something else

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Altrusic Acts

The social movement "Pay it Forward" has been around a considerable amount of  time.  After doing some research - as little as possible, I may add - I found it may have very well started as far back as 317 BC in ancient Athens when the concept was used in the play Dyskolos written by Menande.  "Make rich as many people as you can by your own efforts. For this act never dies." 

Since then, some of our greats throughout the centuries have used and implemented this philosophy in their own works and daily lives.
Lily Hammond is to believed to have coined the phrase in her 1916 book In the Garden of Delight  with the quote "You don't pay love back; you pay it forward".  I had started reading it online because our libraries in the area don't have it for loan. Ah, what a wonderful thing the internet is.

In todays age of social media the ripple effect of this philosophy could be enormous; it is truly amazing when you think about it.  One person's kind gesture of paying it forward could thus yield a world of difference whether your alms be to a charitable cause, a thoughtful deed or even just a kind word or friendly smile.  A friend on Facebook (John)  posted a pay it forward drive he himself is taking part in, so I decided I would be a part of it too, through him. 

I'm reminded of a vacation day in Delaware this past summer. As Mikenna and I walked around sightseeing in Rehoboth Beach while her father worked she spotted a police officer writing tickets for cars parked in expired parking meter spots.  She asked me for a quarter and I was a little puzzled since we had just come from the boardwalk. I gave her the quarter and she walked towards a car parked at one of those expired meters, its red flag stood erect.  I stood there and watched her drop it in the meter and I smiled. As she walked back to me, I reached into my purse and retrieved what quarters I had and as we walked under the warmth of the day amidst the bustling crowds of beach goers it warmed my heart to see her paying it forward. That small act of hers ended up costing a mere $3.75 giving us not only a cherished memory we shared together, but also a feeling deep down within us, that maybe, in some small way, we made a difference in someone's life.  And then the next day, we were the ones who got a parking ticket.

We all are capable of implementing some form of this, whether it's big or small. An 11 year old proved that.

"What wisdom can you find greater than kindness" ~Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Yep, This is clearly my marriage

Awhile ago I read a post  11 Sad-But-True Married People Texts I've Sent My Husband   by Susannah Lewis and I actually laughed out loud.

Post found at: 

In today's age of everything tech, it's not that hard to go back and view old messages, and it's even easier when you know a tech guru who knows how to access lost ones.  There are apps for everything.

These days, texting is the norm instead of a phone call.  I can't tell you the last time I personally talked with my girlfriends in a voice conversation outside of when we've been together. It's really quite sad when you think about it.  My husband hates texting. He thinks it's impersonal unless of course he's in a meeting and can't answer the phone.  And although he thinks texting is overrated we've had some comical exchanges with finger-talking and reading through Susannah's list, well, it was like reading ours. I've even initiated the side-by-side text with him which evoked a less than harmonious response. 

Yes, I have had with my husband, like most wives I'm sure, every single one of the text messages she lists in her post....and I sit amused as I read through my husband's and my exchange of words through texting.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

If Only It Was This Easy All The Time

I was baking Christmas cookies when Kenna walked in from school. The baby was in his highchair snacking on cheerios, at least when his hands weren't up to his ears when I'd belt out a Christmas tune. He'd giggle when I'd lean down and nuzzle his neck every time he'd raise his arms and cup his ears to block out my holiday melody. So young and already a critic, runs in the family.

The smell of vanilla filled the air, most likely due to me dropping the open bottle and it splattering everywhere. I love cooking but absolutely dislike baking. It's always so messy and there's always so many utensils needed.  When I cook I never measure anything, that's how I remember my daddy doing it. He went by taste and smell and watching him cook was always so exciting for me, but with baking, measuring is a must and it's more of a pain to me than anything.

 As Kenna walked by the island on her way to greet the baby her hand slid over to the cooling rack where a batch of Italian chocolate cookies sat. As she grabbed a fistful I sternly recited her full name, first, middle two names and her last. Yes, it's a mouthful but don't all mothers do that when their impish tykes do something they shouldn't? Tyke? She's certainly not a small child any longer!  She immediately dropped her cookie loot and turned to me with a sheepish grin. I tried not to smile which didn't work and told her to take them after she went in to wash her hands. As she passed by me she leaned in and kissed me, and with a perplexed look but inquisitive tone she asked if she could talk to me about something. I paused for a split moment thinking, OH DEAR. My immediate thought after hearing her request I have to admit, was less than enthusiastic thinking something horrible happened in school.  I replied, "Of course" and as she continued on to the bathroom her words were "I have a dilemma and need some advice. but we'll do it later after Cruz goes home". 

