Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wise Beyond Her Young Years

My almost 5 year old just declared through her tears, "This has been a long and really rough day." I would revise her statement only to say, "Long and really rough days!" And it's only 3:00 on Wednesday.

Hopefully it's nothing a little arts and craft therapy and a dose of mint chip ice cream in a cone can't cure! (For both of us.)

Praying for Peanut

I just woke up a few minutes ago (7:40) and knew it was morning only because after 10 hours of sleep last night, I was ready to get out of bed. You gotta love room darkening shades that really leave you questioning whether it's day or night, cloudy or sunny. Usually when I rouse I think about my night's dreams. I do this because I think their tone and content is helpful with illuminating where my subconscious is at.

I had crazy dreams last night about missiles going off simultaneously all over the world. Some so close that I could see them fly over head and watch the fires they ignited burn and burn in my neighbor's back yards. I had this overwhelming feeling that I was safe at home despite the Armageddon going on all around me, and my home was filled with my family and my friends. There was a map of the United States painted on my garage door and random people were stopping as they fled to chart their courses.

What does this mean? It means that I have a great deal of anxiety (missiles) about our road trip (map) this weekend. I always get nervous to leave my home for any length of time, and more so now that I have to worry about my boys (my cats who really are more like my boys or at the very least more like dogs). It doesn't help matters at all that we are having, hopefully, a little health problem with one of them. This is another post entirely stored safely in the vault until I can really embrace the humor of the past couple days, but let me just share that I did give my cat a bath, or more like wrestled him in the laundry shampoo and all...yesterday after he was so scared that he peed in his carrier on the way home from the vet. I don't know why I didn't think to take a picture of him in his soaked state.

I like to think we are still going, but I have yet to arrange for any one to come and care for my cats, which leads me to believe I know that it is not the most prudent decision. I really wish I could call my Mom right now because she would know what I should do. I was looking forward to this trip and I am not looking forward to telling my relatives that we cannot come because we have a sick cat. They don't even like cats so there's no way they will understand. Heck...they may not even believe me since we have been promising to make this trip for years and something always comes up. That's life! Life's a magazine...

One day at a time. I may have to take Peanut (no pun intended) back to the vet today. Oh Joy! If that is the case, my hubby is so coming home to help me otherwise the cat won't be the only one going on Prozac. The vet actually threw that out there as an option before even taking a blood sample from a cat with a fever. I am very thankful she's on vacation today so we can consult with someone more resourceful and knowledgeable. She spent more time talking about the fact that my cat needed to lose 2 pounds than the reason I brought him in, and then she charged me $89.

I'm trying to remind myself that these are small problems in the grand scheme of things...bumps in the road called life, but I cannot shake the feeling that I have hit one too many pot holes lately and I am yearning for some smooth sailing. It was only last night (and practically every night in the past week) that I fell asleep in the middle of praying for people, many of whom I don't even know, who need divine intervention more urgently than I. There is so much death and dying, so much cancer. There are so many young people with cancer. I pray for Stellan ( and for Kate ( and for many others. So many others that I cannot keep my eyes open to get through all of the prayer requests I feel compelled to make. I feel ridiculous for praying that my Peanut gets well. In the words of David Sheff...

I pray even as the news in the papers makes my prayer seem insignificant in scale and wholly selfish. There is a devastating hurricane and flooding and suicide bombers and crashes and tsunamis and terrorism and cancer and war - endless and brutal war - disease and famine and earthquakes and everywhere there is addiction, and today the heavens must be overwhelmed with the noise of all the prayers.

Here is one more.

Please God heal Peanut and give me the strength to make it through just one more day. The strength to make it just one day at a time.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Scary Sisters

I have been missing my Mom this week more than usual. I find myself in utter disbelief that she is gone many times a day. It is the unfathomable reality that I just cannot wrap my mind around these lazy days of summer. It's like a tasteless joke, a bad dream or someone else's unfortunate loss. Only it's not.

When I'm trying to make sense of it all, I have to literally stop my thoughts and distract myself so that I have the strength to hold it together and go on with my day, my week, my month. It is almost a year since she passed and I think some of the milestones upon me are taking my grief to a whole different place. Does it make any sense when I say that I am coming upon the last of the firsts? It soon will be the one year anniversary of our last family vacation. My daughter will be turning 5 without her Nanny to spoil her sweet. I'll be celebrating 40 without my best friend. My Mom will never turn 61.

