Thursday, April 29, 2010

Embracing this new.....age

As I was riding the green machine John Deere mowing around our property, taking in nature- I began to think about my life. My dance. I've always loved I think to say my "dance" is appropriate.

I'm coming up on another birthday. I've not hit 50 yet, but it is staring at me. I've not hit 49 either. giggling

Most days I feel as if I am 30. I really can't remember what I felt like at 30 physically, but I do know that I had to be feeling rather, well, good.
Maybe even fantastic. Perhaps not the happiest in my personal relationship, but healthy and active and never feeling as if I looked a day over 25. What does that mean anyway? You don't look......fill in the blank.
My parents never looked "old". My mother is aging against the odds....for her young 80's her health makes it seem as if she is 90. See...there I go. Some 90 year old senior from Napels, Florida who swims with dolphins will give me a good lecture for saying this!

Now I am way past 30, well maybe not way- but I'm past it. yeah I am way past When I hit 40, I actually could not absorb that. Perhaps I miss counted? Maybe my parents had the wrong birth year?
Nah....I turned 40 and was told that 40 is the new 30. Really? Now I hear 60 is the new 50.
When I do turn 50 someday I'm gonna say that 50 is the new 25.
Why are we so hung up on numbers? Our weight? Our jean size? Our cup size?
It seems age is really the key for some people- mostly women.

So as I mow, my thoughts begin to circle around my little brain that holds a lot of thoughts.
Who will I age like? My mother or my father? Does it even matter? No....what matters is that I embrace this new age I will next chapter in a new dance.
I will dance with my gray hair in braids. I will continue to wear torn jeans- probably with the elastic waist line. I will wear purple and enjoy it. I will dance in the rain with my aging Football Superstar. I will enjoy my grandchildren, tons of them- someday.
a long away someday
I will not worry about my fallen boobs or my sagging bottom. I will dance.

My dear sister-in-law Eva, surprised me with this wonderful little book:
DANCE, While You Can~ Lance WubbleS

It's the sweetest gentle reminder book.
Thank you Eva, I love you- tons!

Life Lesson: Nobody cares if you can't dance well- Just get up and dance. Dave Barry


Monday, April 26, 2010

Scrap Book

Disney World Trip 4/2006 Freckle Boy & China Doll with Mulan Mulan meets Mulan! If you look closely- you can use a sharpie to connect the freckles on FB's face.....seriously!
Football Superstar was busy taking this family photo....Goofy took his place!
There is a baby bump under my shirt- hidden by the torpedo boobs

Turn and face the change.......

The farmhouse still had moving boxes stacked in the dining room and in the attic. Did I mention this home has a huge attic- the kind you can stand stand straight up in....even if you are over 5' 2". It's clean, no real scary critters except for a squirrel who thought he/she was the official tenant and we had no right to evict. The area was sealed off- goodbye squirrel
I was so happy that no bats ever greeted me when I would run up for a box or two.
the stairs to the attic are the "cheese wedge" style- to fall down these steps would be a trip to the ER- and that would have been me if I were to encounter anything with wings

After celebrating our first Christmas here in the old farmhouse- life continued as usual. Kids are back in school and Football Superstar is picking up a new business partnership with a builder. Open houses and meetings keep him pretty busy. I'm antiquing/junctinqing and decorating. Adding personal touches to the kids bedrooms- China Doll liked decorating her bedroom with a cat theme- Freckle Boy liked anything football or baseball related as long as it had the Philadelphia logo. Ugh
My karate lesson car pool continued. Freckle Boy joined China Doll in classes- they were both attending the same classes which worked out perfectly. I enjoyed watching during the hour long session- getting to know other karate parents. One family in particular who adopted their two children from Korea. Another mom who I knew from working at the shelter- this mom is a nurse for another city agency that works with young mothers. And our future plumber joined us as well while watching his son receive techniques from some highly skilled instructors.
We would sit around a table and chat, tell one another what has been happening in our busy lives while enjoying coffee. We took turns each week running to Starbucks -giving our order to the "runner" via e-mail or phone call the week before. Most of the time we parents would get a little silly, perhaps even loud. Ms. D. the manager of this karate club would give us the "parent look"....adding a forced and firm SSSSHHHHHH! I was not about to give Ms. D any crap.....this instructor had a 4th degree black belt- of course I listened to her....just like I did in 5th grade when Sister Josephine snapped SSSSSSSSSHHHHHH! at least Ms. D's face was not covered up by a habit!
Now, the owner of Kenpo was of a different degree. He was a man of honor. A man who earned respect without even demanding it. Mr. R. was firm but diverse. He had a 10th degree black belt and a few more I never knew what the other bands on his black belt stand for and the craziest sense of humor! We karate parents who sat at our weekly round table felt very honored to have Mr. R. sit with us during instruction hey, he's the boss he gets to sit down now and then and tell us the funniest jokes. We would fall off our chairs in laughter. Especially after I "got it". He would talk about his latest travels with his wife- which the stories somehow ended in a humorous way. Mr. R. would no sooner walk away from our table of giggling or roaring parents and we would get the scolding from Ms. D. again But....but....but...Mr. R. started it! What message were we sending our kids? Oh, yeah that one- parents just wanna have fun!
My sister/limo driver/Aunt Debbie and my father would come now and then to watch the kids and take pictures. China Doll really liked that- she would pretend not to see them, but after class would sprint over to the table to greet with hugs and kisses.

