Monday, February 27, 2012

On My Mind Monday

Titzia meant "memory tinged with regret." Was there any other kind, Ghosh wondered.

Abraham Verghese

Cutting For Stone

Is there? I fear not. To rue is to be human.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

2 day pass

the highlights of this winter weekend included, but were not limited to:

sledding into the gloaming on friday until cheeks were rosy and fingers tingling, and then slowly thawing out over mugs of hot cocoa just in time for t. bone's basketball banquet.
the kids had a blast running around the gym, playing hoops and hide and seek, stopping only to have another slice of pizza.
the adults mingled and there was much talk at the end of the season of the next sport in the pipeline: baseball.

there was a walk on the sunny saturday morning...our usual loop around the nearby park.
we made it to church for 4:30 mass, which is really ideal for our schedule.
we had dinner with new old friends...the adults caught up while the kids carried on like the best of friends.
I dug this out for posterity and kids almost didn't recognize me with curly hair and so much height from heels.

( this is me and my friend almost 25! years ago...she's on the left and i'm on the right.)

the loaf of fresh baked challah i scored at the store turned into melt in your mouth french toast sunday morning.
the boys left for a long day of basketball.
i took miss bit to sunday school to prepare for her first reconciliation next weekend.
while she practiced her act of contrition, i went for a windy, bone chilling walk down along the lake and then i flanked the river, which let me tell you was envigorating.
we spent the afternoon at home hanging out, cooking and playing.
she made me spaghetti and meatballs out of delicious play doh while i made meatballs for these
meatball sliders, Cooking Light tortilla soup, baked oatmeal and a pot pie since i have to work for the next 3 days...i tell ya it's feast or famine at casa wags some weeks.
when the boys came home, we had dinner and chilled out until bedtime thankful for yet another good, full weekend

The Wisdom of Age

Oddly enough…the thing that made me feel so weak kneed and wobbly just the day before is making me feel shored up and downright strong today.

You know when you are a kid and what you can only describe as the worst thing EVER happens to you, and your Mom hugs you tight and tells you calmly that everything is going to be OK and let’s go shopping even though she hates to shop? That thing that strikes you as completely wrong, unjust or undeserved and your Dad reminds you that tomorrow IS a new day and let’s go have a double scoop to make it all better?

And maybe you go to the mall or the ice cream parlor, but you are not really convinced that they know what they are talking about. You cannot fathom time heals, or wrap your head around what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. You buy, you eat, you smile, you live on.

So the thing’s true, but you’re off with the he or she who wronged you in the first place too busy to reflect on the clarity of the words they have spoken with experienced conviction.

Then we grow up and our parents have imparted all the words of wisdom they have to offer so we’re sort of on our own. It’s a good thing we have been hearing even if we haven’t been listening. In the same way it is said an unconscious man perceives what those around him say, we absorb these tidbits over time.

There comes a time we start to speak them to ourselves when we hit a bump in the road, are downtrodden or dazed. We try them on for good measure until we truly come of age, wear them proudly and believe them whole heartily.

So when I felt a bit blindsided yesterday, I had it in my head that it would pass. What surprised me was that I regained my footing so quickly and also that I was left feeling more certain and convicted…more sure-footed if you will.

It’s affirming to know yourself and comforting to get just what makes you tick. There is a confidence that comes with understanding. It gives me the courage I need to hold my head high and carry on. Carry on knowing that at the end of the day there are only two people I need to answer to: my conscience and Him.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...
Sparkling, snow-laden branches greeting us this morning. And the white stuff stuck around long enough that the kids were able to enjoy it after school. I took them to the hill where T. Bone met up with four friends. My Bit just happily did her own thing until the boys invited her to join their snowball hide and seek game. I have never seen her move so fast and up a mountain (or big hill that looked like a mountain to her)!

This quote at the end of Akeelah And The Bee: Remember that feeling where everything feels right but you don't have to worry about tomorrow or yesterday, but you feel safe and know you are doing the best you can and there's a word for that feeling it's called love........... L-O-V-E. I actually think there are many words for that feeling. Miss Bit and I watched Akeelah together this week. The language was a tad questionable at times, but the messages were worthy, stirring, plain good. She looked at me mouth agape a couple times, I shrugged and told her I trust her to not talk in such a manner. It gave us an opportunity to discuss bad words. We both agreed there are many other ways...better express ourselves.

