let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

I haven’t seen this much snow in a winter in a very long time. Quite possibly ever. I love it! And because it never really seems to stop everything is white. The trees and lawns are white. Rooftops are white.  And there doesn’t seem to be too much, if any old grey, slushy snow. I know many of you are done with this weather. Have been done for months now. But not me.I love it. It brings out the kid in me. It makes me happy. I like nothing better than to snuggle up inside on the couch, in front of a warm fire if possible, and watch the snow fall. Outside the floor light is on. I’ll go upstairs and watch the snow sashay down from the sky, falling slowly sometimes and quicker at others. The branches on the trees outside my window are wrapped in thick white blankets. The stark white set against the black sky is spectacular. And in the early morning hours before the sun dares to rise, and late in the afternoon just before she is ready for her slumber everything outside my window is blue… in varying shades of blue. Blue is my favorite color. She is soothing and relaxing, especially Periwinkle. If I was a crayon I would be Periwinkle. I love a nice periwinkle evening in winter  when I have no where to be.

Winter in New England without snow is grey, ho-hum-boring,dismal and boring. The kids don’t want to be outside.  They end up with terrible cases of cabin fever and end up driving us all bonkers! But they love the snow. What fun! And nice to get some exercise and come in all cold and rosy cheeked and sip some warm cocoa. I’ll take a snowy day over a grey day any day!

I really could go on and on but this old Dino can not keep up with my fingers and I am getting so terribly frustrated. So, I wil head to bed and get ready for another work week and try to shift in to fast pace gears and I won’t have as much time to stop and watch the snow fall. And most likely I won’t be on here much tomorrow. I will have to be productive again. Not so much fun!  I will keep my fingers crossed that we do not have a delayed start. I need Alexander to be in school all morning. I have some presents to wrap and prefer not to do so under the watchful eyes of a three year old with a very large mouth. Tomorrow is the last time I will ever have a Nine Year Old daughter. Wow!

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A Perfect Storm

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School was closed on Friday. The kids were a bit disappointed because it was to be Pajama Day and the last day of school before Christmas break. It was supposed to be a day of class parties and gift exchanges. Sadly this did not happen this year. By noon, as the first few flakes fell from the sky, the kids had forgotten their disappointment. Within minutes the ground was blanketed in white and frowns turned into smiles with the prospect of snow men and snow balls and snow angels and hot cocoa with mini marshmallows. It is now Sunday and it is snowing again. Rebecca is supposed to be in an ice show this afternoon but we are home bound. We have Christmas on television and on the radio and in the oven! We baked Santa some double chocolate m&m cookies. And because Christopher does not think that will be enough we will bake some peanut butter swirl brownies. At the moment we are all in our PJs. Yes, it is 1:30 in the afternoon. Excitement is in the air as the kids count down the days until Santa’s arrival. I’m at peace and relaxing. It’s nice being forced to slow down and take a break. Sure I have some shopping still to do, but it will get done. So while the snow (and rains) fall from the sky I will take the time to enjoy the quiet (well, for the most part!) with my family and enjoy the time I have with them all together and without interruption.

Despite the loss of another furnace, we are keeping warm. (Luckily this time it involves replacement of a small piece and not the entire furnace!) We are lucky to have two furnaces. While the downstairs is a tad chilly, the upstairs is perfectly comfortable. As is the playroom. And the cold, hard tile on the kitchen floors are humbling. While it certainly is a bit of a nuisance to be without a furnace for a few days, the cold floors serve as a reminder of all that I do have.  So after I finish this post I will snuggle into my bed next to Christopher and stare out my windows and marvel at the beauty beyond. (Alexander is outside shovelling with his father and Rebecca is supposedly cleaning her room — Polly Pockets and Flokati rugs are not the best mix!)

 I’ll use this day as the perfect excuse to keep the kids a little bit closer to me. And then, when they are least expecting I’ll wallop them with a cold, wet, fast snowball!

Why I Won’t Use Santa as a Threat

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Truth be told I have a problem with Santa. Not with the jolly old man with sparkling blue eyes and whiter than snow whiskers. But the myth behind the man. The myth that causes those idle threats that terrify the young. You know the one that’s based on that oh so popular song? The one that has something to do with pouting and shouting? The one with the lists… and checking them twice? Yeah, that one.

You see way back when Rebecca and Christopher were very young I did the same thing that most well meaning mothers do. I would tell them to mind their manners, mind their mother, mind each other, mind their teachers and be good because Someone was watching. Someone was making up lists and Someone would be giving presents to good little boys and girls. I am sure my mother did the same. I am pretty sure that when I was older she told me I was going to get coal in my stocking. I am pretty sure that she did as a teen. It was a joke. But still a cruel one.

The pleasures of the season rival the pressures. This I do believe. As parents we have presents to purchase not just for our children but their teachers and specialists and coaches and whatnots. It can get to be a lot to handle, not to mention pricey. There are grab bags and party favors. Christmas is more than decking the halls and lighting the tree. Christmas is more than a few presents under the tree. Christmas is parties and events and invitations. Christmas is shows and pageants and extravaganzas. Christmas is a crazy, wonderful, hectic, exhausting time of year.

