Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mid Winter Blahs......

Just in case you don't get a chance to check out the various blogs I visit I just had to share this post with everyone. Mrs. Pom captures how everyone I know is feeling about the winter and how we wish it were at least March. Anyway check out her post here.



Well Friday night I had a thought provoking conversation with a dear friend. She was very kind to listen as I vented about my experiences of the day. She is very understanding as she struggles with similar sibling issues. We spoke at length about the expectations we both have with regard to family. I confided in her that I am fearful of losing the relationship I have with my brother over the sale of my father's house. Her immediate question to me was basically 'What relationship?'. This simple question made me stop and think. What relationship indeed. My response to her was 'The imaginary relationship I have in my head'. I love my brother so much, but for many years the relationship has really been one sided. It has always been others giving to him with little given in return. This is not a new phenomenon. It began when we were kids I suppose. I was always put in the role of protector being the older sibling. At first this role was given to my by my mother, but over time I took it on myself. In retrospect I believe I took on at a very young age the role of protector/caregiver/doer/mediator for my entire family. This role intensified when my mother became ill and then even more so after my mother died and as Dad faced various challenges after her death. Perhaps having been in this role for so long some how has prohibited my brother from stepping up and doing his part. I don't know. That being said it doesn't change my hope that he will do the right thing even when deep down I know what to expect. Why then do I always allow myself to be disappointed, upset and angry when his actions are so predictable. This became the crux of the conversation I had with my dear friend. In the end it all comes down to HOPE, that hope we both have that our families will live up to our expectations. Even though we both know intellectually that our siblings will do what they have always done; we still hold onto that hope. Perhaps one day that hope will be realized although even as I type these words in my mind I know that chances are things will not change. Maybe it is that hope that keeps families bound together.


Friday, January 29, 2010

How It Went

Well I had an interesting morning. As I said in my previous post I went to spend some time at Dad's. My plan was to take an inventory of sorts. Not so much an inventory of items more an inventory of the work that must be done to prepare for the sale of the house. There is much work to be done.

It is a very cold day today and the winds have been howling. The wind is always worse at Dad's. Today was no different. The house was cold. The thermostat was moved to the downstairs level after Dad died so I can not tell you what the temperature was in the room. Somehow it felt as if there was no heat reaching the upper level of the home at all. I can't be sure though. Fluffy was happy to see me today. She was vocal and friendly. The house was a mess; dishes still in the sink from before Christmas, toys that belong to my nephew all over the living room, Christmas decorations that had not been displayed strewn around the living room, boxes of old toys from downstairs, an old broken chair from downstairs.... the list goes on. Earlier this week I had emailed my brother letting him know of my plan to come over and just spend time organizing my thoughts so that a timeline of sorts could be developed. I indicated that it would be helpful to have the house somewhat tidy with dishes done and the living room in a state so that it didn't look like a storage facility. Evidently he either didn't read the email or didn't care about what it said. It is so frustrating. I wrote in my journal for a few minutes and then began the list making. I could here both my brother and sil downstairs as I made lists and took notes on all that has to be done. It was more than annoying to be picking up toys and trash that had nothing to do with me or Dad. I know I can't let myself get bogged down with this stuff but it really irks me to no end! So I went through each room and made notes. We have a lot of stuff that needs to be cleaned out and thrown away. I see a dumpster in our future. I hope we can get through this process quickly with as little drama as possible. We'll see.

And It Begins

So I have not been back over to Dad's house since the Monday after Christmas. Today I will be going over for a little bit. I will sit in his space and feel the feelings that come up. I will honor those feelings and hopefully let them go and begin to move forward.

I also need to begin the task of organizing to prepare for putting the house up on the market. This is not a task I've been looking forward to beginning but I must. I can't do this alone. I'm hoping that my brother will participate. I know R will help but as always it begins with me....


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pen and Ink


CVS - trip down memory lane?

So I went to the doctor yesterday. Sure enough I have bronchitis. I knew I had it I was just hoping it would miraculously go away on it's own. I seriously dislike going to the doctor's office as well as having to fill prescriptions and take medicine. I'll be a good patient however and take my meds and get as much rest as I can until I beat this nastiness.

