Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reflections ... On ... What?


While frittering away another day (don't ask) I've been musing and mulling and thinking on --

Things. Big things. Little things. All things in between things.

My latest acquisition of basic knowledge came in a moment of clarity while posting summer type photos on my other blog. I've known this for a long time but had been ignoring what I already knew.

I looked at the title, 'Unedited Me. Finally' and I realized for the first time in many years I truly am ... unedited ... in my writing, painting, cooking, photography, conversations. Life!
It's a good feeling to know that I don't have to keep information about my life from someone because I will be harangued or harassed if that person has knowledge about me and does not approve.

Sometimes frittering a day away is a good thing. For me, a clarifying moment will often show up when I'm working on a painting project, and arts & craft-y item, even while reading a book. The more involved my brain is away from the day-to-day art of living, the more I am open to hearing my inner workings.

My Dear Friend Barb recently presented me with a small campaign button. This button reads,

Like I need your approval?

Cool. Huh? I think Barb was in my head that day. It's okay. Good friends should be in your head with you. Occasionally.

I am no longer edited. Unless, of course, I choose to do my own editing. There are times when we should edit ourselves. But we really ought not let others edit for us.

Thanks for reminding me Barb.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Resting Easy

As I entered the lecture hall for this one class I noticed the obvious absence of students. "Curious." Finding a seat with an exit nearby, I plopped into it quickly and quietly because of the silly fear I would suffer embarrassment when Amy asked the prof for permission for my attendance on this day and he said, "NO!"

She approached the front of the lecture hall where he eagerly agreed to let me attend. This I could tell from the up and down bobbing of his noggin with a grin a mile wide.

Amy found me hunkered down and suggested we move closer to the front and so we did.

Suddenly I found myself the center of attention when Mr. Prof announced to the class that I would be singing a solo with the chorus "right there on the stage" and as he turned to ask me what I would sing, I protested saying, "Hey! This is a political science class, is it not?!"

"Yes."

"Then why are we singing?"

"It's a dream. We can do anything we want in dreams."

Oh, so that explains it.

I walked to the stage, nerves tingling, legs trembling, wondering just what song I could sing in a political science class that would make any sense at all.

We gathered, the chorus and I and they began to hum ... and I began to sing:

You think I'm an ignorant savage
And you've been so many places I guess it must be so
But still I cannot see If the savage one is me
How can there be so much that you don't know?
You don't know
You think you own whatever land you land on
The earth is just a dead thing you can claim
But I know ev'ry rock and tree and creature
Has a life, has a spirit, has a name
You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You'll learn things you never knew, you never knew
Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon?
Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned?
Can you sing with all the voices of a mountain?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?
Come run the hidden pine trails of the forest
Come taste the sun-sweet berries of the earth
Come roll in all the riches all around you
And for once, never wonder what they're worth
The rainstorm and the river are my brothers
The heron and the otter are my friends
And we are all connected to each other
In a circle, in a hoop that never ends
How high does the sycamore grow?
If you cut it down then you'll never know
And you' ll never hear the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
For whether we are white or copper-skinned
We need to sing with all the voices of the mountain
Need to paint with all the colors of the wind
You can own the earth and still
All you'll own is earth until
You can paint with all the colors of the wind

Then the lecture hall emptied and I found myself in Florida with Dear Old Friend Ann, and she had these gigantic boobs that stood straight out in front of her and we couldn't find a thing for her to wear. We walked and walked and walked through the mall, she with her gigantic boobs sticking straight out in front of her covered in a tight, red sweater, me with my sunglasses on ...

:::sigh:::

I think I need to get some real rest.

Colors of The Wind/Disney's Pocahontas

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Paperwork Reduction Act

I seem to recall somewhere there was a 'paperwork reduction act'.

May have been here in Massachusetts. Or not.

May have been a Federal Government thought process. Or not.

Either way, I have just spent two and one-half hours working on line at the Social Security site.

I gotta tell ya' ... I'd rather be shuffling the papers about on my desk.

:::sigh:::

It's exhausting. Don't hit enter. Don't use the back button. Save now. Continue. Did you want to add more? Delete?

Bleh ...

... but it's done!

