Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Shadowlands and a Great Big Fire

Okay...photographed just now, wrapped in a fuzzy blanket, waiting for a movie I've wanted to see to begin on TV...a movie called Shadowlands, based on the life of C.S. Lewis.  Just got back from the barn where my horse is, and I'm freezing!  The temperature started dropping while we were at the barn, and is now much more winter-like.  Fun, relaxing day, though, with the horse and two of my three sons.

Tonight is one of those nights that rarely happens...I just learned I will have several hours alone.  Completely alone.  It is so rare that I don't know what to do!  I am stunned; deer in the headlight time. 

I love movies, so that was my first choice; usually it is too late or we are too tired by the time we can sit down to watch one, and we end up watching  an episode of "Hawaii Five-O" (now there's a re-make!) or one of the CSI's.  Or I could clean our room with my free evening, which looks like a crime scene and was "wrapping central" before Christmas.  Or I could do some work...hey, did I say that? Ugh.  Dishes?  No way - besides, the hubs did them while I was up at barn. 

So, it's a movie, and it's just me, and I'm really content.  Just one do you work the fireplace flue, and how do you search for movies on FIOS?? I forget...

Celebrate the hours you can claim for yourself, and don't always clean or work them away.  These hours all strung together and these "tiny, inconsequential" choices about how to spend these rare hours make up the quality of your interior life.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

The dinner has long been eaten, "Elf " has been watched, the cookies polished off and the stockings gone through (two out of three made it back to the mantle.)  My family is all around me, and everyone is sleepy, well-feed, and just glad to be together.  It is the state of being called Christmas.

You don't know, from year to year, what changes wll take place in your family, and as you age you learn to appreciate the precious faces around you even more.  Judgement fades, as you realize that acceptance is a big part of love.  If you are lucky enough to have no illness, no death, and no calamity visit your door, you have every reason to count yourself lucky and blessed, especially at holiday season.  Around the globe there is so much pain, anxiety and death that we in America are lucky to have the kinds of strife we have - even a bad economy and political divide pales in comparison to starvation, natural disasters and genocide.

At Christmas we are reminded to help the poor, and Jesus meant constantly, and as a mission in life.  It is actually about the poor among us.  Jesus asked us to help widows, orphans and the poor.  I am reminded  to see how I personally can do more for the truly poor; why have so many other things gotten in the way?  Is there any more important work?  As our parish priest pointed out today at Mass, we come from the ages of saints whose work was the poor and the state of our souls...this is our inheritance.  What will we do with it...squander it, or live up to it?

May peace and joy stay with you this season, and throughout the year.  God bless us, everyone!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Christmas Horse

Here is my horse Nello's "official Christmas photo - 2011", and he is anxious to share it with everyone!

As you can see, Nello is adorned with a Christmas decoration affixed to his halter - which he tried to eat - and the photo was challenging because Nello likes to close his eyes when stationary, his theory being that it is never a wrong time for a nap.   The only reason that he is looking at me with eyes open is that I crinkled paper near him - which sounds like a bag of carrots opening.

As you can see, he is fuzzy, having grown his winter coat.  It keeps him nice and warm on trail rides or just standing in his paddock, enjoying the sun.  Nello's current favorite pasttime is trying to stand as close as possible to a mare named Allie, whom he is in desperate love with.  He moons over her, standing pressed to the fence, watching every move she makes.  (She likes him too, thank goodness!)

We have been together for 8 months now, and we are enjoying every minute.  Nello is happy at his new barn, and is affable to anything I might have planned - except for getting on his back.  He has a new maneuver, when I am attempting to mount up; swinging his hind quarters away from me.  This started when he had a terrible bout of arthritis, and was trying to tell me he couldn't handle a rider.  Now that he is better he has adopted this move as a permanent one, so we are working on it - it is important, in the horse world, for the rider to "win" every argument, so I have exhausted myself trying to climb aboard this fellow.  He is slowly getting better.  The funny thing is, he swings his head back at me while he is doing his signature move, as if to send his regrets about his behavior.  I'm not buying it, Mister.

He is my Christmas present, my source of relaxation, my down-time, my investment in myself.  I am grateful every day that I took the plunge and bought this carriage horse who had never had his own person until now.  Nello was always a "throw-in" in a sale of other horses, or part of a carriage team, with no identity or recognition of his own.  He was almost put down a few years ago, as he was on a working farm and he was not serving a purpose, due to an old injury that was quite serious, although it healed well, thank goodness.

So, he has a sweet attitude of compliance and gratefulness that many animals who get a second chance have - and makes himself a pleasure to be around.  The people and horses at his barn love him, and he is truly spoiled with treats, pats, and baby-talk (which he melts at, when he hears.)  He loves carrots, apples and cookies, is fussy about hay, is afraid of trailers, gets energized by wind, and loves to have his back scratched. 

He is perfect for me.  Merry Christmas, boy.  Thanks for the amazing ride we're on.

Monday, December 12, 2011

$10,000 Bet? C'Mon, Mitt!

Well, instead of being out at a party or out shopping and mingling among carolers and revelers, Saturday night found me happily stretched out in front of the fire, anxiously awaiting the latest Republican debate, on ABC. 

The race for the Presidency is my Superbowl, as I often remind my husband Fred, in an attempt to show him the importance of these debates - and happiness they bring to me - as we near the first primary.  He just shakes his head and throws another log on the fire for me, and freshens up my hot chocolate.

Here is my question: why does Mitt Romney always look so uncomfortable?  I do believe that he will be the nominee, and I will volunteer for his campaign locally if/when he gets The Nod.  But why does he look so stiff and uncomfortable?  Is it because he is not a politician right now?  He was our Governor, and did not look uncomfortable at press conferences back in the day, speaking on any range of issues.  What is it about the campaign trail that makes him itchy/sweaty/unable to respond?

I cringed when he offered his hand to Rick Perry and asked to bet him $10,000.  Mitt...what he heck?  Do you know how much money that is to us regular folk?  If we had $10,000 to run around betting, we would probably stick with the President we have!  (Just kidding).

Advice to Mitt:  a) practice not smiling at the candidate who is speaking, but looking stern.  b) please write this on your hand: everyone is not wealthy!  Keep it real!  c) argue and go after other candidates; it's "Go Time" now.  No more fawning smile when Gingrich is speaking. We are beginning to picture each candidate arguing with China, or Iran, and we need to see focus and will, and a little something called gumption.

Mitt, please find your center.  And no more betting...except on yourself, as President of the United States of America.  And let that confidence shine through!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

During the many years I authored a weekly newspaper column, I took special pride in my yearly Christmas column; I thought about it for several weeks, and prayers went up to God to inspire me with a Christmas thought that He wanted my readers to think about - take myself out of the creative equation, so to speak.  Although I have retired the column and am on to other writing, I like to think that occaisionally my column pokes it's head out and says, hey; remember me?  Especially the Christmas columns.

So today I post my favorite Christmas column, and the one that I truly felt I had Divine Help with.  Please enjoy it, and take it for what you will...

                         Enjoy the shopping, visiting, and happiness the season brings!

                          Love, Deirdre

Friday, December 2, 2011

Republican GOP Candidates Round-Up

Dear Readers: here is my candid, kind of hurried, and pretty uneducated assessment of the current field of GOP candidates, for your review:

1. Jon Huntsman - great hair, nice smile, good sport...not going to be President, but a good cabinet member who would foster across-the-aisle communication.

