Tuesday, September 28, 2010

life is precious

life is precious. take nothing for granted. take no one for granted. be real. speak honestly with the people you love.   speak honestly with everyone.  life is better when we are real. it makes a difference to everyone around us. honesty is good...honesty to cause hurt is not...it is a very fine line.  our days are more extraordinary when we act mindfully. everyone needs a place for quiet thoughts...mine is at the beach...or gardening ....lots of places for peace.

this is not meant to be preachy or full of myself...it is random thoughts...in my quiet place at the beach...with our dogs...biff and the kids came to meet me...i asked them to come...just to be family....in a place that we love....to be together...to appreciate the abundance in our lives.  to often we forget.

katie is not well. i needed time to pray....for katie....and her family...and her close friends like claire who sit by her side...to be with her...pray for them all...the pain is excruciating for katie and all who love that sweet girl.

life is precious.

Monday, September 27, 2010

What a wonderful time we had visiting Jenna's mom.  Jenna, Gina and I drove off Friday morning and in just two hours we were in another world....we were away....from our everyday life.  It was wonderful to spend time with Jenna's mom, "Nanny."

Through the years, we've known "Nanny" visiting our friends....meeting the schoolbus, going to sports events, seeing high school musicals, at the beach.....all with her grandchildren and sometimes with our kids. Grace and T.J. have known her from the time we moved in.  Grace was 4.  T.J. was 3.  That's a long time.  She knows us all in our day to day world with our kids and interacting with her kids and grandkids.  That's a pretty comfortable realationship for our kids....and for us.

This weekend we had the pleasure of being in Nanny's world.  What fun it was to spend time with this woman on her turf.  First of all, we love her spirit.  We love her style.  We love her energy. She's great to be with. She's fun. She's interesting.  Age knows no barriers when people keep in touch with the real lives of kids and grandchildren.  I love that.

We arrived in time for lunch....out on the porch overlooking the water.  Nanny's sister arrived to join us....with delicious desserts! Here's a  taste of our 33 hours away...how to take a "vacation in a bottle"!

Take a road trip with friends
Visit a friend's mom

Be greeted with a big hello and hugs
Have lunch served on the porch
Sit at a beautiful table

Add the friend's mom's sister

Add the friend's mom's sister's dessert
Have lots of laughs

Fun in the fog

Shop for fabulous fabrics

Shop together at Marshall's til we drop....in a big cushy queen chair on display

Dinner at Japanese restaurant
Put on cozy pajamas and watch a movie that turns out to be a t.v.show
Have a sweet.....or 2 or 3....or 4?
Sleep a new pillow and the windows open, breathing salt air
Wake up and see sparkling water and boats cruising by 

Have pancakes and fixin's served for breakfast.....on the porch....looking out at the canal
Go to awesome tag sales for great bargain

Pack lunch
Jump on a boat with a great captain

Blast across the bay to Kismet
Anchor for lunch
Cruise through the channel

Hours of outdoors and beauty and talking and laughs.....

