Saturday, November 29, 2008
They are now (1:15 Saturday afternoon) nearing Ohio and are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Matt is tired but doing well and Faye said Kiley has been amazing. Faye had the foresight to pack some new toys that she had been saving for Christmas as little surprises along the way. But she says what has fascinated Kiley the most is the reflection from Matt's cell phone on the ceiling of the car! They think they'll be at Matt's mother's house just outside of Detroit MI by 6 p.m. or so. Goddess speed my little family - be safe and hold each other close.
Friday, November 28, 2008
My heart aches for Matt, who is one of the kindest people I know, to think of the pain he is suffering right now. He just lost his beloved father last year, and Jake was his only sibling. Jake was in the Marines and, upon his return from Iraq several years ago, he was in a horrific car accident. He received serious head injuries which left him with impairments. Since the accident, he had struggled with life and his ability to cope with most situations was compromised. He had been living in an assisted-situation but continued to struggle.
Matt worried about him daily.
My thoughts and energy are with my children today as they take this sad journey.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Donna set a lovely table, didn't she? Everything was wonderful - especially the company. Donna's sister, brother-in-law and neice from Massachusetts were there. It was so kind of them to share the holiday with me - my kids were all away and I had to work. I was only able to stay a couple of hours but it was warm and loving. That's what I'm most thankful for today: friends like Donna who have opened up their hearts and their homes to me. They are my sanctuary, my shelter and, often, my strength.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
This was going to be my lunch. No, it is not brown rice, it is BURNED rice. This is what happens to butter and rice when the phone rings...I now have candles burning all over the place to mask the stink. I may just throw that pan away to avoid having to do the scrubbing. (I have been known to throw turkey roasters away just so I don't have to clean them.)
I made an interesting discovery, however, even if it is gross and oh so unhealthy. This rice was from a four cheese and broccoli rice-a-roni box so I ended up cooking some bow tie pasta and using a bit of milk and the sauce mix from the roni - heavenly!!! Gotta make lemonade from lemons ya know.
It only costs $5 for non-students to go to the University of Maine at Machias pool. There are often other swimmers there , including children, so the socialization is another positive incentive for Kiley.
She has no fear of the water and loves to splash.
Faye teaches her to swim by using a ball as incentive. She even loves to be dunked....but not too often!
Monday, November 24, 2008
Today I have retreated to Machias, where I sit by the woodstove, snuggled in its warmth, while snow swirls around my little house.
I have come here to heal from Firefighter Snowman's death and the pain I witnessed his fellow firefighters experiencing. I was a long, dreadful week. And so when it was over, I ran to Machias. Where it is quiet and peaceful. Where I can sit and write, paint for hours and cook big wonderful meals to share. I can also...
But still they go. Never questioning that their community and their neighbors need them. I've seen them covered in ice, slip and fall and quickly get back up again, distraught because they can't get inside fast enough, struggling with heavy equipment in 90 degree heat, and still returning, again and again to help.
There are lovely poems out there that say it much better than I can but in my heart I love these volunteers. They are among the few of us that genuinely care what happens to the man down the street, the woman on a rural road, the children in an upstairs bedroom. They care if your business is damaged and can't reopen, and will carry file cabinets and boxes of records from burning structures. They care when they reassure you through the smashed car window as they try to remove you from your crumpled car. They care as they strip off their heavy turnout gear and dive into the water to pull you from a swift current. They care when they put the oxygen mask on your little kitty or puppy, trying to get them to breathe again. They care as they tell you that you will be alright, that the ambulance is coming, or use their personal cell phones to call your mother, or husband, or child. They care as they advise you about contacting the Red Cross, or simply provide fire safety tips to a classroom of second graders.
From "stop, drop and roll" to suiting up as McGruff to handing out smoke detectors, I thank the goddesses every day for those who will step in and do anything it takes to ensure my safety.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Girls, our girls are losers. Our breasts failed. Our knockers aren't knocking. We are tit-defeated.