In honor of the Oscars this weekend, I am watching Sophie's Choice; a movie I have never seen. It is my opinion that movies and stars are not of the caliber they once were. Of course, there's the rare gem, but I just don't think any "new" A-listers compare with the likes of Meryl Streep and company. The film is so poignantly acted.

Rotten bananas because in the Casa Wags that always means banana bread. This week the batch of banana bread muffins I made (with chips for her and without for him) have already disappeared.

Taking time to catch up on journals and scrapbooks this week. The whole time I spent working on them or writing in them, I was imagining how my kids will always have these snapshots of their childhoods to look back on.

Miss Bit was a little under the weather on Thursday, but I suspected that it was more down in the dumps than down for the count. She was a trooper and made it through the day. When I checked in with her teacher mid-day, she confirmed that Miss Bit was not quite herself and yet every bit as engaged as she is every other day. Today she was back to her happy self.

Black licorice.

An invitation from a high school friend I haven't hung out with since shortly after high school to join her family for fun and pizza tomorrow night. I'm bringing dessert. I think I'm going to attempt a marriage between chocolate chip cookie bars and salted caramel bars and that way my bases will be covered.

T. Bone came down to get an extra hug from me before turning out his light last night. He needed it after a tear jerking read.

Reading Unlikely Friendships with my girl this week. She loves these stories about unusual pairings from the animal kingdom, and I just love how she adores animals. I think people who love animals are especially kind, compassionate, gentle souls and that pretty much sums up my girl.

Fat Tuesday. It was a carnival on a certain level at Casa Wags if you count T. Bone in dress up and Miss Bit jamming on her keyboard. The adults had some good laughs, libations and tasty buffalo chicken enchiladas.

The library.

This was a short week for me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fat Tuesday

This was my view upon waking this morning. The snow and the simple fact that it is Fat Tuesday gave me all the permission I needed to indulge myself. What that meant today was guilt-free time to read and write. It also added up to zero self chastisement over opting to scrapbook Miss Bit's golden 7th birthday and take time to bake an after school snack instead of log miles. It was the right thing to do seeing as how the donuts I made for breakfast were so bad they may even be rejected by the critters tonight, and my still recovering hamstring is flaring up again after really pounding the pavement in the past couple weeks. Lent begins tomorrow so I also spent some time reflecting about things I want to improve in the next 40 days. Self-examination is not always comfortable, but I know it is necessary and beneficial. It has come to my attention that I need to work on being stronger in practice and spirit. It's going to be a busy 6 weeks.

Monday, February 20, 2012

On My Mind Monday

Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without words and never all.

~Emily Dickinson

During my walk yesterday I heard the birds singing. Really they were so ever present and vibrant it was impossible to tune them out. I noticed branches already about bursting with buds. We've hardly had a winter here to speak of so the season hasn't overstayed its welcome, and yet we all long for spring. We yearn to see the telltale signs of rebirth and renewal. I know I am ready for a change of head and heart. The warming temperatures and greening of the world around me restores my hope that I too will thaw and flower again...that I will sing and soar in due time.

2 day pass

in a single, ordinary and most apropos word the weekend was...wonderful.
it was a friday evening walk around the park with my girl on her bike beside me and a molten orange sun literally melting into the horizon.
it was conversation, cocktails and choriqueso to kick it all off as day finally turned to night.
it was the realization that daylight really is gracing us longer and longer with her illuminating presence.
it was play dates for the kiddos and also the adults.
it was dodge ball and basketball and having a ball.
it was long walks on both sunny mornings.
it was conquering crepes early on a sunday morning...making the kids happy with the raspberry cream and the big kids happy too with the ham and gruyere.
it was a date to help uncle b. bone and aunt a. bone break in their new skates.
it was a spontaneous stop for burgers, beers and sodas to celebrate only minor injuries inflicted by the unforgiving ice.
it was just enough time at the end of it all to gather for the better part of a good movie and the promise of more: the compelling end of the film and another wonderful weekend.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

A new song book inspiring Miss Bit to play her keyboard this week. She called to me in the kitchen, "Mom you're really gonna like this one. It's Hosanna that church song." It didn't sound right so I spied over her shoulder to read the song title. It was O' Susanna. We both had a good chuckle.

My friend for leaving Valentine treats on our doorstep Tuesday. T. Bone requested M&M cookies and she delivered. I was surprised by the sweet heart pillow she made for me after seeing a pin I made on Pinterest.