Wash the boat
Tea and some pie
Thank yous
Drive home

It felt like days and a million miles away....ahhhhhhhhh.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Woke up.
Biff. Grace. T.J. and I
Kids eating breakfast
Biff drinking black coffee
Me drinking coffee
Me hugging kids good bye before bus
Biff and I calling out I LOVE YOU as the kids approach their bus.
Biff ready to roll out into the world of sales
Kiss Biff bye.
I love you.
I love you.
Gravel in driveway crunches and fades
Dogs? eager to go outside
Jinx slinks out the door
Webster wiggles a plastic bottle top
Another sip of coffee
Out with the doggies
In p.j. and cozy slippers
Tousled hair
Walk Fitzy on her retractable leash
Daisy dilly dallies freely...close by
Quiet moment for me to think about the day
Look at watch to note the time
Mom and little ones from down the street....drive up the street..... stop to say hello 
I say good morning to her 2 little boys in the back seat
Volvo back window goes down.
I sing hello "Jack in the back" and "Billy is silly"
Moms talk
This mom chats with little boys
Nick the neighbor drives by on his way to work.....with a wave and big good morning
Moms talk about kids and apple picking and life
Sweet minivan mom of four drives by en route to various schools
Moms talk
This mom realizes that hair is unbrushed
This mom acknowledges attire and lack of grooming
This mom chats some more
That mom..younger and showered...acknowledges life as we know it
That mom mentions she has days like this
2 moms say goodbyes
Little boys wave from their car seat thrones
Then doggies and  I hustle up the hill and start walking back up the driveway
I pause....while 8 paws pause to look
I look around too
My top is inside out
Before I can muster up some embarrassment ...... thinking of the hoards of folks I've shared my casual sleeping ensemble with
I realize it's good luck and it's just a day like any other.
No biggie
Who really cares
I'm just me
Last night....tired.....I put my blue on blue....unsexy sleeping get up on
In the dark
Last night
Too late
Oh well...such is life...my life.
I'm still happy
It's my life
I'm comfortable
It's not a show
No beauty contest
It's real
In the door
With dogs
Sipped a fresh cup of coffee
Fed the dogs
Raced to the shower
Packed my bag
Skipped down the stairs
Kissed the dogs good bye
Lugged my things to the car
Ushered Daisy back in the house...she was preparing to stow away in our car
Flipped on the t.v.
Clicked on to sesame street
Put little Webster in his little home
Scooted back out the door
into the car
Crunching gravel
Put car in drive
drove out of town
For a relaxing moms' overnight with 2 other moms
Visiting the mom of one for a
Day of fun
Put on p.j.s...casual sleeping soft cotton...in the light
Went to sleep knowing that in the morning
Other moms would understand
My life!
Just to change the routine
The day to day life
I had to get out of town just so I could gather my thoughts
Take time
For me
Just to think
About what to wear to bed
My own time
I'm still mis-coordinated and discombobulated
I didn't take much time to pack
Then again
It's o.k. I'm used to me

Thursday, September 23, 2010

All that matters

I spent some time writing this morning.  I spent time doing e-mails, paying bills, filling in appointments on my calendar and that's when I read the e-mail that made me stop.  I felt like time had stopped.  Our family friend Katie is sick.  She's 26 and has lived with the miserable beast of cancer since high school.  Katie is in the hospital again this week.  She has fought this stinking disease and held her own throughout.  Today Katie is tired. She's feeling weak and only wanting life to be the life she once knew.

Katie is like a niece to me.  I've known her forever...or at least since she was born.  She is a wonderful girl with so many talents....to many to name.  Beautiful.  Katie is beautiful inside and out.  Our families have been friends for over 50 years now.  There are friendships in every generation.  We've lived alongside each others families and shared the ups and downs and mostly joys and many sorrows. We're all Irish.  The lilt of Irish laughter comes to mind when I think of spending time with our families.  Fun.  Just plain old fashioned fun.  And love.  Lots of love.  That's how we've spent our time....loving the families...loveing the children who have come into our world....loving new family and husbands and wives and sharing the joy.  Lots and lots of joy.  For each bit of good news that comes along.  For each baby.  For each wedding.  And many firsts.  And many lasts.

Family and friends are all that we get from this life.  Yes...material things may fill us....only temporarily for me.  The stuff just never seems to be enough.  The only thing that can truly fill me is the love of friends and family....and their support. We need to send our love to Katie now.  We need to send our love and support to Katie's mom and dad, 2 brothers and her sister....and oodles of other family members and friends.  That's all that matters now.  Katie.  And our loving thoughts for Katie...a sweet, sweet girl.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Our new kitty typed my title for today's blog post...Thomas, now known as Webster.........
<<000000000kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk=]]]]]]]]]]]]],m=> >>     is already multi tasking.  He's got talent!  Yup...I'm just like all of the other mom's in this       < <<=\\\\\\\\\\\\>>  >        helicopter/superglue/velcro world. I believe that just because our little kitty has scrolled out a few typewritten, paw punched words on my laptop, he is THE most talented kitty in the world!  Mine is the one....definitely.  This kitten is making it to the big league.  This kitten's got talent!

