Monday, September 22, 2014

On my honor I will try....

Lucy takes swimming at the Boys and Girls Club - and she loves swimming 
But we've been trying to get her to branch out
Especially since we just found out that there is no swimming at the club this fall

We've offered to sign her up for soccer (no thanks, I like playing with Daddy out back) 
We've tried dance (no, I just like dancing at home with you and Daddy) 
We even tried Karate (no, I just do karate when I listen to Kung Fu Fighting) 
We even suggested horseback riding (no thanks, I'll just do that when we go to Davis Farmland) 
We won't pressure her to do anything but we don't shy away from letting her know she has options and we'll support whatever she'd like to try 

Last week, in her folder from school, was a flyer from the Girl Scouts of America 
It was an invitation to a recruiting event
I looked over the flyer and called out to Lucy

Hey Luce, would you like to try the Girl Scouts?
What do Girl Scouts do Mama? I don't even know who they are...

She was sitting at her desk arranging her animal cards

Well, the Girl Scouts…hmm, who are the Girl Scouts….

She walked into the kitchen and sort of held up her out stretched arms while shrugging her shoulders

Yeah Mumma, what do they do? I never even heard of them…are they new or somethin’?

Well let’s see, they uhh… well, they do projects and help people in the community….

Lucy hopped up onto the chair next to me, her elbows on the table, her chin propped up in her hands as she listened to m

I trailed off because I really had no idea how to explain the Girl Scouts
So I picked up the flyer and started reading

At Girl Scouts, you are always looking forward to the next adventure

Mumma! Lucy yelled excitedly, as she threw her hands up and grinned

 I LOVE going on adventures!!!! I love adventures and expotitions!

There’s more honey, listen…..

I continued reading

You’ll learn a new outdoor skill,
I love outdoors and, and, and I need more skills!!!

Create an artistic masterpiece
Mumma I’m an artist! I draw!

Try a science experiment and help your community I finished off

I thought Lucy’s head was going to explode

She stood up on her chair and with her arms out stretched declared

Mumma! You know how I love me a science experiment!!!
And help my community!
Of course I’ll help – remember how I helped you pick up the trash last week in our circle?!?!!? That’s like helping your community right?
And I always wave at everyone and get out of the way when a car is coming!

I read the last line

At Girl Scouts, you’ll make new friends and have a variety of new experiences that show you how exciting the world is and how awesome you are

Mumma! I think I should be a Girl Scout!! I love making new friends and having adventures and I am already almost awesome!! And I think it would be fun to have…..what was that word Mumma?

Which word I asked
The word I did not know
I read the statement again
That word! She yelled as soon as I said variety

I think maybe I need variety Mumma!! I think Girl Scouts is for me!!!

So should we check out the meeting I asked her

You bet Mumma she said with a wink of her eye and a click of her tongue as she gave me the thumbs up sign

Sign me up baby!! Sign me up!


Look out Girl Scouts of America, Lucy’s coming…….

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Three Things, Five Days

One of the best things about technology today, and one of the worst things about technology, is that ­everything goes viral at some point

Like challenges and memes

A week ago, my dear friend Donna challenged me to come up with Three Positives/Things I am Grateful for over the course of five days

All I had to do for five days was post a list of three things that are positives in my life, or three things I am grateful for

So I did what most people do but don’t admit: I trolled around to see what other people had said they were grateful for or were positives

The lists included family, kids, husband, waking up, coffee, job, roof over head
I even saw one person grateful for medicinal pot
Some included wine, pizza, chocolate and one person is ever so grateful for their antidepressant pills and therapy – I say keep it up sista’ and good for you for doing what you gotta do to stay happy and healthy

So then I sat down to do mine…..

And I of course put my own spin on it

My husband would tell you it’s because I am an over achiever

And I suppose a part of me is…but is that really a bad thing?

Really, for me, this was just a chance to write

Something I’ve not done for a couple weeks and it felt good to get some of the thoughts swirling around in my head down on paper

But because not everyone hangs out on Facebook, I’d thought I’d also share here what I posted on Facebook for five days 
Which ironically, I’ll then post on Facebook that I posted a blog for people not on Facebook….it’s how I roll

Three Positives/Things I am Grateful For in Five Days

Day One
3 Positives/Things I am Grateful for in my Life

1. Humor
Without humor, the world would be ever so boring
And I’m guessing sad
So for the things and people who make me laugh, I owe a debt of gratitude
Humor has gotten me through some of my darkest days and made my best days even brighter
Slapstick, deadpan, self-deprecating, satire, parody, black comedy, wit and sarcasm…thanks for making me laugh

And of course Good Humor, thanks for your Giant Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwiches and Frozen Reese Peanut Butter Cups

2. The Arts
The arts are an outlet for human expressions and emotions
Without the arts, we would not sing or dance
We would not have poetry to woo our loves or stories to lose ourselves in
We would not have paintings or photos to admire and adore
Without The Arts we would not have museums to wander through, preserved history. or culinary delights
So to The Arts, thank you for delighting my senses and always telling me the truth

And of course, thank you for the Martial Arts because without the martial arts, we never would have had The Karate Kid and without the Karate Kid, I would have no reason to yell Banzai! out my open window while driving down the street

3. Freedom
The quality or state of being free
You have no idea how grateful I am for my freedom
Free will, free thought, free tacos on Tuesday
I love freedom of the press, freedom of speech and freedom of religion
I’m not sure how I feel about the Freedom of Information Act because I do think that some things are better left unsaid and unknown
I am however a huge fan of buy anything get anything free
But the best thing about freedom? About being free?