Kenna has always been very open with me. She's a parent's dream child. she's considerate, compassionate, and empathetic. She's not afraid to ask nor is she hesitant to tell me things, two things I have always had difficulty doing. She minds without argument even when she doesn't want to do what she has been asked to do.  Even when she has done something wrong her conscience weighs heavily and the strain of it overwhelming for her and she admits to her wrongdoing. I have had some great giggles over silly little things she has admitted to. Just yesterday she came clean to snooping through the pile of Christmas gifts that sit prestigiously under the tree.

Later, after Cruz left, the two of us while decorating the sugar cookies we made the day before, she divulged her problem to me. Our talk began with a question from her - " Mom, when did you start dating?" Dating? What is dating to an 11 year old? I had dated 4 guys and only two of them in the true sense of the word.  

Mark S. my first. That was a long-distance relationship, he would hitchhike 5 hours to New York to come see me from his home in Pennsylvania on the weekends and stay with his aunt while here. He was a sweet guy when he wasn't drinking. After a few years of hiding the bruises I finally had had enough.
Then there was John S., the only one my own age and he broke my heart, breaking up with me because I refused to give up my virginity.
Steve P. was more than a few years older than me. I started dating him when I was in high school. He was a Medical Technician by day and a musician by night. He was very patient but his dream was to move to California, and he did. And then my husband, the perfect gentleman and he still is to this day.

She commenced to tell me there's a boy who likes her and on good authority (her words) he was going to ask her to be his girlfriend. Kenna, being the way she is finds humor in just about everything. She then commented, " I'm a girl and we're already friends, what more does he want?!" She continued saying this boy use to "date" a girl she now hangs out with and although she likes this boy, a lot, and they are already friends, she didn't know if she should say yes because she didn't want to hurt the girl's feelings nor ruin the friendship she and this boy already had. An hour later,  after some deep conversation about boys she ended with a statement and a very insightful one at that - " I'm only in 6th grade, I don't even know what love is yet!" I hope the next six years are just as easy.

Monday, December 8, 2014

In Search of Answers

My daughter Kenna had another one of her "spells".  It's been a month since her doctor's visit and we still don't know why these sudden bouts happen, one of my fears at the moment besides a diagnosis of something grim is her having one of these episodes when I'm not around and can't get to her. She did have one awhile ago when she was with her aunt, it wasn't as bad as previous ones and they were close enough to where my sister could get her to me.
It's been a struggle for me sending her off to school knowing she's up and down stairs all day and, God forbid she have one of these episodes while manipulating one of the staircases or maneuvering through the busy hallways, it alarms me to think what could happen. I know, I'm thinking and worrying too much - like I haven't heard that before. - I'm a mother, that's what I do.

Her last one was a doozy not to mention quite frightening because it happened while she showered. When she passed out she hit her head on the tile wall  just missing the faucet when she fell, and she fell hard.  It's amazing how much your mind can wonder and imagine the worse thing possible as you run to their aid.  We found her on the shower floor unconscious and when she came to, as I held her in my arms, she looked up at me and commented, "At least I was done with my shower".  Always the optimist.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Our Children - Our Hope

"While we try to teach our children all about life, Our children teach us what life is all about."  ~Angela Schmidt

Being a parent of four incredible children I've often, over the years, reflected upon my advice and choices I've given and made concerning them, everything from the common mundane activities of daily adolescent life to the unwieldily, monumental difficult decisions as a parent both my husband and I have had to make.  My children are the most important thing in my life and throughout the years I've learned a great deal from each one of them. These once wee ones otherwise known as my offspring have taught me what life truly is.  From the very first moment they were placed and I felt them in my arms my life became more than what it already was; my existence became more clearer and held a deeper meaning. I would not be making decisions solely for myself anymore but likewise for these tiny bundles of joy I was blessed to have been given, at least until they became old enough to make their own adult assessments.

And with all these choices I've had to make on their behalf, some right and some wrong, my children, all unique in their own perfect way, trusted in me, trusted I knew best. They have enriched my life and each one of them has taught me life lessons I carry with me. I have learned deeper compassion and passion,  to have patience, developed a fierce determination, and enforce a understanding of tolerance for those who may be ignorant to unseen difficulties.  They have taught me self-awareness along with many other attributes.  There has been many times throughout the years I have been the student, taking in and learning a tremendous amount of knowledge not to mention invaluable lessons from each and every one of them. Having an Aspie child I have learned to never give up hope; hope sometimes is all we have to hold on to.
My eleven year old daughter, who I came close to losing before she even made an appearance into this world, even back then, while I carried her within me taught me there's a reason for everything. She has been having some issues lately that have caused some concerns. 
She loses her sense of balance along with her vision and then loses consciousness.
Her episodes have been scary to say the least.  And so, along with prayer we carry with us hope because "There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow." ~ Orison Swett Marden

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Summer 2014-Redo, Tribunal and Wayfaring

Another Labor Day has come to pass, which signifies ( unofficially ) another summer's end and another school year's beginning, and now, Autumn has arrived. We've had a full summer season crammed packed with activities and Kenna is still loving her new bedroom.

