Wordle: snow

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rites of passage

My son is in the final months of high school. It is the "lasts" of several things... last parent/teacher conference, last xyz event... it is getting to be quite realistic at this point. Not too many tears at this point, just a sadness.

I was taken aback the other day realizing the expense of raising this child of mine! I played with some generic numbers & I am amazed I have not needed to take out a loan for him! I stopped calculating when the $ amount reached $135,000. That is a small house!!! (And I haven't added the college expenses).

As the kids in high school have their Senior Skip Day, Senior Prank (hope no one gets arrested), and all the camaraderie, parents are left in the shadows crunching numbers, reassessing monthly expenditures & praying the scholarships come through.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

No rest for the wicked...

On one minute writer the subject is rest for today.

HA! I recall when I could rest leisurely on a weekend morning with a book & a cup of coffee in the living room or back patio. Those days are long gone. Whether it is household chores, running errands, meetings or medical appointments, rest is sometimes a foreign term in this household!
We live in a combined household, as my parents are older & we still have my bother who is autistic living at home still (really not fond of options). Therefore, since I am relatively "able-bodied" I am the go-to person for things.

As I am writing this I am finishing up laundry, letting the dog out and sitting with my brother until he falls asleep. So, is this resting? Eh? I am physically resting (all well & good) but mental rest! AH... that is what I crave the most. How nice to have your mind go somewhere peaceful. I think the only time I do that is when I listen to music... mostly instrumental. It is like a cerebral spa that wakes up synapses in your mind that have been neglected.I usually do this when I am doing housework and when I go to bed, although with the events in Haiti, I've been listening to BBC-World Service to keep in the loop. Now there are some people there that need to rest!

As my good mate, Forrest Gump once said.... "that's all I have to say about that"

Thursday, January 14, 2010


The television news stations are riddled with images such as these. As I sit in my relatively spacious intact home, watching the footage of the aftermath, I have a surge in my stomach, (perhaps my soul) that aches for these people.Their lives just getting back to normal from a hurricane a few years ago. And now this.

Lives changed forever, children left orphans (one baby was shown 15 days old... mother was crushed in collapse, infant just had lacerations, cared for by Dr. Sanjay Gupta), parents losing children.... just horrific reality. And it IS reality. Just, not ours (directly)

Feeling helpless, what can I do? I contact red cross (line is busy, go figure,) end up e-mailing a list of my abilities, skills and contact information, I have little $$ to survive on myself (unemployed for a year and a week), but I have 2 hands and a caring heart that can , and need to help.

A simple yet honest quote I encountered:

"All that matters is what we do for each other." -- Lewis Carroll

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Putting it on the back burner....

Single parenthood is not for the timid. I did not dream of being a woman who would be raising a child on her own. Like many young girls, there would be a handsome, romantic, successful gentleman to sweep me away into a life where we would create a home that mirrored something off "Leave it to Beaver" or "Family Ties". **enter reality check**

So my knights wore aluminum foil (flimsy) and rode on a donkey (or were just a plain ass). I realized that the family unit was not a mutually exclusive vision for my little family. We went our separate ways (keeping our son in the balance... well, some of us tried).

Fast forward 15 years... still no knights in my future. However, I have learned that I am a strong, independent, relatively intelligent female that can fend not only for herself & her little lion cub, but her whole family unit. Granted, these past years have been riddled with trips to the hospital, shouting matched, slammed doors, hurt feelings and tears (yup, plenty of those).

Now that my son is 18, I see life changing, quite rapidly so, in a great way. When he was 15, he was eager to get his first "real job", as a bagger at a grocery store. He was promoted to the grocery department, but realized that wasn't his style & went back to bagging. Opportunity knocked when the coffee shop opened in the store & he jumped on that! He had been there almost 3 years. Great work ethic for a kid that age.

Academically, he is finally challenging himself as he did as when he was in elementary school. He has great attendance & is quite involved in school activities. He's had a few "gotcha's" not turning in homework, but the majority of his work is on track.

College days are drawing closer & closer. He has a handful to choose from & we are working together to make the best decision for him. I am rather amazed of the dialogue that comes with this. He is a great critical thinker.

This weekend he was awarded a scholarship for his pursuit of a theater education degree & the realization that I have raised this fellow essentially solo & he has turned out to be a remarkable individual. He may not be the athlete that his father wanted him to become, but making himself available as a parent was not a priority.

It is overwhelming at all we have accomplished. I remember clear as day when he was a toddler holding his hand knowing those days would be a sweet memory & hoping that I would be a "good enough" person to be a single parent as it was becoming evident this was the inevitable road we would be traveling. By no means am I super mom, I made mistakes, said things aloud when I clearly needed to hold my tongue, but I did my best to do right by him in my heart.

I am proud of my son, for being the genuine person he has become. I cherish our mother/son relationship and the honesty of our conversations. The days with him living in the nest are dwindling too quickly, yet I am eager to see him take flight.

It's not the childhood dream that I had, it is better!

Monday, January 4, 2010

A new view...

My son apparently knows his mother relatively well. For the Christmas holiday, he gifted me a new digital camera & an SLR camera. He had loaned me his digital frequently as my 1st digital was a mere 1.3 megapixels (a gift from my father back in 2000) and was not quite keeping up with the demands I had on it.

The SLR is used and the lens filter has a chip (easily replaced, when funds start flowing again) and is missing a lens cap, again, fixable. However, feeling the body of the camera, looking through the viewfinder to see that fabulous little window on the world is delicious! I began playing with photography in high school & dabbled in developing photos for a bit in college as well. As I grew older, I was distracted from the hobby. With the explosion of digital media/photography, I began admiring work from others and I found myself taking potentially great photos with less than stellar equipment. (Although, regardless of equipment, some photos are just fabulous in their existence).

This year, I will cherish both of my gifts by using them to create portraits of my world. So many opportunities lay in waiting & I am looking forward to reacquainting myself in the photography realm!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Hello 2010...

A new year is upon us, finally. Not the best of the 2009 for this family.

Typically, people make resolutions, right? Well, we know how many of those end up as a blurred memory by Groundhog Day.

I am sort of putting a spin on the concept and making a to do list (aren't goals just dreams with an end date attached??). Curious if this list gets 50% completed by Dec 31. Time shall tell....

1. Write & publish a short story (either locally or online). I was published in a newsletter regarding having a sibling with autism, which although cathartic, it was quite an enjoyable experience.

2. Enter a fabulous photo of mine (taken with either a SLR or digital in this calendar year) in a contest for serious contention.

3. Pay off debt. I have been working on this for 2 years but I will clean it up (pending a steady paycheck) no later than Oct 31.

4. Take a real cooking class--- serious technique stuff, not "How to Boil Water 101" in the local school adult education brochure

5. Make a lunch date & actually keep it with friends I have reconnected with recently. (The caveat here is that "keeping it" is contingent on family health issues).

6. Journal 6 stories from my grandmothers youth. Somehow I will have her tell me a "story" rather than get blown off. At 97 she is still coherent about her time in Lithuania/Germany & I want to have some of her legacy in print. I also need to do something similar with my parents. My REAL goal is from my grandmother's memories.

7. After I lose 5 pounds/inches, gather clothing that no longer fits & donate to a shelter.

8. Make 10 blankets for NICU & bring them to hospital.

9. Repaint/redecorate at LEAST one room in the house. Redid the main bathroom this year & other than removing the wallpaper, it was quite inspiring.

10. Take a camping trip with the family this year. We all need to get out of town for a bit. I think one last family vacation before Gabe leaves for university will be cohesive for out family unit.

** Okay off to print the list to post it on the calendar board. Watch for progress.... ♥