Why it is of course the 1972 recording Free to be Me and You … thank you Marlo Thomas and Friends

Humor, The Arts and Freedom – my first three positives
Day Two 
3 Positives/Things I am Grateful for in my Life

1. The Law 

I am ever so grateful for The Law
Even the laws I’ve broken 

I like knowing there are laws to govern our land - saves us from Chaos
And just because I like laws and rules does not mean I can’t think for myself
It does not mean I'm a sheep 
It does not mean I am against free will
It means I find comfort in order
It means that I find comfort in knowing that there is a certain level of respect being afforded to all of us 
And it means we're all on even footing because the laws, like it or not, apply to all of us regardless of anything or anyone

I appreciate The Law because it helps keep things in order, people in line and an underlying sense of security (no matter how perverted) for the masses
I am grateful for The Law because its intention was to protect the good guys and prosecute the bad guys 

And who are we kidding, without The Law, there would have been no Boston Legal, The Practice LA Law, Ali McBeal, and Drop Dead Diva 
There would be no Law and Order franchise and JAG would have never produced CSI, and John Grisham would not have had a career 

And because without The Law, single women in Florida would be allowed to parachute on Sundays and we all know where that would lead

So thanks to The Law for protecting and entertaining us at the same time 

2. Faith, Hope and Love 

All three things are free and will last a lifetime 

I am grateful for faith, for my faith 
It restores in me humility, fortitude, patience, love, and acceptance
The music soothes me, the readings inspire me and the homilies challenge me
Mass, prayers, faith...it's been a bigger comfort than I ever thought it could be 

Hope is such a small word with such a big impact 
Without hope, we have nothing
Hope overshadows the negative and lights the way for the positive
I am grateful for hope as it gives me something to cling to when I need it most 
I hope for safety, security, good health, and happiness 
Hope is something we all need and should never be without

Love, *sigh*
Love for my family, my friends and my foes
Love of the game, love of common people
Being loved gives you strength, loving gives you courage
Love brings joy, happiness, hugs and sometimes tears
But love is just, well, it is just the best thing, feeling, emotion ever
And sometimes it’s all you need

Without faith, hope and love this life would not be worthwhile

How lucky am I to have all three?

3. Electricity 

Do I really need to expand on this?
It lights up my life, keeps my food cold, warms it up and cooks it for me 

You certainly would not be sitting there reading this so how grateful are you for electricity right now

Plus, without electricity, we would not have The Electric Company which was only like my favorite show ever...

The Law, Faith, Hope, Love and Electricity - my second set of three positives
Day Three 
And here you thought I forgot...just a little late...so these are quick 

Three Positives/Things I am Grateful for in my Life

1. My Five Senses 
I can see, hear, taste, smell and feel the entire world 
I can hear Lucy's laugh, see the animals in the clouds, taste the foods I love, smell the air just before a storm and feel Sean’s hand in mine

How lucky am I to experience the world with all five senses

2. Sean asked me to marry him 
On the 4th of July, in 2006 
He asked me to spend the rest of my life, and his, as his wife
I said yes

How lucky am I that someone felt I was worthy enough to spend forever with 

3. I get to be a Mum 
There is a little person with my DNA walking around this world loving me unconditionally 
She makes me laugh, sometimes makes me cry, but mostly makes me happy 
And when I look at her, when I see her smile, when I hear her say You’re my best Mumma and I love you this much, I know what I am supposed to do in this lifetime and who I am supposed to be 

How lucky am I to have been chosen to be a Mum 

My Five Senses, Sean asked me to marry him and I get to be a Mum – my third set of positives
I did not forget day four - but I did fall asleep 

Day Four
Three Positives/Things I am Grateful for in my Life

1. Intuition 
I am ever so grateful for my intuition - I'm even more grateful I trust it 
Some confuse it with being judgmental
I'm guessing that is because they don't trust their own 

2. Technology 
Out of one side of my mouth, I damn it
Out of the other side I wonder how I would live without it 
But without technology, think of all we would be missing 

3. My gift for gab 
I'm a talker
I love talking 
And I can engage just about anyone....I get it from my Dad...it's once people get to know me they don't like me so much anymore...

I find it very easy and comforting to just sit and chat with people about whatever comes to mind 
It's amazing the connection you can make when you simply make eye contact and acknowledge what they are saying
And it's even more amazing what you can learn from people...all from small talk....

Intuition, Technology and my Gift for Gab - my fourth set of positives

Day Five
Three Positives/Things I am Grateful for in my Life

1. I am ever so grateful for people who are able to see Lucy as I see her

Full of wit, charm, intelligence, passion, love, honesty, innocence, empathy, humor, and yeah, some drama

And I know she can be loud and I know she fidgets and runs around when she should sit still and that she’s a messy eater and a picky eater and a terrible sleeper…....but this kid, she is something special

The way she sees the world, the way she articulates the way she sees the world...she is just amazing

And I am ever so grateful for the people in her life who have been able to really see into her little heart and mind…..and truly appreciate her (I’m talking to you Miss Barbara Cann and Miss Julie!) 

