Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Year Without A Santa Claus

I remember when I found out that there was no Santa Claus. I asked my sister, C, to tell me the truth and she did. I was probably about 8 or 9, and I was probably a little relieved to know the truth. Who wants some fat guy in a red suit creeping into our house while we slept? The thought actually gave me shivers! My brother took delight in showing me all of Mom's hiding places for our gifts and took even more delight in showing me how to unwrap them (just a little) to see what they were!! I know, that's horrible, and we only ruined it for ourselves. But we also couldn't resist the temptation.

Pal found out this year. He had been teetering on the verge of knowing, deep down, but his buddy decided on the eve of Easter to tell him. The buddy's parents had clued him in, and he was busting at the seems to tell someone. Unfortunately, Pal was the first person he saw that day. Pal is still crushed. I was definitely crushed, and it ruined our Easter. It's hard when you only have one child because all those days of "pretend" are now over. The absolute funniest "dawn-on-marble-head" moment was when the Christmas Carols started playing on the radio and he heard the song "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - he looked at me with this incredulous look and said with sarcasm..."Really?"

So, this year will be a bit different at our house. I don't think it will keep Pal in bed any later, because I still think the excitement of the holiday itself is what wakes him up. I can remember waking up my exhausted (and probably a little hungover) parents at 5:00 a.m. They always got up and went through the pretense of seeing if Santa showed up, whether we believed or not. My Dad used to make us wait on the stairs and he would go downstairs to put the tree lights on, and he'd yell up to us - "Santa didn't come this year - go back to bed!" Ha ha. It's something we do to Pal every year and it infuriates him!!!

Don't get me wrong, I do believe in the magic of Christmas. I believe that Christmas is always changing and our traditions are what keep us happy and hopeful.

May Santa be good to all of you this Christmas season. Remember the reason for the season, too - the birth of our saviour. Happy Birthday, Jesus!

- G

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanks Giving

I love Thanksgiving. I think that I love it a little more than Christmas (which for me says a lot!) because it is just a day to hang out with family and eat lots of yummy food. I've never hosted a Thanksgiving so I might have a totally different perspective than some of you cooks out there! I simply love all things Fall, and the smells and foods that go with it. Here are some of my favorite things about Thanksgiving that remind me of my childhood and being with my family:

Waking up to the smell of turkey cooking
Celery sticks filled with cream cheese and sprinkled with Paprika
Whole walnuts and other nuts, with large metal nutcrackers
Fresh oranges and grapes on the table
Olives (there were always black and green olives whenever my Mom was involved!!)
Setting the table the night before with Mom's china
Mom's apple pies (luckily my sister C has carried on that tradition...yum!)
Dad cutting into an apple pie on the night before Thanksgiving
My Grandpa coming over for dinner and my brother and I would play in his wheelchair after he fell asleep!
Hot turkey sandwiches around 6:00 p.m.
More apple pie
Mom making me go to Marty's Caterers to BUY gravy because hers was (admittedly) awful!
My sister C holding a chisel and hammer over my Mom's gravy to demonstrate the awfulness!!!
Everybody being sleepy and watching football in the living room

As the years went on and our family expanded, we all couldn't fit into my parent's kitchen, and so we had to put banquet tables through the living room and den. There was never a kids table, we always sat together. Once my Mom started getting older and it became evident that her memory was failing, we started having dinner at my sister's houses. Now my brother has hosted this "event" a few times as well, and that's where we will be this year. I know my Mom will be looking down on us and she will be thankful that we are all together, in one place, carrying on the family traditions. I feel very grateful that she gave me so many great people to spend Thanksgiving with. I love you, family!

May your holiday be filled with traditions, great family and more apple pie than you can possibly eat in one day!

- G

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Another blog I like is continuing a meme she saw today, so I thought I would play along too! Thanks, Georgie of Decisionally Challenged!

It’s called Favorites!

