Friday, May 31, 2013

An Unbalanced Life

A new opportunity has caused my life to be unbalanced. Now I work 5 to 6 hours each day and exercise and stained glass 0. The first week I barely noted the shift. Blaming it on the cold weather. This week I'm on the verge of panic. Realizing I must make time.

Life balance is like a canoe. Stable and steady in calm waters. But easy tipped when weather and waves erupt.

I mowed the backyard yesterday. Combining work with exercise. One foot back on the correct path. Must make time everyday.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Careful, Parents

At the oral surgeon's office my little one was very talkative. No surprise, she is talkative. Very very talkative when nervous or when attention is to be had.

"Quiet, Shhhh. Enough" The usual parental hushed commands. Chatting Cathy... Overly so.

The procedure complete the doctor is all smiles. "All go well?" I ask. "Oh yes," she replies. But more importantly I learn my love chatted throughout the entire procedure, even while under the effects of anesthesia. "She's delightful. A keeper. What a bright personality. So unique. No one has ever done that before."

Honestly my first thought was, "Her chatting can be cute... But." I didn't say it. Only agreeing she is delightful, a love, a keeper.

Many many many times it will be best to rest those parental glasses aside and view our beautiful children as the world sees them. What a gift for parents and the lovie.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bloom Where You're Planted

We don't always have control about where we land. But we do have control over our attitude. Bloom.

Friday, May 24, 2013

That is udderly ridiculous

The other evening, exhausted, I laid down very early and stayed there till bedtime. In the middle of the night I was awoken by a stiff knee. I had been too sedentary. My sleep was over.

Last evening exhausted again, I decided to go out for a walk and called up my neighbor whom I don't see nearly enough. We walked, reconnected. Afterwards I was not so tired and then slept pain free.

Go for a walk when you are exhausted. You won't be so tired. Who knew?

This momma is  a great milk producer.


Do you have a lot on your plate? What would you delegate? Then what would you miss?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

When A Door Closes

God opens a window onto opportunity.
Don't let life rumble by.

Soup, it's what's for dinner. And then some.

We all get into ruts. Some good, some bad. This is a good one. Lately, here, for me, it's making soups. Veggie soup. Chicken noodle. Curried pumpkin. Barley barely beef soup. Pea.

Easy meals that make healthy leftovers. Pictured above is polenta with a layer of Curried Pumpkin soup. Yummy.

I bet the people in Oklahoma are wishing their lives were in the same old rut.
Never take daily life for granted.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Boston Brain Tumor 2013 post mortem

1. Great weather - mid 60s and mostly sunny.

2. Our third ride but our first time stopping along the way to see some of the historic sights in Lexington and Concord.

3. I always wanted to stop and take a picture of the Peace Barn. We did.

4. Our time was 2 hours 45 minutes. Thirty minutes slower than the last two years. Well worth it for stopping.

5. Held up at the Lincoln railroad crossing by a train. Very cool. A first. Probably accounting for 10 minutes or more of the overall added time. Heard on the local news a black bear was sighted in Lincoln yesterday.

6. Ruby's front shifter cable stretched and stopped allowing me to shift down to the lower gears on the hills. Had to dig in and power up them. She is at the shop getting her cable adjusted. Will be good as new Tuesday. Can't wait to go on a gentle ride.

7. And the knee...a bit twingey. But nothing a good walk won't fix. What was interesting was towards the end of the ride, at traffic stops and such, it always felt better to be pedaling rather than stopped standing and waiting.

$$ As a team the Whatevros for BAS raised over $20,000 making their 5 year total $105,000 towards finding a cure and preventing brain rumors.  Thank you.

At the closing ceremony it was very inspiring to meet and listen to the stories of brain tumor survivors and of those currently in the fight for  their life.. We ride for them.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

My Dear Friend

We stopped and did some sightseeing

Those that know me know I never stop when on a task. This ride we stopped along the way and took pictures.

Thank you my dear friend for riding and stopping with me.

We are finished!

More photos to come

We are signed in!

Rock'n roll!

Boston Brain Tumor Ride 2103

Thank you, thank you, thank you Susan, Guy, Alice, Louise, Michelle, Beth, Matt, Mom, Dad, Linda, Ronda, jeff, Paul, Jenn, Cam, Donna, and Natalie.  For what you have done truly matters.

As the ride progresses my partner and I will post pictures of our progress.
Check back...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Friday, May 17, 2013

Do You Remember That Moment?

