Monthly Archives: November 2013

times to remember…

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Things overheard at Thanksgiving dinner:

“You know this family is about to grow exponentially over the next year or so…I’m just thinking about the big picture here, but, we’re going to need to rent out a hall…just to accommodate our increasing numbers…” A very real possibility…

“I just found out, I have been paying for the turkey’s we eat every Thanksgiving. My wife has been buying them behind my back!” Thanks Sue!

“We watched an old video of the TL Open (family hack…..er Golf tournament) and Ann won the Tommy Award that year…. The Tommy award had a few contingencies. First of all it had to cost less than $5 because that’s all I (Tommy) would pay for it…” “What was the Tommy award that year?” “A toilet seat lid with a chip taken out of it–hence why it was under $5.”
A memory book:

We started this tradition back in 2000 I think. The book is supposed to be passed around and filled out each year with why we are thankful. Nine times out of ten, it’s avoided like the plague. A fun idea in theory, a pain in the rear in reality. I approached my sister Carol to hand her the book and said, “I see mom’s book has made it back again this year.” “Yes, I thought to myself as we drove over how I had forgotten the book. Yet MB handed me the darn thing when we walked in the door. Evidently I had forgotten the darn thing for a year…and thank you, no, I don’t want it now either…”

As the night wound down, the realization we had devoured three turkey’s, 10 pounds of potatoes, and various other, heavy side dishes…the younger kids relaxed into playing Just Dance on the Wii while the adults enjoyed one another’s company. The boy and his father left around 8 pm. The doll and I left around 1 am. “The boy looks like me, sounds like me but is very much his father’s child. The doll looks like her father, is quiet like him, and very much the party girl like her mother.” My eldest sister laughed.” “You’re in for some fun times with that doll….” she said. “Oh, don’t I know it…”

 

 

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a cool yule….

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Everyday I spend with Mary Alice is a blessing to me; if for no other reason than the fact that we laugh all day long. Sure sometimes the days can be tedious…trying to keep her engaged, but laughing certainly counter balances the day. One of the activities we partake in is to say a daily rosary. For those who are not catholic, the rosary is a series of prayers said to the Blessed Virgin Mother, to intercede to God on our behalf. One of the reasons we say these prayers is because they are in her rote memory. Like music, she automatically remembers them. For my part, I have the rosary downloaded to my iPod, and with the help of technology, can play it aloud over some Bluetooth speakers.  Yesterday, we decided to say the rosary and the divine mercy chaplet, which takes about twenty minutes total; before going out to lunch.

As the prayers began, Mary Alice became very prayerful, crossing her hands, holding her rosary beads and followed along to the program. I on the other had, responded when necessary, but also fidgeted and allowed my mind to wander. While I participated with the right responses, I wasn’t really paying that much attention to them. Afterward as we packed up our stuff and prepared to leave for lunch she looked at me and asked, “Where did she go?” “Who, Karen? She’s over at her daughters…” I explained, believing she was asking about the daughter who lives with her. “No, the other one…” So me being me, I began naming off all her daughter’s names… “Kathy? Julie? Mary Beth?” and each time she said, “No. You know, the woman who was praying the rosary with us.” Perplexed I looked back at Mary Alice as she walked into the living room, looking for someone. “Mary Alice, let’s just go to lunch” I suggested, trying to change the subject. “Hmm, it was nice that she stopped by” Mary Alice explained and then a minute later whomever she was thinking about was gone and we left for lunch.

Later as we played our daily game of War, Mary Alice asked me, “Where’s Diane?” Her daughter Diane passed away last month. I looked at her and said, “Um, Diane is in heaven…” not really wanting to answer that question at all. “She is? When did this happen?” Damn. “About a month ago darling.” I replied. “I didn’t know that…” she returned. “Um, yes you did…” I said in the kindest tone of voice I could muster. “I did?…” she replied as if trying to find the memory and then dropped the conversation completely….until she said, “It was nice of her to stop by…”

Okay, so you tell me. Did Diane stop by and say a Rosary with her mother as I fidgeted about? I’d like to believe she did. I’d like to believe Diane visits with her mom often. When I told Karen about our odd conversation she smiled at me saying, “Wow, I’ve got goosebumps.” Something tells me she believes too.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone….remember your are a blessing to everyone you meet…share your blessings with the world.

