Thursday, December 31, 2009

my first webcam photo! who knows what's next!

here we are....the end of the year on the cusp of newness!  i'm feeling so much potential.  i'm feeling like it's a new start....time to enjoy the changes that have occurred in the years past.  i'm  feeling proud of who i am today...and humbled by knowing how much better i can be....as a person, as a wife, as a mom, as an artist wanting to follow my dream of having my own business, as a friend....even as a blogger!

i love some of the ways that i have followed through in my life.  i love that i'm always open to new things and new possiblilites.  it scares me to think of getting older and letting go of my dreams or getting too stuffy and set in my ways.  that seems out of the question, especially if i want to grow.  it gives me hope for new things to learn and see and do!  people who are sure they have everything figured out and have everything done just so seem to scare me a little!  while they may see my life as chaotic or unstructured, i feel i'm just open to new people, places and things and styles and dreams!  i actually do enjoy structure and i need structure to keep it together, day to day!

certainly, as a mom. trying to do my best, i've worked really hard to have structure...for me and for our family.  while the observer may not see the order, it's there.  our kids have grown up with the gift of order and organization.  i know i must have a sort of mom a.d.d.  i only came to notice ti once we had two kids.  i really had to work hard to keep their world safe and calm.  simple things like not losing my car keys or my wallet!
a.d.d. seems to rear it's ugliness when i am distracted and not tuned in.

i have worked really hard to let our children grow up in a home that is calm and peaceful.  we enjoy the calm and love some chaos....when it's a kind of planned chaos or serendipity.  serendipity has been the joy of my life.  our children have learned the goodness of our sponteneity. ita keeps life fun.  it's nice to go somewhere on a whim.....and a prayer.....looking for fun.  i hope we have shown them, by example, that fun doesn't always have to be found.....it's right where we are...we don't have to look for something or someone better....we are already there.

i grew up thinking the fun was somewhere else. i didn't want to miss anything.....i still don't.  i've come to treasure being where i am.  i'm always open but i'm also glad to be right here with my family, wherever we are.  i used to fill myself with more things and people from the outside.....now i realize i'm here...we're here and we don't have to look any further.

it's been years of learning!  i'm the college girl who never closed the door to my room, not wanting to miss anything or anyone!  looking back, had i known this already, i might have been a better student.  as the chairman of my department said, "you are a better friend to your friends than you are to your books!"  and that is true.  and thankfully, i still have those friendships....that was the greatest gift of my college life.  besides, i have my college diploma over the washer and dryer now.  i know i have the smarts and i know college made me who i am.....i learned more life lessons than book lessons, that's true.  that's the real me though!  i can learn by doing way better than i can by book.  i admit, i'm the one who doesn't like to read directions.....i like to have it decribed to me.....maybe that's the artist in me....i'm much more visual.

as we all heard in the first decade of the twenty first century, i'm trying to be my "authentic self"........it was an '"aha" moment..... "it is what it is."........."at the end of the day..."....."24/7"....."whatever".

the needlepoint pillow that's my favorite is the one that says,"i wish i could be the person my dog thinks i am." that pretty much sums it up for me.  daisy pretty much accepts me as i am and she seems to think i'm great.  she doesn't seem to notice my flaws....not the way i do....not the way our new teens do.  i'm my own harshest critic....at least, i hope i am or i'm really in trouble!

our teens really pick at our flaws lately....and that's because they're always checking us out to see what it is about us that could be their next embarrassment.  so far, since our children are teens, we laugh too much and too loudly, our analogies are ridiculous, we're hippies if we talk about the way things used to be, we can't sing, we don't know how to text (i was recently accused of using gangster talk on my texts...apparently, my txt abbrev r no gd....i'm not even a cool texter) ......and God knows i text way too slowly, my lipstick is the wrong color, i should not blog, i should not try to act cool, i never did anything cool when i was a kid, i make funny faces that are not funny and so much more.  and i worry that i'm too hard on myself!

i have alot to learn and our children teach us lessons everday.  they certainly have taught me to slow down.....to enjoy the moment....because, in an instant, the mood may change or a text may change things for all of us!

it's exciting to start a new year. new years resolutions usually don't do it for me.  it's thinking of the newness and the possibilities.....the chance to try harder, do a little more, a little better at the little things and do the best with what we have and what we know so far.  i like to imagine what can be.....for all of us.  i mean, life is crazy.....i started a blog in 2009!  who'd a thought!  me. non-techno liz!  our kids laugh....and they make me laugh!  i too, think it's kinda crazy!  call me crazy and i'll know my life is good because i'll be trying something i've never done or doing something unconventional or seeing things in a new light!  that's great for me......to keep changing.....learning....growing....loving........looking.....believing....trying.....doing.....dreaming....living!


happy new year!  who knows what's next!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

it's the anniversary of our engagement!

biff and i met ice skating on january 9, 1992!  we got engaged on the ice at rockefeller center in new york on december 30, 1993.  and there are about  9,732 stories somewhere in between.  one thing for sure, we love to celebrate anniversaries!  i love a good tradition and as biff says, "if it's happened once, it's a tradition!"

we had the longest meet story of anyone we know.  it began about 2 skating seasons before we actually spoke to each other. i grew up going to a local ice skating rink named christopher morley.  before that, the only place i had skated was at polliwog pond.  my dad used to take me and my friend, suzy to christopher morley.

i started skating at christopher morley one winter, when i decided to just do what i loved.....just for me.  just 'cuz i was tired of asking people to go skating and listening to everyone say they hadn't skated in years, couldn't and wouldn't even consider it!  it was then that i realized that i had a five year old niece, who lived nearby, who would love to learn and it would be a fun activity for us!

let the skating begin!  and we did.  every thursday night.  any weather, as long as their was ice.  we had a great time together.  it was fun for me to do what i loved with a little person that i loved!  who knew the love that would follow.  love is in the air!

we skated together thursday nights and sunday late afternoons.  we talked and skated and skated and talked.  we had birthdays on the ice for my niece claire and we brought claire's little friends.  it was a great activity for both of us.  i was getting great exercise and she was learning something new to master and give her even more confidence.

again and again, i noticed a nice guy skating on thursday nights. he wore a baseball cap, a windbreaker, bluejeans and hockey skates.  he had a mustache and horn rimmed glasses.  he was good looking and in good shape.  must work at brooks brothers....nearby....he has that kind of look!