Not only are we rushing around at warp speed, but so are the children. Not only are we getting less sleep and rest, but so are the children. Not only are we wiped out. But so are the children. And they have something that we don’t have. They have something exponentially much more important. They have pressure. The pressure to be good. Not just here and there. Not just for a few minutes at a time. But all the time. All day and all night. And they must go to bed and sleep tight. Through the night. Because He knows when you are sleeping.

You know how draining it is for kids to be good in school all day. Sometimes it takes such an effort for them to be angelic that the moment they see you at the end of the day, their little faces crumple up and the floodgates open and the tears start and they are hungry and tired. Tired from being so damned good. And you embrace them and while you really wish they would save some of that goodness for you every once in a while, you understand the importance of them holding it all together for their teachers. It takes a lot of work and determination. Now, for the most part kids can just let go a little bit at the end of the day. Unless it is December. In December they absolutely can not let down their guards. And that’s the trouble with Santa Claus.

I remember how Christopher and Rebecca went from being such pleasant children (for the most-part) to whiny, terrible, devilish little creatures. I had no idea who these little people were who looked a great deal like my very own offspring. But clearly from the beahiours exhibited, these little people were from another planet.

And then one day 4 years ago I remember having a little talk with Christopher’s teacher who is a wise — one of the wisest — woman. I remember telling her how emotionally drained I was because my children were so terrible, Christopher especially. Mrs. Shannon had an answer for everything. And it was always the right answer. Still is in fact. Well, she looked me in the eye with a look that told me I had to cut the kids some slack. She explained to me that the kids were under terrible, terrible pressure to be good at all times. And then it dawned on me that she was absolutely, positively right!

Christmas is supposed to be a wonderful, magical time of year. Kids look forward to nothing more than stockings and a tree brimming with presents. How magical to go to bed with an empty tree and then to wake up to see presents piled all over the place! But how wonderful is that if, as a small child you worry that one wrong action could possibly prevent Christmas from arriving at all at your house? Not so great, is it?

And that was when I stopped using Santa as a threat. And that has made all the difference. Every once in a while the kids will tell each other that they have to be good because Someone is watching. But I will never threaten them with Santa Claus. Never!  I will continue to take away television. Much more effective and better for the family all around!

Just something to think about.

Proud to be an American

Well, the day is here. The day is finally here. We’ve been waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And in my opinion, too damn long. Everyone is so charged up. There are cheers and jeers all around. We’ve become a nation divided. And you know what? That makes me sad? Of course we all have different views, needs, desires and interests but that’s what makes us what we are. That’s what makes us American. I have never seen such a bunch of Nervous Nellies out there. Okay, well maybe 4 years ago. And 8 years ago. And so on and so on and so on. And maybe my candidate will win. And maybe yours will. But I know this. I know we are a country that celebrates freedom and hope. And if Obama wins we will not implode. And if McCain wins we will not implode. The President may run our country but He alone can not rule it. Our Constitution and our Government were created for the people by the people. Let’s have some faith in our people that whatever happens He (and They) can do the right thing. I am sick of all this McCain bashing. I am sick of all the Obama bashing. What happens happens and we should not go home feeling sad or sorry for ourselves if our candidate doesn’t win. I do not like all this negativity that is surrounding this election. I do not like the negativity that my children are hearing that is surrounding this election. We need to remember that we should be so very grateful that we indeed can go out and cast a vote and make a change. And we should never ever forget this and we should never ever take this privilege for granted. So, may the Best Man win… and even if he doesn’t, the winner will have my support because I am an American and we all are Americans and we will stand taller and freer and prouder if we all band together.
So go cast your vote then head over to the local Starbucks and get your free coffee!

a peace of my mind

You don’t need to agree with me. I need to vent.

I’ve been laying low. I did not want to paste yet another picture of a plane flying in to a building. Or a building catching on fire and collapsing. As a child of the city I knew little about the WTC growing up. I did not know much about what went on in and around those buildings. I did know that those two towers were as monumental to my skyline as the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings and the many bridges that connected the island of Manhattan to the surrounding boroughs and New Jersey. Flying in to the city to see that all familiar skyline was reassuring. I was home. Driving over the Tri-Borough bridge at night to see the millions of lights glimmering in the horizon like the stars up in the Heavens (or heck, like diamonds at Tiffany’s) has always produced an immediate calm for me. I am proof that you can take the girl out of the city. But you can never take the city out of the girl.

I grew up an only child to two very goal oriented and successful parents. I was exposed to more arts and culture at a young age than most people have been exposed to in their life time. I was very comfortable in my grown up world and feel very fortunate to have had the childhood I did. I traveled a great deal and learned two languages. French and Spanish. I spoke French fluently from my early years. Later on I spoke Spanish proficiently. The world was my oyster — I had it in the palm of my hand.