Why is this happening in our country?  Who are these people?  Why does everyone need to be on a t.v. show to prove that their kid or kiddy/kitty is the best and why do we have to watch them try to prove it?  On television!

We have lived side by side with some of the parents while standing on the sidelines of soccer fields or lacrosse fields, baseball diamonds, basketball courts and peeking in the window at ballet class, karate, cub scouts and brownies....... excuse me the kitten seems to have some input here!       < < < sta of ba>  >     ...who want us to know that their       < <(>>  >           their child or children have talent......above and beyond the other gazillion kids on out on those fields or wooden floors all across the country.   I feel for the kids....the pressure seems intense.

Being the best in school or sports is a dream for some kids who feel it from deep inside...that's big. Some kids seem to be poised to fulfill their parents unfulfilled dreams. We see the parents.  We see the kids.  Are they having fun?  Doesn't look like it after the game when one or both parents are doing post game breakdown.  Nervous breakdown. 

They say many kids are ridden with anxiety these days.  I wonder why? Parents seem to be talking about scholarships and exclusive universities....by middle school.  We hear that there is a new trend in college admissions....it's not about the grades and the multiple sports in which little kiddy excels, it's about passion and overall work and balance.

My mom always said, "Everything in moderation."....I think that applies to our kids as much as for our eating and drinking habits. what happened to that?

I keep thinking of Jon Benet Ramsay.  Oh, I've seen 2nd graders at ballet recitals wearing make up and getting bouquets bigger than baby Jon Benet.  It's just creepy.



The best part of my day today was a "TEENS" meeting available, through our schools,
for parents of teens in the  town.  A few of us graduated from "TWEENS"...our kids are in high school now. 

It's nice to have a safe place for our style of parenting...the ones who just do their best to have their kids do their best and find their own way with our support.  It's tricky territory.  AND it's high school, a tumultuous time in any teens life.

It's great to be with parents who have  honesty, best intentions,  a sense of humor, 
passion for children trying to learn from our mistakes and the mistakes of others who have traveled this route before us.  There are meetings for "TEENS AND BEYOND"....I kid you not.  The moderator has grown children...she says there are new things to deal with even then! Thank goodness parents benefit from a learning curve just as our children do.

The letting go curve seems to be even more intense for  parenting 2010.  I wonder why. Are we all trying to hard? Where's the balance. How about our parents?  They were far from helicopters and velcro....and they loved us....and did their best too! It seems that however we choose to parent, we all end up getting our life lessons by growing right along with our kids.  Bringing up parents is a tough job, but somebody's got to do it......just sayin'.  

Parenthood, a new weekly show this season is so real life, we see ourselves or a facsimile of in every episode.


I guess we're all just doing our best for the ones we love. 

Parenthood, the movie, isn't far from the truth! 



This is a great article from the New York Times Sept.2010 
By the way, the kitty really tip toed across these keys....he keeps us laughing. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Thanks mom.

My sweet Grace. Wonderful girl. Great daughter. Caring sister.  Loving heart. Beautiful smile. Laughing eyes. Loyal friend. Adorable. Awesome spirit.  Sensitive.  Quick witted.  Smart.  Funny.  Wacky.  Musical. Passionate. Artistic.  Creative.  Energetic.  Motivated.  Gregarious.  Talented.  Giving........

Until she's not.  She is a teenager. Which means....she may or may not be all of the above plus more....all at at the same time! Then again, not.  There may be a moment  of the day where we forget that she's a teenager....all of her finest attributes are right there....almost tangible.....and then.......not......because she's finding her way through the ups and downs and hurdles and skips and dreams of teenage angst.  