Besides taking my kids to karate, keeping up with school activities, little league running errands, arranging family events or trying to sneak in a date night with my husband, I would walk Sam each morning. We were told Sam was a few pounds overweight- especially for his breed. He needed to shed those extra pounds. Me too. It wasn't so much the extra pounds I needed to shed- Ben & Jerry or NY Deli Bagels will do that do you I felt the need to exercise. I began finding I had no extra energy at the end of a day. Normally, I would have extra fuel stashed somewhere inside my body...never had a problem with that before. I do not mind exercising, but I never enjoyed aerobics. Zumba yeah- Yoga yes- walking, hiking absolutely. Biking forget it. I'm a danger to you if we are riding on the same path
I'm thinking here it is....I hit my 40's and now I must watch my food healthy my mother always said.....kick the chocolate habit (oh, no can't live without Mr. Hershey) eat more veggies. Ugh....okay, not trying to complain, but I was NOT liking this feeling at all.
To top off my lack of energy I also had those dark circles- the kind that made a raccoons eyes look bright and my back was hurting as if I did fall down a flight of stairs. I would whine to my sister/limo driver, yes whine, she will tell you. And I will tell you she would say to me "you're looking frumpy're looking like a soccer mom in those baggy sweats." Sweetly of course yeah right
At least my baggy sweats were in fashion- J.Lo wore baggy BPhatt sweats all the time- so there sister girl. Even with makeup I looked unhealthy. A month of this and I was about to scream.
I became Rocky Balboa. Speed walking around our back roads - walking Sam to the point he would turn me around to come home- using yoga to flatten my stomach and strengthen my aching back. My feet were screaming from all the pounding- I never stopped I went and purchased better running shoes. Weights were borrowed from my fathers stash- oops, still need to return those and eating less of this and more of that. Okay, now I should be out of my baggy sweats and into my favorite torn jeans- more energy and looking better without makeup. Jeans still tight. My back still ached. Baby raccoons were sitting outside looking for their momma. Can't keep a hair style - my hair is either falling out or growing like a weed. And now I find this odd thing in my stomach area- just below my pants line. No pain, but I could feel it. Football Superstar has had enough of my symptoms and insist I call a new family doctor- go for a complete physical. He can feel this lump- but says nothing. I already had myself diagnosed with a tumor. My family and friends were on Football Superstars band wagon- call a doctor now- or we will do it for you. I'm scared. I get a referral from our new school district and I make the call. I have two weeks until I can get in to see my new doctor. Maybe in two weeks, this thing/tumor will go away. Maybe it's a huge gas bubble.
I've seen National Enquire headlines while waiting in the line at the grocery store- haven't you?
During my two week wait- I'm taking Ex-Lax and those pretty pink gentle overnight relief tablets.....never in my life have I ever wanted to swallow dynamite - but knowing the damage it would do, I'm trying this gentle method. NOTHING hAPpEnS!

I have my visit with Dr. F. who was very nice. She took her time with me, asking plenty of questions - family history- my childhood- and she also listened to me. which made me feel better already
I'm healthy. My heart good. My weight- well a few pounds more than I was at 40, but now I hit 43. The good doctor has no issues with my weight gain- because it's only 4 pounds more than I was at 40. What? I feel like like I have been stuffed for Thanksgiving- my pants do not fit- my feet are swollen almost looking like puffer fish and I'm constipated beyond what any dynamic magic pink pill gentle overnight sensation will do for me. Please help.
Dr. F. is thinking perhaps my thyroid could be over/under she orders blood work. I don't need to go far or wait an extra day. The lab is directly across the parking lot from her practice. I walk over to give my blood away- thats how I look at it I'm not very good at being a cooperative blood giver- most of the time nurses love my veins....I hear "great veins!" Shut up and just take my blood you vampire.
As I'm walking out of the lab, I see the good doctor running towards me calling my name.
She places her hand on my arm and ask if I have done a pregnancy test at home before coming in for my appointment. Is she deaf? Did she not hear me say that I was unable to have children. Tried- tested- no can do naturally. Dr. F. continues to tell me that when she examined my abdomen she felt something. I know she felt something I saw her eyes squint while I was staring at the ceiling. And she wasn't telling me it was a tumor until my test results come back. So, I'll make the good doctor happy and go pee in a cup so she can tell me it's negative.

