Monday, January 23, 2012

Smart, Kind, Funny...and Remembered...

The hometown news that my sister shared with me today took me aback and took me back.
A very prominent citizen of CT died yesterday.  He was a very well known federal judge, known for his astute knowledge of the law and his extreme sense of fair play, and his killer sense of humor.
I met him when I was on the brink of becoming a teenager and I regularly babysat for his children. To me was just "the dad" of the four very cute and very well-behaved children. He was the babysitting job dad who when I had ridden my bike to his house, jumped on his and accompanied me home in the dark, rather than drive me and have me come and get my bike the next day. He was the husband married to the wife, who both mirrored the family values of my own home. They spoke the same words that my parents spoke to me, they treated each other and their children with the same respect my parents did. Sometimes when you are thirteen it is much easier to hear and think about those words and actions when they are delivered not by your own parents, ( I mean REALLY!!!) but by the fun and much cooler  couple who not only let you play with their kids but they PAY you to play with them!
I learned to get over my fear of dogs at their house one stormy night when the big goofy golden retrievers that I was so leery of got so frightened of the storm that they jumped the baby gate, and came to me for comfort. How could you be frightened of something that was more afraid than you were?  I went on to have several goldens of my own...and attribute my love of goldens in big part  to Tammy and Joy, who showed me what gentle giants those big furry red dogs can be.
One weekend I went to a family wedding with their family to babysit during the reception.  It was, I guess, in retrospect, my first, "business trip".  I stayed with their very welcoming extended family. The story of the brown lunch bag containing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that appeared on my plate at the formal family dinner caused much hilarity not only when it happened but also in the re-telling of it when I returned home.
Today  CT.  remembers and mourns a fair, kind, knowledgeable and humorous Senior U.S. District Judge,  his family remembers with love and laughter a husband, a father, a grandfather.
I, along with probably many others, whose lives were touched by him, remember and think about a man who was the best kind of example of how to live your life with grace and humor. I remember a man whose only title to me was "Mr. ".
God Speed....Mr. Dorsey! Heaven is a lot funnier today, earth is a little less so...but because you were here, it is a better place for

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Blanket MIrrors My LIfe or...Re-Do in Process

Crocheting my latest afghan is turning into a mirror image of my life. This occurred to me last night as I unraveled six skeins of already crocheted blanket when I discovered a mistake. Life is pretty much a process of moving ahead until something stops the forward motion and we have to stop, figure it out, and then  hopefully, with new energy, more wisdom or both, head off again.
As I start to re-crochet the afghan it is fun to see that my life and this blanket are headed in the same forward motion again, at least

Friday, September 23, 2011

Aren't they (we) cute?

Lately, a funny thing happens to me when I see  older people doing something fun...I have this thought that fleetingly runs through my head...and it is "Isn't it nice that those old people are having such fun doing..(fill in the blank with whatever they are doing)"...and then I realize that those old people are probably the same age or just a bit older than I am!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Change of Perspective or Thanks Lady Who Was Sitting Next To Me...

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I do NOT have cute a matter of fact rumor has it that when I was born and my mom was counting my toes, my dad said..well never mind what he get the picture!
So, given this scenario and the feet that I have lived with all my life makes it easy to see how over the top excited  I was last week when I was waiting to give blood, and the woman next to me leaned over and said."Your toes are so cute and I love that color of nail polish."
That woman's compliment made my week...and after thinking about it (okay lots of thinking and smiling about it), it taught me something.
Things change! Just because the only prize I ever won in high school was the "Ugly Feet" contest...
That was then.....and cute feet can!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Day of School...Time to Fix the "Uns"

The world in general tends to start their new year on January 1st,  a great day for new resolutions... and many choruses of Auld Lang Syne accompanied by blasts from noisemakers .
The first day of school for me has always been a much more day of new beginnings and fresh starts.
Even now after the 30 or so years of being a student,  an educator, a parent, and a caregiver who tried to ease the first day jitters of my charges and at a time when those days are just a page in the memory album, the first day of school somehow signals a fresh start, a wave of anticipation that anything is possible. It is also a time to look at the reality of where I have been, where I am and where I am  headed.
And although this September I find myself in many of the not-quite-to-be-celebrated categories (unemployed, uninsured, unsold house, even un-young:)) I embrace September just as enthusiastically as I have in past years when there were not quite so many "uns" in my life. I also rejoice  that the there is no "un" in front of the love from my family and friends and not one in front of my health.
It is time to start a new year and accept what the "uns" continually teach me..and hopefully turn some of those "uns" into "wons".
September and the first day of school signals that the time for me to start

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Penny Saved...