I had to drop my prescriptions off at my local CVS, you know the one where I was in that fender bender that wiped out the entire passenger side of my Camry. The car is all fixed by the way and looks better than new. They even took out the big dent on my bumper that was there from a previous 'hit and run' type incident. I digress.... so I was leery about driving into the parking lot but I got through it and parked safely without incident. I went down to the pharmacy to drop off my scripts and planned to wait for them to be filled. It felt a little strange as the only time I would normally drop anything off would have been scripts for Dad. So I'm sure you can guess how I was feeling. I did a little browsing. Checked out the cough drops, looking for the boxes of Luden's licorice flavor cough drops. Evidently I'm out of the cough drop loop as I couldn't find boxes never mind in licorice flavor. I guess that was a bit of a sentimental journey I was taking anyway. I should have known then to get the heck out of there! Well I didn't. I walked back to the pharmacy and sat in the waiting area. Of coarse the waiting area had to be adjacent to the 'Boost' and pill box aisle. All I kept thinking to myself was..."please don't let any of these ladies ask about Dad or be kind and nice to me" Right at this point the nice, slow moving pharmacy tech said 'Oh what's your name dear, who are you waiting for' I had all I could do not to dissolve into tears. I got through it however. I paid for my meds, drove home, worked on a couple of chores and took an hour and a half nap on the couch before getting up to make mac and cheese and beef stew! What a day.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday To Do List

1. Call Doctor for an appointment to kick this lingering cough.

2. Call collision auto body shop to check on car.

3. Wrap up thank you cards from the funeral. ( a little stuck on this...)

4. De clutter house starting with bedrooms.

5. Go to 'n's Author's Celebration. She is reading a piece she wrote about Papa.

6. Return rental car and hopefully pick up my car.

7. Go out with family to purchase gifts for birthday parties this weekend.

8. Papa Gino's to round out the day.

Well it looks like I have a lot to do today. I hope that I can check everything off this list by the end of the day. I'll check back and let you know how it all works out.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Yay It's Friday!

Well it's my Friday anyway! I'm happy that today ends my work week. It has been quite the week. Tuesday was hellacious. The child who is struggling in my class had perhaps the worst day ever. At one point we had five teachers in the classroom. Three of those teachers were trying to help the struggling child. We had our meeting with that family later that day. It was a 'lovely' meeting but not the meeting I would have held. Oh well, enough said about school.

The election was another huge disappointment. On my way to school Tuesday morning I was listening to my favorite radio station and the dj's started a conversation with an individual regarding the senate campaign's... at first I thought it was a spoof on Scott Brown. I quickly realized that it was Scott Brown. I was so unimpressed. You know, if MA had to vote in a Republican, couldn't we have picked someone who at least presented as thoughtful and intelligent. He just seems so full of himself and unaware of how off putting he is to some voters. He probably doesn't care. Perhaps his election will make the dems realize that they need to step it up a notch with regard to change and getting things done in Washington. The good news is he only has two years in this seat and then will have run again. Hopefully he can't do too much damage over the next two years.

Tomorrow will be an exciting day, better than I had previously planned. 'n' will be taking part in an Authors Celebration and I will be attending. She will be reading selections from her published writing. One selection is about Dad's wake. I think I will need to bring tissues. She told me yesterday how much she enjoys writing, especially when she writes about something that she likes and is interesting. I offered to set up a 'blog' for her so that she can write on the computer and she was very excited. For now the blog will remain private but perhaps in the future she will decide to open it up to other readers. I can't wait to read what she writes.

Now it's time to begin my day. Enjoy your almost Friday!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Vote, Vote, Vote

Well after a weekend filled with many, many, many political phone calls and voice mails today it will all be over. Raised in a working class family I have always aligned myself with the Democrats, believing that they stand for the small guy while Republicans tend to favor the wealthy, conservative big business types. For those who read here, who live out of the general area, we are preparing to vote a politician into the Senate seat that was once filled by Teddy Kennedy. We are choosing between Martha Coakley and Scott Brown.

I'm not sure that either of these candidates can do justice to the seat for which they run. That being said; I also believe that now is not the time to 'punish' Pres. Obama by voting out a Democrat as a referendum on Obama's work thus far in his Presidency. I especially dislike the fact that in most adds Scott Brown is identifying himself as an independent minded politician for the people. Quite frankly I don't believe him. The fact that I received a call requesting support for Brown due to the fact that Martha Coakley said that Catholics shouldn't work in the ER and therefore is a proponent of religious discrimination particularly galls me. Clearly this was a snippet taken out of context by the group placing the call. Unbelievable! I think that a vote for Scott Brown is tantamount to a vote against the new Health Care initiative. While the new bill isn't perfect, at least it is a start. I guess you can tell who I'll be voting for today. (I wish I could be voting for Vicky but alas that was not to be)

I'll be watching with bated breath tonight as the polls close and results roll in.....


Monday, January 18, 2010

The Week Ahead

Well it's looking like the week will be busy as usual...