After September 28th, it will be a whole year without my Mom and we will be experiencing everything without her for the second year. I feel it the way that animals sense a storm before the skies change that the second year has potential to be even more difficult than the first. As if that is even possible! The truth is that I have been in survival mode. Now that the shock has worn off and I am trying to be more present, I realize what that means.

Today I am finally able to put words to what has been brewing beneath my surface. I think it has everything to do with the company I kept last night. The friends I enjoyed the beautiful summer evening with are all women I know I am lucky to have in my life. They cried and laughed with my Mom. Now they laugh and cry with me. I'm thankful for each and every one of them and I love spending time with them, but sometimes when we are all together I miss my Mom something fierce. Rose was right, "She should be with us."

So who are we? a multi-generational group of larger than life women. Kathy's Gals includes two of my Mom's childhood friends, four women we worked with, my sister-in-law to be and my childhood friend. Most of these relationships span decades. I have yet to hear the origin of the moniker, but I know that my Mom asked each of them at some point and time during her final days to take care of me and my brother, and it's a promise that they take very seriously. Seriously...we should all be so fortunate to have sisterhoods of guardian angels holding our hands here on earth. These ladies give the Ya Yas a run for their money, and the book I some day write about them may make me lots of, that is!

Grateful Friday

Things both big and small for which I am thankful today…

  • Friends. We gathered poolside last night to remember how and why we are all kindred spirits…my Mom. I am still laughing today at some of the antics and feeling truly blessed to me one of “Kathy’s Gals.” Although we were all enjoying white wine, the hostess poured a single glass of red in honor of my Mom. At the end of the night, we all took a sip from the glass in honor of the communion of friendship and its everlasting life.

  • Fresh tomatoes from our very own yard. They are especially tasty in the sauce I made this week and then tossed with pasta, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella. When I was making the dish, my friend said my kitchen smelled as good as any fine Italian restaurant.

  • I am going to be a mini-van driving Mama in a mere hours. Yes, we took the plunge and will be proud owners of our new family room on wheels, and I’m trying to convince myself that I’m still cool because it has a sunroof!

  • Road trips. We’ll embark on our first real, as in measurable, road trip next week in our new van. We’re Michigan bound to visit family, the Coast Guard Festival, and Hanna Andersson.

  • Rumor has it that Reid is returning to The Bachelor next week. I think he’d get my vote, if I had one that is.

  • Willy Porter rocked last weekend. After the encore, I got a hug (or more like I took a hug).

  • Playdates. My daughter had 3 friends over to play Wednesday afternoon. The girls played perfectly happily together. I did not once have to intervene. They had so much fun that they all hid when their moms came to pick them up…no one wanted to leave. T Bone’s life is one never-ending playdate, and Miss Bit is often envious of this fact. He seriously came home from a friend’s Wednesday, walked through the front door, straight out the back door and to the neighbor’s. Because she’s only 4, she doesn’t have the same freedom. She had a friend over all afternoon Tuesday too. We were taking T Bone to a friend’s house and the girls were singing away in the car. As I walked him to the door, he said, “Geez I sure am glad I’m going to C’s house. Mom, you’re probably glad you get to get out of the car for a minute!”

  • A date with my husband last weekend. We were tired after a grueling afternoon of wheeling and dealing for our new car (I am also thankful for my husband's ability to wheel and deal), but we were childless and knew we had to get our third winds. We tried out a new restaurant and enjoyed a leisurely dinner just the two of us just like old times.

  • Time. Taking time this week to watch a movie in the middle of the day (, read a few pages here ( and there (,and,and work on my photo albums. I’ve been staying off the computer (it's been a whole week) and trying to focus on other interests.