Eve…

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Every year there is a big winter storm headed right towards us, yet, as the Indians who originally inhabited our area liked to believe, a giant chief stands in the middle of Lake Erie and pushes the bad weather to the north or south of us. I wish that meant year round warm temperatures…but beggars can’t be choosy.

All over Facebook for the month of November, people have be expressing what they are thankful for on a daily basis. I’ve seen some whimsical tales…”I’m happy I had enough money to pay the gas bill last month, brrrr” to a more spiritual based thanks “I’m thankful that God put some good drinkers in my life, making me feel less like a lush when they are around…” I guess some people express their blessings in different ways. I didn’t participate in the 30 day exercise primarily because I have this space here… So here goes:
30 things I’m thankful for:

30. The ability to make a complete fool of myself and not hold it against myself.
29. The elder women who have brought so much into my life, spiritually, emotionally and financially…
28. My kids
27. My family
26. My friends
25. My hub
24……..
Well you get the idea. I am so rich with blessings, numbering them just seems like a waste of time. So instead I’ll say this…

Thank you to all of you who take the time to read my silliness and on occasion even comment or tell me you “liked” the blog this has been my best year this far for readers/views. Makes me believe I might be kinda good at this, in a non grammatically correct kinda way.

Please have a safe and happy TG in whatever capacity you celebrate. Oh and for good measure…please don’t drink and drive…Thanksgiving Eve statistically is the deadliest night for drunk driving. Call a cab instead.

Stop looking at me….

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The doll this year has found the value of playing team sports: teammates. Though she must suffer through the work portion of practices, time with her teammates is equivalent to hanging out with friends. So while her coaches may believe she’s “bonding” and “playing hard” and “getting to know the nuances of the game” the doll is having a good time hanging out with with friends. 

Playing volleyball is one thing, but when the doll informed me she wanted to play basketball–a game she swore she would never ever play, I was/am in shock to say the least. You see I love the sport of basketball. Memories of my youth are filled with playing basketball against my brothers in our driveway; painting a foul line on the cement of our driveway, so I could perfect my foul shot; working hard, attending basketball camps and eventually playing junior varsity basketball in High School. While I was in college, I even coached CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) basketball for 5th and 6th grade girls. If there is one pure perfect sport for me, basketball is that sport…and the doll knows this.

“Mom, my nose is a ball magnet” the doll would tell me, every time I asked her if she wanted me to sign her up to play. “It won’t be if you learn to catch the ball instead of having it go through your hands to your face…” I would offer; only to have a “You don’t understand” sigh thrown back in my face. So I didn’t push. For a few years she was a ballerina dancer, so there was no time for anything but dance. But those days are over and she recognized that playing sports helped cultivate friends; a conclusion she came to on her own; which made playing basketball sound like fun to her while her mother couldn’t be more elated.

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A directive came home last week that the diocese insisted for the health and well being of the players, that all (male) coaches have an adult female present during team practices, to ensure no improprieties were taking place. It also wouldn’t hurt if a girl had a issue in which a man may be uncomfortable dealing with.  I decided I would be the parent on Monday’s as I work across the street from the gymnasium and arrived shortly after practice began yesterday. When I first arrived, I walked up to the coaches’ wife and explained my position. Elated she didn’t have to stay, she quickly imparted any necessary information and then beat thief out of there. I pulled out my Ipod and began to play a game….until I felt as if someone were looking at me.

