Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Some of you may have noticed my little ditty in the sidebar where I list my Earworm of the Day. I now have the limited ability to actually hook you up with the song itself (Thanks so much CherryMoon!).
Check it out!
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
As an avid Texas Hold 'Em player, whenever the ante goes up, I get both nervous and excited. It means the game is getting serious. It means that if you don't either bluff hard or land a boss hand, you'll be out of chips and quick.
This morning, she upped the ante. And as when I'm playing cards, I'm both excited and nervous.
Remember our friends that asked us to stand up for them while they renew their vows? Well Giggler (as I'll call her since everyone gets an alias to protect the innocent as well as the guilty) e-mailed me this morning about the plans to date. She explained that her family isn't completely on board with their doing the party and that Stickler's mom (her husband's mom) doesn't think she'll be making the trip up from Florida to come either. She acknowleged that pleasing others wasn't their motivating factor but since neither family wants to participate, she and Stickler have been throwing around some ideas.
They want to know if we'd be interested in going to ARUBA with them instead! Cha!
Now, Tall Boy has a vacation in November which he usually reserves for whitetail hunting. He's always wanted to go to Aruba so I'm really hoping he's willing to give up the hunting this year in favor of this trip. I think I'm going to drive home the reminder that we still have a freezer full of meat from last year's success and that we've NEVER been to Aruba.
Do you consider a bathing suit more or less of a weight-loss motivator over a bridesmaid dress? Could actually be a toss-up.
Monday, March 21, 2005
Friday, March 18, 2005
That's what I'm talkin'' about!
In his acceptance speech, Larry agreed to father my next child.
[don't tell him I'm completely infertile....I want the opportunity to keep trying.....shhhh]
The Old Chair
The Old Chair sits in the corner of the living room at the homestead on Tolend Road. The homestead where my heritage originates. The one my mother was brought to when she was a little girl. The one built on the land my great-grandfather gave to my grandparents. One piece of the parcel that he divvied out to all of his girls so that they could all raise their families together.
There are stories about Tolend Road that I've heard from time to time over the years. I'm not in any of them but I've heard them with the humor and inclusiveness that goes with knowing family. Some of the characters have nicknames like Brop or the Huz. Others speak tales of injury involving a radiator, a football game or a cat-of-nine-tails. Some include songs of old. Nonsensical tunes of Alice and the bathtub drain or the ones from the one true original homeland, Ireland.
My earliest memory of the Road starts when I was around 3 or 4 with a spilled bowl of popcorn made the old fashioned way and a Bruins hockey game. With the roar of the "crowd" my older sister sent it airborne and all over the living room in which the Old Chair sits. Other memories of Easter egg hunts, sledding, may-flower picking sit in that comfortable place of my upbringing. Memories of being surrounded by the Old Man and those that loved him.
Over the years, that Old Chair always held the Old Man. I think I have memories of different chairs over the years. Yeah, I'm pretty confident that at least one was a big ol' recliner but the image of the chair remains unchanged. It sat beside the little table with the little lamp. Eventually the little table also held the television remote, an Air Force coffee cup, reading glasses, the tv guide. Necessities of running the room from the chair.
I don't ever recall sitting alone in the Old Chair. Not before March 1st, 1996. Definitely not since. I guess I'm holding that Old Chair as a pseudo-shrine to the man that used to be. He was tall with wide shoulders and a strong chin, usually with a five o'clock shadow that he'd drag back and forth across our cheeks in a harsh yet loving hello whenever we arrived to see him.
In the nearly ten years since the Old Man sat in the Old chair, other members of the family have sat there. Unknowingly or more likely intentionally trying to be closer to the Old Man. Remembering, like I do, the prominence the Old Chair stood for. I haven't taken a seat yet and I don't know why. What am I holding out for? That the Old Man might actually come around the corner from the kitchen and kick me out of it? Not possible. Is it the feeling that no one will ever be able to fill the Old Chair, or our hearts, the way the Old Man did? My lack of acceptance of the void left in the Old Chair when the Old Man left goes on and on.
Yesterday, I was tasked to wash and spackle the walls of that living room. My aunts are going to repaint the room and give it a face lift for my Gram. As I made my way around the walls that used to surround the Old Man, especially the walls surrounding the Old Chair, I struggled. I found myself with a tightened chest. Its the same feeling I get whenever we visit and someone is sitting in the Old Man's Old Chair.
What was worse was the pile of pieces of the Old Chair stacked in the "back room". The pieces sat on the floor, disassembled and awaiting new fabric that will match the new paint in the old living room. The Old Chair will be put back together today. Updated and refurbished, but not replenished. No fabric, no paint, no time will ever refill the Old Chair without the Old Man.
