Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Fill Ins

1. I was excited to recieve my 70-300 Olympus zoom today and een happier with the first results.

2. The shit hit the fan and I left my book in the can.(sorry this just came to me and I couldn't think of anything else)

3. Why do some people work so hard for what they have while others expect things to be given to them as if they are entitled.

4. Family was in my thoughts today.

5. One of my father's favorite sayings was give me a break.

6. Stress--I know that feeling!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to pizza and tv, tomorrow my plans include waiting for my new couch and a trip to Cupcake Charlies and Sunday, I want to get out and take more pictures with my new zoom!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


My Dad's cat Fluffy is up for adoption. I posted info on FB last night and two of my cousins are willing to take her. I am beyond thrilled. Having her stay in the family would be wonderful. Dad loved this cat soooo much. He would look into Fluffy's eyes with such love. When he was alive the cat didn't give anyone but him the time of day. She would jump up on his lap and "punch" in on his chubby tummy. He would look down at her and kiss her on his nose. She was his love and companion. She would play with us and allow us to pat her sometimes. Since he passed she has been much more friendly, probably out of loneliness. So in honor of Dad, Fluffy and loving family... I thought I'd post a bunch of pictures of the girl of the hour.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I am exhausted by the drama that is my brother and the process of selling Dad's house. My brother is grasping at straws trying to stay in the house. If there were a viable way for him to purchase the house, buy me out so to speak, I would be all for that, however there does not seem to be a viable, honest way for this to happen. I'm tired of the schemes and shenanigans. I just want him to man up, take responsibility and move forward. It will only serve him well in the long run. Cutting the enabling chord is one of the most difficult things I've done and I wish my parents did it long ago. I feel like I'm bleeding on the inside. My body is tense. My insides are shaking. My outlook feels cynical and pessimistic. This is not the me I know. I miss that me and desperately want to find her before she disappears.

To make life even more interesting.... Grammy, R's Grandmother who moved to New Hampshire basically to spite her daughter in law about two years ago just found out that her assisted living facility is closing it's doors and she needs to be out by the end of May! She left a message on my machine saying she is interested in moving to the place close to my house..... I'm not sure I can handle the thought of this never mind the reality!


For Your Listening Pleasure.....

I'm very excited that Kina has Boston dates planned! Yay! I am so going to see her and I can't wait.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I love the wildlife that surrounds my school.

picture by Barbara M. Pagnotti

picture by Barbara M. Pagnotti

picture by Barbara M. Pagnotti

picture by Barbara M. Pagnotti

How fortunate I am to see cardinals, Baltimore orioles, pheobes, gold finches, an occasional bluebird, nesting great horn owls, flocks of turkeys and the latest addition to the list an Eastern Towhee. These creatures bring me such delight.


Monday, April 26, 2010


Does anyone out there watch the show 'Intervention'? For some reason I am drawn to this show and similar shows. I'm not sure if it makes me feel better because my life isn't as out of control as the lives depicted on the screen or if somehow I recognize myself in the enabling that goes on between family members. Tonight's episode is about a young man who is addicted to gambling. Almost everything he says reminds me of my brother. This young man demands money from his family to fix his financial mistakes. He holds them hostage to the possibility that he will injure himself or do something drastic. He seems to think that the world owes him a living and when things are not going his way it is simply not fair. Broken promises and lies. It is remarkable that grown men feel this way. Certainly he is an addict. I don't look at my brother as an addict but he behaves like one. Can you be addicted to being taken care of by family? addicted to being saved? I wonder.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Back to Routine....

Well vacation is over! However the good news is that the kids only have 36 day until Summer Vacation!

The rest of vacation was good. Nails were painted, sleepovers were had, shopping for supplies was completed and signatures were placed on the paperwork to place Dad's house on the market as of May 3rd. Lots was accomplished. Although sad; we are ready to go back to our school routine. (but only for a short time)

We discovered all the movies Netflix has to offer via streaming through the Wii. So many interesting movies. We've watched several over the last days of vacation. One of the movies that touched me was The Horse Boy. It chronicled the story of a family with an autistic son and what they do to help their child. It was an amazing movie.