so, round and round we skated for two seasons.  and one thursday night, my niece was not able to come skating.  she had a cold.  i was disappointed but happy to get myself to the rink.  i loved skating.  i always loved skating and it was fun with friends or alone.

that night, as i finished up skating, i took  off my skates, put on my boots, wiped off my blades.....and i walked out the door and up the ramp toward the car.

it was then that my life changed forever!  biff, just a bit ahead of me, turned to look at me and said, "where's your girl?"  i said, "my girl, everyone always thinks that!  she's my niece!  she has a cold!"

apparently, biff had tried many times to talk but becacuse my attention was on claire, i never noticed!  wow!  that story could go on and on and on!  thankfully, biff talked to me when he did, because for us both, the riming was just right!  no boyfriends for me....no girlfriends for him.  it was so nice that we met.  all i remember thinking was......wow! what a great guy!  that was so fun to meet him!.......even though i had seen him at the rink, it just was one of those things.....i wasn't there to meet someone,  it hadn't ever occurred to me.  i was really, truly skating because i loved it.....since i was little.

and so did biff!  he had been skating since he was very little and just loved it.  so, since he worked nearby, he skated there on thursday nights.

it was so much fun to meet at the rink.  we used to say "skate and date"....it made our "getting to know you" phase so easy and such fun.....and even claire got to meet him early on!  that was great too!
the year flew by.....he knew my favorite numbers were 123......we had talked about marriage...we had met each others parents......we had met each others friends.....we had lots of skate dates and lots of walks on the boardwalk.  we had rollerbladed to the beach when the skating season ended. we had boogie boarded together.  we had seen movies together.  we had gone to concerts together.  we had gone to baby baptisms together. we had gone to weddings together.  we had vacationed together.  we had fallen in love on the ice!

we got engaged on the ice at rockefeller center.  that story of getting engaged could go on til next year.  he did get down on his knee, on the ice....with the christmas tree at rockefeller center right behind him!  he said, "liz, we do such crazy things together..............let's do crazy things for the rest of our lives.......will you marry me?"

that's when tears began pouring down my face......happy tears......tears of joy!  of course, the answer was yes!

my life is better because of him.  he makes me a better person. we work really hard to work together.  we love each other and we try to show it everyday.  we have our bothers and pecadillos....and we talk them out.  we work together to figure out the hard stuff. we do our best to parent. we try....and try....and try.  we respect each other. we respect each other's families.  we love them.  they are the ones who have made each other who we are.  we love to be with each other.  we appreciate the others need to be alone.  we love our children deeply.  we love our own families.  we love our friends. we love each other.  we believe in each other. we support each other. we trust each other.  we are best friends.  we show our love for each other every day.

and although my nickname from my mom was little mary mix up, he doesn't even blink....when one of my life mixups occurs.  thank God that one of his greatest gifts and one of my greatest gifts is  a sense of humor.  we are serious about our lives, but our sense of humor saves us from the drama of life.  and life has alot of drama.  we trust in God.  we trust each other to look out for each other.  we are truly in love and treasure our love everyday....even when we're too tired to shout it from the rooftops.   it's the quiet that's the best......the quiet knowing and trusting.....that we are partners side by side.

anniversaries and traditions are fun.  what's not to love.....we met ice skating and got engaged on ice.....let's celebrate!  it's the anniversary of our engagement!

mixing it up a bit!



we have had a wonderful time skiing/snowboarding ....it's so great for our family to get out together....enjoying some of the fun in life!  that's when life is good.  no mom saying, "did you do your homework yet?"..."please empty the dishwasher"......"get off the computer now!"  it certainly is good for all of us to enjoy outdoor sports and activities together.  just getting away gives us all a new perspective and a relief from our busy lives.  just us.  

mixing it up a bit....that's how my husband and i see it.  when we're out and about, with friends and seeing lots of other people....it just seems to mix it up a bit.  we have us and that's great!  but, take us, move us, shake up the routine, mingle and meet and look at things and people with and without all of us.....it's mixing it up a bit!

we did.  since our early dating days, we always said, "we meet the nicest people wherever we go!"  it's true.  we dated, got married, had kids, had dogs.....and with each new endeavor,  we meet the nicest people wherever we go.  i think that's just 'cuz we expect to meet nice people.  actually, while we were dating and staying out in the hamptons during the summer, we found a great old,rundown,  ramshackle building that looked like it had once been a very small sailing club....maybe a beach community on the bay.  riding our bikes, one beastly, hot summer day, we wandered down a dune swept breezy lane and  the sight of the delapidated shack was a relief to both of us.........it was on the water, so we could sit on the dried out,  splintered, sunwashed dock and splash our sunburned feet in the cool water.  we sat back and imagined how it used to be.  we imagined the families who once enjoyed barbeques, beach parties and baoting in common.  we imagined the relaxed atmosphere of the location. we imagined the sunny days of summer there and the early fall as the families departed for their other lives back at home, somewhere else, somewhere that life was not as simple.

we loved that spot.  we brought friends back by bicycle. we took pictures. we laughed about what we could do to the place.  we dreamed of bringing it back. we dreamed of the days to come and the life that would be there.  we dreamed of the twinkling nights at night with families dancing to smalltime bands. we dreamed of colorful bathing suits, beachballs and keds, the sneakers. simple life.  very simple life just for people who were just "nice".  we dreamed of the name posted on the sign out front...."the nice people's club", for nice people.

we like to mix things up a bit. when we're out and about....just having fun with us and with others we meet along the way.
it's really not that corny.  it sounds corny.  we're not that corny! 

so, while we were up in new hampshire, we had to rent some skis....for us.  we stopped into the store, the one my daughter pointed out....because she saw the advertisement in a local magazine, they had great skis.....colorful skis by a name brand surfer company.  what fourteen year old girl could resist?  that was our ski stop.  they had just the right skis for us.