December 2008

Here in the Northeast, December brought two early storms, back-to-back. The first, a 10" storm in our area, also brought an ice storm to areas just north and west of us. The second, a 9" storm left this beautiful scene just down the road.
Auntie Raine held her anual Family Christmas party during the second storm and so here are David and Mark, brothers happy to be together. Mark works overseas and so we get to see him when we get to see him.
My little landscape trees don't mind the snow ... and they had their little twinkle lights to keep them warm.
At Helen's house there are four new Pekingnese puppies. One week old in this shot, their eyes were still closed and they were squeaking like mice or mewling like kittens.
Happy Birthday David!
Blow out those candles, if you can, 'old man'.
The Chief had a birthday too and now it's official -- only four more years 'til retirement -- for he and I!
A new digital camera and a smiling face.
The cat who thought the tree was just for him. Silly boy.
Girl cousins on Christmas day. Jamie, Jazmine, Emily and Amy.
Lights but no ornaments. Yet.


And so, it's been a busy month of many events to prepare for, get to and enjoy. We have.
I do so hope your December held good things for all of you.
Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

So, Here's The Thing

Emily has a new CD of Disney 'princess' songs. They have all been updated to a modern music style with new artists and when I first heard the CD, frankly, I was disappointed. I was expecting to hear the songs by the original artist in the original style, if you will.

Then, as Amy and I were walking through the floral department of a local grocery store I spied a cute pink Christmas tree balloon with all the Disney princesses pictured. I commented something along the lines of 'oh, Jazmine would just love that balloon' to which Amy replied, "What? Is she going to be programmed too?"

Huh?

We chatted about this for a moment and I let my thoughts go after that because, first we were interrupted and second, I've been busy with work, holiday preparations (small, but nice) and Emily's hectic but fun schedule.

Back to the CD.

Yesterday Emily and I were driving to Maine to meet my sister and brother-in-law half-way between our homes. It's only an hour or drive and although we don't do this every year, it is kind of different on the years we do. We meet at the rest area in Kennebunk, share our holiday meal of Burger King or Popeye Chicken, maybe a cup of Starbucks and then transfer gifts from car to car out in the parking lot. The entire holiday lasts about an hour!

I digress.

I am driving, Emily is choosing a CD. She chooses the Disney princess CD. Pops it in the player and the first song begins to fill the car. I know you. I've waltzed with you once upon a dream. I know you. The gleam in your eye is so familiar a gleam. Well, my brain got going again and I began to have these rambling thoughts about Disney ... and then dreams ... and well, they've been circling my mind now for about twenty-four hours.

Dreams really can (and do) come true. How?

Everyone should dream. If you can't dream about your future life, your desires, what do you have to look forward to?

At what age do dreams become attainable goals? And what allows us to make the change from dream to attainable goal or perhaps even challenge?

When we stop to realize we are living our dream, is it the same dream we started out with? Or has it changed to meet our daily lives, our finances, our values?

Is there a point when we study ourselves closely enough that we choose to feel life is a disappointment because we didn't reach the goal our dreams presented or worse, do we think of ourselves as failures because we didn't meet our own expectations to get to our dream?

Are women really dependent on men in part, because of Disney movies that present female characters as weaker than men? Vapid and fluttery? Unable to reach a goal on their own?

Yeah, I know. Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Last Birthday Celebration -- Texas Roadhouse Style

We called ahead -- call ahead seating -- and couldn't. There were seven in our party. They 'do' call ahead for up to six.

Arriving at 6:20 we stood in line for ten minutes to obtain a number, at which point I called my SIL and suggested she go do an errand because we would have a one hour and twenty to forty minute wait. "What?"

Dave turns to look at me, "I have never waited more than an hour at a restaurant." "Yes, you have." "When we were young we would put our name in and go sit in the bar and drink."

"We were young?"

Dave made a bar run while Emily, Steven and I headed in to the corral to wait. And wait. And wait.

And wait.

We chatted and watched football and ate peanuts until Dave started tossing peanuts at the kids across the way and they started tossing them back and then got 'into trouble' with their mother who had already had enough to drink on an empty stomach.

A scolding or two later Dave and the kids across the way were still tossing peanuts at each other all the while thinking they were going unnoticed. I turned my back. It was easier.

Amy and my SIL arrived and joined the wait. T wasn't going to join us so David changed our reservation from seven people to six. And we waited some more.

When at long last we were called to our table, after not one, but three other groups of six were seated ahead of us, even though they didn't arrive fifteen minutes before the time given on the phone and in fact were late for the time ... grrrr ....

The six of us snuggled into a large booth which became small rather quickly with jackets and purses and presents and people. No matter. SIL and I ran off to the ladies room and were shocked when we walked in to a three-staller at such a large and busy restaurant. But hey, most patrons don't spend all their time in the ladies room.

