Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Beach

A perfect silence amidst the crashing roar and tumble of the waves. A breeze and a clouded umbrella, a perfect day at the beach for me. The seagulls swoop. The sandpipers trot. The cormorant float. To me, a heaven on earth. A peace and a comfort fill me. Restored as if back home again.

I once thought everyone felt this way until I met my husband who dreds water like the wicked witch of the west, who I don’t think put on a pair of shorts until our fifth year of marriage (mind you we rented a beach cottage every summer), and who would be happy to never touch or see an ocean in his life. To me this is incomprehensible.

At funerals we say “dust to dust” but for me it should be “from water, to water” as they sprinkle me among the waves.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Political BS - Sarah Palin & Obama's speech

All right McCain, a strong independent woman. You have mixed up this race and good. I don’t know much about Sarah Palin but I look forward to learning.

Hello America, you can’t have it both ways, You can’t want change and endless experience at the same time. 36 years in the senate does not denote change nor will it bring change.

Obama speech rating: Six adult started watching the speech. One gave up and went to bed during the pre-movie. She did however turn it on the radio in her bedroom. The rest of us fought off the sandman. I finally gave up head bobbing and decided to go to bed. I turned around and everyone was asleep. Historic speech – I think not.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Just Call Me Woman . . . Thankful Woman

It is 10pm EST. My eyelids are heavy. I could easily put my head down. I’m tired, but the washing machine says 11 more minutes before I can put it in the dryer. The garbage that my son was supposed to take out is still full and unless I want to clean it up from the kitchen floor, I will take it out. The dogs have not gone out yet and the casserole dish from dinner needs to be washed. I will get it all done before I get to bed . . .Just call me woman.

Of course if you are watching the DNC Convention with me, you just saw Spielberg’s tribute to the men and women in Iraq. After watching that, my tired eyelids don’t seem so tired and I am truly blessed to have my children close enough to forget their chores. I am thankful to have food in my stomach and a bed in which I can lay my head. . . Just call me thankful for all that our men and women of the armed forces do and for all that their families sacrifice.

PS. Very interesting, here we are at the DNC convention listening to a discussion about who the Republican nominee may choose for VP. Hmmmmm! Botched text message or interupting announcement. And maybe a woman??? McCain, let's shock them all with a great choice.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Help - My Kids are Growing Up

Help me. I no longer understand the language being spoken at my dining room table. I remember when the children were small and I used to complain that my husband never took the children. For me, they were constant appendages. I love / loved my children, but there were times I so desperately needed a break. I could not even image this day coming. Now he goes here and there with them and I am the one left home. They have started fishing and camping. Last weekend and this weekend, they are taking a hunting course. They’re talking about caliber and action, discussing seasons to hunt what, and I am left just drop-jawed. I barely understand what they are talking about.

Now I am left with hours and days with no one in the house, except the dogs. I did not think that it was possible. I’m sure it is only going to get worse as they get older and branch off with their friends and, bite your tongue, get their licenses and jobs. When they were first born, it seem like there was so much time in front of us. Now it seems to be more behind us than in front of us. Only just a few more years before college or life . . .what shall I ever do?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Becoming a Woman

Just Call me Woman . . .
And my daughter too. It has finally happened my baby girl is not a little girl anymore. Last night when I was on the phone with my father, she came out of her room very excited. I thought this a bit odd because she had just gotten in trouble for her use of the computer. I kind of shooed her away as I finished the conversation with my father. She was supposed to be getting ready for bed anyway. “Let me know when you’re done.” She responded as she bounded down the hall.

So when I finished my conversation with my dad. Out she came again, a huge smile on her face. “I have my period.” She was practically jumping up and down. “It is so funny because my friend and I were just talking about it tonight and she was frustrated because she was the only one that had her period. But mine is here!” I was glad that she was taking it so well. I wanted her to see it as a positive change in life, but I was amazed at her exuberance. I remember being depressed and wanting to hide in a closet. I’m not even sure that I went to school that day. I congratulated her, but said that she may not be so excited month after month after month. I think the thrill will wear off very quickly. So now it’s Just Call US WomEn in this house.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Political BS - Biden

Obama chose Biden. What kind of change will that bring? A senator since 1972. That is about as entrenched as you get. What was the Obama Campaign thinking? Perhaps they brought him on for his "experience" but this choice is not going to encourage on the fence Republicans to jump over, it is not going to invigorate the youth, and the unaffiliateds are going to be confused by his message. In essence, Obama just confirmed the speculation of his "inexperience", why else would he have choosen Biden unless he agreed that he is weak in this area. And the man represents Delaware. What pull does Delaware have? It doesn't bring New England or the Bible Belt. It doesn't have a large population and therefore represents one of the smallest fractions of the Electoral College. I will be very interested to see the polls. I predict almost no movement in the tickets popularity due to this choice.