2. Ron Paul - this former medical doctor will not be the nominee either, but is an important voice on the campaign trail, and his supporters are fervent believers.  As a Libertarian he is focused on human rights and financial market reforms.  Reminds me of Frank Perdue, the chicken magnate.  I enjoy him in the debates.

Rick Santorum - will not get nomination either.  Seems nice, loves to bring up coal-mining background and family tree, sometimes to excess (like Bachmann).  The only practicing Catholic in the field who also has a good relationship with Protestants, he could bring in the religious money...but will not be our nominee.

Rick Perry - perfect for Texas, not so perfect for the Presidency.  He might be an interesting choice for an a country that already likes us.  He has done good things in Texas, and is firm on border control, which is a very important issue in race.  I believe he is honest, and has a nice self-depracating sense of humor.  Bad memory, though ("Vice President Bachmann, how many nuclear missiles do we have again?")

Michelle Bachmann - would actually make an excellent President, but I don't think she has (or will receive)the mainstream support to garner GOP nomination.  She loves this country, and is a fighter!  She would be an excellent VP nominee on any ticket, and would bring in the vocal and not-to-be-discounted Tea Party vote.  Accomplished, well-spoken woman who could be President someday.  I believe that she means what she says, and does not mince words, or back down.  She is my first choice.  The wardrobe could be a little more hip, Mish...

Herman Cain - Oh, Herman...

Newt Gingrich - Roaring back after a 13-year absence from politics, I predict a fight until the end for the nomination between Newt and Romney, with Romney pulling out a win by a hair (a hairsprayed, perfect hair).  Newt has personal baggage (leaving a wife with cancer??), and has a quality that is kind of snarky, almost - he can make someone look like the biggest idiot in the world; someone who is simply not worth his time.  This man is the smartest man up there.  He is probably brilliant, is very scholarly, and a pretty shrewd businessman. He would do a fine job as President, bringing us back to the Constitution, which he has studied for years.  He gets my vote when Bachmann is out.  The account at Tiffany never bothered me a bit; good for him (and his wife!!)

Mitt Romney - meet the GOP nominee.  He is a flip-flopper that feels entitled the the Top Job.  We will nominate him for our economy; we need jobs badly, and I believe that the country will believe that Mitt can deliver jobs (he once saved a whole Olympics!!) Romneycare will be a hurdle, indeed, but I feel that he will receive the nomination because he can beat Obama, and will appeal to the most number of folks across the land.  Republicans (including Yours Truly) will throw all their support behind him, and he hopefully will win the Presidency.  I still can't believe that Obama ever received the Democratic nomination, let alone the Presidency (Hillary would have been so much better!!!), so I believe that while the smart choice would be Newt, the actual choice will be Mitt.

There you have it.  I don't have a great track record with guessing, so Herman Cain will probably end up being the nominee, teehee.  Have a great week-end, and thanks to all who visit this blog!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Christmas Shopping Bargain-Barrage...The Commercials Begin

Well, Thanksgiving is over, and according to my TV, it is time to IMMEDIATELY turn our attention to storming the malls in our flak jackets and helmets and getting THE BEST DEAL possible on EVERYTHING WE WANT.  Ugh.

WalMart, Target and Kohl's have adopting the advertising strategy of portraying women as over-caffeinated, dangerously wacko bargain-hunters who will knock you over in the aisles and stomp on your toddler to get to the latest cool "must-have," and finish  off their list.  Is this a mirror of how we really are, or a ploy to get us to become this way?

This year we need bargains, for sure.  The smart company would have an advertising roll-out beginning with a commercial of an average woman (c'mom, we do most of the shopping; it's true!!) explaining how she definitely needs a great deal on her items this year, and XYZ Company helps her to get this deal, with a price she can trust.  She could even, God forbid, tell us that she is looking forward to relaxing - instead of being an over-stimulated freak show - and enjoying the true gifts of the season, due to the ease of shopping thanks to XYZ Co.  Now that's a company that I would support.  I'm sick of the blatant commercialism and not so blatant female-stereotyping of this year's ads already - and it's not even December!  Yikes!

And... Heaven help you car companies that try to tell us that we should have a car with a bow on it sitting in the driveway to show our love to that special someone this Christmas; pease just run an ad that says, "Look, we sell cars, and when you have some money for a great lease or purchase, come on down and talk to us; we'll be here waiting to serve you.  But this year, we want to just wish you Merry Christmas, and alert you to the fact that a small portion of our annual earnings are going to help families of the military.  We've got that covered, and we'll look forward to seeing you in the showroom soon!"  That's a dream ad.  And that's a car company that I would consider - and isn't that the goal?

Commercialism at Christmas is a fact in America.  But it is up to you to turn on your filter, and be the person - and shopper - you want to be this holiday season.  I have a vow that I am shopping when I want and how I want, even if it is on December 24th.  Now go get ' your own pace.  :-)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happiness is in Your Own Backyard

The picture to the left is my home's side yard, and two white rockers that we put out in the summer.  Doing the dishes a few minutes ago after work, I was looking out the window and was struck by how beautiful they looked in front of the foliage, with sun falling on them, so I thought I'd post.

Today the radio went off, the TV went off, and my mind went off - I can't take anymore bad news, and I'm a newsy person.  Its time to soak in some real life, and put things in a positive gear.

What I like about these rocking chairs is that they are very scarred; they are peeling all over, and are now more wood-and-white than white, their original color.  We've had them for years.  I think about painting them every once in awhile, but for some reason I never do; it's like I would be paiting over all the conversations we have had sitting in them - our sons, too, and friends, and us.  If they could talk...I would take an axe to them!!  But I thought they looked beautiful there in the yard, summer gone, fallen leaves surrounding them.

This picture is of our 3-season porch that I had to walk through to get the pic of the rockers - again, struck by the sun slanting in on our couch; peaceful and comforting.  The porch is big and unfinished, and so comfortable; we live in this room 3 seasons a year, due to it's size, and I change it to reflect each season. I don't post pics of my own home normally, but was thinking that we all can stumble on these times in our homes (whether it's an apartment, a mansion, or a mobile home) where we are struck by the feeling of  home, and whatever that means to us.

So, today I'll concentrate on the gifts that are free and good - sun slanting on chairs, a comfortable porch I'm lucky to have, our veterans that today we remember, the love of family and friends.  The news can wait; it's always there, and can bring you down and chip away at your spirit.  Soaring - whether quietly, with a book, or loudly, with some happy activity that leaves you winded and speechless - is an act, not a mistake.  Find the environment where you can make your thoughts, mind and life soar.

Happy Veteran's Day and have a wonderful week-end!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Grave Errors in the Telling of the Killing of A Terrorist

It appears that what Americans were told about Osama bin Laden's killing was not accurate in the least, and all of Al Queda could have been shut down had the Administration not rushed to take credit.  During a term going downhill on every front, with poll numbers nose-diving, this military operation appeared like manna from heaven for Obama. This article (and book soon released) also outlines the deep divide between military understanding of events on the ground, and politicians' non-understanding of how these operations really go down.  Thank you Seals, for making us much safer!  We only wish that the Administration had allowed you to complete the routing out and exterminating of this terrorist organization.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Assist at Lake Placid Tourney

We just spent the week-end with our son James' hockey team in Lake Placid, New York, home of the 1980 Olympics, and scene of the Americans beating USSR in Olympics for the gold medal. Our team got to skate on the very same ice! This video shows James taking a shot and Nick getting rebound for goal, netting James an assist.  We also saw the original Olympic ski jumps (so high; much higher than they look on TV) and bobsled course (my son James and teammates went down it on an actual bobsled!)