  • I think there is a little surprise planned for my upcoming 40th birthday. I am not going to deny the fact that I like surprises. I like them so much that 10 years ago when I found the invitation to my surprise 30th birthday bash, I put it back in the envelope without reading any of the details. I was pleasantly shocked the night of the party. I also love celebrations, especially those in my honor. I am looking forward to the dawning of a new decade. 38 was the hardest year of my life and 39 the saddest...I am of the mind set that it can really only get better from here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Ramblings

In the last week or so, I have become a night owl. I am not normally one to burn the midnight oil and I'm almost never the last one up, yet this has been the case most of the last 7 nights. So why am I up early this morning you wonder? Aren't I tired? Don't I have the beautiful (beautiful for sleeping - 65 degrees and cloudy) day off? Shouldn't I be catching up on my zzzzz's? Yes, yes and yes!

Actually, last night was the best sleep I had in many nights. I have spent many an hour tossing and turning this week. I suspect my sleeplessness has everything to do with the one single episode of The Doctors, a show I swore I would never watch ever, and then broke said promise for like 15 minutes one day. That's all it takes people! It was out of desperation...I had no choice. Thanks to the federal government's switch to HD, CBS is the only channel to tune in on my kitchen's ancient television. (If someone somewhere can explain what the benefit of prompting hoards of people to either dispose of perfectly good, yet enormously toxic and non-recyclable televisions or force them to pay hoards of money to a cable company please educate me.) In any event, this particular show featured a woman with a rare disease (psychosis?) that made her feel like she was being bitten by bugs (not bed bugs either) in the middle of the night (especially between the hours of 1 and 3 a.m.). Of course, I am now convinced that I have this obscure ailment I cannot even pronounce...and of course, I am wide awake every night from 1 to 3:00 a.m. Hello, my name is Evie and I am a hypochondriac. I am not, however, psychotic, but I do think this is all a govern*ment conspir*acy.

So, I was up and adam this morning to help my hubby get the kids off to camp. He's a little out of practice with the morning routine around here. Don't worry...I already gently reminded him how awesome I am and how lucky he is, and how he can repay me with tickets to see U2 for my upcoming 40th birthday. Hi Love...if you are reading this...they are coming to Chicago August 13th. I'm trying to muster up the courage to hit the gym this morning. I'm a little scared to face my cardio instructor, M., just hours after she caught me with a large Rocky Rococo's pizza. She had a smirk on her face as we said our 'hellos'. I am sure she was thinking that it's the last thing I should be eating at 9:00 at night. It's a good thing she didn't know it was loaded with both sausage and pepperoni or that I washed it down with a large glass of wine. Some of you know just the glasses of which I am speaking. Explains why I slept like a baby last night.

Why was I feeding my family dinner at 9:00 last night? Aren't I the caring kind of mom who forgoes sleep to take care of the children? Don't I know that it's bad to eat right before bed? Don't I know that there are nitrates in sausage and pepperoni and they are linked to cancer? Yes, yes and yes. But...last night was the All Star game, and although T Bone's team didn't prevail, we were celebrating the official end of a season well played. He has been talking about Rocky's for weeks and let me tell you...I have never heard him so quiet as when he was devouring those greasy slices. It was worth the risk of obesity, heart disease and high cholesterol to have a few moments of silence. Anyways, he's going to my Dad's for a couple days. My Dad regularly makes my daughter a whole bag of chicken nuggets for breakfast because that's what she wants. What I'm trying to say is that I'm fighting a losing battle for this weekend at the very least. Am I admitting that there aren't many rules at Grandma and Grandpa's? Am I actually ok with that? Will I really turn the other cheek just to get free babysitting for a couple days? Yes, yes and yes!

Monday, July 13, 2009


So I have had many a blog post come and go in the past couple days, but little time to share. I'm passing on MckMamma's Not Me! Monday this week because I just am not in the mood for glib today.

First things first...the Yankees lost to the Angels, which means we are baseball-free until Thursday's all star game. I am surprisingly relieved, and in no need of an intervention. T. Bone has taken it all in stride and is revealing that his athletic abilities extend beyond his physical skills to his attitude and fortitude...a leader not only in hits and home runs, but also in leadership and sportsmanship.

I actually think he was also a little relieved to have a game-free day Sunday so he could spend all day and all night with his cousins swimming in Grandma and Grandpa's pool. My hubby's brother has 4 kids - his 2 youngest are about the ages of my kids and they get along fabulously, but they live a couple hours away. I live vicariously through them as all my cousins are so much younger than I am and lived many hours away. Now that difference in age is negligible, but growing up I missed having cousins sharing the same generation and time zone.