Well I know I have more to say, but I'm tired and my family is a bit distracting. More to come later.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Fill Ins

1. Where are mybabies; I turned around and now they are big kids?
2. If wishes were horses I'd have an entire stable full.
3. I'd like to see the seven wonders of the world.
4. When I was a teen, I thought 40 was way old, boy was I wrong!
5. One of my mother's favorite sayings was chuck you farly your not so muckin fuch!(she only said it once in a while but when she did you knew something was up)
6. I'd have a hard time doing without my coffee.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a burger at Friendly's, tomorrow my plans include meeting with the realtor and sending n on another playdate and Sunday, I want to relax!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Vacation Week

Well vacation week has been relatively peaceful. The children and I have enjoyed spending lazy mornings together in our pj's watching tv or playing Wii. It has been relaxing.

On Tuesday we went to a local theater that offers $6.25 tickets for all shows playing on Tuesdays. It is located in Sandwich off exit two over the bridge. Unfortunately they are doing work on the bridge so getting over was a bit of a headache. I foolishly took the highway thinking there wouldn't be traffic mid day on a Tuesday. Oops! I was wrong. No worries we made it to the movies in plenty of time to see our pick of the day; How to Train Your Dragon. It was one of the best animated pictures I have watched in a long time. Happily I took back roads home and was able to sneak onto the highway via the ramp near the Christmas Tree Shop.

It felt like a triumph as I looked in my rear view mirror and saw traffic backed up for miles!

Wednesday was an at home day. Again we hung out and played Mario for Wii. Later in the day we walked to the beach. N took a detour and decided to play over a friends house for the afternoon. n and I enjoyed our time at the beach although sadly the sand from last summer is gone replaced with many rocks of various sizes. Maybe if we get another good storm the sand will return. Much of our afternoon was spent working on a bride/groom childhood slide show. R is going to be filming and creating a wedding story DVD for one of my co workers who is getting married this summer. He is doing the work at an extremely discounted rate in order to use a sampling from the DVD for his demo. Part of the package that we are providing is the slide show. n and I had fun listening to a wide variety of music and we worked together to edit the product on Final Cut. The final piece was great. After that work we cleaned like crazy to prepare for our meeting with this same couple to go over details. It went well. I can see us working as a family to make additional money if R can get this side business up and running. I would love to see it turn into a full time gig. We'll see. If you know anyone in MA who is getting married and wants a videographer at a great price let me know!

Today was enjoyable. Again a leisurely morning. I chatted with my friend C for a bit and then we all got ready and dropped n at her friends house for a play date from 11 to 4. N and I sat and chatted with J for about an hour and I happily played with her newest addition to the family; a beautiful 5 month old baby boy. Holding him brought me back. Now I am sitting and relaxing. N has a buddy from the neighborhood over for the night and n and I will be watching Survivor and snacking in just a little bit. R is off with his friend at the Sox game.

Life is good.


Sunday, April 18, 2010


Well today we headed over to Dad's expecting to do a bunch of work by ourselves. R and I were pleasantly surprised to see the brother and SIL had already been hard at work. Much of the old furniture had been broken down and placed into the dumpster. We went through some more clothes, packed things up for good will and did a bit of cleaning. All that is going into the dumpster from inside Dad's part of the house has been moved. Now brother and SIL will have to organize all the stuff they have in the living room. Hopefully that will be completed over the next few days and next weekend I'll go in and get the heavy cleaning done. My brother has a friend who is loaning him a heavy piece of equipment to level ff the side yard. I think it will improve the value of the property as the weeds and old dead branches will be covered over. We shall see. At the very least things were companionable. You never would have known that there had been threatening conversations and demands regarding money just two days before. Nothing was even mentioned. Things are calm now. I'm sure they will flare up again before we complete this process.


Friday, April 16, 2010

From Daily Om

Sometimes you get what you need.

Earlier today I called our local Hospice looking for information regarding grief counseling for 'n' and maybe me too. After leaving a message on voice mail I walked down to get the mail. Well in the mail was a letter from the woman for whom I just left a message. The first lines read "Though some months have passed, you and your family have not been forgotten by all of us here at Cranberry Hospice. .... " Boy did I need to hear that.

Then just minutes ago I opened this message from my Daily Om subscription. I don't always open their emails but I think I was meant to read this particular piece.

Sometimes you get what you need. This in itself is reassuring.

