Category Archives: musings

Longing for spring

As I’ve recently confessed, I love winter.  I like cashmere and wool and boots and colorful scarves and hats that hide hair mishaps. You know I am undaunted by cold temperatures and that I’m happy when there is deep, fresh snow.  Crockpot suppers, roasted root vegetables and hearty stews are some of my favorite (and simplest) meals to make.  Me and winter?  We’re good, but…
unnamed2I also like crisp cotton and exposed ankles and bare shoulders.   I’m tired of sleeping in leggings and long-sleeved t-shirts, on the ready for Jeter’s middle of the night “bathroom” breaks.  My flannels may welcome me with cozy warmth, but I’m ready for the cool comfort of high thread count cotton sheets.  I want to light the grill and sip a refreshing glass of rose’.  And then there’s my garden…
unnamed3Wardrobe, bed sheets and diet aside, I miss watching things grow.  After months of being frozen, the earth is ready to start coming to life again.  There are bunches and clusters of pale green shoots pushing out through the ground and I can’t wait to be reminded what is where in my postage stamp front garden.  I recognize the purplish red leaves of my tulips which have emerged and see the crocus preparing to take their turns – yellow first, followed by white then purple, but there are other beautiful promises which are less predictable.  Did the hyacinth take?  Are my daffodils naturalizing and filling in?  Will the lupine come back?
unnamedAfter a long season without obvious development, spring brings the assurance that there will be change and growth.  The quiet acceptance of winter yields to hopefulness and a sense that things will soon be different.  It’s time to see what comes next.

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Filed under Flowers, Gardens, musings, Observations, Spring, winter

The Kiss

There’s been a lot of internet chatter about this video  of “strangers” kissing.  It’s sparked some conversation – about first kisses, the remarkable beauty of the strangers, and about being manipulated, yet again, by a clever marketing strategy.  I haven’t watched the video yet and don’t know if I ever will. I can be resistant, at times, to things which go viral.  I’m really not much of a follower.  But I do like kissing.

I started thinking about what makes a great kiss…

Is it the anticipation finally being realized?  His hand perhaps cupping your chin or tangled in your hair?  Maybe it’s finding the perfect balance between lips and tongue – not too soft, not too firm, and not too wet.

When I reflect on what I believe to have been the most meaningful kiss of my life, what made it an absolute standout in my (somewhat) personal history wasn’t the fact that it absolutely took my breath away.  No, while that did occur, it wasn’t the most awe-inspiring part of that enchanted event.  What ultimately overwhelmed me was the sense of finally, after seemingly years of holding my breath, feeling myself exhale.  Magical.  Organic.   Tender.  Unforgettable.

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Filed under love, musings, News

Who are you?

In the last 10 years, I’ve been referred to by each of the following names: Boy Mom, Wine Wench, Lipstick Librarian, Runner Girl, Seen Shooter, DelSo Blogger, Yoga Momma, Snow Bunny, Bookworm and recently, Dairy Queen. I imagine there were a few other things I’ve been called, but I’m talking about what people have said to my face.

Each of those monikers accurately describes a facet of me, a part of me that takes a turn shining its light in the world. How about you? How many different prisms do you possess and allow to shine? Are you actively exploring and exercising the various sides of yourself? Or, do you concentrate your energy and attention on more fully developing fewer characteristics?

Maybe I’m lacking in focus. Perhaps I have a little of the ADD. I’m not really certain why, but I’ve come to accept that I feel more comfortable defusing my attention and energy. I can’t imagine only having one job or a single activity or interest to occupy myself. I’m sure I’d be bored out of mind.

I like that I possess different circles of friends who participate in the various spheres of my life, overlapping at times, yet more than content to be a part of a part of me. There’s plenty of me to go around.

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Filed under musings, Random

Giving up

You may not know this, but both of my parents came from large Catholic families.  Is that redundant?  I actually have an aunt and two deceased great aunts, who became nuns, for real.  I grew up hearing about how my mother’s family went to morning mass every day, staying for a marathon mass on Sundays.  It was kind of our family’s version of “I walked to school, uphill and in the snow…”  You get it.

Believe it or not, my mother somehow managed to have her two illegitimate children baptized in the mid-60s.  I can’t imagine that was an easy task.  Growing up, my brother and I made Holy Communion, but did not, other than on Christmas Eve, attend mass with our mother.  She was done.  I remember the challenge of being still and quiet for an hour, while outside the stained glass window summer’s blue sky beckoned.  It was harder than those wooden pews.  As I grew older, I developed more of an appreciation for the ritual – the readings, the up, down, kneel, the music and faces which grew familiar over the years.  And the sooty smoke wafting from those brass orbs dangling from the altar boys’ hands?  I loved it

Eventually, though, I really started listening to gospel, to the word, and some of what I heard I didn’t like.  I was in disagreement about gays and euthanasia and punishment for mistakes made.  I pictured a more benevolent god, sort of a cross between George Burns and John Denver.  I met with a priest at the Cathedral downtown and we talked and I explained my inability to own only part of my religion.  If I couldn’t believe in the whole thing, how could I practice?  Wasn’t it wrong to turn a blind eye to the tenets I found it impossible to embrace?  He echoed what I had been previously told by my Uncle Eamon, “Take what you believe in and leave off the rest.”  I walked away, sad, but committed to no longer feeling partially invested.  I left all of it.

On days, though, like today, I miss it.  The crossed ashes on my forehead, the quiet of the altar and the echo of feet on the stone floors, the honor of sacrifice… I think I’m going to mark Lent this year by exploring churches, be they literal or figurative.  A cathedral, a ski slope, a path through the woods, can’t they all be considered churches?  I’m hoping to hit each of those places within the next 40 days.  If you see me at any of those places, be sure to say hello.  Just don’t ask me join you for Burger Night at the Capital City Gastropub.  I gave up meat.

