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"Pace is all. Rhythm is master. Consistency is your friend."

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Not Sad :)

The wedding was beautiful . . . The bride was stunning, of course (I can't believe my baby sister is all growed up!) . . .

And my boys (and nephew on the left) were dapper in their tuxedos . .

I actually didn't cry on the big day. I was just too happy. Not only for my sister who is starting a whole new part of her life, but I'm happy to be (finally) getting the brother I always wanted!!!

The weather was clear, warm and full of sunshine. I took SO MANY photos (probably trying to make up for what I lost the night before), but haven't had time to download them off the camera yet.

It's been great having some of my family up visiting as well. My sister, nephew and niece have been at my house daily (much to my sons' enjoyment, and mine, too!) and my dad was able to make it to my house and see where we're living now. It's basically been a week full of activity and fun and it was so hard to go back to work on Monday.

But things are slowly settling back to "normal" and our routine is slowly making its comeback. It's kind of like Christmas - you look forward to the big day all year and then it's over in a flash.

Congratulations Kelly and Nick!!!

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Friday, May 25, 2007


As if I wasn't emotional enough . . .

I got this great new camera. I've been playing with it so that I can take great pictures tomorrow at my sister's wedding. I went to the rehearsal dinner tonight and got lots of good stuff with it. I was loving my new camera until just now . . .

When I accidentally erased every picture I had taken . . .

Now I'm upset . . .

And I can't stop thinking about it . . .

I'm getting mad . . .

And I'm sad because there were photos from the first night my other sister was at my house with her kids . . . There were pictures of my niece and nephew and sons playing together . . . And my younger son running down the "aisle" tonight at the rehearsal . . . and a really great picture of my older son and my husband (neither one with a goofy smile) . . . and my niece sleeping on her mother's shoulder . . . and a picture of me and my sisters - together - like we haven't been in such a long time . . .

Now, I'm sad.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Random Quotes

I was just looking through my writing journal (where I keep all kinds of prompts and words of inspiration for when the mood strikes me) and I found a few things I just had to share. (I've updated some of the prompts on my website, btw, if you're interested.)

  • "Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine." --- Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
  • "For it matters not how small the beginning may seem to be: what is once well done is done forever." --- Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
  • "I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see." --- John Burroughs
  • "Their most destructive untruth is that it is easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say, Napoleonic times." --- A propaganda officer, and former U.S. citizen, for the German Army during WWII referring to American culture in Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five
  • "Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops." --- Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

I think that's enough to chew on for now. Please leave comments on anything that strikes you. My personal favorite of the moment is the final Vonnegut quote. There's just something so poignant about the observation. My heart actually jumped a bit when I read it. (Isn't it great when a piece of writing can do that to you? Literally stop you in your tracks?)

My sister and her kids have arrived yesterday afternoon for the big wedding this weekend and the fun has already begun :) And I must get back to it . . .

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Monday, May 21, 2007


Well, I don't usually do this but here is the post I wrote last night for my weekly reflection over at my other website. My (baby) sister is getting married this weekend and so you properly assess that I am a bit emotional. I've been thinking about seeing her for the first time in the hospital nursery; about arguing with my other sister over who was going to help my mother give her a bath or, yes, even change her diaper. I've been thinking about a lot of things as she gets ready to start the greatest journey of her life in promising to share a life with someone else.

I'll keep the sappiness down to a minimum (that will be for the letter I'm writing her personally) but the feelings I've been having made me think of the following quote and the following is what came out of my heart.

So good luck Kelly and Nick . . . We ALL love you and will help you in any way we can both before and after you become Mr. and Mrs. Starting your own family is a lot of work and takes a lot of compromise and you'll have plenty of disagreements, but I haven't found anything else that makes me so happy and I wish the same for the both of you.

So here is the entry that you two have inspired:

"The family you come from isn't as important as the family you're going to have." --- Ring Lardner

Family comes first; Blood is thicker than water; Family is your greatest support in times of difficulty and your biggest fan when you succeed - so the greeting cards read.

We are born, with any luck, into a family headed by two strong parents who love one another. By watching our parents interact we learn about love - love for our brothers and sisters and future children, romantic love and most importantly a love of ourselves. Our parents do their best to instill in us a sense of should and should nots, respect for others and the very Earth we inhabit, a sense of responsibility for not just our own personal actions, but for the actions of people we choose to spend time with, a thirst for knowledge and education - our parents, in fact, teach us to be human.

That's quite a tall order to fill.

Many parents find themselves overwhelmed with the responsibilities of raising a child at one time or another. Some parents find themselves unable to fill the role from the beginning and choose to give their child to someone else better prepared. And still others don't know what to do and so stumble along, unassisted, and just do the best they can knowing that it might not be enough.

