Thursday, November 12, 2009


Not much to blog about today.  Nothing exciting or interesting happened. The kids were out of school today.

We have a terrible Nor'Easter coming through town.  Winds whipping at 50-60 mph, tons of rain, coastal flooding.  Good times.

School is out tomorrow too.  What am I going to do with these kids???

Maybe the kids being home for three days in a row will induce an interesting blog tomorrow.  One can only hope.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Biscuits all the way, baby!

So, I joined a gym.  Again.  K and I can't join the YMCA as a "family" even though we are in the same household.  Now, before you cry "foul", you need to know that you can't join the YMCA (at least here in Southeastern Virginia) as a family if you are a man and a woman who live together but are not married.  So they do not discriminate on the basis of same genderness, but on the basis of unmarriedness.  So, we joined a local gym.

My boys want to start working out.  They want to lift weights.  They want to be macho.  They want a "6 pack."  They are 14, 12 and 10.  The only 6 pack they need at their ages is a 6 pack of juicy juice. But they say "mooooom, we want to have big muscles."  I assume it is for the benefit of the middle and high school girls they believe will fall over and swoon in their 6 pack presence.

I am perpetually chubby.  Have been for decades.  I am sure I will continue to be.  However, to me there is a difference between being chubby and healthy and being chubby, and well, just chubby.  So to that end, I try to work out, but something always gets in the way.  Work, kids, dinner, life.  Well, now my checkbook is holding me accountable.  I pay, and I don't want to waste my money, so off to the gym I will go.

Tonight was the first night we went, (we just joined on Friday evening), and with Scouts on Monday and Tuesday, today was the day.  Knowing this morning that we were going to the gym, and I had to work this afternoon, I put some chicken in the crockpot with low sodium, chicken pot pie soup, and a can of fat free cream of chicken soup.  Veggies rounded out the meal.

So to the gym we went.  I did 30 minutes on a cardio machine and 20 minutes on weights.  the 14 year old and 12 year old worked with a trainer so they could be taught how much weight is appropriate for their age and physical maturity level.  The 10 year old played with legos.  We worked out, we sweated, we learned, we conquered.

On the way home, I asked the 12 year old if he wanted pasta (which is low fat, multigrain and healthy) with the crock pot chicken, or should we stop at the local grocery store and  get some biscuits.

His answer was "Biscuits all the way, baby."  Now that is a kid after my own heart.  :-)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


So my friend Patti says to me, "Hey, since you blog, why don't you do NaBloPoMo?"   "Sure", I say, "seems harmless enough."    BAH!......FEH!   Now I have to think of witty things to say every day for a month.....

I try to be entertaining in my blog, or at the very least interesting.  But today, I just don't have it in me.  Nothing interesting to say.  Nothing interesting happening.  Just the usual daily having a busy social life and needing to be taken everywhere, (their social life is busier than mine), grocery shopping, (LOVE my Harris Teeter, I have saved over $1000.00 in 6 months), cooking dinner, (spaghetti for the kids, chicken primavera for me and Karol), taking the car to the shop, the cat to the vet, and washing dishes.

The life of a typical suburban mom....although I am not a housewife... HA!

So a typical day...boring......busy..full of life and love.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Waiting for the chimney sweep

Yes, they do still exist.  :-)  When we moved into our house three years ago, I was delighted that we had a fireplace.  I prefer a gas fireplace, but wood burning was okay.  I had visions of cozy fires and heat radiating through the room as the family gathered to watch a movie together or play a board game....

The first winter I started a fire, and calmly watched smoke fill the room.  The flue was open, the wood was seasoned...what was the problem??  I opened the windows, got out the smoke, and promptly put furniture in front of the fireplace and vowed never to use it again.

Well, the kids are growing up, and as they become more independent and have fewer weekend nights home with mom, nostalgia moved me to call a chimney sweep to check out the fireplace in hopes of using it this winter.