we saw a "life is good" store across the street in the very small summer/winter "resort" town.  who doesn't love a life is good store?  the t-shirts always crack me up.  while my husband got me a cup of coffee at dunkin donuts, grace and i ran across to do a "speed shop" ...we shopped, the salespeople were friendly and approached gently to offer help, but only if we needed it.  as we made our choices, my husband came in.  he had my small coffee with milk.  we were paying and i took a peek under the lid. "yuk", i said.  what?  it was the wrong kind. it was back coffee with sugar.  "epic fail!", as our kids would say.  my husband recoiled and said, "oh no!"........now, he's a man who has learned the perfection of just the right amount of milk with just the right amount of coffee.  it's not that he cares.....he takes his coffee black...it's that he respects my fragile coffee self.  with an uncanny desire to have my coffee, both hot with a capital H and just the right "color" coffee.  my pecadillos are many.....it pleasures me to know that i have friends with similar coffee pecadillos....go figure.  it more than pleasures me that my husband knows these pecadillos and loves me despite them!

well,  "we meet the nicest people.....",  a woman in the store seemed to understand  our concern.  as a local, she assured us, "go back and tell them that it's wrong, they'll give you another!"....we weren't sure.  she prodded.  why?  because she had the same pecadillo.....the coffee pecadillo.  my husband returned with a new coffee and we began to get in the car.  he said, "look what the woman wrote on your cup!".....i looked.  i laughed.  i said, "wait, i've gotta show this to the people in the store!" i ran in and showed them my cup that read, "sorry for our mistake....hope you enjoy this one!"......everyone in the store was happy to share the coffee joy and we all had a good laugh.  and off we went!

the next day, at the mountain, we were buying our lift tickets and we heard someone say, "hey, did you get a good cup of coffee this morning?"  it was our newfound, "life is good"friend, from the store.  she was working at the mountain.  we all had alot of laughs.  we introduced our friends, who would be skiing more than us this winter.  we bumped into each other again and again.  we all had alot in common.  we said our big goodbyes after three days.....just goes to show you, "we meet the nicest people..."

life is good, especially when we're mixing it up a bit!

thankfully!

as we like to say, time spent on vacation with our good ole friends is "a forced march through paradise!"  we have the best times together.  there are always lots of choices when we spend time together. we love them....they love us. so they say!  we have spent some of the most precious summers of our lives with them.....we have spent many fun filled vacations with them....we have spent weekends upon weekends with them.....we have celebrated many birthdays of our children together....we have spent some of our greatest family times with them.....our children have grown up side by side through the years.....we have lived through lots of family events.....we have shared in joys and sorrows......we have  been through the biggest of big..........playgroup!                  

after spending any amount of time with them, we leave with some of our greatest memories yet, WE ARE EXHAUSTED!  thankfully, for us, our friends are more of the "type a" variety, while my husband and i are more of the "type b" and sometimes a "type x, y or z"!  however, we get things done, we don't seem to have the planning and forethought as our "type a" friends.  we like to get the most out of a day......but they can do more, more, more! 

when we are with them.....we laugh about our forced march through paradise.   we tease them.  just as we are about to put our feet up, it's time to put our shoes on.   just as we are about to kick back, we get kicked in the butts.   just as we about to lay low, we are shot to the moon.........and we love it....every exhausted second of the march!

since we've had kids, our style has changed.  when we had new babies, i tried to maintain my busy lifestyle.....i was able to keep that going for a good, long time.  i lived, all dressed up, having places to go, people to meet.  i even had the car and carseats, baby "pack and plays", back packs, strollers, jog strollers and bike carts to get us there......while still maintaining my talbots matching belt buckles, hair bands and shoes.

it was when we lived up near boston, that i caught on.  i was in the museum of fine arts in boston, with a nineteen month old baby girl in a double, peg perego stroller and a three month old baby, t.j.,  being held close to nurse.  that was not the problem.....that was easy....i probably could have managed a lot more......like, a pet monkey and a baby chimp.....as long as they were strapped into a stroller with a snack!  my three month old was certainly able to eat on the go, with no problem, at his drive through window,,,,,me!  my nineteen month old, grace, was buckled into her super stroller! 

life was good as we sat in the fine arts gallery,  echoing our happy sounds,  as people pondered the beauty of all that surrounded us!   most important, in stuffy, old boston, i had my personal food mart breast  covered well by one of the cute cotton blankets that my new baby boy had recieved as a gift.  incognito.....even his big sister, at nineteen months, thought he had "ho-mu-la", otherwise known as formula.

all was well in my world....my life was full.  this stay at home mother thing was just great.  i didn't have to stay home all day.....eating bonbons and cleaning spit up!  i was able to get up, get everyone dressed.  coordinated, of course.  when i mentioned that i coordinated our clothing, my mom said, "well, why not?  you]'re the one who has to look at them all day!"  she seemed to think that was normal....after all, we did want to always be our best, didn't we?  and look our best?  of course.   as long as we all looked good were able to keep up an active life like i had before children, life must be great! look at me!  i can do it all!......kinda!

that was then......way back then.  and that day, the boston museum of fine arts security guard approached me.......that man changed my whole life....and the lives of our children and my husband!  what could a security possibly have done to change my life, you ask?  i wasn't plotting or planning a heist.  i didn't even have room in our 800 square foot condo to hang a poster from that museum, muchless an actual oil painting from the impressionest period.  he quietly stepped over to our little snack stand, where i was sitting on a bench.   he quietly, as only a museum security guard can mutter, "there is no eating in the gallery m'am." .......eating?   "we are not eating", i whispered.  t.j. was covered.  the guard, serious and sobering, stated that "the child is dispensing cereal."  yes, that's true, i told him.  "my baby has a few cheerios........but, that's not food sir!"......."that's survival", i insisted.  he chose to differ.  we put away the visible cheerios and after our food fest, we took some time to educate my budding geniuses while strolling through the remainder of the gallery.....walked to the car and drove home.

that's not the end of my story.....i spoke to my mom that night.  she asked me her ususal question......"what did you do today?"......i told of my adventures.  we laughed.  i described my indignant response to the security guard.  i hung up the phone.  when i kissed my babies that night, i realized that i had not taken them to the museum to educate them...haha....but, i had gone to the museum to prove to myself  that i could still do anything i wanted....even if one itty, bitty baby, who did not care where he was, as long as he had me at his disposal, did not care about fine art.......and neither did my nineteen month old baby girl.......although a perfectly intellectual little lady!   i realized i had taken them to that museum so that i would have an answer for my sweet mom.....the mom who had asked, for my whole life, "what did you do today?"

actually, it was then that i realized, my little babies did not care where we had been.   they really only cared if they were fed and clean and had some loving attention.  and that's what matters.  everyday. everwhere. anyhow. any way.