April 16, 2010

Burdensome Feelings
Blaming Others

Blaming sets up a situation in which it becomes difficult to move forward and puts resolution in the hands of others.

As we begin to truly understand that the world outside of us is a reflection of the world inside of us, we may feel confused about who is to blame for the problems in our lives. If we had a difficult childhood, we may wonder how we can take responsibility for that, and in our current relationships, the same question arises. We all know that blaming others is the opposite of taking responsibility, but we may not understand how to take responsibility for things that we don’t truly feel responsible for. We may blame our parents for our low self-esteem, and we may blame our current partner for exacerbating it with their unconscious behavior. Objectively, this seems to make sense. After all, it is not our fault if our parents were irresponsible or unkind, and we are not to blame for our partner’s bad behavior.

Perhaps the problem lies with the activity of blaming. Whether we blame others or blame ourselves, there is something aggressive and unkind about it. It sets up a situation in which it becomes difficult to move forward under the burdensome feelings of shame and guilt that arise. It also puts the resolution of our pain in the hands of someone other than us. Ultimately, we cannot insist that someone else take responsibility for their actions; only they can make that choice when they are ready. In the meantime, if we want to move forward with our lives instead of waiting around for something that may or may not happen, we begin to see the wisdom of taking the situation into our own hands.

We do this by forgiving our parents, even if they have not asked for our forgiveness, so that we can be free. We end the abusive relationship with our partner, who may never admit to any wrongdoing, because we are willing to take responsibility for how we are treated. In short, we love ourselves as we want to be loved and create the life we know we deserve. We leave the resolution of the wrongs committed against us in the hands of the universe, releasing ourselves to live a life free of blame.

And It Continues....

Sorry, but another rant is coming. Looking for something uplifting and well written? Check some of the links on the sidebar because this post is not going to do it for you....

The emails from my brother continue. I did not respond to the first email. The second email informed me that SIL will be running out of her prescription and his check won't cover the meds, hot water and heat. I should have left it alone and not responded but I didn't!

I basically questioned him about how he would pay any funds back, what happened to the funds he received on January 11th and told him that I would not take money from the mortgage funds. There was much more said that I won't go into here. I'm probably sharing too much info already. The final thing I did say in my response was that I didn't think it was right that he was putting this on my shoulders. Well of course I received an email response this morning. It reminds me of what I have seen on the show Addicted. When an addict is faced with the truth they get angry and lash out. That was the tone of the latest email. It insinuated that I have never helped them and that I don't care about his kids, even though I'm all about 'kids' a reference to my work with Stand for Children, I think. Sigh! Part of his email felt a bit threatening. It seems he is feeling desperate. I've decided to return to him the $200.00 he signed over to me to deposit into Dad's account in December. It was a check for back vacation time that he couldn't cash due to a freeze on his checking account. That is all I am willing to do. $1200.00 a month should be sufficient to pay utilities and food. I have my own family to provide for I shouldn't have to provide for his family too. My entire being says not to give him the 200.00 but I don't know what else to do. This is so difficult. Advise from anyone would be most helpful.

Praying for Peace!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Guilty, Guilty, Guilty

So if you don't want to hear more about my dysfunctional family of origin you should click right off this post and come back another day for a more uplifting, positive post.

So you have been warned.

Well just checked my email. I knew there would be repercussions from the decision I spoke of in my last post. So he played the 'kid' card. "Well I just don't understand how you could make that decision when the kids are involved"...... blah, blah, blah. I have decided to not respond to the email right now. I might tomorrow, or maybe not.

Now I feel even more guilty. But as my dear friend 'C' said to me earlier I can't feel guilty. They are in the situation that they are in because of their decisions and choices and years of enabling. They could give up smoking and drinking and save about $400.00 a month. That figure would pay these bills my brother speaks of.

I feel badly because the kids are involved. However, shouldn't they learn now that they need to make responsible choices. Chances are that the only thing they will glean from this experience and their parents is how heartless I am! You see if Dad were alive it wouldn't be an issue because he paid for the oil and gas and all the other household bills, they paid nothing. Reality is setting in or at least is should.

I will try to stay strong.

I hope I am making the right decision.



To Enable or Not to Enable.....

That is the question.