So I am waiting for him to show up so I can try to live my dream of the family gathered around the fire cozily watching a movie or playing a game, or enjoying time together.  If I can get them to stay home with mom.....

Sunday, November 8, 2009

It all begins with the children.

I was hoping that when I sat down to write tonight that a blog would just pour out of me...unfortunately that was not to be.  I sat and sat, and mulled and mulled.  My mind kept going back to the Children's Worship I did at church today, and how meaningful it was to me and many others.

I have been a member of many different faith groups throughout my life.  Jewish (by birth), Church of Christ (by marriage), and now I am a member of a Unitarian Universalist church (by choice).  I hold strong to my Jewish heritage, and usually refer to myself as a "Jewnitarian".

Today in church we had a service to honor Veterans.  This in and of itself it not so unusual, although many Unitarians are strong pacifists, the church I belong to has a great many military personnel who are members.  We have members who are on Active Duty, Reservists, Veterans and Retirees.  They cover all the branches.  We have storekeepers, CB's, doctors, musicians, lawyers, mechanics, and many others.  We live in Southeastern Virginia which has a strong military presence.

So today I was the one doing a 10 minute childrens worship prior to the kids going off to classes.  I wanted to point out to them how our military personnel help children all over the world and that as soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines we take our Unitarian Principles with us as we deploy and use them for the betterment of mankind whenever we are able.

I read to them our 1st, 2nd and 6th Unitarian Universalist principles, which are:
1. The inherent dignity and worth of every person.
2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations.
6. The goal of world community with peace, justice, and liberty for all.

I told them that kids in other countries do the same things they do....drink dinner....go to the doctor....go to school....have stories read to candy...and enjoy hanging out with friends and loved ones.  Then I showed them some of these pictures:






So they could see military personnel doing things with children around the world just like the things they do here. 

It is important to remember all of the WONDERFUL things our troops do while deployed.  That is a story not often told.  Carnage is easy to write about and focus on.  The quiet determination of our troops to do their jobs AND make the world a better place is seen less often.

When you see a vet please say "Thank you" for doing their part to make the world a better place.  Thank them for their service to our country.  And tell your children about the great things they do.  Share photos like this with your children.

It all begins with the children..... 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Longing for peace.....

I really don't have much to blog about today. Because this week my life was full of stress. Too many commitments....... too many kids' activities............ to many places to be at the same time................ sick animals............... sick kids............too many jobs...........too many dirty clothes, dishes, floors.

I stay at home part time.  I no longer work full time outside the home, but I have replaced that with 4 part time jobs to equal the income.  2 of those jobs I work from home and 2 I have to leave the house.  In addition I bake bread and sell it at craft fairs.  Does that count as job 5??

I have a kid in Cub Scouts, a kid in Boy Scouts, and I volunteer in both.

It is such a joy when/if I ever get a day to myself.  I like to sit in the house when everyone is gone and the animals are sleeping.  It is so quiet in the house and I enjoy just listening to the quiet.  When everyone is home, it is so hectic and busy...I long for the peace.

Peace is good.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Bread....the food of life.  It is a staple in my house....we eat some pretty much every day.  Oat nut, whole grain, whole grain white, whole wheat, pumpernickel, name it, we love it all.  But that is not the bread I was thinking about when thinking about what to blog about today.  I was thinking of friendship bread.
Friendship bread, you know, that stuff your friend gives you in a baggie "this is a starter", and then hands you a baggie of goopy looking white stuff with a sheet of instructions.  She says "this stuff is really good, you have GOT to try it".  That is really friend code for "I got this crap from someone and I don't know what I am going to do with it, so I am passing it on to you...."  Or something to that effect.

That is how my foray into friendship bread began.  You see the dough you start with is just a small bit of the dough you end with.  You have to "feed" the goopy stuff in the baggie, and smoosh it...daily.  Then you divide it into other baggies to give to your friends, and keep some to bake.  Now I must admit, the stuff is delicious.  We love it at my house.  I have actually never met anyone who didn't like it when they try it, but I digress.