2. My Memory

My grandmother suffered from dementia/Alzheimer
It got to a point where she recognized/remembered very little…and very few people 
It made me sad to see her grow old but made me even more sad that she did not have her memories to comfort her 

I knew a young woman who had a stroke years ago
It took her a couple of years but she recovered
Unfortunately, there was one lasting side effect which will probably never go away: she lost some of her long term memory/memories 
She has no recollection of her wedding day or the births of her children
She lost her parents a few years before her stroke
Their pictures hung on her walls but could not remember their names 

I am so fortunate to still have my memory (even if sometimes I forget where my keys are and why I walked into the living room or where I put the stack of paperwork I had in my hand three minutes again) 

I have my memory and my memories

I remember trips to Aunt Nell and Uncle Ed’s and Aunt Sue and Uncle Mike’s as a kid
I remember the smell of gingersnaps at Christmas
I remember the way Grandma used to knit without looking at what she was doing
I remember how Grandpa would sit in that big old red chair and fidget with the little cover on the arm digging holes it in with his keys 
I remember spending Saturday nights at Grammy and Grampy’s and time at the house in Seal Harbor with them 
I remember my teachers who instilled in me a love of learning and reading 

I can hear my Dad’s deep yet soothing voice in my head when I need to be reassured about something 
I can conjure up my mother’s smile and laugh when I need it most

I remember how I felt when I met Sean, when I had Lucy

I have my memory and my memories to comfort and cuddle me when I need them most 

3. It should go without saying my husband, daughter, parents, siblings, in-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles, and friends (new and old) are all positives in my life

They’ve all brought into my life laughter, love, hugs, and kisses
Sometimes tears, arguments, fights and pain but always a lesson 
They’ve given me encouragement and criticism 
They’ve been with me in my ups and downs….and though sometimes we lose track of one another, we always seem to come full circle 

And they always manage to do it when I need them most 

So even though it should go without saying, sometimes, it’s nice just to say it – to remind myself, and them, how important they are to me and how grateful I am to have them in my life 

So there are my final three positive for five days - Those who see Lucy as I do, My Memory and Family and Friends 

Thanks Donna Vitiello Dovidio for reminding me to stop and appreciate what I have.....

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Magical

Lucy is in her last week at day care
Specifically, we have 5 days left there

I’m not sure who is taking it the hardest: Sean, Lucy or me

But its time
Lucy is ready for kindergarten
She’s ready for the challenge

She wants to learn to read and to do math
And she can’t wait to have homework
She’s ready to meet new friends
She’s ready to grow up

But, Lucy is afraid Miss Julie and her friends will forget her

She wonders who will replace her, who will wash the dishes for Miss Julie and who will check on Miss Barbara in the morning

She’s not worried about making new friends – but she is worried about keeping her old friends

Lucy’s worried about who will wait with Jack until his Dad gets there to pick him up because that’s why she likes to stay late

And what if Jake makes a friend who likes animals as much as I do, will we still like animals together?

She asked me last night, as we were getting ready for bed, if I would still call John, Pam, and Monica for play dates or do half sleep overs and Friday Fun night even though everyone is at different schools

We will Lucy, we’ll still see them

But not all of them right Mumma?

I sort of cocked my head to the side
What do you mean Luce?

Well, I mean when we all go off to kindergarten, even though we all want to still see each other and call and stuff, someday, we won’t will we?

I hesitated

So Lucy kept talking
Mumma, I know you told me that missing someone is good because it reminds you of how much you love them but….well…..

She was standing at her bed side sort of swinging side to side….

Mumma? Why do we have to miss anyone? Why can’t we always stay where are? I just want to always be with Miss Julie even in kindergarten….why do we have to change anything? It’s working pretty good isn’t it?

It is honey…..

So why do I have to miss anyone? Why do we have to go to different schools? I mean I want to be in Mrs Dionne’s class and make new friends but can’t I keep Miss Julie and the friends I already have?

Lucy looked like she was on the verge of tears and there was a catch in her voice

I felt my eyes start to fill up and I hugged her

Honey you will always have Miss Julie and your friends from Wonder Years….we still see Ben and Chase don’t we? And they’re from your very first day care from when you were a teeny tiny baby

Yeah but Mumma we don’t even see them as much anymore….everyone is always busy…

He voice trailed off and she hopped up into my lap

Mumma?

Hmm?

Think we’ll still see Jack sometimes at the 99? He likes to go there and so do I….

I hope so honey

Mumma maybe we can ask John Cronin if we can meet them at 99 sometimes for dinner so I won’t miss them

We can do that

I’ll miss the Cronin’s Mumma

I know Luce…me too

In my head I was thinking I already miss them….and the Ryle’s….and Miss Julie…and Miss Barbara, Miss Sara, Miss Jennie, Miss Melissa….the list goes on and on

I’ll miss seeing the same parents every day at pick up

And I’ll miss the kids

I’m that parent at pick up who hangs out and colors with the kids or reads to them
Sometimes we stick our hands in the trays of corn starch and water squelching the mixture between our fingers
Or we mold things out of Play Doh and draw with stencils
My favorite is when the stickers, glues sticks and foam pieces are out for us to just make whatever we fancy 
I inspect their Lego ships or check out the train tracks they built
One day, I played Crazy Eights with the kids for over an hour – Molly won almost every game

On more than one occasion, a parent mistook me for a teacher – but there is no way I am even in the same class as those women

The teachers at Lucy’s school have been amazing – more amazing than I could ever dream of being

They’ve been kind, patient, loving, fair and firm
They’ve been educators, caregivers, band aid appliers, and Miss Julie can cure anything with a brown paper towel dampened with cold water

For me and Sean, as parents, they’ve been anchors, beacons and examples
I’m not kidding you when I say that without Julie and Barbara, I am not convinced we would have made it through the last two years

They have loved and appreciated Lucy as fiercely and as much as we do

And they have been ever so patient with us as parents

Never pointing out anything we’ve done wrong or mistakes we’ve made but instead, gently prodding us to stay the course and be consistent

We’ve been struggling to maintain enthusiasm about kindergarten while hiding our own angst about leaving

And it is getting harder and harder

I can’t wait for Lucy to get to kindergarten – I know it is what she needs
I know she is ready
I just wish…..I just wish we could stay a little longer in the bubble that is Wonder Years

I will never know how to thank all these woman for taking such good care of Lucy – and of Sean and me when we needed it

But I know how lucky we are they all came into our lives

I can’t remember what night it was, but on the drive home, Lucy pipes up from the back seat

Hey Mumma

Yeah Luce

You and Miss Julie talk a lot

I laughed

I know honey, sorry about that

You always talked a lot with Miss Barbara too

I know

And Miss Jennie, but mostly Barbara and Julie

Hmm, yeah

Is that ‘cause you love them?

