Monday, February 28, 2011

February 28?

The year is flying by.  The end of winter is in sight, thank goodness.  Spring is a season of change and rebirth, and I am looking forward to it.  Bermuda in April, plans underway for summer.  Things to focus on when the rain and snow(!) (ugh!) fall down. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Okay -- going to try to be more diligent

Where oh where did the year go?  Last post was 363 days ago.  Ugh.  Bad blogger, what can I say.

So enough excuses.  Here we are in 2011, A is in 10th grade, S is in 9th grade.  Two rounds of good report cards mean we are on the right track, A actually made approbation first term and narrowly missed it second term.  Hoping we have turned a corner here.  

A is working on his band Harbinger and S is doing both dance and chorus.  Keeping busy is a very good thing.

Recently returned from MD, went to visit C&B and the kids over the Christmas/New Years holidays.  Had a great visit.  Our car dropped it's tranny on the NJ Turnpike, but thankfully found a great dealership in Lido NJ and got it repaired -- happily it was under warranty.  A stayed home, S came with us, so did MMIM.  Nice visit.  Can't believe how big and chatty Colleeflower is getting. We visited the National Zoo and had a great time.

Hoping to be better at this this year.  We'll see. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Finally feeling like myself again.

I got my annual bronchitis attack after returning from visiting the K's in MD.  Coughed so hard and so long I sprained my back muscle and wound up in the ER with back spasms.  Three days of feeling nearly paralyzed, and then a week of walking around like I was 300 years old.  Finally feeling like a real live human being and finally off all meds.  I don't like taking medications and they make me feel sick.  Glad to put that behind me.

Other than a spacked back, we had a great holiday season.  It was a little tense as the first holidays after losing a loved one always are.  But with some sad moments and a few tears I think it was all okay.  We talked and laughed and remembered Dave without it being all depressing and sad.  There were hard moments, but they were moments and they passed.  The kids were delighted with their gifts -- now that they are past Playskool and Hasbro, their "toys" come from Ninetendo and Guitar Center, and are supplemented with new coats, boots, sneakers and clothes.

We had our annual christmas eve get together and it was good to see Dennis and family, and to spend time just relaxing.  Wine and chinese food and appetizers, the company of family and friends, T&C, Munson, Jules, it was good.

Left for Maryland on Monday (12/28) intending to stay until Thursday, but ended up staying until Friday due to snow in Boston and along the east coast.  Rang in the New Year with the C&B and the kids.  J3, upon staying up until midnight, snacking the whole time, says, "that's it?  you said we could eat junk!  now we have to go to bed anyway?" -- don't know what he thought was going to happen at the magic moment, but it was a disappointment.  Had a great visit.  The drive wasn't bad didn't encounter very much traffic going down, and none on the way home.  D got to play with his new Garmin and it proved to be quite useful when we missed a few turns -- "recalculating" was a commonly heard word during our journey.  Mostly just hung out with the family, but also went to a medieval dinner with jousting and knights, and no silverware!  Visited the Smithsonian one afternoon.  All in all a good time.

Back in Boston, enduring the winter, which truth be told has been more rainy than snowy and more warm than cold ... but there's still a lot of winter yet to come. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tourists -- go home!

Yes, you, you ignorant beast who cut in front of me to push your way through the doorway at Newbury Comics today ... yup, you couldn't even wait for the man and woman who were clearly exiting to get out before you had to shove your way in. The man in the doorway was holding the door for his wife or girlfriend behind him -- not for you so you could bump him and give him dirty looks in the process. Did you think I was standing there waiting for you to go first? No dumbass, I was waiting for the door to be clear of people. It's what civilized people do.

Tourists, go home, Part II

Yes, you, you garlic-emanating-sweat-soaked-backpack-shifting jerk -- do you not have lines or queues where you live? "May I help the next person?" means the cashier would like to help the next person IN LINE, not the next person to say "Me!"

As much as I love autumn -- it does seem to bring the rudest tourists to the city.

Just when the school kids got back to school, the college kids settled down ... argh.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Back in balance

The kids are back in school (grades 10 and 8), the summer that wouldn't begin has ended, autumn started yesterday (happy anniversary David -- I love you always -- 19 years wow!), and so naturally, today is going to be humid and 82 degrees.

Thanks to the rain rain rain we got a zillion tomatoes and thanks to the ridic burst of heat, sun and humidity in August they all turned red at once, just in time to take to New Hampshire ... made a tasty salsa with the late-comers last week, and now it looks like there may be one or two stragglers but another summer of veggies is over.

I'm so glad to return to the order of autumn, to dance classes and chorus, and school and no more choruses of "I'm bored, there's nothing to do."

Looking forward to sunny days and cooler nights.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

The Summer that wasn't

August 5, and we haven't broken 90 degrees since early June. Not complaining about that specifically, just the general non-summeriness of this year. Rain, rain, RAIN, and more f-in' rain. Sigh.

Now, it's humid, hazy, humid and hazy, humid, hazy and hot -- blech.

Waiting patiently for the end of August when we're packing it up to NH for two lovely weeks of doing not a blessed thing. Oh there will be eating and drinking and lazing about in the lake, there will probably be a canoe trip down the Saco, some hiking, some shopping, a trip to Zeb's for pickles and candy, several barbeques and so on ... but no formal plans or schedules for two weeks.

We do have to come home in the middle for Mary & Jack's wedding -- but that should be a nice get together. C&B and the kids can only stay the first week because the K-Family starts school August 24 while the rest of us will be still in NH enjoying what is hopefully the second of the two best weeks of the summer.

Our kids did sufficiently well enough to both be promoted and to avoid summer school. S also was presented with a few awards, including a leadership award for homeroom. A- finished 9th grade 2.0 with passing though far from stellar grades. If only the boy could take the liberal arts path of English and History and drop Maths and Sciences he'd excel; alas, not allowed. Come September he'll be in English 4, Latin 4 (last year!!), Spanish 3, US History 2, Geometry, and Physics. Hopefully he'll find Geometry and Physics more interesting and understandable than Algebra II and Biology.

A- spend weeks looking for a job this summer. He applied to 15 places, and only 1 had the decency to send him a thanks/but no thanks note. The rest, not a peep. We are hoping that following vacation there might be a few openings where college kids have returned to college leaving a job available. He's not looking for anything grand, just stocking shelves or sweeping up where he can put in a few hours a week and earn some money to support his "live music shows" habit and keep him in guitar picks and tee-shirts. S- spent four weeks as a CIT at CMCB's SummerArts program. Loved it -- but has been bored for the past week and a half! She heads off to DARTS (Days in the Arts) on Monday morning. Sleepover camp in the Berkshires sponsored by the BSO. She's really looking forward to it and I hope it is fantastic! Following that, we're off the aforementioned New Hampshire Family Gathering.

Then just one more week and then school starts again. Summer reading still to be finished and reports to write.

Mom and Dad are in the process of buying the house from Jerry. Jerry has decided he wants to live in Florida year'round and after some headaches, decided to sell the house to the parents. It's been a bit of a rollercoaster for the past few weeks as all this fell out of and then into place. But they signed the P&S yesterday and secured financing. Hopefully the remainder will be a smooth transition. They are scheduled to close on September 15.

They will stay on the first floor, Julie will live on the second floor and pay rent. They have to deal with termites in the back stairs and want to rehab both bathrooms right away. There are other things on the "to do" list, but those are the most pressing.

Anyway, it's been an interesting non-summer. We shall see what develops over the next few weeks.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Whew! Holidays over for another year!

That sounds terrible, I know ... but it's such hype and hysteria that every year I'm relieved when all's said and done.

We had a great Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year's/Valentine's Day ... but I'm done. We're muddling through the tail end of winter and just got another foot or so of snow -- I don't know what the hell is wrong with the City this year but their plowing/sanding/salting is woefully inadequate. The last bit of the last storm finally melted -- virtually no thanks to the City and BLAM here's some more. About the only good thing that can be said is that usually this snow doesn't last long; however, it's supposed to be below freezing for the remainder of the week. UGH.

Looking forward to seeing C&B and the Brothers and new sister in a couple of weeks. Baby K is almost three months old! Also looking forward to April vacation -- no plans yet -- just ready for a break in the carefully orchestrated chaos!

SPS made approbation for the second marking term and has been selected to take the National Latin Exam. She was recognized for leadership in her homeroom and all these things are quite a nice boost for her. She's struggling with a foot in both worlds these days, not really a child, but certainly not an adult. It's hard. ACS is doing better overall but still struggling with the idea of hard work -- in subjects he likes he does sooo well. He just scored a second perfect A+ in declamation -- but still struggles mightily with math and science. If only he could take a liberal arts path and ditch math/science he'd be fine -- alas, not so -- like everyone else he must muddle through.

This brings us to March. F'ing snow again. Argh.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Still aclimating

Still getting settled, but the routine is falling into place. The work is easy so far, still feeling each other out and so far I haven't encountered anything to throw me into a panic.

Massive backpack and company have been redubbed, they are "The Turtle People" -- it's amazing how oblivious they can been while carting around 35-40 pounds of "very important stuff".

The Turtle People provide alternating bits of amusement and annoyance. At least of it depends on how hot and stuffy the train is. There are other characters as well. Mr. Self-Important who needs to be seen reading WSJ or some finance mag while his unpolished shoes and ratty trenchcoat advertise the fact that he's not yet made it. The Gym Rats -- who haul copious amounts of what is apparently gym gear while bouncing on the balls of their feet with the iPod turned up to 25 and allowing their hair to dry naturally.

And while we are on the subject of over-large bags, why do hefty women have ENORMOUS purses? Do they have food in there? Tiny women tend to carry tiny bags, the kind you can barely fit an ATM card, a cell phone and a lipstick inside of all at once, large women carry huge unstructured purses that are oozing stuff out of them the way their too-tight polyester pants are oozing flesh out of them. Why? These women are, for the most part, disorganized and borderline rude. They root around in these bottomless sacks while elbowing and bumping everyone near them. They do not believe in wallets, coin purses, cosmetic bags, or anything that would give their feedbag some sense of organization. They can never find a Charlie Card or change or the cellphone that is blaring an obnoxious singtone in the massive overstuffed totebag -- and they don't look for the Charlie Card until they are standing at the retracting gate that is separating them from the train (and me behind them). Is it too much to ask that people have what they NEED readily available? Is it too much to want to get through the herd at the gate as quickly and effortlessly as possible? Is it too much to ask that if you require more than one seat that you don't try to stuff yourself into the insufficient space between me and the next commuter. If you were there first, fine, but don't plop your mass down and shove others uncomfortably out of the seats they had first.

Just a little common courtesy is all I ask. During rush hour fold up your paper, wield your backpack/napsack/totebag/laptop bag/pocketbook/gym bag etc with some care for those around you and for godsake, don't hike it onto your shoulder when people are behind you on the stairs or the escalator, put your feet together so you only take up one seat -- and for the love of god hold on, your impression of the Flying Wallendas is not good, work on your balance skills when the train isn't packed and you aren't a 175 pound projectile hurtling into others because you need to do a crossword puzzle so you can't hold the pole or the strap and enter a seven-letter word for self-absorbed self-centered jerk into the squares -- HINT HINT: A$$HOLE

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A return to days (daze) ...

Monday, October 27, 2008: I have returned to the day staff. Thoughts on the whole thing: the commute. I forgot how fun this was. This whole bovine experience of being crammed into subway cars, only to tumble out en masse and herd toward the next destination. Which begs the question: why do people who want to walk insist on getting on the escalator when the stairs are right next to it. Dammit, if I wanted to walk I'd take the stairs so I don't feel any obligation to get out of the way so you can walk up the escalator. You can stand behind me sighing deeply and loudly, that isn't going to make me move. The day itself was easy and even featured a 45 minute morning break (a/k/a mandatory firedrill). This wading in process is a good thing.

Tuesday, October 28: the day dawns (an hour after I get up) dreary and a watery yellow gray. Rain is forecasted and it is oddly humid but cold. Make breakfasts, make lunches, shoo kids and husband out the door, get dressed, bid farewell to the forlorn-looking dog who is not liking this change, take the car to Quincy, wait for three trains before I can actually get on one, repeat yesterday's cattle drive, including the escalator walker, encounter another peeve -- the massive backpack. Massive backpack is either leaving to trek the K2, to slum around Europe, or is a college dork who carries every book, notebook, and gizmo and gadget ever invented in that pack. Massive backpack is ALWAYS attached to Mr or Ms Utterly Oblivious who turns and moves with zero awareness of their personal depth, crash and bumping into anyone unfortunate enough to be located behind them or beside them -- I did mention this was packed-subway-morning-rush-hour .... urgh.

Still, so far, it is vastly superior to extreme sleep deprivation and a workday that starts when everyone else's is winding down.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

July already

More than half-way through the month and half way though summer vacation. A will be repeating 9th grade at BLS, and S will be at BLA for 7th grade. So that's where we stand. Looking forward to a few days at Six Flags in NJ and then a week in NH. D can't come to NH because of school but also his sister is giving his parents a trip to Las Vegas and somone has to stay with the dogs and keep an eye on the house. Of course, I don't think she's told them yet. M-in-law will need time off and I can't imagine F-in-law getting on a plane for 5 hours ... but what do I know. I'm pissed about the entire thing because she didn't even ask. D's school schedule worked out, so of course it was too good to be true that things would just fall into place. Blah. I'm just angry that people who can do things at any time don't consider others when making plans.

Working nights still but looking foward to going back to days. I really need to work more hours and also be home at night, so it's time.

Didn't get together with Seniors so hoping to reschedule that. Getting things sorted out with doctors and dentists and trying to get in all the appointments before the end of the summer. Enjoying the later mornings and shorter work weeks. SBS will have no 7th grade in the fall, and will have no 8th grade the following year. On the plus side, they will have a K0 -- so eventually they'll be K0 through Gr. 6. A good choice on their part.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

And now, the end is near ...

but not near enough.

I'm done with school, with kids, with rudeness, with beligerance, with entitlement. Meh.

I think I'll head back to law full time days come fall.

The school gig was good for the time, but it's certainly not my calling.

We're approaching some endings now. S did her chorus with H&H and they were awesome. Her BCS, was just okay, she wasn't feeling good, and she's not returning to it next year. It and H&H would clash schedule-wise and she really prefers H&H. Dance is wrapping up in just under a month, school too. S has mixed feelings, but is really quite ready to move on. The small class size is suffocating and so many of them are leaving that the attitude has grown very negative too. A is doing okay, struggling with school, especially Math -- but he got an A+ in history this term. If only he could just take liberal arts courses ... alas, high school isn't that simple and he must get through the maths and sciences.

It's been a sad few weeks. AMFord passed away last week after a valiant battle with brain cancer. Her husband and kids were amazingly composed and the funeral was a true celebration of life. It was packed full of family and friends, A's fellow Irish steppers from SH came all dressed and tons of police and fire folks, the fifth graders from SBS and many other past and present school kids. Nothing could have made the day better, but perhaps all the love and support made it a tiny bit easier. I'm glad AM is freed from her prison, but so sad for her family to lose her at such a young and vibrant age. She was a real star, always first to volunteer, and always ready to lend a hand. She'll be greatly missed, but that is a testament to who she was to so many people.

Time passes, but I don't think you get over it, you just learn to live with it.

Looking forward to getting together with my Seniors the end of June at L's house. She's have a get together for the girls' birthday's, A's graduation and because her parents will be up from Florida -- I'm so looking forward to seeing L, T, B and anyone else who makes it. Life gets in the way of getting together more often, but these are my forever girls.

Also looking forward to summer and free time. S is going to camp at SummerARTS for most of July and we're still waiting to hear if A will have to repeat, reach-back or do summer school. But we're heading to NH in mid-August and I'm looking forward to it more than ever. C&B and the boys will be up, they're expecting a fourth around christmas! Happy for them, but better them than me. Oh yeah!

Mom's still teaching, maybe one more year -- she says that alot! Dad is at Egan's, it keeps him busy. D starts school again in about two weeks, and he has a week in CT for work before then so we've got another couple weeks of craziness and then we can settle down a notch.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

March! Damn.

The holidays have come and gone, they were pleasant and things were relatively calm. The kids are old enough to sleep a little later and be helpful and self-sufficient. And despite all that, here we are in March (going on April) with not a post made. Ah well, I'm all about living in the moment ... I don't blog often enough, I don't journal often enough, and I don't take enough pictures ... and those I do take end up in bags in the closet. It's all in my mind ...

So, here we are a few days into Spring, with snow predicted for tonight -- I love New England. S got into BLA. She was initially a bit disappointed that it wasn't BLS, but after considering how many people didn't get in anywhere she cheered right up. Once she found out her friend C got in too, she was much happier. So now we'll still have two kids/two schools. This should be a good fit for her though. A different pace from BLS and no brother's shadow to live up to or live down either. She's dropped piano, but continues with her two choruses and her dance classes. A is still plodding along, as of late he's doing better, but my real fear is that it's now too little too late. I'm sorry to say that I almost expect him to be retained. I'm hard pressed to feel too bad though, it's his own choices that have been his downfall, and perhaps (I hope) retention will be helpful in making him see the error of his decisions. Part of me wants to see him squeak by, but then I worry that that will just set him up for another struggle next year because he isn't owning the material. SIGH.