So, I got this starter from my friend, and I made some.  But rather than divide it up and give it to more friends, I made it all, and decided to give it to my kids' teachers and our friends for holiday treats.  I wrapped it in pretty cellophane with ribbons, and put it in bags, and gifted it.  Everyone raved!!  You see, I didn't make the boring old friendship cinnamon type bread, I got creative.  I made vanilla, then vanilla with chocolate chips.  Chocolate and double chocolate.  Banana, and banana with chocolate chips.  I was experimenting, and my friends and family loved it.

Then I got the bright idea to sell it at Bazaars and Craft Shows.  I made large and small loaves.  I sold the large for $5.00 each and the minis for $2.00 each or 3 for $5.00.  I almost sold out completely at the first show.  I was hooked!

So now I bake in the fall, and sell in the holiday season.  I have experimented with even more flavors and now also make pumpkin bread with a delicious cream cheese filling.  That is very popular.

My little hobby is not very lucrative.  But it is enjoyable and satisfies the creative art of my being.  Plus my kids LOVE it when i make muffins!  My friends now look forward to receiving gifts from me at the holidays, as does the mailman, the Schwan's man and the kids' teachers.  

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How grief works......

This blog has ben a long time in the my mind. Frankly I haven't blogged in MONTHS because this was the blog I have wanted to write, and I just haven't been able to until now. I am hoping I make it through the writing.

On April 14, 2009, my younger brother Brian died from a heart attack. Technically he had "coronary artery disease", but it was his heart that stopped working, so I call it a heart attack.

I was surprised when my mother called, and knew something was wrong, but frankly I thought the bad news was going to be about my father, not my 39 year old brother.

Brian and I hadn't spoken in a couple of years. We had somewhat of a falling out over my life choices, but on the positive note, our last conversation was not shouting or yelling, it was simply a disagreement, and my last words to my brother were: "I am sorry you feel that way. I love you and when you are ready to have a loving relationship with me I am here waiting and ready for you." I feel truly blessed that I had the presence of mind to say those words to him before we hung up. I cannot imagine the guilt I would still be feeling if I had yelled, or said something ugly or mean to him and then never had the chance to apologize. After all, who expects a 39 year old man to die??? Who expects to never talk to a family member again after an argument???

I never really thought about spirits before Brian died. The day he died and for a few days after, it felt as though he were here in my house with me. It was a peaceful and calming feeling. I felt love and acceptance from him. It was as if he was saying he was sorry that we had an argument and he loved me. It is hard to explain unless you have felt it yourself.

Sadly, my brother left two teenage sons behind, and he adored them. Another lesson I have learned from his death is to make sure those we love KNOW we love them. Don't assume your loved ones "just know" you love them, tell them, and do it often. His boys know how much their dad loved them. He told them and he showed them in his actions and sacrifices.

Facebook became helpful right after Brian died. I used it to reach out to his friends to tell them of Brian's death. It was comforting to me to realize how many people loved him. And why not, he was sweet and funny! He was a good man!

In May we all gathered at my parents house in Florida to bury Brian's cremains and have a funeral service. All of Brian's nieces and nephews were there, as well as his sons. It was wonderful to all be together, although the reason we were there was so incredibly sad.
The military service was beautiful, (Brian was an AO3 in the Navy), and the bugle and rifles sent chills up my spine, and made me cry. It was surreal.

I had never experienced grief before. No one close to me had ever died. I wasn't close to my grandparents, although the death of my maternal grandfather saddened me quite a bit because he was such a wonderful man, and I had fond memories of him. What I have learned is that grief sneaks up on you when you least expect it. Mine seems to be triggered by a song, or a memory. I will be driving down the road, or sitting in a quiet moment, and the grief hits. Not your "TV drama" grief with wailing and gnashing of the teeth, but quiet tears and pain in my heart. Missing him....the realization that we won't talk again...knowing he won't see my children get married..(or his)......knowing he won't see his grandchildren. These are the quiet moments of sadness.