Lake Placid is a pretty cool place to go if you want to revive your pride in America, relive the Olympics while walking through a real Olympic village, or just ride a bobsled or two. Our boys played four games and had a lot of fun bonding as a team, and so did the parents... it WAS nice, however, to get back to real coffee; no Dunkin' Donuts on Main Street near our hotel!! Is that even legal in America? I recommend the Marriott where our team stayed; very nice. The hill from the ice rink to the hotel almost killed us all, though - people who have been there, you know what I mean. :-)

The ride up was incredibly beautiful this time of year, even though it is past peak foliage time; who knew Vermont and upstate New York so close! I kept telling my husband that there was NO WAY Vermont and New York are connected. He distracted me by pointing out cows and getting me to play the license plate game.

Great job Coach Doherty, Coaches Miele and Margossian, and all PeeWee 1 players!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Yabba Dabba Don't so serious!!!

Okay...guess what my husband Fred and I are for Halloween? 

Pre-party at our place last night, and my Wilma hair is actually a fake slap-on foam thing that gives me a headache...but we are going to two parties this week-end as the Flintstones, so I better pack Advil!!! 

First Party Report/favorite costumes: "Biggest Loser" contestants - two men dressed as female contestants, ran into the party yelling "Last Chance Workout!"  Another wild one: "Disney Tourists": a couple wearing rain ponchos with cameras, pushing a stroller with a doll in it who was holding Doritos, a candy bar, and drinking soda out of her bottle.  All three wearing Mickey ears (the baby's lit up).

Halloween parties are fun: its a riot to see a mermaid and Frankenstien discussing the stock market or the Occupy Boston rallies.  The dancing is crazy, and the mood is light.  Too much seriousness in life these days!

Yabba dabba doo!!!!  Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 17, 2011


May we each love something we've created as much as this, and be this proud of it - adorable video of Stevie Nicks singing one of her own songs backstage.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cover Up, Lass - You're In Ireland Now!

Seriously, this is the best thing I've read in a few days...I love farmers.  Especially Irish farmers.  Read his advice at the end - good for him!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Life Lesson # 3,899,767...

Life Lesson...

In the town where I used to work, I frequently would stop and chat with a woman who owned a downtown shop near my office when I was on my way to lunch, or out for a quick coffee, during my busy day. The shop owner liked to stand outside when the weather was warm, and she was frequently joined by another woman, who was often quiet and seemed to peer right through me.  She rarely looked at me when she spoke, and frankly I would almost always get annoyed that she was so off-putting when we would be engaged in simple conversation, staring beyond my shoulder somewhere.  "She really doesn't like me," I would think, or just, "She's really not that nice a person at all; I don't have time for this," etc., all those things we think when someone is off-putting or unreadable.

The other day I was driving down the street where that shop is located, and I saw the woman who so frequently looked through me. She was walking along slowly, carefully...and with a blind-person cane.  She tapped her way along, with that unfocused look that I so often took for disinterest, dislike, or boredom.  She wasn't judging me all those times we met on the street.  She had been going blind.

Humbled, and thinking about it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Madonna Loathes Hydrangeas

Okay, I have not posted in awhile, but just had to share...this is Madonna, at the Venice Fim Festival, being presented with a gift of flowers by an adoring fan.

Welcome to just one of the culture shapers we entrust our kids to: cross around her neck, fake British accent, beyong horrible manners and absolutely no class. By the way, she references Oscar-winning "The King's Speech" when speaking about her own movie. Veddy veddy bad showing, Material Girl!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up

As we begin a new week, let us take a glance back at the week just past, shall we?

Filed Under "Dad Only Gets to Stay Three Days, Kids" - The President is vacationing in the oh-so-tony island enclave of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, while the rest of the country is hearing more and more about the "R" word - recession - and every graph they show you on cable news looks like a really decent sledding hill in winter.  Why not Camp David, sir?  Go with the kids and wife for maybe three days, and then beg off, as every dad has had to do at one time or another, saying that you must get back to work.  Your work is getting us out of the toilet, so I would be comfortable with three days of vacation ONLY, annointed sir, and those three days only for the girls' sake.  (But while you are there, go to the Black Dog; it's an island "must.")

Filed Under "You Just Might Get What You Asked For" - Abercrombie and Fitch apparently is upset that The Jersey Shore cast wears their clothes, and reportedly paid one cast member NOT to wear their clothing (the company disputes this).  This is hysterical, people!  Have you been by an Abercrombie and Fitch lately in the mall?  Your ears pulsate with the loud, pounding rhythms as you innocently walk by, and if you enter inside, well...God help you.  The posters of half-naked kids are so blatently shouting "the dollar is our God, and we spend a lot on 'tween marketing surveys, too" that you would have to be recently lobotomized to not see that your kids are being played, and you are, too.  My kids were not allowed to shop there unless they got a gift certificate from a well-meaning relative - and then they had to wear ear muffs and eye blinders.  So...this is just hysterical to me, the Jersey Shore connection.  See, A&F, borderline porn ads don't attract just wealthy suburban kids - Jersey Shore is more your speed and, enjoy!!  Hysterical!!

And , in the "This Is Just Annoying" category - why do people pronounce the word "Pundits" as "Pundints"?  Interestingly, it's the "pundits" that mispronounce it the most, as it's not a word us regular folks need to use too much...kind of like hearing "for all intensive purposes"  (all intents and purposes) or "nucular" instead of "nuclear."  (I still love you, President Bush.)  Just random thoughts...

Have a great week!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Here I am today, writing to you from Cape Cod, Massachusetts; our 25th year in a row vacationing here. Gorgeous weather, nice surf, scenery that is more Martha's Vineyard than Cape (lots of wooden fences, beach roses)although we are on mainland, in Marston Mills.

I have had a ball with Fred's family (come on - after 25 years they are OUR family, in every way.) The beach was dicey for me this year; a seagull swooped down and ripped a turkey sandwich right out of my hand, and then I got stung by some fish or crab or monster under the water, and then we saw seals and I was worried about sharks...the list even goes on, but I'll stop there.

We are so lucky to even be away, when you think about the world today; riots in England, the dance of the stock market, the unemployment rates (the real ones.) Enjoy it while you can, prepare for the future as best you can, and try not to think about the sharks in the water too much.

We return home today, grateful and ready to begin again at home.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Who Is God?

I teach CCD ( I have the summer off, thank God - I am hoping I have a FastPass to Heaven for handling the 12 twelve-year old boys in my class, who are friends with each other) and I enjoy it, mostly because I teach with my good friend Susan, and we spend a lot of the hour laughing at the kids and their unique answers to questions.  (Ex: what is Advent?  Answer: it's a lot like Tylenol; you take it for a headache or a fever...)