“What are you doing here?” the doll mouthed from across the gym. “Just ignore me” I mouthed back. “What?” the doll mouthed. “JUST IGNORE ME” I mouthed back in a slow and succinct manner. “What?” The doll mouthed again. This time I ignored her, which seemed to work for a few minutes.  After a while I became bored and began to watch the girls practice. That’s when I noticed the doll kept looking to see if I were paying attention–instead of listening or looking at her coach. “Oh brother!” I thought, “This is not going to be good”.  Mercifully, the coach gave the girls a water break and the doll walked over and asked, “What are you doing here?”  “Your coach needs a mom to attend your practices from now on, I told him I would take Mondays…but doll stop looking at me while your on the court.” “What are you talking about?” she said offended I would even suggest… “Doll every time I look up, you’re looking over here to see if I’m looking at you. I am not your coach…I can’t coach you. Don’t look at me”. “Mom, there is something seriously wrong with you,  if you think I’m even remotely interested in looking at you. I may happen to look in your direction, but not at you…” she explained. “Whatever doll, just don’t be surprised if I take a picture of you every time you do.” She turned in a huff and went back onto the court, trying her best to not look at me during her practice, yet failing miserably.

Later, long after practice had ended she said, “Mom I wasn’t trying to look at you…I just couldn’t help myself.” Smiling back at her I agreed, “Doll, I know how difficult it is to look away from such a magnificent beauty as myself…but for the sake of your team, you must”. Narrowing her eyes and giving me a “What the heck?”  look she said, “Yeah, mom, that’s not it”. Whatever doll!!

 

Ramble on…..

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Last night as I surfed the television landscape for something useful to watch, I landed briefly on the American Music Awards; realizing I had no clue who “Dog Pile” the host was. “Mom his name is “Pit Bull” the doll corrected. “Oh…” I shrugged and then added, “Same difference”. His stage name aside, I found myself thankful that this music didn’t invoke anything In me, except to change the station; yet sad at the same time…

I have become my parents 😦

“Mama your music is rather bland” The boy tried to explain. “Well at least it has substance” I replied. “Jethro Tull and Gordon Lightfoot are very full of substance” he argued back. “Perhaps because their music comes from my era.” I suggested. “Plus mama all your music sounds repetitive” he replied. “Somehow that’s like the pot calling the kettle black boy, considering all that country music you enjoy so much” I replied. Smiling back at him as he tried to ignore me, I added “To each his/her own Bay, just please no death metal”. A wicked smile crossed his face in contemplation and we ended the conversation.

“Mom you know when you hear a song at first and you don’t like it that much, but then it starts to grow on you because they play it all the time?” The doll asked. “Yep” I replied. “Well that’s how the song “Royals” is for me. She explained and I nodded my head in understanding. A minute later, I excused myself and then went onto YouTube and looked up the song she liked.
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When I was younger I can remember telling someone there would never be any genre of music that I wouldn’t enjoy. Boy was I optimistic back then or what? The main problem with the music my kids are listening to today is that most is heard through earbud headphones–not general consumption. While traveling in the car I’ll ask “What station so you want to listen to?” Which is met first by silence and then an “I’m good, I have my earbuds on.” Which means they are being considerate or selfish, as the case may be; listening to their own genre of music on their own terms. The once “shared music” concept has now flown (or been pushed) out the window.

Does this mean I have to watch these awful music shows to stay up on popular music? God I hope not. After all Carol Burnett was on PBS last night which offered a better choice of “music” to my ears….Tony Bennett and laughter.

bedheads…

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Yesterday while getting the doll’s lunch ready I made a quick comment about her brother being a pain in the rear area. The doll replied, “One, I know and Two, What did you expect–it is the boy you’re talking about”.

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When I made it downstairs this morning, one thing was constant–the doll’s alarm bells which had been going off for the last twenty minutes. Opening her bedroom door I flicked on her light and said, “Wakie Wakie time for school!!” “Mother I know, turn off that light!” she replied in a stern, yet tired voice. “So long as your moving…” I replied and switched off the light. Then I turned my attention to the boy….