D is still liking school but did speak to Admin about the reading of powerpoint presentations and the lack of a syllabus or even an outline. He likes the course, but really feels that he could have done what they've done so far on his own. He starts MicroSoft in a few weeks, so I'm hoping there is some challenge there to invigorate him. His job bites and he needs a new start, but not a start over from scratch position. It needs to be at least lateral paywise. SIGH AGAIN.

So, here I am. S is invited to BLA -- so that seems like my invitation to return to full-time days. My plan is to take the summer and enjoy it, and then after a few weeks of school find a permanent spot on the daystaff. The vampire shift is getting old. It was great while the kids are small, but now they need me at home more at night than they do in the daytime. The Title I gig at St. B's is wearing thin too. Teaching is not my calling and this year with the junior high students has really nailed that down for me. The lack of respect and self-control is upsetting to me and makes me hate every lunch time period that I have to deal with them. The younger students are wonderful, but even that isn't enough. I have the utmost respect for teachers and am wise enough to know that that is not where my talents lie.

So, I'm mentally crossing off the nights until the Fall. I don't want to take just any spot, but I hope that something interesting and challenging and long-term opens up at the end of August or beginning of September. I am ready to ditch these 18 hour days. I won't know what to do with myself for the first three months!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Almost Thanksgiving ....

and how is that possible? My last post was about school starting and here we are mid-November.

At the end of October St. B's had some good news. Fr. F opted out of the 2010 Initiative. All roads seemed to lead to St. B's being closed and absorbed by St. A's -- and some interesting bits of fact were released. Of the 8 parishes, St. B's is the ONLY ONE operating in the black, it has the highest number of catholic students (95%), the lowest assistance level, and the third lowest tuition of the group -- which to me says we're doing everything right. We are educating neighborhood catholic children in a neighborhood catholic school. So since we only stand to lose by participating, let's opt out and continue what we have been doing, ramp up support efforts from parents and seek out alumni and neighborhood supporters who have benefited from their association with and proximity to St. B's.

On the homefront, D is busy with school and really enjoying it. A is still struggling with BLS, but it is his own fault. He needs to commit himself and work harder. Period. He's a good kid and so bright -- conversations with him are so intellectual and I am impressed by his knowledge of the world, the news of the day and so on -- he's so able to do the work, but it seems he just doesn't try hard enough. S took the ISEE last weekend. She said parts of it were hard and confusing -- but many of her friends felt the same way. Now it's just a waiting game. I asked her what she would want to do if her number came up for BCCS and she got accepted to BLS -- she wants BLS. So we hang in limbo until mid-March.

We're having Thanksgiving with mom & dad. C&B and the boys are really settling in in MD and B's parents are coming down for Thanksgiving there. Jules will likely be at mom & dad's too -- though she could be anywhere. Her side job is really picking up quite nicely and I'm so happy for her. She hopes that things will get to the point where she needs an assistant and in the future would like to hire A to help her -- but he'd need a license first and he's still a few years away from that. But it's good to see her looking to the future.

S has a concert performance of Carmina Burana this evening at First Parish Church in Brookline. She is singing with their choir and her H&H Youth Chorus. Their part is small, but the performance looks impressive. She also has three concerts coming up in December and naturally they overlap A's play performance schedule!! He has his play Th/F/S and she has chorus events Th/S/S so it will be a busy few days -- and then things will settle down a tiny bit as the extra-curriculars are suspended until after the holidays. Fewer than 40 days until Christmas -- argh! Pictures to take, cards to mail, shopping to do ... why am I blogging -- gotta go!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Settling in

Fall days are so glorious. Crisp air, the impending frost-but not yet, the need to put blankets back on the beds, and dig out shoes instead of sandals. Soon the leaves will start their annual dance toward the ground awash in the vibrant colors of squash and beets and pumpkins and corn. Soon sweaters will not be optional. This time of year is very peaceful to me. It is the time of righting all the little slips of summer, the delayed bedtimes, the sleeping in, the lazy days, the eating too much days; fall brings a righting of all that, back to some schedules and some order and to me that is peaceful. The kids fall into a groove of waking and working and school and chores and activities and the predictability of it all seems to calm them too -- though they don't realize it -- they don't fight or bicker nearly as much during the school year as they do in the summertime. Autumn is also a time of reckoning for me. Time to look at bills and spending and personal choices and life generally and take an assessment of what has been good, what hasn't worked and the direction that life is headed. This year finds D returning to school for his MCSE certifications. A is starting high school, though it doesn't have the abruptness of many other beginnings since his school is grades 7-12 - but this year is 9th grade, freshman year. S too has a year of changes and challenges. She will take the Latin Exam in November and if accepted, join her brother at BLS next fall. The school itself is in flux too, the 2010 Initiative is working to reformat and refocus schooling in Dorchester. They would like to narrow the existing 8 catholic schools down to 4 -- but this is no easy task. St. B's is a small school, and can't absorb all the students from another school ... they'd like to partner with St. Ann's and provide K0 to Grade 8 but on two campuses. So who knows what will happen.

Saturday is our anniversary -- married 17 years on 9/22. Hard to believe how time has flown, and yet it has. We have weathered storms and losses, smiles and joys and come through it holding hands and going forward. My hope is that some schooling is just what D needs to push him forward. Our summer is nearly over and we too must face the coming autumn and do so with the vibrance and gusto.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Good news! Our credit is so sterling we qualify for more debt!

D is going to take a course to become MCSE certified (and various other certs along the way to that end). He's undertaking a 68 week course at Clark University. I have done such a stellar job paying bills and eliminating debt that we easily qualified for a large loan to fund this undertaking, deferred until six months after completion of certificate. Oh joy!

The idea is that with these certs he will have some mobility and a wider career path to venture out upon. This is definitely a good thing. He'll have school two nights a week (M/W) and a portion will also include alternating Saturdays. So, here we are, toss all the balls in the air -- school for the three of them, piano for two, dance, two choruses, one band, three employers -- ready set go!

I can retire in about 28 years. Yay!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Bye bye summer, hello school!

Tomorrow S & I are back to school, A starts Thursday. We're all looking forward to getting back into some sort of routine. Bedtimes have been battlegrounds and on the flipside, they're sleeping until 10. URGH.

It's been a decent summer, even though A had summer school for five weeks -- which he aced totally! On to 9th grade. We went to NH for a grand week of doing nothing but relaxing and floating in the water and grilling on the patio. The kids went to OzFest and A went to Dream Theatre with his friend Devin. We've been to the mall, shopping, out for lunches, Monster Golf, fishing. Time for school and schedules.

Both kids are doing piano again, A is looking into the school play again, S is doing dance, Handel & Haydn and City Singers.

Hopefully, in a few weeks, the whole thing will be squared away and settled.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Half of July is gone

16 more days of summerschool for A, Miss S wraps up SummerARTS on Friday -- New Hampshire can't come soon enough!

D is looking for a new job, I'm just plugging away and hoping to return to days in about a year. If S gets into BLS, I think I'll trade the vampire shift for a normal life once again. I'll do nights next summer, but return to days in the fall. I think it's about time. The school gig is okay, but the time spent/money made just isn't a fair enough trade off. I work 25 hours days and 20 hours nights and could ditch school, ditch nights and pick up full time days, work 35 hours a week instead of 45 and make twice as much money in . Once Missy is in junior high, I think that has to be the plan.

Ah, well, musings on the future ...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Summer ... Ah! or ARGH!

Finally things are settling down a little bit -- BUT -- next week they rev up again. A starts summerschool for Latin and S continues with SummerARTS for another week or two. On the up side, I will have a few hours alone!

C/B/J/J/J have left Rhode Island for Waldorf, Maryland. Mom & Dad went with them for a 10 days or so to help with the kids while they get the house set up. Shortly B has to return to RI for bar prep and then the exam itself. Then we all head up to NH (except A who will be at summerschool during the week and join us on the weekend). Then we go home, Mom & Dad go home, C and the boys go to MD and B goes back to RI for some course at the War College. He won't join the rest of the K's (permanently) until October. Such a huge drag for them. The good part for them is that their house is in a development with a pool, playground and tons of kids, so hopefully they'll be able to keep pretty busy for the weeks he's gone. Also school will start which is right up the street, no bus!

A has been promoted to 9th grade (almost a miracle!), S is going to 6th grade and taking the ISEE exam and hopefully going to BLS for 7th grade. I really hoped she'd get into BCCS but she's still over #100 0n the waiting list (sigh). Dad has finally retired and is spending his free time organizing parish events such as the 500 Club, the Voyageur's Club and the Cocktail Party. He needs to keep busy or he'll drive Mom nuts. She's still plugging away at St. B's and seems like part of the building. It will be strange when she eventually retires. D and I are just working working working. Probably go back to full time days if S gets into BLS. Imagine no tuition!! WOW.

Tomorrow is Independence Day -- no work! We're heading over to the Lydons house for a cookout/fireworks watching/Pops listening. Always a good time.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Wrapping Up

The school year is drawing to a close along with it's associated activities and extracurricular affairs. Mother's Day was S's Handel & Haydn Society concert at the Cutler Majestic Theatre and Saturday was her Boston City Singers concert at All Saints Church. Both were good, though I liked H&H better. A's Connections play was Friday night -- he played an Usher in a play within a play -- The Scheme of the Shiftless Drifter -- very amusing and all the kids did a nice job. This was part of his Theatre class, a class he didn't want to take and thought would be "stupid and gay" -- turns out to be his second favorite class of the year (right behind History). He's got about 6 more baseball games before that ends for the season too. S's dance recital is in 2.5 weeks and I'm really looking forward to it all being done and overwith. The hustle bustle is getting to me and I'm asking my parents for way too much help with the getting around parts that all seem to be scheduled at 5 p.m.! Definitely looking forward to the end of it all at least for a while. I'll be happy to be done with 8th grade (hopefully, there will be no summerschool, but he'll do what he has to do, it's on his own shoulders to own his actions). Miss S will be taking the test for BLS/BLA in the fall and I'm hoping she can go to BLS with her brother. That will be a big step for all of us!

I'm greatly looking forward to heading up north to Lake Ossipee for a week at the end of July -- quite ready to just sit in the sun, read a book, sip a drink, take a nap and REST. C/B and the boys will be moving to Waldorf, MD in a few short weeks. The last three have really flown by and it's going to be hard having them far away instead of down route 24 a while. J1 is making first communion this weekend, he turned 8 in November and is finishing up second grade. J2 will be 6 this month, first grade in the fall, and family terrorist J3 just turned 3 in May, hopefully he'll be in preschool after the move. They're coming to NH too. So is JAM -- so the whole gang will be there. Good times!!

Working nights, here 20 years next week or so and hard to believe how that flew by. Seems like just a short while ago Rose and I were snickering about NEVER being here long enough to be Decennials -- and yet here we are twice over, she's here 21 years. What's not to like about the place though. They've been great about working nights, part time hours, no Fridays, Mondays or weekends ... sabbaticals, vacation time, raises every year, 401k contributions -- all while PT! Why on earth would I leave that -- and where else could I get the same or better?? Looks like WH and I will be sticking together for a while ... 25 year club in just 5 more years ... whew!

Looking forward to sleeping in soon!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Generation Gaps

It's easy to forget how fast the world changes; how little differences sneak in and things that were so normal for me growing up are missing from my kids' sphere of knowledge. The other day my husband was watching a film clip from the Stephen King movie Maximum Overdrive, the part where the guy is picking up quarters and cigarettes from a vending machine gone bonkers -- when the machine spews out the cigarette packs my daughter asked "what is that thing" -- she's never seen a cigarette machine, they don't exist in her world at all.

It made me think of other things that she's never seen or hasn't really used. For instance, we were cleaning out the basement and found some old 45s -- she asked what they were and we told her records, they play music. She picked one up, noting it was larger than a CD and asked how many song were on it and was flabbergasted to find out there was just one on each side. Both my kids find corded phones to be the most annoying thing in the world-- remember they were born in the cellular age, not only did phones not have wires, they were portable and always have been.

There are endless lists that circulate on the internet about "kids born after 1980" "kids born after 1990" and what has changed in the world, but I guess it doesn't really register until a kid looks at an old rotary phone at an older relative's house and has no idea how to make a call. I used to chuckle thinking of the "old days" when my grandmother or parents didn't have a television or when their houses had "party line" telephones -- I guess it all comes full circle. This generation of kids has grown up not knowing a world without computers, microwaves, digital cameras, video cameras that weigh less than a pound and can be put in a pocket, telephones that are also music players and GPS devices, they have always had the 'information superhighway' and email. Weird.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


So, what's the big deal about? Same aches and pains as every other day, same little annoyances. 40 trumps 30 in that no one died, otherwise, it was just another day. Spend Saturday night with T&C talking, eating, drinking and just enjoying the company of our best friends. THE DAY, Sunday, breakfast with Mom & Dad and Jules, then Harvard Square with D and the kids, visited the Harvard Museum of Natural History, lunch/dinner/margaritas(!) at the Border Cafe (yum), and just poked around used record stores and such until it started to sprinkle. Headed home. Nothing spectacular, just a comfortable time with those I love most.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

4 to 40

School vacation is over -- mostly it rained -- we stripped wallpaper and managed a trip to the Zoo and some shopping. Nothing special, but at least there was some wine and resting.

Busy week filled with dance, voice, baseball and so on. Going to the Lydon's on Saturday and the Harvard Museum on Sunday (my birthday) -- not going to Kerrie & Joe's baby shower which I feel a tiny bit sorry about -- but it's my birthday -- and 30 was a dud.

Really looking forward to the end of the schoolyear. Six full weeks and then a week of half-days. The end is in sight.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

F$#%ing Easter Candy!

What braintrust decided that bunnies should deliver eggs? Eggs come from chickens ... Easter Chicken sounds like an SNL skit from the John Belushi days. One way or another I know have way too much candy in my house and in my classroom -- and I have limited willpower these days because I am tired. Breakfast lately has been consisting of tea and a mini-Twix bar or five or an afternoon snack is a handful of mini-Tootsie Rolls. Gross. I disgust myself.

So, I am an 80s new wave mega junkie. Right now I am listening to Icicle Works. An mp3 player is the best gift I ever got. Took every CD we owned and ripped it ... now I can tour my youth revisiting years and and moments with the push of a button. Yes! Buzzcocks!!!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

25 days to 39.99

April 4 ... snowing. Argh.

Easter is this weekend, my daughter got a very cute outfit and sandals ... won't be wearing those for Easter!! We're eating upstairs and supposedly everyone is coming -- what that will actually mean, I don't know.

Just put in for summer vacation and I can't wait to be warm and sitting on the beach with nothing to do but sip lemonade and apply sunscreen. C&B and the boys will be moving in a few short weeks, he'll be graduating law school and has gotten an assignment in Norfolk, VA -- not too bad, but a lot further away than Newport. They've been up for breakfast for several Sundays and the boys are starting to seem kind of sad. Now that they are old enough to talk and hang out with S and to a lesser extent A, they are moving. :(

Looking forward to school vacation suddenly. One and a half more weeks. I know it's irritating me more than it ought to because I am tired,

Anyway, here we are at April 4, today is PP's birthday. Funny how I recall that even all these years later. I ran into JFarrell at a school event and she says she hasn't seen her in six years. There is something sort of sad about that. 25 more days to 40 -- people keep reminding me of that -- I don't really feel much ado about that. No impending dread or doom.

Monday, March 19, 2007

41 days to 40

So, what does "being 40" feel like? Can't tell you yet, but I imagine it won't be much different than being 39. I've never been someone obsessed with aging, an issue made infinitely easier to ignore since virtually all my friends are my age or older ... if I'm turning 40, Carol is turning 45! Yeah!

So, presuming that statistically I'll live to be about 80, this is the top of the hill and all else is a slow slide down ... that isn't as grim a thought as it might seem. I'm at the point now where I don't really give a shit what others think of me, sure I like to be liked, but I don't need to be. I don't mind if other people don't like me for my beliefs, my politics, my values and so on, I like me and that's enough.

I suppose is some ways this is a personal assessment of my standing at this point in life -- not exactly what I pictured, but not bad either. I'm lucky. I like and respect my parents and they like and respect me, they are in good health and still active and sane and normal. I have a good relationship with my in-laws and while they are a little older than my parents, they too are in reasonably good health and mind. I have nice relationships with my sisters and my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and I adore my nephews. I think sometimes I am a weirdo in this world of emotional and relational discord. I genuinely like my family.

Anyway -- turning 40 can't be worse than turning 30, it's hard to believe that if I'm turning 40 that Nana has been dead 10 years -- but it's true. I spent my 30th birthday at her wake and so time marches on.

Time to start thinking about where I want to be in 10 more years ... 50 is the new 40 you know.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Sailing through March

Like most parents I'm finding myself asking wheretheblisteringfuckdidJanuaryandFebruarygo?