We made ourselves at home at my in-laws Saturday, which I know they would want us to do although I'm not sure that my mother-in-law would dance and sing along to the Led Zepplin blaring through the house (she's more into pop and country than rock), or that my father-in-law would appreciate the boys (young and old) taking over his big screen with video games (he's a sport's fanatic). They are enjoying an extended trip visiting family and 4 or 5 of the 100 places to see before you die. For a new bachelor, I was most impressed by the fixings my brother-in-law fixed for shish kabobs. They were good and tasty. So yummy that we never even made it to the smores.

Sunday...I woke up to a quiet house because the rest of my family stayed at my in-laws and didn't come home until dinnertime. Having the whole day and house to myself was an out of body experience. I took care of some projects, and spent lots of time in thought. I never turned on the radio or the t.v. All day long I was shored up by the sound of the chimes in my yard singing as the day's beautiful breeze played them. I went for a run in the late afternoon and really pushed myself to the point that I am sore today. I love sore muscles. I love aching muscles. I stepped out to pick up the new album by a once local artist we will be seeing Friday. I pretty much came of age listening to Willy Porter, yet I think we're close to the same age. I am going with some of my bestest people and already looking forward to the night because I know everything about it will be good...good company, good wine, good eats, good music, good times. And Willy he's such an old soul. When I learn to play my guitar, this is one of the songs I want to perfect.

I plopped his new cd in before I left the parking lot and it felt so comfortable like a pair of my favorite jeans...worn in and familiar. I am so one of those people who like to know the songs before I go to a concert. I take it on like a research project. When I went to see U2 the first time, I picked up their new album, Achtung Baby, just before I got on the rode in my brand new luxury Toyota Tercel to make the 90 mile trek to Mad-town the summer after I graduated. I listened to the tape (that is not a typo) for the hour and a half it took me to get there. I even got out the lyrics and was reading along as I drove, praying in between songs that I wouldn't run myself or someone else off the road. By the time I made it, I knew all the songs. Willy's music is just resonates with me and I find that I feel like I already know the songs.

I digress...back to Sunday. Here's the thing...there was no one here except my cats and the fox napping in my neighbor's yard, but I didn't feel alone. I felt my Mom with me and my Grandma too. First of all it was the Mom's chimes. But it was also her jewelry box. I was trying to wrap my mind around some difficult decisions with regard to some of her jewelry and out of the clear blue the music started playing. Now I have moved this jewelry box from her house to my house, I put pieces in and taken bobbles out many a time, but the jewelry box has never made one single solitary peep. In fact, I didn't even know it was a music box until yesterday. I almost didn't know that it was the first gift my father ever gave my mother until just before she died. How is it that she didn't tell me that in 38 years until days before she passed? It gives me goosebumps. It makes me feel robbed when I think of all the things that she never got the time to share with me. I talked not to her, but with her.

Later I was making my Grandma's coveted tuna salad for the potluck we had at work today. My Grandma was a confident cook (a caterer actually) and the kind of cook who never relied on an exact recipe. That's the kind of presence in the kitchen that I aspire to be. Over the years in kitchens beside her, I managed to take away some of her many tricks of the trade. The last time I attempted her tuna, I failed miserably though. Yesterday, she talked me through it. She reminded me that although there isn't a recipe, precision is key. The carrots must be finely shredded and then drained, substituting onions for the scallions is a "no-no," no-fat or low-fat mayo are the enemy and only Albacore tuna fits the bill. She reminded me that I have to make it in advance so that the flavors have plenty of time to "marry." Thanks to her tutelage, it was good enough that I came home with an empty bowl, much to my dismay.

It made me hope that my Mom and her erstwhile mother-in-law were in cahoots yesterday to lift me be there for me enjoying their own big delicious bowl of Rosie's tuna. Before my Mom died, I told her to come to me often. To that she replied with a certainty that told me she already had information I was not privy to, "I will when I can?" I didn't exactly embrace that response, but I think I'm beginning to accept it and understand it now. I definitely know..I'll take what I can get.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Good Day

I shouldn't have blogged right before bed. Do you know what I had dream after dream about? Baseball!

I'm off to our rematch against the Angels, the team we lost by a single run to Wednesday. They have beat us twice and we have beat them twice. Perhaps, it is our turn?