As a kid and young adult I was always the 'responsible' one. I stood up to the bullies, worked hard at school, got good grades, got a job when I was in high school and paid part of my rent to my Mom. You know the whole nine yards. As an adult I saved my money, purchased a house, got married and then had kids. I've worked hard and done well.

The responsible one.

Unfortunately if there is a responsible sibling there is usually one on the other end of the spectrum; either very needy or simply irresponsible. It is this sibling in my family that always makes me feel guilty when I make the hard decisions. Wait; he doesn't make me feel guilty, I do that to myself. He puts me in the situations where I have to make difficult, adult decisions. Case in point. I had a message on my phone from him today. The only time he calls me is when he wants/needs something. The short story is that he wants money from me to pay bills. The money would be from money that had been set aside to ensure that the mortgage on Dad's house, where my brother and his family are living, gets paid through September as we go through the sale process. I had to say no to his request. Now I feel tremendously guilt, even though I know that I shouldn't. I know that I can't continue to fix things for him the way my parents did for his entire life, but I still feel bad!

Sometimes being the 'responsible' grown up is so overrated.

Oh well.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Strategic Planning

Yesterday was a long day! Productive but long. I was able to get all my ironing done in the morning and I downloaded final documents for my Alignment meeting scheduled from 2-8. The Alignment meeting was one of the final steps prescribed by the firm that has been facilitating our school departments strategic planning process. I have been part of this group, representing Stand for Children for the past year. It has been an interesting process that has pushed me in directions that have been uncomfortable and out of my comfort zone at times. I guess that is a good thing. Yesterday we worked collaboratively in a variety of groups to look closely at 11 different subsets of information. We brainstormed independently, posted ideas, silent sorted ideas, labeled our subsets and then graded our performance in the various subsets we created. Mid way through my head was spinning! It was good to work with different people, however. Unfortunately, I had to leave a little more than an hour early as I had a Stand meeting from 7-8:30. That meeting proved interesting as well. Our organization is moving in a new and exciting direction with a focus on providing more support to the most needy cities and towns. Typically this would urban centers. Interestingly enough there has been a bit of push back from some members who feel they will not get the support they are accustomed to having. This move makes complete sense to me. We need membership to be strong, to gain members in a community typically there needs to be some sort of crisis happening in the community to push people to join and the communities in crisis are the under performing school districts in urban centers. Does this make sense to you? Makes perfect sense to me. Talking to K from Stand last night about Boston Schools I learned that kids in these schools only have a 50% graduation rate and of those who graduate only 9% go on to graduate from a 4 year college. Staggering statistics. These are the needs that must be addressed in order to bridge the achievement gap and create some sort of semblance of equality in the education of our children.

OK I'll step off of my soap box now. :)


Thursday, April 8, 2010

What A Week!

Well I thought it would be a quiet week. No meetings were scheduled and that usually makes for a more relaxed week. Well I was wrong. On Tuesday, my friend and teaching partner had to leave work early due to a sudden death in her family. The children were unsettled to begin with coming back from Easter weekend and they quickly became completely out of control. At one point there were four teachers in my class and the children were still struggling. I powered through and we made it through the morning by the skin of our teeth. One of the families in this particular class is managing the terminal illness of a Grandma. The process has taken it's toll on the family and both children who attend school are very much aware of the changes that are taking place. Frustration levels are short for these children and we are doing the best we can to help them manage all that they are dealing with while meeting the needs of the rest of the class. It is emotionally and physically demanding and exhausting. It is very much a reminder of what I went through with Dad only months ago. To say that it is difficult is an understatement. In the afternoon on Tuesday we ended up short handed as one of the teachers had to leave early for her class and shortly after that another teacher got word that her husband had failed his stress test and was being admitted to the hospital. When it rains it pours. So the week progressed from there and did not improve.

Friday I spent time at Dad's working on cleaning out the interior of the home. I was dreading going over there without R. I did not want to run into my SIL. I have finally come to the realization that I need to let go of any relationship I may have had with her as it is toxic. For a very long time I tried to offer friendship. The effort was never reciprocated. I don't know that she is capable of friendship. I feel badly for my brother as I think he is in a bad relationship that is also toxic. Sadly there is nothing I can do to change things. That being said I did not run into my SIL on Friday. My brother did come up and we went through a lot of stuff together. We were able to empty all the cabinets, drawers, dressers and closets as well as go through the hope chest that will come to my house. We got along and got a lot done, but there is much more to do still.