Back in June, before school was out, when Kenna's whole 5th grade went on their (CCE) annual end of the year camping trip to Lake Seneca, and yes, I was just as, if not more, nervous sending her as I was when her older brother went 14 years ago, I redecorated her bedroom. Taking it from the young child-like fairy theme to a more grown-up one, a conversation her and I had discussed many times during the past year. When she arrived home and opened her bedroom door she was extremely surprised to find her fairies had all flown south. And I even did it on a fixed budget I gave myself which made hubby very happy.

  Of course I only had three days to try and get it done which involved not only stripping the appliqué fairies from the walls, removing the wall length shelving from two of those walls then painting over the stenciled picket fence adorned with stenciled rose offshoots her sister,had helped paint with me, along with the calligraphic lyrics of "Eeyore's Lullaby" I painstakingly wrote out that wrapped around the whole room and the hand-painted glow-in-the-dark dragonflies. Those were the easy tasks, it was the shopping I dreaded the most.  
Thank goodness, with the help of her father, it was almost completed by the time I had to pick her up. Of course I did have to cut a few corners and settle (at least for that moment) on the furniture. As much as I looked, staying on that strict budget I gave myself, I could not find a canopy bed nor tall dresser I was happy with or could afford, so I compromised with the canopy look and painted the ugly dresser she had and attached new drawer knobs. When I removed the shelving that I had put up better than eleven-years earlier I found the "secret" message I had scribbled on the wall to her while she still rested safely in my belly. The lead marks from the pencil still easily visible and as clear as it was the day I wrote it. Time really does fly by.

We made an appearance in Supreme Court this past July and I am happy to say we won our case.  The lawyers were somewhat taken aback with our notes and interaction during the proceedings as the trial was conducted, us catching discrepancies from the prosecuting side and making our findings known to the attorneys.  It ended up not mattering because the jury, thank GOD, saw right through the plaintiff's testimony, revealing cracks she tried to cover up and downright lied about. We have always taught our children to tell the truth, no matter what, even if that truth is detrimental in its effect and causes a less than pleasant outcome. Believe me, I certainly know something about that. And I couldn't have been prouder than I was the day my son took the stand and told the truth admitting to his part in an unfortunate happening that another (whom we'll call "a Lilith") tried cashing in on.  Good does, most of the time, overcome evil and when it doesn't, you wait patiently for the karma to kick in, and eventually, it will and does.

Happy Tree

Kenna and I accompanied her father on his business trip to Delaware. We couldn't have picked a more beautiful week in August to travel with him.  We embarked on our roadtrip the weekend before his scheduled appointments giving us enough time to stop for the day in Gettysburg, Pa. I would love to go back to this historic place and spend more time there.

The first half of our Delaware trip landed us south of Dover, it's capital.  
Kenna and I spent most of our days on the beaches of Rehoboth, Dewey and Ocean City and although I am not a water person, it was fun to watch her make sand castles and frolic in the ocean. Our evenings were spent sightseeing with her father after he'd finish his full day of appointments.


We drove down to Maryland's Assateague Island National Seashore and sat on the beach and watched the surfers ride the waves while wild horses roam freely amongst the visitors. What an awe inspiring sight. 
 Later in the week we took the Cape May Ferry in Lewes, Delaware and traveled over to New Jersey. Kenna launched her "message in a bottle" before we arrived on the shores of Jersey.

After spending a good part of the day at the Cape May Lighthouse we headed to Salem, New Jersey taking in all of its history.  Our last stop before heading home was back in Delaware in Wilmington for one last appointment.  There, Kenna and I visited Bellevue State Park in search of a letterbox (with no luck I may add) after a visit to Brandywine Park and zoo. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Cheap Is Not Always Better

I read a raving review, years back, about a cheap wine, Two Buck Chuck sold at Trader Joe's. I think if this article , (which has since been removed. Editor's note below) was included in the commentary, we'd tell that "wine connoisseur" to keep his expertise to himself. Of course, he's the same connoisseur who takes his dog's meds when he's sick to save on expenses.

A snippet of the post read: "These aren't hand-picked vineyards....they are all machine harvested.  And that means these large tractors with huge claws go down the rows of vineyards grabbing the grapes and depositing them in its huge receptacle.  And it not only grabs ripe grapes, but unripe and down right rotten ones as well and throws them all together.  Add to that leaves, stems and any rodents, birds or insects that may have made those vines their home - they all get thrown into the bin as well.  And guess what?  You think there's going to be any sorting when that truck arrives at the winery (or should  I say processing facility)?  Nope.  Everything, and I do mean everything (including all those unripe grapes, rotten grapes, leaves, stems, birds, rodents, and insects) gets tossed into the crusher and transferred to large tanks to ferment.  So think about all the animal blood and parts that may have made their way into your wine next time you crack open that bottle of Two Buck Chuck!  Hardly even seems worth the $2 does it?"

