she chose to rescue from the Nazis. Life mattered to each of them.

Irena Sendler

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Embarassment Factor

Those who know me, know the one thing that gets under my craw more than anything times ten is disrespect. Okay there is lying too, but disrespect is right up there sharing top billing.

When a person is being disrespectful to another person it is all I can do to bite my tongue. And when it is my own children, it takes a great deal of self control not to be disrespectful in my own way and thrash them right there on the spot.

Yesterday setting up for the parish breakfast the little ones tagged along to help. They have helped in the past, and have been great helpers. Yesterday was not the case. Yesterday when told to do a task, they full forced argued with me, right in front of the ten or so other people, all adults, who had calmly taken direction and scurried off to work. For some strange reason and after odd turns of event, I am in charge of these Sunday morning feedings of anywhere from 100 to 300 people. Making matters worse, I sent them off to play, which of course turned into fighting and whining. By the time I finished my tour of duty and was able to leave, my already high blood pressure was sky rocketing and the dears were asking if we could buy gum on the way home. Anger choking me, I couldn't speak.

This wasn't the first time they had embarrassed me. But after a calming 30 minute walk out in the fresh air, I told them it was the last time I would be bringing them out in public when they could easily be left at home.

So this morning they won't be working or partaking at the parish breakfast. They will serve Mass and then go straight home to have cold cereal; rotten mother that I am.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Good for the Goose... Good for the Gander

Earlier this week, Scott Brown was elected to take the late Ted Kennedy's seat in the Senate. Considering he is a Republican and this state generally swings Democrat, it was a sweep. But with his new found employment came the more public revelation that Mr. Brown posed in Cosmo after being voted America's Sexiest Man. And what I have been reading and hearing on the news was, "Hey this guy still looks good." With the insinuation of Massachusetts has really lucked out. Our new Senator was and still is a looker.

Do I care? Yes and No. No, not really. So he posed nude. But what caused the hairs on my neck stand up was hearing the news coverage of his stating his daughters are available. My question is available for what?

One of Mr. Brown's daughters attends his alma mater, Boston College. As a matter of fact yesterday, Mr. Brown's first day in Washington DC saw him fly down from Boston for 10 AM meetings, to have him fly back to watch his daughter play in a BC basketball game last night.

My question is, what if his daughter entered into a contest and was voted Sexiest Woman Alive. And what if she provocatively posed for a national magazine? What would we think of her? Would it hold open political doors? Would Mr. Brown be so quick to tout his daughters' availability?

Just wondering...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

??? No Bounds ???

For school this month my littlest one has to keep a moon journal. In addition to checking our our lunar lover each night there are various activities she is required to do. One of them is to write a short story, or poem. She chose to write a haiku.

We sat down together, her pen poised, she asked, "What do I write?"

My answer, "Whatever you want. As long as it fits in with the moon theme, is 3 lines in length, with the syllable count of 5 - 7 -5."

She was stymied. What to write? I asked her about how the moon made her feel. I asked her if she ever thought about traveling to the moon? I told her she was in control of her poem. It was her world, her words, her universe to unfold.

As a writer, I know that writing is very liberating. I can create my own space, delve into mental closets and write out screaming. What a gift.

So I wrote a haiku on writing. It's predictable, but so what, it's mine.

My World

Ink reveals the space.
Feelings, ideas soar, mature.
Paper holds no bounds.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Getting back to a sort of normalcy

This picture, taken 8 days after the earthquake is the first time Betsy's family got to see her. It is their proof of life. In this shot, taken today, she is setting up the school assignments for the students. Note the fallen wall and the security guards standing in the background.

Today, here, we dealt with an apple with a bruise, and having soup again for supper. We have a roof, a bed, blankets, food and water for drinking and bathing. We have electricity, phone, and family. Today I practiced the banjo and worked on a stained glass project. Our earth is not shaking and cracking.

It's a different world on the same planet. Are we one village?

Today a five year old was pulled out of the rubble that was once his home. The same rubble that killed his parents.

The Haitian Project. Think about it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


According to Merriam and Webster a sleeper can be someone or something unpromising or unnoticed that suddenly attains prominence or value. On that note I would have to say that today's storm is indeed that, a sleeper.

According to the weather people in the know this storm was supposed to be over a noon. Well at noon instead of leaving it kicked in with a vengeance. There was suppose to be little or no accumulation. The 3 or 4 inches covering my backyard are a bit more that little or no. And it is still snowing, and has been all day.

Sleeper... I wonder what tomorrow's weather will bring.

Haiti First Hand.