The school year is whizzing by in a blur of book reports, spelling tests and science projects and I'm still trying to figure out how we're approaching Easter when I don't solidly recall Christmas, or for that matter Thanksgiving and Halloween. We spent the last two weeks with bowls of vinegar and various eggs and bones soaking in the kitchen to highlight the need for calcium in our skeletal system. I'll be quite glad when that smelliness is overwith. It's a cool project -- after ten days in vinegar which leeches calcium out of bones, you can almost tie chicken bones in knots. It's freaky. Still, I'll be glad when it's done!

The kids are at their piano evaluation and I am stealing a rare moment of alone time to try and record minor life events. My sister and her family are likely moving to the DC area in June. My brother-in-law wraps up law school soon and his CG obligations will take him and them a little further away. We got spoiled having them next door in RI for three years, but that time is quickly winding down. They've found a prospective new house to rent in MD which looks super so hopefully things will work out for them. I'm certainly going to miss seeing them as often though. They've grown up so much in the past three years. J1 was 5, J2 was 3 and J3 was a newborn!! Now they are little boys and not babies -- J1 is nearly as tall and S!!

March 13 -- 13 weeks of school left. Deep breath!! SIGH

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

School vacation -- a mixed bag

Here we are in the middle of Winter Break (or February School Vacation Week as it was known when I was in school. It's strange and wonderful and exasperating being the parent of a 13/nearly 14 year old boy and a just-turned-11 year old girl -- there is precious little they like to do simultaneously, except of course, spend my money.

Took the girl and her friend to the Franklin Park Zoo together with hubby on Tuesday to check out the newly redesigned gorilla habitat in the Tropical Forest pavillion -- one of our two resident "youth" male gorillas escaped twice a few years back and have been kept away from the public since then until such time as the newly secure enclosure could be (funded and) completed. Not very much to see in a zoo in Boston in February -- but after the icy blasts of the last two weeks it was lovely to just be able to walk around outside. The gorillas seem to like their new environs and they do seem to be studying us as much as we are studying them. Took the girls out to lunch and after a total of 4 hours of giggles and shrieking, parted ways, happy that the powers of the universe did not make my daughter twins. Still, it was an enjoyable day, made sweeter by the company of my husband on a rare day of playing hookey.

Today found the boy, the girl and I taking in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, an amazing former-home-turned-museum housing the private collection of Mrs. Gardener, lately famous for the heist that took place in 1990 during which a Rembrant and a Vermeer and several other lesser known pieces were taken, never to be seen, never to be ransomed -- just vanished. There is much speculation that it was an "inside job" because of the security and the pieces taken and further speculation linking the theft to the "Irish mafia" and notorious local wanted man James "Whitey" Bulger. Some think the paintings are being held as bartering chips in the event that Whitey is ever captured alive ... I guess we'll wait and see.

The boy wants to go "paintballing" on Friday -- I don't really like this stuff, but probably will relent and allow him to hang out with his friends. I need to return a few things to the mall and my babygirl and I can probably have another nice afternoon together.

It's odd to have them growing up (away) and wanting to do things without us. It's normal and good and I'm glad they are (slowly) becoming independent people -- yet it's still strange. Their world revolves less and less around home and parents and more and more around school and friends. My oldest is now in 8th grade at BLS and writing for the school paper (music reviews) and saving the environment through YouthCAN (Climate Awareness Network), he also continues to study piano, is a passionate guitar player and knows more sports trivia than SI. My youngest is now in 5th grade at St. B's and will take the entrance exam for BLS in November. She hopes to follow her brother into the Wolfpack. She too continues to study piano, dance and voice (through Handel and Haydn Society Singers and Boston City Singers Youth Chorus). She is an avid Webkins fan and loves anything having to do with animals.

We are more than midway through the school year and are gearing up for the annual spring race to the finish which inevitably involves dance recitals, piano performances, chorus exhibitions, the school art fair, curriculum expo, science fair, book reports, projects, essays and then finals -- and then it's all over for another summer. It's seems so far away, and yet in a blink ..... ah

Guess I'll savor the last few days of sleeping in a tiny bit later than usual.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The President's Address

Jotted notes as he went along.

Blah blah blah, no substance, promises to do the undoable like balance the federal deficit in five years ... fix education ... support the troops ... argh. Hillary looks skeptical, Obama looks like he's napping, McCain is plotting how to surf both sides of the aisle, Nancy Pelosi looks on with thinly veiled disgust, you almost see Cheney's lips moving while Georgie's opens and closes.

Good grief! They stand and sit and stand and sit more than a catholic high mass. The standing applause is absurd.

Apparently, they all clap every time he uses a 3 syllable word correctly.

argh! nuke-u-lar

Al Qaida are all Sunni extremists? Really? Still trying to connect the invisible dots that do not connect 9/11 to Iraq.

And the Shia are taking direction from Iran -- dot to dot to dot -- laying the groundwork for his next steps.

We are staying in Iraq ... to make sure that Al Qaida in Afghanistan don't come into Iraq and cause more trouble than what is already there. Blah blah blah -- we're not leaving.

What dangers do Americans face from Iraqis? Other than those in the military that is? We're staying in Iraq to protect Americans. Um, what?

Call for unity and a new council on Iraq. Work together, add to the ranks of our military, blah blah blah ... Authorize an increase to the size of our military by 92,000 .... and get them from where?? Design and establish a volunteer civilian corps?

A Korean peninshula free of nuke-u-lar weapons -- argh!

Filler babble about "great americans" Dikebe Matubo, a pro-basketball player, the inventor of Baby Einstein, the subway hero from NYC, a wounded Iraqi soldier .... blah blah, blah blah. God Bless.

The end -- ARGH!!!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Today's rant: parent oversight and personal responsibility

Several families are suing MySpace because their kids met up with and were molested by strangers they met through the online networking site ( These families claim that it is MySpace's fault that things happened to their kids. What?!

I admit I have little use for MySpace, it isn't my thing at my advanced age of 39, I like my friends live and when possible, in person, but that's my generation. I think MySpace is pretty shallow and stupid, but then, I'm not 15 -- that said I will defend MySpace in this instance because it is well-past time for parents to own up to the fact that they can't be their kids' pal, their buddy, their friend. They have to be the parent; and part of that job is butting in and asking questions and keeping track of computer use and being nosy about what kids are doing online and who they are talking to. Once upon a time, it was enough to say don't talk to strangers, don't take candy from strangers, don't take rides from strangers, don't help strangers look for lost puppies or kittens. Today, it's a whole new game. The internet has opened up all kinds of new avenues for predators and perverts to stalk, find, and flirt with kids under the guise of innocent "chatting" and friend-making.

Blaming MySpace because a kid chats up a stranger, trusts a stranger and sneaks off to meet a stranger is liking blaming Grayhound because your kid met a person on a bus or blaming McDonald's because your kid met someone over "please-pass-the-ketchup". What happened to these kids is tragic and sad, but it is the direct result of their unsupervised computer usage and their willingness to trust people they don't know and have never met, coupled with their freedom or creativity to sneak away and meet these people live without a parent or chaperone of any kind to act as a buffer.

In this scary world there needs to be rules in the home regarding internet usage and parents need to not turn a blind eye when their kids are squirrelled away in the their rooms chatting and IM-ing for hours at a time. The internet is a wonderful resource, an amazing tool, but like any tool, in the wrong hands it can be a dangerous weapon.

Parents need to be overseeing what their kids are up to and into and who on earth they are talking to -- take the computers out of their rooms or at least take away the internet. In our house the internet is available in the family room and anything that is needed can be printed or stored to a disk or memory stick. The kids don't necessarily like it, but those are the rules. Their schools heavily restrict what sites can be accessed from school computers and anything not related to education is not available without a faculty member's override code. I'm sure it's not foolproof, but it keeps the worst of things off limits.

I am in support of holding company's accountable for their actions or lack of actions, but lets be honest here -- as we all know, the typical website's age requirements are basically limited to the push of a button or the entry of a birthdate. If a kid can do basic math he can figure out what year to claim he was born in order to gain access. Could MySpace do more to keep young kids out -- probably. But the real issue here is shouldn't the task of keeping track of kids fall primarily on to the kids' parents? What kids are seeing is that bad or stupid choices lead to profitable lawsuits. Not a good life lesson.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


I'm peeved today, for a lot of reasons, but mostly due to inertia. It is time to make a move, on so many levels.

Everyone is finding the groove again after the holidays. The kids are getting back into the swing of get up early, school, activities, homework, bed and I am getting back into the grind too. This night shift gig, while excellent in terms of schedule/compensation, is starting to wear me down -- actually I think it's the day thing that is more tiring actually. It can be so frustrating to try to work with kids, to help them fill their learning gaps when they don't even want to be there or put forth any effort. The last two years I worked 15 hours, this year I am carrying 25 hours since my job-share partner retired. Not entirely insane, but coupled with the 20 hour a week night gig, it's getting to be a bit much. Not the hours themselves, 45 is nbd, but the getting up at 6 a.m. and back in bed at 12:45 a.m. is killing me slowly. Wah wah wah.

And since I'm now on a rant, can I just speak briefly about what a big ridiculous crybaby Ladanian Tomlinson is. Okay, I'm not a huge sports fan, but I do have some general awareness of how the hometeam is doing. The Patriots are well on their way to being a DYNASTY -- and they beat the San Diego Chargers this past weekend. The Pats advance, the Chargers go play golf. The Pats celebrate on the field, and in a fit of childish sour grapes LT and some of the other Chargers whine about being "disrespected" on their home field -- as if they would have behaved differently had the roles been reversed. It is common practice for the victor to celebrate -- watch any replay of any game, especially and end-of-the-season game, and you'll see the same. For LT and the rest of them to carry on just makes them look like first graders who lost the spelling bee. Grow up, you still get paid an INSANE amount of money to play a game for a living. If you can't hack losing now and then, hang up the helmet and take a job at Subway or Pizza Hut -- then you *might* have a clue what being disrespected on the job was like. Babies, spoiled brat babies. No wonder I have little tolerance for pro-sports.

Okay -- that was a detour. Enough for now.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

AAaannnddddd .... here we are in 2007 -- just as I predicted

Just as I said, there was no way posting about the impending glee of christmas or the post-holiday glow was going to happen ... so here we are in 2007. We had a good Christmas without too much rushing around. We caught up with my sister and her family on the 23rd as they were heading to PA the day after Christmas. This is probably their last Christmas in the area, they'll likely be in VA for Christmas '07. B-in-law graduates law school in May and the Coast Guard owns him for another few years. Christmas Eve found us at home and hosting our annual cocktail party/dinner event. Good to see everyone and just relax. Christmas Day, up not too early -- kids were pleased and not overly spoiled. Dinner with the in-laws and my parents too. A really nice afternoon with no running around. Lots of wine and conversation. Julie took the kids over New Years so we visited with Tim & Carol and left the wild revelry to the amateurs. Rocked in the new year with Dick Clark (who looked particularly frail and had difficulty counting down). Called it a night around 1:30 and drove home. So here we are.

James Brown is dead, Saddam Hussein is dead, Gerald Ford is dead.

Hussein's death probably stirred the most emotion. I'm not too upset he's dead, you reap what you sow after all, but I am disgusted with the kangaroo court proceedings, and the hours leading up to his death and even the execution itself. It had none of the propriety, no air of legitimacy, nothing to make it even appear to anyone that this was anything other than a pre-ordained event. Saddam Hussein was a terrible person, but even monsters deserve to be allowed to say their prayers before dying. Further, by executing him, thousands of people have been denied the justice and satisfaction of seeing him stand trial for the horrors he committed. Even if they have their day in court, and he is found predictabily guilty, he can't be executed twice. I've always believed that sitting in jail and knowing that freedom is never happening is far better punishment than death. Death is too quick and simple. Death is an abrupt but final end. Emprisonment and time to think about the crimes one has committed to time to think about the fact that one will never again see the sun rise or set as a free man is a harsh reality to face. Nothing can bring the dead back to life and the death of Saddam Hussein is just another death in a long and ongoing list of the deceased. His death doesn't bring peace to Iraq, if anything it will spur more chaos and bloodshed. The fact that it came on the day when Muslims commemorate the day God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son is striking, as Saddam has welcomed a death that would paint him as a martyr for the cause. The whole thing sickens me.

2007 is otherwise off to a rocky start. Personally, we are all fine, but 2006 closed as a bloody year in the city, 74 homicides, one fewer than last year -- and just hours into 2007 the last began again. Admittedly the brunt of the violence is gang-related and drug related and doesn't impact average law-abiding citizens, but it is nonetheless disturbing. What is even more shock-inducing is the reticence of witnesses to speak out -- I understand their fear, but the violence will only expand and claim more victims if those who know the perpetrators do nothing. Adults fear youth and youth fear nothing. In so many ways their young lives have no value. They don't value their own lives, and the people around them don't either. The fear of reprisal means all deaths are brushed aside and little can be done to bring the murderers to justice. The memorials curl at the edges and the pictures fade and the murderers walk free. The dead become a memory and people move on as best they can. The life lost means nothing, the taker of that life will probably meet the same end eventually, they often do. How did it happen that living and dying are unimportant? How did it happen that people can push down their sadness and anger because their fear is greater? What happened to respect? Respect for parents, respect for others, respect for self? It's all gone.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

That's a big gap!

December 14, ten days until Christmas Eve. ARGH!!!!!

Every year I vow to be more organized, and every year I get worse instead of better.

Christmas really needs to be in March or in the summer when things are slower and easier. What jackass decided that the from July 5th on would be one colossal consumer nightmare! After the Fourth of July festivities are over and before the last sparkler has cooled off, the Back to School sales begin, on Labor Day stores start selling Halloween candy, Thanksgiving might get one section of one aisle between the discounted trick or treat miniscule candies and the onslaught of Christmas paraphanalia which hits earlier and earlier every year. I heard my first carol in the mall PRE-Halloween. Not only is that wrong, it's just depressing. One more chorus of "Santa Baby" or "Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me" and I'm going to rupture my own eardrums with a shishkebab skewer.

I'm not a Scrooge, I actually really enjoy Christmas and spending time with my family and friends, but I was raised to believe the Christmas is about giving ... giving of yourself and your time ... not giving ANOTHER sweater or ANOTHER tie or ANOTHER ugly knicknack that no one wants or needs. The full-throttle overcommercialization kills me.

The malls are full of vile tempered harpies shrieking about the misplaced not-on-sale-even-though-it-was-on-the-clearance-rack hideous blouse or sweater that they've spent an entire 10 seconds selecting, screaming babies who just want to go home, mobs of teens and tweens who have no real money to speak of and hog up seats in restaurants so they can split and order of french fries or share a piece of cake or wander en masse into shops (like Hot Topic) and boutiques (like Claires or Icing that hold about 7 people before they are crowded) and mill around unfolding things, picking things up and not putting them back -- or worse -- just dropping them on the floor, and, my personal favorite, senior citizens, bless them, truly bless them, but for the love of cocoa and candycanes show them how to park in one space and one space only, how to work the ATM, how to scan their credit cards and sign the card-reader gizmo, how to take their bags and get the hell out of the way because 17 people are in line behind them and no one wants to hear how much their daughter is going to love these sweatpants because she's having a hysterectomy, how to pay their charge card balances by mail, and how to say please, thank you and excuse me, because let's face it, just because one attains a certain age, that doesn't exempt one from common courtesy.

Small wonder that I did lots of ONLINE shopping this year. It is all that has saved me from becoming a homicidal lunatic. I will gladly pay shipping if it means no one is running baby carriages up my legs or telling me about their gallbladder surgery while we are forced into contact in the Dunkin'Donuts queue.

So, here I am again, not quite done with the shopping, or the wrapping, or the card sending and wondering where the bloody hell did November and December go!

Odds are good that my next post will be in 2007 -- so until then, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Perhaps Christmas 2007 will be the year I get it together. Place your wagers now. Me, I'm betting on NOPE!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

November 1 - 61 days until 2007

The year is flying by and so much is going on. Halloween is behind us and Thanksgiving is imminent. I'm cooking this year because we're staying at home. Son is having surgery on Tuesday and so we won't being doing any long rides or big moves.

I'm hoping we can get away at Christmas, even though skiing is out of the question for this year. Maybe just North Conway and some shoppping and dining out and relaxing. Speaking of Christmas, it is just about time to start shopping. Son wants an XBox 360 and a few things from Daddy's Junky Music, a few t-shirts and some cds, daughter wants a DSLite, an ecosphere, a digital camera and a Cape Cod bracelet. I guess we're pretty much past the toy stage. In all honesty, I'm relieved, I really don't like the junk they market to kids these days, no learning toys, no thinking games, just ugly dolls that encourage little girls to look like whores, even Barbie has a "My Scene" line that pushes that image. Boys toys aren't much better. Things like blocks, trivia, problem solving, and even pretend have fallen out of popularity. Even toys aren't that big a hit anymore. The kids at school all want cell phones, mp3 players, portable dvd players and so on. My daughter is one of the only kids in her class that doesn't have a cell phone. I don't think she needs one, but I can see why she wants one ... because everyone else has one. Lots of kids got them as First Communion gifts -- 7 years old and they get a cell phone. Sigh.