I remember when I first saw Biden in Senate. I was immediately drawn to him, but not in a good way. He should be the spokesman for Orbitz Gum with the way he smiles. . . those teeth. I have never seen someone so deliberately smile and unsmile. Where most people would put a period or exclamation point Joe Biden puts a smile. I have since seen a biography of him which softens my heart a little toward this very false exterior. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for him to work his first year in the Senate with his wife and daughter dead and his sons injured.

I have respected Obama's "machine" up until now. I see no real benefit from this choice.

McCain, here is your chance. Choose someone solid and exciting. Maybe someone a little outside the typical political life. Hmmmm! Sounds like Mitt Romney to me.

Tell us what you think.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Politcal BS - Texting the VP & How Many Houses

In the interests of fairness I am going to give equal time to both of our presidential candidates. Of course that time is going to come in the form of complaint.

It is 9:54pm EST and we just heard on Larry King Live that Obama has delayed his text announcement of his vice president until tomorrow. I’ll give him credit that he had the whole country a buzz waiting for their personal text, but it is pretty anti-climactic to find out that you are not getting the information as expected. This may have been a very interesting way to capture more voter information, but they may have ended up annoying those they had intrigued. Generation Technology is not used to have to wait for their information. They are not well known for their patience or long attention span. I think someone in the Obama campaign may have made a mistake in their calculations. If you are going to hype everyone up, you better be ready to follow through.

On the other hand, how do you not know how many houses you own? And if you really, really don’t for some bizarre reason, couldn’t you make it sound better than, “I’ll have to have my staff get back to you.” I will disclose that I myself am a Republican, but I cannot tell you that I am very excited about this candidate. And I almost threw up, when it was mentioned that he may pick Joe Liberman as his VP. Republicans are not all old, white, rich men and it is about time that our party acknowledged that, by putting up someone that represented a more diverse party while still focusing on our conservative core.

I hate to admit that this year my vote is very much up for grabs, unless Mitt is announced as McCain’s running mate or Clinton is announced as Obama’s. Mitt is my man. He had my support back in the primaries and will keep in if he is on the ticket. Clinton, on the other hand, repels me to the extent that I will happily accept anyone but.

What do you think of the Texting & House issues? Where does your support lye this year?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Doing It All or Living an Inspired Life

I can often be hear singing, “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, and never, ever let you forget you’re a man – ‘Cause I’m a woman.” I think it is from a perfume commercial when I was young. And yes I can do all these things. I can do it all, but you know what? I prefer not to!

Can I work full-time be a mom, homeschool, volunteer, keep the house, and cook dinner? Yes. Is it best for me? No! In fact, when I was trying to do it all, I emptied myself. My spiritual flame flickered low. I was moving through all the paces, but I was not living. Time was flying by but I didn’t feel like I was really experiencing it. I was clawing at the passing time trying to bring it back or at least mame it so it couldn’t move so fast.

When life changed and I was forced back in balance, my flame started glowing brighter than ever. Ideas began to flow. Time is slowing down to a savorable pace. Everyone is getting what they need from me (except possibly my pocketbook but I am working on that).

So for now, “My husband brings home the bacon, someone in the family (after I go grocery shopping) fries it up in the pan, and I’m awake enough to you feel like a man. ‘Cause I’m a woman (not a robot).”

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Answering DH with a Smile and a Nod

I have learned sometimes to smile and nod when my husband is talking. I love my husband dearly, but sometimes I just don’t know how to respond . . .a smile and a nod is all I have to offer. We are still unfortunately stuck in the real estate game. Today, I went up with the kids to check out some of the towns that we have been considering. My husband seems to be leaning toward one house that we looked at, so I decided to investigate the town a little more. The first time we looked at the house. He told me everything that was wrong with the house. I felt badly for the real estate agent because he was so blunt about the house’s short comings. When he asked my opinion, I tried to voice my opinion, but he launched into another list of failings that the house had. I rolled my eyes, smiled and nodded. Then a few weeks later, he was espousing all the benefits of the very same house; telling me that we should seriously consider this house as a contender. I smiled and nodded. Today, we actually went back twice. I went by this morning and then he came by this evening with us. I tried to mention that the cost of the repairs necessary would be very high and the house was in such a state that these repairs would have to be made before we moved in. DH made a verbal list of repairs with what he considered reasonable repair rates. I smiled and nodded, but in my mind had added the same list up to almost double his total. The man that had ditched a house because we would need to paint the exterior was now choosing a house that needed rugs changed out, bathrooms remodeled, floors redone, and various other changes. I have long since learned that sometimes it is not worth it to argue. I smiled and nodded knowing that our house still had not sold and frankly I’d be happy with any house that meant this “moving” stage was over.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Still Daddy's Little Girl

