Saturday, March 31, 2018

Dear paper cup,

I often speak/text into the void/paper cup. I don’t actually mind that the disembodied-vaguely interested voice rarely replies. It does when I need them too. Mostly. 

Dear paper cup,  does my hair look ok today? People keep asking if I colored it. I haven’t touched up my greys since last Christmas. Do I look ok? 

Dear paper cup, I’m super bored this weekend and that’s never a good idea. Help? 

Dear paper cup, do you have a pair of pliers? I screwed up building my ikea table, natch. 

Dear paper cup, inspire me to go get quarters to do laundry. You’re gonna have to work hard at this. 

Dear paper cup, tomorrow is Easter and I have no plans which makes me sad. However at least this way I won’t break three bones in my foot while carrying a kale quiche. Mmm kale quiche. 

Dear paper cup, I’m renaming my blog for you! You lucky cup. 

Dear paper cup, your empty. Someone should fill you up. But with water, not alcohol. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

One Lucky Duck

Once upon a time...

Vegan Thanksgiving 2016

I remember my kids coming home from school upset about a Pokemon card. One of the boys in Nicks grade had tricked Zak into giving him a rather precious Pokemon card. When Nick found out he confronted the kid and defended his brother. 

Words were exchanged. Nick got the card back for his brother. 

I remember shortly after my now ex husband and I split, standing in the kitchen of our studio apartment making spaghetti. We could hear the couple next door fighting through the walls. The phone rang, one of those old clunky cordless phones, and I picked it up and settled it into the crook of my neck. Zak was only 2, playing by my feet. Nick, age 4 was watching Teletubbies or Barney on a VHS. 

I was tired, I was broke, it was the fourth day of spaghetti dinner. 

I never found out who was on the phone because it slipped out of neck crook and into the boiling water before I could say hello. 

Straw meet the camels back. I swore loud enough to scare my kids. They both stopped and stared at me and I started to cry. I turned off the pot and sat down on the floor and Nick came over, put his arms around me and said 

"It's ok Mom. It will be okay." 4 years old and already trying to take care of me.  Did you know it was possible to be filled with love and broken hearted at the same time? It is. 

So it should come as no surprise that now, at 19 and 21, my boys are still trying to take care of me. Its a funny thing how that works. Sometimes the best way to take care of me is to let me take care of you. I am never more calm than when I am taking care of someone else. It's my jam (oh hot dam..)

They have been pushing me to date and recently they revealed it's because they don't want me to be alone and so they can worry less about me. See? Filled with love/broken hearted. They are not mutually exclusive. 

We had dinner the other night and when they walked inside two of my friends were just leaving. They might not know it but I saw their reactions to my reaction upon seeing my boys. I'm pretty sure I light up because their faces reflected it. (And yes I heard you say 'aw' when Zak hugged me) We talked for an hour or so, about their lives, music, things on the news. I can't tell you how proud I am to have raised two beautiful young men who can have an informed intelligent conversation about the media, sexual harassment and world politics. 

And then they tried to get me to move into the empty apartment in house they live in. Filled with love/broken hearted. 

Zak gave me the sweetest lecture about the make up I wore last weekend to the Mayors Inaugural ball. A friend had done some serious work on my face and he was upset. "You look pretty everyday just being you Mom." 
Credit: Rob Deza

I'm not crying, YOU are crying!

After dinner Zak and I went to the laundromat. He let me teach him a few things about laundry, things I am pretty sure he already knows. But that is how they best take care of me, by letting me take care of them. 

I am one lucky duck. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2018 listical!

Hello, hello!

First, I’ve been sad. So sad. Tonight however, I was reminded how good people can be. I stopped at a local MickyDs to pee and ran into my sons bandmate whose van was stuck in the ice. His mom was trying to chop it away. Mind you it’s like 3 degrees here. So I stopped and rummaged in my trunk for anything to help. Finally I went inside and asked them to bring out some salt. A few strangers stopped and helped us rock and push the van out of the ice. Everyone cheered and hugged. I felt genuinely happy and connected. I needed that.