Here's the poop: I commented on the Bye Bye Pie blog, where June was telling a story about getting her mammies grammed. I told the story of our summer Goddess parties. Here is the exact comment:
"Mammograms really don't hurt after 60 because our boobies are already pancakes. They are so flat that my friends, The Goddesses, and I go skinny dipping during every full moon in summer at one of the Goddess's pools and you know those long, squishy floating tubes - I think they call them fanoodles? - well we hook our boobs over the fanoodle and see who can float. Whoever stays above water is the winner, or the loser, depending on your point of view. We have discovered that little boobs won't grab the noodle, really big boobs will keep you afloat without the noodle, and medium boobs of women with more than two children can be slung over the top and will keep you afloat long enough to survive the Titantic sinking.''
But - and sit down here or hold onto someone strong - we didn't win June's Comment Of The Week Contest! WTF???I know, I am standing here beside myself too, my mouth agape and my eyes about the size of a baseball. Our boobies are losers! And I have been thinking for decades that, collectively, we have the finest ta tas in New England - no on the East Coast.
I am so friggin depressed. As a punishment to my LOSER titties, I'm not doing a self-exam this week. That'll fix um.
Speaking of breasts, I was hopelessly stuck in my bra the other night and couldn't figure out what was wrong. I mean, I've been wearing a bra now for about 47 years. You'd think I could work one. You know the scene in Friends were Joey just snaps his fingers and bras come flying loose all over the place? Well it wasn't working for me.
I had been wearing it all day
Either I have absolutely no ta tas to support or my bras are crap.
WAIT A MINUTE - didn't I almost go to work Friday with my SHIRT inside out too? Is it possible I have a bigger problem than second rate tits?
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
I say 1/2 because one poor soul was on his back, being attacked by the others. The flock had apparently adopted the prisoners' code of silence and nobody was talking so I don't know why they were so mad at him. I mean, what could a turkey do to piss off its fellow turkeys? Strut a little bit too cockily? Gobble after 10 p.m.? Hog all the grubs? Brag about its breast size? The owner carried him out to a solitary confinement pen. He'll still be toast by Sunday, in fact, they were all Dead Turkeys Walking.
It's Thanksgiving, you know.
I, for one, am thankful I don't have to pluck those gazillion and a 1/2 turkeys.
I am also thankful that I discovered my shirt was on backwards before I left home this morning.
I'm thankful for cell phones because both the newspaper's photographer and I got lost on the way to the turkey farm this morning trying to use directions provided by the FARM ITSELF.
I'm thankful that this horrid week is almost over, almost over, almost over....ooops. Am I repeating myself?
I'm thankful you pointed that out.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
What is it about nose picking, which apparently is a cross-cultural, uni-sex, non-age-discriminating pasttime?
My BFF Trudy is a children's librarian and she has to threaten kids with their lives if they don't get their dirty little fingers out of their noses while reading and turning the pages......yuk.
A teacher at one of our local schools has a reputation for picking and then storing his mined treasures behind his ear. What the hell is he saving it for? DO INQUIRING MINDS REALLY WANT TO KNOW?
And what about driving on the Interstate? Doesn't it seem that nose picking is sort of the official sport of highway driving? No wonder the toll takers wear latex gloves...
And then there is the infamous farmers' blow, which entails putting a finger on one side of a very runny nose, taking a deep breath and then SHOOTING the snot out of the other nostril. Of course, this maneuver is following by a cleansing wipe on the arm of the shirt - or back of a glove - or cuff of a jacket. This seems to work best with an audience.
(Okay, in the interest of full disclosure, I am hereby reluctantly admitting that I have done the farmers' blow myself while hiking. Sorry.)
Okay, as long as we are coming clean, here is a pathetic admission: One of my children - the perpetrator will not fess up - used to hide boogers under the arm of the sofa. How ultimately despicable and disgusting! My children are all adults now, with their own homes. I wonder if I surreptitiously check each of their sofas I could find the boogey man (or woman) still in operation...