He's missed so much in the days and years since he occupied the Old Chair. We've begun to expand the family he used to lead. A new generation of soon-to-be Old Men have joined us. Men who will never have known him except through the stories we tell and the example we set. The example he set. We believe he's guiding them still, from that place he now is. He guides us still too, but not in ways remotely the same.
The hope that gets me through the emptiness of the Old Chair now is the promise that the New Men who occasionally climb into the empty Old Chair will grow to be men much like him. Men of integrity, strength, perseverance, leadership, honesty, and compassion. Men that appreciate the beauty of the world around them in the animals and trees. Men that take the time to relax and enjoy life. Men that know the simplicity of the good that lies within the relationships of family. Proud men that make their mothers proud in who they are.
Only the Old Chair knows for sure.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
[here's my own little Irish blessing for you]
May the road always rise to meet you,
May your life never be a pain in the ass
May the beer continue flowing
and you never find the bottom of your glass
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Too much time gone by
I've spent easily two hours this morning watching the four 30 minute tapes from our very own camcorder (are they still called that?) of our early time with Bam-Bam. The recordings, which begin 7 months before the Prodigal Son's arrival capture small fragments of time of his first year and a half.
Five minutes of my mother in law holding him the day he was born. The only moments of that day actually on video. A good fifteen minutes of him laying on a pillow in June when Ray Bourque finally won his only Stanley Cup title. One ridiculously long portion of tape capturing the tree frogs laying eggs in our swamp, I mean pool. Two long segments showing us feeding him which were an assignment from his occupational therapist that was helping us with a feeding issue. A spot with his infectious giggling while his daddy juggled some of his toys in front of the Christmas tree. His first steps just before he turned a year. Some of his first words one lazy Saturday morning taped about 6 months later.
And then nothing. The camera apparently placed on a shelf and forgotten amid the hectic schedule we called life. It's almost too sad to think about. All those moments in between that we could have recorded for prosperity that would have been much more cherished and touching to us years from now than the frogs laying eggs.
Any of this birthday parties. Days at the lake. Swimming lessons. Building the snowman with daddy two days ago. Gone except in our memory. And who knows, some day those memories may not be recalled either.
We're trying to make a renewed effort to capture him on tape more frequently in the future and are also going to investigate getting the previous tapes transferred to DVD for prosperity sake. Just when you think you're being a great parent, something like this comes along to remind you that you could be doing just a liiiiittttlllle bit more.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Rite of Passage upside the head
It started a little more than a week ago. I definitely never saw it coming and feel as though I've been hit with a frying pan. It repeats itself several times each day almost like a constantly tugging reminder to me. It chips away at my heart every time it rears it's ugly head but things will never again be as they were before.
Bam-Bam has started calling me mom.
Not mommy, actually mummy, like the old three year old he used to be. I'm mom to the almost 4 year old gentleman that I spend each day with. I had hoped so deeply that it would be a passing thing. He had asked permission to call me "just mom" one day while driving along in the car and I said ok thinking it would be a passing fancy. I'd hoped that when he awoke the next morning the fad would be gone and I'd return to the person I used to be. No such luck.
"Mom, can I have a spoon yogurt?"
"Mom, I need to go potty."
"Mom, where is my other mitten?"
"Mom, I love you."
Since that day, I've noticed other little points of independence I hadn't prepared for either. The successful use of the tv remote. Managing to get fully dressed each morning by himself. Using a regular cup without spilling his drink at dinner. Completing the next level of his Incredibles game on his Gameboy without daddy or I helping him. And, just tonight, putting the spoon that he had to use to get food onto his fork at dinner back into the utensil drawer because, as he put it, he's "fine" without it.
Ouch. I miss my baby.
I know none of you really care but I thought it appropriate, after the display I showed a couple of weeks ago, to proclaim that a dress has been procured for the banquet this coming weekend. After trudging through 4 more stores, this time with the aid of my younger sister, I managed to find one at Sears today that looks great. It's a black sheath dress with some glittery things along the neckline that is kind of ruffley and flowy along the bottom where it hits at my knees.
Just the fact that I managed to find something is worth celebrating but even more than that, it was on clearance and I got it for only $20! I was able to return the JCPenney ugly green frock to the local store because they have a catalog department. They gave me my $80 refund on my credit card right there at the desk. Since I saved so much on the dress, I was also able to get myself a cute little pair of shoes, a matching purse as well as some jewelry for less than the cost of the original dress.
I'm so relieved and thankful that I was able to get myself something that will look good. Tall-Boy got himself a new shirt and tie to change the look of his suit as well. I can rest and relax for the rest of the week now. Phew.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
We had a rockstar level afternoon here in snow country. Tall Boy and I took the afternoon to take Bam-Bam for a nice ride on the sleds. With the Nascar race TiVo'd, we bundled us all up and climbed aboard.