so, finally, i realized it was the, "how are you?" that really mattered......not so much the "what did you do today?"......as long as we were all happy and healthy and living well.....for us!

that security guard changed everything.    i slowly but surely began to prioritize, for me, what mattered.  i stepped away from a few "foofy doo doo" clubs, as my good friend called one of my womens organizations!  that security man made me realize that some of the "Foofoodoodoo" clubs really didn't matter to me, my husband or our babies!  and our lives got better and better, for us.

oh, we sure did alot....like baby ice skating.....with our little babies on the ice as soon as they could walk, maybe not even talk yet!  we walked miles with our double jog stroller, we met everyone in the world on our walks.....the mailman, the u.p.s. man, the neighbors, the store owners, the barber, the police, the fire fighters, the community.

we also prioritized our friendships.  we spent more time with people who really made us all happy....people we all had a great time!  life just got better and better!

and that's when our "type a" friends became really good friends with us.....we had slowed down....we actually had more time to spend....."quality time", as it became known, in the nineties.......we let go of some of the social groups that we found boring and phoney baloney and frankly, "foofoodoodoo"!

so,  as we changed, our lives changed.  as our lives changed, we changed.....all for the better.  and because we are more likely to be tagged,  "type b.....type x, y, z",  by our great friends......it's o.k........because, even though it's possible to make them crazy on occasion......we are not likely to go head to head trying to control andy situations......even paradise!   because of that security guard, back in 1996, we can be in paradise and enjoy any forced march we are exposed to......especially with friends.   sometimes, for us, it's great to have friends push us through paradise!  because, with some friends, we don't even have to be in paradise to have fun!   thankfully!


ho! ho! ho! it's daisy


do it all again tomorrow!

 











wow!  what a day!  everyone was up bright and early, dressed, had breakfast, brushed teeth, got our gear on and clomped out the door.....to a spectacular, snowy day! we all were bundled up and ready to go......all dressed up and no place to go......we were waiting for a shuttle.......to take us from the condo to the mountain.....to buy the tickets......to get on the mountain. as we all waited, we began to doubt ourselves and the shuttle timing. after lots of snowballs and debating our sanity, the bus arrived.....and we rumbled up the mountain road to to the lodge.....

and the fun began.  our friends, ski much more than us...they are way more experienced than us! we still marvel at our kids and how they truly enjoy one another and are always genuinely delighted to spend time together. talk about fun! friends who could easily hurdle down the hill, bombing down to the base lodge......instead, they gently meander with our family....3 skiers and 1 snowboarder......all adjusting to a new ski season and working very hard to get acclimated....just to get moving well enough to really have some serious fun.

all of these kids have been together since before they could walk and talk. the two older kids, 14, have birthdays within a couple of weeks of each other.......the boy, loyal and true to the girl, stayed with her and coached her and laughed with her and helped her push herself further than she knew she could today. certainly, as grace's mom, I know she can do just about anything when she puts her mind to it! although, instruction coming from her mom or dad can be most frustrating.....for her! more then us.

the two 13 year old boys look out for one another too. our snowboarder and his lifetime buddy go side by side, with lots of turns and twists and tumbles for our stubborn snowboarder, struggling to keep himself upright....it was a lot of work....just to keep his chin up....mentally and physically! it really was determination that kept him going. thankfully, he had lots of success skateboarding....he knows how to work hard and know the payoff.

the day was great....mostly achieving a level of success...certainly frustrating for our son, because he hurt his wrist …..a common snowboarder problem

we all took a break, had some lunch while the snow kept falling on a picture perfect day. t.j. and I took an earlier shuttle back to the condo...he was exhausted and aching. I was soaked and it was clear he had reached his limit.....it's not often that he would pack it in and leave his good friends and fun. he worked so hard.....he really needed to lay low for awhile. we each had a shower and some mellow time and before we knew it, the others were back. laughter filled the condo. no sooner were they warmed up, filled with snacks then they were off to the pool and racquet ball courts.

after some delicious homemade chicken soup, everyone had some mellow time......hanging out, watching t.v.and laughing, then off to bed....everyone was pretty tired ......no phony phone calls tonight!

as you may notice.....i too, am exhausted.....and need sleep....so we can do it all again tomorrow!quet

family, friends, snow and skiing!

we're here! we've had a great day up in new hampshire......we haven't been skiing, as planned. it's been raining all day. we were looking out the window this morning, trying to get oriented....my husband thought it was really hard rain...until he realized that he was watching ice float down the river.

we had a lazy morning...with the adults having a quiet start with lots of well brewed coffee and lots of discussion of how to spend the day. we ended up rolling with the energy in the air...the kids were all tired after staying up too late, making ridiculous phony phone calls......it's tough to be hard on them.....when we know they were harmless, ridiculous and spontaneous.....and it's something we grew up doing.

it's like growing up with television...we had a lot and today, people think growing up with I love lucy and the brady bunch and the partridge family and get smart and bewitched and I dream of jeannie and that girl and please don't eat the daisies and the ghost and mrs. muir......these were some of my closest friends....

when my 14 year old left for high school, I shouted after her, “try not to be like jan brady and sign up for every activity.....just to be popular!”....she turned and rolled her eyes....pretty much saying, with no words, "you don't have to worry about that mom, jan brady is lame!”....hey, I wanted to be jan brady! well, sometimes I really wanted to be marcia....except for when she got hit on the nose with a football and said, as it hit her, “ooh! my nose”.....the trauma was so bad that she kept having flashbacks of “ooh! my nose!”

sometimes, when something goes wrong at home, I say to my husband in a singsong voice, “ricky!”....and he'll shout from the other room, “lucy?”......i grew up with lucy and ethel's antics.....goodness, some of my greatest bits of my life have been based on lucy and ethel.......and the fun they had getting in and out of situations. for my husband, it was sheer torture to sit and watch them get themselves out of those circumstances.......how ironic for him....he married me....lucy was my idol.

when I have some grand scheme or a plan to clean, organize, build or travel somehow without much thought of a time line....or realistic outlook.....my husband will either pretend to twitch his nose like samantha in bewitched or blink his eyes and fold his arms across his chest and hummmm the I dream of jeannie theme song!

and i'm supposed to reprimand these kids for a little prank call? as long as they're not playing norman in the movie "psycho" and keeping the language clean and laughing with their caller of choice.....i think it's o.k......as long as they are respectful and kind.