You will not believe this: Wiki says nose picking "is an extremely common habit, with some surveys indicating that it is almost universal, with people picking their nose an average of about four times a day.'' FOUR TIMES A DAY! It even has an official name: rhinotillexis. Two people who responded to a 1995 survey of 1,000 adults claimed to spend between 15 to 30 minutes and one to two hours a day picking their nose (ARE YOU KIDDING ME? TWO HOURS? WOULDN'T THEIR HAND FALL ASLEEP?) and there is a video on YouTube of George Bush picking his nose. Somehow that doesn't really surprise me....
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Faye also sent me a great picture of Kiley enjoying her first snowfall in Machias this morning (the sun is shining here) No matter WHAT is wrong, the amazing Kiley can fix it. Faye said Kiley is learning new sounds and practicing a very gutteral G. See? She is already speaking German! I TOLD you she was amazing...
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
and I had an interview with a high school class in Mullens Woods, a 115-acre preserve. It was settled by two Irish brothers in the 1850s and bought by the Nature Conservancy in the 1950s. There is little left of the original home, barn, ice house, brickyard, etc. than a crumbling granite and stone foundation. Here and there are little debris piles, such as the bowl, basin and tea kettle here. It would have been lovely but my thoughts keep straying back to Mike Snowman and the pain of his fellow firefighters. This is going to be a helluva week...
The funeral is Saturday and hundreds of uniformed firefighters are expected to attend. We'll all stand in the street because there is no way we will fit in the tiny church in Hartland.
But in the midst of all this was a true loving kindness. The Pittsfield Fire Department chaplain called me this morning just to see if I was okay. His assistant chief had asked him to check on me. How wonderful, unselfish and unexpected. See why I love firefighters?
Monday, November 17, 2008
But that is not the real story here. This is the tragedy of what really happened at that fire:
I watched a man die, a hero who died in the line of duty.
Hartland Firefighter Michael Snowman - only 49 - died of a massive heart attack at that house fire pictured here. Mike was a VOLUNTEER - who ran from his job at the local gas company to see what purpose he could serve at the fire.
At first we thought that Mike had just fallen over a nest of hoses. But he didn't get up. And he didn't move. And Scott Noble of the Pittsfield Fire Department began screaming for help. Mike was a big man and it took a bit of work and about four men and women to get him up and sitting on the step of the truck, where he was talking to rescue workers, knew where he was, what he was doing. And then his eyes rolled back and he turned blue. Nothing they did could revive him. There he was on the edge of the roadway, laying in the water spilled from the fire truck, his fellow firefighters just feet away fighting the house fire, another firefighter sitting astride him, doing CPR, and he died.
Everyone at the scene was stunned but kept working, doing what they are trained to do.
About 2 we got the word that he had been airlifted to EMMC but there was nothing anyone could do for him. These firefighters - strong men who lift hoses, charge into burning homes, rescue pets, pull apart cars and trucks to save the injured, scramble through woods, barns, up stairs, down cellars, on rooftops, any where they need to go - these brave men stood on the side of the road and cried. They were devastated and bereft.
Tonight at 6 o'clock, when they run the fire department's test tones over my scanner, they will do a last call for Mike Snowman. Goodbye Mike. You were a hero for more than 25 years to the fire departments you served. I for one will miss you.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
2. Why don't we subsidize the price of milk the same way we do savings and loans?
3. Why does the man who runs the dump in my town make more money than one of our schoolteachers?
4. Why do washers eat socks (and my niece's thongs)?
5. Why is the sexist, trash of a show "Two and A Half Men" on television at an hour when children are watching?
6. Why don't jean manufacturers lie and sell size 16 jeans marked as size 8 to make us feel better?
7. Why is there always one word that I can't get in the morning crossword puzzle (today it was "city on the Rhone Delta" - I don't even know where the damn delta is, much less the city)?