My hands are freezing.

It’s New Year’s Eve and you know what that means! One of my very favorite things.

A listicle!

Things I want for 2018.

1. Drink less
2. Go camping at the beach. Ideally with the boys and friends but alone is okay too.
3. Get a haircut
4. Sing aloud more
5. Let go and let god
6. Just kidding, god doesn’t know I exist
7. Be in the moment
8. Just enjoy the bubble
9. Dance naked under a full moon.
10. Spend more brunches with Rachel
11. Return those damn student loan calls.

And 12? Start writing down all the autobiographical short stories in my head and make a book. (Thanks Maura for the encouragement)

13. Blog more, it’s like free theray
14. On that note go to therapy more.
15. Get in the car one Friday afternoon and drive somewhere by accident and don’t return till Sunday.

And some oldies I am still working on

16. Learn to freaking sew.
17. Make more art no matter how shitty
18 . Get a tattoo or two
19. Fix my nose piercing
20. Love more freely and unconditionally
21. Be more adventures.
22. Wear my glasses every day.

Ps. I posted this on my phone, fingers crossed it’s not all wonky looking. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Chachacha....changes: On Transitions


Hi! How are you?! Friend? Are you there, Friend?

My last post here was  What do you DO? and I am so pleased to finally be doing something I love enough that I would, and have, do it for free.  I'm helping grow young leaders in my community, teaching the most entertaining sex ed classes ever and exposing young people to all the opportunities I can.

I don't really work but I do get paid for it.

That's not what I want to write about today though. Today I want to write about.. change.

My children are grown and have recently gotten apartment together. Since I recently took a.. like.. 15,000 pay cut and I moved into a friends spare room for a bit.  Just me and my best guy.

So here I am, on my own, with no one to wait up for or to carry the groceries for me or to blame for the mess.

It is the saddest I have felt in a very long time and the first time I actually felt lonely. I am finding myself getting really invested in things to worry about because worry is my comfort food. I feel calmer when I am worried about something. Don't you worry though because goddamn I can find things to worry about. City Council being dumbasses? Worry! Youth in trouble and can't go to their parents? Worry! Our fucking asshat douche canoe of a 'President' is still allowed to use twitter? WORRY!

2017 has been a bitter disappointment. I had some of the most anxiety ridden days of my life, some of the sweetest and some of the darkest. And I got to go to the beach, once.

(I love Snapchat, its so unbelievably narcissistic and hilarious at the same time)

Things that happened in 2017:

1. We actually inaugurated a vile sociopathic sexual predator and I don't want him impeached because Pence is even more fucking dangerous. 

2. I started swearing a lot more. 

3. I went to a Casino for the first time (holy shit that was bizarre.. and kind of wonderful)

4. I got to play bartender at an event! Bucket list! ($100 in tips ain't too shabby)

5. I broke my ankle again AND a toe. Two separate events. 

6. I ran a super kick ass summer camp. 

7. Actual text exchange I had with my boss one day 
Me: So I am at the beach and I really want to stay another day, is there any way you can cover for me tomorrow?
Boss: Do you mean you went to the beach with friends and the car broke down and it can't be fixed until tomorrow?
Me: ....... Yes, that is exactly what I meant, damn auto correct. 

8. I quit a job and it was spectacular. 

9. I was almost immediately offered two part time jobs instead. They called me and asked me to apply. 

10. I took a giant leap of faith and fell flat on my face. Which I am pretty sure we all saw coming.

“When mothers talk about the depression of the empty nest, they’re not mourning the passing of all those wet towels on the floor, or the music that numbs your teeth, or even the bottle of capless shampoo dribbling down the shower drain. They’re upset because they’ve gone from supervisor of a child’s life to a spectator. It’s like being the vice president of the United States.”
—Erma Bombeck

Oh, and one more
 I made it to level 23 in Pokemon Go. #TeamYellow

This transition is scary for me but I know that everything will be okay. 