I enter a stall and hear another door open and then my SIL exclaim, "Jeezzzzus! Doesn't anyone wash their hands anymore?" "What?" "That waitress! She just came out of the stall, pushed by me and didn't wash her hands!!!" "Oh Gross!!!!" And our conversation continued on like that for a moment.

As I walk out of the stall to the sink I am saying, "Well, I guess this is the first and last time I come to this restaurant." And look up to see another employee (who had exited the third stall) washing her hands. Yeah, good thing sister.

SIL washed her hands and we headed back to the table, disgusted, hoping that the young lady who didn't wash her hands was not going to wait our table. Or work in the kitchen. Or be anywhere near our dinnerware, napkins, peanuts or ... you know, us.

The waitress came to the table and SIL immediately told her what had transpired in the ladies room. She was disgusted too. She took our drink order and the next thing you know the Service Manager is at the table following up. "Do you know who it was?" SIL tells her that she thinks she might recognize her, but she didn't see her name tag. Well, if you see her, please read her name tag and let me know. SIL assured her she would.

It was actually sort of funny because after the SM had been to the table two or three times to chat with us the waitstaff were all looking at us as they would rush by. In the end, SIL decided it was Rachel or Shelby or Kelsey (I honestly can't remember the girls name) with 80% accuracy. Problem was there were five or six young women with dark hair in pony tails who happend to be short of stature and quite small. Whodda thunk?

For our germ policing we garnered two free appetizers which were delish but unnecessary. We were happy to just know that the waitstaff, if not wait person, would be reminded to wash their hands before leaving the restroom.

The meals were great -- except that watching another waitress play with her long tresses and keep redoing her pony tail was driving me crazy and another kept putting her hands into her pants ... I don't know why ... and again, I was grateful that our little blond haired waitress appeared to be neat, tidy and clean without any difficulty at all. Maybe I'm dreaming.

Amy's meal of prime rib with little fat, arrived with the wrong type of baked potato, easily remedied when my SIL's rib eye arrived with Amy's potato but her rib eye was a prime rib loaded with fat. That went back to the kitchen and SIL ate Amy's original baked potato while she waited for her steak. David found a hair on his steak and at long last when SIL's meal came out it was raw instead of medium well and was sent back again.

In the meanwhile, Blond waitress continued to apologize for everything that had gone wrong through dinner.

David quipped, "There's dinner. Then there's dinner with the Zolla's."

Best line of the night.

Texas Roadhouse.

Emily sits in the saddle.


Emily & Amy share a tease.


Emily & Steven.

Emily gets her Yee Haw! Please ignore the fact that the film is horizontal ... there's no way to rotate it and well, I once again forgot to turn the camera to horizontal for filming.



video

Would we go back? You betcha!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Condemned!!!

Imagine the shock and surprise of many residents as they left town for work first thing Thursday morning!

http://www.salemnews.com/punews/local_story_338235322.html

After Thursday's surprise they find the barricades moved on Friday morning!
http://www.salemnews.com/punews/local_story_340001910.html

http://www.thebostonchannel.com/news/18196315/detail.html

http://www.thebostonchannel.com/video/18198401/

Small Republican town takes on Massachusetts. Small Republican town loses all hope of grant money for the foreseeable future.

I'm sure we're paying plenty to town counsel for this ... just like we did when the town stalled the Maritime's pipeline for one year. Inevitable, federally mandated, that pipeline was going in regardless the town's wishes or those of the residents affected.

The Salt Shed? Well, I keep wondering to myself, "Where was the Board of Health fifteen years ago (or more) when it was put in place? Or the Conservation Commission? Or the neighbors for that matter?" This has been ongoing and unpleasant.

That brings me to wondering why they, the neighbors aren't filing a class action suit on their own and why we, the taxpayers are footing the bill. I feel for them. I do. Property values are down, some folks are suffering health issues and the salt has spread even further since the state decided to take some remedial action. The new wells the state has put in for some have done nothing but produce more brine ...

I'd like to see some picketers out there carrying signs. Don't block the entrance. The judge has issued an injunction against the town. (I guess it was okay for Mass Highway to ignore the Cease & Desist Order though) Blocking access or entrance after the injunction would be illegal.

Still, I can't help but think that thirty-seven homes ... and all their residents plus a few friends can make quite a scene and garner some sympathy. Peacefully of course.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Drat!

Here I am, again, with the old lament, "I'm way behind on my reading."

My usual suspects (readers) know me well enough to know that I eventually catch up on all that's going on in their blogs and lives.