No matter how hard they try, parents are not perfect. They make plenty of mistakes and their children, whether intentional or not, will have scars from those mistakes and those things which just couldn't be anticipated. It is impossible for children to go unaffected by divorce, death, neglect, over-indulgence, etc. Yet, scars don't have to be a bad thing. After all, scars are the remembrance that a previous hurt or injury has now healed. A scar can be a reminder.

And so, if you worry about the family you come from; if you find it necessary to seek help in dealing with the past you share with your loved ones; if you find that your family isn't as supportive as you'd like or they're always finding a way to influence your personal decisions - remember that the most important thing you can do is to choose the right partner, when the time comes, for you to build a life with outside of your previous familial cocoon. The right partner provides you with the chance for a new beginning.

Find the person who will compliment your weaknesses with their strengths.

Find the person who you want to fall asleep next to every night and wake up before in the morning just to watch them sleeping.

Find the person whose little ticks and habits don't annoy you to the point of wishing them dead.

Find the person who believes, as you do, that love and time are the most important things you can give a child.

Find the person, not who makes you feel complete (you should already feel that way before you even start looking), but who provides you with a different perspective and experience through which you may view yourself and the world.

Find the person who when you are working on an endless project at work, getting no help or praise for the extra hours and effort you're putting in, who when you go outside at the end of the day to a flat tire and no spare and it starts to rain will come to your aid (with a tire or a tow truck) and while your soaking wet and angry will hug you and kiss you and suggest a long, hot shower when you get home.

Find someone who makes your heart sing, especially when it doesn't want to, and take that person's hand and walk together into the great unknown. It's a risk - the greatest risk you can ever take really - but it also provides the greatest rewards.

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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Still Raining . . .

Well, it's been two solid days of rain (again!) and it's cold and I really don't like cold, rainy days. But I'm going out with my sister tonight for her second-to-last girls' night out as a single lady (her last girls' night out will be on Wednesday when my other sister is in town and we take her out just three days before her big day!) and that will be fun. (We even bought matching handbags!)

But it seems that my gardening plans for the weekend have been put on hold. My boys are literally running laps in my house because they're looking for some kind of outlet for their energy. And, oh yes, I still can't kick this cold I've had since last week.

On the plus side, my husband and I rented an amazing movie last night - Little Children. It stars Kate Winslet as a stay-at-home mom who has an affair with a stay-at-home dad. It's really about people who's lives have spun out of control and whether or not they really want to take back control and live with the choices they've made. It's a drama and it's pretty dark (in the way that American Beauty was), but there are plenty of lines that had me (and my husband) literally laughing out loud.

The movie was up for a couple of Academy Awards (not sure if it won any) and I must say that it stayed very true to the novel it's based on. I read the novel by Tom Perrotta more than a year ago and it was fabulous. It started a little slow, but once I got into it a little bit I couldn't put it down. The movie is the same way. An excellent movie and I highly recommend it.

Oh, and I posted my monthly contribution over at The Soccer Mom Vote. It's a little piece on children and health care in the United States. Some of the stats I found were so disheartening. I couldn't believe how many children are without adequate health care coverage. And it's something that I and so many of my friends take for granted. I certainly couldn't afford to take my children to the doctor without it. (It's hard enough for many of us just to afford the portion of the premiums that our employers don't pay!) So if you're interested, click on over and be sure to check out some of the other posts as well. There have been some very good ones recently that will get you thinking.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Random Facts

I don't want you to think I haven't been learning just because I haven't been posting. Here are just a few random facts I've picked up over the last few days:

Four days ago I learned: that Mother's Day was originally celebrated as Mother's Peace Day. Julia Ward Howe issued the Mother's Day Proclamation in 1870 in response to the impact of the Civil War. (It's a beautiful piece - brief - and I encourage you to read it) Lisse over at the Soccer Mom Vote points out - "Mother's Day was made official by Woodrow Wilson in 1912, but the "Peace" was left out of it. Two years later, World War I began." Chocolates and flowers are great, but as too often happens to women - even in 2007 - our aspirations and ideas are minimized. Mother's Day has gone the way of Christmas with its commercialization when what we could really use right now as wars continue to rage around the world are Howe's words and her inspiration to act.

Three days ago I learned: that bamboo is like, uber-wood, except that it's actually a grass than can be used in more than 5,000 ways! Used in everything from surfboards to furniture, fuel, textiles, food, medicine - even to build homes! - bamboo can be grown on every continent except at the Poles and at alarming rates. Giant bamboo can grow more than three feet in a DAY which means that 60 feet of bamboo can be replaced in 59 days while the same size oak tree would take more than 50 years! Bamboo is also great for the environment - releasing 35% more oxygen and absorbing four times as much carbon-dioxide than an entire forest of trees. (For more fun bamboo facts check out The Ecologist Online.

