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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Holiday Thoughts

Time is passing so quickly and we are now into December!  I kept meaning to post on here but somehow things just didn't work out that way. A broken iPhone, broken refrigerator and all the general busyness of life kept me away from this.  I did, however manage to compose a few poems for my Facebook page.  So here they are with a few thoughts about each one.

When everything is said and done,
And things are figured out,
You'll find it's who you see each day,
That really, truly counts,
All the anger will subside,
We'll live our lives as we must,
Love your family and your friends,
They're the ones that you can trust.

**I wrote this one the evening of the election, before watching any of the results coverage.  I confess to being unhappy with the results and removed the post the next morning as I was finding it hard to feel the way the poem suggests.  Now that we are a few weeks past that and trying to move forward I can say that I do feel that way again.  However, I have much concern about what will happen in the future in our country.  Hopefully there are enough sensible heads helping to keep things going in a positive direction.**

Thanksgiving Ditty

May your turkey be moist 
And your stuffing be yummy 
May you have enough food
To fill up your tummy
May goodness surround you,
Your loved ones as well,
And thankfulness fill you 
To make your heart swell.

**So I skipped ahead to Thanksgiving because that seems to be how things went, we recovered a bit from the election and suddenly it was time to prepare for the feast.  We had a very nice time, although tinged with a bit of sadness from missing Alison. Her sudden death the end of August has left the family feeling a bit off balanced.  Seeing my brother and his kids making their way forward through the grief of losing his wife and the children's mother is as heartbreaking as it sounds. The holidays will be  especially difficult for them. Still, we were all glad to be together for the day.**

Are you making turkey soup?
Or shopping 'till you drop?
Perhaps you're watching football
Or wielding broom and mop?
Perhaps you're working at your job
And helping others out
Or maybe you are reading?
Well whatever you're about
I hope this day's a good one
And you get some time to rest
Don't forget that in yourself 
Some time you should invest.

**This was written the day after Thanksgiving, on so called "Black Friday"".  I did not go near a mall, and never do. Since I host Thanksgiving every year, I take that day to rest and putter around the house cleaning up from the big event and putting away the holiday dishes, silver, pots and pans. I also take some time for myself and work a nap into the afternoon since I'm exhausted from all the preparations. I wouldn't change a thing, though. I love hosting Thanksgiving! The leftovers are nice, too!**

Thanksgiving's over
The feast is done
Just turkey soup remains
The rush has started
With the shopping and stress
Of Christmas and New Year's again
Shouldn't we pause
And take some time 
To enjoy everything we plan?
To consider the meaning
Of the season we love
Before it all comes to an end?

**The Monday after the Thanksgiving break is a tough one for me. Getting motivated and returning to work are challenging  enough but then thinking about getting all the Christmas preparations started feels overwhelming.  It all seems so rushed knowing that the biggest holiday of the year is bearing down and there are only 4 short weeks in which to shop, wrap, decorate, send packages and cards, bake cookies, attend parties and concerts, visit friends, and prepare for another family gathering. Yes, I host Christmas dinner as well. It's easier with Hillary and I do enjoy having everyone here.  So, I try to slow down and simplify and enjoy all the things that make this a meaningful time--extra time with family and friends, and thinking of how Christmas came to be in the first place through the birth of Christ. It's not easy to avoid getting caught up in the frenzy of this season, but it is important to try because daily life is stressful enough without adding unnecessary and unreal expectations to it in the name of Christmas. It's supposed to be a time of peace.  I'm trying. I hope you will too.**

Friday, October 28, 2016

Halloween Thoughts

Here are a couple of Halloween themed poems from my Facebook page, followed by a couple thoughts about the holiday. I hope you enjoy them.

Many moons ago
I was a kid,
Trick-or-treating on Halloween
Is what we did,
It wasn't done before
Nor after,
Just one day
Was all we asked for,
Now towns seem to
Change the rules,
Some don't have it
In their schools,
The whole thing is 
Now so complex,
When are the kids coming?
Just guess your best!

It was early in the morning
With the water running warm
When the creature stalked its prey
And a new fear was born.
The unsuspecting victim
Began to wash her hair,
Looking up she saw it
And it gave her quite a scare.
Cowering in the corner,
No weapons at the ready
She struggled to be calm,
To keep her breathing steady.
With one eye on the creature
She grabbed whate're she had,
The menacer soon realized 
The only option that it had.
It fast began retreating
Back from whence it came,
Our heroine amazed
That her washcloth saved the day.
Halloween is a strange holiday. It has become an excuse to let your weird show and collect candy. Some people love the scary aspect of it; I prefer the cuter side. Little kids in cute costumes are delightful, teenagers and adults dressed as zombies or the Grim Reaper are not. It has also gotten to be oneof those  things that is celebrated for more than just the one day. There are community events, parties, school celebrations and some schools not celebrating during regular hours. One  thing is for sure: either you're into it, or you're not. I could do without it. Now, on to November!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