Tonight I made strawberry shortcake. When it was clear that we were not going to eat it all, I rang my father to make sure that he was home and asked if it was ok if I brought something down. One of the nice things about our current home is that we are only a half a mile from my parent’s house (this was especially helpful when my mother was sick). So I packaged up the shortcake, leashed the dog, and headed down. He hollered for me to meet him at the back entrance. I told him to bring a fork. “oh, no. I couldn’t eat any more. What did you bring?”

“Strawberry shortcake”

“Well, maybe I could find room for a little.” Let me tell you that there was barely any left in the bowl to make it worth washing. This made me very happy. I always worry about his eating. He eats only about two vegetables and eats his bagel with cinnamon sugar on it daily. He really should be made an honorary Italian for all the pasta he eats. Sometimes, when I look at him it is hard to believe that he was once a top athlete. I would bring him more food, but he doesn’t like the food that we eat. I wish that he would spend more time up with us, but he doesn’t like that we don’t allow people to smoke in our house. We try to get together at least once a week for coffee. We usually talk every other day – more during great sporting events. And we’ve been planning time together like the visit to the Titanic Exposition, going to seminars at his alma mater, or taking in a play. Even at 37, I still am daddy’s little girl.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Enjoy the Race - An Olympic Lesson

Usain Bolt from Jamacia could teach us all a lesson. As he ran the 100m men’s event, he not only won the gold medal, he broke another world record. The lesson that he taught though was not in strength, nor in fitness or speed (although 30 mph for a human being is amazing). If you watch his race, you will see that he begins decelerating before the end of the race. The entire race is less than 10 seconds, but he realized in the last second or two that he had won the race. He dropped his hands down feeling the wind and puffed his chest out. He then pounded his chest. All before passing the finish line in record time. Commentators were dumbfounded, “He could have shaved another .5 seconds off if he had stayed in form.” When they interviewed and asked him why he didn’t push harder, he basically responded that he won what more does he need to give. He was savoring the sweetness of success.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the achievement, we forget to enjoy our fruits. How many people have worked themselves, saying they will enjoy life when they retire and then due to health reasons are never able to do so? How many people get so caught up in getting somewhere, they never see the rainbow over their head? How many people get so side tracked making a future for their children that they miss their childhood altogether? Perhaps we should all lower our arms a little and pound our chests. When we know that we have won the race, we perhaps can slow a bit and enjoy the race itself.

Programing Note: Usain runs again later today in the 200m event.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Olympics Brake Age Barriers

What do the names Dana Torres, Constantina Tomescu Dita, and Oksana Chusovitina have in common? All of these women are over 30 and competing on an international scale. We may be admiring many of our Hollywood stars for how they are looking at 50 or 60, but these woman, Dana, Constantina, and Oksana, are showing us all what the true possibilities are. Middle age and over-the-hill are becoming terms of the past (of course I’m not sure that my knees know this). Dana is 41. Constantina, who just won the woman’s marathon, is 38. And Oksana is competing in her 5th Olympic Games as a gymnast at the age of 33.

This reminds me of the day I knocked on the door of a local artist Lois Leston. Lois is a painter. She proudly showed me many of her pieces – mostly local landscapes. So I asked if she had been painting her entire life. “No, I didn’t even pick up a paint brush until after I retired.”

Such phenomenal woman.

I say
It's in the click of my heels
The bend of my hair
The palm of my hand
The need for my care.
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman
That's me.
-Maya Angelou
An excerpt from Phenomenal Woman

What possibilities may lay in front of me . . .and you. I am proud to be called “Woman”!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Iconic Women

I have been doing some research on Eleanor Roosevelt lately for a unit study that I am working on. What an amazing woman! A woman who may have been born with a silverspoon, but endured countless family tragedies before even her adulthood. She married her distant cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt and became first lady. Her laurels though do not lay as the wife of a husband but in her own right especially in her work on human rights. Most interestingly, she began her life being very unsure of herself and in fact feeling like she was an ugly duckling. She was very self conscience of her voice and feared public speaking. She completed her life as a well respected female power house. She was a prolific writer and one of the most requested public speakers of the time. She earned herself the title “First Lady of the World”.