Monday, December 10, 2012

What do you do?

      "What do you do?" People always ask when we meet for the first time. I always hesitate because it is such a broad question. What do I do? Think about it for a moment. What do you do?
     I suppose the correct answer is that I work in an office. I order supplies from staples (which remind me I need to order coffee today) and I answer the phone. I get the mail and sort the invoices. I finalize reports and edit letters. I water the plants. This is what I am paid to do.

    It is not the answer I want to give though. I want to tell people that I make a difference and that my existence matters outside of the small circle of my life. I want to say I do something interesting, something meaningful.

But the best answer to the question “What do you do?” is “Here's what I'm passionately learning right now.”-Penelope Trunk

    Because, what I do is so much more then how I earn a paycheck. I am raising two fantastic children. I help my friends when they need it. I plan parties and fundraisers and exhibits and write press releases. I chair meetings and I advocate for literacy.  

     That’s what brought me to Baypath College and fuels my desire for a bachelor’s degree. That piece of paper represents so much more than just a few classes and grades. It means opportunity for me; it is a key to open so many doors that are currently locked.

     With that piece of paper I will change my world.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hello 2011, please wipe your feet.

Over at Holyoke Home there is a great post about New Years Resolutions and actionable and achievable goals. I wasn't going to commit to any resolutions this year publicly, but after reading that blog post I realized I do have resolutions and telling you you will help me hold myself accountable.

Last year I blogged my resolutions  and I kept most of them. I did learn to make sushi from my friend over at We are All Beasts. I did use less, including getting myself this amazing thing. I did smile more.
I smiled when I replaced my car, when my kids threw me a huge surprise birthday party, when I got the best gift ever from Sutters jewelry and when all the fund raising events I worked on went extra well. I was less judgmental, even when it was really, really hard. I painted and drew and even made some jewelry, I took two art classes. I did let Nick take a girl to the movies. I took compliments better, I think. Maybe.
So this year I will set more goals. Actionable and achievable goals.

I will loose some undefined amount of weight by cutting out the junk that has been creeping back into my life. I will cook more soups instead of buying them in a can for lunch. I won't put feta cheese on my salad (at least not every day) I'll cut back on coffee and cake. I'll stop eating in the car, in a rush. Back to Yoga twice a week and maybe the occasional Zumba class. I'll do one of the dozens of walk run things that are going to help save the world in someones memory.

I will do the Hot Chocolate run in 2011. I will take my vitamins every damn day.

I will listen more and talk less. Really. (...This might be a two year resolution)

I will find a new job that has meaning, even if it means less money. At this new job I will be able to walk to work (unless it's really freaking cold, I hate the cold)

And once again I will keep my chin up, I will not let lifes obstacles throw me. I will get though this year and it will be just as good better then last year. After all, no one drowns from falling in the water...

...they drown by staying there.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

You cannot read Loss

You cannot read loss, or think about it or know it. You cannot be prepared for it or brace for it and come to terms with it either. 
It just is.
Janice Kenneman

All you can do is feel it.

My Aunt Jany passed away Saturday the 18th of December. It was sudden and unexpected. I had not been close to her for many years and as a child I only saw her occasionally. I always thought she was so .. cool. Calm, collected and reasonable in ways few of the adults in my every day world ever were or would be. I remember her laugh was always a little bit throaty and made her eyes dance. That phrase 'eyes that dance' is utter nonsense when used to describe most people but for her it makes sense.

When I was maybe 11 or 12 I was visiting their house in East Hartford (they had the coolest bathroom in Connecticut) and she wanted to take a picture of me and cousin Nicky, and her daughter Rene all sitting on the couch. We were sitting there smiling like the models we all thought we were and then heard a funny noise above us. We looked up to see a teeny... tiny... bat.

Ever heard three preteen girls screech at the same time?

Aunt Jany laughed for an hour, I swear.