Sure Luce

She giggled

You can love my teachers?!?

Of course, I love them for loving you so much and taking such good care of you

Even though I’m a handful?

I laughed

Yes, even though you are a handful

Mumma?

Yeah

Are you gonna miss them too?

I will Luce, I will miss them a whole bunch

And John Cronin and Jack and Emily?

Yep

‘cause we see them every day

Yep….I’ll miss everyone I said

Me too…..

Mumma?

Yeah Lucy?

I hope all my teachers in my whole life are like Miss Julie

Yeah, I hope so too

‘cause if they are all like Julie, I will learn to be so smart

You will

And if they are like Miss Barbara Mumma, I will be so kind…and dress really nice…..And Mumma! If I 
have a teacher like Miss Jennie, she can teach me to draw better than I do

I chuckled

Yep, you sure can learn a lot from your teachers

Lucy went quiet

When we pulled up to the house she asked

Are you gonna cry on my last day at school with Miss Julie?

Probably honey

I already know Miss Julie is, she told me so

Well, it’s hard for Miss Julie honey, she loves you all so much, and it’s hard for her to see you all go

Yeah….boy she sure has a lot of love in her that Miss Julie

She sure does Lucy

Just like Miss Barbara

Yep

Must be hard Mumma

What’s that Luce?

To have so much love inside you

Hmm, well, I imagine it’s actually quite easy

Is it ever hard, Mumma, to have all kinds of love?

Hmm, I don’t think it’s hard to have love…..but sometimes I bet it’s hard to find people to give it to…..and sometimes it’s hard for people to take

I like having Miss Julie love me….

So do I Luce

You know what Mumma?

What?

Having Miss Julie love me makes me happy and fuzzy

I laughed

That’s one way to say it I agreed

And magical is how it felt when Miss Julie and I danced in the rain

Yep

Mumma?

What

Will Miss Julie dance in the rain with other kids?

She might

If she does, they will be so lucky

Yes, yes they will Lucy

Mumma?

Yeah?

Tell me about the day Miss Julie and I danced in the rain again……

So I told her the story:

A week or so ago, Lucy and I were at school late

Julie and I had been talking and Lucy was flouncing around cleaning

Miss Julie and I finally finished and I announced it was time to leave

Lucy did not want to leave

Specifically, she did not want to leave Miss Julie

So Julie offered to walk us out

She scooped Lucy up and we walked down the hall towards the door

It had been raining, torrential downpours, on and off throughout the day

And by the time got to the door, the rain was falling harder and faster than it had been all day

We stood at the door for a minute or two when all of a sudden, the rain turned to hail

It’s hail! Look Lucy, exclaimed Miss Julie pointing out the glass door, it hail!

It looks like marshmallows! Lucy shrieked

Like cloudy with a chance of meatballs I said

It’s amazing isn’t it Luce? asked Miss Julie

The three of us stood for a few minutes watching, mesmerized, as the hail fell

When it stopped, the sun tried hard to come out and the clouds opened up even wider pouring big raindrops down onto the ground with visible splishes and splashes

Julie scooped Lucy back up

No Julie, stay here I said, I don’t want you to get all wet

We’ll make a run for it right Lucy?

Lucy giggled and threw her arms around Julie’s neck

I opened up the door and Miss Julie, Lucy snug in her embrace, darted out into the rain

We dashed across the parking lot to the car

But Miss Julie stopped halfway there and I turned to see her and Lucy with their arms wrapped around one another twirling in the rain, their faces turned upward as they laughed, giggled and I think one of them may have been humming or singing – or it could have just been screeches of delight

Their twirling stopped and Julie ran to the car, set Lucy in her seat with a quick hug and a peck and dashed back into the building

I buckled Lucy in and we headed home as a steady stream of rain fell upon the roof of the car

It was loud and rhythmic and relaxing  

Our clothes were soaking wet and out feet were sliding around in our wet shoes

Rain water rolled off our heads down our faces and fell into our laps

Honey! Was that so crazy?!? The hail and rain?

It was Mumma!

And was it so crazy running and dancing in the rain with Miss Julie?!

No Mumma….it was magical……it was just magical….Miss Julie danced in the rain with me!

I turned around to see Lucy gazing out the window with a secret smile on her face and her hands resting serenely over her heart

Mumma! She gasped, Miss Julie danced with me! We twirled and danced in the rain!

You did honey

Lucy’s grin now spread from ear to ear and the lilt in her voice was intoxicating

I am so lucky Mumma

You are

Lucy sighed, leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes

After I finished telling her the story, Lucy sat with a silly grin on her face

Hey Mumma

Yes

You know how people have super powers?

I looked at her quizzically

You know, like how Spiderman has webs in his hands, Superman flies, Green Lantern is fast and green and Batman has a growly voice…

Oh yeah, sure, I know what you mean…

I think I know what Miss Julie’s super power is

What’s that Lucy?