Daughter will be 11 in January, time is flying. Before dance started we had to buy bras. She's turning slowly into a teenager, but she's still a very young 10 year old. Other girls in her class have started chasing boys and becoming clothing snobs and toting pocket books and lip stick around, my little one isn't particularly interested. She has boy friends, but isn't interested in having a boyfriend. Actually, not unlike me, she gets along better with boys.

Time to starting thinking of things I am thankful for!

Friday, October 27, 2006

This weekend cannot start soon enough ...

this has just simply been hellweek. Standardized testing and other things bolloxed up the week at school. Teachers can be such inside-the-box-with-the-lid-taped-shut thinkers sometimes. Inflexible and unwilling to bend in the slightest way. Work at the firm was busy but mundane. Halloween is Tuesday night and maybe once the brouhaha of that is over things will settle down. Taking my daughter to Don Quixote at the ballet tomorrow. Can't wait to just relax.

Looking for inspiration and finding nothing but dirty laundry.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New look

Writing because I promised I would.

Stressful day. Some of the kids are just wild, no self control and bold, my god bolder than I could ever imagine being, even now. There are several issues within every issue and the whole thing can be so tiring.

Still, there are tiny glimmers of wonder and awe that make it worth it.

The girl is being a goth for Halloween, the boy considers himself too old for trick or treating and will content himself with passing out candy. It works out nicely enough anyway since they go to my parents neighborhood and my poor Madre fell on the way to The Cocktail Party and severely sprained her ankle.

Looking forward to Christmas and some time off. It's just 9 weeks away which is too close and too far away all at the same time. Sigh.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Why do I have such a hard time pulling this off ...

Okay -- start again, promise to write. Forget.

Don't expect much, you won't be disappointed.

Crazy busy, the kids are back to school, I'm back to two jobs, psychotic hours, and why? So I can pay off our debts and get out of the neighborhood. I don't hate it, per se, but there aren't enough kids around and no where to play. It wasn't an issue when the kids were small, but now they need room.

Working three nights a week at downtown firm and four days a week at school -- total of 45 hours, no biggie, but split shifts so the day starts with the alarm clock for hubby at 5:45 and ends with resetting the alarm clock when I get back to bed at around 12:30 a.m. Not every night, but even when I don't work I can't fall asleep too early or I'm wide awake way too early. I'm intrinsicly programmed for about 5 hours, maybe 6. More than that and I'm awake and staring at the ceiling wondering how long until I can reasonably get up and make some tea and start the day.

The kids are good, more or less, school is a bit of a struggle for the boy child, but that's the cost of going to an elite school -- hard work = benefit. He's just starting to get it. I hope he settles down a bit more. Girl child is fine, honors all the way, but it's only fifth grade and her brother had the same track record so nothing's a given. They are busy with piano, singing, dance and hobbies. Our house is never quiet, but it's never boring either.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Another month, nearly, and not a peep.

Oh, well, guilty as charged. Crazy busy. School auction, youth group, activities, blah, blah, blah.

Look forward to next week, school vacation starts, and we're heading to Colonial Williamsburg for a few days and Busch Gardens for a few days and just some time away from the rush of daily life.

Caught Spam-A-Lot last night at the Colonial. What a bloody riot it was. Screaming laughing throughout. Like Pythons in 3D. Super show, highly recommended.

Talking the kids to Wicked next week, I've been waiting for it for AGES. Loved the book, and while I hear the play takes some rampant liberties with the storyline, it still should be fantastic. The soundtrack is awesome and the kids are really looking forward to their first "real theatre" experience. I just couldn't deal with Barney or Dora or any of that other kids' drek that comes around, so this is their first. Took S to the Nutcracker two years ago, but this is different.

So, that' s what's going on. Working nights, working days, working at home, working mom. Sigh. Still, it could be worse. Big plus, took a loan and paid off the credit cards. Now with a little luck (we do live in an OLD house) and some self-control, we'll be in good shape by summer.


Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A lot more than 100 Words

The impetus for this writing was which is what it states -- a website dedicated to writing in 100 word increments. Some of these were submitted there, some I wrote too sporadically to post there. Looking back still makes me shudder -- who could have guessed what would happen five days into it.

September 6, 2001:
First attempts at anything are seldom simple. It is easier to presume failure than to risk it. It is our fragility and fear of the untested which keeps us from boldly going forth and just doing a thing. We ask, where to begin? How to begin? And of course, why? These personal challenges can drag us down to a point where the task becomes too gargantuan or push us forward into uncharted territory with unfettered boldness. Will this new task be daunting or rewarding? Useful or pointless? Or will doing it, for its own sake, be enough?

September 7, 2001:
Today I watched you go into the school yard; your yellow backpack just a little too large, your hair just a little too wispy for your headband to hold, your shorts just a little too long. You looked around, located your class and found a friendly person to stand next to. You smiled and laughed as if you'd been best buddies forever, yet you've only just met. You waited patiently for the bell to ring, then entered the building. I watched you go, hoping you'd turn and wave. You didn't. Another small step away from me and into the world.

September 8, 2001:
Today I attended a wedding; a joining of two people in love. They seemed so sure as they stood there hand in hand, defying the world and the odds. They were living in the moment, looking only at each other and seeing only each other. For one moment life was perfect and time stood still. I silently offered a prayer to any god that might be listening that at least once a day they were able to look at each other and recapture that shining moment in time when all was right and good. I hope someone heard my prayer.

September 9, 2001:
The way you kiss me speaks volumes. The drive-by kiss that says "Thanks for making the lunches, I'm running late;" the solid kiss when you arrive home that says "My day was terrible, thank you for being an island in the storm;" the urgent kisses once the kids are asleep, the dog is walked, the dinner dishes are done and the housework as completed as its going to get that says "Its time for us;" the soft fluttering morning kisses, the ones that flicker like eyelashes across my lips, those ones say "I still love you after all these mornings."

September 10, 2001:
Succulent and wet you wait for me. The first cut bleeds red, moist and rich, rivulets slowly drawn down and away; each slice more satisfying than its predecessor. The flash of my blade lends contrast to the lush flesh it opens, neatly and cleanly repeating itself every few seconds. My mouth waters involuntarily. My tongue hungers for the merest taste, knowing the subtlety and sweetness that await it. Next comes a measure of olive oil swirled on a plate and confettied with sweet basil and a crumbling of creamy goat cheese. The perfect accompaniments to the fresh sliced garden tomato.

September 11, 2001 (early morning)
He has snuggled in tight to her form the way he does so often when they are alone. They breathe in unison, a steady rhythmic drone. She awakens and stretches and strokes him ever so slightly. She feels his warm breath and the way his body molds into her spine. He nuzzles her hand, encouraging her to continue. He is content and happy and she smiles as she watches him slowly rise up through levels of consciousness into awareness. He rolls over with legs splayed and presents his belly for a scratch before trotting to the kitchen for his kibbles.

September 11, 2001 (noontime):
My heart is pounding, my hands are shaking, my eyes and ears rebelling against the sights and sounds of the media onslaught. I am sick with worry for people I know closely, distantly, barely, cybernetically and not at all. The unimaginable has become stark reality. Bricks and mortar, steel and glass, flesh and blood mingled with jet fuel, anger and inconceivable hate. I want to wake up but I am awake. I want to close my eyes but the image of the World Trade Center crumbling is burned into my brain. My daughter wants lunch, she's 5, oblivious. Lucky girl.

September 12, 2001:
Mommy, why did they crash the plane knowing they would die?
Why did they crash the plane into the building on purpose?
Why didn't they let the people out of the plane?
Why did they hurt all those people who didn't do anything to them?
Why did those people jump out of the window?
What happens when that building falls down?
What happens to the people inside?
Do you think someone will find the people stuck inside?
Do you think they'll die?
Were any of them kids?
Do you think that could happen in Boston?
Mommy, why are you crying?

September 13, 2001:
words american airlines united airlines crash
more words fire explosion world trade center
more words pentagon suicide mission hijackers
more words missing unaccounted for feared dead
more words rubble one hundred ten stories steel framework
more words men women children
more words firefighters police ems workers
more words jet fuel body parts ash
more words falling jumping running fleeing
more words hospitals doctors nurses blood donors
more words ambulances front end loaders body bags
more words two hundred sixty six passengers
more words suspects arrested passports security
more words ramp pass connections terrorists cells
words words words words shut up

September 14, 2001:
We have seen the face of evil and not cowered, now we must be steadfast in our resolve to prove that we have been stunned but not crippled and we will not tolerate this attack on our land. We must show the world that we are not the enemy, we are not the barbarians, and we will not allow ourselves to devolve into schoolyard bullies. We must, for our own sakes, take a measured, rational approach over the next few days and weeks. We cannot give in to our gut feeling to do harm. Our country deserves better than that.

September 15, 2001:
They want to help me sleep better, they want to make me feel fresher, they want to get my clothes cleaner. Choose Coke over Pepsi, JIF over Skippy, Hefty over Glad. I can have it MY way at Burger King. I can have whiter teeth in just two weeks. I can help my kids learn better with The Phonics Games. I can get relief from acid indigestion with Tums Plus Calcium! I've got milk. I can get the same great salon looks for less with Suave. They are commercials and I was very relieved to see them on television today.

September 16, 2001:
Today we enjoyed dinner with my husband's family some of whom we haven't seen in nearly a year. Yesterday we gathered with my family to finally memorialize the loss of my grandfather nearly 50 years ago. I saw cousins I haven't seen in three or four years. These events were planned before the world went to hell, but the timing could not have been better. It has been two days of laughter and tears, discussions and debates, hugs and exchanging of new addresses. Our children have grown and our lives have changed, but our family circle is still strong. Amen.

September 17, 2001:
I'm finally alone with myself and my thoughts. The kids are at last in school all day. The house is quiet except for the dog barking at the mailman. The streets are as crowded as usual. Airplanes fly overhead again. Drivers honk and curse and wave certain fingers out the window. There is other news on the radio. The stock market is open again. A package arrived with the mail today, a trinket I had ordered last Monday and immediately forgot about. It seems so long ago though it hasn't been a week. Time stood still and yet marched on.

September 18, 2001:
This evening's commute was hell. Normally, it takes me about thirty minutes to travel, via highway, the 3 miles from my home to my office. (Getting home at night takes six minutes garage to front door - two songs on the radio.) Today I got off the highway and headed through the backroads which criss-cross the city and are usually congested (forty-five minutes to get to the same destination, about a mile longer). There were eight or nine separate accidents on various highways around Boston. The sky was bright blue and dotted with clouds. I'm betting they were looking at airplanes.

September 19, 2001:
"Can you show me how to write in cursive?"
"What are identity numbers?"
"Can we play Monopoly?"
"When does the Harry Potter movie come out?"
"Can we get the new Disney movie?"
"Where are my glasses?"
"What's for dinner?"
"Can you read to me?"
"Do we have enough milk?"
"Did you know that Darth Vader was once Anakin Skywalker?"
"How can Barbie be forty and have a new baby sister?"
"Are you coming to bed?"
They are easy questions.
They are important questions.
These are the questions I can answer.
Things have changed, but things have remained constant as well.

September 20, 2001:
Sleep. The respite of the innocent. I wish it were mine. I am exhausted yet I lie here and stare at the ceiling hour after eternal hour. My mind races with unbidden images and unwanted thoughts. I am unable to banish these intruders and incapable of preventing their assault. I take deep cleansing breaths, I count whole pastures of sheep, I toss and turn and occasionally doze but never venture far enough into rest to actually sleep. I never dream anymore. As the light slowly brightens the room, I drift away only to be forced to rise again moments later.

September 21, 2001:
I am empty. I have nothing to say. I'm finally exhausted. I've run out of answers. It seems we are on the brink of something cataclysmic, teetering on the edge of an abyss none of us wishes to look into but knowing that it is virtually inevitable. We cannot simply look back and gape. We cannot stand still and will time to do the same. We must go forward and try to find direction among the carnage and seek justice amid chaos. We are a superpower, a mighty nation united in the face of adversity. I am tiny and afraid.

September 22, 2001
Today was an exceptional day. It is the eleventh anniversary of the day I married my best friend. It's been seventeen years since we first met, yet we still find wonderful things to explore in each other every day. We still kiss for no reason, dance in the kitchen, and make love on the living room floor. We hold hands, communicate without speaking and sleep spoonlike. I'm still wildly in love with one man after all this time. One man who has never tried to own my heart or possess my soul. To one so rare I give them willingly.

September 23, 2001
Is it wrong to feel joy in the midst of sorrow? Is it selfish to be happy when so many are devastated? Is it uncaring to laugh at simple things while others are grappling with unimaginable grief? Should I feel guilty for being alive? The simplest things have become terribly complex. Laughter, for example; how dare I laugh when so many are hurting? How dare I? I must laugh, I must smile, I must seek out joy in small things, or else, I shall lie down and cry until I die of exhaustion. This atrocity must not consume my life.

September 24, 2001
I sat on the beach staring blankly at nothing in particular. The day was sunny but crisp; the kind of day that brings out joggers, walkers and stay-home moms pushing prams. I watched these people ambling, meandering and rushing past and wondered how many were questioning things they'd taken for granted, as I was. I wondered if any of them were grieving the sudden loss of a loved one or friend. I wondered if I were making too much of this. Was I being overly emotional? I don't know the answer. I only know I can't just "get over it."

September 25, 2001
My friend returned to work today. She's talking, pausing and recounting the past few days and the memorial service for her brother. She needs to talk, needs to remember, needs to make it real in her heart. Tears trace slow paths down her cheeks. She's speaking of a birthday party this past weekend for her now fatherless nephew. She's reflecting on the strength of her father while giving the eulogy for his second deceased child. She's talking again so calmly, discussing the stories of recent days with the same anger and outrage that we all share, then tears come again.

September 26, 2001
Dressed like medieval peasants they walk hand in hand through the gates and into another world. In this world there are no skyscrapers, no airplanes, and no Taleban. There are cosy shops peddling their wares; perfumes, ribbons, herbs and incense; an armory where burly men in kilts forge broadswords using hammers and fire; a glass blower magically melding sand and pigment into vases. Pushcarts tempt the senses with turkey legs, onion flowers and chowder in bread bowls. And there, beyond the chain maille vendor, is a bar wench, proffering beer and wine. Wonderful liquid freedom that washes all reality away.

September 28, 2001
The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra played at Boston College for an alumni scholarship fundraiser. The United States Military Academy Chorus and Anthony Kearns of the Irish Tenors lent voices to the evening. Glow sticks were passed, the flag was unfurled, America the Beautiful was sung and I found myself crying during the verse about "alabaster cities gleam undimmed by human tears". The 1812 Overture began, an ocean of red, white and blue balloons cascaded from the ceiling, promptly popping as they came in contact with the candles on the table. The resulting popping sounded eerily like gunshots. My heart skipped.

September 29, 2001
The zoo is a wonderful place; especially through the eyes of a five year old. Gorillas are cool but sometimes they bang on their glass window and startle you. Giraffes have a hard time bending to eat grass. The leopard is "supposed" to have spots but ours is solid black. The flamingos are pink because they eat shrimp. The small donkey's name is Squirt, he's blind. There's only one lion, there used to be two, but the boy-lion died of a bad sickness. Thelma's an owl. She only has one wing and can't fly. She should get a job there.

September 30, 2001
Things are getting back to normal, or so says the media. Normal? For whom I wonder. Things are not normal for me. I look at our government and wonder how long they can resist starting a war. I look at my city and wonder how long the simmering uneasiness can stay under control. I look at my family and wonder what the future holds for my brother-in-law in the Coast Guard and my cousin in the Marines. I look at my children and wonder what kind of memories are going to scar their childhood dreams. Normal? I don't think so.

October 1, 2001
I quietly take my seat and watch the unfolding scene before me. The lush youthful green of spring has given way to a serendipitous blend of fiery reds, brilliant oranges and vibrant yellows. Some mottled, some multi-hued, some perfectly evenly painted, each one more blazingly glorious than its predecessor. Together they dance to an unpredictable improvised score of breezes and gusts. Tenuously they cling to their stage not wanting the curtain to fall on their performance just yet. In a breathtaking finale, individuals pirouette gracefully downward, spinning and twirling with reckless abandon, each a momentary star in a seasonal ballet.

October 2, 2001:
It is the end of an era and time for a change. There isn't much worth salvaging. There isn't much left at all. Once it was a free form place brimming with thoughts and ideas that were all over the place from raging liberal to rampant conservative. Now its rather homogenous with only sporadic deviance from center and its been polluted beyond redemption. There were flashes of brilliance and occasional genius, but mainly it's become a notepad for minor life events. The Son shall be different. It will take the good parts of the Father and leave the rest behind.

October 3, 2001:
They find a quiet table and order lunch. He gets a steak and cheese sub, she gets a four cheese calzone. Neither order requires ketchup. They talk, they laugh, they discuss everything and nothing, they plan for the future, reminisce about the past, contemplate the present and wonder where the world is heading. No one needs food cut up, no one spills anything, everyone uses a napkin without prompting. They consume their drink without any slurping sounds in the background. They eat their food without having to perform the heimlich maneuver. School is in session and lunch dates have resumed.