I did my pee test. Dr. F. has me wait in an exam room until she takes my little cup of urine to be tested. All I wanted to do was give my blood to the vampire and run over to the local deli for a nice slice of NY cheesecake. As I'm waiting, I pick up a People magazine just for something to do- the headline Brad&Angelina - TWINS. I place the magazine back on the table- front cover facing down.
My smiling doctor walks into the exam room with a small round calendar like thing- she tells me that the test stick didn't even touch my urine and it read "positive". she's smiling
She wants me to sit down- so not to fall and hit my head on the exam table which that would be something I would do.
Dr. F. said later I looked like a deer in headlights. Or was that raccoon?
How in Gods name did this happen? I'm too old to have a baby. I'm gonna sue that doctor from 10+ years ago! no not really
What happens if......what if the baby......what if. Fears began to settle deep inside of me.
Dr. F. calmly speaks to me about other mothers who have been in the 40's and the care they received during their pregnancy. She gives me strength to think and speak. Quickly I needed to make a choice on the OBGYN. My doctor is on the phone making an appointment for me asap....why asap....I was shy of going into my 4th month of pregnancy. I had a lot of catchin' up to do!
She asked if she could call my husband for me....and if I was able to drive myself home.
I wonder if I would have said no, please drive me home if she would have stopped at the deli for that cheesecake?
I was okay to call Football Superstar and drive.
I'm sitting in the parking lot and call my husband at his office. All I can say as I'm trying not to cry is- will you meet me half he tosses questions to me. Are you okay? What did the doctor say? What is wrong? JUST MEET ME!
We met at Sheetz. I no sooner sit in his car and burst into tears.
Me: I'm pregnant.
FS: What? smiling/light laughter What!? Oh, my gosh you told me you couldn't get pregnant!
Me: What are we going to do?
FS: What do you mean what are we going to do.....we're not's going to be just fine.
Still smiling he answers my cell phone that is ringing. It was Dr. F. calling to see if I made it home okay, and if I contacted my husband. He is laughing, thanking her, looking mighty confident. I must have looked like a wreck for her to call. Or...perhaps she was just being- the good doctor.

We sit in Sheetz parking lot crying together- happy tears.

Life Lessons: Turn and face the change.....cha-cha-changes.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Scrap Book

Fence repairs & pond replacements & repairs & the old pump shed needs painted and....and ....and..... and Sam wanting to be noticed
Sir Clementine - still able to sleep with his plus size body on the smaller window sill - we lost at least 2 inches when the old beveled glass windows were replaced- boo hoo but certainly saves on the fuel bill!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Scrap Book & Tidbits

^Little Red Cottage
^Old Farmhouse *brick part of the house was built in 1856 *newer addition was added sometime in the early 1900's (we have documents stating 1902- yet another says 1910- either way she's old!) *Historical facts: Confederate soldiers marched through "The Village of Farmers" camped and raided homes in the area- ours being one of them. Sitting close to historic Gettysburg- there is a lot of history in our area. This farm was once 70+ acres, housing cattle, pigs & chickens. Partial orchard on the opposite side of the property. (we only have one pear tree left- living- but may need to be cut down this summer)
Sadly, the barn burnt down in the late 1980's. The home was refurbished in 1982 - and occupied by the people who refurbished and gave this old farmhouse "life" again. It had no plumbing indoors- only a pump located in the kitchen- one line of electricity and a dirt basement.
There was once 4 working fireplaces - we now have only 1- our refrigerator sits where the "cooking" fireplace sat in the kitchen. The basement is no longer dirt, however I only sneak down there when it's absolutely necessary- there is a spring that runs through the basement and is now pumped out from a ground trough in order to keep the basement from getting too wet and damp. Well, it still gets the occasional water snake! So needless to say my "absolutely necessary" is not really necessary. The house leans, a toilet doesn't sit perfectly straight in the downstairs bathroom (but after 3 1/2 years who notices that anymore) it creeks and has the feel of a cozy home. The brick room (our family room) was the original home built in 1856- the farm family occupied this one room home with a loft that was used as their bedroom(s). I laugh....these kids of mine would never know what it's like not to have privacy!
This is a good fit for both Football Superstar and myself. We enjoy history- we never stop learning. And for me....well it fits my decor and "wanna-be farm girl" life!
We do not have free range cattle, or sheep, not even a pony and a horse (but I would love to have) chickens (can't do fowl, scared of birds) we don't even have a goat to help with the wild weeds that grow along the bank.....but at 5am you can rest assure you'll hear the rooster crow or do they caw? from across the road, over the hill where his farm sits. You can hear cattle mooing too. We see deer running across our yard into the woods.......plenty of hawks soaring in the crystal blue sky....then there are those turkey buzzards too- ugh.........and once in awhile a mallard twosome come strolling down to the creek. Then Sam barks and they are gone in a flash. And we also have the background noise of cars traveling on a busy road- but it still can't take away the down home "country" feel in our little family homestead.
Well, I'm off to make some hazelnut coffee in my cozy kitchen- then heading out to sit on my back patio to take in the spring breeze and warm sun- to watch the fish in our little ornamental pond dance- and hear the occasional Harley Davidson roar as it soars by. is good.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Meet me at......