Now as I have my own children I want for them much of what I had as a child. I want to educate them to be open minded and tolerant of everyone. I want them to give back to the community and, in essence, to do unto others as they would have done unto them. I want them to respect everyone. All creeds, races and religions. I am pretty certain that they do.

We lost our innocence 7 years ago. Something terrible and tragic happened. We were attacked for being open minded and free. For freedom of thought and speech. We were attacked in a most brutal and terrible way. What’s worse, Innocent people were attacked. People doing nothing but carrying on with their daily lives that beautiful September morning. The skies were blue. Bluer than I had seen in a long time. It was a crisp and quintessential September morn. And then it wasn’t. And in my backyard my skyline came tumbling down. And so had hopes and dreams and lives… enough about that. No need to rehash those terrible moments.

Now we are approaching a great moment in history. A new President will take office. We will travel in a new direction. Change at this point is good. Change is absolutely necessary.

I am not a terribly political person by nature. I do not really talk about politics. I’m not comfortable doing so unless with close friends. It makes me uncomfortable. Uneasy. More Republican than Democrat I do share ideals with both parties. Until a couple of weeks ago I was not entirely sure who I was going to vote for, though was leaning more toward the Republican Party. Then Obama picked his running mate. A wise and respectable choice. I waited to see who McCain would pick. He had a long list of candidates. Then a little known Alaskan Governor was elected. Not a big powerhouse I thought perhaps she would be a fresh air in DC. And then all these stories started to emerge. And then I started to do a little research.

And truth be told I am heart sick. Devastated over his choice of a running mate. It has nothing to do with her being a woman. It has nothing to do with not being able to mother her children. (Besides, what’s the difference, really, between a father as President and a mother? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.)

Why I am so completely sickened and worried for the sake of my country is because this woman is living in another era. Her narrow-minded thoughts are bringing us back in time and destroying all that we have worked for and strived for to make this nation what it is. To me these “litte” issues are just as important as our relations with other countries, just as important as our being a powerhouse in the free world, and just as important as putting an end to the war in Iraq, restoring peace and bringing our troops home.

I am worried about those things that fundamentally make us who we are. I do not want someone who would even so much as query about removing a book from a small town library. If you don’t want your own children to read a book then you take care of it. But don’t prevent me from doing so. I will parent my children as I see fit. I read one of the books Ms. Palin supposedly wanted removed. It was Go Ask Alice. I never turned in to a drug user. That particular book never made me want to go out and “experiment.” Instead it had the opposite effect. I loved that book and it lingered with me for many years in my youth. I am a writer and a reader. Freedom of Speech is our First Amendment. By “removing” books you are single-handedly violating our right to free speech. By violating our right to free speech you are doing what those Plane-Flying-Fucking-Cowards did. You are killing the American people and her spirit.

Homosexuality is not a fucking disease. Tuberculosis is. Leprosy is. Your church can not “cure” a homosexual. I have issues with that. Huge issues. Praying to your God is not going to make a man want to marry a woman if he is not biologically programmed to do so.

Abstinence is not the answer either. Look at your children. Teach them properly. Give them the tools they need so that they don’t get knocked up at 17. Don’t take away their childhood and livelihood. A trip to planned parenthood can save a bright future. Don’t add yet another person to that ever-growing poverty statistic. Put your daughters on birth control and let them get a good college education and become working, contributing members to society.

My biggest issue at hand is that someone who is going to run a country needs some foreign policy experience. How can a woman who obtained her first passport in 2007 possibly have enough experience to deal with complicated and delicate world affairs. My God, she’s never even met a dignitary.

I know Ms. Palin is not running for President. But the possibility of her becoming one is there. I can not have such a closed-minded person with such little experience and no worldliness whatsoever run my country. I can not.

When I vote now I vote not so much for myself but my children and their future. I want my children to grow up and make their own choices. Be they wright or wrong they will always be encouraged to make their own choices. I encourage them (with a little guidance, of course) to do so now. They will make mistakes and learn from their mistakes. Nothing is so important a lesson in one’s life as the mistakes one makes and the lessons learned along the way.

If my daughter wants to read Go Ask Alice when she is in high school then she should. If she wants to write her own controversial book when she gets older, she should. If she accidentally gets pregnant while at Harvard Med School while comingthisclose to finding the Cure for Cancer what she wants to do with her fetus is HER choice. Not mine. Not the government’s.

If he lives that long… I can not imagine the fate of this country in incapable hands. How many more 9-11s will we have if this country is in incapable hands? It really, really terrifies me.

My vote was thisclose to being John McCain’s. But given his track record with melanoma, knowing that nothing is permanent and that he could potentially pass away while in office, I can not give this man my vote.

I am not looking at Parties here. I am thinking as an individual. I am thinking as a mother. As Americans we have to look across the Party lines and see the truth as clear as she is in front of our eyes.