Of course when we are not discussing Pee Wee hockey in CCD class,we discuss the nature of God.  If Susan and I do one thing for the boys, it is this: I hope we can leave them with a sense of not only the rules of respecting and observing God, but the adventure that is experiencing God.  I hope that they understand that when they are skating as fast as they can, or laughing until their sides hurt, or pointing their skis down a steep ski run and feeling the butterflies that come before flying, God is there, too.  And loving it for them, and with them.

There is a lot of language that comes with religion - blood of the lamb, being saved, and accepting Christ as your Savior.  These are all quite true, and familiar expressions of the experience of Christianity...but they make a lot of people itch, look at their watches and move on in conversation. 

Maybe if we started thinking about God, and introducing God by saying, particularly to kids: "You know when you saw that deer?  God was there with you."  Or, "you know when that kid on the other team got knocked down, got up, and scored the goal?  God was in that."  Many times we ditch our textbook in class, and talk this way, and it is here that we get the kids' attention (granted, not for long, but we do get it.)

I believe that God is with you in trouble, sorrow, and struggle.  But He is also just as present in excitement, adventure, and exuberance.  God is Good, in all it's forms.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kristen Wiig - 7 Minutes in Heaven

I am a huge Kristen Wiig fan, and here she participates in "Closet Theater" with SNL writer Mike O'Brien, who asks stars into the closet for interviews and improv. Too funny!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sheryl Crow - Now That You're Gone (Abbey Road Live 2008)

I am lovin this song by Sheryl Crow; she almost sounds like Bonnie Raitt on the chorus. Take a break, grab a beer or a glass of wine, and groove out to this for a few...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Housework is My Work...Finally

Okay, so you know how you start a new activity, or hobby, or sport, and you go through a sort of "honeymoon phase", where all you do is that thing? Well, I have been caught up in a phase with my new horse Nello.  And while I have been having a ball being a cowgirl out at the barn where I keep him - trail-riding, training him in the ring, giving him baths, caring for him, hanging with my like-minded horsie-friends, house is falling apart.  It really is.

The first clue was when a plastic plant died.  The second clue was when guests opted for "jiggling around" instead of using our guest bathroom; I guess it has been awhile since I cleaned in there.  The third clue was when I bemoaned the dark stormclouds and bad weather we keep having, only to hear that it's been sunny every single day - my windows are just grey with dirt and dust.  The honeymoon has to end, and quick!

My only job right now is to keep this place humming.  It is not's coughing, or gagging.  I have to shape up!

Today is the day.  I am going to get on my housedress (see photo), get out the cleaning bucket, turn on the hot water, and get to work!  I may do some laundry too - my husband is perpetually hunched over in our room, looking through baskets muttering, "So are these clean, or what?"  (The only reason I can have this honeymoon phase, by the way, is that he totally understands it - he is addicted to golf.  We've lost him for days, too.)  Even his calm nature has it's tipping point, though - he wasn't buying my claim that "breakfast for dinner" is a happenin' new trend - at least not when it's cereal.  Old cereal.

So Nello, my friend, today is not going to happen for us.  I must grow up, and find that balance in my life that I am constantly seeking, and am now pretty doubtful about ever attaining.  But it's been real, boy.  (Psst: hey, it's okay, don't worry; maybe I'll sneak out tonight to see you!)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

One Good Question for A Few Good Men

                                                                                   10:02 PM:  
Just relaxing tonight, watching a re-run of one of my favorite films, "A Few Good Men," and I have a question, and it is burning a hole in my brain, itching to be answered.  The question is not whether the common citizen understands military jurisprudence with all it's formalities, or whether or not relations with Cuba are as strained as they were at the time of this story.  My question is furthermore and heretofore also not what happens when a talented young man tries to live up to the legend his dead father became when he was alive, as Tom Cruise's character struggles with as he tries to find justice for the two enlisted men accused of murder and "Code Red-ing" a fellow enlisted man.

My question is this: what the heck hairstyle did Demi Moore have, exactly, in this film?  It looks like a "DA," a term popuar in the 1950's (and way before my time, by the way) that stood for, well, "duck's ass."  Is it a DA that she's sporting, or a 40's-style chignon, or what???  I need to know, now! 

This blog is dismissed, and will re-convene here tomorrow.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Amy Winehouse - Rehab

I would have loved to hear more...
Facebook and Google, it's a shame we have to endure a banner ad during this video; can we stop the ads for even one minute?? Money, money, money.  Go to Money Rehab.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lucky to Have a Break, Yet Still Complaining...

Okay, quick post while I am near a computer...we are at the Jersey shore, and it is approximately 95,000,000 degrees here.  I just slid off a micro-suede couch due to sweaty legs.  My sunglasses fall off every time I bend over to pick up a discarded beach towel due to Sweaty Nose Syndrome.  We are all making excuses to go to our rooms in our rental, because they have AC. ("Hey, Hon, I'll just be in here for a few...I'd love to get another look at that caulking job the owners did on these windows!")

The ocean is absolutely stunningly beautiful - sparkly with small whitecaps, and today, everyone is in - old folks, kids, lifeguards, sea urchins, etc.  I was trying to read, but the words were blurring from sweat - a Civil War book may be too heavy of a choice - I keep getting befuddled by which side is Union, which is Confederate - that's how hot it is; can't remember simple Civil War terminology.  Should have chosen a cheesy romance.  The kids keep trying to play paddleball, only to groan when they miss one, and have to move two inches to retrieve the ball.

Tonight we are going to the boardwalk, where we can slump on benches and try to keep up with our melting ice creams.  God bless every single one of you who is working in this heat - so important to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!  And check on the elderly neighbors - and the Reillys - if you are down at Cape May Point, NJ.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Horrible Bosses" A Horrible Role for Jennifer Aniston

Well, my husband and I just got back from the movies, and I wish we had seen the new Winnie the Pooh or even Transformers 3 again - Horrible Bosses just made me sad.  It made me sad for two reasons:

1.  Jennifer Aniston is a good girl, whether she likes it or not.  To hear sentence after sentence of bad, sleazy dialogue coming from "Rachel" made me feel bad for her, bad for me, and bad for her fans.  She was unconvincing and dreary and, as always, beautiful.  But sadly lacking; mostly in project-choice here.

2.  Similar to "Superbad", "The Hangover" and other films of this new "crude-com" genre, the laughs in "Horrible Bosses" rely on male idiocy (which is funny, when it's done well), and crass, shocking dialogue.  So shocking (and usually involving body parts and animals or women) that after the joke, your brain goes, "Hey, wait...that is just sick!"  And that's if you are a guy.  I was just offended/bored by most of the crude comedy in both - and found parts of both riotously funny. But not funny enough to recommend, or see again.

I am not a prude, and I feel like I know humor, and comedy, and I think we just might be losing the art form.  Jennifer Anniston, you know funny, too - go back to it - and keep your clothes on!

Same Time Next Year - the answer is YES!

Now THIS is a movie. "Same Time Next Year."

Monday, July 11, 2011

America is Flat Broke!

After listening to both sides of the continuing budget debates, I am convinced that Speaker of the House John Boehner needs to hold tough with the President and not concede to a budget agreement that includes raising taxes.
America is going broke, and without big businesses being healthy, we are going to fall into an even more serious decline.  I am baffled as to why this is not a no-brainer for the hard-line Democrats.  Have we ever known a prosperous America without big business?  Could we possibly be where we are without the formation and survival of our successful corporations? A big business cannot be healthy burdened with crushing taxes.  Some people are richer than others, and some fall through the cracks.  Life is not fair, and taxes won't help.  We need creative solutions combined with tried-and-true values.