Later, about 5 or 6 years ago, Aunt Jany and I began to email each other. She got up at dawn each day and would sit and have her coffee while she read her emails and the news. I'd chat with her for 20 minutes or so before I went to work. After a year or so I changed jobs and the early morning emails tapered off.

I regret that.

I am so glad to have had you in my life however briefly it may have been.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Eat yer weeds!

Always be careful not to gather wild edibles within 50 feet of any regularly traveled road.                       Disclaimer: Poison Sumac is POISON.
The red or staghorn sumac is not the same as poison sumac which has white, drooping berries. Look for the red, upright clusters of seeds on the edible type sumac. These seeds are ripe in August and September....when the white crystals form on the surface and before the autumn rains wash the flavor off.

Edible sumac

Dangerous bad will kill you to death Sumac

If you try any of these please let me know!

The fruit of the staghorn sumac (Rhushirta) was frequently used by Indians and pioneers to make a cool, sour drink. The name staghorn comes from the likeness of the down-covered branches to deer's antlers. The fruit clusters are plucked and boiled in water, strained and sugar is added to give the juice an agreeable lemonade-like flavor.

Take 4 or 5 red sumac seed heads. (Do not wash for the flavor is concentrated on outside of berries.) Cover with water; bring to a boil, strain through a cloth. Add water if necessary to make 2 cupsful.

Combine: 1 1/2 c. sugar 1/2 tsp. salt

Add 2 cups hot sumac extract prepared as above. Cook in double boiler until thick. Beat 3 egg yolks; add a little of the hot mixture. Stir and pour back into double boiler. Cook 2 minutes longer.

Remove from heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter; cool. Pour into baked pie shell. Top with meringue prepared by beating 3 egg whites with 6 tablespoons sugar. Bake at 350 degrees until browned.

Cover sumac with water. Pound and stir for 10 minutes; strain to make an extraction.
2 c. sumac extract
1 pkg. Sure Jell
5 c. sugar
Bring juice, extract, and Sure Jell to a boil. Add sugar and hard boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim. Pour into jars and seal immediately.

Cattail Casserole
2 cups of scraped bud material
1 cup of bread crumbs
1 egg
½ cup of milk
salt to taste
pepper to taste
"…scrape the bud material from the cores, mix 2 cups of buds with 1 cup of bread crumbs, a beaten egg and ½ cup of milk. Then salt and black pepper to taste and bake in a casserole dish in a medium oven for 25 minutes."

Juniper Marinade
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 and 1/2 cups red wine (Burgundy works well)
4 Juniper berries
1 bay laurel leaf
6 whole peppercorns
1 medium onion, sliced
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp. salt
4 pinches mace
2 whole cloves
1/8 tsp. thyme
4 pounds meat or game
Combine all the ingredients and store in a covered jar in the refrigerator for at least one day before using. Place the meat or game in a bowl and pour marinade over it. Turn the meat every couple of hours to allow the marinade to penetrate. Marinate at room temperature for 1 to 2 days depending on how strong a marinade flavor you like. Strain the marinade and use it to baste the meat every 20 minutes while it roasts. One pint of marinade is adequate for 4 pounds of meat. Serves 8. 

Black Birch Tea
"To make a wintergreen-flavored tea, cut some sweet birch twigs in small pieces and cover them with boiling birch sap. Let it steep for a minute or two, then strain out the twigs and sweeten the tea to taste. Some like to add cream or hot milk…
"Birch Tea can also be made of the red, inner bark of sweet birches, but removing this bark from standing timber disfigures and injures the trees. If sweet birches are being cut down anyway, as in land clearing or limbering, one can gather a supply of this fragrant bark without feeling like a vandal. The bark from the stumps and roots is considered best. Use a knife or a carpenter’s wood scraper to remove the outer, dry layer and then peeel off the red inner bark. It peels best in the spring or early summer. If this is cut in small pieces and dried at ordinary room temperature, then sealed in fruit jars one can have the makings of Birch Tea throughout the year. Use boiling water when birch sap is not available. Never boil the twigs or bark in making this tea and never dry the bark in too warm a place, for the wintergreen flavor is very volatile, and is easily driven off by too much heat."