Either way it is a beautiful day and it should be a great game. This is the same team we paired up against in last year's playoffs to win the championship.

We'll see if our little slice of history repeats itself!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hi, My Name is Evie and I'm a Little League Addict

I should be sleeping because after almost 9 hours of dreamless, solid sleep last night, I am still tired today. It has been another busy week filled with much too much fun just the way they should be when summer sets in.

We are in the midst of the BIG little league playoffs. Almighty rookie baseball has rather consumed us this week just the way it should when you are in the middle of an all important tournament. Monday night's game definitely robbed me of 5 years of my life and on that I am not exaggerating. I was sure there was an alien abduction ala Close Encounters as our "Evil Empire" morphed into the Bad News Bears before my very stunned, disbelieving eyes. We were playing a team that we were so sure we were going to beat without even swinging a bat because basically that's exactly what happened when we played them earlier in the season. Yes, I realize that's enlightening. The Yankees were being smug (what one would expect from the team that everyone loves to hate) and bringing their B (or arguably Z game), and that almost cost them the game. Almost...until the bottom of the 6th inning when we were down a measly 6 to their macho 16. Our stands were so quiet that when my cell phone rang and rang and rang because it took me forever to find it (but I knew I had to because it was my hubby, the awesome assistant coach, who was calling on his break from his graduate school class), all eyes were on me aglare for disturbing prayer requests and telepathic messages being sent to the boys on the field. Most of us parents were already admitting certain defeat. I confess that I was in the majority. Even my hubby was spewing the 'glass is half full' half empty rhetoric I so love about him..."It's a good lesson. At least it wasn't a blow-out. We have another game to come back."

It had to be an act of divine intervention because before I even blinked, our bases were loaded and even our players who rarely connect the bat to the ball were spanking it to left field and then right field. It was a blitzkrieg that left the Brewer boys dazed and confused, and the Yankee fans good and giddy. As our stands came alive with high 5's and adrenaline filled cheers, the visitor's crowd had the wind knocked out of them and as such were silenced and deflated. Every single boy on our team had a hit and we claimed victory by scoring 10 runs (with only 1 out). An unbelievable 17 to 16 win was earned! The Yankees celebrated with hugs and tackles while the Brewers mourned with tears and a sad huddle. I confess that I had tears in my eyes as I was reminded that it ain't over til' it's over - shame on me!

We played again Wednesday. It was a good match and a good game, but we lost 7-8. The bottom of the 6th brought with it an uneasy sense of deja vu, but we left our two men on base stranded and lost the game, albeit by only one run.

Last night we pulled off another win (13 - 8) and T. Bone had his first ever grand slam! That's all I remember...the games are getting confused thanks to too much concession stand cuisine, not enough exercise (unless you count nervously pacing beside the dugout and walking to the concession stand), and hours upon hours spent at the little league field. Heck, we've spent so much time there that my daughter has joined the younger Sibling's Scooter Gang and she's even sick of the Skiddles she buys on credit from the concession stand!

We play tomorrow. What's with this "we" stuff you ask? I'm going to let you in on a dirty little secret. Are you ready? Little league parents are obnoxiously involved and especially when it comes to the playoffs. There's a whole lotta living vicariously going on, but the only time I'll actually have a bat in my hand is after the game when my son wants to run and play with the other kids -kids from both teams - and needs me to take his prized slugger to the car. After much therapy, I know my place.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Blog Hop - Favorite "Almost Anonymous" Photos

I don't fancy myself much of a photographer although it is something that I often find myself doing...taking pictures, that is. I love how each of these photos capture moments in time and the way I can still remember each second vividly.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Check Your Calendars PA-LEASE!

Note: Today is July 7th.

How is it that in the past three days, no fewer than seven people have confessed to me that they are already mourning a summer passed? Yesterday a co-worker actually wickedly whispered in my ear, "After the 4th, it feels like summer is over." Now I just didn't know what to say to that because I feel like my summer has just begun and I have worked long and hard to reprogram myself not to wish the moment, the day, the holiday, the season, the year, my life away. I have expelled great effort to resist falling into nay saying and dooms daying. So as said co-worker was halfway out the door on his way to a meeting in the middle of the absolutely perfect day, I valiently fought the urge to tell him to bundle up and instead offerred, "Ah...but summer is a state of mind." I'm not sure he fully appreciated or embraced my pat comment. But it's true...oh so true! Sadly, I fear he doesn't get that. Hopefully, he does get it before the middle of October.