School has been challenging. My teaching partner and I are working hard to meet the needs of the children yet are finding that some children continue to exhibit challenging behaviors. We have made many modifications all varied in nature and pride ourselves in being consistent and positive as we work with these young children. I know I have educators who read this blog and would love any suggestions that you might be willing to offer. When looking at one child's temperament we see a child who has a low sensory threshold, is less than predictable in reactions to various classroom stimuli, exhibits responses that are intense, tends to withdraw when faced with a new situation, is slow to adapt, struggles with staying with a task when faced with frustration, is able to start the day with a positive mood but as the day moves on the mood becomes negative even angry at times. Throughout the day there are glimpses of sustained play however most of the day this child is unable to settle into any activity. We will be meeting with the Mom tomorrow in the hopes that we can work together to develop further strategies that will enable us to help our student manage the day and be successful in our classroom. It is so frustrating as a teacher to use virtually every strategy you can think of and still fail to make progress. Can you tell I've been thinking about this a lot?

This week I will be driving a rental car yet again. My car is still in the shop being repaired. We have yet to get all the information from the individual who t-boned me in the CVS parking lot. We will be stuck with a 500.00 deductible! I have learned a very important lesson through this experience. Call the police when you are in an accident... no matter how minor. Had I called the police I believe that the individual who hit me would have been arrested. He told me he was on pain meds and I don't think he should have been driving. Sigh! Well now I know.

Hope everyone has enjoyed their weekend and perhaps even reflected on why we have an extra day off today. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. may he rest in peace and may his dream live on.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Bit of Creatiity

As some of you may know I enjoy spending time experimenting with creative arts. The latest experiment included using rubber stamps with melted wax to create a type of oil resist.
The process begins with the melting of wax crayons. I usually choose to work with complimentary colors. I use a frying pan lined with heavy tin foil and melt the wax directly onto the tinfoil. When the 'puddle' of wax is pleasing to my eye I apply a piece of card stock in order to make my print.

The solid wax prints are beautiful.

Working with the stamps in the wax was interesting. It didn't work quite how I thought but I did like the results in the end.

Friday, January 15, 2010


It has been a very long week.

I have been doing a lot of thinking. I have had a few very difficult moments. I'm still reading Final Gifts; and while I am inspired by the stories it is also bringing a lot to the surface. I guess that is good and will help me process things, but in the moment it hurts. As I read the chapter "Preparing for Travel or Change" I had an epiphany of sorts. This chapter is a study of the language the dying use to indicate that they are preparing for their final journey. It looks at the symbolism of the words. Logically when a dying person speaks of maps, passports, and trips they clearly are not speaking of something that they can do in this moment. For the family and loved ones who are in the moment of these conversations the interpretation is usually quite literal. Often families relate the conversations to past travels or experiences when in actuality the conversations are much larger than the literal interpretation. Often the dying are seeking permission to take the final journey and may even be craving conversations with loved ones about the process. I so wished that I had this book a week before it came. I think it would have helped me help Dad. I think of the conversation we had either the Sunday or Monday before he died. We spoke of a plan to go out the following Friday for a ride. We were just going to ride around town and as Dad said "See what kind of trouble we can get into". Now had I read this chapter prior to this conversation and been thinking more rationally I would have realized what it meant. It has been years since we went out just for a ride. Any time we would go out it would be for some sort of doctors appointment. In retrospect I think he knew. He knew his journey on this earth was ending and he would be transitioning onto the next life. I know that I did the best I could but if I had realized then I would have done things a little differently. I would have stayed with him. I picture him alone and afraid at night and it breaks my heart. I should have spent the night. I should have known but I didn't. It makes me so sad.

On top of all of these feelings today marks the 9th anniversary of my Mum's death. It's like the blink of an eye. I miss them both every day.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Quote of the Day

In case you don't read my sidebar:

Life is like an onion: You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.

by Carl Sandburg

For me, this quote was too good not to have a place in an actual post.


Technical Difficulties

So I've been quiet the last couple of days due to some computer issues. My laptop is tethered to the basement power cord. The battery is kaput as is the spare power cord. I'm awaiting replacements for both. I think it is time to start looking for a new laptop or at least investing some money into updating my 5 year old laptop. It has served me well. I find myself less likely to sit down and post if my laptop isn't in my main living space. Right now I'm on 'R's computer. His computer is as fast as lightning... being and apple and all... so it tends to be a hot commodity in this household.

I have some reflections that I'll write about regarding the book that I am reading; Final Gifts. It is an outstanding insightful book on the process of death and dying. I began reading it just before Dad died and feel like I must finish reading it out of respect. Sounds strange, but that is how I feel. Anyway more to come on that later.

