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Showing posts from December, 2011

Best Christmas Card...

"You are one of our 50"

That's all that H wrote on her holiday card to us. Otherwise it was similar to most of the other cards adorning our railing, and probably your home too. Pictures of their two-year-old son and themselves with a heart that reads "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from  H, T and M." (with their full names)

Many years ago we had a family stay with us for two weeks. We brought them EVERYWHERE. They didn't rent a car, so every time they left their house, I took them. I did all the shopping, most of the cooking and all of the planning for their 15 day vacation. When we saw them at Christmas, I commented on a clearly professionally taken picture of their two kids.

"Oh yes, that picture was taken by Fame (a company). Their Christmas cards were very expensive, and we only got 50, so we couldn't send you one."

The comment still gets my goat. But the night it happened, I went home and CRIED. I felt so unappreciated. How many of th…

A few hours of paradise

Spent a few hours with N at Camelback. After the whining that the ski boots don't fit etc, (If you've ever skied or taken a kid sledding, you know), we finally hit the slopes. Just Mom and her 11 year old son. He's my cuddling kid. More likely to cry, but more likely to show happiness and affection.

And on the slopes today, he was so proud of his speed. He was proud of (and a bit surprised by) his mom too.

I kept up! No matter how fast he went, I managed to stick with him!

It's also a metaphor. Soon his "speed" will beat me as he becomes more daring and I fall behind.

I'm holding on while it lasts. C has already transgressed to the point of no return. A teenager, like it or not, she's moved beyond my control (but still, hopefully, within my influence). If she wants to she can "outrun" me at any time.

I'm going to keep running, skiing and doing whatever I can to keep up. I guess I'm not ready to let my kids hit a double black diamond…

Six for me, and one for whom?

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Lessons from breaking out in 2011: 
If I had to make a theme for 2011 it would have been stepping outside of my comfort zone. Last year I ran a 10K race in an hour flat, and I started a business in an industry about which I knew essentially nothing. I also ran for an election, which taught me lots of things. I met many interesting people, and I learned that some of the people who are in my life actually weren't there for me when I needed them most. (A good lesson, albeit a hard one, to learn). Others came out from nowhere and rocked my world.
In running a 10K I realized that its OK to do something for myself only. The confidence I gained from making it all 10 kilometers and not giving up (or breaking anything, although I needed a couple of weeks for my sore tendons to heal) was more than any life coach could teach me. 
Starting a new business (which began in 2011 but will go much farther in 2012) gives me the opportunity to take the lessons of the 10K and mold them in new directio…

A long walk is never bad with a good friend

It's the day after Christmas - Boxing Day - and it is very quiet at my in-laws' house. My son is out for the day with his little cousins. First they are going to a playland where he and the girls will bounce to their hearts' content. My sister-in-law invited me to go with her, but seflish me... I chose to go for a long walk with my old friend.

After they are done with the "hopping place" my brother-in-law is going to take them ice-skating. I wonder how my 11 year old son will take being shown up by his 7 year old niece. She plays hockey! (And does ballet - very well rounded, I'd say!) I decided that he'll do better without me there too.

My husband and daughter are sleeping the day away. T LOVES to sleep, especially during the day. C doesn't usually sleep all day, but she has been running a fever (it seems, I haven't actually taken her temperature) since Thursday. I have to wake them for dinner soon. It's break...

I just got back from a 90 minu…

Holiday thoughts

Merry Christmas to my family who are reading and happy-whatever-you-celebrate to everyone else.

As I write this I can smell Christmas vegetables slow-cooking in the kitchen and mixed with the smell of a beautiful fresh tree, Christmas sensations fill the senses. Christmas carols are in the background (Feliz Navidad, right now).

It's a time for generosity and memories. Let me share a few examples:

When I checked out a Wegmans a couple of days ago, the lady at the counter told me a story. A man bought four $100 Wegmans gift cards. He paid for them, then gave them to them to the check out lady and said that he wanted her to distribute them to four families, with kids, who seem to need the money. He paid cash and refused to give his name.

Later that day she gave one of the gift cards to a Dad who was buying very basic items. He CRIED when she gave him the gift card and explained that it came from an anonymous donor. She said that he could use the gift card for anything in the store. H…

Tuesday's plan

1) Do homework with N from 6:30am-9am (check)

2) Take Nicolas to School (very late....) (check)

3) Work (see separate to do list)

4) Call for HVAC quote

5) Have lunch or coffee or take a walk with MR (optional, but hopeful)

6) Return gift to Wegmans, get food and make dinner

7) Drive C to tumbling, then N to TKD

8) ATTEND BOE MEETING. It's the presentation of next year's budget and an update (let's hope) on the negotiations.


Be there or be unaware!


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Update: Forgot some important must dos - must get winter coat for N. If his grandmother sees that he doesn't have one, I'll get coal in my stocking.


Must send a few cards more - I think I forgot a few people, and now have addresses that I didn't have last week.