(Idea: Why not urge corporations to "adopt" more social needs, instead of taxing people to death to cure all that ails us - which has never worked anyway, in all our history?  Every inch we make through government help demands more government employees, more paperwork, more red tape.  Businesses make change and grow programs efficiently all the time...can we incentivise them to help starving American children, help save farms, build effective shelters and drug rehabs?)

Anyway, the President is saying that he is taking some risks in conceding to the Republicans in order to get a budget deal done by early August.  Well, heavy is the head that wears the crown, sir - you don't get points for upsetting people in your party - that's a given, if you are doing the job right.

Stay strong, Mr. Speaker!  Get this budget deal done right!  We need jobs, and we need them NOW.  Breadlines may be all the rage again if you don't.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th!

I hope the 4th is a wonderful day for all who love this country, and celebrate it's uniqueness, it's freedoms, and it's foundation.  In America you are free to decide your own fate, you can vote without being shot at or intimidated, if you are sick or in need you can find someone to shelter or care for you.  It is one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and was started by the blood, sweat, and tears of amazing men and women.

Do we have problems? Yes, we do.  Do we need to protect what is special about America?  Yes.  Our credit rating is in jeopardy, many are without work and more importantly hope, our systems fail sometimes.  We have increasing crime and poverty.  Our moral compass seems to have a broken needle a lot of the time.

But we celebrate the good things, the right things, the true things - this country and how blessed we are.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's Midnight's Time

One of my friends at the barn where I keep my horse has to put her horse down (euthanise him)tomorrow, and the whole barn is sad.  Her horse had a freak accident in the ring, and because of his unique make-up, the healing process just never took place in the way it should have, and now with one leg hobbled for many months, his other leg is wearing out.  His health is perfect except for this - heart, lungs, and mind are young and healthy.

It has been amazing to see her go through the last act of horse "parenthood" - making the decision to end his journey now that he is feeling pain.  My friend talks softly to him, cleans his stall lovingly, and feeds him all the things he loves as the days trickle down to tomorrow, his last day. To me, it is in their silence, when standing together, that they say volumes to one another, as they prepare to say goodbye.  As we talked and shed a tear or two together recently, she said, "Just due to a horses' mere size, they have such a presence in your life.  And when they accept you, and offer you their love, that size breaks your heart, in a way." 

This is for Heather, and Midnight, and to a relationship I was blessed to see, and won't forget, ever.

"Somewhere" by Stanley Harrison

Somewhere in time's own space

there must be some sweet pastured place

where creeks sing on and tall trees grow,

some paradise where horses go.

For by the love that guides my pen,

I know great horses live again.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Laughing out Loud, or Lying On-Line?

I'm just going to put this out there...I have something to admit.  It's hard to confess, but I don't think I'm, okay, here goes.

 Sometimes, when texting, I write "LOL," and I'm not laughing out loud; not at all.  What's worse, I'm probably not even chuckling, or giggling, even.  It's probably deadly quiet; just me and my cell phone.  I am probably either 1) maybe grinning, 2) having a shocked or surprised face, depending on what you told me, or 3) already distracted, but writing "LOL" anyway.  I know; it's a deception, and I'm not feeling great about that.

Am I alone, or are others out there pretending to be laughing out loud when reading texts, too?  And what does that say about us, people?  C'mon!

Monday, June 20, 2011

  I love the Bruins, as I probably made pretty clear in my last post, but here is my favorite hockey player, from my favorite team.  This is my 12 year old son James, who plays for the Reading Rockets, Reading, MA.

I fought the hockey thing with James for years - even as he hugged his knee-hockey stick at the breakfast table as a baby who couldn't even walk, even when he requested skates for Christmas - at 3 years of age.  It involved too much, I figured - hockey is a family sport, as well as a team sport.  "PLEEASE, Mom, can I play?" he asked, eyes wide and sparkling with tears, one summer morning when he was 7 years old.  He was playing street hockey (the next best thing - with a tattered net and a banged-up stick, a cast-off from his brothers, who were soccer kids ((I love soccer!!!  Why coudn't he learn to love soccer?? One hour and you're done!  Less serious injuries!!  It's not freezing on the sidelines!!)

"Yeah, pleease, Mom?" his partner in crime echoed - his dad, my husband Fred.  I stood with my coffee at the curb (I'll never forget that moment), and looked at James.  What if he got hurt?  What if he broke his neck and became paralyzed?  What if the freedom we were edging towards - his brothers were 17 and 20 at the time - was ripped away from us as we travelled from rink to rink, eating at drive-thrus and carrying on friendships by text and at rinkside?

Well, what if?  Then we would deal with it as a family.  The bigger crime would be to deny a kid the glories, sense of team, and...yes, a lot of discipline - that hockey demands.  And our time will come, my husband and I.  But this is OUR time - me, and Fred, and James.  So eight months a year we are hockey-folk, driving from town to town always looking for the rink.  It's a great life, really.
And P.S.... Fred takes him to most practices.  So I've got that going for me. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Awesome!!!!!! Bruins with the Stanley Cup!!!!

Okay, I have been too excited to even post anything - the Bruins went all the way and won the Stanley Cup!!!!

It went down like this at the Reillys' - we had about twenty or so people over, some of them kids, who were so excited that they ran around like lunatics screaming "Bruins! Bruins!" and slamming down way too much soda.

The adults were edgy; this one was just ...for all the marbles.  It was just too big!!!! We were about to explode!

We all gathered around the tv, the way we did as little kids for the first man on the moon, the difference being that this time people were taking pictures of plays and players on our big-screen and "mobile-uploading" them right on to facebook. 

My husband and many of the guys went into the other room, one of my sons included - we were "talking too much" - the girls, that is.  That's how we handle stress; we jibber-jabber!

Well, when the Bruins won, it was a freakshow - chest-bumping, beer-swilling, shouts of joy (and that's just the women.)  Then, three friends and I jumped into the car and drove straight to Modell's - a tee-shirt shop in Medford, MA.  There we stood in line for an hour and a half with all the Bruins gear we could scrape up; it was like the running of the Brides at Filene's basement.  The atmosphere was sheer, joyous chaos.

Bruins, we can never thank you enough for all the thrills and chills of this run for the cup; we were with you winning or losing (although winning is easier for us, blood-pressure-wise.)  Thank you for a time I will never forget!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nello and I Are Learning...

This, again, is Nello, my new horse.  He is a bit dusty here, having rolled in the dirt for fun, and is contemplating the heavy matters of his life:  is there going to be hay waiting for me in my stall?  Was that loud noise thunder?  Is this gal who brought me here ever going to stop hugging me?

Like every relationship, Nello and I are getting to know each other.  Extrememly reasonable and easy-going by nature (him, I'm talking about), there are still fears to explore - and conquer.

Our first trail ride alone taught me many things - at the barn, a person is a person, but out on the trail, a person is a potential threat, in Nello's mind.  So, we are working on de-sensitizing him of that - a new friend and I trailed together, and with another horse accepting everything we met on the trail - dogs, people, very fast-moving ground animals like chipmunks - Nello relaxed and enjoyed the ride.