When all was peaceful and life was good.
Tell me it's right now.
Now tell yourself.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Chapter 10

Chapter 10
The 10 minute drive home was silent. Mom gripping the wheel with both hands, as if ice coated the road. Her gaze fixed forward. I sat in the front passenger seat waiting for an explanation. None came. When we pulled up to the house, I spied Dad and Molly coming out of the barn. Actually Molly was running full speed towards us and Dad, slowly walking across the driveway, was yelling for her to watch out for the car. I hadn't seen my little sister that excited about anything or anybody since the first time she saw Charles. 
It's not every house that is haunted and not every day you see a ghost. Her first time, in the library right after we discovered Martha living in the nursing home, I thought she was going to jump out of her skin. She was just about out of her skin again, waiting for the car to stop and Mom to shut off the engine.

Screams of Mom, Mom, Mom were probably being heard all the way down to the Red Lion Inn. Maybe all the way to the library. And with the car parked and the engine shut off, the driver's door flew open and in jumped Molly right into the little lap between Mom and the steering wheel. 
As Mom was gushing and kissing Molly's knotty curls, I had a flashback to our last Christmas Eve on Bainbridge Island. Then it was Dad who was kissing those curls while Molly tried to worm more time before bed. Of course, I also remembered my hateful outburst, “There is no such thing as Santa!” A terrible thing to say to a five year old on Christmas Eve. Anger can make people do the dumbest things.

Thankfully, Mom and Dad were able to comfort Molly, and convince her I was just angry about moving and lashing out. Now three years later, Molly still believed in Santa. Or at least I thought she did, and I wouldn't be the one to bring up the subject ever again. 
But the present had it's own predicament: How would Molly and Mom who were wedged behind the steering wheel going to get out of the car? It was like watching a game of Twister in a bucket seat. Molly had her right arm around Mom's neck and her left arm tucked behind her waist. While her left leg had somehow managed to lay across the stick shift, her right was still hanging out of the car. Starting to feel stuck, she cried, “Help, I'm all catched up.”

Dad sauntered the last 20 feet to the car, shaking his head. “Here love,” he said, “let go of Mom and I'll lift you up and out.” With his hands steadying Molly's waist, he asked me to lean along the floor of the front seats, to see if I could slide Mom's seat back a bit. 
Reaching the latch, I announced, “Mission accomplished,” as the seat slide back and dad gracefully lifted his prize up and out of the car. 
Spinning her around, he smiled at Mom, who was now able to ease herself out. “Been to see Martha?” It was a question, but in actual fact, it was a simple acknowledgment of the truth. “How is she?”

“Tired, but fine. Glad to see us. Sharp as a tack.”

“And you?”

“Tired, but fine. Not as sharp as a tack.”

Dad just laughed as he continued to spin Molly up to the door of the house. “Dinner is just about ready. Why don't you all get washed up and I'll finish up the salad.” Dad got a lot of things right, but having dinner made and ready for Mom's first day back won high praise for years.

While we ate the conversation was light. Mom, as usual, asked about school. Both Molly and I said, “It was fine.” Next subject was the state of our bedrooms, “You will clean them this weekend.” “Yes, Mom.” Life was back to normal.

Then she asked Dad about work and his latest piece. 
“It's the same, same old. More meetings than I care to attend. Not enough time to work on the collage, but I'll get it done.”

He would. He always did.

At bedtime, as Mom leaned over to kiss me goodnight, I came this close to asking her about Carolyn and what would happen at the end of the school year; a mere 10 weeks, if that. And as the words were on the tip of my tongue, ripe for delivery, I held back. It's her first day home. It's our first day together as a family in over 2 months. Why ruin it? What will happen.

Late Night Texts
Melody: How is ur mom?
Me: Good
Can we come over 2morrow?
Everything ok?
Martha on Saturday?
C U 2morrow

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

And the writing?

Ah yes, the writing... It comes slowly. But it comes.

I shared my first book, Forever Yours, with my new client. You would have thought I handed him a million dollars. Someday I'll share this second book as well. Maybe I'll have a first draft by Christmas.

Hopefully I'll have the stained glass window for the church finished by September.

Two rather large deliverables. Chip away at them. A piece at a time and in no time, both will be done.

Thank God.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Boston Brain Tumor Ride

The ride is fast approaching. Thank you to everyone for sponsoring me, and making it possible for me to ride on your behalf.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mary's Crowning

We are very fortunate to attend wonderful St Patrick's parish up in Wallingford VT when we are at the Shack. Yesterday's 9:15 Mass was a standing room only packed house. The lector, though still in high school, spoke with the clarity and timing of a professional speaker. Simply amazing. And though Mary had already been crowned with a nest of Robins, Fr Justin held a simple service where mom and babies were not disturbed.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

I was talking with another mom and we agreed upon the following points regarding Mother's Day.