Magical happy love! And that she can read

Wow, those are good super powers to have

Yep, she is like a super lady that Miss Julie

She sure is Lucy

Mumma?

What kiddo?

Mumma, I love you the most but I love Miss Julie too

I know honey – and that makes me happy

So would it be okay with you if Miss Julie has super powers and you don’t?

Yes honey

Ok good – but you’re still my best Mumma

I know honey

Ok….hey Mumma

Hmm

Maybe if Miss Julie has super powers, she should have a cape…

Oh ok yeah, that stands to reason

So we should get her one….and a mask…

Should we get her a wand and a tiara too? I ask

She’s Super Julie Mumma! Not some fairy mother!

Oh, sorry

So just a cape and a mask…..and a hug

Ok Lucy

And maybe a hardboiled egg because she likes eggs

Ok Lucy…anything else?

A plane……and some new books

Ok – that it

That should do it – oh maybe a picture of me and her so she remembers me

Honey, something tells me Miss Julie will remember you for a long time to come

Maybe Mumma, but a picture is a good ‘minder

It is – so is that it?

Yep, that’s it *sigh*

You okay?

Yeah, I was just thinking

What were you thinking?

I made some good memories with Miss Julie and my friends

You did Lucy….

I’m pretty lucky Mumma

You are

Think Miss Julie is lucky?

I do honey because I think Miss Julie has one of the best jobs in the world

Yeah….but so do you Mumma

Oh honey, that’s sweet but my job isn’t that great

Yes it is Mumma! Don’t say that!

Honey, Mummy’s jobs is sort of….well….

Mumma! she yells

YOUR JOB AS MY MUMMA IS THE BESTEST JOB N THE WHOLE WORLD AND DON’T YOU 
FORGET IT!!!!!

I won’t Lucy, I won’t ever forget it

I promise

Thanks for reminding me

And thank you Wonder Years – thank you for taking such good care of all three of us 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Kids say the darndest things.....


Kids say the darndest things.....

Lucy’s new favorite game, aside from Crazy 8s, is a version of 20 questions we call the Guessing Game

There are actually two versions of The Guessing Game

Version One is the Animal Guessing Game whereby you think of what animal you want to be and give the other players 2-4 hints about what animal you may be

If you are the “guesser”, you can ask for hints
Lucy typically will not give hints, she thinks her clues are good enough for you to figure out when she says
she lives in the forest and is brown with spots that she is in fact a Piebald Deer

Version Two is what she calls the Disney Guessing Game in which you think of a character you want to be and the other players get to ask you questions to figure out who (or what) you are

When we first started playing, we almost always chose characters from movies knowing that would make it easier for Lucy (hence the reason she started calling it the Disney Guessing Game)

The more we’ve played, the more we’ve branched out to other characters/persons/places and things

We are no longer limited to Lilo, Stitch, Buzz or Woody
We’ve moved beyond Olaf, Elsa, Anna and Nemo

Now, we use TV characters (Wild Kratts brothers), athletes (Grand Papi) and even “famous” figures (the Queen)

Recently, we were in the car when a rousing game of the Guessing Game was in full swing

Lucy and I were trying to figure out who Sean was and he had us stumped but good

We knew he was a boy
We knew he was a grown up boy
We knew he lived in a house
We knew he was on TV but not in a movie or on a TV show
We knew he was real
We knew he was famous and that just about everyone in the whole world knows who he is

Lucy asked her Dad for a hint

You see me on TV, on the news mostly, said Sean, and I make a lot of speeches

Lucy was still stumped

Hmmm she said deep in thought

Sean waited for her to guess

Give me another hint Daddy!

I am not white said Sean

By now I had figured out Sean was President Barack Obama and I decided to try and help Lucy along

So Daddy, I asked, if you are not white, are you black?

I am said Sean

From the back seat, Lucy leaned forward with her whole body, her hands braced against the arms rests of her chair and asked, nay, declared, loudly, triumphantly and with great authority in her voice


DADDY!? ARE YOU BATMAN????????? 

If I Had my Druthers


9 things you’d rather be doing today

I would have rather started my day on the back deck with a cup of coffee
And it would have been even better if that back deck was actually a dock that extended into a lake
A lake that is quiet and inviting first thing in the morning
The only movement a slight ripple caused by the fish skimming the surface of the water
The only sound that of a loon diving down for breakfast and resurfacing with a call to its mate for breakfast

And rather than going to work after my coffee and crossword, I’d join the loons in the lake for a quick swim, just to wake up, just to get me going
And I’d float…just float and listen and watch and appreciate my little world

Rather than rushing out the door after slapping kisses on Sean and Lucy, I’d wake them up and cajole them into a morning swim in the lakes with the loons and me

Rather than rushing off in three directions, we’d lazily float, then have a splashing fight, then try to catch fish with a rock at the end of a piece of string tied to a branch
We’d call back to the loons and try to guess where they would pop up after diving down for a second breakfast

Rather than answering phones, or sitting in front of a computer calculating profits and use tax, I’d finish at least one of the four books I am reading or find another one I keep meaning to read
And maybe, just maybe, take a little nap in between

Rather than eating lunch in my desk and picking crumbs out from between the keys of my keyboard, I’d pack a basket of fruit, bread and cheese (and a piece of chocolate or two) , find a weeping willow tree to hide under while nibbling my snacks and lazily flipping through the stacks of unread magazines littering the house
Then I would definitely take a nap

And rather than walking down the hall to someone’s office, I’d take a walk through a field of poppies or lavender or blue bells just because it is there to be admired