Late October of 2005, Gracie and I met for a morning of antiquing,eating with a lot of chatting. We had lunch at the Dobbin House in Gettysburg. love that place!!
Football Superstar calls me on my cell phone- asking me to meet him before heading home - not at the Empire State Building- at a house that was once occupied by me. and China Doll
Before I even filed for my divorce- I knew that this particular farmhouse (mortgage) would be way out of my league to live comfortably and simply on my own. Sadly, I had to surrender this little farmstead. China Doll and I moved out and never looked back.

Funny....I'm pretty sure I've posted this before about my "inner farm girl". Even with the passion I had to move us to NYC.....there was this desire to work my own farm. and of course it would be a vegan based farm where most critters would be invited to roam freely {laughing}
I've seen plenty of cows in NYC.....well at the Bronx Zoo, but they are there!

Knowing the old property was back on the sale market....I wasn't exactly sure what was in store for this meeting at the old farmstead. After saying goodbye to Gracie, I drove quickly but not recklessly to meet my husband where I once planted white pumpkins for Halloween...where our beloved Bella is buried and China Dolls little flower garden was groomed by her own little hands.
Things looked the same from the outside, except for the little red cottage was in need of some TLC and China Dolls flower garden was overgrown. This is the end of October so nothing would have been in full bloom- but those sweet memories came back as I pictured her watering Blackeyed Susans and English Lavender.
Football Superstar is waiting with the investor - I get out of my car trying not to have a wave of emotions take over. The investor obviously didn't care to take into mind that this home had history. circa 1856 There were changes made inside- but nothing I couldn't rip out! And then there were the things that were not touched. Same old wide plank creaky floors. Same crooked windows in the brick room. And the same view I remember oh, so well.

What and Why? Why would Football Superstar want to move into a home that was once occupied by his now wife and her ex-husband? It wasn't the past memories that I was clinging on to either....and he knew this. It was what I had planned while living in this old farmhouse.
You know some people have a "Bucket List"...well I didn't have a bucket list I had a Market Basket List. And in this market basket was a plan to one day open up a little antique or country shop in that little red cottage.
We looked at quite a few other farmhouses within the Adams County area and closer to where Football Superstars office was located. Bouncing decisions. Long discussions.
By mid November the farmhouse was still on the market. Football Superstar and I decided why the heck not! Lets do it. We made an offer. December of 2005 we moved. Two weeks before Christmas. Moving day was the morning after we got the surprise 5 inches of snow. really it was a lot of fun.

*There is someone very dear that I am close to that was letting me know this was meant to be...this home purchase and move was a plan. I listened to her- but I wasn't quite sure what she was telling me.

Life Lesson: Don't get out that market basket quite yet...there are changes to come your way!


Monday, April 19, 2010

Scrap Book

Topsail Island Ferry 2005
Gracies clan
Football Superstar with his brother & sister-in-law 2005
A furry friend I met during our road trip June 2005
Lightener Farmhouse Bed&Breakfast
Cashtown Inn June 2005
The two young witnesses who made this all come together.....
In casual summer attire.....flip flops & daisies we said "I do". June 2005 Fells Point, Maryland
June 2005

Love & Marriage, another road trip & more!

Never thought it would getting married again. It did.
And I couldn't be happier, and more connected to a man.
Football Superstar and I married in June 2005 on a sunny beautiful afternoon on the pier in Fells Point. around the corner where Sleepless in Seattle was filmed -a favorite movie of mine We keep it simple- only our children. they wouldn't have had it any other way
Freckle Boy is best man and China Doll is maid of honor.
During our trip to the Baltimore courthouse in May to apply for our marriage license, we met and scheduled an ordained minister to marry us.