He is also the consummate social butterfly.  If he were a person, he would be the affable neighbor cutting his lawn mower engine off just to say hello.  When his stall door is open (because I am picking up his ginormous poops, somewhere behind him), his head is way out, and he is visiting with people, horses, whoever.  He has learned the barn schedule, and has joined the chours of stomps and whinnys when the grain wheelbarrow enters the barn.  Two birds built a nest in his stall, up in the corner, and he listens to them chatter with complete indifference as they take turns sitting on their eggs.

I have discovered muscles I never knew I had - because they hurt so bad.  But this is good, hard work - lifting things, dragging things, shovelling things.  And the riding is exhausting but exhilarating (for me, he would probably roll his eyes), as we circle the riding ring or hit the trail.

In your late fourties, something happens.  It can be a time of GREAT restlessness.  Some look at their partner and say, "I just can't ride the rest of this trail with you - there has to be more for me out there in the world."  Some get a fast car, and try to outrun age. And some, like me, look at what their dreams are, and if they are more attainable than maybe they thought.  And, they begin to work it out.  They perhaps drive to New Hampshire and pick up a horse that was once in a terrible carriage accident, and bring him back to Massachusetts to try to love him and give him a great final chapter.  They consider hard work and mistakes and just a hint of danger to be the antidote to Father Time.

That would be me.  Let's hope I live through it!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nello Hits the Ground Walking

Nello, our new horse, is settling in to his new home, a stable near halfway between my work and my house.  This is his fan club - my son James and two of his best buddies.

We are doing what you call "ground work"; Nello and I are getting to know each other before I even climb aboard.  For instance, he is getting to know that I spend much of every hour looking for my keys/cell phone/ATM card in my coat pockets, and I am learning that he loves banana treats.  I am getting to know that he is not thrilled with walking through water puddles, and he is getting to know that I can re-cap reality show results to other humans in a manner that is very succinct and yet keeps the dramatic elements intact.  We both are hypnotized by rain.

I spend a fair amount of time standing in his stall pinching myself and thinking, "Do I really have a horse?"  If there were a thought-bubble over Nello's head, it would read, "...does this gal do anything else besides stand in my stall and text people pictures of my head?"

This ground work is important; it eases us into each other, and sets our pecking order, me being the boss(hopefully). We walk around the farm side by side, both of us looking around; we're both new.  It is a quiet, steady time that I am really enjoying.  It's hard to leave him behind when I go home.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

There's Always Room for Nello!

Well, my last post was all about slippers, so maybe I scared myself, because I went out and bought myself a horse!  Meet Nello!

Okay, so it went like this: I love horses, and I always have.  I rode as a kid; my parents lovingly leased me an Arabian mare named Joy; a journey in mis-matched horse/human love between a 12 year old girl and an unbroken (un-trained) Arabian that mainly consisted of me staring longingly over the fence at her as she galloped appealingly in the pasture.

My next effort was riding in exchange for stable chores when my first two boys were young; I rode a Thoroughbred named Fergie and was trained by the Iraqi Equestrian Olympian coach (her owner) as my two little boys stared at us from the fence. I came home smelly, exhausted, and happy. That ended when we moved out of state.  Good-bye, Fergie.

Next on the Deirdre-longs-for-horse-time tour: Last year,I leased a huge draft horse from a young Russian woman (the horse understood Russian perfectly, I kept saying "Da, Da" to him when he did something good) and was terrified the whole time I was aboard.  This horse was simply too big, (the tips of his ears hit the stable ceiling) and I spent all my time mentally composing my will and imagining my funeral as we "enjoyed" our rides in the woods.  I decided my life should not end in the woods of Western MA. Goodbye, comrade. Nello.  I have been tired - mentally and physically.  I have been working hard at my job, running our house, and doing all that is involved in modern parenting - field trips, baseball/hockey games, making sure homework is done, providing good meals (ok, that last one is a stretch.)  One day I said to myself, I am going to go on the internet and look at horses for sale.  This is kind of like looking at bathing suits on line; are you really going to get that perfect fit?  Well, I ended up driving up to New Hampshire to look at a horse named Shadow - who once we met, was clearly not for me.  Shadow's owner scratched his head.  "I do have another horse maybe you'd like to take a look at - he's older, and hasn't been used for much worth a darn since I've had him, but he's a nice enough fellow - loves kids."  Well, that sounded like me!  (He even has a little arthritis; we have even more in common than I thought!)

So, I rode him for half an hour, and heaven opened up, and angels wept, and before I knew it I had my checkbook out and just bought this guy.  (He was at a bargain-basement price, mind you.) The whole way home I practiced explaining my new purchase to my husband in my rearview mirror.

I changed his name on the way back from picking him up; as he stood patiently in his trailer on the way to Massachusetts I decided to change his name from Kato (wasn't that the name of the guy who rented a room from OJ Simpson?) to Nello - a family name.  Nello was my grandfather Waldo's twin brother, who died in the early 1920's in his early twenties from an appendicitis attack, and left behind for generations to come a sketch of a horse he once did; family members say he loved to draw. Much else about him has remained unknown through the passage of time and his early passing.

So, it has happened; a childhood wish has come true.  In the right way, and at the right time, with (finally) the right horse.  Hallelujah, and God bless the man who sold him to me.

It's time to ride off into the sunset now...I'll be back to blog some more soon!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Am I Slipping???

I was just finishing packing up to leave my folks' Maryland home and head for the airport, and I was chatting with my sister, who was standing watching me struggle with the zipper on my bag.  I was absolutely extolling the virtues of a pair of slippers I purchased back home in Boston (and was now cramming into the outside pocket of my bag.)  I was saying " wouldn't believe how comfy these are, Carole; I have been looking and looking for a pair with this type of arch support, but yet still had some flair..."

Suddenly, it was like I was outside of my body, floating around, looking and listening in both disbelief, and total clarity.  I have reached the age where I am enthusiastic - nay - excited - about slippers.  "Looking and looking?"  "Arch support, but still has flair?"  Were these words spoken by me? 

What is next, pray tell - sweatshirts with fuzzy cats on them, or coupons for the Early-Bird at Appleby's?

And yet, this is life.  We do change, and grow (which way, up or down, is a matter of opinion) and get a little older and well...into our slippers. Footwear is important, and I'm not going to apologize for that.  :-)

Monday, May 2, 2011

Fly Away Flyers...

Okay, I was not going to post anything today - celebrating having the MOST AWESOME fighting force in the world ( I will note that some are making a big deal of the manner of Bin Laden's sea burial; that it is not within Muslim "custom" to have a sea burial unless the person dies at sea.  I would like to note that it is not a Christian/American "custom" to be blown up at your desk while working; no one seemed to mind that breach of protocol. Please - give us a big fat break.)

Anyhoo, I just logged in to note down, for my own sanity, one thing.  I cannot stand the Flyers.  I cannot wait for the Bruins to mop them up so we can move on.  The Kenny-G-like dude drives me crazy, and they have more than their share of dirty players.  GO BRUINS!!!  My player is Ryder; I love to watch him play!  And Bergeron too. :-)  Power line for Bruins is Campbell, Paille, and Thornton.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

I Think I Just Might Be Royalty...