Must call my niece to wish her a Happy Birthday


Must get flowers for a special someone who is having oral surgery today.  (From my daughter)




Work:


Hit library - make a plan - follow it....

Reflection

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(NB: I started this blog on Friday, but published it Saturday at 9am - not sure why it says Friday). 

I've spent some time thinking about yesterday's blog.

Rachel comments are spot on - and I've blogged about this very point before - we ALL need to support one another. Women are so harsh on one another. Whether it's directly or indirectly, we all have our own position from which we can help others.

Maybe I'm not building orphanages, toppling Mid-East dictatorships or joining the Peace Corps but we all have our own way to assist others.

I do serve others in my own way. I ran in a local election for an unpaid position on our school board. While I didn't win, I believed that as a BOE member I would have filled a deficiency of representatives who come from and focus on the "middle of the road kid", without an agenda of external backing. Later, I "paid it forward" by helping candidates with their political campaigns - because I believed in they w…

A woman in public service... and one who's not

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Yesterday morning SDB and I took Diego for a walk through her neighborhood. It was a beautiful day. Except for the leafless trees, it felt much more like September than December. We spoke about the state of the schools, ourselves and the world. We talked about our kids - our hopes and our worries. And a little about ourselves. Not exactly serving others.

I came home, turned on Facebook and saw several posts about the Women in Public Service Colloquium. What do I do to mentor young women or serve the public? Yes, I'm on a few committees through the school district, and I chair a book fair here and there, and I donate knitted items very occasionally.  But true public service? Am I serving others outside my immediate family in a meaningful way? Not really. Do I inspire anyone? (Yesterday I met a saleswoman at Guess at Bridgewater Commons. She said she was studying industrial engineering at Rutgers - I told her to share that with my daughter and her friends the next time they come in…

Generosity of spirit?

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I just read an interesting (and short) article, called Is Generosity Better than Sex?

As I read it I accusingly reflected about how my husband relates to me. Then I saw there was a self test. I thought the test would be "does your partner do thus and so?"  Turns out it questions the reader's behavior toward their loved one.

Today I re-read the article. I realized that I could reshape the contents to look at my other important relationships: with my children, my friends, my family. Yes, the kids get the majority of my time and resources, and perhaps even warmth, but do I give these things with a generous spirit? Do I demonstrate willingness over duty? Am I making them feel guilty for things that I see as my a mother's responsibility? (Much as my mother did to me - Italian guilt, she called it).

The article, which is also from the NYT Wellness blog, ends with a study of three-year-olds which discusses the effect by parental behavior. My kids are well past three. I hop…

Happiness is a warm puppy

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I was going to blog today about something completely different. (The unions and the district are starting mediation according to Dick Bergeron's blog and the Patch. I was planning to juxtapose this to teachers who were volunteering their time, but making it a political statement. Suffice to say: if you are volunteering, you should be doing it solely because you want to.)

Instead of a rant, I am posting this (somewhat fuzzy) picture.

My husband made a fire, and Diego and I enjoying quiet time. I'm knitting a hat for N - a replacement hat that he loved, but has grown out of. I'm loving a quiet evening after another busy day.

I need to learn to shut everything down, and just sit for a little while every day. I wonder if I prioritize peaceful moments every day if I could better handle my chaotic life.

So I'm turning off the computer and returning to my moment of silence. No TV on. Not even music. Just Diego and me. He is panting from the heat, but unable to tear himself a…

It's OVER!

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I've had some hard times - my mother's funeral tops the list. Moving abroad, then moving back the to US again multiple times, missing everything and everyone I love(d) is also up there. There have been other sources of stress: Lawsuits in which I was a witness and had to "tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but..." only to hear another witness lie straight to the judge's face. I've been on a plane that had a bomb threat. I've had friends and family suffer through, and then die, of cancer. My husband was run over by a truck - and my son had to jump out of it to save himself. Our dog was hit by a car. I've done things that angered my mother for months. I was drunk in front of my grandmother in 198-something and once in front of my kids. I've had heartbreak, and more heartbreak and even more heartbreak. I kissed many a frog before I found a Prince... and even life with Prince Charming sometimes evokes a tear or two. I've gone months with…

competitive edge?

My son hasn't played a team sport for a long time, so when he said he wanted to play basketball I did some homework. The seemingly least tough-competition within basketball was supposed to be the PTO-run program at his school.

But as soon as I saw the PTO league I realized it was hardly the "low competitive environment."  In theory, of course it was. There is one practice and one game per week and everything is run at the school. Its only students at our school and usually PTO-run activities welcome everyone, at any level.

I'm skeptical.... Next week the coaches (mostly Dads and one Mom) will have a coaches' meeting for a "Draft" where they pick their teams.

Not at all the "least competitive environment" I was imagining.

One of N's friends chose this league because N was playing and they could do it together. She did the program last year and liked the coach. He was balanced and fair. A good chance that he'd be a match for N too. So we…