Favorite Actor:
Probably Tom Cruise (oh, stop gagging already!). He's been in so many movies I like (A Few Good Men is my favorite...oh wait I am jumping ahead!!) Richard Gere could top the list just for Pretty Woman alone!

Favorite Actress:
Julia Roberts. Love her!

The Sound of Music comes first, then Pretty Woman, then A Few Good Men, then My Cousin Vinny, then My Big Fat Greek Wedding....

Currently I'd have to say the Zac Brown Band.

The Sound of Music, of course!

The Bridges of Madison County, Montana Sky, Good in Bed.

Italian, Mexican.


Sadly, Target. Or Kohl's.


Primetime TV series:
Currently I would say Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory. I cry laughing at these 2 shows.

Time Waster:

Sadly, cleaning the whole house. All is right in my world when my house is clean.

"People may forget what you said, but they'll never forget how you made them feel."

My son after a shower. Other than that I can't stand most strong smells.

Vacation Spot:
DISNEY! And anywhere Hubby wants to go!

Enjoy - Happy end of September!!!


Friday, August 20, 2010

Back to the Grind

No more limbo. Now I'm doing the cha-cha right back into my 9-month position. As I said in my last post, I know that I am lucky to have a job. But right now I am freaking out a little bit about Pal going to Middle School. I am definitely more nervous about it than he is...and I am SO not ready to get back into the world of homework, packing lunches and bedtimes. I felt like a kid again on Monday morning when I had to return to work. Sunday night I was sad that my Summer was officially over. Poor me, I know, but it's hard to go back after 12 weeks of having the time to get everything done. Now it's crunch time again!

Back to the grind!

- G

Monday, August 2, 2010


I am scheduled to go back to work in 2 weeks. Ugh.

That is, if I am returning to my regular job. You see, Pal is starting Middle School on August 31, and will be home in the afternoons by 2:00. I am apprehensive to leave him home for 2 hours before one of us gets home. My FIL will be home, but he tends to stay downstairs and there isn't any real supervision going on there. So, I requested to move into one of our 6-month part-time positions at work, which would allow me to be home by 1:30 and still keep my benefits. Unfortunately, NOTHING has been done about moving me into this position. It would take a few other people moving around in their positions (which they WANT to do) and moving me into one of their jobs. This is not rocket science, people!! I am waiting in limbo here, and would love to hear the news that I have more than 2 weeks left of my time off!!! (That's the real reason I want to know!).

Anyway, that's my life - in limbo for now.

I'll keep y'all posted on the job status. 9 months or 6, I have a job and am luckier than some.

- G

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

3 + 4 =...I need to blog more

I almost choked when I looked at the date of my last blog entry - MARCH? Are you kidding me??? Wow. Time flew and I wasn't having a LOT of fun!!!

An update on the last post: My dog is still alive, my FIL's leukemia is still under control and he is doing well, and my septic system SUCKS. In plain english. I won't bore you with the gory details, but put it this way: I now know how much it will cost to r.e.p.l.a.c.e. my septic system. Grrrrrrrrr.....

So, where have I been and what have I been up to since March 28th? We went on a family vacation to California over April school break. That was fun, but it was chilly in CA! I didn't mind it, but when you think of Cali you think of warmth and sun and beaches. We did have one nice day that we sat on the pier at Santa Monica. It was beautiful there. We did the typical southern Cali trip - Disneyland, where we stayed in a motel directly across the street from the entrance! Lego Land, which Pal was a little to old for, and the San Diego Zoo. Now THAT is a zoo! I can never again go to our local zoo, it will never live up to that!!

Pal has continued with Boy Scouts, much to his father's delight. He really seems to like it, and I know he is a bit in awe of the "older" kids. But they scare ME. Long hair and skinny jeans....UGH. We went camping in Maine over Memorial Day with our pop-up and Pal's friends family. Pal played in his Advanced Band concert and that was cool to see how much they've improved since last year. I also finished up work at the end of May and thoroughly enjoyed 3 weeks of "me time" while Pal was finishing up 5th grade! Can't believe he's going to Middle School next year. Another thing that scares ME!