That's when the rest of us in the house......Biff, T.J. and I.....and Daisy, Fitzy ( the Golden Retrievers), Jinx the cat.....and now, our new kitty named Thomas....oh not anymore! Grace changed his name to Webster ......after all, it is her kitten.  At one time or another during the course of a day....or an hour.....or a minute.....or a phone call....or dinner......we (the rest of us) have sort of puzzled looks on our faces.



We know how we felt as teens.  We remember.  We think we remember.  Sometimes we can recall those teenage moments and drama and pain and hilarity and anger and fun and exhaustion and joy.....and then, sometimes we don't.  Biff and I are learning as we go...how to be parents to teens.

T.J. is a teen too.  He has his own teen days brewing.  Having a sister with teenage drama and frustration is confusing.  O.k., we'll admit it...we're not proud....if anything, we have learned how humbling this parenting gig can be.....Biff and I are just as confused as T.J. most days!  

In T.J.'s situation, some of his own teenage angst is directly "related" to his sister!  She's only 16 months older.  He doesn't see it as we do....we're aware of some of the teenage ups, downs and in betweens.....some of them.....we think....as of this second. 

Just when we think we have them figured out.....the kids or the ups, downs and in betweens.......it will all be different.  Grace will move on to the next phase and everything we thought we knew will go right out the window!  Just in time to greet T.J. in his finest teenage times!

I put my fingers on these laptop keys.... and this is what appeared.  I have just spent 2 hours clothes shopping with Grace....for an occasion.

I had one moment. 

It was just a look, maybe a face.

I knew that look. 

I had seen it somewhere before.

It was that face. 

The look and the face...together. 

Then, I held up the  couple of coordinated pieces of clothing....and that was that!  

I remembered!

It was my mother. 

Not the look.

Not the face. 

It was me....innocently, offering suggestions to my teenage daughter. 

Me, the mom.

Me, the woman who had made a career of shopping.

Shopping for the finest stores.

They paid me to shop.

They paid me to find the best in the market.

And there I was.

In that moment.

My mother.  

The face. 

The look.


I remembered it all. 

Just like that. 

It all came back to me.

I did that look.

I did that face.

Many times.

Just yesterday, I showed Grace my 9th grade high school identification card.  She said, "Wow. You hated your life."

This, from the girl who uses the phrase, "I hate my life," calmly and rather randomly.  If we have no Ritz crackers.  If the dog barks.  When her cell phone battery dies. If she can't find her pen.  Just random.  Just an expression.  Just sayin'.

I looked at the i.d. card with Grace.  I said, "Yup.  I did.  I did hate my life that year."  It came back to me after seeing that photo.  That face.  That look.  

Thanks mom.  

Friday, September 10, 2010

i say no more.

today t.j. and  i were driving....we passed a teenager running who 1ooked fami1iar....he wore t.j,'s schoo1 cross country co1ors....even seemed to be about the same height as t.j..  as  we drove past, i quiet1y questioned my son, " hey t.j., don't you know him?"  for a few moments, there was si1ence.  si1ence.  hmmmm.  i guess not.


that's when my t.j. said one of the funniest things ever. using a very parenta1 tone, my son informed me that a1though he was, in fact a kid....and a1though i might think otherwise.....just because i, the mom, see another kid....approximate1y the same size, or wearing the same team jacket or attending the same event.....it doesn't necessari1y mean that t.j. or grace, for that matter, "know" the "kid".......

he continued in a 1ight mockery.  "mom....it's just a bit si11y...don't you think?  i mean....just because i see  some o1d guy or 1ady  at the beach or in the grocery store....or that guy in the car next to us...1ook at him.  do you see him?" i nod the affirmative. t.j. exp1ained further....."mom...when you ask if i know some kid we're passing wherever.....it's 1ike you think that i must know them....just because they have on a 1acrosse jacket.....it's 1ike me saying to you....mom, that 1ady over there....she's o1d, she's a grown up.....do you know her?"