There have been many great women in history and I am wondering who you all admire. Who do you think has reached icon status in our society? What in their life made them deserving of this status? Let us know.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Waiting for my husband

I feel like a giddy teenager. My husband and son have been away for a week and I can’t wait for them to get home. It has certainly been a quiet week – just dd and me (and the dogs and the cat). I haven’t gone grocery shopping, barely cooked a meal. I think maybe I’ve done one load of wash and only taken out one bag of garbage. How can two people make such a difference to a household? You would think I would be happy with the peace. It has been a very productive week for my writing, but I miss the chaos.

Ohhhhh – He just called. They are on the road and will be back sooner than expected. Of course that also means that I have to roust up some dinner. And there will be piles of laundry. The garbage can will overflow. Noise will bellow through our windows . . .and I will be infinitely happy.

After, 16 years of marriage and 21 years of being together, he still rings my bell. We used to dream about rocking together on the front porch of our log cabin. That dream seems to be closer to a reality than ever before.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Demographics - The truth in the math

I just watched an NBC news segment on the growing minority segments of the US population. The story cites that the 49 /51 flop will occur earlier than initially estimated. But as I listened to the story, it dawned on me that this is more media hype or more correctly altered calculations. You can get numbers to say whatever you wish, if you set the problem up probably.

I want you to think about the basis of calculating ethnicities. If a white and a white have a child, the child is considered white. There is no other way to claim that you are “white”. If a white mixes with a black, then the baby is considered Black. Even if that Black baby grows up and marries a white, and their child grows up and marries white, and their child grows up and marries a white, and so on, each child is still considered Black. So is the Black demographic growing or are we using an out dated mode of figuring. At what point, is the person “white” again or are you forever “marked” (Not that race should matter anyway. But since the media is hyping it and the government continues to collect data on it, I guess it does matter). The same applies, with Hispanic growth but with even greater momentum. Being Hispanic does not stop you from being white or black, but as soon as any generation marries into the Hispanic line, all generations after that are considered Hispanic thereafter, no matter how small the bloodline. So how do blacks and Hispanics become the largest segments of our population, by maintaining the belief that any mixing of white blood taints it and it becomes other – whatever that other is. Maybe instead of worrying with this flip / flop should happen, we should either stop tracking this information or come up with an updated definition of ethnicities and race.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Georgia on My Mind - And Yours Too?

Things that just make you go HMMMM?

Today as we were walking to the car after viewing the Titanic Exhibit at the XL Center, we (dd, my father, and myself) noticed a car with a Georgia license plate. I broke into song singing, “I said an old sweet song, keeps Georgia on my mind.”

My dad bellowed, “Georgia, Georgia”

We laughed and all got into the car. Twisting and turning our way out of the underground parking garage. Then the worlds aligned. Karma exuded from all living things. And the collective conscience exploded.

As we met the open air, what is playing throughout the streets of Hartford? Georgia, On my mind. Hmmm! Coincidence or collective conscience?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fairies Moving In

If you live in the city, fairies must seem like characters made up for fairy tales. But if you live in the country, especially after a good rain, it seems possible. Everything looks so rich and brown. And when the sun shines through the breaks of the trees, it almost seems like a living fantasy movie.

Here in New England, we have been getting some crazy storms day after day, the other day we were even pelted with hail (as hail is snow according to the meteorologist, it will be recorded that we had snow in August). This extra moisture has caused fairies to move into my yard. How else could you explain these tiny capped houses that are not usually around, but when it rains . . .

I just want you to know that I went out while the sky was still flickering with lightning to get these pictures. And yes, I know the green stuff is poison ivy. I kept far away from that.

The extra moisture has also produced Indian Pipes, or maybe, maybe that is a little fairy forest – HMMMM!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday Miscellaneous Musings

Yummy New Melon

Oh, I found a yummy new melon – orange flesh. It is a combination of a honeydew and a cantaloupe. I found it at Wal-mart as we set out to get the last few things for the men’s canoe trip and I was grabbing food for coffee hour this week (I went with crackers, cheese, grapes, and melon – easy preparation and oh, so tasty). I couldn’t find a regular cantaloupe, which is what I was looking for, and had to “settle” for something different. See sometime change is good : ). Everyone at coffee hour raved about the flavor and texture, so I had some this morning for breakfast. It was delicious! Sometime diverting from your plan, can be a good thing.