October 4, 2001:
the breakfasts are made and cleaned up
the kids are safely at school, faces clean, lunchboxes full, homework done
the dog is walked
the mail is opened
the laundry is done
the beds are made
the rugs are vacuumed clean of dog and cat hair
the dishwasher hums quietly in the background
the kettle whistles
the tea is steeping
the internet is activated
its time for a morning break
the phlog folks are all accounted for
the email holds no new messages of any importance
the newspaper is read
the errands are completed
time to get ready for work tonight

October 5, 2001:
If I were old, I'd speak with more impudence, act with less caution, write with little thought of anyone's opinions. I'd wear inappropriate clothing and tell off-color jokes. I wouldn't count calories or worry about cholesterol. I'd consider a nap midmorning to be necessary and an irish coffee before bed essential. I'd wear pretty pajamas to bed and throw the practical nightgowns in the trash. I'd stop being polite to those who don't deserve it and start shouting out loud the things that the jerks of the world really need to be told. I just can't wait to be old.

October 6, 2001:
Pink, too pale and shy; coral, no just no; brown, not quite right; red, ultimately sexy but all wrong for my coloring; wine yes! Perfect plush plum, vivid ruby, raisin, cappuccino, mulberry, eggplant, cabernet, scarlet, maraschino, merlot, garnet. I love them all. I love the way they transform my face, that slash of color brightens my eyes and my spirits and gives even the most casual day a kick; its smooth, its sexy, its sensual. It's in my purse, my medicine cabinet, my dresser drawer, my desk; it is a harmless seduction that is totally gratifying. I love lipstick.

October 7, 2001:
The questions have started again:
Are we at war?
Yes, sort of.
Are they going to blow up anything here?
I don't know, but I hope not.
If they can film Osama Bin Laden on the news, why don't they just shoot him?
Because he filmed those comments and then sent them to the television studio.
Why don't we just blow up the whole country?
Because the whole country isn't to blame.
Do you think Uncle Brian will have to go to Afghanistan?
I don't know, I hope not, the Coast Guard is pretty busy here.
Anyone have better answers?

October 8, 2001
I look down. I see the ground below me. I see the grass, still green. I see my shoes with the scuff on one toe where I tripped over a scooter left carelessly in the yard. I see my shadow, drawn long with the afternoon sun. I see ants struggling with a bread crust missed by the birds. I see a damp spot where my father-in-law parks his car and make a mental note to tell him to check his oil. I look down a lot lately. I don't want to think about what could fall out of the sky.

October 9, 2001
I want to put down this burden and rest. I want to stop being an adult, stop being responsible, stop having small faces turn to me for answers. I want to be rocked to sleep without a care in the world. I want my biggest decision of the day to be whether or not to have jelly with my peanut butter. I want to be required to take a nap. I want to be referred to as bright, assertive and inquisitive instead of pushy, bitchy and intrusive. I want to leave maturity behind for a day and experience simple joy.

October 10, 2001
We are just as barbaric as those seen in news footage celebrating the destruction of the WTC. We were discussing the bombings in Afghanistan and co-worker stated that she was happy we were finally doing something, another said she stood up and cheered at the football game when word came of our retaliation. I'm not happy, I see nothing to rejoice about. Am I alone in thinking we've taken an unretractable step into chaos with a vague and non-specific course of action? I know there can be no peaceful resolution; I wonder if there can be a resolution at all.

October 11, 2001
I sat at Castle Island watching the planes arrive and depart from Logan Airport. The arriving planes are low enough to cast a shadow as they pass in front of the sun. It was unintentional yet fitting that I was there because the crashes were one month ago on a clear warm day not unlike today. I wondered how many people had forced their hearts out of their throats as they took their seats. It isn't really an act of bravery to fly, but rather a steadfast determination that "they" can't run our lives or make us live in fear.

October 12, 2001
The rubble remains, the bodies are still missing, some never to be found, the fires still smolder and the clean up job remains precarious. The rescuers have become recovery workers, the missing persons posters flourish like morbid flowers. The earth keeps turning, the sun keeps rising, the tides ebb and flow but we are no longer in synch. We scrutinize strangers more closely, we eye lone packages and rubbish with suspicion, we expect something terrible to happen and our breath hitches at the sound of airplanes. How do people live like this every day for years, decades or even lifetimes?

October 13, 2001
Red wine, my friend, my solace, my mind easer and thought eraser. One bottle all to myself and empty. I'm off to sleep soon. I've longed for escape, for peace, for respite, for freedom from thoughts and tonight I've found that quietness. Together but separate we sat and downloaded mp3s of patriotic songs -- two glasses -- for my mom, we burned them, one more glass -- and tested the disc and indexed it, one more glass and the bottle is empty. You were drinking Sam Adams and so I had it all to myself. Maybe tonight I'll finally sleep.

October 14, 2001

October 15, 2001

October 16, 2001
Aren't you tired of seeing it over and over and over again?
I AM tired of seeing it, yet I can't pull myself away. I need to listen to stories from the survivors. I need to know that even though 6,000 people died, 25,000 were evacuated and lived. I need to see small lights amid the darkness.
Why do you do this to yourself?
Do what to myself? Confront reality, empathize, ache, cry? Should I deny those feelings? I can't.
Don't you want to get back to normal?
I am normal; those who can just set it aside are strange.

October 17, 2001

October 18, 2001
Blank again

October 19, 2001
19. The average age of the soldiers in Viet Nam was 19. My uncle was 19 when he landed in country and he remains 19 to this day. He didn't want to go to college and was unsure of what direction or profession he wanted to go into. He signed up voluntarily for the army, even though we were at war. He wasn't idealistic, a patriot or a killer. Only one man from his Division survived his tour, the rest went home in body bags, if they went home at all. 7 more days and he would have been 20.

October 20, 2001
Saturday dawned bright and clear. The kids woke early and were ready for swimming lessons an hour early. My husband got last minute tickets for the BC/Pitt game and my son was thrilled. My daughter and I went shopping for nothing in particular and out to lunch. My sister took the kids that night for pizza and a sleepover. My husband went to visit a friend he hasn't seen in a while. I spent a relaxing evening with a life long friend discussing her new business. It was a nearly perfect day, followed by a good night's sleep at last.

October 21, 2001
I hate people who aren't attentive. I realize the salesclerk at Dunkin' Donuts isn't a Rhodes Scholar, but she should be able to fill a simple order. All I wanted was a pumpkin muffin. Since we had to pick up the kids from my sister's house, we stopped to bring over a light breakfast. I ordered three large coffees, two with cream and sugar and one with just cream and a half dozen muffins: two blueberry, two corn and two pumpkin. Simple right? No. She apparently reached into the wrong basket and grabbed two banana nut. Yuck, I hate walnuts.

October 22, 2001
I'm spending this week covering minor office work for the administrative assistant at my kids' school. In one two hour span, seven kids came to the office with various bodily complaints including a loose tooth, a stomach ache (try eating breakfast before coming to school), a bumped knee (no blood, no swelling), a headache (didn't study for the vocabulary test), a pinched finger (no blood, no swelling) and two who just didn't feel well. When I went to school you had to bleed out your eyes or have a compound fracture to see the nurse. All went back to class.

October 23, 2001
How do you know when you've lost your mind. Is there any recognition of it within the self? Do you *know* you've become a nutcase? Do you *feel* like a weirdo? I've begun to fell left behind. It seems everyone I know is going about their business without a care in the world and I'm stuck standing still, gaping at the thought of what is going on the world, wondering what's going to happen next. I want to be happy and carefree and while I'm not depressed and sad, there is a pervasive heaviness that I just can't put down.

October 24, 2001
The clouds loom in the distance, their slow steady march across the sky unbridled and unstoppable. Dark and ominous they smother the blue and gold of daytime plunging us into night in spite of the hour. Sinister and taunting they blanket the skyscape, suffocating the last vestiges of light. Their pregnant bellies heavy with moisture they wait until they can withhold their deluge no longer. Umbrellas blossom beneath them and quickly rush away.

October 25, 2001
Is it bravery that brings us to the city, the malls, the football games, the post office, the hospitals, the supermarkets, the office buildings, or the airport? Is it courage to get up every morning and continue the day to day routine of living? Is it okay to feel a tinge of panic when the elevator dips a little, even though it always did? Is it sane to feel safer now that we have armed guards at the airport? Is it rational to mourn the loss of our complacent security while being apprehensive of our new reality? Well, is it?

October 26, 2001
A little voice asks, "Mom, are you awake?"
A small hand pulls my ear and a slightly bigger voice demands, "Mom, are you awake?"
Another small hand pulls my eye open and peers into it from a distance of three centimeters. I concede defeat and say, "Yes, I'm awake, what do you need?"
The voice says, "I can't sleep, I had a bad dream."
The nightstand clock reads 4:30 a.m.
"C'mon in," says I. She bounds up, snuggles in and is asleep in no time.
I, however, am awake for the day. Her feet are freezing and she snores quietly.

October 27, 2001
Exhaustion is my friend. It allows me to fall into bed too far gone to think about anything. Exhaustion conquers ideas, dreams and thoughts before they can reach the surface of my mind. Exhaustion stops the prodding voice of my inner self, it shuts off the images of the day, it silences my mind, it suspends reality for a while. If I just stay awake long enough, then I can sleep free of assault. I can get myself to that place where hard sleep is the only option. It's not the best way, but for now it's the only way.

October 28, 2001
Here it comes again. It's late October, time for that nagging noisy cough and stuffy head. It's time once again for that cold that just won't go away. Every year it happens, a few weeks before Thanksgiving. It starts out as a runny nose and scratchy throat, then slowly becomes something deeper and more rattling. By mid-November I sound like a 65 year old chain smoker. I was in two different post offices last week and despite my common sense, the achy feeling did momentarily make me more nervous than in previous years. I'm tired of this ever present ghost.

October 29, 2001
A red cape. What do you mean you need a red cape for school? Okay. I can do this. Somehow being a mother means certain talents have been bestowed upon me by the gods. Sewing, however, is not one of them. Ingenuity, however, is. So, I go to the fabric store and buy two yards of red fabric - better to have more, just in case. I take the material to work, the only place I get any peace and quiet. Between my rudimentary sewing box and a glue gun, I should be able to produce something resembling a cape. Sigh.

October 30, 2001
I should have known it would be yellow. It's her favorite color. She's worn it to bed and tried to wear it to school. At least she takes of the mask to eat. Halloween is coming and she's wearing last year's costume because she loved it so much. She's being Pikachu again. She strolls around the house babbling "pika pika" in the secret language of the Pokemon. She's been practicing saying "trick or treat" and then "thank you." It could be annoying if she wasn't so earnest. Her brother is being a baseball player. He's underwhelmed by the entire event.

October 31, 2001
My son doesn't like where we live any more. There aren't enough kids, the park has been taken over by the homeless who've been displaced by the Big Dig, the vacant lot next to our house which was overgrown with weeds and wildflowers has been taken over by a stone cutting business who removed the greenery but replaced it with slabs of granite and marble and barrels of discarded shards of stone. We live on the outer rim of the inner city and the ugliness of urban life is too prevalent. Our own home is $300,000 away; an unbreachable chasm.

November 1, 2001
How can I be lonely in a room full of people talking and laughing; some of them talking to and laughing with me? How come I feel so disconnected from this idle prattling? I'm going down again into the sadness and I can't stop myself or do anything to prevent it. I can't make myself think happy thoughts or whistle a cheery tune. I want to wake up and feel that things are reset, that the world is on kilter, that I am not sitting on a seesaw waiting for the person on the other end to suddenly jump off.

November 2, 2001
It doesn't feel like fall this year. The weather has been all wrong. It's been warm when it should be cool. I'm wearing sandals instead of sweaters. The leaves are vibrant and dance from their trees with reckless abandon. The children shuffle through the piles, crunching and crackling in the fiery hued heaps. Halloween has come and gone and Thanksgiving wares are already being marked down. Christmas decorations are on sale. Department stores are hosting yet another one-day sale and pushing the holidays upon us. I'm rooted in place tearing pages from the calendar and wondering where the days go.

November 3, 2001
I miss my grandmother. She was my first best friend. She made me silver princess capes and gave me rhinestone earrings to match. She bought me my first bra, though I hardly needed one. She taught me how to bake, how to crochet, and how to make tea – never in a mug and never with a tea bag. She told me I was beautiful, but it was she who was beautiful, inside, where it matters. She grew forgetful in her later years and occasionally mistook green eyeliner for eyebrow pencil. She was grouchy and snappy sometimes, but I loved her.

November 4, 2001
Can someone tell me why November 1 is the Christmas season? The Halloween candy has barely been marked down before the Christmas cards are put on display. There is a small buffet of Thanksgiving items but it is overpowered by the charge and spend mentality that obliterates Thanksgiving, the one holiday dedicated to showing gratitude for all of the good things in our lives. To my husband, my children, my parents, and my friends: thanks for picking me up when I was down, thanks for holding my hand when there weren't sufficient words, thanks for being in my life unconditionally.

November 5, 2001
My little girl lost her first tooth last week. I don't know why this seems like such a milestone, yet it does. This has been a year of changes and growth, for both of us. Now the questions seep into my mind. Did I do enough, did I play enough, was I stern enough, was I too stern? Did I give her the tools necessary to navigate life, did I lead by example? I hope she forgives me any short-comings she finds. I did my best and will continue to do so. Unfortunately, I only get one shot at this.

November 6, 2001
City living has made me jaded. I walk in the park and see a homeless man sleeping with his head near third base. Keep walking. I see a small cluster of teens in matching hoodies sharing a brown paper wrapped bottle and a joint. Keep walking. I see a woman parked in car in broad daylight selling all she has left. Keep walking. I see tiny baggies and vials now somewhat camouflaged by the falling leaves. Keep walking. I see discarded burned spoons and a stray syringe. Keep walking. As long as I keep walking, the city stays at bay.

November 7 to November 18, 2001

November 19, 2001
What about the others? What about those who weren't firemen, policemen or EMS workers? What about the ordinary people, the coffee shop employees, the janitorial staff, the employees of the World Trade Center towers and of the Pentagon, and the people on the airplanes. I'm stunned at the losses suffered by the public servants of New York but I'm overloaded with their stories being the sole focus. Their losses are profound, but what about the others? They were mothers and fathers, children and siblings, friends and neighbors too. They weren't heroes that day, but they are just as sorrowfully missed.

Jan 23, 2002
In the first light of day, he watched the minute flutter of her eyelashes as she slept, her breath gently stirring the hairs on his arm he held her close. He knew when he saw her at Lydia's party that he had to meet her, speak to her, look into her eyes, touch her hand, her hair, the curve of her back. In such a short time, she had become his whole world. He couldn't imagine life without her and didn't know how soon he'd have to do just that. He was her summer love and autumn was restlessly approaching.

Jan 26, 2002
The hollow thud and the dog's yapping signaled the arrival of the mailman. She scooped up the short stack of business envelopes, bills mostly, and sorted them out. A gas bill for each of the three tenants, a supermarket flier as well. A catalog from Williams Sonoma for her sister, what a waste of paper, the girl never cooks anything. Finally, a post card from Madame Alexandra, a psychic friend. She had insights into the future to share for a fee; you'd think one of them would be that the addressee of her postcard was three years in the ground.

Jan 27, 2002
It started out slowly. A little taste, a little on the gums, a little numbness that wasn't the detached sensation that alcohol could be. The first time the coiled twenty was passed her way, she handed it on and just smiled. The second time, she dipped her head, put a finger to the side of her nose and took a deep breath, inward. She pinched her nostril and tilted her head back like she'd seen the others do and waited for what happens next. The tingling in her face and rush of her heart told her she'd done it right. submissions:
Feb. 1 - 2002
Grampie's eyes were blue, the rest of him was orange. He was a vibrant person, proud, stubborn, independent and genuine. He was an intelligent man who survived on common sense, a razor wit and a fourth grade education. When we were kids, he would march 10 or 12 of the oldest grandchildren to the penny candy store every Sunday afternoon and blow five dollars and the shop clerk's nerves. In his older days he measured his fortune by the photographs that overflowed the mantle instead of by hospital stays and surgeries. Each day I see those eyes in the mirror.

Feb. 2 - 2002
She closed her eyes and sighed minutely into the darkness. Her pillows were cool and soft, those 450 thread count sheets were worth it. Beside her he shifted slightly in his sleep, his straight form encompassing hers, caressing her spine with his chest and her legs with his longer ones. He cast one arm carelessly about her waist drawing her to him without waking fully, their motions synchronized after all this time. She sighed again, the content gentle whoosh of breath that bid sleep to wash over her and the trials of the day to slip away with her consciousness.

Feb. 3 -2002
In order for someone to win, someone must lose. It's elemental, basic, simple, and harsh. For every victory there is defeat, for every win there is loss, for every high there is low, for every success there is failure. The thrill of winning the NFC Championship has been replaced with the crushing blow of losing the Superbowl. The NFC title that just a week ago was the banner of success, is now not long enough to stop the bleeding wound of coming in second. To sports fans, it IS whether you win or lose, not how you play the game.