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Filed under aging, family, Germany, girlhood, holidays, Irish, musings

On the edge of 17

From last year's trip to Europe.

From last year’s trip to Europe.

It’s been almost 17 years since I became a parent. Impossible. When my water broke 5+ weeks before my due date, I remember feeling more excited than nervous, confident that my baby would be healthy and hearty. The unusually warm temperature (a record, it turned out) seemed a positive beacon and I went to the hospital with an easy heart and only a light sweater for warmth on a late February day.

My son’s early arrival was my first lesson in parenting and it was a bit of a challenge for me. After conceiving in my first month’s attempt and enjoying a very easy pregnancy, I was shocked to be completely lacking in control when it came to when (now!) and how (c-section) he would make his entrance. My world shifted and I scrambled to hold on.

I don’t think it is possible to predict how, or how much, having a child will change a person. Finding the balance between placing child(ren) in the center of our universe, while remembering the importance of retaining our own identities and independence demands grace and poise, not necessarily my strengths. It’s a strange thing sometimes. While I love being recognized as so-and-so’s mother, I often find myself hesitating when I sign my name on a note I’ve written to my children. Identifying myself as “Mom” still feels remarkably new, even after 17 years in the role.

Prior to becoming a parent, I had imagined all of the things I would teach my child – how to walk, speak, read, swim, travel… What I hadn’t really considered were all the things I would learn about myself from my children. I now know I can be incredibly patient, fiercely protective and relentlessly organized. On the less positive side, I’m critical, inclined to blunt sarcasm and often guilty of doing too many of the household tasks myself without demanding some effort from the boys. It’s probably a control thing.

Ultimately, though, what I find most fascinating about being a mom, is witnessing my children learn who they are as individuals. It is absolutely amazing to see the unique creatures that have been created by using the same genetic contributions. Seeing my oldest son evolve from a premature, critically ill infant into a strong and healthy young man has been remarkable.  As he marks his 17th birthday, I recognize that we both began a new life that February afternoon in 1997.

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Filed under aging, birthdays, Boys, family, musings

Preparing to die

To begin, a couple of childhood flashbacks…

The first time I entered the woods with the boys who have grown to be my dearest male friends, I was convinced they were going to hurt me.  It probably says something about the girl I was that I followed them to their forest fort, despite my certainty that I was about to become a victim.

A number of years after that dusky fall afternoon, on a bright summer day, the home I had known the longest was lost, along with nearly all of my belongings, to fire.  I remember finding irony in the fact that the only clothing that survived the catastrophe were the items I had in my car for a laundromat run.  The things I had worn and soiled were saved, while articles of clothing which had been relegated to my closet, perhaps for a “special” occasion, fell in ashes from their hangers.

During a recent solo afternoon ski, I encountered another skier, a male.  We were in a secluded spot on the course, near the Normanskill, yet I never once felt threatened or in danger. I no longer imagined that someone I didn’t know wanted to bring me harm.

After the fire, I no longer reserved items for only “special” events.  Expensive crystal stemware was used – and broken.  My “good” clothes were worn and enjoyed.  Discarding an item because of a stain, or an irreparable hole, was far more satisfying than seeing an unworn cherished possession turned into a pile of soot and ash.

What does all of this have to do with dying?  It seems to me that there are people who spend so much energy thinking about bad things which might happen, that they fall victim to the ultimate tragedy – missing out on their life.  When we try to anticipate every potential disaster instead of appreciating the wonder that is now, we neglect to experience all the beautiful moments life offers to us each day.

Make no mistake, the thought of my life ending chills me.  There’s still so much I want to see and do and taste and feel!  Any acceptance of death that I may have comes purely from living fully.  What I’m trying to say is this – the only way I know how to prepare for the ultimate end of my life is to live each and every day. Donna Tartt expressed it far better than I. Here, read it:

“That life – whatever else it is – is short.  That fate is cruel but maybe not random.  That nature (meaning Death) always wins but that doesn’t mean we have to bow and grovel to it.  That maybe even if we’re not always so glad to be here, it’s our task to immerse ourselves anyway: wade straight through it, right through the cesspool, while keeping eyes and hearts open.”

What she said.

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Filed under aging, musings

Broken fragments and glue

“I was never one to patiently pick up broken fragments and glue them together again and tell myself that the mended whole was as good as new. What is broken is broken, and I’d rather remember it as it was at its best than mend it and see the broken pieces as long as I lived.”  Margaret Mitchell

 

If you’re lucky, and like me, you’ve been in love more than once in your lifetime. Which means, of course, that you’ve probably had your heartbroken.  Maybe more than once. Perhaps even multiple times by the same person, but obviously, I’m projecting my own history here.  It’s my blog.

Do you remember that first heartbreak?  I’ll never forget being certain that I was going to die.  It just didn’t seem possible that I could survive the fierce assault to my heart and soul.  I couldn’t eat.  Or sleep.  I replayed all the moments leading up to the big brush off, trying to place my finger on the precise instant when things went wrong.  I thought that if I could identify what happened, I would be able to prevent myself from experiencing this emotional and physical anguish ever again.  Yeah, right.

Since that time, more than 25 years ago, I’ve learned a few things.  Important lessons about hearts and love and the ability of a heart to love again.  I now understand that there are people who enter our lives (and hearts) as temporary residents.  Not everything is supposed to last forever.  Pieces get taken.  And given.

I’ve realized that the people who have broken my heart have given me far more than they ever took.  I learned that the capacity to love is something to be treasured, a gift beyond any other.  I believe that the heart is one of the few things which can be rebuilt from pieces and be stronger than ever.

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Filed under aging, love, musings, Observations, relationships