Saturday was a good day. 'n' and I went out and had a girls day. We went to Cupcake Charlie's and enjoyed a snack and then proceeded to Kohl's looking for foundation garments for 'n' as well as clearance items. I can't believe we are at the point where she needs foundation garments but she does and I think, after initial embarrassment, she is proud of her new acquisitions. So cute. I remember when.....

Today we went to Berny and Phyls to pick out a new sofa. We opted for this one in a light slate blue microfiber. We also chose the love seat. It has been 15 years since the last time we had a new sofa. It will be nice to have comfortable seating for the entire family! Now that 'N' is as tall as me it can be tricky to all sit together. May 1st is the expected delivery date. Fingers crossed.

Well one week and then we are on April vacation! Yay!

Hope everyone has a great week. I'll try to post during the week. Have a long meeting day on Monday so maybe Tuesday morning I'll have a minute to share.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Holy Saturday

This holy Saturday was spent shuttling children to friends houses so that R and I could work at Dad's. We have a lot of cleaning that must be done. Today we worked on the outside. Much of what was put in the dumpster belonged to my brother. Much of the work was done by R and me. Both my SIL and niece chose not to talk to me. They had spent the morning 'going through' and 'cleaning out' the attic with B. They also went through Dad's bureau and some of his clothes. I would not have done that without my brother. It makes me sad. I think they were just looking for what they could take. I wanted one special sweater and now I don't know where it has been placed. I keep reminding me it's just stuff. I don't need stuff to remember my Dad. He is in my heart and in my mind. His blood runs through my veins and his kindness lives in my soul. Even though these things are true this process is painful. I want it to be done. Thank God for the support of my children, husband and extended family.


Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

Well in my childhood Good Friday wasn't just a day off from school. It was perhaps the most serious day in the Church calendar and therefore a serious day in my childhood home. I remember we would watch movies that depicted the Passion of Christ. I remember balling my eyes out because it seemed so real and cruel. On that day off we would not be aloud to play with friends. It was a somber day. From 12 to 3 we would sit and reflect. There would be no TV, no phone, not even any reading as I recall. It was a long quiet 3 hours. As an adult I look back on these memories and wonder why. I understand that in the church this is a solemn day and it needs to be observed in some way but sitting for three hours as a kid seems like a lot to ask. I wish my Mum were still alive so I could talk to her about her choices. I wonder what she would say.

I am now a non practicing Roman Catholic for many reasons that are both simple and complex at once. I am a believer, spiritual in nature and have baptized my children in the church but that is as far as I have gone with their teachings. We talk about God, Jesus, Mary and many bible stories but there are fundamental differences between what I believe and the tenants that the church teaches. My children asked me recently why we don't go to church. It was a difficult question to hear. They know friends who are actively involved in the church. I explained to them what I believe and what is taught by the church and how those things are truly diametrically opposed. After this discussion a couple of weeks ago I was questioning my decisions. I wondered if I was not doing my children a disservice in some way by not including them in some form of formal religion. Then the European sex abuse scandal started surfacing. I am no longer questioning my decisions. A scandal that reaches the highest levels of the church is so disturbing. I know that the spin is that the Pope didn't know about the history of the priest he transferred. I believe that this is spin. I wonder how practicing Catholics reconcile what is happening with what they are being told and taught. How can you reconcile such things? It would be different if it were a rogue priest or priests who perpetrated these crimes against children but these priests have been shielded by the church. This shielding turns the crime into something different. It becomes a conspiracy of sorts, at least in my mind. How do you trust an institution that protects perpetrators rather than victims. It is a problem for me, only one of the many that prevent me from returning to the church.

So Sunday is Easter. We will talk about the meaning of Easter. There are always questions from the children. I will answer them to the best of my ability and for those questions that I have no answers we will seek out the answers together. There will be small, modest baskets filled with yummy treats. There will be a family meal enjoyed at the table perhaps on fine china. We will celebrate the day together just our small family. There is no longer the question of visiting grandparents as it is just us now. While for some, that seems so burdensome I sometimes long for the days when we would grapple with that question. It will be a simple spring holiday on what looks to be a beautiful spring day.

Happy Easter and Peace!
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