After having dinner at Timothy's by the water, we walked around Fells Point with our "wedding party" eating cannoli and ice cream. Shopping for toe rings, flip flops, t-shirts and henna tattoos. Our young witnesses would stay with family until we returned from our honeymoon.
Our honeymoon didn't take a lot of time or effort. For a wedding gift, we received a certificate for the Lightener Bed&Breakfast outside of Gettysburg. But did we want to go further? Egypt.....Canada.....a island? Placing names in a hat- we pulled out Road Trip! Our road trip took us places we discovered together and places we returned to during our "unmarried" time together. I'm so glad we took the road trip. The islands and foreign countries are not going anywhere.

Summer of 2005. The kids feel if it would not be for them and the dogs we would not be a family. Somewhat true.....but this also was their little plan for us to take them on a "family honeymoon".
We plan another beach trip. This time Topsail Island. pronounced Topsul. A few hours past OBX. House directly on the beach.....perfect weather.....good but bland angels in the sand didn't I say that would never happen again
and photos to boot! And guess what....we graduated to a canvas style TRAVEL TURTLE!

Not long after we arrived home from our family honeymoon- all is back to normal. As normal as the norm is with family life. One evening my Football Superstar and I were sitting on our deck relaxing. Then he throws a fast ball question to me. "Do you feel the need to work?" What? "Well...yeah don't I need to?"
One thing we did not do as a non-married couple becoming a married couple was discuss a family plan. We knew what our goals were for the future....but we didn't discuss me not working.
Football Superstar became a partner in his real estate business. He had flex being your own boss....I worked a solid schedule with on call every 6 weeks.....never had to work weekends - unless it was an on call weekend and 911 was called to the shelter......but I did miss out on many of China Dolls in school activities.
So when he asked me do I need to work.....I didn't know how to respond. I've always worked.
I never had the opportunity to volunteer in China Dolls school....or attend field trips.
Is this a trick question? Do you want me to do more laundry? Clean more? Walk the dogs by myself? What's up with this question......nothing.....he opened up the window and I climbed in head first. Actually I jumped through the window.
I gave my 2 week notice and began a new career.

My new career felt right. I'll admit it did take some time to adjust to this new routine. I was so use to waking up at the crack of dawn to grab a shower, a pop tart or bagel and coffee making sure I was out of the garage no later than 7:15am. Now I woke up with the rooster, but calmly. No need to rush China Doll to the neighbor who walked her children and other neighbors children to the bus stop. Coffee in one hand and waving goodbye to China Doll every morning (and Freckle Boy every other week) .....I would waltz back into the townhouse where 2 barking dogs and 1 fat grumpy cat stood at the door to greet me. I would have breakfast with Football Superstar after he returned from his 5:00am racquetball game. I would attend yoga class in the morning and catch up with a friend for lunch. I rarely looked at the watch unless it was closing in for the school bus hour. I began to feel like June Cleaver....well, maybe not June, more like Lucy.

I was the "karate mom". no soccer players at my house
I was the loud momma cheering for Freckle Boys little league "Yankee" team.
Violin lessons for China Doll. Family meals. and they actually enjoyed my cooking
Life was good.

In this good life- there was never any "thought" of God. Football Superstar gave no reason for me to think about beginning to attend a know, for the kids sake.
Why would we? I wasn't a believer. And my husband didn't discuss God- he wasn't sure what he believed. I would dodge questions from my family members when it came to going to church. I also dodged conversations regarding Jesus....God....the Holy Spirit.
Yet, we would attend holiday services at Football Superstars parents church- the very church he grew up in. I would just zone feeling very out of place
During unforeseen circumstances- my temper would flare. I would meditate with my incense lit- my face plastered to the floor. It worked but only for a short period of time. That old pain would surface again....or the person who just irritated me would not go away from my mind.....far enough away for me to feel serenity. And it was back to the meditation mat.

Life Lesson: Should we begin to collect eggs - together?


Thank You Christopher.....

"PrOmISe mE YoU'LL REmembER;
You'RE BRavEr than YoU BElieVE, and STronGER
than YoU sEEm and smArTER than yOU thinK"

~ChRistOpher RobiN to pooh

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Scrap Book

A visit from "Aunt Patty"....with me and the kiddos at Dairy Queen
China Doll getting her NY sweatshirt signed by a cooperative O's player.....after signing her shirt sleeve the large player picked China Doll up and pretended to throw her over the fence!
All in good fun!
Freckle Boy is an O's's only because I love this child that I would post such a photo!
Chef Michael/Coachman and his wife Cathy.....and Papa V. (father)
My dear friends Calvin & Jeanne downtown Manhattan
My Limo driver and our father..... prepping Christmas morning - ^note: my sister is still in her Pooh jammies!
My "Coachman"...better known as my brother ....not sure, but I think he is trying to be Estahban?
I'm so glad I found this photo of my mother while vacationing.....sadly, she began not enjoying having her photo taken
San Marco welcomes Papa V. That would be my father.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A New Identity

Sunday I listened to a message on "Identity". Defining who I am.

not wanting to jump ahead in my journey I wasn't sure if I wanted to even post this...