Nothing's changed.

I'm just at bowling on Tuesday night, basketball on Wednesday night, hip hop on Thursday night (that's a class Emily & I take together), Friday is for the gym, Saturday morning is for the gym and then errands (or maybe reversed), Sunday is for hikes or house cleaning (which is not the same as going to church and should never be confused with worship) Monday is reserved for the gym and groceries and somehow I have to fit in twenty-five hours of work a week, you know, at work!

I have my own office work to do here and then of course there are the household bills -- which still refuse to write their own checks no matter how I beg ...

... you get the idea.

I'm reading, and commenting, but if I haven't been by in a while, please, please, don't take it personally.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Birthday Emily!

Wake up sleepy head! It's your birthday!

This birthday was twenty years in the making. The making of twenty years in a special life can be at once exhausting and exhilarating, sad and joyful, frustrating and rewarding. I lean to the latter of each descriptor.

Not that I haven't had my moments. Yes. I have.

But the joy and the sunshine ... no one can experience it quite the way I do. You have your own joy, your own sunshine, your own special lives within your own. But you cannot experience mine just the way I do.
And so I try to share with you the ups, the downs, the all-arounds of Emily's special life and my life, which is so much brighter and special because of her.

She arrived here as planned with unexpected accessories ... requiring a rather large suitcase with many compartments for the purpose of putting things 'where they belong' and a whole heck of a lot of muscle. Anyone who has ever tried to change what God has given had better understand that there is no suitcase large enough to put things where they belong.
Because the perception of things belonging or not is as individual as the babies born ... of the adults they become.
I've spent many years worrying myself sick over school, friends, abilities. Who wouldn't? Who couldn't?
In fact, if I were to tell a new parent of a special child one thing, it would be: Do not worry. It will all work out. Honest. Somehow, from somewhere, the strength comes.
But the worry doesn't need to come. It only causes wrinkles in your belly, anyway.
The anticipation for this twentieth birthday began 365 days ago. December 3, 2007. The day after her nineteenth birthday. She woke to say, "Mom! Guess What!" What Emily? "I'm going to be twenty my next birthday! Eeee!" Oh, yes, you are. But how about if you just enjoy being nineteen for a while? It's the same conversation she and I have held every year since she learned to count and anticipate.
:::sigh::: I try to explain it this way ... a birthday is something to look forward to. She cannot drive herself anywhere. She cannot invite a friend over or go to a friend's whenever she chooses. She can't just go to the mall. She is at the mercy of her family for transportation and her social life -- she has no control over any of it.
Ah. But her birthday. She can think about it, plan it, dream on it, wish on it, love it, live it ... three hundred and sixty-five days of the year. I applaud her tenacity. I applaud her ability to keep the faith and know that it will arrive. That birthday of hers.
This morning I went to wake her with camera in hand. Sleeping the sleep of the very tired because I had her out late at the gym last night, she eventually rolled over and woke with a big smile on her face.
Happy Birthday Emily! "Yep! It's my birthday!" "I'm twenty!!" "eeeee!!!!"

A trip to the hair salon after school for a much needed trim and,
"Red, Mom." Okay Emily, red it is.

She & C choose the color. Mind you, Emily has had blond, pink, light red, frosted and blond hair. Just wait 'til you see the red she chose!
In the chair having the goo applied.
While the color is processing, a little eye brow touch up with J.
Voila! The hair is colored and ready for the blow drier.
The finished 'do'. (and she's had enough of my photo taking)
Home for dinner and cake with ice cream!
Saying thanks to Sis with a hug.
A quiet birthday doing the activities that Emily loves ... a hair appointment, dinner with her cousins here, cake and ice cream.
Simple, but happy.

Thank You Astaryth!

A hearty "Hello!" and thanks to Astaryth of http://adventuresofaneclecticmind.blogspot.com/ for the Marie Antoinette Award posted right here ---->

It's not an easy job to choose seven blogs who qualify as Real Blogs by Real People simply because there are so many wonderful people out here who share their daily lives: work, play, family, joys, tears, fears.

Right now I should be getting ready for work and so I won't take the time (right now) to choose seven from the extensive list of blogs I do follow ... because it's going to be a tough, but good challenge to send this award along to anyone without feeling like ... I don't know, I'm leaving someone out!

Many thanks JJ for the award and for your kindness in describing my blog.

Today is the big Two Oh! for Emily and I'm certain that over the next day or two you'll be reading all about the big day.