I still remember being at a slumber party in 7th grade, waking up in the morning and making multiple phoney phone calls....on especially memorable ones was to a friends mom, who was from another country and was a little mixed up with her english........i notified her that if she was abler to sing the theme song to campbell's soup, she would win a years supply for her family! she hummed and sang the song and wow! was she proud!.....we were hysterical.......they are some of the greatest friends of a lifetime.....all in good fun.....and we still laugh about it today

after breakfast this morning, we all watched a new d.v.d together and had a lot of laughs.we had some mellow morning....just having fun with friends....who could ask for more. we all jumped in the car to see the town, have a very late lunch.......grace calls it “linner”...lunch and dinner. we came back to the condo and exchanged christmas presents and had a lot of laughs. fun kids and fun moms and dads.

and some pool time...some mom speed shopping time....some more time at the condo reading, watching t.v. and talking.....................then, to bed.....to rest up for, hopefully, a snowy mountain with happy skiers and lots of fun together.





no camera....no pics....my camera is broken again! it's so hard for me to just let it go....i've been having so much fun taking random pics! I don't know how long I can last......especially with these kodak moments of the christmas season …....friends, family, snow and skiing !

fun for all!

Phew!! christmas was wonderful. Of course, Christmas is always a special time for giving and receiving.....it's just that now that our kids are older, we can only hope that this year's surprises will delight our teenage recipients. Some moments of the pre-Christmas frenzy are a relief....our kids are more clear on their desperate need to have their own laptop or a trip to Disney....apparently, our children are the only children in America who don't have their own laptop.....and the only deprived children in America who have not been to Disney World. For the first time ever, I am grateful that our children no longer believe in Santa....so their dreams are a little bit more realistic.....they know they can ask and hope for the best....i mean, why not give it your best shot?




Our kids are really good kids who dream big. I say why not....since they've been born, the world has been on a technological rush.....while waiting for me to go into labor, my husband carried a beeper! That was the extent of our techno world.....a beeper , a house phone and a giant 300 pound gorilla of a computer, which, we were so grateful to receive as a hand me down. When we were starting out, we were more concerned with the babies comforts than my computer literacy. My husband had a computer for business....it seemed to be somewhat extravagant for us to buy a computer when we hadn't even bought a new sofa yet. Priorities.........that's how we've looked at things since we have been together and thankfully, I notice our kids are catching on!



They see so much out there. Their friends, stores, television ads, magazines and general hype create the “need” for all of us. Ever since my niece turned us on to the show “hoarders”, I realize the excess that we have.....stuff that mattered at one time, that is tossed aside today. It's been very interesting to look differently at wants and needs, even as the economic downturn has affected so many.....once again, I site my trickle down theory. Of course, the change in economy affects all of us.



I think, for us, it is a great time to teach our kids about how hard people work for what they have.....we certainly have done our best to show them in our family and our world that we live in......they are beginning to catch on..... I admit, I'm not one to be chicken little, running around, saying the sky is falling......i do want our children to be aware that life is not just about stuff! We all love stuff....we also have to learn to value the stuff we have, think of what stuff other people need, truly need, that we take for granted. I think we have worked at trying to give our kids an understanding of priorities.



So, this Christmas season, we had a lot of discussions about wants and needs, realistic and ridiculous. Christmas isn't supposed to be the lottery! It has gotten way out of control for many. I'm relieved to have this economy to help us get real about my own needs and wants.



Really, after having a few years of loss....loss of special, loving family members.....there is no stuff worthy of replacing them. And not enough stuff in the world to give me more than the beautiful memories.......because it's just stuff!



I have always been the sentimental girl. I love and treasure some of the jewelry and photos of family from long ago, but as I get older, I notice that if I'm not selective about what stuff to keep and what stuff to let go of, it all becomes a pile of junk......just a bunch of stuff that is too big too mean anything but a headache, for me...the sentimental one.



I realize that I have to help our kids to realize what really matters to them......and that's a hard concept at any age. Somehow, I'm finally catching on......it started a few years ago, for me. I realized that I would only buy clothes if they were colors and fabrics that I love.......that eliminated about 90% of stuff I like in stores. It really didn't help that I grew up with a mom working at saks fifth avenue and that I followed in her footsteps! Clothing, clothing everywhere......the next new thing that arrived with each seasons delivery became the next need......it wasn't ever about wanting and since that was our work....my mom and I justified every purchase. I was in a store when I began labor with my first child......only the beginning of labor, but if it had been up to my mom, I would have had my first baby there....but that's another story!



So, we concentrated this year on quality versus quantity and of course, had some fun stuff for our kids as well. They had a great Christmas...we did too....they were happy to give and happy to get. Everyone loved quality and the quantity didn't matter. We all had time to enjoy our family, our gifts....we took our dogs for a splendid walk on the beach, with snow.....we had a white Christmas.....and a fire in the fireplace.....some Christmas music and some Chinese food! Even though we have 2 ovens in the kitchen, neither one worked!



For the second year in a row, we have received a bonus Christmas present. Our friends invited us to ski with them in New Hampshire! Not only are we thrilled for the invite for the day after christmas, but we are excited to have more memories created....they last forever......and that's the best gift!



We're here in New Hampshire! We had a fun ride up here and we're with our friends.....I have my new laptop! It might rain tomorrow and we don't care cuz (sorry.....I'm not a gangster......should say because!) we're with our friends, who we treasure way more than any of the gifts we received!