8. Why does one of the best songs you have ever heard come on the radio just as you pull into the driveway?
9. Why does the phone always ring when you are in the bathroom?
10. Why does the dog (or cat) always get sick (or halk up a hairball) on the carpet, just three inches from bare floor?
11. Why can I remember exactly what happened in fifth grade on the playground with Sherry Longren and yet I don't know where I put my shoes last night?
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
When she is overexcited, she makes this pig-snorting sort of noise which we all find endearing, but this was FAR beyond that. As I was trying to calm her with one hand and call the vet with the other, she sank to the floor. I alerted the vet I was coming, grabbed her and ran.
By the time I put her in the front seat of the car, she was barely breathing. By the luck of all the Goddesses, the vet is only one mile down the road. I screeched in the driveway and bless them, the vet techs were actually holding the doors open for me!
I was without shoes, carrying my limp sweetheart, screaming "EMMA'S IN TROUBLE!" at the top of my lungs.
As I laid her on the table, she was not breathing at all! Two steroid shots and a few puffs of blessed handsome veterinarian's breath into her snout and she was revived.
They are keeping her there for a few hours and forcing oxygen on her and they will then send her home with a syringe to keep on hand in the refrig for emergencies and some steroids by mouth.
Can I tell you this was the worst experience ever???? My fear at losing my best friend cannot possibly be explained. She is my listening post, my companion, my pal, my dinner partner, I read her all my stories and I swear, I SWEAR, she actually critiques them, she is the light of my life......whew. I know that every one of you with pets knows exactly my level of terror.
I need to go sit down.
and. have. a. big. drink.
and it's not even noon.
UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!
My little sweetie is home, weary but with the ability to still wag her tail. She is sleeping in the living room on the orange rug in the sun. Resting. I may just lay down right next to her and join her in a good nap. I have pills and syringes and feel armed to attack should she begin struggling to breathe again. But now I'm afraid to leave the house...what if she fails while I'm gone?
In my upsetness over Emma's near-death experience, I sat at this computer and ate an entire bag of Snyder's Pretzel Sticks and drank half a bottle of pomegranate dry soda. (See Weldable Cookies post on Gluttony - it will explain everything.)(OMG - I just read the bag and its says a serving of pretzels is only 15 sticks. WTF? That can't be right.) Aside from being ready to explode and unable to remove my shoes due to all the swelling from the pretzel salt, I need some advice. Beyond turning my keyboard upside down and banging it on the desk, does anyone know how to get about fourteen pounds of pretzels crumbs out of it?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
My brother who served in Vietnam.
My "son" Eric who served, twice, in Iraq.
And every other woman and man who gave of their time, their souls and sometimes their lives so that I can sit here and blog....
Go to the Weldable Cookies blog on my site and click on the YouTube video that D. has downloaded....no one needs any other words.
Selfishness is defined in Webster's : an undue concern over personal profit or pleasure; lacking consideration for others. I think what I saw first hand this weekend was the second definition, the lack of caring and consideration for others' feelings.
I feel that when we interact with others, others that LOVE us, we actually carry their hearts in our hands, that we have to be mindful - always - that what we do will affect them. It's not out of an air of self-importance that I think this. It's not because I think I am so important in their lives that they must cow-tow or cater to me. It is because I believe, deeply, that we have a responsibility to each other - those in our lives that we have let inside our hearts - a deep responsibility to be careful and caring with our words and actions.
This weekend, two people that I love very much were very uncareful and uncaring in their actions and hurt a whole bunch of other people I love. This couple thought only of their own problems, their own words, their own selfish needs, and by making a choice to absent themselves from a family gathering, they hurt people. They caused a riff in our family. They caused pain and tears. They caused worry. Because they could only see their needs, they were neglectful in seeing how their actions affected others. This couple's lives could have been even richer had they fulfilled their responsibility to family and thought of a fine brother first. Instead, they chose not to. The operative word here is CHOSE.