4th of July weekend was fun, we went to the camper and our campground had awesome fireworks. Then we went to the annual Balloon Festival. It was fun, but I am definitely getting to the point where I am over it. I love the balloons going up but the whole weekend itself has become a chore. I don't need more chores!

So that brings me to today. On Sunday, Pal and Hubby will head off to Boy Scout Camp. For a whole week. Without me. YAAAAAAHHHOOOOOOOo!!! Oh, I mean, I'll really miss them. My living room looks like a camping store threw up, and there are two 45-gallon tubs in there collecting it all. The next few days will be a lot of work to get them both everything they need, but it will be worth it. For them. Oh, and if I happen to enjoy it a little bit, that will just be a bonus. =)

Sorry for being a neglectful blogger...I'll try harder in the future!

Happy Summer!
- G

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Just one of *those* WEEKENDS

Ugh. I feel like I shouldn't even post this blog. My life has sucked these last few days and I don't even like admitting that because I always try to stay on the positive side and remember that there are SO many people who have it worse than I do right now. But it started with Thursday (see my post about my lunch!!) and I feel like it has gotten worse and worse through the whole weekend. Probably until right now. It's almost 5:00 on Sunday and today has proven that I can have a normal day again. I slept in until 9:15 and my sister-in-law showed up at our house with a Dunkin' iced coffee, and my Mother-in-law made us breakfast. I felt like I'd hit the lottery after the last 36 hours of my life. We went to Church and it was unusually crowded because it is Palm Sunday. I felt renewed and refreshed after Mass, and the day has been pretty low key since. So now I can blog about the sucky few days we just had.

Friday at work was pretty busy. It would have been my Mom's 75th birthday and I was feeling a bit melancholy, but all in all the workday went pretty well. Hubby called and asked if I could pick up something he left on a job that was near my work. Coming out of the side street, I hit the curb with my back passenger side tire and heard the "bang" as I came down off the curb...I knew that wasn't a good sound, but the car (which is 3 months old) wasn't riding any differently so I got on the highway. About 5 miles into my trip, a light came on on the dashboard that I wasn't familiar with. As I leaned over to get the manual out of the glove box, (I was in traffic going slowly), a nice man flagged me down and pointed to my back tire....I rolled down the window and he shouted "Your back tire is completely flat!". Oy. I pulled over to the breakdown lane and got out...sure enough it was dead. I called AAA and after describing exactly where I was on the highway, they told me to wait 15 minutes - someone was on their way. 15 minutes...20 minutes...30 minutes...a return call from AAA saying "They can't locate you". Are you freakin' kidding me?!? I described EXACTLY where I was, exit number and all. I drive a CHERRY APPLE RED car. How in the world can they not locate me? Well, they dispatched a different tow company and told me to wait another 30 minutes. I actually said to the dispatch guy "ANOTHER 30 minutes?!?!" He apologized but they are not even in the same state as I am so there is nothing they can do. Ugh. So, exactly 30 minutes later the tow company shows up and in 3 MINUTES has my tire changed. The guy was very nice, but at this point I had to pee so badly that I just wanted to get going. I stopped at the tire store and he told me the tire was not repairable, and to replace the spare will cost $209.00. Wow. Expensive curb.

After arriving home and settling myself in for the night, my Father-in-law comes upstairs to tell me that our dog is not doing well. I may not have blogged here about our dog...he is only 4 years old but was diagnosed in November with inoperative, incurable cancer. After getting a second and third opinion, we were told there was nothing they could do for him. Poor Rusty. Poor us. It's been awful to watch the tumor in his leg get bigger and bigger and watch him slowly deteriorate. But, he has been doing pretty well considering and was still playful and happy most days. He's been on pain medicine pretty regularly since January, but these last few days he has been declining more rapidly. On Friday night we had made the decision that if he was still this bad on Saturday morning, we would "put him down". All of us were crying, and it was gut-wrenching. Pal had a really difficult time with it. But after having a good night on Friday, and a good day on Saturday, we have decided to hold off for right now. He is sitting here with us right now and other than hobbling on 3 legs he seems content.

