Tag Archives: life

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

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

Thanks were given

I’ve given away a lot of things on the eve of Thanksgiving, (including my virginity) but what I got yesterday was an amazing present.  Yesterday, Thanksgiving Eve 2013, I was given something remarkable – a thank you, a sincere and appreciative thank you.  Let me tell you the story.

A package was delivered to my house by one of the postal carriers who work “my” route.  I heard the delivery truck pull up in front of my house and correctly predicted that my new boots were being delivered.  I was at the bottom of the stairs before the bell had even rung.

As I accepted the package, the carrier looked at me and asked “Are you the person who gave me a cold drink on that hot day a few months ago?  I’ve been looking for you.”

She was referring to an afternoon in early September.  I had pulled on to my block, in the middle of the afternoon on an unseasonably hot day.  I noticed the mail carrier. She looked uncomfortable from the heat.  I went into my house, grabbed a cold Gatorade from the fridge and caught up with her on my neighbor’s porch.  I held the bottle, already slippery from condensation, out to her.

She looked at me with confusion.  I spoke, telling her that I thought she might like something to drink on such a hot day.  I won’t forget what she said: “Are you serious?  That’s for me?” I assured it was and walked away as she placed the frosty bottle on the back of her neck.

When she appeared at my door yesterday, I recognized her and smiled, thanking her for bringing my boots.  She remembered that other day and the small gesture of kindness which I had shown to her.  She thanked me and explained that she had been truly suffering that day.  On the verge of heat stroke, she had phoned her supervisor informing him that she wasn’t certain she could continue her deliveries. She considered phoning 911 because she felt so very close to fainting.

When I gave her that drink, she said, it revived her.  It changed her day completely.  She told me I had saved her life and that she thought of me as her angel.  Me?  Can you imagine?  The same girl who had given up her innocence on a long ago Thanksgiving eve, was being sanctified on the very same day all these years later.

So?  What’s the point of this story?   I guess this – sometimes we give a priceless part of ourselves away and realize minimal gain.  On other occasions, we give away something which is infinitely less precious, yet reap rewards which will be everlasting.  There’s giving and there are thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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Filed under Albany, beauty, DelSo, holidays, Observations

Explorations and discoveries

image; s1.cdn.happinessxing.com

In the last few years, my perspective has changed dramatically.  Once upon a time, I believed that all my decisions had been made and the future held only more stagnation.  It was like I was a participant in some organized game with the only object being to “land” on particular spaces in a mostly consistent order. You know, college – travel – meet – marry – have beautiful babies – focus all attention and assets on the growing children – feel alone in the chaos – stay quiet and still.

Once that game ended, I could have easily been cast adrift, but I’m not really a rudderless kind of woman.  Instead, I’ve been discovering parts of myself I didn’t know existed.  Life has changed so much!  I’ve been challenging myself physically and have felt myself being pushed creatively and professionally like never before.  I feel alive every day.

The comforts of yesterday have been knocked off my personal map by new waves of inspiration and excitement and I no longer wake up and wonder what’s on the other side of the ocean. Instead, I look around and see the sky, the sun, the moon, the light, the clouds…all sorts of things which compel me to want to look closer and explore.

I can’t speak for Columbus, but, for me, it is definitely about the journey.

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Filed under aging, holidays, love, marriage, musings

A little autumnal inspiration…

DSC_0025From Louise Erdich:

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”

- The Painted Drum

Go eat some apples – now.

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Filed under beauty, Books, favorites, love, musings, Random, relationships

Moms@Work – September summary

image:timesunion.com

image:timesunion.com

Here’s what was going on over at Moms@Work…

Thanks for reading.  Always.

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Filed under moms, Moms@Work, Schools