Stuffed with Love

This morning I am eating the leftovers after having done Yoga with DD. If I haven’t mentioned it before, we have decided to make a change and try to become more healthy. Of course, this is made difficult when your husband buys you fudge from Cabela’s and Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Ice cream. Mind you he doesn’t know that DD and I have pledged to try to be healthier, but seriously I felt like I was being stuffed, enticed by my favorite foods. The poor man offered me the coffee ice cream and I almost had a fit, “What are you trying to do to me?”
“What? Are you on a diet? Your son and I just wanted to show you that we were thinking of you and love you.” He responded disappointedly.
I did later have a couple of bites, but I was able to contain myself. As anyone knows, a pint of Ben & Jerry’s is a single serving, so trying to limit to just a tasting is a real challenge.

Phelps has Two Golds Now

I grew up in a very sports oriented house. My father had been quite an athlete when he was young and so he channeled all that enthusiasm toward fan-hood as an adult. As an avid Red Sox fan (Diehard, I believe is the term), life was a little rough in our house especially in September (for those of you that did not follow the Sox in the 1970-90’s, September was the traditional choke time for the Red Sox. No matter how far ahead they were in the race for the pennant, it fell apart then). When I left the house, I could always count on my father watching the Sox or the Giants. So whenever I was watching the game and an incredible play was made, I would dial as fast as I could to share the moment with him. Last night, I had the opportunity to do this again.

Did you see the 4 x 100 freestyle? At 11:30 or so at night, as Lezak touched the wall, I was off my feet and dialing that phone. Sure enough, my father was hooting and hollering on the other end.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Disappointed in John Edwards

What is wrong with men? I can’t believe this story about John Edwards. And while his wife was sick – GRRRRR! This poor family has been through so much. How could he be so cavalier? This reminds me so much of the Garry Hart / Donna Rice affair. How do these people think that they will get away with this? They are not private people. There are forces at work that are purposely trying to unseat these people from their pedestal with issues far smaller than extra-marital affairs. Why would they put it all on the line?

I just can’t imagine reaching the pinnacle of my career and being willing to let it all go for dalliance with someone of the opposite sex. Bill Clinton’s time with Monica overshadows all of his other work. I’m not a particular fan of his politics, but how many people can name policies that Bill Clinton put into place? Who knows about the cigar and the blue dress? How sad to have your career soiled in such a way.

Ironically, I can’t think of too many women who have been willing to pay such a high price. So maybe this male stupidity finally puts to rest the question of which is the stronger gender. These men seem to be willing to give up all that they have for a few minutes in bed – to hell with the consequences. We woman will endure lack of food and goods, embarrassment, and even physical harm if that is better for the whole. So I guess the term “stronger” is all relative.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Definition of FAMILY

“Why did you wake me up?” DD complained.

“We have to get going.” I said flatly.

“But I told you last night not to wake me up until 11 am.”

I laughed, “That is never going to happen in this family.”

She grumbled into the couch.

My husband butted in, “Maybe you don’t know what FAMILY means.”

Just the way he said it made me laugh. It sounded like “family” had some secret meaning like SCUBA or NASA that she may not be privy to. I couldn’t help it. I had to ask, “And what does FAMILY stand for?”

He looked at me and realized he had been caught being the difficult father that he doesn’t want to be. He thought, smiled, and said, “Let’s see Fathers and Mothers . . .Hmmm!”

We finally concluded FAMILY means Fathers and Mothers Including Loveable Youth. While not perfect, it did prevent a fight and we all got a good laught.

Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritation and resentments slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.
~Mark Twain

Can you come up with a better Acronym for FAMILY? How has humor helped to lighten up your family life?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Family Time Together

I could probably write an incredible post below these pictures about having traveled somewhere in Scotland or England, but instead they are from a hidden corner in Connecticut. DH had to drop off a bid in Canton and then we were to buzz by the Boy Scout office for a tour permit, and then over to the ultimate shopping destination, Cabela’s. But when DH looked at the map he decided to take a detour. After all these years of marriage, he still surprises me. He said, “I’m going take you here.” He pointed to the Sayville Dam on the CT map. “You won’t even believe we are still in CT.”