Betsy's Blog

Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King

"If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did is job well." Martin Luther King

What are you called to be?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Why I haven't been posting

1. The importance of my last post. I don't want it jumbled among my usual rhetoric.
2. Sickness prevails. But I've been sick before and posted. So really it's the importance of giving aid to the people of Haiti.

Think about it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Help those in Haiti

With very little effort in someway or another all our lives touch Haiti. Family, friends, friends of friends who are aid workers, siblings of friends who teach there. Here is a note from a dear dear friend whose sister is teaching in Haiti. Please read it, and if you can respond, please do.

Do Unto Others: Together


My sister Betsy is a Massachusetts teacher who decided to volunteer to teach high school for a year in Haiti. She is teaching outside Port Au Prince at the Louverture Cleary School, whose mission is to educate a generation of leaders to help Haiti emerge from its third world status.

Fortunately, all 350 students, teachers and staff were outside when the earthquake hit just 12 miles from them. Amazingly the school buildings remained intact, though walls surrounding the school were damaged. No one was injured seriously. They spent the last two nights sleeping on the soccer field.

The school is highly self-sufficient. It has a large network of solar panels and a huge well. So the teachers and staff decided they will turn the school into a refugee center, serving 1500 meals a day and sleeping over 400 people. There's plenty of fresh water and a kitchen staff from the local area that is absolutely amazing in their ability to cook lots of nutritious meals.

I don't know what this means for Betsy, but my guess is over the next six months she and the other teachers will help 350 students understand how to serve others. As you know the scope of the devastation is just becoming known, but the school wants to do its part in the neighborhood where they live.

US AID and the Red Cross are urging those interested in helping to donate money, not clothing or other items as there is no reliable distribution infrastructure yet.

If you are interested in helping Betsy's school and the people living in the neighborhood, you can donate on line here: All funds raised go directly to the school and through them, to their suffering neighbors. We have been donating to the Haitian Project for nearly a year (as soon as we heard Betsy was accepted to the program), we can personal vouch for the organization and we have seen the people who benefit from the charity.

Just a picture today

Night Driving always provides some wonderful images. It is probably why I prefer to drive than to fly. Of course, driving to Australia or Ireland isn't practical or healthy. This was taken on Route 89 in Vermont. The image has not been tweaked electronically.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Working on stained glass

Make breakfast
Make lunches
Make dinner
Food shopping
Kid related errands
Banjo lesson...

Today -- not necessarily in that order.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Vermont Again

While at the track meet on Saturday the sad word came down that Uncle Peter had passed away. Sudden. For the past two days we have been among dear family and friends. Gathering to celebration a life and a loss. Weddings, wakes and funerals -- aren't families worth more?

It goes without saying that I love my family -- and I feel welcomed and loved by my husband's. But why why why do we not get together for the life of it. In the near future we will be heading to Alaska to visit Kyle and clan. We will spend more time in Vermont visiting family and friends. We will stop in Virginia to kiss the cousins and hug the kids. We will have impromptu family dinners. Funerals should not the only reason for families to gather.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Wanna Be My Friend?

Yesterday the strangest thing happened. As is my usual, when presented the opportunity to photograph a track or cross country meet, I'll do it. Before I would shot a couple of hundred shots, and then copy the best hundred or so onto a disc and send it into the track coach. There would be promises to share the shots with the athletes, but with schedules and commitments, it never happened.

Now, I put the pictures, under restrictions, up on facebook. After all I am sure these athletes would like to see pictures of themselves. And it turns out they do. Even to the point of using some of the shots for their profile. I'm flattered. But then the other fb shoe dropped when a couple of these high school boys invited me to be their friend.

What could we possibility have in common? I can't imagine they are interested in chiming in on my discussions on maple sugaring, stained glass or banjo for that matter. And God forbid we should share our thoughts on religious ed. or parenting.

I mentioned my latest fame to my track star, and we both agreed that they have no idea who they are friending in fb. Imagine a fb lineup... Okay pick out the person you have asked to be a friend. No, it's not the gum chewing cute high schooler with the point and shoot in her hand. It's the older, gray haired plumper person with high water jeans wearing a hat that doubles for a tea cozy. Yes the very nonstylish person feverishly trying to figure out the best settings on her new fangled camera.

The news will be spread at practice today a la Wizard of Oz style, "Don't friend the person behind the camera. She is my mom."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Camera

My husband surprised me with an early Anniversary present: a new SLR digital camera. YAHOO! Less than 12 hours after taking delivery, I used it for the first time at a local track meet. Getting used to the new operating system; there was no love for the beast. But halfway through the meet I was able to trial and error my way into a few shots.