Is your stomach turning right about now?  

Editor's Note

This blog post contained un-sourced claims about Two Buck Chuck and its proprietor, Bronco Wines. It has been removed from the site in accordance with our blogger terms.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A Little Something

I got an early anniversary gift from my husband which I found on my pillow when I crawled into bed - one side says YES, the other, NO. He's always thinking of how he can make my life a little easier!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lessons and Life

With school out Kenna hasn't been practicing her Cello. Not that she needs to, since she has decided not to continue taking lessons for it next year, telling me she wants to concentrate on her vocals.
 I snicker wondering if she'll ask for vocal coaching lessons next. 

Her grandmother and great aunt Wanda use to sing in night clubs in the late 40's and I do love listening to Kenna sing and she does have a beautiful voice, unlike me, but the only vocal coaching lessons she'll be getting is in school chorus. 

When she was a mere toddler she would cover her ears when I would sing to her just like Cruz has started doing. Yes, I'll admit my singing voice draws blood from any bystander who happens to be within earshot of my lyrical voice, and it's best (for all) if I quell any vocal warbling or at least save it for the shower. Unfortunately I wasn't blessed with the melodious gene.

I sat in Kenna's piano teacher's living room the other day and as I listened to Mrs. D talk to her I sensed an unrest in the air, the same inquietude I felt when I walked in the door, but at that moment more intense and I could tell even though her words to Kenna were positive and encouraging, they seemed heavy with preoccupation and sadness to me, the assimilation somewhat draining for me.  After Kenna's lesson was over we sat in small talk, a half-hour piano lesson turned into a two hour (gab) session.  At times she'd turn to Kenna, smile, and play a note on the piano and ask her to show her where that note was on the staff in the arrangement they had been working on.

During this hour and a half chit-chat, amidst those extended piano instructions and occasional verbiage there were many emotional stories narrated on her part, I even noticed Kenna teared up a couple times during her sentimental voyage of the past. And as I sat there, taking in a history of a woman who has seen, experienced and witnessed so much in her life I thought about a phrase often spoken. I looked around her room, pictures and mementos scattered here and there and I realized in some way or another, whether through keepsakes, music, poetry and obituaries, or just reminiscing of these earlier times,  we all tend to live in the past, it is always present.  And that phrase, "stop living in the past" a phrase I've heard once or twice, is just that, a phrase. A phrase I now am certain is only said by those who possess more than a few shortcomings, ones who are afraid and have trouble admitting to their failures.

These items, vestiges of an earlier time, remnants we can never completely rid ourselves of no matter how hard we may try. They will always be with us, the good, the bad and everything in-between. They haunt our life and make us who we are.  And therefore, we all live in the past to some extent, even those who are afraid of it.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

That's Life

I'm back after a short hiatus from writing. It's not that I didn't have much to say, or rather, write about it's just there has been a lot going on and unfortunatly these have taken up most of my time and energy.  

We celebrated My daughter Mikenna's 11th birthday back in March and my grandson Cruz's first birthday back in April. Both events I did write about, I even uploaded pictures but never got around to posting them. Then, ditzy me inadvertently deleted the posts along with a few others and I didn't feel like rewriting them at the time and I won't attempt to now. I'll just post two of my favorite photos and hopefully I'll add more at a later date. 
 I will tell you though,we took Kenna on a weekend birthday trip to Pennsylvania and had a wonderful time. 
 Cruz's mama did a fantastic job planning and implementing his birthday celebration, he even had his own mini "smash" cake.

My Mother's Day I was surprised with breakfast in bed. Kenna made me fruit crepes, even preparing the batter from scratch. No bisquick mix used here.  She's becoming quite the little cook.
 (My Mother's Day breakfast tray donned with paper hearts.) 
 I spent the next day with Bean. Breakfast at our local diner then shopping.

Summer has finally arrived ( I think ). The children have finished another year of school and the days are longer, fuller and moreso tiring.  Kenna has started joining Me and Cruz on our daily walks through our quant little hamlet, the same route I use to push her stroller on.

 My mother celebrated her 84th birthday in June and although time, sadly, is catching up to her she's still pretty active. I've noticed she's starting to decline as of late in respect to her health and that scares me.  She has always been a strong, vibrant woman but with the recent death of my aunt, her sister, that has dampen her spirits something fierce and I fear she will not bounce back.  And although there are times we don't see eye to eye on things I don't know what I'd do without her.