He was right, it looked like we had driven into a loch the way the water snaked around hills. It was beautiful. I was particularly interested in this building atop the reservoir, maybe a control house of some kind. Its architecture only added to the mystic. As the gas prices are so high and our esteemed Governor M. Jodi Rell is recommending stay-cations, what new place can you discover by you?

We also hit another tourist attraction, just before the dam at a gas station in New Hartford. We found a telephone booth. Our kids did not know what to make of it. DD thought we had been transported to England - - -it doesn’t seem to enter her consciousness that we once had them too. I’m sure she is still rattled from learning that records came in two sizes – 33’s and 45’s. At the rate DH and I are going telling the kids that we know and lived with all these ancient forms of communication, they are going to be sure that we are older than dirt.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Certainly no one would mistake me for Imelda Marcos? I probably own 12 pair of shoes, but this in only because fashion requires it. It is hard to wear sneakers with a dress and high heels hiking. My collection is nowhere near the 2700 pair of shoes Imelda left behind in Manilla. Of course out of my 12 pair of shoes, each season has its one pair that is my shoe. And I don’t get rid of shoes until they are completely destroyed. This summer and actually last summer too, I have been quite happy with a pair of sandals that I picked up at either Wal-mart or Payless Shoes. The idea of buying $100 or $500 shoes is just foreign to me, no matter who designed them.

I must admit that I admire a pretty shoe. I am particularly partial to the shoes that lace up your leg like a ballet slipper, but on me they just make me look short. And who has time to put on all these shoes? I like to slip them on as I go out the door and drop them off when I come in. My poor father is just happy to see shoes on my feet, as he must chastise me 100 times a year for not wearing shoes. Even as an adult, when he takes my daughter out to a game and I greet him when they return, the first thing he does is look at my feet. My husband finds my feet the one part of my body he is not attracted to – probably all that walking without shoes.

But shoes were invented to protect our feet – basic and purposeful, a necessity. Now they are a fashion statement. They are meant to appeal, to convey status, to make people drool. It really doesn’t matter how comfortable they are as long as they properly go with your outfit. Each season the styles change, so that like clothes, if you don’t have a new pair, you look out of touch. I had the hardest time two years ago when every shoe had chunky bottoms – Yuck! That year, I don’t think I bought any shoes.

I was never really a shoe buyer, but my ability to find really nice shoes that fit and were comfortable completely fell apart after I had children. Who knew that getting pregnant even affected your shoe size? My feet are wider than ever before. Pointy shoes may be very cute, but for me they are very painful if I can even get my paws in them at all. Stilettos are also a thing of the past. Now I understand why old lady shoes have sensible thick heals - - -because they are sensible. Especially with a mom schedule, I could be in the market, on the soccer field, and at a meeting all in the same day. If you did not already know stilettos on a grassy surface is a no win situation, but chucky heals work on all of these surfaces and can look reasonably stylish too.

Actually, my favorite shoe is just a simple sandal – no pretense, no pop, just utility and comfort. I guess that choice actually says a lot about me.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What to Cook

Sometimes I wish Rosie from the Jetsons really existed or the food transporters in Star Trek. Every night, I hear, “what is for dinner?”. These cries, I swear, start before they have barely downed their lunch. My husband is no better, sometimes he asks before he even leaves for work. Now I would love to be the preplanned Stepford wife who knows what we are eating for the next month and sometimes I do have it down, but some nights - - -aghhhhh! I don’t know and frankly (don’t tell anyone) I don’t care. I’ll be happy with a bit of cheese or a baked potato. I don’t want to think of a whole meal.

It seems like I am thinking about food 24 hours a day. If I’m not thinking of meal planning, I am thinking about shopping. What are we short on? And then I have to think of the extra things like, pies for church, coffee hour, cookies for meetings. No wonder dieting is so difficult. I think that my family thinks that I have a chip in my brain devoted just to meal preparation. I do enjoy looking through cooking magazines. I can’t really stomach cooking shows – maybe because I’m jealous. But I do like trying new things - - -maybe that is part of my problem. If every Wednesday was Prince Spaghetti day, I would know what I was having, but instead I like to mix it up and end up wishing I did not have to cook at all.

Oh, well, the microwave is beeping . . .I have to go make dinner. Maybe I’ll be more inspired tomorrow.