Two days ago I learned: that my older son is the sweetest four-year-old on the planet (although I previously had my suspicions.) He explained to me, on Mother's Day no less, that "No matter what I do; No matter where I go, I will still love you." Tissues anyone?

Yesterday I learned: dairy cows produce EIGHT gallons of milk per day! (Thank you, Buster Baxter for that fast fact.) It may not seem like all that much when you consider that the average American consumes about 6000 ounces of dairy products annually, but as a mother who breastfed both of her children - That's a lot of milk!!

Today I learned: Pink has a song I actually like. (Thanks, Cheryl!) Dear Mr. President is emotionally raw (although the live version was better) and political and real . . . and it puts my FAVORITE president in a not-so-flattering light :)

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

Myspace Graphics

I had planned an elaborate, well-thought out Mother's Day post that would honor mothers everywhere. I had planned to do some research about the beginnings of Mother's Day and talk about what it has evolved into. I had planned . . .

Instead, as my tribute to mothers everywhere, I did something that most mothers do daily - I ran out of the time and energy to put together what I had previously planned to do.

So I will be enjoying a simple, quiet Mother's Day working in my backyard with my husband and my two sons. I will enjoy a quiet dinner and evening and will maybe even get some reading in before I sit in front of the television tonight for my weekly indulgence of "Desperate Housewives" and "Brothers and Sisters." And then I will quietly drift off to sleep (probably with a child in my bed next to me.)

Here's wishing the rest of you moms out there a pleasant, safe, relatively quiet, without sibling squabbles and whining, Mother's Day during which I hope you can find some time to yourself where you can just be you - while receiving chocolate and flowers, too :)

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mr. Golden Sun

It's been a few days - almost a week actually - but between the nasty spring cold that swept through my family and the beautiful spring/almost summer-like weather we've been having, well, I haven't been spending a lot of time in front of the computer. Yeah for me!!

But I took pictures yesterday of some of the flowers coming up in my garden and I wanted to share. It's a lot of fun really. Being in a new house with a foreign backyard and not knowing what will come up tomorrow or what my yard will look like in two weeks or three weeks or the middle of the summer . . .
I'm not only enjoying the elements of surprise, but the weeding and the watering, too. (Although, it can be a little overwhelming also because there's so much we want to do and we want to do it all at once, but of course we can't do that, so then we have to decide what needs to be done and what can wait . . . I know, I know. Welcome to the land of home ownership!)

The boys are into the gardening, too. We're planning on planting a small vegetable garden (soon) not because my children want to eat the vegetables, but just to grow them. They (as do I, I admit) have an aversion to most things green and leafy. They just want to plant and water the vegetables and then "Daddy can eat them."

Well, I'm being asked to go outside, but before I go I would like to share my bit of knowledge for the day.

Today I learned: I have Delphinium (which I think Shannon told me last week)

And Lilies growing in my backyard :)

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Friday, May 4, 2007

Got Ants?

Nothing too exciting to report. The sun is finally making an extended appearance around these parts and the temperatures are forecast to rise into the high 70's (maybe even 80) by Monday or Tuesday. Personally, I don't need 80's weather yet; I like the moderate 70's, but I guess I shouldn't be complaining after suffering what felt like a monsoon less than two weeks ago and some very cold March temps.

Other than that I'm working, working, working . . . and trying to make what time I actually see my husband quality time. Spring and summer are busy for us because I work seasonally and to avoid throwing the money I make away into daycare my husband and I work opposite schedules. It's great for the kids and for my husband because they get to spend lots of time together, but as husband and wife our time together is often too short. But it works - it always does - and we find the time and sometimes it actually makes us pay more attention to each other instead of the computer or TV.

I'm kind of babbling tonight. It's kind of just the way my head is right now I guess. Kind of scattered. We've got a lot going on. Besides work, we're getting ready for my sister's wedding (YEAH!) in a couple of weeks in which both my boys will be donning tuxedos and my other sister will be here with my nephew and niece. We're all excited to see them and I can't wait to see my baby sister in her wedding dress telling the man she loves how she wants to spend the rest of her life with him. (Plus I've got a bachelorette party to attend and that should be lots of fun!)

And of course, the school year is winding down, we've got birthday parties to attend, I'm trying to find time to catch up with friends, let's not forget Mother's Day in a little over a week . . . Like I said I'm busy (as I'm sure you are) and a bit scattered.