As he began gathering his things to leave for school, I asked  “Did you put on your deodorant this morning?  Smelling full well he had not. Walking over and grabbing his deodorant stick to hand him he replied, “This deodorant bar is almost empty; I was trying to conserve it…” Sorry excuse #3928932

A little later I said, “You have bed head! Go into the bathroom and put some water on your hands to press down that hair”. Which I presumed he did when he left the room.  As we approached the car to leave I said, “Whoa did you try to tamp down that hair?” “Yes” he replied. “You failed—miserably.” I returned. “Thank you mama for making me feel bad first thing in the morning.” He said and  I replied, “Your welcome” .  On this occasion I had to enter the school office to pick up some paperwork and enjoyed watching the boy in action. “Good morning Mrs. S!” “Good morning Boy! (came three different office personnel) “Can you tell what today is?” the boy asked with a grin. “Freaky Friday!!” Came the reply. “And the time?” the boy asked. “7:38” Mrs. S replied. Leaning forward, a few inches away from her face, the boy lowered his voice and asked, “Do I have bed head?” “Turn around for me” She replied and he did so. When he came back around she replied  “A little bit I’m afraid”.  “Hmm, that’s what my mom said too…dang it! Well good morning and happy freaky Friday everyone!” the boy said before turning and leaving on his merry goofy way.

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“Doll are you awake?” I asked when  I arrived home to a dark house.  “Mmmrrph….OW!!” The doll said as I opened her bedroom door. “Did you just hit your head?” I asked. “Yes….” she whimpered in reply. Turning on her bedroom light I said, “Well the good news is it isn’t quite 8 am. The bad news is 8 am is very close…get moving, I’ll pack your lunch.”  When the doll emerged she told me a ten minute story on why she overslept-or slept through her alarm, all the while I kept saying, you’re going to be late, you’re going to be late, you’re late”. The doll shrugged her shoulders and then added, “It’s not the first time nor will it be the last…” Smiling at her I replied, “Quit trying to sound like me…now get moving.”

Occurred to me the other day…

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Last Thursday one of my lady friend’s and I were out running errands when all of a sudden, while making a left hand turn-into a busy intersection (which also happened to be under construction), my friend became distracted by something, removed her seatbelt and tried to open the car door to get out. As you might imagine, my focus switched from turning the corner (while in the process of turning) to keeping her in the car. Thankfully I narrowly escaped hitting another car; instead driving through some of the construction pylons and thanking God they were not filled with cement to cause further damage to the car or us. Then I convinced my friend to put her seatbelt back on with the promise of a treat, soon to be had.

As you might imagine, I have been shaken by these events. After work that evening, I arrived home to comforting hugs from my husband and children–which went a long way to calming my nerves. Yet here I am, a week later; still working through everything that came to mind in those few seconds of trouble.

In the past few months I’ve made a visit to or attended; five different funerals. Every time I think I’ve had enough, another one pops up. I understand I’m reaching the age where more and more people I know will be nearing the end of their lives, but knowing and witnessing are two different aspects all together. Yesterday I talked briefly with a friend who, when I asked how she was doing informed she was overwhelmed. Her family had incurred 32 deaths in the last eight months alone, including two infants. How do you offer comfort under such horrendous circumstances??
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“Occurred to me the other day” is the opening line to a Patty Griffin song titled, Goodbye; in which she realizes someone she’s loved has been dead and gone a few years, yet the ache to see them remains. She wonders how they are doing? Are they pain free? Is there really a good way to say goodbye to a loved one? I’ve wondered that from time to time, when thinking about my Mom or my father in law Charlie. Seeing a few brief glimpses of my life fly past, as I wrangled my way out of the accident; what came to mind is if the ache would be the same for my loved ones as it would be for me.

Then I took a deep breath.

What occurred to me next is how fast this life has moved. My baby boy now stands at 6′ tall and weighs 200 pounds!! Conversely my doll has developed curves–CURVES!! Both of them growing further and farther away from us all the time. Their Father and I have no recourse than to try and live as healthy a life as possible so we’ll stand a chance to have time loving and watching them grow. Occurred to me the other day, life needs to be lived; one day, one moment at a time. Take it all in, good, bad and ugly. No regrets.

Live.