Miss Bit's Jazz performance this week. I asked T. Bone to come and watch. He obliged.

New suede boots...the price too good to resist. They'll be super cute with leggings.

Valentines. Miss Bit was in tears after school Tuesday when she saw the little pile of goodies on the dining room table. She was in tears because she realized that she didn't have a valentine for her Mom or Dad. She snuck out the markers and card stock and set to work even inspiring her brother, unbeknownest to me, to write his own love notes. It was a good love day all around at Casa Wags.

T. Bone before his haircut and after his haircut. It's a good thing he didn't go for a buzz cut like he thought because even this less drastic change proved too much for him. He's used to it now, and shortly after his outburst he conceded, "I don't know why I was so upset...It's only hair."

Late start days. Time to sleep in, hang out, play and then send them on their way with a decent breakfast.

Less computer time this week. I'm still struggling with finding my voice, but I'm also enjoying losing myself in one of the 5 books I'm reading right now.

Our favorite chicken Marsala for dinner last night perfect with a side of spinach.

Beautiful walking weather this week.

A long weekend thanks to President's Day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

On My Mind Monday


When a man is a mystery to himself you can hardly call him mysterious.

Abraham Verghese
Cutting For Stone


I started this novel for the third time over the weekend. I've read and reread the first 80 pages three times. It is compelling so I just don't know what it is about this book. I am going to stick with it this time...I promise. Of course, now that I'm committed, two other books I requested are on hold for me at the library and a third is in route. Perhaps, it's not the book at's me. So while it remains a mystery, I am not mysterious.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

2 day pass

the kids were the ones with the plans this weekend.

we are happily in that phase of life where that is usually the case.

it's one of my favorite wake up and let the day unfold as it may.

saturday was just that kind of gift and i was up plenty early eager to eke out every moment of joy.

i enjoyed time to read in the quiet house, followed by time for a few chores.

then hubby and i bundled up and braved the bitter cold for a 4 mile walk.

i was so stuffed like a sardine in layer after layer that i could hardly turn my head.

but i stayed warm and hoped the same for t. bone who was to be on the slopes for the entire day.

we met miss bit and her grandma downtown after their time at the children's theater.

we four warmed up over mochas at the coffee house before making the short, chilly trek to church.

miss bit asked to sit in the balcony and we did figuring heat rises and if she fell due to sheer exhaustion, only the organist would be the wiser.

it was new to an adventure so it's obvious we live on the edge.

we decided to treat miss bit to dinner out in celebration of her perfect conference.

while we waited for her chicken nuggies, we played a rousing game of would you rather.

she was sort of digging being an only for the eve.

after an already full weekend with grandma and grandpa and a full tummy, we only managed to make our way through the first chapter of pipi longstocking before calling it a night.

hubby had to hold out until midnight when t. bone's bus finally pulled into the parking lot.

he came home tired and sore, but pumped up to relive every trick of the day.

guess who snarled at me when i woke him up for sunday school?

after an ibuprofen and a promise to do nothing the rest of the day, he rose and readied.

hubby and i took a brief, brisk walk before returning for prayer service perfectly timed.

when asked by the leader to write a definition of love, t. bone quipped aloud, snowboarding.

i'll have to wait until next week to actually see what he wrote.

miss bit ever eloquent penned, being kind and warm hearted.

hubby showed us all love by making homemade pizzas for linner.

it was his best crust ever!

i hope my family can taste the love in the soup i made for tomorrow's dinner.

the guys went to basketball.

t. bone reluctantly.

miss bit and i decided to stay home at the last minute to make valentine's for her teachers and some treats.

while she mastered heart and soul on the keyboard, i dug out the old air popper from my college days, and then we doused the perfectly healthy popcorn with melted white chocolate and plenty o' sprinkles.


the boys came home after two wins and joined us for a snack and a show.

and now i'm sitting here wondering where oh where did the weekend go?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

6:01 a.m., Saturday, February 11, 2012

I'm here front and center before the sun is up this morning because I had 6 a.m. drop-off duty for T. Bone's day trip with ski club. Regrettably, the only picture I got was of the dash telling the time we embarked on the empty road. I knew it would not be "cool" to take pictures of these macho, tricked out skiers and snowboarders, but I had it in my sleepy mind to try and sneak just a one. Better yet, I managed to sneak a hug, a sniff and a quick run of the hands through my son's flowing mane. What! It was dark out. But then he disappeared into the bowels of the bus. First I resisted the urge to follow him and then to sit and wait for the bus to leave the parking lot as if witnessing them depart would somehow offer more protection for the long day ahead on the peaks without parents. For the record, I said my prayers last night and again before I pulled out this morning.