9/11 Remembered

It is a day that shook us up as a nation. Living here, 50 miles from NYC, and about an 8 hour drive from the other points of impact, it was and is tough to avoid all those horrible images. I admit that I can only look at them on the tv or in print so many times before I cannot look any more. Because I watched it as it happened and those raw images are forever embedded in my memory. What I also remember are the events of my personal day. 
It was a day like any other, at the beginning of the school year. Hillary had just started her second year attending our town's middle school. That morning I drove to the school and dropped off some of her supplies that I didn't send on the bus with her. Since I still had nearly an hour before reporting to work in the kitchen of one of our elementary schools I went back home. I turned on the news and saw what I thought was old footage of the early 1990's attack on the World Trade Center when a car bomb exploded in the underground garage. But the news anchors were the (at the time) current ones. The time was a little past nine and as my brain tried to process what I was seeing and hearing, the second plane hit the second tower. My mouth gaped, my stomach froze, and I struggled to comprehend what I was seeing and hearing from the tv. All I could think to do was go to work, although I called my husband first because where he worked there was no tv and generally too much noise to hear the radio. He was, of course, shocked by what I told him. 
When I got to work, the ladies that I work with were trying frantically to get in contact with their loved ones. L's oldest daughter lived in Manhattan, and M's husband worked there. At the time, cell phones were not as ubiquitous nor as advanced as they are now, so it was more difficult to contact people. They eventually were able to get in touch with them, but leaned on each other throughout the day as events unfolded. Although staff members were aware of the attacks, the principal did not want the young children told. Our custodian turned on the big screen tv in the lunchroom and as I did my job filling the vending machines we watched as the towers fell, people ran, and reports came in about the Pentagon and the crash in Pennsylvania. I recall seeing staff members in the hallway crying, hugging each other. The children were as they usually were. As we left work that day, the skies were eerily silent. Generally there are jets on their way to and from NYC and area airports, as well as the occasional single engine plane or helicopter. Only birds were flying that day and in the next few days to come. Our town lost a paraprofessional from one of our elementary schools that day on one of the flights, neighboring towns lost citizens who were employed in offices at the towers. Most towns around here have 9/11 memorials. Most also sent first responders to help in the aftermath. I don't know about other parts of the country, but in this area, the impact was huge, and is felt keenly to this day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bittersweet Summer

Summer is bittersweet in so many ways.  We savor the days of sunshine and days of gentle rain, while at the same time realizing the danger of  sunburned skin, strong storms, tornadoes, flooding and hurricanes.  Summer is a season where we slow down a bit, take time off, and let our minds wander; our thoughts blowing through our brains like those white puffy clouds the wind pushes and changes as they move across the deep blue sky on a hot afternoon.  As my memories meander around in my head I realize that it is this time of the year when I miss my parents the most.  Most people I talk to about their parents once they have passed on say they miss them most around the winter holidays—Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, or around Mothers Day and Fathers Day.  Those days do have a poignant emptiness to them once your parents are no longer here but for me it’s the summer time that leaves me with an emptiness quite unfillable.

It was in the summer that we seemed to have the most fun with our parents.  Whether it was a family game of softball in the field across the street, a trip to explore and picnic at Tillman’s Ravine, or a trip to visit my aunt at the shore we did it together on the weekend.  During the week, my mother packed picnic lunches of cheese sandwiches, iced tea and vegetable sticks and we walked up the street where there was forest now many houses) where we walked through the coolness of the trees and stopped at “Diamond Rock” for lunch.  Other days we’d simply yell into the house through the screen door to let Mom know we were going to a friend’s house, bike riding, or to the playground.  She was always there; she was our anchor as we navigated our way through childhood.  The evenings were spent either sitting together in lawn chairs on the porch drinking lemonade and talking and laughing about whatever four kids and two adults would, or playing games; usually either Scrabble or Rummy.  Even after we were all grown, when I visited my parents Mom was always ready with the Scrabble board or a deck of cards once the dinner dishes were washed and put away.  She was really hard to beat as she knew so many words and was a strategic player of letters.  In Rummy she always seemed to get the cards she needed, I don’t know how she did it but she usually reached 500 before anyone else was even close.  Those were such nice times, the cool of the evening, a citronella candle on the picnic table, glass of iced tea, and a quiet game which invited casual conversation and fostered a closeness of which there is no comparison.

Summer, for me, is the time I most wish my parents were still here.  It’s the time that I feel the loss of them the most, yet I have to smile at all the happy memories I have of those long lazy summers.


Since my daughter has never been able to walk or talk, I've always wished that people could see how she is a person who likes and dislikes things the same as everyone does. When she was very young I tried to let other children see that she enjoyed the activities they did, but in a different way. Just because she couldn't run, it didn't mean she didn't enjoy the feeling of moving fast.  She loved it when whoever was pushing her in her wheelchair ran.  She loved the way it felt to swing, and being with other children.  Now that she is older, I wish that people could see past the ways she is different.  I wish they could know her as a young woman.  Let me tell you a bit about her.

She loves parties! The sound of people talking and laughing, loud music and the general festive air bring her joy.

She hates tuna, really truly hates it! She does love cake, though!

She gets mad at me when she has to get up early.  She doesn't like being woken up and expected to function any more than anyone else who wants to sleep in on the weekend.

She is Daddy's little girl, even at the ripe old age of almost 24.  Seriously, she could be scowling at me or complaining because I'm touching her arm  but let my husband come in the room and try the same thing and she's suddenly happy.  She simply adores him.

She feels sibling rivalry yet loves hanging out with her older sister watching movies or listening to music.

She likes watching baseball on tv, SpongeBob, movies, and funny videos where people are getting hit with balls, falling and just doing dumb things.

She loves going places and seeing new sights.  When we go out in the van or she is on the bus for her day program she looks out the windows.  When we go on vacation she likes seeing all the different things, taking a tour boat ride, and walking through the tourist shop areas. (although that tends to be difficult since most places are crowded). She also enjoys a day at the mall, especially if an ice cream is included!

She is a person in her own right, and I really just wish more people could see that.

 Here she is next to my husband on the tour boat at Lake George, NY.