Mulled Sumac
4 cups sumacade
4 whole cloves
1 stick of cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 lemon
freshly grated nutmeg
Put the sumacade in a saucepan and add the cloves, cinnamon, allspice, and sugar. Add the slices of lemon peel and juice of the lemon. Heat the mixture over low heat for 20 minutes. Do not let it boil. Pour into glasses and add a little grated nutmeg on top. Serves 4 to 6. For a winter warm-up, try adding 1/2 ounce of rum.

Dandelion Coffee
1/4 cup dandelion roots
2 tsp. chocolate bits
2 tbs. rum
Collect dandelion roots from healthy plants. Wash and scrub roots to remove all dirt. Dry the roots thoroughly and roast in a 250 degree oven for 2 to 4 hours, until they are brittle and dark brown inside. Grind them and use the powder to make a 4 cups coffee. A drip pot with filter paper works well. Add chocolate and rum to serve after dinner. Serves 4.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Dating 2.0

A rainbow seemed a good choice to begin this post with. Hopeful, bright and colorful. 

Lately I have been really busy so it may seem like the worst time ever to be thinking about dating but, it turns out that when I am busy ... I think about it the most. It would be nice to have someone to talk to at 11 pm when I am finally done with the day. Also, it would be nice to not always be the odd one out. Not that I mind terribly but it would make tables at restaurants more, you know, even.

So I guess the first step is picking a site.
Plenty of fish?

The second step is writing an ad.
This.. could take awhile. Any help would be appreciated!

The last step is choosing some photos.
(thanks to Peter this shouldn't be too hard.)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Still here, still thankfull

I'm too busy to write, really. Tonight though, I am going to the very first Holyoke writers meet-up and I am feeling inspired in a ragged way. My favorite way to write when I do not have time to write? Lists, natch.

Things I am thankful for

1. Cold pressed coffee (Thanks Maggie and Nancy)

2. More friends then I can recall in an academy award acceptance speech.

3. Kids who wash dishes and water gardens

4. White out tape

5. Fancy foot lotion and socks

Things I could really do without

1. Paper logs

2. Another meeting

3. Invader Zim cartoons on Netflix streaming

4. My lab partner

5. My lecture professor who seems to have checked out of the class so .. actually I guess I am already doing without him.

Things I want

1. Naps

2. A new car antennae and someone to fix that for me

3. A washin' machine and a hook up

4. 2 thousand bucks

5. More naps

Things said recently

1. "Spiders are good luck, unless they eat your face off, then.. they suck." -Nick

2. "Well SOMEONE got some sun." -work friend in an angry tone.

3. "Excuse me, I have a business call" -Zak

4. "Can I sit on your lap?" - Helena

5. "OMG There is a huge Zucchini under there!" -Rachel

Fourth of July plans

1. Cook out on Friday, then fireworks!

2. Saturday: Yoga, laundry, block party meeting.

3. Sunday: Yoga... nap?

4. Monday: Werk

5. Homework! Every day.

Whats new with you?! ... is anyone here?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Extra! Extra!

So.. I blog for the Masslive Parenting Project now. But I probably can't swear there so don't worry! I will still post here.. at least whenever I want to write bad words and call people names.

Check me out here and leave comments! Maybe then I will one day get PAID to do this. :o)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Less then Plastic Resolutions

This is one of my favorite photos from 2009. We were at my cousin Nicole's place, a nifty restored old house on the Westfield river. We took a picnic lunch and the kids (I took a personal day from work) and went swimming. In 2010 I want more days like that care free happy day.

I resolve to take compliments better. I will not shrug them off, deny them or make excuses. I will accept them gracefully.