I'm feeling the love.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Dreams and Dinner

Or maybe dreaming of a dream dinner... Or not.

Yesterday I helped a friend pick up a computer desk with our truck wanna be type vehicle. Ten minutes the job was done -- no worries, no strain. Sometimes it pays to have a gas guzzler.

Last night I had a dream this same, truly wonderful friend, asked me to return a sofa to the local furniture store. I was all in a quandary about whether she really wanted me to help her lug this huge piece of furniture out of her house and then drive down the road with it hanging out the back of vehicle. Crazy. In the end all she wanted was a ride to the store to ask the saleman to come and pick it up. Crazier.

Then this morning I am faced with the usual morning dilemma of what to cook for dinner. "It's 6:50, do you know what you're having for dinner?" One of these days I will answer that question with a yes, reservations. I've been doing a lot of cooking this week, soups, stir fried chicken, boulettes, an Italian sausage chili... I'm really not in the mood to cook, and my afternoon cooking time is complicated with appointments. So whatever I come up with has to be ready early.

Maybe a Shepherd's Pie... We have a ton of potatoes...

Thursday, January 07, 2010


My oldest and soon my middle one are at the point in their lives were they are looking for more than friendship. They are not boy crazy, but they are thinking about the possibilities of holding someone's hand while walking to school or viewing a movie. I tell them, all the time, "It's more important to have friends. Be friends. Friends will be there for you." And today all those adages came true.

Today I had a 2 and a half hour lunch with a dear friend from high school. We were in the same grade. He had a thing for my sister. They even dated for a while; a short while. We were friends. Now fast forward 30 years when we run into each other a noisy class reunion. Except getting older, I think we both sort of look the same. Okay, I'm fatter, but we won't go there. We tried to chat over the din, but finally agreed to have lunch sometime.

Well that sometime, after over a year, was today. We met a local place and when he walked in there were no big hugs or crazy expressions of affection. I saw him. He saw me, and I said, "Hi Bob." He said, "Want lunch?" I replied, "Yeah." Such conversationalists.

Over a couple of sandwiches we discussed life in general, travel to this country's beautiful national parks in specific. He brought his computer that holds a billion pictures. He was always a great photographer. We looked at them all, oooohing and ahhhhing. Comparing for light and color.

We parted as we always had, as friends, a brief hug and with the promise to do lunch again sometime. And hopefully, sooner than later, we will.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

I'd rather play my banjo

Last night I went to a school committee meeting where a plan for reconfiguring the whole district was unveiled. The basic underlying plan, or lack thereof, is to pair up elementary schools and have one school be K-2 and the other be 3-5. The Superintendent was saying it would give us 8 classes at each grade. My thought was, there are already 8 classes at each grade -- but split between two schools.

Forget the continuity for the youngsters, forget the sense of belonging, and still you have a parental and transportation nightmare.

When the presentation was over, I thought, and I gave up practicing my banjo for this? They are looking for parental feedback. They will have mine.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

R.I.P. Auggie Doggie

While we were cross country skiing yesterday my friend's dog, the Augster, died.

Earlier in the day, we had gone food shopping and the Auggie Doggie was his usual self; riding shotgun to the store. As we walked to the trail, he walked along with us, tail wagging. But ten minutes into skiing, we found him motionless, barely breathing, lying across the path.

You are missed.

Monday, January 04, 2010


Monday -- after vacation... Need I type more.

And to top it all off, it's snowing, and there is school. It would have been wonderful to have a snow day. A do over; an unexpected day to play outside. A day to put the laundry, cooking and cleaning aside. Instead it's making lunches, school drop offs and pick ups, religious ed., dance and clarinet. Start working on the parish breakfasts, and food shopping.

How crazy would it be to let the girls sleep and declare today a family holiday?

Saturday, January 02, 2010


Last Photograph

My camera died. The shutter mechanism is not opening and closing properly. I can hear its failed attempts to operate... I took it apart trying to see and fix the problem.

It will go into the shop, but I suspect this 9 year old camera is about to meet its maker. And it is with mixed feelings that I contemplate a new hand held viewer of the world. This camera has been there for the birth of my last, the many family gatherings, my niece's wedding, World Youth Day in Australia, my brother-in-law's wedding, and a multitude of walks in the woods, fishing trips, birthdays, Christmases, sugaring seasons.

The lens cover went missing too many years ago, and the port covering fell off somewhere in Hawaii. The everyday lens isn't even a digital one, but my old tried and true from my old Elan IIE. So many memories tied up in the over 20,000 plus images captured at my finger tips.