I grew up with mottos and axioms on the tip of the tongues of parents and teachers..(good morning stur..a story for another day:)). Old favorites like "A penny saved is a penny earned.", and "Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.".
I am sure I have misplaced more than few pennies in my lifetime, but I save in other ways, like shopping at discount, off brand and outlet stores.  When I save money I  always more than a little willing to share (brag) how much and what a great buy I made.  As a matter of fact, my love affair with this type of bargain shopping was illustrated by the picture that my darling daughter-in-law sent me recently.

Guess I better get going and save that!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Caught Between Two Worlds or...A Moving Experience

I'm moving...or maybe I have already moved...not quite sure these days which house, neighborhood or state I can call home.
I have one foot ready to jump into the new and am testing those waters while the toes of the other foot drag in the old, more familiar and comfortable fit of a lifestyle and loose ends are continually swooped up and tied.
One pet (the cat) is at the new house, exploring the corners and new smells while the dogs mostly travel with me on the back and forth journey that has become my temporary life.
For now I am in that place where if I need a book, a small appliance or even nail polish it invariably is at "the other house"...and compromise (or buying another book or bottle of nail polish) is the easy answer.
It is a bother and pain in the butt to have to search for stuff that is no longer in any of the places it used to be.
It is a royal inconvenience to pack up the dogs and leave the house so it can be shown without the added feature of furry monsters who think it is their job to leave dog kisses and leftover fur on the real estate agent and client.
It is scary wondering how long the house will sit without a new family to make it their own while still requiring upkeep and mortgage payments from a bank account that can only easily support one household.
On the other is fun to experience waking up on the floor of an empty room where the only thing that decorates it is the comforter that I wrapped up in the night before. Making the bed was never easier than the quick toss of the pillow and blanket into a closet, starting the day was never more simple with only a few left behind outfits to choose from.
One thing remains the matter which house I am at...the day is officially started when I have that first Diet Coke.
It is time to pop the top on

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Gifts that Keep on Giving

Presents...I love them..I love to think about them, buy them, make them, give them and receive them. I like them on traditional gift-giving holidays and also on days where there is nothing on the calendar that requests a gift.
I tend to send thank you notes as soon as a gift is received, (thanks mom) but lately I have gone back over the long list of presents that I have been lucky enough to receive and realize that some of these gifts merit MORE thanks...yes..they were THAT wonderful!
Most of these presents had much more wrapped up in them than the actual gift.
Mom and gave me the gift of knowing what it felt like to be a beloved member of our family, a group of people that supported me, loved me and laughed at my terrible jokes...even the ones that got me banished from the dinner table when I was 15 because I. would. not. stop. telling. them!
My drawers are full of amazingly fun and funny presents from my children...the semi-real gold elephant charm with the not so semi-real emerald imbedded in its' side, bought and ordered through the mail, (before the internet) by a ten year old, because it brought good luck as well as being green!
Along with the Mother's Day cards over the years, I have a few of the notes that were left on the kitchen table, when my kids were teenagers, detailing who would be where and what time my kids would be coming home or calling to check in..again pre-texting:), they are a slice of life that tell me, my kids were giving me the gift of checking in, despite what they thought of it, because it eased my mind.
Will I ever stop saving words? I don't think so, the beautiful hand-written letter I got this year from my daughter thanking me for years of mothering, is a keeper...and will be re-read again...and again..and again!
Other gifts that I remember and give thanks for anew...
The gift of happy memories...thanks for the birthday sky dive, the travel that has added so much to my life, the lake home, the way you honor and take care of your kids and mine, all of the animals and the countless ways you encourage and support every idea that flashes across my brain and ends up as conversation during our "debriefs", over dinner or in the front seat of the car!(p.s. my iPhone is also amazing!)
My sisters give me fun gifts that always make me smile or laugh...original art and photography, silly cards, and one of the best..the Scotch cooler..who knew??
Other gifts that deserve another round of thanks and if you are reading this you know who you are:
The bottles of wine labeled with the picture of animals no longer with us, and words that make me remember and smile.
The gift of organizing, cleaning and straightening my living space, saving us all from the randomness of my idea of controlled chaos, this one goes on the list right under the gift of loving my son.
The gift of the camera that was passed on to me, opening up the door and introducing me to the delights of digital SLR photography.
The set of skies, secondhand, that my dad re-invented for better than new, every night after he came home from work when I was 13.
The skates, golf clubs, bike, kayak that were not only gifts but doors to the gift of trying new things.
Tennis lessons from a very patient offspring and for showing up at a match I was in, because it was fun to have the tables turned, and watch mom after years of mom watching kids!
The t-shirt bought by a child for me at an event for the same reason!
The childhood friends of my kids who stay in touch now as adults...awesome!
This list could go much longer..but to everyone who has gifted me with these and other gifts not mentioned...thank you.
Your gifts then, have helped me to become who I am