I will say yes more often. To myself, to my children, to my friends, to handsome men in hats and too chocolate cake. Mostly to the cake.

Which bring me to the obligatory "I will lose 20 pounds this year" resolution. Blah, I have a woman's hips which works out well because I am a women. So.. more salad, yes. But also, more cake. More Sushi too! I'll stop saving that treat for special occasions.

I will learn at least two of the following.
Making Sushi
Book binding

I will buy less, use less, consume less and throw less away.

I will smile more. At you.

I will be less judgmental. Seriously. Who the eff am I?

I will dedicate more time to my art. Whatever it may be.

I will do what the boys want to do more often. Hiking, biking, playing Guitar Hero, eating at gross Friendly's and maybe.. just maybe.. letting Nick take a girl to the movies. (But probably not, who am I kidding?)

Mostly though I resolve to make the best of 2010. I will not kneel to any circumstance, I will not give in or give up. Like compliments I will take each little crisis and calamity in stride, with a smile and never forget that.. this too shall pass.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dear Nick

Dear Nickolas,

Yesterday you turned 13. For weeks now I have been preoccupied with this birthday which seems to effect me over any previous birthday any of us have had.

Scenes from the day you were born flash though my memory as you blow out 13 candles with your super cool floppy haircut and devil may care half smile. Your braces cannot even detract from the effortless cool you carry. I won't gross you out with details but there was blood and screaming and your father had to leave the room when things reached... when they got bad. When you finally arrived, you did not scream and cry as you should have. You barely gave us a whimper and I knew, innately that SOMETHING WAS WRONG. It was just like that too, a big meaningless sentence. No one spoke to me as you were poked and prodded and then finally cried, soft but alive. I cried too. I was not allowed to hold you but they let me see you, briefly. Already they were sticking needles in your tiny arms and a plastic tent over your head to keep you breathing. Ask me what terror feels like.

A moment later you were gone and the anesthesiologist spoke as your Daddy walked back into the room, pale and shaky. (Later he would tell me he had gotten sick in the hallway from the stress and the fear and seeing so much blood)

"You must be starving, I'll get you a meal."

"That would be nice." I replied.

8 hours later I woke up. It was Christmas afternoon and a Doctor was there, telling me things that I couldn't wrap my head around. Water in your lungs, transient tachypnea of the newborn , birth stress, oxygen levels, MRI, CPR.. too many big words and mismatches initials. All I heard, all I could understand was that my son, who I had not yet held, was dying.

For two days I sat in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit pumping breast milk for you (don't be grossed out, really) and talking to you. I made you promises.

The impossible.
"If you just be strong I will take you to the park every day for the rest of your life."

And the important.
"I'll never let you go, never leave you."

You heard me, I think. I'd like to think you did because you came back to us. The hood was removed, needles extracted until one day as I sat in my room, still recovering from blood loss and my own injuries, your Daddy walked in the room and gave me the best gift of my life.


It was the first time I had ever held you in my arms. You were six days old.

Today you are a teenager but you are still, sometimes, that cute 3 year old who fell asleep on his wooden ride on airplane because you couldn't bear to part with it. It was pink and second hand but you did not care. It was an 'arghpaned!' and nothing else mattered.

When you were 5 I gave you a bucket of homemade bubbles and left you in the yard while I got your baby brother down for a nap. When I came back, no less then five minutes later, you were soaked in soapy water, bare ass naked and running around with the bubble wand gleefully. You invented happiness.

I watched you Christmas eve with the mug you did not want. When you smiled and said it would hold lots of hot cocoa I had to refrain from reaching over and hugging you. You always see the bright side. Did you get that from me? Or is that all your own?

Last night you heard me tell Pepe that you were the 'great event' in my life that made me wake up. Having you, nearly losing you and then getting you all over again was exactly what I needed then. I needed to understand the value of life. Of my own life. Every day since then has been a journey to be better then I was before, a better mother, a better friend, a better human being. Thank you.