So another reason for my self imposed silence is that I have been fighting a chest cold of some sort. I have tightness and congestion and uncomfortable coughing. The whole thing is tiresome in many ways. My voice has been compromised by all the coughing, so not only am I quiet here with my written words I am also trying to be quiet with my spoken word. Back to school with the little kiddos tomorrow. We'll see how that goes.


Friday, January 8, 2010


My title says it all! It was a long week, even though my work week is only 3 days long. The children were all very excited to be back to school with all their friends and teachers. The few children who were struggling prior to the holidays continue to struggle. At best it was challenging to meet their needs this week. I think we were hoping that things would settle down a bit for them after the holidays passed. In my heart of hearts I knew this would not be the case. Luckily the families are supportive. We will work together to try to figure things out for these children as they are eligible for kindergarten next year. Much progress will need to be made in order for these children to be successful next year in a public school setting. We shall see.

Yesterday on my way to school I found myself feeling very 'raw', emotionally speaking. My mind was racing and several times during my 30 minute commute I was on the verge of tears. I thought to myself as I approached school.... 'Please, let everything be alright bad news'. Well that was not to be. One of our families has been struggling with an acute terminal illness. The diagnosis was made just a couple weeks before Christmas break. When I saw the children enter the building with their Mom instead of their Grandma I knew the news would be bad. Sure enough the family lost their patriarch the night before. So sad and so reminiscent of my experience with my Dad. Loss is such a difficult journey. Just when you think you are OK something brings you back into the mire of grief. And so it goes....

Today I will spend time working in my house. I'll clean, hopefully produce some art work, either constructing cards, creating prints or watercolor painting. I also have newsletters to write for school. I should do some grocery shopping but I think I'll hold off on that job. I awoke with a pounding headache so I'm hoping that the Advil that I took 30 minutes ago will kick in soon so that I can begin.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Food for Thought

Suzann shared the following quote on her blog. It says so much.

"The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins."

~Bob Moawad


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

One Month

One month ago today Dad passed away. I can't believe that it has only been a month. It feels like such a very long time. Over the past week I have had several dreams about Dad. In the dreams he seems so alive, right there, like I could reach out and hug him. Dreams can be so cruel. In ten days it will be nine years since Mum died. She has been in my dreams too. The last dream I had they were together. It was comforting. It's interesting that in my dreams they are not young, they are as they were when they were last together in life. I do miss them both so much but life must continue. It is a different life. It will take time become accustomed to this new life. I am here; alive, breathing, thinking, doing. I know they would want me to live. How to do that without feeling guilty is the question. The guilt is not a survivor's type of guilt. It is the kind of guilt you get when you are enjoying yourself and then remember that your loved one is gone..... It is all very complicated.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Back to Work!

Well it is back to reality tomorrow. I've only worked two days since Dad died, a month ago very early in the morning on Dec 5th. It seems like so long ago yet again it seems like just yesterday.

So tomorrow it's back to a regular schedule, teaching, meetings for Stand for Children and Plymouth Public Schools Strategic Planning Committee and if I can muster up the endurance perhaps even a PTA meeting. It won't all be at once during this first week back from vacation but over the next weeks I'll be easing back into all of my responsibilities. I wonder what the transition will feel like...

But before all this I'd like to post a few holiday pictures....

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Winter Pics

So 'n' and I went outside when the sun shined for a few minutes today and we both took a few photos. Here are some of my favorites.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Check This Out

I entered this photo into the Winkflash contest for best photo of the year. I think it is one of my best/favorite photos that I've taken this past year. If you feel like it check out the Winkflash site and vote for me! Thanks!

On Another Note....

I woke this morning from a vivid dream. Let me tell you about it....

I was at some sort of celebration. It seemed to take place in a very large open area with buildings and outbuildings on the land. There was also an outdoor cooking area that appeared to be very primitive. It reminded me of the large outdoor ovens that are installed at Plimoth Plantation. I remember looking into these ovens and seeing various meets and breads cooking. At this point in my dream I was serving hot bread to tables and tables of guests. Finally I entered a rear room that was crowded with several banquet tables surrounded by important looking individuals. As I began serving more hot bread Dad and Mum entered the room. Dad had on one of his favorite sweaters. He looked at me and said that he donated money so that I could have a job that payed sixty thousand dollars. The people at the table spoke of coursework and other responsibilities of the position. It was such a strange dream. I turned to hug Dad and say thank you and I awoke from the dream. In my semi awake state I thought about how much more the dream job would pay than my current preschool teacher position. Such a strange dream I wonder what it meant.


Friday, January 1, 2010

The Light of Winter-Light of a New Year

hope, innocence, trust, peace, prosperity, happiness

....words that come to mind when I think of the New Year

....words that this photo evokes when I look in 'N's eyes

January 1

Light of a New Year
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