Another piece of news we received on Friday is that my Father-in-law's leukemia might be returning...he's been going through testing and they don't like the look of his blood test results. He will now have to have a bone-marrow test again, which is very painful for him. We are anxiously awaiting more information.

So, Saturday started out to look like a normal day especially with the decision to wait on putting the dog down...but silly me, I spoke too soon. We had plans to visit our newlywed friends at their new place, and they were making dinner for us. Just as we were about to leave the house, my Father-in-law asks Hubby to come down and plunge their clogged toilet...which turns out to be a more complicated problem of water backing up into their shower stall. So, Pal and I leave without him to go to our friends under the assumption that Hubby will solve the plumbing issue and then join us there. 5 hours later, I come home to all the outdoor lights blazing and 2 septic trucks in our driveway. Not a good sign. It turns out there was a blockage in our septic system somewhere IN the house. It took them 4 hours to get it resolved, and $550.00 later we were unclogged. It smelled lovely in the house, too. It was 11:00 at night and Hubby had never eaten dinner.

Do you see why I am feeling a little on the negative side? Like I said, I am not even sure I should blog this because I know there are so many people who have much bigger problems than we do. But it felt good to put it on paper (so to speak) and vent it to the blogger world. Thanks for letting me.

On to Monday!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Just one of *those* days.

I just dropped my lunch on the floor. It's already been one of *those* kind of days. I hate that I almost cried because my lunch was ruined. If you knew the conditions we work in, especially since most of our building has been flooding for 2 weeks, you would know that I would never, EVER, eat something that had been on our kitchen floor! My boss said "Can't you just kiss it up to God?". Ew. My germophobia just got the goose bumps!!

So now I am working through my regular lunchtime and will go out a little later with my friend for lunch. At least it will have a happy ending!

Tomorrow would have been my Mom's 75th birthday. I hope she has a Happy Heaven Birthday.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

To Be...Or Not To Be...?

That is always the question when it comes to Pal.

Pal has been a Cub Scout since First Grade, starting out in one Pack and then transferring at the end of 2nd grade to a bigger, better Pack with his best buddy. We had just moved here when Pal started Cub Scouts so we didn't really know that many people. This group of people - from the Cubmaster to the parents that are involved, have become some of our closest friends in this town.

So, when Pal was crossing over (or "graduating") from Cub Scouts as a Webelos II Scout on January 25th, the natural progression of scouting is for them to join Boy Scouts. There is a terrific Boy Scout Troop that is a continuation of our Cub Scout Pack, and it is all the same families that are involved. There were 6 Webelos II Scouts that would be crossing over. Except that Pal decided he doesn't want to be a Boy Scout. Figure in that Hubby is an Eagle Scout and credits his involvement with Scouts with keeping him out of trouble as a teen, (or most trouble, I should say!!) you can imagine that we were heartbroken. When your child doesn't want to do something that you've always dreamed you would do with them, a little part of you dies inside. I saw the utter disappointment in Hubby's eyes, but he had promised Pal that we wouldn't force him to do Boy Scouts.

Last week, things changed. Pal and Hubby were home (it was school vacation) and they decided to go shopping with all of Pal's gift cards that he got at Christmas. Pal had his heart set on a new video game system that cost more than the gift cards, so Hubby made a deal with him: I will front the rest of the money if you will TRY Boy Scouts. My initial reaction was "You just made a deal with the devil!". But, I could see how much Hubby wanted Pal to at least try it, with the hope that he will love it and stick with it. Unfortunately, this is NOT Pal's strength!