point we11 taken.  i've exp1ained my thinking....it's not that i think my kids know everyone.  it's just that now that they're 14 and 15...we've 1ived in the same town since they were schoo1 age...between them, they've done karate, dance, t-ba11, soccer, cub scouts, brownies, baseba11, softba11, 1acrosse, church schoo1, sai1ing for ? summers, piano recita1s, a bizi11ion c1assrooms fi11ed with quite a variety of kids and teachers, they've had different coaches and teams and whatever e1se that may escape me.....1ots of kids in town 1ook fami1iar.


i think i understand his point. it does amaze me though.  a11 of these kids growing up side1ine by side1ine or coach by coach, schoo1 by schoo1...unti1 now....with 2 kids in high schoo1....that's quite a few faces.


now i know i've turned into my mother.  we used to 1augh at her when she'd say to my brother, " tommy, i saw the murphy boy 1ast night at the restaurant. He stopped by our tab1e to say he11o. He says he's married now and they have a few kids.......what a 1ove1y boy."

tommy wou1d smi1e a sweet knowing smi1e and quip as on1y a son can do with his mother," mom....that murphy boy  is about 50 now."  i say no more.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

My phone went dead....*POOF*...just like that! *POOF*....*------NOTHING-------*. I was using it 
yesterday.  It was fine. I went to sleep after reading last night. Reading on the phone that is. Yes, this amazing phone has an app on it that gives me free books to read. I just started taking advantage of that app.,finding some books that I enjoy and *POOF* ------NOTHING-------.

Just as any good American family would do????  we made a family trek to the Verizon store to have my phone repaired. Going to a museum should get that kind of enthusiastic response! Since Biff had just arrived home from an overnight, he came too....just so we could have some family time. Everyone jumped into the car as quick as we could say cell phone. 

We all had a great time.  A car ride with 2 kids and 2 parents, no earphones or contraptions....but radio which gave us plenty to discuss...different music, upcoming concerts.....phones, free upgrades. 

All VERY important topics.  To our teenagers.  What's important to them is important to us.....sometimes. We did also talk about choices and money and how to save and how to spend and the conundrums that come with making choices of how to best spend money.  They're catching on now that they're earning some of their own money!

It never occurred to me that it was as ridiculous as it sounds right now. someday,our kids will tell their kids about family outings....just as our parents did with us.  We thought it was outrageous that they all sat around the radio....or black and white t.v.s! Now we're driving 20 minutes on the interstate to have a phone fixed so that I can read a book! 

A book that now will have to wait until Saturday.....cliff hanger! They had to order a new phone for my ailing device....and now that has me waiting for my book with great anticipation. 

Funny....on the way home the kids  were saying how the the companies make it so difficult and confusing with cell phone plans and 2 year contracts.  That's when Biff and I both said, "Easier.  It was much easier before they had all of this stuff! We just lived and talked to people when we saw them. Sometimes, we made long distance calls for special occasions or grandparents." 


Then again, some of this technology is great....because we can connect even when it's not a special occasion.  I would have loved "talking" to my grandma on facebook...or picking up my cell phone and having my favorite aunt on the phone.....or seeing photos of my cousins on facebook...all 23 of them!

It's here...technology is here and moving fast......if we want to take advantage of some of the good it offers....I'm open.  I'm open to all of it.  The world is moving faster, I'd rather not be left behind!  besides, it gives me the chance to have a few minutes here and there to connect with someone I'm thinking of....after all, some days are so busy we forget what we want to say if we wait...the moment is lost!  Unless we write it down....but then we need a pen.....and paper.....then save the paper until we chat again. 

I think of family and friends everyday....I'd have pockets full of paper! So, I'm very open.  Besides, I'm the one who didn't want to be in the office the day they taught us about that silly old thing called "e-mail!" 