This is a photo of the beautiful huge bandstand on Revere Beach, Massachusetts.  Revere Beach is America's oldest public beach, and has gone through a lot of beautification efforts in the last several years.

That is me on the bandstand at dusk, doing my version of a royal wave, in my tribute to Kate and William's wedding day.

Why they did not choose Revere Beach is a mystery to me...and really, always will be.

Speaking of the wedding - up at 4:15, at my girlfriend's house by 5, where scones, pudding and tea were on the menu.  Then to work (in Revere, home of the amazing bandstand) where I drooped over my computer, babbled inexplicably to potential new members of the Revere Chamber of Commerce, and spilled a large toasted almond coffee all over someone else's desk.  Not very royal of me.

I wish I could buy (or lease) a royal's been done, right?  (Hey, I watched The Tudors.)  I believe in my heart that I was meant to be royalty - come on, check out that wave.  The seagulls were clearly impressed.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Donald Trump and President Obama and defining gravitas down...

I have been doing some thinking about Donald Trump's pseudo-candidacy for President of the U.S. of A.,  (he cannot actually declare his intentions until after his reality show wraps up this season), and the idiocy that goes along with even the sentence I just typed - cannot run for President until his reality show finishes?  What country is this - or has this become?

I have come down to this, in terms of some type of clarity: this is not a statement on the craziness of Donald Trump, or the shallow nature of (and influence of) the media and what they bring us every day in their service to the Gods of Attention and Ratings.  Instead, I relate the temporary ascendancy of "The Donald" to the idea called "Defining Deviance Down"; except instead of "deviance", let's use the word "gravitas."

Defining Deviance Down is the idea, first coined years ago by Senator Patrick Moynihan, that we sometimes sink to a "new normal" in what is deviant - for example, many sexual leanings/activities deemed "deviant" in the past are now viewed as quite normal today.  Following this theory, we have a new "gravitas" today, which is, in fact, not gravitas at all.  We have lost our sense of seriousness about ourselves, and act desperate now, as a country, living day to day and even hour to hour, without any bedrock to support us.  I have come to think that this is a very deep and probably sustained loss of both critical thinking and of collective values.  And it began with the election of President Obama, not with anything that has happened since, and certainly not with Trump.  (Some may arguably say that it started with President Bush 2, or even with Reagan, but I most heartily disagree.  Governors are acceptable candidates, in my way of thinking.  (A governorship is very good preparation for the Presidency, offering both executive and legislative experience.)

The problem with not "outing" Obama as a vastly unprepared and potentially dangerous candidate was that his candidacy carried something so wonderful that it possibly will still be worth it after all (provided we are talking a one-term Presidency!): we elected an African-American. This was just outstanding, and high time, too.  But we still elected the wrong man.

We traded seriousness about our own state of affairs for soaring rhetoric, a TV-friendly visage, and our own insecurity that we wouldn't elect an African-American.  And now we have the man we elected; someone low on experience and more worryingly an unknown quantity then, and now.  How I miss the days of boring, average-looking, capable Presidents and Presidential candidates.

So why is it surprising that Trump is gaining traction?  Obama is doing Oprah, and we sold our fate several years ago.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Erin...avoiding the Mom Jeans!!

Day 22

I thought that I was becoming obsessed with yoga when I found myself wearing my yoga pants and tanks all day long, without care or concern for my fashion-challenged (or un-showered) self. But, when I do things like sign up for a Springtime Rejuvenation Cleanse on a super-busy Saturday afternoon, I know I’m going over the edge.

To wit: My yoga studio recently offered a Spring Rejuvenation Cleanse course. The cost of the course was quite reasonable -- $45 for a two-hour session that provided education on why we should cleanse our system of toxins in the spring as well as clean food lists, menus and daily email check-ins from the course instructor.

I looked at the wall-hung flyer each day as I went into the studio and finally decided after a few weeks to sign up. Now, the course was on a Saturday from 11:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. – in my house that is prime hockey, soccer and lacrosse time and my family tends to run in 50 different directions. But I rationalized I that if I’m working so hard to cleanse my mind with yoga, I should do the same for my body with a whole-foods cleanse.

I don’t remember much from the course discussion because I went into mental shock after I heard this: A whole food cleanse means no sugar, alcohol or caffeine. I can handle the sugar – but alcohol or caffeine? That is just not possible for me. I’ve tried it before with a self-imposed detox program after one-too many nights out with friends. It was an ugly couple of days, to say the lease.

But I’m going to give the cleanse a shot. Maybe I’ll be more committed this time since I’m feeling so focused and balanced with my yoga? Or maybe things will be different since I promised a friend I would be in her fashion show – in 21 days. I need to start cleansing yesterday if I want to avoid being remembered as the one in the Mom Jeans!

Erin's Yoga Challenge Cntinues...Last few Days!

Day 21

My husband needs to stop living vicariously through my yoga practice. Today, when I came home from class, I decided to quickly sit down at the computer to check my email. I was quietly clicking away when I saw this fluttering blur of navy blue out of the corner of my eye.

I made the mistake of turning my head to see what was going on because what I saw stopped me in my tracks. There, in the middle of my kitchen, was my husband attempting the Triangle Pose: legs shoulder-width apart, left arm leaning down the left leg to touch the shin, right arm pointed straight toward the ceiling. He doesn’t even know he’s doing the Triangle Pose – which makes the sight of him even more ridiculous.

“Look at my yoga,” he says. His face, slowly turning bright red, can’t hide the fact that he is in a great deal of pain. I tell him that’s not yoga and he then jumps into First Position – a ballet position by the way.

With hands at heart center, he contorts himself into a squat and utters a quick, “Namaste.”

As he pulled himself together, I realized that my husband actually talks about my yoga challenge more than I do, so I can only conclude one thing: He secretly wants to join me at the yoga studio. But when I mention him coming to class with me, he says, “Only if I can wear my blue wresting singlet from high school.”

Although I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to see the expression on my fellow yogis faces when they try to focus in class next to this completely inflexible bald man in a blue singlet, I do know that I would be banned for life from the studio if I let that happen. I will never make the offer again.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

You Gotta Laugh...

Okay, so it has not been the best week.  Last week I was a chaperone on a middle school field trip, where I may or may not have "misplaced" two kids.  Then this week, it was school vacation week, spent begging my sixth grader to pick up his book and read a little, removing and then replacing my winter clothes in my closet (curse you, New England weather patterns!). I spent the week covered in sweater fuzz.  In between lugging clothes around, I went to work and called home 50,000 times to see a) if my son had eaten, b) if he had read, or was he still playing street hockey, and c) could he please put his dad on the phone, and yes, he had to go all the way upstairs to his home office and get him - NOW.  It was a long and exhausting week - I was also up early thinking and shedding some tears over a few recent losses my family and a particular close friend have gone through, that I can only watch and be there to listen to; helpless to stop pain.

So, I dragged myself in today, grabbed a coffee from Dunkin Donuts, and put my key in the lock of my building's front door, then went up the stairs and turned to go into my office.  The long week was almost over, and soon maybe spring would come and this weird dark patch would begin to lift.  My usual positive disposition was winning again, and I was happy to see it return a little bit.