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Stash the Rose Colored Glasses---and Stay Positive

It's true...the rose colored glasses through which I view the world are officially no longer a permanent part of my face!
This is not to say that I have become a pessimist, a curmudgeon or a cranky old lady..(although there have been minutes, well okay maybe more than a few minutes, lately when I played all of those roles).
I have always had a very basic positive, upbeat take on life and I still do but there are differences between being inanely cheerful while disaster debris is falling all around your head and being proactively productive and smiling while taking care of the debris that is flying around your body.
This does NOT mean whining! In challenging times, whining helps no one and all it serves is to make the rest of the world realize that no matter how old or successful you are being a brat..and no one invites brats to their birthday party! The trick is to become that person who has feet planted fairly steadily on terra-firma while still retaining a smile on the face, a song in the heart and an optimistic view of tomorrow. Easier said than done..well yeeaaauuuuh..but who said it was easy..if it was easy, it wouldn't be as much fun or as rewarding when it works!
It is amazing to wear rose colored me..I have a whole wardrobe full of them... a pair to match every life circumstance and I will accessorize my life with them again and soon...but some times call for us to stare down life without the rosy glow but instead in the bright light of a positive attitude and sunny disposition..and that time

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Bears..Oh My....

Dorothy, on the road to Oz, was afraid of the lions, tigers and bears that might be lurking in the woods, preventing her from reaching home.
We all meet our own version of lions, tigers and bears every day, but we don't need to be afraid of them, we just need to be able to recognize them and work with them.
The lions in our life mimic the behavior of their jungle counerparts. They march around the office, parading their superiority (they are the named king after all). Not afraid to roar when things displease them, they can be heard coming down the halls and it can be a knee shaking experience when there is a lion roaring at your desk or in your kitchen. The thing to remember about lions is that they are inactive for about 20 hours a day, getting their roar on for only about two hours daily and they are not as social as their pride. The rest of the time they prefer to spend time patrolling the edges of their territory keeping it safe from intruders. They are not particularly good hunters, leaving that job to the more agile lionesses.
If you have a lion in your life, it helps to remember that the roaring they do may not be directed at you personally. It is in part to keep the fearful things away from those they feel the need to protect and perhaps to hide a bit of their vulnerabilty and inability to hunt as well as the rest of the group.
Work to the lion's strength, accept that a lion will have periods when he is onguard for mistakes that can hurt his pride. If you can co-operatively provide the "kill" for a lion while not backing down from his roar, chances are that the lion will no longer fear your presence and mistrust your judgements and channel his roar so that you are no longer the recipient of it.
Tigers on the other hand might be even more difficult to work or live with. Their method of operation is to slink around stealthily, constantly observing and moving. They do take time to play but can change direction and pounce on their prey in a matter of seconds. Much like their smaller domestic counterparts they may like to play with their prey before demolishing it. Tigers are solitary workers and protective of their territory however, tigers can be good at sharing their kill with others they trust after the most token displays of resistance . If you have tiger creeping around and playing in your aisle, acknowledge their presence with a wave and smile and recognize that they can be a good coopeative partner and will share information for the common good...And take time to play...tigers get their best work done and then like to play, play and play some more.
Bears...ah those warm and fuzzy animals that slept with us at night to keep away the goblins in the closet! What's not to love about these funny, huggable animals? Bears are big, powerful and clumsy. They are also shy and frightened of people and will usually run in the opposite direction when coming face to face with a person. The exception to this is the mama bear who is guarding her cubs from perceived danger. If you work or live with a bear, the best piece of advice is to tread carefully when attacking a person or a project they have invested time and nurturing on. Understand that you don't have to present real danger to the project... perceived danger is enough to cause the most lovable of bears to rear up on their back legs and give warning growls. Bears also love honey and all things sweet so a thoughtful act or deed does much to turn a menacing brown bear into a cooperative, team teddy.
We all have one or more of these creatures in our life, we all can BE one or more of these creatures. A little kindness, psychology and fair play will allow for peaceful co-existence with the wild things in our life and allow us to reach our