I lingered just long enough to learn that our friend is driving the three hours in his own truck to keep an eye on his son, a fellow fifth grader. He vowed to watch out for T. as well, and no doubt the two boys will be together much of the day. Once I learned that information, I was able to stop doubting our decision to let our eleven year old sign up for this trip. He's one of only three fifth graders going today.

This whole experience has been sort of a milestone for me as a mother. I believe it's had the same effect on my husband. The landmark here is in letting our son venture further and further into unknown territory on his own. It's easing up on the reigns, giving him some slack and trusting that we've raised him well. That we've prepared him to consider consequences and make responsible decisions. If I didn't feel confident of that, that boy would still be in bed.

Bed where I thought I'd be upon my return. I didn't even have a cup of coffee before we left, but T. Bone's adrenaline proved stronger than any dose of caffeine. He was up before his alarm and at the ready early. He sat shotgun, turned the radio up to the point I was sure our base was going to get us pulled over for disturbing the peace and he belted it out. I joined in and we sang along with the Peas: "I gotta feeling...TODAY"S gonna be a good day." Oh yea, we're clever like that even before the crack of dawn.

I'm glad his Dad is picking him up at 11 p.m. tonight.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Grateful Friday

Today I give thanks for...

Being cozy on the couch with my cats and computer right here...right now. The snow is swirling outside and the world is wintry white the way it should be this time of year. I'm all alone. T. Bone is bowling with friends and Miss Bit is off with Grandma and Grandpa.

Making valentines with Miss Bit this week. I L-O-V-E time to craft with my girl. She took such pride in personalizing each card, making them special and unique for the individual recipient. Her classmates are lucky and so are Grandma and Grandpa. This card was for them.

Homemade...valentines, soups, truffles, breads and laundry soap. I made my first batch this week. This $20 investment should keep us in the clean for at least 6 months and that just makes me feel giddy. Even though it's more work than buying detergent, it somehow feels simpler.

My Dad for offerring to come here this morning to be with the kids because today there was no school.

All of T. Bone's teachers gave him stellar reviews as a student and person during this morning's conference. His hummanities teacher said that she feels he is the student in which she has seen the most growth thus far this year. And then she said, "I just know he's going to do great things one day." I got just a little teary eyed not because her words came as a surprise, but because I believe it too and it's so validating when someone a little less biased sees exactly what you see.

Miss Bit's conference was last night and I was on the verge of tears there too. Her teacher expounded on the fact that Miss Bit is such a kind, thoughtful, caring soul. She went on about her smarts too, but that pales in comparison to her character. One's mettle deserves the most merit.

An invitation to travel to Washington D.C. with my frister soon to cheer her on as she accepts a much deserved award. Three nights in a five star hotel, fancy dinners, an impressive itinerary and a weekend of girl time.

T. Bone will be able to snowboard on real hills and fresh snow tomorrow. Course, he's gotta get on a bus at 6:00 a.m. and drive for a few hours, but I think it trumps the culvert in our front yard. T. Bone and his friend took a sled and shovel and went up and down the block collecting what little snow was left this week to make a "jump."

The passion my kids have for iced passion fruit tea lemonade. Their friends love it too. I make at least a pitcher a week...sometimes two and it's not even summer yet.

Most of the day to spend with my hubby tomorrow.

My friend for putting an inspirational, reflective piece on my desk this morning. It is always good to be reminded to be grateful for the one day we

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Load (proceed with caution)

I'm struggling the past few days. OK weeks. All right already month. It's not exactly that I'm sad although at times it is exactly that. What I am is overwhelmed, overwrought, and under enthused. I feel distant, guarded, isolated and afraid. It's not new to me to need to withdraw from time to time when the world feels too much, but I've never feared this exigency. This time I do and that fact is causing me a mounting level of anxiety. Truthfully, I'm having a hard time just writing this because putting words to these paralyzing feelings makes me feel all the more crippled.