Feb. 4 - 2002
Monday is perhaps my favorite day of the week. The rush rush of the weekend and its long list of errands and activities is over, the kids are at school, my dear one is at work and the comfort of aloneness has returned. I adore my family, yet I enjoy my solitude as well. Mondays are my bonus days, I don't go work but they all go about their business leaving me time to recharge my spent spirit for the upcoming week. Mondays I read, try out new recipes, drink chai, take naps, Mondays are treasured personal days. Tuesdays suck.

Feb. 5 - 2002
I thought the assault was over, that my nerves and senses had finally become accustomed to it all. I thought I was immune or at least adjusted. Wrong. There I sat, on the sofa, watching the sappy, over-rehearsed, trite comments of past presidents regarding patriotism and americanism and suddenly there it was once again; the impact, the fire, the collapse, surging once again across my line of sight and prodding relentlessly at my psyche. I don't want to forget, I can never forget, but I'm tired of replaying, reseeing, refeeling and remembering the horror. And so again, I cry silently.

Feb 6 - 2002
Valentine's Day is a hollow, sappy, sentimental mess of cheesy cards, tacky stuffed animals, overpriced dying flowers and contradictory expectations. It is, at least superficially, about love but actually, it is about appearances: which girl in the office got the biggest bouquet, the longest long-stemmed roses, the "good" chocolates or the most diamonds. It is about booking dinner reservations, getaway weekends and outdoing all others. Is it love or obligation, adoration or expectation? If he really loves you, he'll bring you flowers for no reason at all. Real love celebrates every day with exuberance and joy, not just February 14.

Feb. 7 - 2002
Childhood: a time to learn the fundamental education skills that are the foundations of all future endeavors; a time to learn the social skills of caring, sharing, self-deprecation, empathy and basic humanity; a time to learn that failure teaches many more valuable lessons than success and that sometimes we have to let you stumble to help you to learn. It would be easy to shelter you, do the hard work for you, get you out of the tough situations, but would it be better? We love you enough to let you make mistakes. You can't know how difficult that is.

Feb. 8 - 2002
Superstitious folks say bad things happen in threes and I certainly hope they're wrong. Yesterday a young woman I know as a friend of a friend died suddenly of a previously undetected heart defect. Early this morning a young girl I used to teach dance to died in a freak car accident where she was thrown from the vehicle and died instantly. I really am ambivalent about reading the newspaper today. I think if anything had happened, I'd have heard about by now, but it's still unsettling and two deaths in two days is tragic enough. Peace J and D.

Feb. 9 - 2002
Does soup have curative properties? I wonder. Nothing is as soothing as a steaming bowl of homemade chicken soup when you feel a cold or the flu coming on. Most likely it's the steam that makes one's head feel clearer and less congested. Logically, it makes one feel warmer and its comfort food. But is there more? Garlic has been used throughout the centuries for its health benefits and cayenne pepper has been shown to have a decongestive effect (yes, I add Tabasco to my soup). Celery and carrots provide vitamins. So maybe it is medical. I certainly need some.

Feb. 10 - 2002
Who are you? Not what do you do to earn a living. Not where do you work. Who are you? It's a tougher question than it appears. Factor out who you are to other people, spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, friend, partner, boss. Then factor out who you are in the workplace, CEO, Vice President, clerk, cog. What remains when you strip away all the associations and are left with nothing but the self. Who are you inside, what makes you unique, or worthwhile? What makes you useful to the societal tribe? What do you know, what do you bring?

Feb. 11 - 2002
I want to make very clear that I hate wakes. No one likes them, I know that, but I think I hate them more than most. Some will say they give closure and comfort, I've never witnessed that. I find them heart-wrenchingly barbaric. When my time comes, don't lay me out for those I despised to keen over and those who couldn't be bothered while I was living to come offer contrived sentiment. Please bury me quietly and then have a party; cry if you must but laugh too. If I have lived well, the smiles will outnumber the tears.

Feb. 12 - 2002
I'm overly distracted today. I cannot seem to rein myself in. My thoughts are everywhere and nowhere, scattered like marbles in a shallow glass bowl, rolling around, crashing into each other. They make no patterns, no sequences, nothing remotely coherent. Each one is something small but important, spinning and whirling around in its own small irregular orbit. I'm annoyed that I can't settle down and just focus on one thing or another. I'm restless and the minor headache I've had since yesterday is escalating into a not too subtle persist droning thud. Sleep is the answer, when is the question.

Feb. 13 - 2002
Its a small silvery purple tattoo so far down on my lower back that few have seen it. It's a celtic triquetra representing the stages of the female life: virginal maiden, mother protector and wise crone. It's a symbol that has many interpretations. Some imbue it with religious overtones of the christian trinity; others endow it with neo-pagan elements calling the points air, fire and water and the whole earth; still others some say it represents birth, life and death. To me it's something more. It is who I am: wife, mother and self: intertwined and forever inextricably tied together.

Feb. 14 - 2002
He was her first real love. He was the first man to break her heart and later put it back together. She was young but somehow she knew that he was he one, even if he didn't yet know it himself. She took him to her prom, he took her to bars and clubs where no one ever asked for ID. She dated him steadily for five years before he asked her to marry him. After an engagement period they married. After eleven years they're still married. She's now thirty-four and they've been a matched set for half her life.

Feb. 15 - 2002
How am I doing? How do they see me? Sometimes I think I'm okay and other times I wonder if I'm even qualified to be someone's mother. I answer the questions, help with the homework, make the meals, do the laundry and the cleaning, work at night so I can be there if they need me. I help out at their school and with their activities. They love me; I don't question that. But I wonder if they look at me and see what I saw when I looked up at my own mother with the eyes of a child.

Feb. 16 - 2002
He looked at me and smiled that vague polite but uncaring smile. He changed my oil, checked my fluids, topped off my wiper cleaner, and filled my tires to the proper pressure. He cleaned my windshield and offered to vacuum my car (which I declined). He gave me a little reminder sticker to come back in three months or three thousand miles and then took my money. He then informed me that I needed a new fan belt and should probably get my transmission fluid changed. No matter what, I always feel like they're taking advantage of my automotive ignorance.

Feb. 17 - 2002
My son's basketball team is on a winning streak. They're currently in second place and have won their last six games. I'm happy for him that they're doing so well, but more deeply pleased with the skills he's learning and rapidly mastering. More important than the score, he and his teammates are learning to play as a unit instead of individuals and how each position is crucial to the overall outcome of the game. Last year they learned how to lose gracefully, this year they finally get to savor victory as well. Hopefully, the lessons will carry over into life.

Feb. 18 - 2002
The zoo in winter is an odd and magical place, quiet yet alive and fascinating. The animals that laze away the warm summer months have come back to life. The snow leopard who usually hides out in the cool of her cave was basking in the sun and even the lions who usually pace restlessly were lolling around as if sunbathing. The lowland gorillas were quite animated and were interacting with the onlookers so much so that you wondered who was studying who. And best of all, the rude and tacky tourists who confuse zoos with circuses stay at home.

Feb. 19 - 2002
Why do I do this job? Why do I push myself to make them look good? Why do I make such an effort when its so clear they don't, can't or won't bother to do the same. Its no wonder this is considered a factory, not a firm. The way the automatons function, one wonders if they are capable of thought or if rote regurgitation of cites and statutes is all they're able to do. I process words, I make sense of gibberish and scribbles, I correct grammar, spelling and punctuation. I make them look good. Do they notice? Sigh.

Feb. 20 - 2002
Sometimes the words flow in a logical intelligent progression, a perfect choreography of nouns and verbs, adjectives and adverbs dancing and swaying in a flawless waltz of coherence. Other times they gush forth as if a levee has broken inside my mind, they tumble and fall over each other in waves of intermingled thought, unsorted and unclear. Sometimes they ricochet wildly around my head, their staccato blasts forceful but uninterpreted. Often they resemble puzzle pieces tossed carelessly on a table, parts of something more. They are genius and brilliance, lunacy and idiocy, snippets and shards awaiting their moment of clarity.

Feb. 21 - 2002
School vacations are a challenge. When I was a kid, they were fun, no school, no homework, what's not to love. Now that I'm the parent, they're a bit more challenging, no school, no homework isn't enough. They want to DO something. We're going away on their next break so this break we're staying local. So far we've gone to the zoo, gone bowling, tried ceramics and painting, eaten at a new restaurant and seen the newest Nickelodeon kids' movie. Tomorrow we're having lunch with Dad. They're getting bored. I can't wait for Monday and a return to regular schedules.

Feb. 22 - 2002
Watching children play without their knowledge of your presence is a precious moment. You hear your voice in their words, you see them mimic your body language and hopefully what you see is a positive reflection on you. My daughter talks to her dolls and stuffed animals. They become her and she becomes me. She recites stories almost verbatim from books we've only read once or twice. She instructs them on why they have to brush their teeth or wear a seatbelt. When she realizes I'm listening, she stops. Being privy to her soliloquies is a treasure for the heart.

Feb. 23 - 2002
I am off center. Neither left or right, just off center. I hate the feeling of being off-kilter from the world. I feel I'm always a headline or a conversation behind everyone else. Is it possible to be on five second time delay from the universe because I feel that's about how off I am. I think sleep would probably help and if I could just figure out how to wedge three more hours between 1 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. I'd be golden. I wonder if other people feel the pause or if I'm alone in this time continuum interference.

Feb. 24 - 2002
If you were to die this day, what would people say about your passing, what would they write in your obituary? Beloved spouse of someone? Dear mother or father of someone? Cherished friend of someone? How would they herald your passing: acclaimed author, renowned poet, Rhodes scholar, Nobel Prize winning physician, award winning inventor? Dying isn't what scares most of us, it 's being forgotten that terrifies us to the core of our being. Would your death leave a hole in someone's heart, a void that could not be filled with the passage of time? Then, you have lived well.

Feb. 25 - 2002
I can't believe that for years I looked to you for self-definition, for validation, for approval that was never fully given or how much time and energy I wasted on a relationship that was ultimately fruitless. Once you were my mentor, my friend and my confidante. You pretended to care, pretended to be involved, but ultimately it was all about you and when the plans no longer included you, you couldn't, wouldn't be happy for me. Goodbye shadow woman, you've haunted me too long and I no longer permit you to occupy any space in my mind or my heart.

Feb. 26 - 2002
I paid off all my credit cards this week. I buckled down and took out a loan to cover the entire balance, in full. I then cut up and cancelled each card. This act is strangely empowering. Credit and I have had a long relationship which ceased being beneficial and became more of an addiction or a dependency. Credit allowed me to acquire the latest, best and brightest but eventually the benefit was eclipsed by the bill. Now I have a smaller monthly loan to repay and am no longer accruing obscene amounts of interest. This alone is worth it.

Feb. 27 - 2002
I decided at the start of this year to divest myself of people and entanglements that only pull me down. Its an on-going, if exhausting labor of necessity. I've resolved some issues, mostly the easier ones since starting simple is usually better for me. I've worked on my finances, reexamined some friendships and taken a long realistic look at myself, who I am inside, where I am in life, what direction I'm moving in and where I hope to be in the future. Some things I've salvaged, some things I've let fall away. Oddly, salvaging was harder than letting go.

Feb. 28 -2002
Today was the kind of crisp winter day, sunny yet chilly, that makes me glad I'm a New Englander. Days like today make me happy I live in a climate where seasons change dramatically, for each has its own beauty. Some people don't see the beauty in winter, to them it is a season of death. To me it is a season of rest, a time to gather strength for the rebirth of spring and the robust vitality of summer. Winter is a time of accounting; perhaps that's why I've been compelled to consider the balances in my own life.

March 1:2002
I am a woman, a daughter, a wife, a mother, a sister, and a friend.
I am a lover, a dancer, an artist, a writer, a singer, a wanderer, a boss, and a peon. I am a bitch, a goddess, a lunch mother, a helper, I am a cook, a laundress, a chauffer, and a maid. I am a confidante, a confessor, a teacher and a student. I am a nurse, a mediator, a referee, and an arbitrator. I am a storyteller, a painter, a philosopher, a poet, and a dreamer.
I am all this, and more. What are you?

March 2:2002
I am stubborn, argumentative, strong-willed, intolerant of stupidity, quick to forgive but long to remember. I am protective, slow to anger, patient, compassionate and loyal to a fault. I am described as loving, witty, bitchy, acerbic, generous, passionate, intelligent and kind. I am at times sarcastic, fiery-tempered, foul-mouthed, long-winded and moody. I am calm, silly, unpredictable, serious when necessary, spirited and sexy. My friends know me to be honest, fair, opinionated and sincere. I am sometimes lazy, sometimes obsessive, sometimes irrational, but always genuine. I am no longer young enough to know everything and finally old enough to admit it.

March 3:2002
I weave my words together; one word, one phrase, one sentence at a time. Sometimes there is a pattern, a beginning, a middle and an end. Sometimes it's more of a patchwork, a harmonious, but nonsensical arrangement.
I cast my shuttle back and forth across the page which is my loom. Drawing forth lengths and widths of nouns and verbs, adjectives and adverbs, prepositions and articles intertwined into stories, poems, love letters and grocery lists. I am the weaver of dreams, thoughts and hopes. I sit cross-legged before my loom contemplating where to start, what thread to work with next.

March 4:2002
What is wrong with silence?
Why do we feel uncomfortable in its presence?
Why can't we validate the idea that sometimes there is nothing to say?
Why do we give in to the compulsion to fill up the silence with shit?
We fear silences.
We wonder what the other is really thinking.
What's really going on in their mind.
So we fill the space with prattling, babbling, insipid chatter.
Instead of embracing silence, we curse it, banish it, despoil it with empty clattering blather.
Why can't we just sit side by side and accept the quiet as comfort, not boredom?

March 5:2002
It was just a smile so why was there suddenly a spring in her step and a dopey grin on her face? Why did this make her feel taller, prettier, sexier? What was it in the stranger's passing approval that boosted her spirits? What she really superficial enough to care what an anonymous passerby thought? Shouldn't she be indignant that he was even looking at her, checking her out, offering his opinion? Was she really vain enough to not only accept his smile, but to dwell on it, take pleasure in it, appreciate it? Yes, she was -- aren't we all?

March 6:2002
Is it possible to have bad luck, good luck or no luck at all? It seems that some people have nothing but good luck follow them. They win raffles, they get great jobs even when they weren't looking, people just give them good things. While other people appear to have pissed off some god somewhere since they never seem to catch a break and just when you think they've hit bottom, something falls on their head. Other people go through life having neither particularly good nor ominously bad things happen. They just march along. How much control do we have?

March 7:2002
Today is Thursday. I love Thursday mornings if only because it's the one day a week I don't have to make any lunches. It's a small and trivial thing, but a good thing nonetheless. Mondays (tuna sub day) I make two sandwiches, two different sandwiches, two kinds of bread, two completely different food products between the bread. Tuesdays (pizza day) my daughter gets a deli sandwich. Wednesdays (meatball sub day) its my son's turn and he only likes peanutbutter sandwiches. Fridays (pizza day) its my daughter's turn again. Thursdays they both get lunch at school (chicken nuggets). I love Thursdays.

March 8:2002
Today I found the perfect pair of sandals. They are black, of course. High heeled, of course. And sexy as hell. There is something demented about buying sandals in March but I suppose it could be viewed as an act of faith. An act of faith that winter will release it's grasp on New England, turn off the winds, icy rain and snow and return us to the warm and gentle breezes of springtime and eventually summer. An act of faith that toenails will be painted magenta and feet will again feel the joy of being released from booted bondage.

March 9:2002
Am I she and is she me and why the hell do I write about myself in the third person. I don't know. Perhaps it makes it less personal or perhaps it is my secret desire to remain anonymous. It's a rather transparent attempt. I guess she is usually me, though not always. Sometimes she is other people I know, and sometimes she is no one in particular. He is sometimes my husband, but again not all the time. When he is my husband, she is me, always. When I am she there is sometimes no he. I like solitude.

March 10:2002
Sitting in the living room, staring into space, music playing in the background, tea untouched on the table and nothing, nothing, nothing at all comes to mind. Topics, subjects, news of the day, nothing that inspires me to even put pen to paper and try to make something out of letters and words. I sit, stand, stretch, walk around, throw in some laundry, make a bed, sit back down and still nothing. Stand up again, go check email, go check real mail, flip through the newspaper and still nothing. Nothing of substance, nothing meaningless, just nothing, achingly dull, hollow, bland.

March 11:2002
Newbury Street in Boston is a wonderful stretch of land. It is sandwiched between the hip chic South End and the old-moneyed Back Bay. Grab a cappuccino, sit a while and watch the world go by: the nouveau rich are awash in designer gear, the grande dames sashay along walking miniscule dogs on impossibly long retractable leashes. The young lawyers squawk self-importantly into mobile phones while deftly dodging bicycle messengers. College kids staff the stores and cafes along the way, their piercings and haircuts shocking no one. Attitude is what its all about and Newbury Street's got 'tude to spare.