I never really gave it much thought as to WHO I am. WHAT I am yes. I've identified myself as a friendly- high spirited (not religiously spirited)- nature loving- hard working (most of the time)- daughter/sister/mommy/girlfriend/wife- preschool teacher/social worker- animal lover- protestor- chocolate lovin gal-Italian.
just to name a few
I thought those titles made me WHO I am. Not complaining.....I don't mind having a "title". I do not like being referred to by "her" or "she". I DO have a name thank you very much!

One department I struggled with was giving a title to a child or adult who was suffering from a diagnosed mental disability or substance abuse. Separating the disability or addiction was very hard while I worked with this population. Yet, this is what they suffered from. Some struggled their entire lives from these titles.
These people have a name- sadly the name is covered up by a tag printed in large bold letters "DRUG USER" or "I HAVE AD/HD". At times, this name is the only name we see on these people.
I've always tried very hard not to be a tag user. But there's that word *but* depending on my life situation- I would tag the person(s) who made my life a living hell. This was difficult in my work field as well, and here comes the "but" word again - I've always tried to see the person(s) suffering from their tagged title as a person. A person with a history. A person with a dark cloud over their shoulder that has never gone away. Recently I met someone - can't say where or who he is- but this person placed the exclamation point in my sentence. This person is covered from head to toe in tattoo's ......he's different....he's screams urban jungle. Yet deep inside this man was someone who obviously suffered....perhaps didn't have the background growing up as I had.....perhaps did not experience "love" until recently. It doesn't matter to me. I watch him every week grow....and as much as I still collect a pocket full of my own self doubts - he became an inspiration to me.

So.....enough titles and tags....enough of what someone looks like on the doesn't make them WHO they are. It no longer makes me WHO I am.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Scrap Book

Where Football Superstar attacks Godzilla

Scrap Book

Football Superstar*

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Scrap Book

Football Superstars Parents - Mr. & Mrs. Ice Cream
Can you tell they were excited this Christmas?

This and that...and a surprise for single Dad!

October 2004
Shelter life had no changes- except one. I finally had a coworker to share the caseloads with. We are busy as usual. I had a young client (21) who came into the shelter with her 9 month old baby girl. There was another 6 year old child but he was in the custody of the grandparents. As this young homeless and somewhat reckless mother met with me twice a week- I would hold her chubby and adorable baby girl on my lap and listen to her babble as her mother informed me of what she did/did not accomplish on my "To Do" list I gave to her weeks ago. Out of nowhere, my client informs me she would like for me to "adopt" her daughter. Trying to keep my professional composure-we discussed the options of adoption (not by me) and I instructed my young client to the proper agency for counsel. I gave her no indications that my heart was racing and about to leap out of my chest.....and I wasn't sure if adoption would be permitted....after all I was her caseworker.
After our meeting was over, I nervously dialed the single Dads office number.....I'm excited and stumbling over my words trying to explain every detail to him.
There was silence.....then I hear in a soft tone "well, I'm sure we can work something out for bedroom space.....we'll talk more tonight."
Cried of course...happy tears.
I needed to attend a mandatory staff meeting over at the main agency building.....when I returned I was informed by one of the shelter employees that my young mother exited the shelter with all of her belongings......and her baby girl......possibly took off to other information was given. I called C&Y....then went home and cried.

Our busy and at times chaotic but fun chaotic household was doing its best to stay on a routine. Events and practices. Halloween is coming around the corner- it seems like only yesterday we met the single Dad and Freckle Boy- and it was Halloween when I refused their invitation to join them in the festivities. This year- we are planning the festivities together.
I packed up my Beetle with kids and headed over to my parents first so they could see the Pirate and Goul. Then over to my brothers neighborhood again for some fun. Single Dad stayed home to hand out candy in our busy neighborhood.

Thanksgiving is approaching...plenty of family "stuff" taking place. As I wrote in a recent post I really enjoy this time of year. It's busy and fun. It is another holiday with my new friend...this time around he's my honey. {{smiling}}
The single Dads mother has scheduled "kid days" for herself. She loves this and so do the kids.
As China Doll and Freckle Boy spend time with "Grammie" a title she wears proudly it gives us some free time- so we take advantage of this time to go on dates.
One of my favorite places to go for food and spirits,concerts and the arts or antiquing/shopping- is Fells Point.
Now, it became our favorite hang out.
Sitting on the corner of Thames Street is a hole in the wall named "Duda's Tavern".
Great crab cakes! not a paid ad
We would end our night in Italia piccola Little Italy loading up with cannoli or biscotti from Vaccaro's for the car ride home. not a paid ad but a must to try!