1. If you disrespect, neglect, ignore your mother 364 days a year and think showing up with a card, flowers, and or candy, on Mother's Day will cut the mustard. You are dead wrong. Don't waste the time, little effort or money. You have made your feelings known. Don't sully the day for others.

2. If you mom says, all I want is for you to (whatever): Wash the dishes, clean up your bedroom, not fight for one hour, fold your laundry and put it away, altar serve at Mass (my personal favorite) do it with a smile and happiness in your heart. Really that is all she wants. Nothing else ever, not diamonds, not furs, nor concert tickets, tops an all I want request. Tip: Do it and the rest of the day will be yours as usual. And this mom will be delightfully happy.

3. Mother's Day should be the tip of the iceberg. Just like Father's Day, and the rest of the 363 children's days. Smile, chip in, hug, squeeze, love, don't wait to be reminded there is this job you need to do.We are a family and we are all in this together.

4. Stop grumbling that Mom gets everything her way this day. Children, mine included, you are first and foremost in your mom's mind always. Even on Mother's Day. Believe me, as much as I love fava beans and eggs, we won't be eating them today. Then again, it won't be your favorite, Ramen noddles, either.

Happy Mother's Day to all Moms everywhere and especially to those that love as only a mom can, and they aren't even "the mom."

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Blessing

Time for my girls to come home from school I see a teen coming towards our backdoor. My first thought was, I didn't know she had jeans like that. Then I realized the pants weren't ours because the youth wasn't biologically mine. He wasn't even a she.

He is one of my religious ed students. And he was walking up the stairs and then scooting away. I ran out after him. He was already in his mom's car to make a get away. She, the mom, all smiles. He had left this beautiful plant on my door step with a two word note: Thank you.

I'm touched and I'm blessed. I've had the honor and the pleasure to watch this young man grow from 6th grade till now in high school. Next year will be Confirmation; I can't wait.

But truly it is I who owes a debt of gratitude to my students.

L. M. N. O. Peas

I'm already salivating over tasty fresh peas from our garden. I wonder if the ground hog is equally as excited?

Spring glorious spring!

Thursday, May 09, 2013

The Fighter. The Feast. And The Blessing.

Yesterday I learned a 10 year old cancer fighting princess, whom doctors can't help anymore, was being sent home in an ambulance from the hospital. Her six year battle seemingly coming to a close. The Internet comment exchange centered on blessings. I had written that the greatest blessings come from the most difficult of circumstances. As a parent, as a person, the death of any child is the worst of all life's circumstances.

Where is the blessing?

Last night at the vigil Mass celebrating the feast of Jesus' Ascension back to heaven the priest urged us all to party, dance, have a drink, eat ice cream. For this feast day is the culmination of all God's promises. That we too body and soul will rejoice with Him in heaven. The fighter was and still is in my constant thoughts and prayers. Will this feast offer her the most blessed of escorts home?

I went to Mass, saddened by the news and by obligation. Attending Mass is what we do, as a community joining in prayer, sharing in The Christ's sacrifice and love. I kept wondering about the gigantic blessing that was taking place. Crossing hundreds of miles, would we know it when we felt it? Would it happen all at once and then be over or last for a lifetime? Would it expand and extend across all of humanity like the ripple effect from dropping a pebble into a pond?

I don't have any of these answers. I don't understand why children die. But I do know that what ever life throws at us God never leaves our side. Never.

Be a part of the blessing.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

There is a trust

Hello there my baby Rosebud

After the dentist we dropped in at the farm to see if Gigi had her baby, she had. A beautiful boy; a George. And as miraculous and wonderful as birth is the trust the yearlings have for us and the love we have for them is nothing short of a miracle as well.

Walking back to our car to go home we stopped by their pasture gate to say hello and good bye. Petting those that came over at the sound of our voices. Well they all came. Pushing at a chance to be touched, rubbed and kissed.

These are the animals we have worked with the most. The ones who we have nursed back to health when sick, cleaned up after when dirty, fed and watered when hungry and thirsty, and grown incredibly fond of over the past 8 months.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Apple blossoms

One day, many years ago, my young daughter, who was studying Johnny Appleseed in kindergarten, wanted to plant an apple seed.

I believe I mentioned it would never grow...