Having to say the words out loud to someone who didn't already know. Having to say "My younger brother died in April". That is hard. It always brings tears.

My mother provided me with an immense amount of comfort when I saw her in September. We went to Disney for vacation and I visited my parents while we were there. She said that it didn't matter that I hadn't spoken to Brian in a couple of years. What mattered was that when the opportunity had been there for me to tell him I loved him while he was alive, I had done so. While we were growing up I had shown him love ( not always in a sweet way...after all, he was my bratty little brother... :-). But I had spent time with him, and we had good times together. I have lots of great memories of being Brian's sister :-) . As adults, we had spent many fun times together. I had told him I loved him and shown him love. She said THAT was what mattered. That was so comforting to me. Brian knew I loved him.

We visited Brian's grave while in Florida. We buried stones around his headstone. My two boys and I had all picked out beautiful stones we had, and took them down to Florida with us and left them there for Brian. Jacob had a big white quartz stone, Zachary had a shiny smooth black stone, and I had a beautiful tiger's eye stone I had received at a meditation seminar. We left those with him.

It has been 6 and a half months since Brian died. I am not finished grieving. I don't think it ever ends completely. My mother gave us all a bit of Brian's cremains, and the little box sits on my mantle with a picture of Brian and some mementos from the funeral. I see Brian every day. It makes me smile to see his picture some days. It brings tears on other days. I think that is how grief works. At least for me.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Time flies

Wow, has it been 6 months since I last blogged??  Many things have happened in that 6 months time frame.  However, I will not divulge all of that now.  I am getting ready to leave the house to pick up my 12 year old son from school....springing him as it take him to a Norfolk Tides baseball game.  :-)

I am running for the coolest mom in Virginia award.  I will take the 14 year old next week.  Since the 9 year old is not really into baseball, I am going to take him to the Hannah Montana movie.  His older sibs won't appreciate be dragging them along, so it will be a son/mom date.  :-)

Blogging  more will commence this weekend.

Friday, January 23, 2009

My emotions are running amok

I have been having a very emotional week.  Pride, satisfaction, hope, joy, sorrow, inspired!  These are some of the emotions I have been feeling this week surrounding the inauguration of Barack Obama as our 44th President.  I was GLUED to the tv on Tuesday, watching the pre events, the event, and the post events, including the parade.  I haven't watched that much tv in one day since the 9/11 attacks!
The kids had a snow day (sans snow), and so they watched the actual inauguration with me.  we talked about little things like Dr. Biden wanting to teach at a local community college instead of a prestigious university, how Mr. Cheney hurt his back moving boxes, a little about each president there, the Lincoln Bible Mrs. Obama carried, the fact that the Obama girls are about the same age as they are, etc.  I was moved to tears by the sheer weight of the historic event as it unfolded.  

Afterwards, I asked each of my three boys what they thought about President Obama's speech.  They each had their own viewpoint, but the main theme was that they felt he was an "awesome" speaker, and that they were very happy he is our new President.  (they are 13, 11, and 9).  The youngest one really grasped the fact that President Obama wants to "reach out" to Americans and other countries.

Then, while at the gym on Wednesday as I was doing my hills on the treadmill, the Oprah Winfrey show came on.  I listened to my music and read the teletype, and then she shows the "america's song" video.  I listened to it through my headphones, and a few other gym patrons gave me strange glances as I walked my hills transfixed to the tv with tears streaming down my face.  It was so moving, and so fitting!  I was trying to link it here, but can't find it anywhere but Oprah's website.  Please check it out!

I have been inspired by President Obama's speech during the inauguration, and have joined the Starbucks "donate 5 hours" campaign.  I am going to work for Habitat for Humanity with the youth of my church to donate at least 5 hours of my time.  

I am so hopeful that our country is at the brink of greatness once again, and that we can pull ourselves out of the slump we are in.  President Obama will galvanize and unite this country, of that I am sure.  And I am standing with many of my fellow Americans, on my tiptoes ready to jump to do his bidding!!!