A friend said at breakfast today that unselfishness comes with maturity. But I don't agree. I think a selfish person ALWAYS remains a selfish person, that something is missing in their DNA or their soul or their heart that enables them to see the other person first, to empathize, to recognize the way that they can make a life better, or ease someone else's pain. A selfish person even sees a kind deed as a reflection of themselves. ("I worked so hard for them. I did that just for her. I, I, I, I....")
Now don't get me wrong...I firmly believe there is a place in this world for selfishness, particularly when applied as self-preservation. We have to learn to say no to some things, if it would negatively affect us, even if saying yes would please someone else. We must learn to be selfish in the face of an abuser. We must think of ourselves first in terms of food, shelter, and employment. We must selfishly protect our spirits and souls and turn away from those that would steal that safety and security from us.
But when there is a clear choice:
1. suck it up for 24 hours, act like grownups and put your own problems aside to make others happy; or
2. abandon those who care for you, fail to even acknowledge their phone calls of concern and trade a family gathering for a trip to the ice cream store;
the choice must be the high road.
If you are very tired, and a son calls and asks for a ride to work? You give the ride to work.
If you have little money and someone needs gas or lunch funds? You share.
If a family member or friend is in need and you can help in any way? You help.
If someone calls and needs to share a difficult moment? You listen.
If there is ANY way you can put a smile on someone's face? You do it.
Why would you ever reject a chance to exhibit kindness? Being kind - the ultimate unselfish act - is not something left for whim. It is how you CHOOSE to live your life.
Most of the world has outgrown and matured beyond temper tantrums and screaming fits when when we don't get exactly what we want. But in some people, that childish selfishness has simply been replaced by a more subtle version of self-centeredness.
We see it in the pettiness of everyday behavior - cutting off another car to get a good parking spot, slipping ahead of others in line because we don't want to wait ourselves, taking the biggest piece for ourselves. The childish variety at least has the virtue of being obvious, as opposed to hidden beneath a veneer of nicety and decor. "I look great. I have a new car, a beautiful house, expensive things..'' is the motto, while the quality of life is so not linked to those possessions. No one's value is measured by the value of their things. Value only comes from the goodness of one's spirit.
My mother used to say "You reap what you sow." Plant seeds of selfishness, you end up with a bitter harvest.
Selfishness is like a worm, digging its way into a soul, killing off friends, family bonds and other relationships, so that - in the end - the selfish person ends up all alone. Mother Theresa said "One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.”
That, I believe, is what happens to selfish people. In the end, that is what they are left with - only themselves in the mirror, a reflection of broken dreams, broken promises and broken hearts.
Monday, November 10, 2008
The long drive down and back by myself was definitely worth it.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
For me, this is as much about balance and integrity as anything else. I heard a newscaster say some time over the past week that just 200 years ago, the U.S. had 41 million slaves. FORTY ONE MILLION. And today, a black man is my president. MY president. That's what I mean by balance. This election and presidency are not about color but we are ignorant not to recognize the historical significance of Obama's election.
I am hoping again.
But, since I am such a down in the dirt realist, I am also terrified that this will be taken away by a hollow point bullet. There is such hatred and greed and bigotry out there that I'm sure an attempt on his life will be made and could very likely be successful. I can only hope that I am terribly, terribly wrong. But today I am pushing aside those fears and I'm celebrating: celebrating for my fellow country men and women who had the wisdom and common sense to elect him; celebrating for his wisdom and strength that will lead us out of this chasm of chaos; and celebrating just because he his smart and young and cute and a good father and a representative of all that I believe in. Today, I have a president whom I can believe in, respect and follow. It's about time. O happy day.
Monday, November 3, 2008
I am GRATEFUL for friends like this: intelligent, caring, compassionate and passionate, engaged in life and world events. I am GRATEFUL that they invited me along to share the fun. I am GRATEFUL that Trudy drove so I could have a glass of wine with dinner (plus I had just driven down from Machias. bluk.) And I am especially GRATEFUL to know that anytime I need or want them, those friends will be there. Such a sense of security and safety that provides.