Another day off! Our kids have been in school since August 30th. They have had one national holiday. They have had one early dismissal.  Today our kids have off for the Jewish Holiday, New Year.  Since they've started school, they've been home more than their summer vacation....kind of.  Crazy. They go to school tomorrow, Friday. Go figure. Funny, I wish they could just start on September 15th.  Oh wait, there's Yom kippur, another Jewish Holiday! How about Columbus Day?  Oh wait, they don't have that day off! Then again, maybe they do. there was something sketchy about Christopher Columbus that people were buzzing about. We'll see. I guess this is what they mean by "one day at a time."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It's after 1abor day.1etting go of summer is very hard for me....i don't 1et go without some kicking and screaming.  we'11 sti11 have time for some more beach days and some sai1ing too.  We had some beautifu1 beach days 1abor day weekend...we were up in watch hi11, rhode is1and.  g1orious.  boogie boarding. great waves. great sun. b1ue skies. comfortab1e water temps.

the bad news is that there aren't many of those days 1eft! the good news is that the dogs are a11owed back on the beaches! that makes a big difference in our1ife! anyone with a dog wi11 agree. we are we1come!  sti11, there wi11 be some peop1e wa1king the beaches who wi11 1ook with disdain. they are not the dog peop1e.

we know the dog peop1e...they're the friend1y ones...they're the ones who stop to ta1k....they'11 be the ones ce1ebrating our return. meeting dog wa1king friends...it's different...we're just friends because of our dogs.  dog friends. gotta 1ove it.man's best friend he1ping to make friends! 

they may not be friends that we have over for birthday ce1ebrations. they are specia1 in their own way.  they're our dog friends!  we 1ook forward to seeing them.

we have 1ots of different friends from different p1aces and times in our 1ife...
dog friends..summer friends...sai1ing friends....friends because of our kids...friends from schoo1s...friends through our kids' sports 1ike coaches and the parents spending years on the side1ines....work friends...friend1y neighbors....friends come to us in many ways. i'm gratefu1 for my friends...o1d and new, young and o1d,  near and far, cats and dogs........

just sayin'...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

School started Tuesday.  Today is Thursday. I received an e-mail today from the school closing! superintendent.  It was to notify us of an early dismissal tomorrow, Friday.  I'm thrilled! Already there's a school closing
It's very nice for all of us. When Grace and T.J. arrived home this afternoon, T.J.announced that they would be having an "EARLy  Dismissal." 

Already this week, we've lived through homework.

T.J has done a short power point presentation with great tension since it could only be done on Biff's computer....Biff was in Boston at homework time.

We've covered geometry books, spanish books and  history books. 

Grace has spent hours of deliberation over clothing choices.

We've cut off the computer and x-box for the week....most of the week.

Grace has announced many times that she's "stressed out" because of the new school year! 

We've packed healthy lunches, bought healthy snacks. 

We've all worked on getting to sleep earlier and waking up without drama. 

We've had to do the a.d.d. selection of the school picture package....which they make so confusing that we are forced to plunk down millions of dollars just to get the form filled out. Then, our students need to select one of 238 back rounds which must coordinate with the clothing selection for picture day. 

We've had e-mail communications with the Guidance Counselor... T.J. found out that chorus was not the mandatory elective as his sister advised.  Phew! He likes music, he enjoys many different styles from rock classics to hard rock to rap to marching bands and salsa!  Just kidding about the salsa...I think.  It could have changed this afternoon.  The good news is that both kids enjoy a wide variety of music.....I digress!  

All of that and more for 3 1/2 days of school!  Wouldn't it have been simpler to just waited until after Labor Day? Did I mention that the schools are closed for some of the Jewish Holidays this month!  They may not have a 5 day week until after Columbus Day.......

Just sayin'.

Like it or not, Earl is heading for Connecticut
Our newsrooms have been busy covering all things Earl throughout the day.
As it stands right now, Earl is a Category 3 hurricane off the coast of North Carolina and is expected to start impacting our area around Friday afternoon. For our readers in New Haven county, as you probably realize, you’re already in a tropical storm warning.

We’ve also got a really useful interactive map on CTPost.com with the absolute latest Earl trackings.