We also have Christmas gifts to share with our friends....and we always have lots of laughs over those....I'll have to report on this giving and receiving fun for all!



and, on a technological note, my camera broke tonight.....even Steven,....i got my new laptop.....but I broke my camera....photos will follow sometime!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

family and friends!

lots of gifts throughout the year......more than i can count!  our family is blessed......we have alot to be thankful for.......even the memories of family and friends that are gone......i believe they are with us everyday.......i believe they are our angels, who look out for us everyday...... and that's how i envision them at christmas time.......like my own private and personalized angels.

sometimes, i can feel them with me ........when i'm looking at our children and they give me a certain look.....they remind me of my mom or my dad, a special uncle.......sometimes when they give me an attitude.....i imagine how my mom would laugh it off when i told her about their behavior.......grandparents are more forgiving and understanding......they have been through it all........and mostly, survived.  sometimes our children will ask questions about our family or hear stories of growing up or stories of christmases "in the old days". our "old days".......we let our family and friends who we've lost live on through our stories..........one special friend of ours, from college, lives on everyday in my heart....through music.....and laughter and funny stories.

most of the people, so close to my heart, appear to me in everday moments......don't panic.....i don't have ghost sightings or hallucinations!  they come to me and make me laugh when i see a mom and a daughter laughing together, when i see a gentleman dressed to the nines, when i walk at the beach, or see some food in the grocery store.........so many little moments have been shared with our families and friends.

i'm sorry that they may not be here "live action", as our kids used to say, about movies that had real people and weren't animated.......but, they are here, in such fun ways.....in the moments and the stories......the laughter and even tears!.......but, funny enough, they are really happy........because of the wonderful memories.....because i share so many fun memories with our kids and friends and families!

christmas always brings back memories of cozy, warm christmases by the fire, singing around a piano, opening gifts, travelling to see friends and family, having friends and family visiting us..........

oh wait......that's just my memories......they have sweetened over the years.........some christmases had presents from hell,...regifts, of course, ...but that's another blog..... relatives....some other relatives
nasty employers....customers......money stress......travel.....bad christmas trees.......

thank goodness, my memories turn the not so fun times into something to laugh about......as time goes by.....or even the day after christmas.

i'm not perfect, christmases are not perfect, my family and friends are not perfect.........and that's why i love them.......alive and as angels.......they help me to laugh at myself......and they soften the tough stuff.....just stuff of life......they listen to me....i listen to them.......and we can't help but laugh.....at our seriousness........we are like mirror reflections........we are devils advocates and cheerleaders and make the hallmark moments snap back to reality......they keep us real.....they are honest with us and tell us like it is.....they sometimes have better memories than we do and help us fill in the blanks.

these are the best gifts of christmas.....my family and friends who keep me laughing, all year long.........with memories good and not so good.....my friends who are no longer here and my friends who are here, day in and day out!

those are my best presents......family and friends!  ...........who share so much joy!

merry christmas to family and friends!

google, blog, facebook, text, twitter, tweeting......lingo.

i've always been a pretty good communicator.  my biggest problem, growing up, was that my mom told me  that no matter what i was thinking, she could read it on my face.  she used to laugh........even if the words were coming out out one way, my face told the real story.  i've also always been pretty good at reading people....not mind read....just notice some of the "cues".

for example, in my teens, i was out with my mother.....we were out and about and stopped at the gas station, back in the old days when gas stations had english speaking attendants, who wore shirts with their names embroidered and took cash.....just cash.......my mom and i were waiting for "ned" (i still remember his name....he owned the mobil station!) to fill up the tank.  while we were waiting, i noticed that my mom seemed to have a very serious, kind of bothered look on her face.   i asked, "what's the matter mom?"  she answered....nothing was the matter....i persisted...."are you sure?"........she was truly perplexed.  i told her about the impression i got......from my visual.....i continued, "so you're really fine?"........."oh....then it just must be your gas station face!"   we got hysterical! it became code.








the "gas station face" lives on.....and it isn't necessarily used only in the gas station....that same pained look may show up anywhere....unknowingly!  thankfully, my husband also found the term to be kind of helpful and a bit endearing.....rather than saying, "hey!  what's wrong with you?  that's a horrible face you're making!"  a simple reminder...."ahemm, gas station face!"....is way more subtle and always seems a quick reminder and it ends in laughter.

my kids also use "gas station face"....just as a kind reminder,,,to perk up....or question my state of mind.  it's funny....i guess, teenagers pretty much have a mad face, a sad face, a happy face and an exhausted face......it's so much more clear cut........they have way more emotional swinging to do, so they help us adapt by spelling it out for us....on their face.

as an adult, we have alot of stuff to think about.......stuff, like taking care of everyone else........and their swingsand their faces.......or at least, living through them without a gas station face!  as the parents, we try to keep a few notes on their faces....just so we are prepared for what may occur next......it's all there, on their faces.



they do trick us though.  now, because of texting, they don't ever really have to look up.  they can walk and text, eat and text, go online and text on their phone and the computer.  the other night i was texting on facebook......i thought it would be nice to talk to my daughter about it......not because she would care or God forbid, think i was cool.....but because i thought i might be able to impart some motherly goodness, in a "teachable moment", as they say....whoever "they" are.....you know, the ones who put "teachable moment" into our sensitive, new age vocabulary.

my "teachable moment" was just beginning,..... telling an account of the friends i had "texted" on facebook. i was telling my 14 year old about the friends, from high school and college, who i had been "talking to" on facebook "texting".   my husband and i always try these teachable moments......they can smell them a mile away.....i must have a "teachable moment" face....because i can hear them yawning and rolling their eyes......and yet, because we are taking the sensitive new age teachable moment route, we are proud of ourselves....because,  that means we're not "lecturing".....because "they" say that we shouldn't lecture because kids wont listen!  well, i've got news for "them"......they don't listen anyway!




teenagers won't have to worry about losing their hearing when they get old.......they won't need their hearing....because they'll all be typing....and on facebook, i'm told, it's "chatting"......my teachable moment was out the window, simply because i said that i was on facebook, "texting"......i couldn't even hear my teachable moment.....about how great it is to stay friendly with lots of the kids you know, because throughout the years you never know when you'll meet again.....more laughter.

like when i went to college, the first day, i saw my best kindergarten friend.....who knew..... that when i was sharing a swing in kindergarten with a friend, that i would meet that same friend years later.   when i left one job and interviewed for another, who knew that the guy interviewing me would be a great acquaintance from the old job. my teachable moment was kind of a don't" burn your bridges" theme.....the old brownie song, "make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other's gold"kinda story........it got lost in the loud laughter.....laughing at my "lingo".......actually, teenagers won't have to worry about keeping in touch or burning bridges......they'll have millions of friends on facebook....and all they have to do is click a button and "POOF"....they are friended......i suppose, with the click of a button, there will be millions "unfriended" too........my story is lost..... usually because of my lingo.