Lastly I want to tell you I am sorry for how much responsibility you bear. I wish you felt more carefree and had less to worry about. Our lives have not been easy, I know. But I hope one day, Nick, you will look back and be grateful for your childhood, for it's hardships and struggles and shining moments of unrivaled joy because those will be the things that make you into the wonderful man you are so close to being.


Friday, December 25, 2009

A heartbeat away

Images snagged from Peter.

Last night from the window of Vega Yoga I watched an apartment building on Lyman St burn. 15 families lived there and countless families have lived there in the past. It was heartbreaking to watch. My thoughts, as they always do in such situations, turned to the after effects of this fire. Homelessness, tragedy, loss. No one died in the fire but it looks as though everyone lost all their belongings.

Two days before Christmas.

It was a low income building and it is not lost on me that I have lived in a similar building, I know first hand what Christmas is like in those places. I know how much it hurts to lose hard earned Christmas gifts, things you have scrimped and saved for. I know what it is like to eat ramen noodles 3 days a week to buy some trivial but coveted gift for a child. To lose that feels like all your insides have suddenly burst into flames and then melted, the world tilts a little and you feel overcome with an urge to cry and stomp your feet and shout “It’s not fair!”

It is not fair.

I called the Red Cross but they were unable to offer any way to help those particular families. You can send them money or drop off clothing but it all goes into a pool for disaster relief which is great and all but I would really like to do something for the Lyman St families.

This Christmas is a tough one for us but nothing at all compared to how tough it could be or has been. One Christmas we were robbed. Once there were only a few dollar store gifts and once there was only a paper tree. In comparison this is a wonderful Christmas for my children and me. We are together; we are warm and well fed and happy.

Christmas eve we will be with wonderful new friends who have come to mean so much to us. Christmas Day we will be with people we are not related too but have been my family in every way that matters since I was an angry and confused 14 year old girl who needed someone to look past my outrage and my mother and see the girl I really was. People who, without fail, love us.

I will keep in mind, every moment, those 15 families who just lost everything at the end of a year that was full of growth and laughter for us. Keeping them in mind will remind me (as if I need reminding) that we are all only a moment away from poverty and devastation.

More Photos from amazing local photographers and dear friends.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Naked girls.

It seems like last week that Nick was still shorter then me. Actually it very well could have been last week, he grows so.. fast. Sometimes I look over at him at home and my heart flutters in a sort pf panicked way. Every inch is another pull away from my own youth and from his youth.

People keep commenting on how pretty soon he won’t want to talk to me anymore but to those people I thumb my nose. I am pretty sure Nick will always feel comfortable talking to me. Not every child becomes a surly angry teen. I have already laid the groundwork with my children for openness, even when it makes us uncomfortable or angry. My boys know I am always ready to listen.. even when I don’t want too. Even when it is about girls.

The boys are sharing a birthday party this weekend and I ordered a Sponge Bob cake for them.

Nick: You got me a Sponge Bob cake for my 13th birthday?

Me, happily: Yes, you like Sponge Bob.

Nick stares at me, waiting.

I sigh.

Me: Well, what did you want? A cake with swimsuit models on it?

And he grinned.

Friday, November 27, 2009

ThanksGiving 09

Last year the boys and I made a small turkey dinner and hung out in our jammies all day. I think at some point I napped and then I worked on a paper about how Little Red Riding Hood is actually a cautionary tale about dating the wrong kind of men. . It was a dull, dreary day for us and this year I decided not to repeat it. I wanted to take what could have been the worst Thanksgiving for us in years and make it the best ever. I refused to focus on what we have lost and do not have and instead told the boys this year we would focus entirely on how much we do have. Once we did that we realized we have so much.

All three of us are healthy. We have no significant health issues.

We have a roof over our heads, a wood floor under our feet and warm things to wear in the cold.

We all have access to education, books, music and culture.

And we have wonderful friends.