Rather than racing through the end of my day, jumping in the car and rushing off to pick up Lucy to rush home to rush through making lunches for the next day to rush through dinner before bath time and bedtime, we’d swim some more, eat watermelon and ice cream sandwiches for dinner then lay on the dock as the sun sets with our fingers dangling in the water and the loons singing us songs about their day

And rather than sending Lucy off to bed so we can finish paying bills, cleaning up, going through the three week old stack of mail and trying to figure out what we’ve not done in the course of the day, we’d fall asleep on the dock in lawn chairs with blankets up to our chins, stars as our night lights and the path of the moon on the water to follow right to morning  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Blooming Onion

Weeks ago, Mama Kat’s of Mama Kat’s Pretty  Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop posted a prompt that was 1) Write a blog inspired by the word blooming

I immediately thought of a post I started months ago, and by months I mean February, dug it out and started re-working it

And then I forgot about it

Until the other day when Sean and I were given a gift card for the Outback as a thank you

And it reminded me of the prompt…..and the post I started but never finished twice

So here you have, as inspired by Mama Kat many weeks ago, a post inspired by the word blooming inspired by the time I got pulled over for speeding because of my old friend Karen….
____________________________________________________________________________

Uncle Bill is my mother’s oldest brother

He’s married to Aunt Marie

He and Aunt Marie are my Godparents

Aunt Marie and Uncle Bill (read Aunt Marie) always remember Sean, Lucy and I at every holiday, on every birthday and anniversary

And Aunt Marie always appreciates the cards, gifts made by Lucy and whatever pictures we send her

In early January of this year, when we received an invitation for a surprise party Uncle Bill and my cousins were hosting for Aunt Marie’s 70th birthday, I did not think twice about making plans to go 

Based on schedules, workloads and available days off, I ended up going to Maine solo for said party
The party was on a Friday night so I took the day off and headed up at 7am

It’s rare that one gets Mum and Dad to one’s self……I  mean there are so many of us and invariably, more than one of us is home at the same time so I sort of jumped at the opportunity to spend some time with them

We made plans to have lunch out, Mum, Dad and I...and then Mum said an old family friend who happens to be a priest was also going to join us

So lunch with Mum, Dad and Father, a bit of afternoon shopping with Mum and then the party for my Godmother, Aunt Marie

The drive to Maine is roughly 240 miles from our house
The drive time averages about 3.75 hours
My best time is 3 hours 4 minutes

So on this particular Friday, with a full tank of gas, an extra-large coffee and a kick ass play list entitled High School, I made my way to home to Maine

I actually enjoy the solo drive to Maine - I think - listen to my music - sing if I want to - but I find I do my best thinking in the car - and sometimes my best writing - 

So there I was, minding my own business, driving along, thinking, singing.....

And then....

Midway through the trip, I got pulled over

By the police

Because I was speeding

And driving a bit erratically

Because I was dancing

Well, technically, I was not dancing so much as I was acting out a song

It took me a second to realize I was being pulled over

And by a second I mean an entire chorus of Got my Mind Set on You…. the volume was up a bit loud

So I pulled over

By the time the law enforcement official was at my window, I had retrieved my phone out from underneath the seat, shut down the play list and turned off the car

But I did not dare to reach for anything else, like my registration, because he looked pissed

I rolled my window down

Hi

Do you have any idea who fast you were going Ma’am?

Uhh, I have a pretty good idea 

And how fast do you think you were going?

Well, I know it was more than 65 but I’m pretty sure it was less than 90….so that’s good right?

I was not trying to be a wise ass, I was genuinely nervous and a bit scared - I mean nervous like my hands started shaking, my blood went cold and I may or may not have peed a little - and when I get nervous, not only do I shake and pee, I start sounding a tad pompous and then just start babbling

He asked for my license and registration

Yes okay, sure but it’s in the glove box…well my registration is my license is in my wallet…so I have to get them

Can you please get them both for me?

Oh yeah, of course, I just wanted you to know that I know where they are and I’m going to get them now

Ma’am, your license and registration please

Right

I handed both over, after picking up the wipes and underwear that fell out of my glove box (emergency stash for my 4 year old I lamely explained) and started fidgeting in my seat

He was not leaning over as he spoke to me and when I turned my head, my face was right in his crotch and I felt weird staring at it but I was afraid if I looked straight ahead, it would appear I was not listening to him So I decided to just look down

But when I looked down, I realized my shirt had come unbuttoned not one but three buttons down and I did not want him to think I was trying to get him to look down to look at my boobs to get me out of a ticket so I started jerking my head around like cat being teased with laser pointer

Ma’am? Ma’am? He said a bit louder

I jerked my head towards him because he caught me trying to adjust the seat belt to cover my gaping shirt and I sort of let go of it and snapped myself pretty hard across the chest

Yes sir?

Why were you going so fast?

And without thinking I blurt out

It’s Karen’s fault! And Dede’s….but mostly Karen….you  know one time she ran over me with a car – actually Jen was driving but Karen pushed me out – she says it was by accident but now I’m not so sure….I don’t even know why we’re friends….

What?

The officer leaned down and looked in the car….

Are you alone?

Yes

Then who is Karen and how is it her fault?

Its George Harrison’s fault but really its Karen’s fault….I wouldn’t have even listened to George Harrison if it hadn’t been for Karen – and it’s also kind of Dede’s fault because this started when the song I Think We’re Alone Now by Tiffany came on….and Dede was the one who introduced me to that song…and it made me think of her…I have no idea where she is now but Jesus she was really funny – and I totally had a crush on her brother - and this guy named Marty….I was a little boy crazy back then but not now because I’m married

The officer moved back a bit and bent down to look in the back seat

You are alone are you not Ma’am?