During visits over to single Dads parents home- I couldn't help but notice the "Wall of Fame" in their game room. The wall was covered with photos of single Dad and his brothers.
But....the single Dad has a shrine- it's as if I walked into a Sports Illustrated page only a mother could have designed. Football surrounds me with a few photos of wresting as I look at a younger handsome face with that scoured look as if he is ready to tackle Godzilla.
Football Hero. Super Star. These are the words that are printed on posters- year books- college papers and cards.
It's time to give the single Dad a new name. Football Superstar

At the shelter - late November begins a month of nothing but food donations from many local churches and organizations. Department stores begin calling with donations. This is the time of year when shelter clients plan with their caseworker a Christmas Wish List. Every employee of the shelter receives an extra task to their job duty. It can be a fun time of year for us working at this over crowded shelter. We are able to become more involved in the community.
My coworkers- the Dr. Phil crew - are busy but never too busy to find out the latest scoop on the newer and hipper Brady Bunch. The Dr. Phil leader is a talented writer. Her poems and writings are beautiful. I asked Dr. Phil-ly if she would create a writing for me to give to my Football Superstar for Christmas. I thought this would be a special Christmas that spoke volumes on my feelings.
I gave Dr. Phil-ly the info she needed and she began to write. Within days she handed me a rough was absolutely perfect...beautiful. I plan to give him this writing on Christmas Eve after we arrive home from a family party....while the kiddos are in bed.....I'll have the egg nog & cinnamon at hand....candles and tree lit....yep, he'll never expect anything like this.

It's Christmas Eve. We attended a family party. I noticed that my Football Superstar was acting a little strange....looking almost pale. Perhaps it was the rich food he ate?
Maybe too much egg nog geez, hope not thats on my agenda he probably just needed some air - there were a lot of people at this gathering.

We decide to head home. As we arrive back to our cozy townhouse, I quickly had the kids get ready for bed and head downstairs to the Christmas tree so we could open up one small gift.
A tradition at Christmas Eve growing up at my house - now I carried it over.
Packs of trading cards or Clear Toy candies for the kids.....Tylenol and Godiva chocolate mini's for us.
we had two bicycles hidden in the neighbors garage for the kids... needed to work that into my late night plan

As my Football Superstar walked down to pick up the bikes- I had the family room glimmering with candles and the Christmas tree lights on. I did mix up two festive glasses of egg nog sprinkled with cinnamon- perfect for the two of us.

He came directly down to the family room still looking - well, awful.
I'm thinking he's getting sick.
He sat down beside me on the love seat- I had to kick Heidi off his lap - and we chatted about how surprised the kids will be on Christmas morning when they see their bikes. I told them they would not get bikes....using all kinds of excuses

Enough chat about the kids......
I decided to hand my Football Superstar his framed writing. Almost in sync he hands me a little black box wrapped with a beautiful silver bow- one from a jeweler not a mixed bag of bows from Wal-Mart.
There it was- sitting in this tiny black box- a dainty and beautiful PastPresentFuture ring.
Football Superstar says....."will you marry me?"
I cried to the point of not remembering that I too had a, what was it?
He did manage to read his framed writing...and loved it. And I did say YES.
Wow. Here I thought I was going to be the only one giving a surprise this Christmas.

Football Superstar wasn't sick....he had a bad case of nerves. giggling

Life Lesson: Get over your trust issue girly- fast.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Summertime....summertime....sum -sum summertime.

I love spring and summer. I love all the seasons-when they are "in season".
There is for me nothing like inhaling winters cold air- right before a snow. There is nothing like opening up my windows to invite the fresh flowery breeze of spring. There is nothing like sitting under a shade tree in the summertime sipping minty iced tea. And there is nothing like the crisp autumn air that surrounds you while hiking through the woods. I guess you could say- there is nothing like enjoying every single season! for me
Sadly, we are losing the true seasons-I can remember them not too long ago. But I won't go global on you- not this post anyway!

I will continue where the famous OBX vacation ended.
During the summer of 2004, China Doll and I were introduced to other members of single Dads family- brothers who lived outside of PA. We met brothers & their wives. Cousins & extended family. If you remember- I knew some of single Dads family from high school.
One particular cousin I adored and had tons of fun with was Katie. She and I became pretty good friends after her graduation.
Single Dads parents were so nice. They welcomed China Doll and I with open arms and plenty of smiles. A very sweet and genuine couple.
Introductions to most of my family were made a while back. Of course they could see why I turned down the job in NYC- because here was this great guy coming into the lives of their daughter and granddaughter. My family could see China Dolls excitement and happiness.
They could see my calmness - finally in their daughters life.