How do you plan your meals? Do you recommend any great websites or cookbooks?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Family Planning

In this month’s Cookie magazine (August), there is an article called “More or Less: Four women explain how they chose – consciously and not – the number of children they have.” The authors have between zero and four children. All seem pretty happy with their choice. Deciding on family size can be a very personal and very charged decision. It can even be difficult to discuss as spouses. We had always talked about having several children and then after we had one, my dh seemed hesitant to have any more and I was adamant that I wanted at least one more. We had the second. Then we decided to permanently end the conversation with a vasectomy. Although I think we both might have reconsidered for at least another one, but by the time we got to that point, we had already made the decision a permanent one.

Family planning as part of my religious beliefs never crossed my mind until I read A Mom Just Like You by Vickie Farris and Jayme Farris. I had picked up the book as a homeschooling help book, but for the first time some put words to my ache. Perhaps all of this outside control of our family size wasn’t meant to be ours but God’s. I have since spoken of this thought with only a few of my closest friends as this is certainly not a mainstream idea. Controlling family size is equated with woman’s liberation. I think with some of this liberation came at a cost. By raising fewer kids and working more, family needs and wants have grown and we have lost a bit of the simplicity of life – the smells of a baking pie, the laughter of children running through the house, the help of your older children with your younger ones.

This idea of a large family arose again as we made friends with a large family and watched their interaction. Even dh has mentioned the desire for a larger family. And then came the TLC (the Learning Channel) shows about the Duggars, a homeschooling family that is now expecting their 18th child. Watching the way their family interacts was impressive, not that I could even attempt to replicate Michelle’s patience or organization. And 18 children are probably more than I could survive. Maybe though, our haste and society’s pressures caused us to be a little too hasty in our family plan. Of course, maybe my hormones are just talking.

How many children do you have? Do you hope to have more? Do you ever regret your family “plan”?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Treat Me Well - I expect nothing less

I am currently reading Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth. As I am reading, I have come across the following passage:

Then she used her weapons against him and she would not let him into her room that night and she complained and said,” You do not love me for if you did you would wish me to be happy.”
Then Wang Lung was humbled and anxious and he was submissive and he was sorry and he said,
“Let it be only as you wish and forever.”
The she forgave him royally and he was afraid to rebuke her in any way . . ." (pg 206)

This passage made me think of relationships in general. This was not just a formative time in the relationship between Lotus and Wang Lung, but a key component to all relationships no matter what their nature. We teach people how to treat us. From the moment we first meet there are exchanges between two people that decide who takes the upper hand, who is the dominated, or if you will be equals. People wonder why women stay in abusive relationships; I think the clearest answer is that one does not start in an abusive relationship. One relents and releases control in the tiniest steps such that the movement toward abuse is almost imperceptible until it explodes and you realize that you have brought the slap to your own face – not in that moment, not in that day, but it little steps over weeks, months, years. How can we scream against it, when we have allowed it. We almost asked for it, by serving when asked; letting comments slide by. The guilt stings. If I had stood up that first day. If when we were introduced, I had shook his hand with strength and confidence and not batted my eyes low. Certainly this is no excuse for his behavior, but . . .

Then she used her weapons against him and she would not let him into her room that night and she complained and said, “You do not love me for if you did you would wish me to be happy.”
Then Wang Lung realized her ruse and retorted, “Why should a man with my wealth and power want to be in the bed of a whore?”
Lotus trying to beguile him with his own passion said, “It is not I who came to your bed, but you to mine. I will be your perfect Lotus flower and let you smell my perfume, if you will but give me a moment of happiness.”
“I will give you everyday of pleasure, but of what you ask, I will deny you. This woman is of evil spirit and will curse our love. Relent your position and let us come together as it was meant to be.” (pg 206 rewritten)

How might you rewrite your relationships? No one higher ; No one lower. Equals among equals. Partners.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I Am - appreciated for just being


I am so quiet in my life
Loud in my actions
Clear in my convictions

But who would they say I am?
What I do, they know.
When I plan, they come.

Called for my decisive actions.
Could they tell you one private moment?
Do they have a shared memory?

My name they know,
But my Being Kept hidden

Could it be the other way –

I live so loudly
They hear me cry
They watch me laugh

We join in joy and sorrow
Embracing friends
Shouldering troubles

Tied together, braided and intertwined
Sharing a moment
Traveling through life together

My being bursting forth,
Comfortable in showing my all!

I Am!

I wrote this while absoring Oprah on Friday. She was talking to Maria Shriver about her new book, Just Who Will You Be.

Like the audience I could relate to many of the feeling that she had about being appreciated for doing not just for being. I think that I am going to put this book on my must read list. . . .

What books are on your must read list? Did anything this week inspire you to do more?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I Sat . . .