When I turned to go to my office, I saw that there was splintered wood all over the floor of the small upstairs lobby, and my office door was hanging at a funny angle.  I was standing with my beautiful hot toasted almond Dunkin Donuts coffee staring at an office that had recently been robbed.  All the offices on my floor had just been robbed.

Standing in a conference room with other building tenants, we waited for a detective to come and interview us.  It was just like "Law and Order", but without the suspense, or action, or glamour.  I mentioned to my co-tenants that I had to go to the bathroom, but the detectives would not let us move or leave the room, and I was REALLY needing to boogie to the closest bathroom stall..  My friend Dino, from the office next door, dealing with the fact that a 62-inch TV had been ripped right off his office wall, grinned and grabbed a nearby empty coffee pot with one hand, and a Rubbermaid trashcan with the other.  "Your choice, sweetheart," he said, his Italian accent heavy as usual, one eyebrow arched at me in sly delight despite our circumstances.

I don't know if it was Dino's grin, or the absurdity of the day (not to mention the scariness), or the comfort of friends newly-made, but I started laughing, and could not stop.  You just never know what life will throw at you, so you've just got to hang in there.  You've got no other choice, and the clouds will drift away, some day.

Happy Holy Thursday, everyone.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Helicopter Parent Quiz

 Are You A Helicopter Parent?  Take This Helpful Quiz!
 You have heard of them - or, God forbid, you are one - a "Helicopter Parent."  Somehow, somewhere along the line you forgot to losen the reins a little bit, and are now living for, and through, your kid.  If you are a helicopter parent, "date night" vanished years ago (your choice) and you are darn proud of it.   So, I have developed this helpful helicopter quiz to let you check and see if you are A-OK, or in need of an umbilical-cord snip...stat!  Ready?  Here goes!

1.You are a Helicopter Parent If... you are still cutting up your kid's french toast - and you have to drive to his college cafeteria to do it.

2.  You are a Helicopter Parent If...instead of you calling your kid in sick to school, the school calls itself in you.

3.  You are a helicopter parent carry glue sticks in your purse or pockets like other people carry car keys.  You are always a gummy mess, sticking to everything (like that wine glass you can't ever seem to let go of!)

4.  You are a Helicopter Parent If...You have a child-therapist, Sylvan Learning Center, and the guidance counselor on speed-dial.  Because your kid made a "fart-noise" in school.  And other kids laughed.  And the teacher growled.  And the teacher has to like you, or you'll just...I don't'll just die!

5. You are a Helicopter Parent If...You catch yourself cancelling your vacation to Mexico because "our" solar system project is due that following Monday.  You'll be much too busy Googling the solar system while your cherub lays on the flloor and plays video games!

6.  You are a Helicopter Parent If...the referee in your kid's game calls a penalty...on you.  Apparently it can't be possible for your kid to need his sweatshirt and a drink of water while he's also catching a pass from his teammate.

7.  You are a Helicopter Parent have a tent set up down at the mailbox to be the first to see whether "we" got into that Ivy League college or university.  You should; that was a darn good essay you wrote...ooops!

8.  You are a Helicopter Parent can't realize that with kids, sometimes the view is better the farther away you are.  That's the only way to see all the confidence and self-esteem that is growing in the space you have allowed around them.

How did you score?  Be the helicopter that flies away - back to your own life.  Have some fun, and your kids will, too!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Unofficial Uptown Girl Music Video

This funny video stars our dearly beloved and recently lost Chris Williams (in blue and white baseball hat), his best friends, and his sister Laura (my unofficial daughter) in a re-make of Billy Joel's "Uptown Girls." Chris lived with CF, and died last Sunday. What a full life it was.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Building a Wall

5:30 AM:

This morning, I have woken up early, to have coffee alone, and to read a little bit; to mentally and spiritually somehow get ready for the day ahead. I find myself grateful that my friend Erin has filled this space with funny, enlightening words about her yoga experiences, to remind me of the capacity for change and the gaining of all kinds of strength. The past few weeks, for me, have brought the death of a dear friend's mother, and now another death - so sharp is the pain that it is like being doused in cold water.  A dear friend has lost her son this week, and today is the wake.  Her son was only 23, and passed away after fighting cystic fibrosis for years.  Seeing my friend the night of the morning her son died was not something I will soon forget; it was the saddest thing, but it was also an honor to be with her and her husband and daughter and their numerous friends and family in their grief.  There is nothing like watching someone you love go through something like this; you are helpless and all you can do is be there.

It is raining outside, to match the day ahead.  If you go to church or read the Bible at all, you find a measure of comfort; all of this has a purpose; sadness will have an end.  But it is so hard to feel when we do not seem to live in an age of miracles (although we know that they do happen every day) and Good Friday seems closer than ever to me this year; Jesus saying, "My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Where is God when these things happen?  Why can't we just be allowed to see beyond the veil, to know that we will all be reunited, and that suffering will have an end?

I guess because that is not faith; that strong wall made brick by brick through trial and error, sadness and tears, dawnings and realizations that span a life.  At our own death, we are aloud to sit on top of that wall of our own making, in partnership with God - the years of believing despite all supposed evidence to the contrary - and on the other side we see faith rewarded, family reunited, and our own unique destiny.  The first side of the wall is forgotten - except for the love.

His name was and is Chris Williams. He lived, laughed, and was so loved.  He was here.  He left a mother, a father, and a sister, as well as so many others who want - and are waiting, now - to see him again.  And on this rainy morning, I need to believe that they will.  So many love them, and so many will grieve with them today.  God, bring us Easter, that follows the darkness.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Namaste...Estaman...Erin's 30 day Challenge Continues!

Day 20

Against all odds, I found my way back to the yoga studio today.

The odds that plagued me over the past few days – namely ear infections, migraines, dirty dishes, dirtier floors, unmade beds, thank you notes, lacrosse, hockey and sleepovers -- didn’t even get a second thought from me today as I prepped myself for yoga class. I worked hard to keep these damaging images out of my head, although I will admit that vision of me walking out the door to yoga with the dirty dishes and unmade beds staring me in the face did give me pause.

But I went and I am blessed that I did because I found out today that I have “yoga friends.” Three women that I have run into over the course of my life in different ways – one from high school and two from my old gym – have become regulars at my yoga studio and I see them several times a week now.

When I walked quietly into the yoga studio, we were so happy to see each other that we immediately greeted one another with an enthusiastically whispered, “Hi!” We then plunged headfirst into low-hushed discussions about where I had been the past week (“We were worried about you!”), my husband’s thoughts on Namaste (or Estaman!) and how we were each doing with our yoga practice.

It was one of those unexpected moments of goodness that happens every once in a while and I am going to savor it. Here I was thinking that my 30-day yoga challenge would yield the predictable results: newly toned and flexible muscles, and possibly a brighter, more peaceful outlook on life. But I’m getting much more – and that “more” has Namaste written all over it.

My husband was home this morning when I returned from yoga. I felt so full and happy – much differently than I had last week when he made the “Estaman” discovery. So, I told him there was a slight possibility that he was correct about me being bitter and embodying the opposite of Namaste. When he heard my full confession, he bowed to me with hands at heart center and simply said, “Namaste.” I laughed – but if he starts saying that word 100 times a day again, things are going to get ugly.

Obama's Missed Legacy

A thought I find so troubling and just plain sad in the wake of the Dallas shootings and all the other racial unrest bubbling up in our na...