some time ago, when my daughter was 13.....she was having a bad day....her life was miserable and bad and i wouldn't understand.....she told me that i wouldn't understand, ever, since i had a nice mom growing u[and i couldn't know how bad life is with the parents she has.......i felt her pain....i wanted to help.....she told me i wouldn't and couldn't help.  finally, i said, emphatically, "grace, sometimes, when you're 13, life just sucks!"  i thought, for sure, the word that i really did not like, would catch her attention....she would finally hear me and know i understood.  she looked at me with great pain and regret, she said, "mom, just because you used that word  to be cool.......and you're trying to be cool......
don't even think you can help.....because, YOU ARE NOT COOL!" lingo problem, again.





last night, my son, 13, informed me that he found a picture of our sweet golden retriever on google.....he said that he google'd or google'ed "funny animal images".......and up popped our dog!  i couldn't believe it!  i said, "t.j.!  someone got that form my blog"....he mimicked me and he informed me, "no one reads your blog, mom!  that picture is not from your blog!".......i insisted...i knew it was my picture...."well, t.j., then someone got the picture from my facebook!".........."oh mom, this is too wierd......google,  blog, facebook.....nest you'll be on twitter and you'll be tweeting.......mom, you're embarassing!"  i told him that i did have a twitter account because i opened it when i started my blog....i assured him that i hadn't used it yet.  lingo.



then, while all of the family was together, i asked, "does anyone have an idea for my online business name?".........."mom, you don't have an online business...why do you need a name?"........i answered, "because i'm going to sell my beaded jewelry and vintage things on line.....on "etsy".....i just need a name........should i use littlemarymixup?"......my son fell to the floor, moaning!  my husband asked him to be supportive....."you know mom can do anything, t.j.".......my husband mentioned, to me, that it might not be such a great idea to call a business, "littlemarymixup"....since, people might not want to buy handmade jewelry from a business named "littlemarymixup".....point well taken.

while discussing ideas, for my business name on "etsy", with my husband.....my son handed me a yellow sticky note.........he said he had a name for me.......on the yellow sticky note.....it said, "IF I'M GOING TO MAKE A STORE, I WON"T TORTURE MY FAMILY WITH BAD NAME IDEAS"

i wonder if that's too long a name....being a sensitive new age parent, wanting to create teachable moments, i wouldn't want to "squash" his ideas or "discourage his honesty"........i wonder if i had a gas station face?.....lingo.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

a true friend




 "maaaaaaaaaaaaaaary!" i squeaked slowly........"maaaaaaaaaaaary from davenporrrrrrrrrrrrt, iowa!"  "llllllllllliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-eeeeeeeeeeeez" she said with her flat midwestern tone.  my roommate from freshman year in college called.
 tonight to let us know she got our christmas card.  she was amazed at how our children had grown......so much since last year.....since the last christmas card!  she's one of my greatest friends of all time.....considering she  didn't really speak to me, unless desperately driven to it, from the first week of school in september through thanksgiving weekend,,,,,,when she came to my house at thanksgiving.  once again, she didn't really have much choice, since she was a long way from davenport, iiiiiiiiiiiiiowa.  


and being the not so quiet roommate, we noticed within minutes that  the only thing we had in common was that i was the only girl in my family and she was the only girl in her family.  i had two older brothers....alot older.   she had 7 brothers, mostly all younger!  i was very excited to be away at school and overwhelmes with all of the possibilties.....especially having so many people available to play with at all hours....day or night.   maaaaaaaary was pretty much far away from main street, iowa and a bit home sick   and kind of freaked out by so many "sisters".  she was a bit homesick.....the only time i called home, by a payphone down the hall, was to tell my mom that my roommate didn't talk and maybe get some advice.  it was my mission everyday to just try to make her talk to me!  i met lots of other friends .....but, maaaaaaaary was my roomie.....we were supposed to be friends.....we were supposed to stay up all night talking....telling stories.....


that was not the case.  mary was happy to have time in her room alone.  she was sweet but quiet.  others thought she was a bit standoffish.....a bit aloof.   i perservered.....when it came to talking, it's no wonder she was quiet.  i probably rambled on and on......nervously....just to get some kind of feedback!  anything.  she did tell me that her terrarium was kinda special....one of her favorite brothers had given it to her as a gift a year earlier, when she had her appendix removed.  she cared for it enough to bring it half way across the country to her new home in college.  she was very thoughtful and added some great touches to our new home....10 feet by 10 feet.  we worked together, quietly, to decorate our new home.  we found out that we both loved sweaters.  that was enough to start our  friendship.....for me.  maaaaaary may not have been so sure.


one day, the first week of  school, mary announced that she had real iowa popcorn.....and a popcorn popper. and that spelled popcorn.....party.  "corny" (sorry, i couldn't resist.....all these years later....i just thought of it!)  but a great start to have some fun at our new abode!  that was great....everyone knew maaaaaary now.......just a little tricky to get her to talk!


the same week, as maaaaaaaaary was beginning to come out of her shell, she took a walk to town with lots of others.....to look around and get aquainted with the town and the kids.  i decided to clean up our room....i thought that would be a nice roommate thing to do......mary was neat, orderly and organized......i could help to do my share.....dusting, vacuuming and windexing, singing along with the record player (really dated!)....it was the extra windex effort that did me in.....i gave a spritz to the terrarium, the exterior glass......tripped and CRASH....oh dear God...i actually prayed......it was then i heard a voice call out, "was that liz?".........it wasn't God, it was a new friend down the hall....what a reputation.....already.......and now it's her prized possession!  my quiet roommate....i was just making some headway!  this was horrible....i was terrified.....i "broke" (sorry!) ot to her very slowly....she was kind of sad, but understood.  we replaced the glass...it wasn't quite the same, but she seemed to deal with it and me rather well.


she was even more quiet.....it took some time....lots of time....she came home for thanksgiving.....thank goodness for my brothers....they helped her to feel right at home...


we made it through the first semester.....with lots more mix ups....mine.....she continued to adapt.  we were working it out....slowly.  we left for christmas break....a month.  since i would be driving home and she would be flying, she asked if i would please take her terrarium home....it wouldn't last without a little upkeep.   this was my chance to make it up to maaaaaaaaary, my almost, not quite, friend......maybe.


in the christmas  rush, i turned to check the room, and locked the door.  i drove home.  i noticed i was missing something....maaaary's terraaaaarium .......i was panicked!  i called the school.  i called the head of the "washie sinkies"....little ladies, who cleaned the sinks in our rooms.....they would knock and say, in broken english, "washie sinkie, washie sinkie!".....no luck.....they were home for christmas too.  my heart sank.


we came back after break....i poured my heart out to mary...i thought this would be the straw that broke the camel's back....it wasn't......maaaaaaaary laughed and said, "liiiiieeeeeeeeezzzz, it's o.k.....it's not that big of a deeeeeeeaaaaLLLL"


 we were friends....we have been friends, through thick and thin......my mom loved maryyyyyyyy.....everyone got to know her quiet, funny, thoughtful personality.