The next time I see him I think I'll remind him that there are no fewer than 78 days of summer left to savor and enjoy, but really who's counting?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Not Me! Monday

I certainly did not take my kids to the neighborhood carnival yesterday with the sole intent of using up our remaining ride tickets. Then I did not buy $20 worth of additional tickets only to have to give them away because my son's friend developed a sudden and severe case of motion sickness.

The same Scrambler ride that did him in is most definitely not the same ride that my daughter almost passed out on the day before because we would never intentionally scare the wits out of her a couple of months before we are Disney-bound. My hubby did not implore the ride operator to stop the ride, let our daughter off and cheat every one else out of their fair share of dizzy fun.

I did not say a prayer and than excuse myself to the bathroom (not a gross porta potty) so I didn't have to watch when my Dad agreed to go on the scariest ride at the carnival with my 8 year old son.

There is no way that I passed up the opportunity to see The English Beat yesterday for free. And it simply is not true that their show was on just before Elvis Costello (not also free), so not one of my hubby's favorites. I am not passing up fun for sleep after a busy week of vacation.

Even though I had a quiet night at home, I sure didn't have trouble sleeping. I absolutely did not wake up at 5:00 a.m. and lay in bed until 7:00 a.m. just stressing about all of the things that had to happen before 9:00 a.m. today.

I was not at all relieved when my kids decided that they didn't want to decorate their bikes for the children's parade or walk with scouts or little league. I wasn't the least bit content to just sit on the curb with friends and critique the parade and its participants.

I'm sorry, but I didn't skip church yesterday in favor of a run.

I did not have or enjoy a television and computer-free weekend and it didn't make me feel like I had a lot more free time.

I did not take my kids for haircuts this week only for my hubby to tell me that he didn't notice any difference in their dos.

After watching a story on the news this morning about pool drains, I did not put graphic images of evisceration in my kids' minds because I don't believe in parenting with fear.

When the neighbor kids came over last night, I did not watch with nostalgia as an innocent game of wiffle turned into all the kids being in the pool clothes and all. The inner child in me did not secretly want to join them.

I did not just watch the 'evil empire' come back and score 10 runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to win the game 17-16! There is no way that I got tears in my eyes and then forgot all about the Brewers who were reeling from a certain win to an unbelievable loss.

I did not wear my favorite pink skirt again today... and it was not the third day in a row!

4th of July fireworks certainly did not literally scare the crap out of one of my cats.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Today I am Thankful For...

The men and women who sacrifice so much for us in service of our country for great risk, meager pay and often not enough recognition. I ask myself..."Self, would I want that job? Would I want one of my loved ones to have that job?" I am eternally grateful that there are men and women who are able to answer those questions affirmatively.

A week of vacation. It is always fun to get away, but sometimes a week off at home going nowhere is exactly what I need to relax and recharge my battery.

A family game of mini golf yesterday. It was fun for all ages. Sometimes it's hard to find things we can all enjoy and excel at. Boys and girls often like different things...8 year olds and 4 year olds don't always agree on what constitutes fun, but mini golf pleases every one. Bocce ball also fits that bill.

2 cardio classes this week and a long run, and it's only Friday.

We went car shopping this week. I have resisted the minivan for long enough. The one we test drove was a virtual family room on wheels. It had way more than we need, but I think I'm finally seeing the appeal. We worked with a salesman who was professional and really the antithesis of other car salesmen we have encountered.

A heartfelt letter from an old friend that I have been on the outs with. It meant so much to me that she took the time to reach out to me once more and reminded me that I need not rush to judgement.

Games of backgammon even if I cannot dethrone my hubby, the champ.

Chivalry and citronella. Last night my hubby filled all of our torches with citronalla oil, he lit an Off candle and gave me my own personal mosquito repelling fan. Despite all his efforts, I still managed to get bit at least 3 times!

Our community 4th of July festival and the local car dealers who sponsor an awesome fireworks display.