I can't remember a summer passing by so quickly. This particular summer did for me.
A MAJOR decision was made. The single Dad and I combined households. We moved into a townhouse- just over the hill from the park where we met on that misty October afternoon.
Here we were- 2 busy and happy kids, 2 big dogs, 1 grumpy fat cat and 2 happy and somewhat calm adults. laughing loudly.
No discussion of marriage. Remember my trust issue....this wonderful person did not deserve my lack of trust- but that dark gloom continued to haunt me. Were we making the right choices as to move in together as a couple with young children? What kind of role models were we becoming? What was that telling our young impressionable son and daughter?
The one important thing about all those questions (speaking for myself only) was that China Doll would be able to witness a healthy loving relationship.

Now....there were hurdles. I had rules. Oh, I had rules! laughing.
Freckle Boy and China Doll blended well together- but it did take some adjustments and tweeking here and there. As any family But for me- I wanted things to be simple- as I like to live- but life is anything but simple. Not even the Brady Bunch lived like simple folks!
Running over scooters in the stuff scattered throughout the house......repeating "take off those dirty shoes"......toilet seat down.....toothpaste out of the sink please.....dolls away? away?......complete your homework......turn off the tv......lights off.....we don't live in a barn.......use your napkin not your sleeve.......why is your karate gear missing?.......WHERE IS MOMS CHOCOLATE?
I was not only guiding one young child, but two. And boy oh boy- boys are different!
I'm laughing while typing this......oh, we were blending.....we were defiantly blending

We blended.

Life Lesson: Keep your secret stash box filled with a lot of chocolate.

Peace&Love&Chocolate Kisses

Scrap Book

China Doll and Freckle Boy with General Lee

Freckle Boy - class play Titanic
Freckle Boy & China Doll - Karate presentation

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

From the corner of my little mind

While sipping my Irish cream coffee this morning, I had plenty of thoughts "dancing" in my mind. When the sun is shining outside my little mind begins to just wonder......drift into places where I've never imagined. When I'm with my gal pals I find that we all have so much to say....and we try to fit it into and hour or maybe four hours but sometimes that is never enough.
So as the sun hits my patio and I sit and watch spring beginning to really grasp onto every inch of my mind begins its dance....wishing one of those gal pals were sitting right here so I could tell them what I forgot to tell them just hours or days ago! What e-mail can't deliver....expressions, passion or excitement and even sadness.

Here was my dance this morning:
I've never been caught up in the celebrity chain of events. At least I don't think I am.
My father danced with Doris Day at the NJ hot spots.
My mother was wooed by little man Mel Torme. which we never allowed her to forget
Growing up I met -having very little desire to meet them- famous gym rats/Incredible Hulk Lou Ferrigno, Olympic lifters with their sporty cars and gold medals that made them look like wanna-be rappers............these are the men my father surrounded himself with in his glory days of weight lifting. I may have been a gym rat when I turned 16, only because there were cute guys working out at the worlds famous YBB. I may have not wanted to meet celebrities but I didn't turn down a chance to meet a cute regular guy!
But now at my mature age- I'm finding myself reading or listening to what celebrities are doing with their lives. I'm not speaking about Tiger Woods or any politician who is cheating on his wife or the poor actress or actor who recently won the award and is now getting divorced.
I'm speaking about the "people" who make a difference. Bono, Bruce Springsteen, Greg Mortenson, Mother Teresa, Princess Diana and Bill Gates just to name a few. I read this article in a New York post that placed Bono as a "person who only uses his fame and money to pretend to care about the sick and starving"....."his personal interest is limited when it comes to charity"......"Bono is using charities to ride the fame train". WHAT? Bono was famous before he began his charitable works. U2 needed no charity foundation to ride any "fame train".
I then found a more honorable column to read on Mr. Bono. It stated that his spiritual belief and strong political views make him the kind of man he wants to be. I believe that.
I've followed Greg Mortenson because of his climbing adventures. I never really knew the kind of man he was/is. It wasn't until I read "Three Cups of Tea" thanks to my friend Sharon when I realized this man has a heart the size of K2.
Mother Teresa had another heart way larger than her tiny frame. My grandmother worshiped the ground she walked on I would love to believe that each and every one of us have it inside of our hearts to reach out. It doesn't have to be monetary donations. It doesn't have to be traveling to another country and feeding orphans or building schools. What about just holding the door for someone? What happened to smiling? Is it that hard to smile and be kind to other people no matter what their race or religious or political views may be? Frankly I am getting irritated by comments on Obama. What president have you ever seen in the big white mansion that ever- and I mean ever gave you what you wanted? We can't flip a coin and "fix" the economy over night. We can't flip a coin and end the war. But we can stop bickering and acting as if we are not a social and educated country. Can't we?

Oh my gosh....did I just get political?