So we invited those friends, all of them, to come by and have a meal or a drink or just to say hello. And they came, in pairs and alone, in a hurry and taking their time. With breads and brussels sprouts and delicious pies. They came with hugs and smiles and easy laughter. A generous friend washed my dishes! Nick made a pumpkin cheesecake and Zak showed off his Soccer winnings over and over again.

When I finally got to bed last night it was well after midnight and I was exhausted, I’d cooked for 6 hours and talked for 6 more! I left the kitchen a disaster but its okay, it was worth it. I think we will do this every year on Thanksgiving.

We are making our own definition of family.

Other small things I am thankful for this year. Besides the obvious…

Yellow high lighters

Drawing classes at night

The confidence to be photographs in yoga poses.

Pumpkin Spice coffee


Hampshire tailors

Meeting old friends and making them new again

Wooden spoons

Having windows in my office


5 o’clock working committee meetings.

And my unfailing ability to pick myself up, dust myself off and get the hell on with the business of every day.

What, besides the obvious family, friends etc are YOU thankful for?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Dear Zak,

Today you turn eleven. I wish you wouldn’t. I wish I could keep you small and sweet forever. Today you are eleven and filled with your own ideas and thoughts opinions that differ from my own. It is a bittersweet discovery to find you are becoming your own person and that person is not a reflection of my own thoughts and ideals. I could not be prouder of you for it.

You were a small baby, seven pounds seven ounces but you were perfect. Unlike your older brothers journey into this world there was no blood, no machinery, nothing was sliced or diced. You simply arrived when you were ready and without a fuss.

‘I’m here now.” You seemed to say. “The rest of your life can begin just as soon as you get me a blanket.” Your father cut the cord after it stopped pulsing, when you no longer needed it. His hand shook and I would be a liar if I did not admit I was nervous. You hardly cried for the two days we were in the hospital and I took all the credit for that. You were the perfect newborn baby. Karma loves a good joke. Two months later you began to cry and I do not think you stopped until you were four. You tested my patience repeatedly but still you were my baby, my youngest and likely last, child.

Your brother loved you immediately. Countless times I found him by your basket, by the swing, by the crib talking to you, soothing you, showing you his toys and how cool they were and promising that one day you could play with them too.

You have always been headstrong. You refused to wear underwear for a year. The next year it was a refusal of socks. And then in kindergarten you insisted on wearing the same pants every day for a month. You drove me crazy and you still do but I see myself in you and better still, I see such strength.

Everywhere we go people flock to you. You’re a modern day Prince Charming, handsome and thoughtful. You ask people how they are, you smile at them and pay attention. You take in interest in what other people like and do. These are invaluable traits. Every day you ask how my day was. You still want to hold my hand and you will sit with me no matter who sees.

Today you turn eleven. On the day you were born I loved you more then I could fathom and as impossible as it may seem.. I love you eleven times more today then I did then. With every smile, every giggle, every question and every moment I love you even more.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Nogs, please!

My baby turns eleven in a few days. I feel my youth shrivel up just a tiny bit when I say that. Since both of my children have birthdays in the next 31 days and Christmas is coming as well, they share a birthday gift. Last year they got a Wii, this year.. well I have no idea yet. They will have a big pizza party together too.

I still try to recognize each childs birthday separately and this year Zaks falls on the day before Thanksgiving. So yesterday we had this brief conversation in the kitchen.

Zak: “Are we doing anything on my birthday?”

Me: “We will have a cake on Thanksgiving but the night before will be really busy, do you mind if we don't?”

Zak: “Ok but can we have eggnog on my birthday?”

Me: “Sure.. really?”

Zak: “Yea! Can you make it? With eggs from the farm? Can you get nogs? Are they expensive?”


Me: “Of course I will get you nogs, I will hunt them down and pay whatever I have too because I love you.”

Nick: scoffs from the next room.

Me: “You shush!”


Parenting means never missing an opportunity to remind your kid why you are the best mother ever.

To that note.. is anyone there?
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