Last night was their first meeting and it seemed to go pretty well. I can only hope that the deal lasts and Pal doesn't try to back out of it. My sincere hope is that one day we will be at Pal's Eagle Scout Court of Honor and we will be telling everyone how he didn't even want to TRY Boy Scouts!

Wish us luck!

This is the Crossing Over Ceremony for the Webelos II Scouts (Pal on far left)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

One Month

Today marks one month since my Mom passed away. It has been a month filled with emotions of all kinds. Those of you who have lost someone know what I am talking about. My brother's boss sent him a card that said "Nobody knows what it's like to lose your Mother unless they've been through it." Boy is that the truth. I never thought I would feel the range of emotions I have felt since her death. It's overwhelming sometimes.

My niece was having a hard time grieving and was being criticized by those close to her for the way she was choosing to handle it. NO ONE has that right. We all grieve differently, and the way we choose to do it is nobody's business but our own. Watching the death of someone you love is TRAUMATIC, and what we went through with my Mom was traumatic. Not just her dying, but her life before Alzheimer's, her life during Alzheimer's and now her death after Alzheimer's.

About 2 weeks after she passed, I got into bed and Hubby was already asleep. I cuddled up next to him and LOST IT. He, in bewilderment, was awake in a flash and asked me what was wrong. I couldn't even explain it properly. I felt guilty for feeling. Feeling mad at my Mom for handling life the way she did long before Alzheimer's crept in. Feeling ashamed for being mad at her. Feeling bad that I didn't cry so hard on the day of her funeral. Feeling devastated that my Mother was never going to call me on my birthday again, or hug my son again, or make horrible, inedible lasagna, or anything ever again. It's a harsh realization.

It's grief, plain and simple. I still don't feel like life will ever be "normal" again. And just when I think I am back to normal, something else happens or somebody says something that brings me right back to that moment in time. I guess I will just become a new normal now.

Thanks for listening.

p.s. I love you and miss you, Mom. Rest in peace.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

It's Your Song

March 26, 1935 - January 17, 2010

My Mom passed away on Sunday from Alzheimer's Disease and Colon Cancer. She was surrounded by her 5 children and waited for her favorite daytime Nurse to come back to work in the morning before she passed peacefully in her sleep. It was the most heart-wrenching moment, of relief and despair all wrapped into one. She is finally "free", at peace and in a better place.

Since this Blog is named after a Garth Brooks song about the life you lived in that little dash in between your birth date and death date, I wanted to share with you the lyrics from yet another fitting Garth Brooks song. My Mom had the most beautiful voice and I was always in awe of her when she sang. This is the one thing she will be remembered for most, not just by her family but by all of the people whose weddings and funerals she sang at. My sister, "P", and I have been blessed with good voices, too, though we can not even compare to my Mom's voice. So, the lyrics to the song below express what I feel when I sing. I sing for her.

"It's Your Song" by Garth Brooks

Standing in the spotlight
On such a perfect night
Knowing that your out there listening
I remember one time
When I was so afraid
Didn't think I had the courage
To stand up on this stage
Then you reached into my heart
And you found the melody
And if there ever was somebody
Who made me believe in me
It was you
It was you

It was your song that made me sing
It was your voice that gave me wings
And it was your light that shined
Guiding my heart to find
This place where I belong
It was your song

Every night I pray
Before the music starts to play
That I'll do my best and I won't let you down
And for all the times I've stood here
This feeling feels brand new
And any time I doubt myself I think of you

'Cause It was your song that made me sing
It was your voice that gave me wings
And it was your light that shined
Guiding my heart to find
This place where I belong
It was your song

Dreams can come true
With God's great angels like you

It was your song that made me sing
It was your voice that gave me wings
And it was your light that shined
Guiding my heart to find
This place where I belong
It was your song
It was your song
It's always been your song

Rest easy now, Mom. I will do my best to make you proud every day.
I love you,