Yes

Where are you headed?

Now as I mentioned, when I get nervous, I tend to talk - a lot – and when I say talk a lot I mean I start babbling….and the more I talk the more nervous I get and the more nervous I get, I lose my train of thought and start babbling even more trying to find my way back to my original point – I would have been a disaster on a debate team

To Bangor…….to see my Mum and Dad……well , actually I am headed to a surprise party for Aunt Marie, she’s my Godmother so that’s why I’m going – I mean I’d go anyway because she’s my Aunt and she’s turning 70-, but don’t tell her I told you she’s 70 – but that is not until tonight so first I’m having lunch with my mother and father and Father – not that I have two fathers……one is my Dad the other is a priest so it’s kind of like a Holy Day…..get it? Lunch with a Priest and then a party for my Godmother? Funny right?

Anyway yeah, so that’s where I’m going…to my parent’s house in Bangor – well not Bangor so much as Orrington but no one ever knows where Orrington is so I always say Bangor…which really I should say Brewer because Bangor is on the opposite side of the river but no one ever seems to know Brewer either so Bangor is easier…...

Ma’am if I go back and run your license, am I going to find any recent moving violations?

Oh no, the last time I was pulled over was in 2004 – Mother’s Day weekend – I remember because I had my brother with me – we were driving to Bangor, well Orrington, to surprise my Mum for Mother’s Day – he was in Boston for a bachelor party and I picked him up Saturday morning and we drove up and when he saw me, I had lost like 20 pounds or so because I was doing Weight Watchers and I just joined that winter and he had not seen me and when he saw me he was all like wow, you look great – so that’s how I remember – and I got pulled over by an airplane - well not an airplane, the plane clocked me and then a trooper on the ground pulled me over – and my brother saw the plane and never warned me so that was actually his fault – he’s a horrible co-pilot

What?

Well he could have told me to slow down but he didn’t and I got a ticket for $230! He never even offered to pay it and he should have because had he not been in town, I would not have been driving to Maine…..wait, was it 2004 or 2005? I think it may have been 2005….no it was 2004 because Sean was not with us and if it had been 2005, Sean would have been with us but it was just the two of us – and Christina was pregnant so it was definitely 2004

So your last ticket was in 2004?

Yes, but my husband got one in 2009…at Christmas

Ma’am, I don’t care about your husband

Oh, okay right

So you are headed to Bangor –

Yes

Care to tell me why you were driving so fast?

Well, again, its Karen’s fault....because of the music - see I met my friend Karen my freshman year in high school - and though we did not become fast friends, we eventually became friends

See I did not fit with the cool kids - and I did not fit with the not so cool kids - and I certainly did did not fit at all with the band/chorus/drama kids…..even though I got the lead in the Spring Musical that year which I am still not even sure how that happened and would you believe I never got the lead again…probably because I am a terrible singer and it is a musical….

But that is beside the point..….see I was just a bit odd I suppose – not like Goth weird or talking to myself as I walked down the hall weird I was just kind of in my own little world – not like the land of Oz world……I just thought high school would have been easier you know? Like I’d just have all kinds of new friends….….I was a do-gooder and a joiner but did not realize you weren’t supposed to be so enthusiastic about it…I thought you were supposed to try out/audition for everything…It never occurred to me I might not succeed

Ma’am? Where are you going with this?

Well I’m trying to explain to you why this is Karen’s fault…because then I tried out for the basketball team….and I went to a small high school and there weren’t enough girls trying out to justify a JV team so there was only Varsity and I did not make the team  - I was the only one cut

Which made sense because frankly, I was awful - I mean was chubby, which you know because I already told you I went to Weight Watchers – which I go again now because after I had my daughter I got fat again – well not like right after but like two years after – yeah, I lost the baby weight then gained it back again – so not fair – anyway as I was saying, I was chubby out of shape and lacked any coordination so I got cut

But then three days later, Julie, the captain of the team called me and said someone quit and would I like her spot, sure I said, why not

So I showed up for the fourth practice and quickly realized that playing Varsity in High School was way different than playing in Jr High School – I mean these girls were scary as shit- oops sorry, I mean they were pretty intense and serious as hell about it

Mary and Julie were seniors and I remembered them from Orrington when I was a kid  - my Mum would take us to the Jr High to watch the basketball and softball games and remembered watching these girls playing and thinking they were the most amazing athletes I had ever seen live and in person and now I was standing next to them - they knew and loved my mom so I figured they’d be pretty nice to me and I remember my enthusiastic (read over zealous dorked out) greeting I shouted to them and they both ignored me

Ma’am…..

Then there was Dede who also grew up in Orrington, though she was a year younger than Mary and Julie, she was the first one who was nice to me…….she just kept encouraging me and told me to follow her…….so on this fourth day, I was stinking the joint out and somehow, got paired up with Karen who was less than amused she was stuck with me

She was the most serious and the most scary on the court - but she was good and the star of the team – and now she was tasked with getting me through the sets of drills -  she was less than amused with the jokes I was cracking or my inability to do a suicide without gasping for air -and when we had to do the crab walk while holding a basketball between our knees – well let’s just say that everyone else was in the showers while I was still trying to finish the crab walk  - but Dede who grew up down the street from me stayed with me and next thing I know, Karen was on the other side of me and they stayed with me until I finished

Needless to say, I did not play much – I was just there for comic relief - so I just hung out on the bench and watched which did not bother me in the least