Where a seed was once planted. an apple tree is blooming in our backyard.

Lesson learned.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Last Class - Sunday

Being rather emotional, when very happy I usually am moved to tears. Can't help it.

Last night was the last Sunday night class. I gave them a quiz. They worked in teams; boys vs girls. The boys won!

We assessed this years flip top collection. WOW. A lot of little things can really add up. What We Do Matters

We ate ice cream.

Listened to music; prayed.

Best quiz question: Who are the 5 important entities mention in the Creed?

Answer: God the Father, God the Son, the Holy Spirit, Mary the Mother of Jesus, and I.

Summer assignment: Honor God. Honor your mom and dad. Pray about why You want to be Confirmed.

Next year is going to be bittersweet. I don't have one young adult facing Confirmation. I have 22 of them. Be still my heart.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

All In A Year's Work

Thank you to my two religious education classes, to the parishioners of St. George, family and friends for the donation of your soda flip tops. Tomorrow they go to the scrap metal company and we will cut a check for the Ronald McDonald House in Springfield, MA.

The estimate is 23 pounds. We will see.

Can you see it?

Up near the top where 5 branches cross is a male Pileated Woodpecker. Be still my heart; a personal favorite spotted while out walking with friends.

Aren't the finer things in life like this beauty bird? Not always obvious to the casual observer, but still there. Remember to look close.

Friday, May 03, 2013

A Slog

Isn't that window done yet????

Some days are slog days. Where doing absolutely anything takes effort.
Just sit down and write something, anything... Patty. The book won't write itself.
Work on that window, Patty. It won't finish by itself.
Finish the Girl Scout skirt projects. They won't get sewn laying on the dining room table.
Food shopping Patty. Come 2 PM there will be three or more (friends over) hungry mouths to feed.
Errands, errands, exercise... slog slog slog

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Chapter 9

Chapter 9
Kimball Farm was a nursing home. Brightly lit, immaculate, with wide hallways bustling friendly aides with linen carts, seat scales, and vacant elderly propped up in wheelchairs. With each tight and drawn face we passed I wondered, do they see me? Do they know where they are? What is going on? Sometimes when we would visit I would wave or say hi. Neither action resulted in acknowledgment. Frightening. I hoped Martha would never slip like that. 
Martha Boss lived in the last room at the end of the last hall. Her door and the wall by her bed were forever plastered with pictures of roses. Always with a wink, she'd say, “These are my gardens.” And she tended her photos and magazine clipping as if they were alive. Pruning out the faded blooms, clearing spots where new images were set to flourish. Captain Charles Boss, our ghost, her late husband, was a rose gardener long before he was a soldier. He met Martha while strolling in the Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Missouri. Her hometown; he was there on family business. Two days later, against her parents' wishes, she fled East with him, to Stockbridge, by train, to be married. Only to lose him three months later from injuries incurred at the Battle of St. Lo. Those many years ago he promised her undying love. And she still possessed it.

Just like when we saw her last, Martha was relaxed, with her eyes closed, rocking in her chair. Her shawl, one of her sister-in-law, Alice's hand me overs, now a prized possession, wrapped twice around her boney shoulders. Her wedding ring, way too big, stayed secure, stuck behind an arthritic joint. Our foot steps drew her attention away from her own thoughts and towards the door.

Upon seeing us, her eyes brighten and she made motions, as if she were trying to get up. I raced to her side and squeezed her as tight as I dared. Afraid I would crush her under the forcefulness of my love. She wasn't family, but she was so much apart of our family, that blood didn't matter.

Looking past me, Martha spoke with my mom. “Margaret, when did you get home?”

Mom, walking up beside me replied, “Just today; noon.”

“He said you would be here today.” 
No one ever questioned that Charles visited his Martha. Their bond was somehow tied into the return of her wedding band. “So glad you came.”

“So are we, Martha,” added Mom. “So are we. And how are you?”

“These old bones keep hanging in there. With a heart that knows no end.” Despite pushing 90, she was sharp. Not like the mindless bodies that littered the hallways. 
“If you're home Margaret, then I can assume one of two things: Beverly is well. Or more likely your dear friend has passed into the other world.” I wondered if Charles could see her.

Mom pursed her lips and nodded, “Beverly died... must be three weeks ago. I stayed on Bainbridge to set things up for Carolyn. So she could finish the school year there.”

“Then what?” asked Martha. But it could well have been me asking the question. Then what indeed.

“Then she moves here.”

The room went silent. Martha looked to me. I looked to Mom, who was repursing her lips.