But I'm happy :)

Today I learned: that cinnamon is a great ant repellent.

That's right. Cinnamon. One of my co-workers was telling me about an ant problem she was having and then she promptly showed me these little brown patches along the floor and near the window . . . Cinnamon.

I had no idea. She pointed out that it was a great alternative to poisons especially for people with children. (Read: Me) And I heard myself saying, "I learn something new everyday!" Simultaneously it occurred to me that I had my "something new" for tonight's entry :)

So if you have ants where you don't want them - say no to pesticides and YES to cinnamon!!!

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Thursday, May 3, 2007

More and Less

Today I learned: that while the average American family has gone from 3.1 people per household in 1974 to 2.6 people in 2004, the size of their homes has expanded from 1,695 square feet to 2,349 square feet during the same time period.

While I'm not surprised by this statistic, it's interesting to see the numbers. My husband reels against the modern age of "McMansions" and "Edward Scissorhands" suburban housing developments. My biggest issue, although I'm sure you can guess, is the sprawl itself.

Why do we need more living space for less people? Why do we need three bathrooms, four bedrooms, a family room, a living room, a den, a playroom and a finished basement all for one woman, one man and their single child? I admit I LOVE having my own space, a home I can call my own; I enjoy not worrying about my boys' running around or wrestling bothering the people downstairs, but I wouldn't buy something I didn't need just to impress my friends and neighbors. (Besides I'm not the greatest housekeeper and I don't have the desire to keep something that big clean.)

Just another example of how we Americans seem to have an infinite desire to consume all that is in sight; to live the mantra "Bigger is better;" that Americans do it better. And our inability to curb our appetites is leading to all sorts of trouble - harming our environment, our health, our relationships with each other . . .

Why do we feel we need to gorge ourselves? What vacuous holes are we trying to fill? And why do we continue to uncontrollably consume when all logic and emotion tells us it's not working?

P.S. I also learned today that yardwork can be fun, almost addictive, and even therapeutic. (It helps when you're doing said yardwork with a friend :) I was out in the yard today pulling weeds and dead brush (and strange stalks I'm not sure what they are yet) and it was invigorating and strangely hypnotic. I couldn't stop. I was soaking in the sun, getting a little dirty and not even noticing the tiny scratches on my arms and hands (until I washed up later and they stung just a little bit.)

My little green piece of the city with my adequately sized home sitting on top of it is plenty big for me.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2007

China's Coal Mines

Today I learned: that China is the world's leading consumer of coal. According to NPR, 70% of China's energy comes from coal - "the dirtiest of all fuels to produce energy."

The biggest problem? Greenhouse gases. China is averaging about one new coal-fired power plant per week which will certainly lead to its surpassing the U.S. in greenhouse gas emissions - maybe even by the end of 2007.

There is certainly a need for this country's rush to produce more and more electricity; China is undergoing an industrial revolution and it's moving with incredible speed. (It is estimated that with such rapid growth and development by 2031 China will need more oil than the world can produce.) And yet, still 10 million people living in rural areas of the country live without the convenience of electricity. Coal happens to be the easiest and fastest way to generate the power this new era in China's history demands.

And it's not just the effects on the environment. Coal mining is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world, and some accuse Chinese mining companies of overlooking safety hazards and putting their employees at risk in order to keep up with the demand - and profit - for such large quantities of coal. Thousands die annually in mine accidents or from mining related health problems.

But isn't China doing just what every other wealthy country has done for decades? Is it fair for the rest of the world to say, "Stop!" After all, the U.S. has a horrendous record when it comes to environmental issues - and as a matter of fact it's our consumption of and dependence upon vast quantities of oil - contributing to greenhouse gas emissions in its production and its use - which has helped make the rich richer over here in the West.

But whether it's fair or not, because of China's large population it's environmental impact on the world is greater and happens at a faster rate when care is not taken to use renewable, "clean" energy and limit greenhouse gas emissions. While it's easy to pick on China because of it's sudden impact, it's time we all take a step back and own up to our own contributions to the environmental mess we find ourselves in.

This is a worldwide problem and it will take the cooperation of all the world's citizens to make a change.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Something New

You must know the old saying, "You learn something new everyday." Well, I'm going to put this phrase to the test. During the month of May I'm going to share my daily something new with all of you. At most I'm hoping I might gain some new insights on human beings, religion, relationships, etc. . . . If not, I figure I should at least become a better trivial pursuit player by picking up all kinds of random information :)

So here's my first entry -

Today I learned: that the phrase "Good night, sleep tight," gets it's meaning from the days of Shakespeare. In the 16th century, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes, so when you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. (Taken from

See what I mean about my trivial pursuit game?

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