March 12:2002
The grass is dead in patches, a parched wheat color that contrasts sharply with the impossibly lush green surrounding it. In all fairness, its not really a lawn, it's a yard. We live in the city, so comparatively speaking, it's a big yard, maybe twenty by twenty. In summer it is a riot of reds and yellows, lilies and tomatoes vying for space. In fall it glows in hues of gold, orange and scarlet before fading quietly away. In winter the swingset stands as a solitary guard in a frozen prison keeping watch over the inmates on nature's death row.

March 13:2002
She can't sleep when he's not here. She has the whole bed to herself, all the pillows and covers she could possibly want, and yet the release of slumber eludes her. She misses his body next to hers, the rhythm of their breathing as they drift away together. She can't seem to settle down without his presence on the opposite side. Their dog senses her restlessness and tries to be a surrogate. His unconditional adoration is cute but not what she needs. She misses the snoring that usually keeps her awake. 200 miles away he's awake for the same reasons.

March 14:2002
Spring is a harlot that dances along the edge of winter, enticing, tempting, flirting and strumpeting around. She coaxes the crocuses out of their slumber, she bids the daffodils to peek out from under their covers, she softens the earth with her embrace and confuses the birds with her softly blown breezes. She heralds her arrival in a blast of warmth and sunshine. She caresses the souls who fall into her trap. She nudges old man winter to curl up for a nap and just when he concedes, she changes her mind and stalks away for a few more weeks.

March 15:2002
Ground Zero. It is inordinately warm for mid-March. It is humid. The floodlights illuminate the site like high noon even though it is after eight. People wander about, looking at the work site but not looking at each other. We stand mostly silent just gazing at the empty space where once enormous buildings stood taller than the eye could capture without leaning back. There is little to indicate that anything ever stood on this ground. Most acknowledge the sanctity of this place by their conduct. There are dolts posing for photos and smiling at cameras and crass vendors hawking souvenirs.

March 16:2002
The Tribute of Light. Last night we made two stops, first at Ground Zero and then at the Tribute of Light memorial. Even with the bright lights of New York surrounding us, we could see the Lights from 32nd Street as we walked downtown. They ascend skyward one block over from Ground Zero and on this night they cut through night and punched a hole in the foggy ceiling of the sky as if reaching for heaven. The humidity lent a hazy ethereal blur to the lights and in that moment you could envision the buildings etched against the night.

March 17:2002
I put down the bundle I've been carrying and I refused to pick it up again. I have cried and railed, yelled and screamed at the inequity of it. I have written about it, thought about, talked about it and dwelled too long upon it. It bound itself to me with unseen cords. I cannot carry this burden forever so I gently laid it to rest bit by bit and piece by piece along the sidewalk, each footfall taking me further away from it. I know incisive slivers will fall in hidden places but for now, I go in peace.

March 18:2002
"Let Daddy rest, he threw his back out and needs to relax." I say to the children.
"Why did he throw his back away?" asks the girl child with all the literalness a six year old can muster.
"No, honey, he didn't throw it away, he hurt it lifting a suitcase." I explain.
"Well, that was dumb, he should be more careful." says the wise girl child.
"I told you you shouldn't have gone away for the weekend." says the boy child, annoyed to have been left at home.
I roll my eyes and head off to do the laundry.

March 19:2002
"Why do you always do that?" she demanded, fists clinched and teeth gritted.
"What?" He looked at her with that blank expression that made her want to stab him in the heart with a scissors.
"Leave your wet towel in a heap, BELOW the towel bar. How much effort would it take to hang it up?"
Before he could give his standard weak answer of: "I don't know, it's just a bad habit," she had stalked away leaving him talking to the back of her departing head from which emitted threats and curses in staccato blasts punctuated with stomping feet.

March 20:2002
Drained glasses stand smudged on the disheveled dining table; sentries at attention guarding the remnants of a private feast. Bread crusts, apple cores, rinds from a round of brie, and some naked grape vine stems are scattered about, a cutting board, a knife and two empty bottles of red add to the disarray. There is a stain on the tablecloth, a vestige of an overzealous pouring hand. The wine softened lovers have abandoned their repast, stumbling to the sofa in a tangle of arms, legs and discarded clothing. They are lost in a moment of stolen aloneness and dropped inhibitions.

March 21:2002
She lifted the quilt and crept underneath, naked except for the earrings she always wore. She reached for him though he was sleeping and pressed her body into the gentle curve of his spine. She stroked the soft hairs on his chest and kissed his shoulder gently. Her touch on his thigh drew him into consciousness and he leaned into her embrace. He missed her at night and sometimes falling asleep without her was difficult. She returned after midnight, not so late, but often too late an early riser. His mouth found hers and they kissed softly in the dark.

March 22:2002
I hate pencils. Pencils are for people who won't make decisions, refuse to make choices and cannot reach conclusions. Pencils are noncommittal. Pencils are temporary. Pencils are smudgy, they fade, they grow dull. Pencils are for people who can't make up their minds. Pencils are indecisive, insecure and lack permanence. Pens are committed, constant, sharp, true and permanent. Pens are about choices, decisions, selections, conclusions, votes. Pens are assured, confident and sustained. Pencils are passive, pens are aggressive. Pens say yes or no, pencils say maybe. Pens are black and white, pencils are gray. I hate maybe, gray and pencils.

March 23:2002
Weekends are too short. For the first time in a long time I woke up feeling good this morning. I felt rested and content and was not unhappy to find that my kids were already awake. The older child had gotten the younger child and himself a bowl of cereal and had made only the smallest mess pouring the milk. Together they sat at the dining room table comparing notes for the Spyro video game they both liked and otherwise behaving in a startlingly civil manner. It was one of those moments you savor for as long as it lasts.

March 24:2002
Finely chop six cloves of garlic and chop one small onion. In a large stockpot heat two tablespoons of olive oil. Add garlic and onion and saute until the onion is translucent. Add two cans of crushed tomatoes plus two cans of water and stir. Toss in two bay leaves, a small handful of chopped fresh basil and oregano, a shake or two of crushed red pepper and a quarter cup of granulated sugar. Saute two boneless pork chops until cooked through, slice into small pieces and add to sauce. Simmer sauce for at least three hours. Serve over pasta.

March 25:2002
Weekends are too short. For the first time in a long time I woke up feeling good this morning. I felt rested and content and was not unhappy to find that my kids were already awake. The older child had gotten the younger child and himself a bowl of cereal and had made only the smallest mess pouring the milk. Together they sat at the dining room table comparing notes for the Spyro video game they both liked and otherwise behaving in a startlingly civil manner. It was one of those moments you savor for as long as it lasts.

March 26:2002
Animals are so trusting. I grabbed the dog's leash, snapped it on to his collar, took my car keys and asked the beast if he wanted to go for a car ride. He always does -- today was no exception. Little did he know we were going to the vet. He was due for a check up and needed a kennel cough immunization so he could be boarded while we travel next month. It struck me while I was driving that I could take this animal anywhere and he'd follow me, willingly and without hesitation. Is that love or stupidity?

March 27:2002
I'm really struggling with this month's set. I'm ready for change and distracted thinking about it. It's been a long winter. Even though the weather's been unseasonably warm, its still been a drag. I'm ready for it to be spring. I'm ready for flowers, green grass, sweater days and sandals. I'm ready for longer, brighter days. There really is something to that theory about light affecting mood. As much as I am a night person, I really hate when night begins at four or five in the afternoon. Seasonal disorder or something is what they call it. I am susceptible.

March 28:2002
I am a lipstick junkie. I buy lipsticks constantly and quite often in shades I already own. Lipstick is a cheap indulgence and can completely change my mood. In addition to brightening up my face and drawing attention away from the dark circles under my eyes it can raise my spirits. When I'm depressed, nothing can perk me up like a new slick tube of Ragin' Raisin, Matte Maraschino or Velvet Plum. For really bad days there's British Red, Vamp or Passion. Some people seek comfort in drugs, alcohol or chocolate; for me its lipstick. A little slash of pleasure.

March 29:2002
Today we colored eggs. My eight year old just had to know what happened if you started with yellow, then orange, then pink, blue and purple and his six year old sister had to copy him and so we have two dozen mottled grayish green or bruise colored hard boiled eggs. Tomorrow they are going to their grandparents house to color more eggs, most of which will probably also be murky hued. How did eggs, or for that matter, rabbits, come to be associated with easter? Certainly the easter chicken just wouldn't work, but eggs and rabbits really don't either.

March 30:2002
I am irrationally happy today. Some friends have had a bit of long awaited good news and it has sent my mood soaring. This news is nothing that really affects my life in any way, and yet, I'm so glad for them that the entire day seems bright and good and for a moment all is right in the world. The staid cliché says good things come to those who wait; sometimes you really have too wonder just how long you're supposed to stand on line, waiting. The wait is over and I'm thrilled; sappy, stupid, romantic that I am.

March 31:2002
There is no time that you weren't in my life. Your hands held mine so often, as I learned to walk, as we walked together on the beach or at the store, as we walked to school that first day both pretending we weren't scared, as we waited for the bus, the train or a taxi, as we stood together at your mother's funeral, as we walked down the aisle on my wedding day and you placed my hand into that of another man, as I passed you your first grandchild and we started all over with another small hand.

April 1, 2002
Not too many years ago we had a huge snowstorm on this very day. The ultimate April Fool's joke. It was a great time for kids, no school, one last chance to use the sled they'd gotten for Christmas, and for the adults, a chance to really see what part of town the politicians lived in, as evidenced by the snow removal patterns. Most of us were left to shovel out as well as we could since the snow removal budget was long spent, but not our elected officials, they got plows, sand, and salt. I guess it's a perk.

April 2:2002
My kids are counting down the days until we go to that paragon of childhood fantasy: DisneyWorld. My in-laws received a small settlement in a case and decided to take themselves, their only two grandchildren and the grandchildren's parents (hubby and me) on vacation. So, in just 12 days we're jetting to Orlando for a whirlwind tour of Disneymania. We arrive late afternoon Sunday and depart early Friday morning (screwy hours due to last minute planning by the mother-in-law) leaving us a mere ninety-six hours to see all the Mouse can conjure up. The kids are too excited to function.

April 3:2002
One of our cars failed the state emissions inspection today. It needed a new muffler. No big deal. It also needed a set of pipes which attach to the muffler. Bigger deal. Every time we go on vacation something in our house or car breaks down irreparably and needs to be replaced. New exhaust system: four hundred fifty-five dollars and a side note saying that while the car now passes inspection, it may need a catalytic converter soon. Great. Add that to the list of things to deal with later. Auto mechanics must be the biggest leaches on the planet.

April 4:2002
Spring is returning. In our yard, the daffodils and tulips are pushing their vibrant heads towards the sky and drinking in the warmth of the sun while the hyacinth, not yet blooming, is stretching its emerald leaves. A snow shovel leans dejectedly on a fence. In the park, dandelions litter the outfield of the baseball diamond while fresh chalk lines slice the lush green grass. Children swing and slide and climb, their lazy winter muscles remembering the jump rope songs and falling into a natural rhythm. Birds sing and dogs frolic; even in this urban area the rebirth is felt.

April 5:2002
Today I find joy in a simple cup of tea. Boiling water, a mug and a tea bag, some sugar and a splash of milk. Nothing fancy, no infusers, no bone china cups, no herbals, no accoutrements. Just a steaming hot cup of tea, a quiet house, no pressing appointments or errands to run. Every day should have a few moments like this. Fifteen minutes of peace can be refreshing, inspiring, invigorating, and relaxing. Tea calms, coffee awakens, tea winds down, coffee winds up, tea says slow down, coffee says hurry up. Tea is the ahhhhhh, coffee is the ughhhhh.

April 6:2002
This afternoon was spent at a birthday party for my daughter's friend. The party was held at a local indoor swimming pool and was attended by 16 kids, mostly girls and a few boys. At six years old, they are not self conscious enough to care who sees them in a bathing suit, whether they say the right thing or speak to the right people. There is no ridicule of those who can't swim as well, there is no poking fun if someone feels safer just sitting on the edge. These days are numbered. Soon they'll become aware of themselves.

April 7:2002
Every day that passes brings more ugliness. The child abuse scandal in the church is rocking Boston daily with new allegations, revelations, denials and condemnations. The Cardinal is looking more sinister every day. He has no credibility, no integrity, no shred of decency left. He has proven through his words an actions that the maintenance of the churchÂ’s hierarchy is more important that the protection of children or the prosecution of criminals. This man KNEW of the abuses in the instances of several priests and did NOTHING but shuttled them through from parish to parish. There must be justice done.

April 8:2002
Hollow words, empty sentiments. Why doesn't he just shut up? Too little and far too late for most people, including myself. Cardinal Law has never come to the church I grew up in to apologize for sending John Geoghan, known pedophile and child molester, to the parish. I doubt he ever will. He goes to his little pockets of support and preaches his sorry litany of apologies and mea culpas but doesn't dare venture into the parishes he harmed the most deeply and permanently with his inactions. He hides behind his mitre and chasuble and bows his head down low.

April 9:2002
Its strange how we can associate smells with one particular thing. For example, the smell of horses always reminds me of my grandparents house which bordered a farm. No matter what context I see horses in, whether it's a circus or a police horse manning a parade route in the middle of the city, it conjures up my grandparents' house in my mind. Baking bread, no matter what kind, takes me right back to my other grandmother's cozy kitchen. She always baked bread in the winter and I can still taste it though she's been dead nearly 5 years now.

April 10:2002
How can you have an entire load of black laundry my mother-in-law asks one day as we pass in the cellar where the washing machines and dryers are. I never gave it much thought, though anyone who knows me, knows I wear black a lot, frequently, okay pretty much daily. Why? I don't know. It's easy to match with? I'm too lazy to coordinate? I hate bright colors? It hides dirt and other kid hazards well? I'm in mourning? I don't know I just like it. If you wash black clothes inside out, in cold water, they stay blacker longer.

April 11:2002
Did you ever find a good pen? Not necessarily an expensive pen, though there is nothing like writing with one of those, a Waterman fountain pen is the epitome of elegance, but I digress. Did you ever find a good pen? A nice weight, smooth flowing, non-clumping ordinary ball point pen. The kind that makes it easy to just write and write and write and not have to worry about blobs and blots all over the paper. Just a nice pen that functions as a pen should. A simple well constructed instrument, not fancy or special just decent and efficient.

April 12:2002
I am in a fog. Words, sense, sentences aren't happening. I think I've caught a bit of the kids' excitement, coupled with trying to get all the details in place, pack the clothes and toiletries, arrangements at the kennel for the dog and cat, park passes, transportation to the airport, have the mail held at the post office, it's an endless list of chores. Observations on life or reflections on the ordinary are not forthcoming. My mind is weary of keeping track of it all. I'm rambling, a habit I detest in others and try to avoid. So I'll shut up now.

April 13:2002
The anticipation is palpable. The kids are restless and unable to sleep. Tomorrow we depart for Florida. They've packed their bags with books and crayons to pass the time on the plane. They've counted their carefully saved cash reserves and they've offered to do small chores to make another dollar or two. They've laid out their clothes and shoes, taken baths and brushed their teeth. They can talk of nothing but the Tower of Terror, Space Mountain and who is tall enough to ride what. We've read stories and listened to the radio -- Radio Disney, sleep still eludes them.

April 14:2002
I hate the airlines. You'd think after the travel panic following September 11, they'd try to be punctual, courteous, attentive or maybe just civil. But no. First our flight gets bumped up three hours, then after getting to the airport the requested two hours in advance, our flight is delayed an additional hour. The first leg is uneventful but we have a three hour stopover before the second leg. We finally arrive at our destination and despite leaving three hours earlier than originally scheduled, we're still twenty minutes later than our original plan. An inauspicious beginning, I hope it improves.

April 15:2002
Walt Disney was a genius. His films are legendary. His artwork is known worldwide. But, he was a fucking genius because he was the mastermind behind the theme park and corporate whoring. Today brought us to The Magic Kingdom in Florida, the epicenter of merchandising and name exploitation. Disney's characters emblazon everything from shirts to mugs, paper cups, baseball hats, shot glasses, shoelaces, pens, everything. The temperatures were high, the prices were astronomical, the lines were long, the employees were so saccharine sweet it was nauseating. They end every conversation, no matter how trivial with "Have a Magical Day!" Puke.

April 16:2002
Another trip into corporate prostitution. This time it was Disney/MGM Studios. This place was more older kid or adult themed and wasn't half as vomit inducing as yesterday's adventure. We rode the obligatory Tower of Terror, which I found amusing and virtually everyone else found scary. The highlight of the day was the Lion King Festival, a live action show featuring dancers and acrobats in minimalist abstract costumes. The low point, rain! It only last about twenty minutes but the proliferation of Disney rain gear was staggering. Best event: Fantasmic! a laser and film show projected onto walls of water.