We departed the front yard and down the road to the beginning of the trail that leads to the adjacent powerlines. There is a primary trail that weaves the tall towers, traversing the lines from town to town. The trail weaves the towers back and forth from the right side of the clearing to the left and back. Up the knolls and down the ravines where the small trails of water dissect the north/south trail with an east/west flow. There were small wooden pallet-like bridges for cross the water in the first sections of the power lines. Those bridges disappeared after we left the trail that is maintained by the Strafford snowmobile club leaving open sections of running water to cross once we entered the Rochester club's domain.
The trail was bumpier than I expected because 4-wheelers and motorcross bikes use the trails in warmer times. My back and upper arms have a near constant ache today as a result. We crossed several roads that defined the distance between our starting point and where we were headed.
Bam-Bam rode with his daddy because I was more comfortable with his experience on the machines over mine. I still have moments where I gas it just a little too much and worry that I'll leave the trail and get stuck. I followed behind staying close enough to keep up. The first patch of un-bridged water had me off my sled and walking over the stream with Bam-Bam while Tall-Boy splashed through with my sled. I silently hoped this would be the only water-cross we'd encounter. Unfortately it wasn't. Unfortunately I got wet in subsequent attempts because my windshield was removed due to a crack in it when we bought it. Thankfully the splashes didn't dampen the mood.
We finally made it to the busy section of Route 11 that was our destination. We topped off the sleds with gas and made an unsucessful attempt at getting to any of the three McDonald's in close proximity. We doubled back at the last dead end and decided to just eat at the 50's style diner next to the gas station.
After finishing our dinner and with the sun sitting lower on the horizon, we started to make our way back home. As we plodded back along the trail, my headlights were more visible reflecting on Tall-Boys back. We re-crossed the the streams and I got wet all over again. At least going in this direction meant I would be able to get out of my wet pants sooner. We passed a threesome of sledders that had their black german-shepherd cross running along with them. We also passed a couple of cross-country skiers and saw tracks of someone that had used the trail for a horseback ride.
As we got most of the way back, the sun was completely set and we were traveling strictly by headlight. The wind was getting cold on my face and I had to keep moving to keep my glasses from fogging. We started seeing white-tails mingling along the tree-line. Tall Boy stopped several times to point them out to Bam-Bam so they could both admire and appreciate their beauty.
As we turned into the driveway, found myself in love with the feeling of the day. Family time. Cold. Beauty. Wet. Smelling of exhaust. Nature. Love.
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
You know that sigh of relief you get
when you finally do something you've put off, knowing you're putting it off yet get reminded that you're putting it off by the collection call from the service that manages your student loan? I'm living that sigh right now.
Back in December (yes, I said December) I was notified by my student loan service that I was late on my payment that was due in October. In talking with the rep, I mentioned that I was not employed at this time and hadn't been in over a year. She told me that since I'm not working, even though unemployed by choice, I qualified for a one year deferment of payments. Cool, sign me up.
She mailed me the paperwork after our phone call. When it arrived, sometime around Christmas, it got filed away with some other items while I cleaned the house. In my mind I was going to dig it all back out as soon as the holidays were over and we weren't entertaining people again.
Mid-January I did in fact dig it out, along with the information to have our mortgage paid bi-weekly instead of once a month which will deduct interest and years off our new mortgage. I sat down and immediately filled out both of the forms and returned them to my desk for Tall Boy to sign and mail.
The end of January saw another quick clean up of my desk for the Superbowl party. With it went the envelopes I needed to take care of. They came back out once again just after the party but ignored. Mid-February, another pushing aside for the Daytona 500 party clean up.
That brings me to today when the thought of the two envelopes popped into my head and I immediately hunted them down, finished filling out both forms and got Tall Boy's signature where applicable. I also added an apology letter to both for my delay in returning them.
Sigh, it feels so good not having the thought of them running through the back of my brain and they've only been out of the house for 3 minutes.
I think there's a lesson to be learned in all this somewhere....be damned if I can find it.....must have put that away during the cleaning.
It snowed. Again. All night. And it's windy. Limbs from the pine tree on the corner of the driveway are now laying in the snow. There is also snow covering everything we're storing on the enclosed porch. There's enough snow on the back deck that I'm secretly wishing it would totally collapse so we can replace it with some insurance money.
Unfortunately being locked in again means that I really have no excuse not to have the house clean and the laundry caught up. Except that I don't feel like doing it today. I think it's because I actually got too much sleep last night. Normally an insomniac, I was in bed around 8:30 last night when the power went out during American Idol
Although not feeling true cabin fever, I am actually kind of sick of this snow-ridden winter and will be glad when it's passed us by and I can return here:
Last night I had an entire post
written vanquishing vulgarity from my blog again.
Then we lost power and I lost the whole thing.