Willoughvale Inn, Lake Willoughby, VT

I sat in Robert Frost’s chair
And what did I see there:

a frozen lake,

a snow topped hill,

a desk,

a window,

a lover asleep in the morning light.

I sat in Robert Frost’s chair
And what did I see there:

an idea
developing / growing,

a pen
waiting to be picked up,

a future.

I saw these things as I sat in Robert Frost’s chair.

Friday, August 1, 2008

A new chapter in my life - - - Me Time

I am sitting now in the East Hampton library, quietly by myself. It is the “by myself” part that is hard to get used to. I remember dreaming about this day. For a while it seemed that I was never without a child attached to me in some way, either in my womb or at my breast. Then even when I would have time alone, I don’t even know if you can call it alone because there was a purpose to my mission – a doctor’s appointment, work, maybe the dentist. I remember my MIL actually saying that my children would never be able to separate from me. Well, if she could see me now. I am alone. The kids are off doing what kids do and now mom is left finding out what she does. I think the impact of this life change is even more pronounced because I’m not working right now, so it is time to find me again.

When I was in high school, I recall writing a poem about me, myself, and I where I felt that I was not an integrated person because there was the me that I truly was, the me that I projected to others, and the me that I was expected to be. I have long since worked that out, but somehow in the hustle and bustle of diapers and Girl Scouts, cooking dinner and work, I forgot to be me. I knew who I was. I just didn’t have time to do it. I didn’t even have a moment to go to the bathroom by myself. I was in survival mode just trying to get from one project to the next. Now as a lady of leisure I have time to explore me, to write me, to create me. I must admit I am a little intimidated by the clay sitting in front of me waiting to be worked. These next years with more me time may be the most prolific of my life. What will I do with them?

As you have had more me time, what new things have you done? What have you found worthwhile?

New Teen Driving Laws

New driving laws have been adopted here in Connecticut and came into effect yesterday. New restrictions have been added to teen drivers, and parents have even been ordered to attend a two hour teen safety driving course. Of course, it has strong public support. People are rallied behind the idea of safeguarding our teens. Proof that acceptance of governmental control is always the way you spin it. I think that we have become a regulation happy society. We seem to think that should make laws for everything. These driving laws, although based in a reasonable ideal, are just more laws that are illogical and unenforceable (except in the worst case scenario of an accident). Are police officer’s now supposed to guess how old a driver is? Hmmm – 16? 18? Have they had their license for a year or 6 months (you cannot have friends in the vehicle until you’ve had your license for a year)?

I don’t know about most of you, but my time behind the wheel was often with my parents as they had to run my younger brother into town for a baseball game. Thank goodness I’m not getting my license now because you can’t have even you siblings in the car for the first 6 months. However if you are being raised by a single parent there is an exception (and a police officer would know this how? Does that mean a divorce decree has to be issued? How about if you are just separated? What about a married couple where one of the spouses travels?). What about families where the children are spaced well apart? You are teaching a 16 year old but also have a 4 year old. Are you supposed to leave the younger one home alone? I think this law instead of increasing driver’s strengths may weaken them, because the teens will never be allowed to drive. They will only meet the most minimal hours on the road.

Also, because the license becomes less restrictive as time passes, many teens will not have free will use of their cars until they are at college or out on their own. I don’t know about you but I would much rather have my children test the boundaries while under my roof than when they out on their own – ever heard of college binging and the freshman 15 - - how about the dropout rate for freshman in college. . . When children are out on their own for the first time, they tend to go a little crazy. Now we want them to do it with a car.

The law also reduces the curfew to 11:00 pm. I thought the government only enforced curfews under martial law? Doesn’t this seem to be a petty crime to waste police officers time with? Curfew is a parent’s jurisdiction. If you want to make a driving law, make one that gives parent’s the right to revoke their children’s driving rights either temporarily or permanently (until 18). It is only at this level that individual circumstance can be taken into account. If the concern is that kids are only out to party or cause mischief after 11:00 pm then there are laws against drunk driving, underage drinking, and criminal mischief on the books. Why not use the laws that already exist instead of making more?

Ironically, this law only applies to 16 and 17 year olds. If you wait until 18, none of these restrictions apply. It is my guess that we will see a reduction in 16 and 17 year old car related fatalities and accidents and a rise in 18 year olds. Unfortunately accidents are not necessarily a product of young drivers, but instead of inexperience. By making all these rules and regulations, we are just changing the timeline for that experience.