I've been trying to come out from under this cloud by identifying the source of the shroud or finding a solution to the shadow, but the deeper I dig and the harder I try, the more daunting it becomes and the more hopeless I feel. There a moments and even days of reprieve. Yesterday a long chilly walk moderated my mood. The uptick was sustained by spending quality time with my girl after school. We made a list and visited the library in search of a couple titles to read together. Seeing her excited about reading really brings joy to my heart. My son just finished his favorite book for the third time. I don't know that I've ever voluntarily read the same book three times. What am I waiting for? That's what the recusant voice in my head says. When we got home, Miss Bit and I continued our girl time. We made valentines for her classmates. I'm telling you we designed, traced, cut, colored and glued the sweetest little cards. She was so excited to be creative and adamant to be sure she was choosing each classmate's favorite color. If you were really plugged in you'd be making heart shaped crafts and cookies, pink and red everything, feeling the L-O-V-E not slogging through the hours day by day. That's what the nay saying voice in my head whispers and taunts.

Ask me how I am and I'll probably say "fine," and perhaps even "good." That's what people really want to hear and what else would I say if I really don't want to talk about it...if I don't know how to talk about it. I used to pride myself on being such a good communicator...inter and intra both. And maybe I was, but at some point along the way, I stopped talking about any adverse feelings. I've ignored them, denied them, deflected them, repressed them, mocked them, pushed them aside, down deep and over and out. What is wrong with you? Get over it. Don't be a baby the same unforgiving voice chides.

So I drown out the voice. I listen to my book when I walk. I turn on the t.v. the minute I get home. I turn on the radio when I'm in the car. I don't sit in silence. I refuse to reconcile my feelings, or to make peace with my thoughts, fears or frustrations, and that folks is just a breeding ground for more of the same. The well-known dynamic of the unrelenting vicious circle. Fear begets fear. Frustration begets frustration. despair begets despair. Angst begets angst and ire begets ire.

I don't know what to do with this yet. I really don't. Yet the frightening prospect of putting this out there in black and white now offers a tiny bit of relief. It feels like a small breakthrough...a baby step in the right direction. I know I cannot wait this out any longer. My only plan at present is to bundle up and walk forward into the day. Walking helps. Writing helps. Today I am going to leave any and all distraction at home while I forge ahead and through. I know with some hard work, I'll get there. There...where I want to be.

(If you made it through...I'm sorry, but I did warn you.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

2 day pass (2 days late)

i was off friday.
in the morning i attended miss bit's character fashion show.
i attended the show after i scoured my bathroom that is.
she was going as bean.
bean is just a regular girl.
a regular girl with black hair.
miss bit is not a regular girl, but she has auburn hair.
the can of jet black hairspray turned much more than her hair ebony.
lesson learned that the shower door does not contain that fine, sooty mist.
after school she asked to shower the minute we got home and i couldn't blame her.
she had to shampoo, rinse and condition 4 times to get all the goo out.
i spent the rest of the day and most of friday night preparing for my soup er' sip saturday evening.
jess came over to test the wine and also to toast the trip to washington d.c. we're taking in march!
3 appetizers, 1 salad, 3 soups, 3 breads and 3 desserts for 8 women later.
clearly i have a problem.
oh, but it was good.
it was such a cozy, chill gathering.
my only complaint: our time together was too short.
and sunday morning came too soon.
hubby and i headed out for a bagel whilst the kiddos attended sunday school.
then the whole fam went to watch t. bone's back to back basketball games.
the team lost, but he played great.
my brother and sil joined us for more soup and the superbowl.
we were evenly split between the giants and the pats.
my team won despite the fact that i nodded off for the victory.
in lucky t. bone fashion he almost swept the family pool and had his winnings spent before bed that night.
we have a busy week around here so it should speed by.
and before we even know it, it'll be the weekend again...lucky for us all.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Gone, But Not Forgotten

I shall ask into my shell only these friends with whom I can be completely honest.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Gift from The Sea

I woke up to find this guy/gal hanging out in my yard yesterday morning. It seems to me a rather significant sign given the company and conversation I shared just hours before.

I wrote THIS (click link) post a little more than a year ago. The friend we went to visit in the hospital that snowy night and the friend I drove with were around my table last night. We connected with the other friend who joined us a year ago January by telephone. We talked about that night. Those sightings. Spirits. Sisterhood.

Call it what you like, but I must be honest and tell you that I cannot consider the coyote in my yard this morning anything close to a coincidence.