April 17:2002
Animal Kingdom. Over hyped and over advertised as the hands down best animal park ever; a lofty and misplaced assertion. The safari ride was just okay and the animal trek was disappointing. As I should have anticipated, animals hate the heat as much as people. Most of them sought refuge under trees, behind rocks and out of sight. My husband and son ventured into DinoLand, a trip back in time to the Jurassic era -- yeah, great, that one broke down one minute into the ride trapping them for fifteen minutes in front of a charging animatronic stegasaurus. Next stop!

April 18:2002
Last day, Epcot. When I was last here, 23 years ago, they were just framing the big silver ball. Now, the big silver ball houses a space ride, inside, air conditioned and out of the blazing sun. The high point of this trip is the world wide tour where one can walk through the marketplaces of China, Japan, England, France, Germany, Morocco, Italy and Mexico and sample the architecture, food, beer, wine, and shopping wares from each area of the world. My kids loved this place. Hopefully, someday, we can take them to see the real capitals of the world.

April 19:2002
Homeward bound. More airline hassles, more delays, more hostile people: airline employees and customers as well. I hate humans sometimes. Rude, pushy, miserable, selfish creatures. Sigh. Arrive home an hour later than planned, wait forever for a taxi, rush to pick up family dog and cat at the kennel. Then the fun part: four or five loads of laundry and a trip to the market to pick up essentials! Finally, it's done, or as done as it's getting and I crash into bed for the first decent night's sleep I've had in a week. Its good to be home again.

April 20:2002
Observations on Florida, or at least on the Disneyized Orlando area. First it's too hot. Its only April and it was in the high 80s and humid every day. For this northern girl, that's simply too much. Second, it's too crowded. There are far too many people in too small an area. Third, there are an inordinate amount of obese fat people who utilize the rentable electric scooters at the theme parks. There is nothing wrong with most of these people except that they are disgustingly overweight and unable to lug their own body around without assistance. End of rant.

April 21:2002
The owl and the pussy cat went to sea in a beautiful pea green boat ? I loved that story as a child. On a street near my house were some old scraggly trees with roots that cracked through the sidewalk. They had stood in place longer than the sidewalk or the street and probably even most of the town. My grandmother told me those were bong trees, like in the story. They were my magical bong trees, gnarled and knotted like my grandmother's strong hands. Twenty years ago they felled the bong trees to clear the area for condos.

April 22:2002
Each day I watch him amble from car to car, a raggedy sign spelling out his story. Stranded and homeless and hungry. His clothes are shabby but clean and his face weathered by a life which has not been kind. Whether fate or his own foolishness has brought him to this point, I can't say. His is an old soul who has endured more than a soul ought to in thirty or so years. He is increasingly thinner with each passing week. A walking shadow, a living ghost. One day he isn't there and I know he won't be back.

April 23:2002
Sometimes she just watches him sleep. She aches to clasp him to herself and draw him forth, knowing he will surrender to her desire, yet she only gently caresses his strong shoulder, the small pot belly, a tradeoff acquired when he quit smoking, the soft hair on his chest. She can feel his heart beat under her hand and the rhythmic rise and fall of his breathing. She will kiss that firm line of his vertebrae and nestle herself against his back and legs. She will not wake him. She will join him in his slumber. They will awaken refreshed.

April 24:2002
Something inside me is heavy today. Not crushing, not anguished, just heavy and tinged with sadness. My grandmother's death five years ago always stings a little, even now. She and my grandfather had eight children and when the youngest was not quite five, he was killed in an explosion aboard a navy ship. She met and married a man a few years later. For a while she was happy again but he was an alcoholic and eventually his demons got the better of him and they divorced. She was a single mother before it was fashionable. She was my friend.

April 25:2002
The catholic church has finally offended me to the core. IÂ’ve had issues with them and their draconian methods for years, but this latest abomination is beyond outrageous. Their unwillingness to seize control of the loose cannons within their own ranks and their blatant comments stating so are offensive to me as a woman, a mother and human being. These alleged men of God have forgotten the smallest members of the church that they pledged their lives to in favor of maintaining their own corrupt and largely impotent positions complete with pomp, silly hats and pageantry. Their blindness is corrosive.

April 26:2002
Your disappointments crush me and your lack of self-confidence breaks my heart. I wonder where it comes from and how I can make you see yourself the way I see you. I know you are bright, intelligent, curious and questioning. I know your body language often belies your frustration with stupidity and politics. I know your occasional apathy stems from the same source. I also know that you are too smart and that scares the shit out of them. I'm angry with them for weak excuses and limp management skills. Corporate impotence infuriates me. I hope it stirs you up.

April 27:2002
Stupid car. As predicted our schlep luck has struck again. Automobile needs a new catalytic converter. Manufacturers brand, nine hundred dollars, after market generic brand, two hundred fifty dollars. No brainer there. The part is now on order, hopefully, including labor and other piddling fees, the total will be under six hundred. If so, stupid vehicle will cost just over one thousand dollars this month. Just what we need after taking a vacation. Murphy's Law, (whatever can go wrong will, and at the worst possible moment), you'd think marrying out of that name would render that law invalid. It doesn't.

April 28:2002
Music is one of the greatest gifts in life. Whether your taste runs romantic or Ramones, music fills something inside and it influences how we feel. A song, a lyric or even just a riff can transport us to another place, or city, year or day. Music frames the moments of our lives like snapshots in the airwaves. Turn on the radio, scan the channels andrevisit the first movie you saw with a boy, your senior prom, your first car, your wedding day, yesterday and every other irrelevant yet important minute of your life comes surging back into your memory.

April 29:2002
Thirty five years on the planet. No huge successes, but no huge failures either. Not exactly where I planned to be, but also, different and better than IÂ’d hoped. Same husband for twelve years now (and still happily counting), two great kids -- a boy and a girl, a comfy part time job with great hours and long weekends and time to be there after school and for special events, parents are alive and well and of the non-interfering type, two sisters one far and one near but both close, a brother-in-law and two nephews to round out the picture.

April 30:2002
Its been the subject of the month, but still, I canÂ’t let it go. TheyÂ’ve reached a new low. Yesterday, Cardinal Law asserted in a legal brief that in at least one particular instance the victim (at the time a six year old boy) and his parents bore some responsibility for negligent behavior in the molestation charges being brought against the diocese. Yes, he claims, the child enticed the priest and the parents left the child in a circumstance where the actions were allowed to happen. Well done Cardinal Law, thatÂ’s the way to win people back, blame the victim!

End of submissions

June 1:2002
I talk to myself quite frequently when I am alone. I spin fantastic tales in my mind about people and places and events. I imagine slaves and beggars, queens and courtesans, castles and romances, trials and tribulations. I talk through all their problems as both antagonist and protagonist equally well. They tend to all be dramatic and darkly gothic filled with tormented women who make reckless daring escapes from troubled lives with gorgeous but dangerous men. Fabio would be on the cover if they were books. I should write them down, but then IÂ’d realize what shit they really are.

June 2:2002
Spring is taking its time this year. It danced around the fringes of winter like a harlot for weeks and now that it ought to be in full and radiant splendor, itÂ’s playing the shy and retreating virgin to the lusty pull of summer. Our garden sits green and alive but dull. The riot of reds and yellows promising to visit but postponing yet another day. The birds flit tentatively, but remain unusually quiet. The only ones who seem in tune with the turning of the earth are the blasted cats yeowling and shrieking in the shadows of the night.

June 3:2002
The school year is wrapping up and the kids are getting restless. Their final exams are nearly done, the learning part of the school year is over and the purge of papers and pencil stubs has begun. The projects are completed, the popsicle stick bridge held up the brick, the butterflies abandoned their cocoons and were set free in the park and the last book report has been submitted, graded and returned. The third grader will go to fourth grade and the kindergartener will advance to first grade. Another summer to try to fill with activities to pass the time.

June 4:2002
One of my final solitary days before the invasion of the little people commences. One final day to surf and drink tea unencumbered by little voices asking me to play games, read books or watch them play Twisted Metal. I loved them dearly but I've grown accustomed to being alone for hours at a time too. I don't know if I'm missing a material gene or something, but sitting and mashing my fingers into PlayDoh or playing Barbie's or looking at baseball cards does nothing for me. I'm not a sit on the floor and play type. Is that bad?

June 5:2002
I'm looking into activities we can do that don't cost too much and which involve some kind of learning or thought. So far I've decided we can go to the Science Museum to see the new huge model t-rex, the Children's Museum, the New England Aquarium, the Franklin Park Zoo, the Museum of Fine Arts, The Boston Public Library, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Swan Boats, and Fanueil Hall Marketplace without spending too much money. Maybe they'll learn a bit, ask some questions, seek out the answers and find that things without remotes and batteries can be interesting too.

June 6:2002
Where do you find pleasure in the world? Is it in simple things? Reading, writing, roaming around the city or the words. Or, do you require more intense stimulation for pleasure? Bungee jumping, rock climbing, kayaking or white water rafting. At this stage of my life, having the bathroom all to myself is a simple pleasure. But I digress. For me there is no greater bliss than a quiet spot to sit and write until I run out of words. I love libraries for this purpose. There is the gentle din of humanity, but an implied air of quiet solitude.

June 7:2002
The ants crawl in, the ants crawl out, the ants go crawling all about. They've found a crack, they've found a snack, and once again the ants are back. My kitchen must look fearsome from their perspective. Table legs reach skyward like redwood trees, the green grass has been replaced with slippery vinyl flooring and the sky has been painted a stark flat white. The world as they know it doesn't exist in here. There is no wind, no rain, and no sun. Human pass unaware of their presence and their footfalls must surely crash thunderously in the ant cluster.

June 8:2002
The sun streaks in through the carelessly left-open shade. The birds chirp staccato blasts at one another, harsh and cacophonous this early in the day. Truth be told, its not that early, and the birds lack the capacity for compassion. The thud and slightly later thud against the front door announce the arrival of the two local newspapers. The dog's maniacal barking heralds the premature arrival of the postal carrier and indicates that man's best friend cares not a bit that man's other best friend is sleeping. The children debate the merits of waffles versus pancakes. Saturday morning. Oh joy.

June 9:2002
Dress Rehearsal today. The show is a week away. The lights are in place, the microphones are working, the music has been recorded and rerecorded. The kids are in place and know their songs and dances. They are a little nervous, one has a bloody nose. The tech crew is working out the final balance of the on-stage lighting. The stage manager reassures the teacher that all is set to go on her cue. The curtain opens, the kids smile, the teacher smiles anxiously knowing it's all them from now on. It goes off with only a small musical hitch.

June 10:2002
I flounder again for words to fill in the blanks. I'm heading into one those cycles of blankness where I go through the day mechanically with nothing registering that is even a decent subject to write one hundred words about. I grope through my thoughts of the day, my observations and come up with an empty slate, a page with nothing on it. My life is full of activities and commitments which I enjoy and would not forfeit even if I could so how can it be possible to have found nothing worthwhile in the day? It happens. I cringe.

June 11:2002
Dreary outlines of my life. Meticulously set forth, one word at a time, one thought, one theme, one idea in the course of the day. It shouldn't be so difficult. Dr. Suess's "And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street" asks the question "Did nothing catch your eye?" and grimly enough I must again answer no, no nothing did. I hate these days, this time of year, the wrapping up of school and activities that all seem to culminate simultaneously pulling me in more directions than I can manage. Surrounded by endings, I don't know where to begin.

June 12:2002
A cold rain is falling. Cold rain in summer is just wrong. Okay, its not actually summer, its spring, late spring and its chilly and a cold rain has been falling most of the afternoon. A dreary heaviness has settled over the city like a clammy damp blanket, making breathing and moving about feel like an effort. Conversely, I also donÂ’t like heat, I donÂ’t like humidity, I donÂ’t like extremes. I yearn for moderation, sunny breezy days and cool comfortable nights. The kind of weather that is forgiving if you wear long pants or forget to bring a sweater.

June 13:2002
So that's it, I'm reduced to commenting on the weather. I've descended to a new low, the kind of place that makes you wonder why you keep on keeping on. It wasn't a poetic sonnet to the joys of spring or an anticipatory soliloquy in honor of summer. It is just a bitch fest, bring me the soapbox, rant about the rain ordinary boring complaint. Cripes that's weak, even for me. I have the feeling June isn't going to be my best effort and yet I keep trying. Perhaps summer shall bring with it inspiration. Pitiful, truly pitiful. What rot.

June 14:2002
Highest average in the third grade. My son, my child, my apathetic student has scored the highest grades in his class bringing home an honor roll certificate and a Class Day award for highest average. How did this little person pull that off? This child that I have to fight with to do homework, remind to finish book reports, nag to do required projects, pester about bringing his books back and forth to school; how did this child who seems to care not a whit for school and less for school work, pull it off? He is an enigma.

June 15:2002
Today was my friend's dancing school's recital. Nine years ago this week she buried her first husband and with some help managed to stage her first show two days later. He died of cancer less than 100 days after it was discovered. They had been teenage lovers, cruelly parted after only 15 years. The studio was their shared dream. Nine years later her studio boasts 300 students and a three person faculty. Her second husband lost his wife that same hard summer. They are soulmates and an inspiration to all that known them. Love goes on if you let it.

June 16:2002
My day was my superhero and like every little girl I wanted to marry someone just like him. He loved me unconditionally and wasn't afraid to show it. He taught me to walk, to believe in myself and to never give up on my dreams. On my wedding day he cried and then put my hand into the hand of another man and squeezed. I knew then how hard it must be to be a parent, because being successful at it, means letting go and stepping away from that which you most care about. For roots and wings, thanks Dad.

June 17:2002
Another goodbye. Business trips take you away now and then and while the separation is brief, the goodbyes don't get easier. I miss the curve of your spine against my chest, I miss the smell of your just-washed hair, the unique scent that is you between your shoulder blades when I breathe in and the way our legs fit together so perfectly even when we're asleep. I don't sleep well without you. I sleep, but lightly, awake at the slightest noise. You calm me in ways you don't even realize. I miss you desperately and its only the first night.

June 18:2002
Sometimes I think you call just to listen to me breathe. There's not much to say, your class was dull, the seminar was informative but boring, the teacher was another drone in another homogeneous classroom, an uninspiring automaton. I tell you about my day, the mundane details, how we went out to lunch, what movie we rented, trivialities really, but its those small things that make up the whole. We chat briefly both of us knowing the other hates talking on the telephone. We agree to talk tomorrow night, same time, and then neither of us wants to hang up.

June 19
June 20
June 21
June 22
June 23

June 24:2002
Why do I waste my time going back and forth with you on issues that I know are best ignored? What draws makes me unable to just walk away? Psych majors would say it's the classic oldest child's need to control, astrologers would say its my birthright since I'm born under the sign of Taurus the Bull and therefore stubborn, some might even say it's my irish blood refusing to walk away from a fight. In real life I'd have probably declared you a tiresome boorish troll and walked away. But this isn't real life, and frankly, I'm just bored.

June 25:2002
Layoffs, when did they decide there would be layoffs? Things have turned around and if you don't mind me saying so, the time for layoffs was LAST summer and the time has now passed. If anything, we need the bodies more than ever. We've been busy, hell, we've been inundated with work. Seniority was the deciding factor this time so the last seven people hired got the pink slip. Five working mothers and two single women, one of whom just got her Masters and is now looking forward to having the summer off, even if it isn't by choice. Unscathed.

June 26:

June 27:2002
My oldest child, my son turned nine today. Without gushing, he is fascinating to watch and live with. He questions everything and wants to know everything. He will not accept I don't know, only let's find out. Witnessing children unwrap the secrets of the world is an experience like no other. This young person, this not-yet-fully-formed creature seeks knowledge and doesn't accept things at face value. He wants to know how it works, why it works and if it can be improved. He is a wonder, an enigma, and a treasure I am entrusted to guide for very short time.

June 28:2002
Summer has sneaked in the door, hot on the heels of fickle Spring. Spring danced around tossing her warm days and cosseting breezes around with reckless abandon and indiscriminate insouciance never really settling down or settling in. In contrast, summer has barged in like a toddler barreling through the candy aisle in the supermarket, full of boldness and unfettered aggression. Summer is a boy child, straightforward and slightly rumpled, holding a fistful of wild flowers and bearing a dirt smudge on one cheek. He cavorts joyously around the yard like a dervish. He fills my days with light and chaos.

June 29:2002
Another cousin's wedding this evening. Another happy couple joined in hopefully wedded bliss. Tonight they promised to love, honor and cherish only each other to death do they part; in spite of the odds, in spite of the disposable culture we live in, and certainly in spite of the crass comments of divorced miserable aunts. They've been together for ages and so this isn't something they jumped into. They faced the world seeing only each other and pledged their love to all who would listen. My sincerest wish is that they look at each other that way, every day, forever.

June 30:2002
School has been out for just two weeks and already the back-to-school sales are in full swing. Catalogs are pouring into the house demanding that I order now while they're fully stocked, insisting that I don't delay for best selection. Stores are packed with tidy uniforms, must-have sweatshirts and all the latest styles, and a deluge of backbacks, lunchboxes and various other necessities for a successful school year. My kids wear uniforms, they're ordered, delivered and sitting in the shipping box in the back of the closet. I'll pull them out for hemming in about eight weeks. Plenty of time.