Anyway, after that first week of practice, despite my inability to make a basket or run for 15 minutes straight, Karen and I became fast friends and within a short time, were inseparable – and Dede and I became friends too

I remember hanging out with Dede and listening to Debbie Gibson and Tiffany - and I remember singing the songs at the top of our lungs - Karen and I would listen to The Hooters, The Monkees, The Beatles and Huey Lewis and The News - no matter who I was listening to, with Karen or Dede, we always sang and we always danced - now much of our dancing was done while seated – because we were always on the bus on our way to a game somewhere

So we made up all these dance routines to the songs- I guess we were kind of acting out the songs - Karen and I had quite a few songs in our repertoire – our favorites being You Can Call me Al which by the way we did at my wedding – and Got My Mind Set on You by George Harrison –

Karen had a Walkman and she bought a dual jack so we could plug two sets of headphones in and listen together - what we must have looked like - but we did not care - it made us laugh, it was fun – and it made those long bus rides a whole lot more bearable - we could have cared less if the cool kids made fun of us - in my head, we were the cool kids

So then, Karen and Dede graduated and my Junior and Senior years were less memorable than my first two years and not as much fun - Karen and Dede went off to college and two years later, so did I - and once I went off to college, I lost touch with pretty much all of the people I went to high school with –partly because I was a jerk but really because I was pretty insecure -  but Karen and I always kept in touch although sometimes, we’d go without speaking to one another for a years

But I always knew where she was and how she was because her Mum Sylvia kept dibs on me, and you know Mrs Smith has never missed our anniversary? And now she never will because Mitch and Karen got married a couple years ago on the same day! Crazy right?

Ma’am, I am going to ask you again why you were speeding.

Well, I wasn’t actually doing it on purpose – I was just kind of caught up in the moment – well not really the moment so much as memoires…so the memories and music

That’s why you were speeding?

Well yeah, because of the music – I was dancing, well not dancing so much as acting out the song because I was reminiscing  – about high school and stuff....so after high school, in 2000, Karen moved from Colorado to Massachusetts – and I was living in Illinois so she stopped and stayed with me for  a day or two and then she called me a few days later when she arrived in Massachusetts distraught because the girl she was moving in with to share expense announced, upon Karen’s arrival, that she was moving out – who does that right?

So next thing I know, I packed up all my stuff and without a job or a plan moved sight unseen into an apartment and into a city I knew nothing about – which was like the best thing ever for me because I totally needed a change of scenery but I still miss Annette and Brandon – don’t even get me going on my 
shenanigans with them!

Anyway, so now we live together, me and Karen, Annette and Brandon are still in Rantoul and I have no idea where Dede is but then, Karen gets a great job in Baltimore and moves but she’d come back to visit…like in 2004 when the Sox won the World Series – I still can’t even believe they won never mind the two since then…remember the Parade was scheduled for Saturday? Well, I talked to her Thursday and I’m all like you need to come up and she was all like I don’t know she said, I have laundry to do….but I told her I have a WASHER AND DRYER GET YOUR ASS UP HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So she did - and at 10pm that Friday night, we’re at Stop and Shop buying food for our day out in Boston - we bought the biggest container of humus ever – I have no idea why - But we bought hummus and bread and vegetables and crackers - But instead of eating the hummus and veggies, we drank whiskey and whooped and hollered with the thousands of other people around us - best day ever - but I don’t drink now

That’s Karen’s fault too – not that that’s a bad thing ….see she came back for another visit - I forget why she was in town but she stayed with me - we decided we’d just go have dinner and drinks, give us some time to catch up with one another - The Outback was just down the street from our apartment - and I think one of us wanted a blooming onion - though I have to be honest, I have no idea if we ever ordered it or if it just sounded good at the time

So on this particular night, Karen and I are sitting at the bar eating and catching up and there were two men in uniform, not yours, they were Marines, or were they Army, one of the two…..anyway, they were  sitting near us at the bar - every once in a while, they’d interject in our conversation – I may or may not have baited them – so, we finished our meal, paid and the two guys were still sitting at the bar

As we’re driving away, I was driving - one of us had the brilliant idea that I should go back in and invite them to join us - given our history, I’m pretty sure it was Karen’s idea because she could get me to do stuff like walk up to a police officer and ask him for a DARE card or ask some guy with a big camera if he was with Sports Illustrated but that’s not really relevant here

So I went in, told them where we were going and got them to join us - I don’t remember the rest of the night as vividly as one should - I remember a whole lot of laughing, drinking, more laughing and some shots - what I do remember quite vividly was waking up the next morning on the couch of a hotel lobby next to one of the two guys with no shoes on and I may or may not have had his shirt on over mine which appeared to be a bit stiff and damp and smelled like tequila…and lemon…and it took me a few minutes to figure out where I was

And it turned out, if you can believe it, that I was in a hotel less than two miles from my house…now it took me less time to find my keys and my car and get the hell out of there…and when I got home, Karen was just waking up too…and we were kind of like what the hell…but god we had a good time and then shortly thereafter I sort of eased way back on my drinking and then just eventually quit drinking and in between that I met Sean and we got married……so I guess I was speeding because the songs came on and I sort of got wrapped up in nostalgia and dancing, well acting out the songs and…..I’m really sorry sir….and I will turn down the music and stop dancing but if we don’t hurry up, I am going to miss holy lunch with Father…and my Dad…and my Mom…. please don’t give me a ticket…god I am exhausting

Yes, yes you are – Ma’am this is a written warning – turn the music down, concentrate on your driving and please just go and slow down  

He walked away


Totally Karen’s fault – and kind of Dede’s - and that of a craving for a blooming onion