"whats the deal with texting.....what's the deal with facebook....what's the deal with blackberries.....with digital cameras uploading to the computer....what's the deal with blogs" she asked me tonight.....we laughed because she had been the ultimate wall street woman of the 80's and early 90's....and she was asking me about technology! 


   
 she always askes me about the kids she always loves to hear about the kids....genuinely....we laugh and laugh just because she tells me she thinks i'm a good mom.......i laugh, but i'm grateful to hear kind words from a good, quiet friend  of course i tell her about the kids and  the techno world they live in........what's the deal with your blog..... i said, "read mine, you'll understand....of all people, you will recognize little mary mixup"!







mary lives in the country.....with her husband....in the country....in california....they are mellow...together....and happy......together.....and quiet together......and laugh....together......she and her husband own a business....together......they share one computer......they have a beautiful dog.....the dog wears pearls....fancy.  maaaaaaaary loves all things beautiful .....she likes simple beauty.....one great thing rather than 12 mediocre things....she wears hats....doesn't get sunburn....she is one of the most thoughtful, sweet, beautiful friends i have....she's a great listener.....she's a great sister, aunt and daughter.


imagine..... all that i could have missed...... friendships mean so much to me.....it's christmas time and i'm grateful for great friends....loud and boisterous, quiet and thoughtful, near and far away.........and with lots of patience!






....maaaaaaary loves pearls. she sent them to my baby girl when she was born.....everyone of our college friends thought pearls to be a mandatory accessory......her note wit the sweet pearls said, "every girl should have some pearls....welcome".......i'm glad she sent pearls instead of a terrarium.


tonight, she asked if grace still wore her pearls....."yes," i said, "and they're not even broken!"  we laughed some more.....she's a true friend!

Monday, December 21, 2009

"oops!"...................




today flew by....i just had some cleanup to do around the house...why is it messier on monday after i've had all of this help?...anyway, i had stuff....christmas run a round to do.....friends to call to get some gift ideas .

why is it that christmas was so much fun when we could surprise them with a little tykes kitchen, a fire engine, tricycles, barbies or legos! i remember when things started to change......as kids get bigger and start to question the guy in the red suit, we get more desperate.......we want to keep creating that same christmas morning awe and wonder.  it was crazy from the moment we heard the pitter patter of little feet!  we had to create a rule that grace and t.j. wait at the top of the stairs until we were ready to go downstairs too......or they would have ripped through the presents like a cyclone had passed through.......and we would have missed it all!  they would sit with their christmas pajamas, tapping their elmo slippers (or character of choice as they got older)......they would chatter incessantly about jolly old santa.....and wait....moments....that, to them, seemed like hours!  and then,  the whirl of red and white and green pajamas and speedy little feet......and next.....ripping paper and squeals of joy and excitement.  every little stocking stuffer was acknowledged with an invisible exclamation point. 
 a few years ago, just when the kids started getting suspicious, grace and t.j. tried to rig some kind of trap for santa...just to see if there really was a santa.......they were convinced that they had the camera set in a way that would surprise santa and they would really know the truth.......they were on the edge......we managed to snap a picture of just a blur of red and had them convinced that he must have been in a hurry and in the rush, the photo blurred!
we did everything that we could to keep the dream alive.... we used to sprinkle some reindeer dust, made of oatmeal and glitter, all over the lawn to let the reindeer know where to land....then i would spit carrots all over the yard as proof that the reindeer ate their carrot snack....that's when my husband thought i might be going over the edge.......but, if anything could help to have them believe just another year.....
.
i used to laugh at a friends story of her dad.....growing up, at easter, he used to put "bunny prints" hopping all through the house....putting fingers in baby powder and printing them on the carpet......everywhere!  here he was, this grown man, a wall street tycoon, printing bunny prints all through the house..... finally, his wife.....the girls' mom, said,"honey, i think it's time to stop the peter cottontail bunny prints......the girls are in college now!"


i think like he does.....if i just keep playing the game.....they'll keep believing!  i was in denial....not the kids.  i wanted that santa believing to go on forever.  i believed in santa intensely.  when i was about four, i learned the song"better watch out, better not pout...........he SEES you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake".....well, that's all it took....i really thought i saw him looking in my window, so i quick, closed my eyes....hoping he wouldn't see me awake!  i told our kids that story....that was true, to me, when i was four........i would tell grace and t.j., "i don't know....people may say there's no santa, but i know that i saw him.....so i still believe!"  that kept them going for a little while.


the doubting became too much. it was time to see the old movie "miracle on 34th street", a classic, an old family favorite.  finally, it was time.....for the speech about how we believe in the spirit of christmas......that's the magical part of christmas......i don't think they buy it....i think they humor us.....just so they don't blow the whole present gig.


their turn has come to spread the magic of christmas to little ones.....the littleboy down the street, their little cousin.....they continue to share and the spirit.....and to me, that's part of my magic at christmastime.


so, tonight, i had some errands to run....we still keep our ideas under wraps, hopefully surprising them.....and still trying to keep it simple......but, hopefully with one little something that takes them by surprise......for them, we say............i kinda think that's for us....hopefully, to get that reaction....the "wow".....









tonight, i got my own "wow!"........i finished some of our last minute shopping.  feeling relieved, i drove up the driveway and dashed in the house.  i kissed my husband, said good night to the grace and t.j. and sat down to take a breath and return a couple of e-mails, have a little pomegranite seltzer (my favorite).....just before i joined my husband.....he had started up the stairs......
just as i was hitting "send" and ready to go up and get ready for bed, my husband appeared........he looked at me and smiled...he said, "i was ready to fall into bed, when i realized there were no sheets.....no comforter....no quilt....no pillowcases!" he smiled...... thank God he loves me....  all i could say was "oops!" .......................